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Randy Mamola speaks frankly about the Gran Premio Marlboro de España

Randy Mamola speaks frankly about the Gran Premio Marlboro de España

Valentino Rossi just kicked everybody´s backside at Jerez. He was fastest in all the qualifying and practices and of course won the race. The only thinghe didn´t lead was the morning warm-up. There was a feeling after the firsttwo races that Valentino was going to dominate the championship and hecertainly put his stamp of authority on the Championship on Sunday. As itstands at the moment I can´t see anybody stopping him. Without a doubt, hehas the best package and right now there does not seem anybody capable ofpushing it that much harder to beat him. Perhaps when we go somewhere inthe rain it might be different but at the moment he´s untouchable.

Valentino breaks other people´s spirits by dominating practice andqualifying. They come into the garage and look at the monitor and it´salways Rossi at the top of the list. It gets you down and it´s just whatMick Doohan used to do to other riders. However, I can tell you he´sgetting nothing for free and he´s working hard the whole time, at nightafter practice he´s watching videos seeing where he can make up time.

Norick Abe did a great job in the race but Valentino showed him he was justhanging around but Norick still only finished just over two seconds behind.For me Alex Criville was the second star of the race coming from 12th tofinish on the podium in third place and not far behind Norick.

The night before the race I had a long look at the qualifying time sheetand there was nobody able to compare with the times of Valentino. He wasthe only rider in the one minute 42´s and put in plenty of one minute 43´sbut the next rider to impress was not Loris but Norick who was the mostconsistent rider, apart from Valentino. When you got into the one minute44s it was like the house had collapsed because everybody was there and itwas Alex who was one of the most consistent of all the riders. Althoughhe´d qualified on the third row his consistent times carried on from wherehe´d left off in Welkom. He crossed the finishing line on the back wheel inSouth Africa because he´d finished the race 22 seconds faster than GarryMcCoy´s race winning time the previous year and he´d also finished in frontof the reigning World Champion Kenny Roberts. Alex knew exactly what Kennywas going through, the World Champion having problems defending his title.That race meant a great deal to Alex and even sixth place prompted thewheelie.

With three laps to go at Jerez I had Alex down to finish second because Ithought he was going to catch Norick. He ran out of laps but even Noricktold me after the race just how fast Alex was going. Last year I asked thepress to stand back and let Alex breath. I can tell you personally thepress play a big part in how you feel, Valentino is under big pressure atthe moment because everybody is expecting him to win like it was for MickDoohan. Journalists play a part in what riders think and believe. Sometimesthey should remember to be a friend to Alex, like they were when he was onthe way up as well as when he´s down. He´s still the favourite of the crowdand the support for him round the track when he started coming through from12th was fantastic. Also on the rostrum where he lifted the hand ofValentino to show who´s the new man at the moment. For those fans, whentheir favourite rider wins they win too but when he loses they lose too.That´s why they were so happy for him. Like those fans I´m really happy forAlex. The press will say he´s on his way back but I don´t think he´s everbeen away. He won the race at Le Mans last year and so who knows what´sgoing to happen in two weeks time.

Shinya Nakano put in another great performance and was only two secondsbehind Criville. He´s qualified every race on the front row and his strongpoint when he rode a 250 was in the opening few laps of the race where hewould take off in the lead and wait for people to try and catch him. If hecould start doing that on the 500 I´m sure he´d be on that podium.

500cc, 2001

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