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GP Week : Issue 90
GPWEEK OPINION >> at Champions how seething Mark was when told of your decision Christian, you might have considered not using it at all.Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard were both cast as number twos, but rarely did either show the kind of brilliance Mark has shown three times this year. Still, they didn't like it but they kept their grievances in- house. Not Mark, and I admire that. By saying on the radio in response to Horner's congratulatory message "Not bad for a number two" he has taken his case public. Some have said it was a petulant comment he may regret. Personally I'm all for drivers speaking their mind, and it should be no surprise Mark did so. He doesn't take any shit. I greatly admire what Christian has done with RBR, but I believe he mishandled the immediate aftermath of Turkey and he made a naïve error on Saturday, thinking it wouldn't blow up into a big deal. Personally, I love a good underdog story. That's why it was so great to see Jenson rebound from the verge of redundancy last year to claim the title. Should Webber take the championship in the wake these controversies, the podium champagne will taste all the sweeter. "You judge a person's character by how they come back from adversity," said Mark yesterday. Quite how Red Bull's PR machine will bounce back from the adversity of a Webber win, will be interesting to see. h Mark ... and warmest regards all round -- pure PR-speak prevails; as though rival racing factories and teams are really all just one happy family. The resentment was not always so well hidden. Duke left Norton because he was fed up with the lack of real plans to replace the obsolescent old single up against the new Italian fours from Gilera. Agostini's departure from MV was more controversial, and in many ways mirrors Rossi's latest switch. Ago was the long- standing figurehead of the all-Italian MV Agusta team, then they hired him a new team-mate: deadly rival Phil Read. Who was able to beat him -- just like Rossi and Lorenzo. There was another factor ... the Japanese two-strokes were coming, so switching to Yamaha was also a canny move at the end of a glittering career. (Will the same be true for Rossi, as Yamaha cuts its racing budget in the coming years?) The next champion to swap seats and win again was Lawson, and this was achieved in typically secretive fashion. Yamaha expected their three-time champion to stay on board for 1989, and he'd just returned from visiting the factory to see his new motorcycle when he dropped the bombshell: he'd been in quiet negotiation with Honda all the while, and that's where he was going. Rossi's reverse move, from Honda to Yamaha, was accomplished with just as much secrecy: night meetings while hiding under tables in the paddock. By comparison, the current changes have come early and openly. Rossi gave his "Lorenzo or Me" ultimatum to Yamaha last year, and now is ready to act on it; Stoner's Honda move was finalised at Jerez, only the second round of this season. The feelings will still run very deep, and we will be able to enjoy the extra depth that this gives to the rivalry of racing. Sometimes you really would pay to be a fly on the (pit) wall -- RBR, Saturday ... 25