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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saw this article by the everpresent Dennis Noyes........

Valentino Rossi, after his dominant performance in the rain at Donington Park where he won his seventh GP in nine starts this year, now needs six wins from his remaining eight races to break Mick Doohan´s record for most wins in a single season. He might even win them all.

The 26 year old Italian on his factory Yamaha has been beaten only twice this season. In Portugal he took a close second in the rain to Brazilian Alex Barros (Honda) and then he was beaten back to third at the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca by winner Nicky Hayden (Honda) and his Yamaha team mate Colin Edwards.

Rossi was uncomfortable at Laguna, a track he and most European riders felt was far below normal FIM safety standards. At Donington, under a heavy rain and on a surface that gave very little grip, Rossi was absolutely unbeatable, pulling away over the final laps from Barros and American Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) by as much as three seconds a lap.

“I feel safer in the rain at Donington than running close to the walls at Laguna,” he said after the race.

For Roberts it was his first podium since he was third in the rain at R?de Janiero in 2002 and the best result for Suzuki in the MotoGP four stroke era since, ironically, the very first race run under the MotoGP 990cc rules in Suzuka in 2002 when Akira Ryo was second, also in the rain, to Rossi, then making his four stroke debut on the Honda RC211V.

Although American and British journalists always quote Valentino in his broken English, translating his comments from his native Italian gives a better idea of the way the six times World Champion from Tavullia actually speaks and thinks about racing.

After stretching his lead to a huge 8 second gap, Rossi backed off over the final two laps and crossed the line standing tall on the pegs and pretending to play a violin.

This was his explanation: “Yesterday when I saw my pole position lap repeated on TV, I thought the lap was so perfect that watching it was like hearing the sound of a violin. So I decided that, if I won today and if I rode like I rode yesterday, I would cross the finish line playing a violin. It is the best comparison because the way you need to ride is like the sound of a violin…a fine art that requires the same delicacy that it takes to ride this circuit.”

Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi (Photo By: Yamaha Racing)

Rossi demands big changes at Laguna Seca

It does Rossi an injustice not to allow him to express himself in Italian. His English is adequate and funny, but the true essence of Rossi is appreciated only by those who understand Italian. His warnings about what he and the other Europeans expect in terms of circuit improvements seem light in his paddock English, but more dire in Italian when he says, “If they expect us to ride there again next year they will have to bring the circuit strictly into line with the safety standards adhered to in the rest of the world. All the riders complained a lot, but when we conducted a safety inspection on Friday evening only Kenny and I showed up. But that’s normal, I imagine. We are the only two who have won World Championships in the big class and the responsibility falls on us. The track was not good enough this year. Kenny said it was, but it wasn’t. He explained to me that they had done what was possible. If it is impossible to make the track safe then doing only what is possible is not enough. This time we looked at really solving the problems at Turn 1, la exit of Turn 4, Turn 6 and the Corkscrew. They also need to put down a new surface and take out the terrible bumps. We need another 45 feet of run-off on the exit from Turn 6. We have told Ezpeleta (Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, the championship rights holders) what we expect.”

It has always been the case that the fastest rider, the man with the most titles, is the one who sets the standards and the tone for dealing with the FIM on safety issues. Back in 1978 it was American Kenny Roberts who complained about both safety and start money in Europe. Roberts brought the riders together and even made the credible threat of a break-a-way championship (the stillborn “World Series”) prior to the 1980 season. As a result start money was increased by 1000% for 1981 and safety improvements began in earnest.

Rossi earned 28 million dollars last year and has already asked Yamaha for a significant raise for 2006, so he will probably not be pressuring the championship organizers for more money, but he feels that he was led into an ambush this year at Laguna Seca and, while saying he wants the championship to return to the US, he and Loris Capirossi, the third member of the Rider Safety Committee along with Roberts and himself, agree that Laguna Seca will have to make significant changes for 2006.

“I only like two of the next eight tracks”

Rossi’s objections to Laguna are based strictly on safety issues, as he confesses that he likes the lay-out and the atmosphere of the California track. Of the remaining tracks on the 2006 schedule, however, he says, “I only like two of the next eight tracks. I don’t like the Sachsenring at all. Brno does not suit my style. Qatar is very bad. I don’t like Motegi and we know nothing yet about the new track in Istanbul. That leaves two tracks I really enjoy: Sepang and Valencia. But you have to win at the tracks you don’t like too. We know that Honda will be bringing something new to Brno so we will not be able to rest. We need a better launch control system because Honda is always beating us off the line now.”

When Rossi came up to the 500 class he had a reputation of being a poor rain rider. In his four years in 125 and 250 he had only won a single 125 GP in the wet (the German GP at Nurburgring in 1997). His first 500 win was at Donington in the rain in 2000. Until his violin concert at Donington last week, however, he has usually been upstaged in wet conditions by Sete Gibernau and Alex Barros.

Valentino Rossi leads Alex Barros (Honda) and Kenny Roberts, Jr. (Suzuki) at Donington Park. (Photo: Andrew Northcott)

After his overwhelming performance on the very slick English track, Rossi has become as daunting in the wet as in the dry.

He does not sound especially optimistic as he looks forward to Sachsenring. “I don’t enjoy riding there and I hope it does not rain. My objective is to finish on the podium as I did at Laguna where I was not at ease with the closeness of the walls, but, of course, if we find a good set-up and I feel confident I will try and win as I always do.”

Last year Max Biaggi won at the twisty German track, beating Barros by 0.349 in dry conditions. Hayden took third from Rossi by a similar margin after Gibernau, then Rossi’s most dangerous rival, had crashed. This year Rossi leads the points table by a thundering 104 point advantage over Marco Melandri and is on a pace to clinch the title as early as round 12 in Japan, although he could even take the title as early as the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic in Brno, round 11, on September 4th.

The man expected at the beginning of the year to take the battle to Rossi, Spain´s Sete Gibernau (Honda), crashed out at Donington, his third DNF of the season, and has now fallen to fifth in the points. Melandri, still clinging to second by a single point, has crashed out of the last two races in Laguna Seca and Donington Park and this has allowed Colin Edwards, second in Laguna and fourth in Donington, to move to within a point of Melandri, 107-106, with Biaggi fourth, 95 points.

With such a huge lead, Rossi could be forgiven for backing off the pace and riding conservatively over the remainder of the season, but he has said that he does not want to let the Telef?a Movistar team (Gibernau and Melandri) score a single win this season because of their protest last year in Qatar that caused him to start from the back row. (Rossi crew members were found to have cleaned his grid spot illegally the night before the Grand Prix of Qatar and, although Telef?a denies it, Rossi is convinced that the protest came not from HRC but from the Spanish team. That day Rossi crashed when in fourth place and Sete won…but has not won again in the following 12 races. Valentino is also determined not to let his arch-rival Biaggi score a win at his expense.

The added challenge of an all new Honda RC211V expected to debut at Brno and Rossi’s determination to prevent Honda from regaining the upper hand in MotoGP are factors that will keep the champion motivated.

Winning eight in a row and running the table would be a major feat, but after watching Rossi’s amazing finish in Donington, breaking away from two riders who are not anywhere close in the points table, it is clear that Rossi loves to win and will go for it as long as he feels the track is safe enough.

The violin recital that began in Donington may continue throughout the remainder of the season.

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: Rossi's Rant (roadkill)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"> But you have to win at the tracks you don’t like too</TD></TR></TABLE>

Well He did one
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