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GP Week : Issue 32
>>Moto GPInsight While Danny Pedrosa's switch to Bridgestones required a wall down the middle of the Honda garage, there was already division at HRC ... when the announcement was made, Honda’s team management bristled when one journalist asked: “Who runs the Honda team? Is it Puig and Pedrosa, or Honda?” Now, sources close to the team insist that the Japanese team management plans to reassert its authority, admitting it has been eroded by the powerful presence of Puig and his protégé Dani. But before too much scorn is turned in that direction, it is as well to remember the ultimate goal of this and any team, to win the championship, and to recall it must first and foremost be led by a rider capable of doing so. Hayden is the only rider to do so on a Honda since Rossi left for Yamaha at the end of 2003, more by dogged persistence and consistency than great flair and serial race wins. It is clearly true that Pedrosa is cast in a different mould. He has six wins to Hayden’s three, and three World Championships (in the smaller classes) to Hayden’s one in MotoGP. And all this year he had handsomely outpointed his team-mate, at least until his ill- fated tyre switch. It is small wonder that Honda threw more support behind him than Hayden. The American may be more popular and generally likeable, but Pedrosa seemed a better bet, both in the short and the long term. Will Hayden find a better team atmosphere when he moves to join Stoner at Ducati next year? He has already expressed that hope, contrasting the almost complete lack of communication with Pedrosa with a relationship with Stoner that is already friendly. He hopes that the super- fast Australian will short-cut his learning curve on the new bike by sharing setting and other information. It remains to be seen how long this will last, and depends a great deal on just how well he gets on with the Ducati, and how much he challenges his new team-mate on track. In the end, only one can win races, and only one can win the title. And the first person you have to beat remains the same: the guy on the same equipment that you have. Your team-mate. 41