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GP Week : Issue 126
With the season one race past halfway, the balance of power is also at a fulcrum point. What started out going all honda’s way is no longer so obvious, with Yamaha fighting back. At the start of the season, the Honda could do no wrong. Steady development had finally wrought a definitive 800cc racer. The bike was powerful and well- balanced; the seamless gear-shift was icing on the cake. Nobody spoke more clearly of its many virtues than Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo. After celebrating second place in the opening round as if it had been a victory, he said: “If I have to ride this hard for the rest of the year, I will crash for sure.” You could see that quite easily, from the way the Honda put the power on earlier, and was faster all the way down Qatar’s long straight.The Yamaha has changed but little since then, but enough to make a difference as Lorenzo starts eyeing wins rather than just podiums, and Assen winner Spies also raises his sights. Especially at circuits where the bike’s natural rhythm can be exploited. At the same time, Honda’s wealth of top talent means Pedrosa and Dovizioso were taking points from Stoner. It was only here that he was able to fight back in the internal war. Importantly, the Yamaha pair expect serious upgrades, especially horsepower, at Brno for the next race, though probably only for post-race tests. It’s what is needed to spur for the second part of the championship season. There is something else teetering. When they arrived at Laguna, Honda and Yamaha were exactly equal, with 65 GP wins apiece in the four-stroke MotoGP era, which began in 2002. They left with Honda one win ahead. Honda back on top but Yamaha upgrades are coming