Through exclusive interviews with the people who know and race against him, we get inside the mind of the greatest motorcycle racer the world has ever seen
“Halfway through this season, when Casey was having a run of wins, Valentino said to me – and he’s never said this sort of thing before: ‘I don’t want to lose this championship.’
Last year he knew that the Yamaha wasn’t really good enough. He managed to persuade them to put enough effort into improving the bike, and he’d switched to Bridgestone. From his side he made sure he came out and was determined. I wouldn’t say Valentino worked any harder this year than before, but there is much more work to do with the electronics, for a rider who has the intelligence and understanding. He is one of them.
When he comes to the pit, we talk about the bike. He likes to reassure himself and perhaps take it on board, to reinforce that we haven’t made any more changes. He is habitually unreliable on time. Sometimes he cuts it pretty fine in the garage, but that just means he doesn’t get out for the first two minutes of the practice. With Valentino, what you see is what he is like. In the pit he concentrates and does his job, and he can break away from that to smile at the camera.
He understands his industry very well, and he knows how important he is to motorcycle racing throughout the world. And he knows that racing is what the people at home want to see. He was able to do that in the past, and entertain. And he is an entertainer.
Now we have a couple of riders who don’t really want to get involved in a fight. Sometimes one bike works a lot better than the other, and we end up with a drawn-out affair. The race at Valencia was a shocker, and it wasn’t any better at the back of the field. The new generation of the Stoners and Pedrosas don’t seem to want to get involved in a race with Valentino any more. They want to get out and get into their rhythm on their own, and make that break.
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Posted: 15/04/2010 at 05:25
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