by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
“NOTHING helps as much as having a rival you hate.” The words came from Kenny Roberts, recalling how Barry Sheene could inspire him to excel himself. His eventual vanquisher, Freddie Spencer, never did evoke the same competitive levels. The words could have been spoken by a number of riders. The lucky ones, who have such a rival. Actually, Roberts had to manufacture the hatred – he and Sheene got on quite well, both before and after their title battles. During them, however, Sheene especially would fire off insults to a willing press (Barry’s description of Kenny’s bike set- up skills: “He couldn’t develop a cold.”) and Roberts would happily respond. A long time ago, but as relevant as ever in the year of Lorenzo versus Pedrosa. Needle matches make for great racing, and examples echo down the ages. You don’t have to go back to Read/Ivy, Hailwood/Agostini or even Schwantz/Rainey to find great double acts that electrified the action. The charming public persona might blind people to the true depths of potential malice, but the new Spanish cut-throat rivals are beginners compared with Valentino Rossi. Racing talent is the obvious backbone of Rossi’s climb to (currently threatened) domination. But he’s never been shy of picking out a personal enemy, and using that enmity to claw his way higher up the ladder. First in line was Max Biaggi, who definitely volunteered for the job (guess he needed a rival too). Rossi took delight in dismantling him. He poked fun behind his back and sniped constantly in the press. They even came to blows on the rostrum stairs at one race. On track, early on, Biaggi deliberately rode him onto the dirt at Suzuka; Rossi responded by overtaking him round the outside at the next chance, giving him the finger in the process. His better riding and the Honda gave him the upper hand throughout. By the time that situation was Race psychology begins off-track – and MotoGP has some experts, as MICHAEL SCOTT explains 40