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 75
IN motorcycle grand prix racing, there's no argument that the era spanning champions Gardner and Lawson to Rainey and Schwantz was the last golden age. It ran from around 1987, brewing up for a year or two before, and was abruptly terminated when Rainey crashed out for the last time in 1993. This is not just the sentimental meanderings of someone lucky enough to have been there at the time. Not only that, anyway. More it's an expression of hope ... for we have all the ingredients in place for another one. These things are measurable. You have only to look at what followed the last golden age, and what had gone before it. It has to do with predictability. In particular, predictability of the race winner. The years following were a sterile display of utter superiority by Mick Doohan. It wasn't his fault he was so much better than everyone else at the time. Didn't make the racing very exciting, though. Somehow it was more enjoyable when Valentino Rossi succeeded to the same role -- something to do, no doubt, with his showmanship and joie de vivre. Rossi won the first of his titles in 2001, and by then, most of the time the race winner was just as predictable as when Mick was in charge. So it remained, at least until Stoner showed up. It had been the same in the years before. For many years, from the 1950s to the arrival of the two-strokes in the 1970s, the winner was whoever was riding the MV Agusta. For a spell it was Mike Hailwood; then Giacomo Agostini, for an even longer spell. At the time of their changeover, the potential for another golden age was cut short. Great Japanese factory battles had made the smaller classes, especially the 250 and 350, more exciting and popular than the stagnant 500s. But now Honda came into the 500 class with Hailwood on board to challenge Ago and Moto GP FEATURE >> 39