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GP Week : Issue 59
>>GPWEEKOPINION working servant to the Scuderia for the last decade, and despite his less than impressive racing history in F1 (he has the unenviable record for the most starts without scoring a point), he will at least get one last shot; one last chance to change his story, to score points... who knows, perhaps even take a eturn? 'Fast' Freddie Spencer – burned out at 23 ... race win? Be it for one race, two races or for the rest of the season, Luca Badoer deserves his opportunity and I have no doubt that he will take his chance by the horns and run with it. While I don’t think we’re even close to the end of the will he/won’t he Michael than the two months he currently plans. And he may never again reach the heights that won him the title over Rossi in 2007. This syndrome is a shammer’s charter. Impossible to diagnose except by elimination, equally impossible to treat, it’s also very difficult to deny a victim’s claims. That makes ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis – a catchall term that covers post-viral as well as chronic fatigue syndrome) a favourite for malingerers seeking extended sick leave, or going for a big insurance payout. But only the most flippant or cruel could accuse Stoner of shamming. Schumacher saga, I for one am looking forward to watching Luca stepping up to the plate and doing all he can to prove his doubters wrong. It’s been ten years in the making, but the dutiful servant has finally got his moment in the sun. And I hope he shines. Therefore, by the same elimination by which the condition must be diagnosed, he has it. And it can be a very serious problem. There is certainly no overnight fix. There is one parallel from the past: the case of Fast Freddie Spencer. Freddie is still to me the best rider I have ever seen, including Rossi. He surged to his first title, Honda’s first in the premier class, in 1983. Injury spoiled 1984, but in 1985 he achieved a classic double championship, 250 and 500. He is the only double champion in the modern era, and the only rider ever to win that particular combination. The next year, it was over. A dose of carpal tunnel syndrome (aka Racer’s Wrist) was fixed by surgery, but Freddie was never again able to ride like he always had in the past. He was burned out. The parallel extends a bit further. Like Stoner, Freddie was four when he started a headlong racing career that controlled and defined his life. Week in, week out. He was 23 when it all came to a premature end. Stoner is also 23. For the sake of racing, let’s hope there’s nothing in all this surmise; that Stoner will buck the odds and get back well enough to fight again next year. Racing needs him. And so does Ducati. Badly. 21