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 : Issue 23
>>Moto GPInsight A S ALWAYS, the best don’t take any time at all to adapt. A really good rider can ride almost anything. On the other hand, the 800s are not exactly easier to ride, but more like precision instruments than the 990s, and they clearly reward a precise style, as developed on a racing 250. The result is virtually instant success for new graduates from the junior class (itself doomed to extinction), as pioneered by Stoner and Pedrosa. To be fair both were pretty strong 990 rookies as well. That’s talent. The new generation never even knew the 990s, and their results suggest that the gap between the 250 class and the premiership is smaller than ever in history. As Rossi, Capirossi and other old hands often wonder: how would the same riders have done on 500cc two-strokes? Even Valentino took almost a year to adapt. At the same time, the high level of new-boy talent shines through. New talent always refreshes racing, but usually only in fits and starts. This looks like the start of an exceptional era. Two stand out. Jorge Lorenzo was schooled from early childhood for exactly this role in life – to be World Champion; his old 250 rival Andrea Dovizioso is an ever-present threat to that plan. The Italian is less dramatic than Jorge, but hardly less effective, hanging barely ten points adrift in the championship, and with not a tenth of the pain, impact and injuries. Flash-in-the-pan among them, as he always was, is another 250 sparring partner, Alex de Angelis. There’s nothing wrong with his lap times, only his finishing record. Lorenzo has been by turns dramatically brilliant and as dramatically dangerous … at least to himself. A series of spectacular highsides – in China, France, Italy, Catalunya, Germany and finally on lap one at the last round in the USA – have been the backdrop to a string of three pole positions, a third-race win, and three other rostrums. Lorenzo has become close with Dr Xavier Mir, the surgeon who has fixed both ankles and wrists, as well as performing carpal tunnel surgery and treating his concussion. As he explained earlier in the season, speaking from a “It is always a fight of two minds. One says wheelchair: – only finish; the other says – you can try and stay with them.” The second part of his mind always overrules the first. Dovi has yet to qualify on the front row, but in his first year he has been on the second seven times in 11 races. Ditto no rostrum, but he’s had six top-fives, and only one non-finish, slipping off in Portugal. Significantly, on a “production” bike he is second-best Honda, to Pedrosa’s factory machine; he is almost 30 points clear of troubled second factory rider Hayden. Stoner and Pedrosa will both be looking over their shoulders at this threat with some uneasiness; in exactly the same way as Rossi is looking at them. We are lucky in the strength of the next generation, for there are more of the same coming through … Bautista, Simoncelli, Kallio and others. They too are lucky: not only in having one another to race against, but in having Rossi to beat. For it is as much a measure of the pyramid breadth of Jorge Lorenzo (previous page) and Andrea Dovizioso his tower of talent that he too has been able to adjust to the demands of the new bikes, and remains the man that everyone has to beat. 35