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GP Week : Issue 97
The Wild Bunch Ducati switches si Is Ducati's withdrawal from World Superbikes decisive? The MotoGP world would like to take it that way: the battle between the two series -- neither in the best of health -- means that victories like this are always welcome. Even if they might be a bit hollow. Is it just a coincidence that the decision comes just the week after confirmation that the Italian factory has signed the world's most expensive rider for MotoGP (replacing Casey Stoner, right)? On an industrial scale, Ducati is a small player compared with Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. And while the official reason is different: that the company wants to concentrate engineering efforts on its production bikes, it's hard not to see a link. Signing Rossi has given the factory a much heavier load. It may have been dedicated to winning before, but now it's even more important. Taking on Valentino ... and not winning! That is unthinkable. Email us Something to say? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor opinion And he said ... A lot has been said about Ferrari's (Rob Smedley) comments to Massa. But what hasn't been talked about is Massa's reaction, during the race. We all saw his reaction post-race on the podium and in the press conference. I would love to know what Massa's reply to Smedley was, on the radio, at the moment he was asked 'Please...... confirm ....... you ....understand'. Did the FIA release Massa's reply to Smedley? Craig Meyer, , Huntington Beach, CA email@example.com Time to back the Main Men? What an interesting and significant race at Spa, with all the championship implications. The tide of opinion relating to Sebastian Vettel's ability -- or lack of -- in traffic must be growing after he smacked into Jenson Button. As one famous driver once said: "confusing ability with ambition". It puts an even clearer perspective on the young German's clash with his own team-mate in Turkey. All he needs to do now is take out Lewis Hamilton in a future race, and the 'Vettel Factor' could then be seen as being evenly spread among his championship rivals! Will Red Bull -- and McLaren for that matter -- now start to think about backing their best-placed driver? Could Dr Helmut Marko cope? I'm guessing they will get Monza out of the way first, but then, if it was me, I'd be backing Webber and Hamilton respectively. Matt Kingsbury Blackpool, UK Riding the good fortune I don't want to jinx him, but Mark Webber's comeback, after that clutch problem at the start, could suggest that the bad luck which plagued him for so many years may now FINALLY be gone. In the past, he'd have been t-boned by someone coming from three rows back; this time, he settled in and, one way or the other, ends up rescuing second place. Like I said, we don't want to jinx him, but we Aussies are just starting to get a sniff of something big! Go Webber. Steven Bartholomew Glenelg, Adelaide, AUS Spa makes people go a bit mad. I think it's something in the atmosphere. You just cannot appreciate the gradients, the fast-moving clouds, and the 'fever' of the place on TV. You have to be there, getting soaked and sunburned in equal measure. It gets the adrenalin flowing. Here, I've found some of the sports' statesmen down in the car park doing doughnuts. This weekend one of my colleagues from the international media went up and down Eau Rouge on a unicycle. That is quite mental. While everyone was losing theirs, Hamilton -- who, incidentally, I'm told is also proficient on a unicycle -- kept a very cool head on Sunday staying calm even when he had a little trip across the kitty litter. The same cannot be said of Sebastian Vettel. It was all rather reminiscent of Turkey. When behind a slower car, he refuses to bide his time. He will try to pass at the first opportunity. Sometimes it doesn't stick -- with catastrophic results. It was tough for him to leave Belgium with nil points, but even harder on Jenson Button who did nothing to provoke his violent exit. Vettel just lost it under braking and kaboom! On losing a possible 1-2, McLaren were not amused. As Vettel took his (lenient) drive through penalty, the McLaren mechanics emerged from their garage into the pitlane and gurned menacingly at the German, arms crossed in contempt. Vettel is now 28 points behind Mark Webber. Button is 35 behind Hamilton. McLaren and Red Bull will now have to ask themselves if the time is nigh to focus on their lead driver. Webber intimated in the post-race press conference that if Red Bull want to win the title, they should favour him. Vettel no doubt sees things differently, and I cannot see him accepting the number two status unless it's mathematically impossible for him to win. opinion ADAM HAY- NICHOLLS GPWeek Editor 22