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GP Week : Issue 43
Yamaha: a shift in the balance of power? CELEBRATIONS of Yamaha’s fine one-two result at Honda’s home circuit will have some uneasy echoes. It was the wrong way round. It’s supposed to be Rossi and his famed crew leading the way; instead it was new kid Lorenzo and his garage staff who best overcame the drawback of only 45 minutes dry set-up time. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, but the result affirms what Rossi has been saying all year: his team-mate is a serious threat for the title. It surely suits the factory that their top riders are pushing each other so hard. Helps to leave the rest behind. But it’s also just as well there’s already a wall down the middle of the pit. Rivalry between the garage-men on each side of it can only intensify. And the riders? Well, what do the fans think? Rossi commands the greatest army of them, and does so (it seems) by natural charm. Lorenzo courts the crowds assiduously, but in a more studied way. One of the people he has studied in this regard is Rossi, and he is determined to outshine him. Off the track as well as on it. The balance of power still lies firmly with Rossi, but it might be more precarious than we think. 40