All the inside racing gossip that's fit to print from Mike Scott, TWO's GP paddock oracle
His adversary was the increasingly dreaded Toni Elias, tousle-top Spaniard with the infectious grin and the daredevil corner entry style - all crossed up, and about five mph faster than anybody else considers possible. And he hits the apex, most times.
Rossi was apparently outraged at having it done to him in Turkey, and afterwards called Elias "dangerous". Hadn't it been much the same as his own notorious move on Gibernau a couple of years earlier? "I only went inside. I didn't change my line," asserted Rossi.
His audience was unsympathetic. Elias had been hard but fair, thought most. And anyway it's impossible not to like anybody who smiles so much. Until Elias did it again in China, taking himself out and wrecking the race for Hayden and Barros too.
Somebody needs to tell him that it's perfectly alright and indeed admirable to go flying into corners sideways on one wheel. But not in heavy traffic in the first corner. Again.
Do the Spaniards take their more sombre hero Dani too seriously?
Finding himself alongside little Dani at a po-faced pre-race China photo-shoot, John Hopkins stuck two fingers up behind his head. When the photo appeared on Dorna's web-site, the fingers had been photo-shopped out. "I guess it looks like I'm just ruffling his hair," said an amused Hopper. "I was just trying to cheer the little f****er up."
Ilmor's team has now been disbanded... though the engine is still there and "under development" for any eager backer who might like to finance the project. Since nobody came when it was a going concern, there's even less chance when it's moribund.
Many predicted this from the start. It's what always happens, when Formula One gets involved with bikes - ends in tears.
But it's easy to get it wrong, when it comes to motorbikes. Even nowadays, with all the computer aids and predictive programmes, and with all the vaults full of data patiently collected and processed over the years.
Just how easy is demonstrated by somebody else getting it right. Ducati, in this case, whose understanding of what the new 800 class would require has been so demonstrably superior to that of all the others. Especially Honda, who generally hit the track in high gear with a new formula.
If the equations are complex enough to diddle engineers with that much experience, a mere car man can't expect to compete. I mean, cars don't even lean over in the corners.
Just what is it that Ducati have done - aside from hiring Casey Stoner just when his talent was about to blossom big-time? Mainly, it seems, found a way to rev and rev without burning too much of the restricted (21-litre) fuel supply.
There is much discussion about whether desmodromic valves create less engine drag than conventional valve springs - yes, you have the effort of opening the spring, but you get it back when the spring closes again, as long as the valve hasn't started floating. Or do you?
There are stories also of freezing fuel, and some clever plumbing with the overflow tank.Rumours aplenty. One things sure. They've given Japan a big black eye.
Japan Inc will fight back, and is already doing so in terms of tyres. The black eyes, or red faces, are all over at Michelin, who have been well and truly kicked. In Turkey, to be fair, both Edwards and Pedrosa were knocked off by Jacque doing an Elias on the first lap, leaving only Rossi able to do anything on the French rubbers.
Then his tyre developed some sort of internal blister, and he fell back rapidly - leaving the first six places behind winner Casey Stoner to Bridgestones. And Stoner won again in China. Methinks outgoing Michelin bike-tyre boss Nicolas Goubert chose a good time to leave.
A role fell vacant with the departure of Kawasaki team boss Harald Eckl - grinning gormlessly and giving a thumbs-up, every time the pitlane camera pointed his way.
Step forward Britain's only team manager, Paul Denning. When his rider Hopper set pole time in China (albeit briefly), on came the camera, and up came the thumb. A few minutes later, his other rider Chris Vermeulen crashed during his qualifying lap. The camera cut back to the Suzuki pit again. Bingo. Up came the thumb and out came the teeth once more. Wonder why?
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