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GP Week : Issue 30
Rossi ‘show’ draws criticism VALENTINO Rossi revived his habit of extravagant post-race celebrations after winning the title at Motegi, with an elaborate pre-planned track-side pantomime. Wearing a T-shirt with the legend “Scusati Ritardo” (which he translated as “Sorry for the delay”, he climbed off his bike and walked over to a desk set up by the track. Behind it sat a grey-haired man in a suit, and Rossi sat opposite him while he applied an official stamp to a special helmet, on the back of which he wrote: “Motegi 2008: Vale: Eight Times World Champion”. He explained it later: “In Italy we have some certificates approved and stamped by a notary,”he said. “We plan these things with my fan club. It is always a chance to have a good laugh.” But not everybody appreciated the performance. It meant a delay of almost 30 minutes between the end of the race and the rostrum ceremony, by which time several networks, including the BBC, had run out of broadcast time. “Imagine if after winning at Wimbledon Nadal did something like that for half and hour before accepting the trophy,”said one Eurosport commentator. “It shouldn’t happen – but nobody at Dorna has the guts to stop Rossi.” Rossi tests new Yamaha NEW World Champion Valentino Rossi was scheduled to test the prototype for the 2009 M1 Yamaha today, the day after the Motegi GP, and had asked mainly for engine improvements for what he expects will be an even harder season than this one. “It is the 2008-point-five machine,”he said. “The main thing I have asked for is in the engine rather than the chassis,”he said. “I want more acceleration out of slow corners – it is one of our problem areas from this year.” Yamaha engineering chief Masao Furusawa admitted that the Yamaha had fallen behind in the first year of the 800 class, after he had taken a step back from the racing side: “I am a busy guy – racing is not my only job,”he said. For 2008 he had taken more of a direct interest and also reorganised the racing department somewhat. “For this year, we upgraded the bike especially for fuel consumption and maximum power.”Now Rossi had asked for improved acceleration. “He is not only a good rider, he is also a very good analyst,” said Furusawa. “We had many discussions before we worked on this year’s machine.” All teams were to stay on at Motegi, with Kawasaki continuing testing of a revised engine that Hopkins had used during the weekend, aimed at smoother power. However, the rain that spoiled the first day of practice was predicted to return on Monday. 14