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GP Week : Issue 170
T he team-mate thing is as old as racing. He’s the first guy you’ve got to beat. T’was ever thus. Always will be. He has the same bike, the same backing, the same chances. It’s down to the rider. Great insider grudge matches resound through history: Read/Ivy and then Agostini, Gardner/ Lawson, Rainey/Kocinski, Doohan/Criville, Rossi/ Lorenzo ... this last one all set for re-enactment next year. There’s a more immediate reason to revisit the syndrome. It’s happened at almost every race this year: a green-on-green satellite Yamaha fight between team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. A Monster battle in every sense. It’s been going on since pre-season tests, with only occasional interruptions. After a slow start Dovi has the upper hand – fourth overall and six rostrums to Cal’s fifth and one. But it’s still close enough on the track to give team manager Hervé Poncharal constant headaches. It was like that at the opening round at Qatar, almost everywhere since, and still going on at the last race at Aragon, where Crutchlow (26) had been in front, lost it to Dovi when he ran wide onto the front straight, then had two attempts at getting it back on the last two laps. Listen to the high-cal Crutchlow version. “Me and Dovi are so evenly matched in every area. At Yamaha, our bikes and equipment are identical. The only thing probably is in acceleration advantage – he’s a bit lighter. “So to make passes on each other it takes either one to make a mistake ... which I made going onto the start-finish here at Aragon. “Then I tried the two passes through the chicane. You don’t ever see anybody pass there so it was good to be able to try it, and I tried it both laps because I thought if I could get ahead of him going onto that last lap I could have definitely done a Superpole lap to break him. “I’m disappointed I didn’t get the podium, but I’m also pleased because last year we were racing around a minute behind the winner, battling for 10th or 12th place,” he said. The battles of inches hadn’t really been expected before the start of the year. Andrea Dovizioso, 26 and a former 125 champion and one-time MotoGP race winner, had moved over to the satellite Yamaha squad after a career spent with Honda. He’d been sidelined in the factory team by the Stoner-Pedrosa axis, and he wasn’t happy. Do well at the Monster Tech 3 team, he reasoned, and he might get a crack at a factory Yamaha next year. (A plan that didn’t work out: Rossi took the second Yamaha, then Dovi took the considerable risk of replacing him at Ducati.) CLICK HERE To SUBSCRIBE to NOW! and win a superb Casio Edifice WEEK F1 >> MotoGP >> WRC .com 40 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> FEATURE