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GP Week : Issue 98
A tribute to Stefa Should Yamaha he VALENTINO Rossi's move to Ducati remains the talking point of racing. His fans expect it to be triumphal. The fact that it also contains all the elements of a classic Greek tragedy (fading superstar, desperate escape from youthful rival, underdog little factory against the titans etc) makes it all the more interesting. This one could definitely go either way. The question exercising racing's upper echelons is more immediate: Should Yamaha release Rossi from his contract to allow him to test the Ducati at Valencia, directly after the last race there? There is agreement on one point: if they prevent him from doing so, they will get a thorough kicking from their ex-rider. And nobody has the ear of the Press and the sympathy of the public like Valentino. Rossi has already begun, talking Email us Something to say? Email us at email@example.com MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor opinion MotoGP Scooters? Noooo! I remember a letter to GPWEEK a little while ago, strongly making the case that MotoGP does NOT need to be strangled by fuel restrictions, as F1 is. I couldn't agree more. Bikes are already seen as a 'green', efficient way to travel, unlike cars, and there should therefore be no pressure on MotoGP to turn races into economy runs, as was the case at Misano. Most interesting during Sunday's coverage was Aussie Darryl Beattie's clear on-the-spot pre-race statement that this would be a fuel-efficiency race -- Honda has it, he said, and Yamaha doesn't. Interestingly (a) he was right -- Pedrosa ran away, and (b) the full-time international commentators didn't mention or suggest a fuel-efficiency element at all? Are they under instruction? Is MotoGP becoming an artificial show, like F1? Please FIM, have a re-think. MotoGP needs to be macho men racing macho machines. At this rate, they may as well race scooters! PS: Thoughts go to the Tomizawa family; it can, despite the 'green' push, be a tough sport. Darren McFlynn Burnley (Melbourne), Australia Vettel to the metal Sebastian Vettel has come under a lot of, criticism for his driving tactics, especially when he is not running out in front. However, in his defence, I would point out that this is racing, not touring. In my view, racing drivers are there to have a go, not wait for pit stops to 'manufacture' a pass. Vettel is like a young footballer, full of enthusiasm and, perhaps, naivety. And mistakes will thus happen. But at least the youngster is having a go. He may well miss this year's title, but there are more on the horizon. As someone once said, it's easy to tame a wild but fast driver; not so easy to speed up a slow one Nathan Burgess Hong Kong Back to school I agree with Whitmarsh. Maybe Vettel should do a stint back in GP2 and learn to drive in traffic ... Spencer McTaggart Dunfermline, Scotland , UK Those who saw Stefan Bellof race were never in any doubt that the German had the promise of a mighty champion, but his life was tragically taken from him 25 years ago last week. Bellof's pace was born from unflinching commitment, raw aggression and astounding fearlessness. He was, many consider, the spiritual successor to Giles Villeneuve. He was also a very popular character, but his tendency not to lift did, on occasion, surprise his competitors. Bellof's father was a rally driver, and Stefan was encouraged to take up karting at the age of 16. Six years later, he'd risen to racing cars. He was passionate about about sportscars and, with Rothmans backing, raced a works Porsche 956 in the World Endurance Championship. In 1983 he contested a 100km race at the old Nurburgring circuit and while he may have finished his race upside down -- the 956 sliding down the Nordschleife on its roof -- he had made history. His lap time of 6 minutes 11.13 seconds remains the fastest ever recorded. Following on from this, and two convincing victories in Formula 2 the previous year, 1984 was Stefan's rookie season in Formula One, driving for Ken Tyrrell alongside Martin Brundle. They had a power disadvantage with the normally aspirated Ford Cosworth DFY. Nevertheless, Bellof took a point home from only his third race, and two points from his fourth. But it was his sixth outing that would really impress. The location was Monaco, and it started badly. Bellof would begin the race from the back of the grid, following Brundle's massive accident at Tabac, and the weather was so wet that the start had to be delayed by 45 minutes. But the slippery conditions suited the non- turbo Tyrrell. Nigel Mansell led his first GP until he slid into the Armco. The baton was passed to Alain Prost, but the main spectacle was Ayrton Senna's charge to second position from 13th on the grid, and Bellof's miraculous opinion ADAM HAY- NICHOLLS GPWeek Editor 20