All the inside racing gossip that's fit to print from Mike Scott, TWO's GP paddock oracle
Mick was reported to have been disrobing in a private booth in a strip joint called the Honey Pot, in Darwin (think Greenock, but very hot). Asked to leave at 3am, he had a Mel Gibson "Do you know who I am?" moment, telling the bouncer: "I could buy this place, and sack you." Then a Zinedine Zidane moment, as he head-butted him. Police were called, and that meant 14 hours in Darwin's not-very five-star cells.
Some distant wag has suggested that the guard looked like me, and Mick had a sudden memory flash-back that caused him to lose control. Mick didn't use this excuse in court, his lawyer resorting to the usual weasel words - "a moment of madness - completely out of
character - gravest apologies" etc.
Mick was fined Aus $2500, but the magistrate very decently acceded to his lawyers request that no criminal record should result, because of Doohan's charity work, and because he was "a veritable Australian sporting hero". He, luckily, did know who he was.
Head-butting has been much in the air, with jockeys now giving errant horses the Newcastle Nod. Next time John Hopkins's Suzuki breaks down, he might try it too.
Leave it to Rossi to rub salt in. The man butted by Zidane was Italian footballer Marco Materazzi. So when Rossi came out to win the German GP, that's whose shirt he put on for his celebration lap.
Rossi's bad luck is obviously a help, but nobody should underestimate the achievement of leader Nicky Hayden. He seems to be racing against HRC, as well as all the other Honda riders. His role as top rider seems more that of whipping boy than favoured son. That's why he turned out at Donington on a brand new chassis, qualified a deeply depressed 11th, then abandoned it before the race. It won't be seen again until tests after Brno. But his result in Britain, a season-worst seventh, suffered for it. Honda aren't making it easy for him.
The new kids - Pedrosa and Stoner - keep on punching above their weight, with the latter the subject of a bidding war between Yamaha and Honda. Rather to the resentment of Colin Edwards, who stands to lose his ride. "He gets a couple of good results, and he's on it!" he snarked.
With Biaggi and Barros already gone, the old-timers are under siege from young riders, while the factories talk all kinds of pious drivel about 'investing in the future'.
The reality is simple. Young riders are cheaper. And with the cigarette money set to disappear, and escalating costs with the new MotoGP 800s, that's worth at least half a second a lap.
Lots of money is going to have to come from somewhere. Especially with the news that big-spending ex-F1 guru John Barnard is coming back. He designed a beautiful but hugely expensive chassis for Team Roberts/Proton. Now he has joined forces with Ricardo engineering for an all-British 800-class offering. Any takers?
It's a buyer's market. Mario Illien of Ilmor Engineering fame (also F1) already has a 20,000rpm pneumatic valve-spring V4 undergoing tests.
And the rumours about BMW just won't go away. Plenty of bikes, then. Just need somebody to pay for them now.
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