17 years ago
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Fans favourite Randy Mamola gives his impressions of the weekend at the Cinzano British Grand Prix
Going into the race at Donington we were still wondering who could have wonat Assen if it had not rained. Max Biaggi did win it and he had a lot goingfor him when we arrived in England. He set the fastest ever lap atDonington on Friday and started the race from pole. His momentum was tocarry him forward and then Rossi had a big crash on Friday afternoon whileMax had a small one on Saturday morning. The heat was on to go real fastround Donington and Valentino made a slight mistake and it cost him big interms of damage to the machine. Max was able to ride his Yamaha back to thegarage after his get-off at Redgate corner.
In the race Valentino had to start from the third row in 11th place and Ithought he would have made a better start than he did because it was onlythe second time this year he´d not started from the front row. The overallHonda package really seems to suit Valentino and he was able to ridethrough the pack, overtake Max and win by almost two seconds without reallybeing pushed. I think Valentino could have lapped in the 1m32s if Max hadbeen able to give more.
Max gave it everything with the package he had. I spoke to him after therace and he told me when he tried to open the gas while chasing Valentinohe would spin the rear tyre. Valentino would also spin but it would alsodrive forward. He admitted that Valentino´s package on the day was justbetter.
Alex Barros was by no means out of this race and only finished a couple ofseconds behind Valentino. He also told me he could not do the same thingsas Valentino on his bike. There are subtle differences between the twoHondas with the swinging arm pivots different and there is talk that theengine on Valentino´s bike is in a slightly different place to suit hisriding style. He certainly seems to have more control and grip even whenthe rear wheel is spinning. The Hondas are decent on the brakes andValentino still snakes the bike around a bit. He´s very aggressive and thebike allows him to be like that.
The surprise of the top four was Noriyuki Haga. I really like Alex Barrosand he was my team-mate back in 1988 and so I was not really sure who Iwanted to finish on the podium in third place. Noriyuki is also a decentgood person as well as a very hard rider who always gives his utmost. Whenhe came through the field it looked as if he was going to catch Valentinoand Max at the front but then he reached a certain point and just could nothang in there with Alex for the last six or seven laps. His performance wasa great boost for him and his Red Bull Yamaha team watching, running withthe top guys and beating plenty of them.
During the race commentary in the early laps I kept calling Shinya Nakanohis teamate Olivier Jacque. After the race I apologised to Olivier forcalling him Shinya when he was up in fourth place. Although he dropped backtowards the finish due to lack of fitness he was up there with the top guysand it must have done his confidence a great deal of good.
Kenny Roberts passed Max after a couple of corners and led for a number oflaps before being swallowed up by a group of riders. He dropped backrapidly to fifth and then to ninth before eventually finishing eighth. Hewas going two seconds slower than he was in the opening laps beforesettling down to something between the two for the last half of the race.Once again Kenny complained that when the performance of the tyres goesdown he is unable to carry enough corner speed to get on the gas earlyenough to run with the top guys. Last year he had a similar problem butthen the guys were not going as fast as they are now.If you let any part ofyour card down this group of highly professional racers will beat you. Itmust be very demoralising and it makes you not push as hard as you want to.It´s very hard for the reigning World Champion when the guys come past him.Other riders will say we just ride it when the tyre goes off but theydon´t have that lack of horsepower. Last year it was a good package withthe lack of power giving it drive and like this year Kenny was able to makegreat starts. This year the pace is much faster and it´s no longersomething he can deal with out there.
A big thank you to everybody who made the Day of Champions at Doningtonsuch a great success. To the hundreds of volunteers, the teams and riders abig thank you but most of all to the 6000 people who came and donatedaround £80000 to the Riders for Health charity.
We had so much co-operation from the teams and riders which made it sospecial. We raised £20,000 more than other years and everybody connectedwith MotoGP and the Industry must take a great big pat on the back.It wasgreat at the end of the day to see Max, Kenny and Valentino on stage atthe auction but if I just name these guys I´m defeating my purpose becauseit was down to all the riders from all the classes who made it such aspecial day.
Thanks to our sport we are making big gains in Africa by maintainingtransportation levels and no breakdown programmes . I look forward toseeing everybody at the next Day of Champions at Valencia in September.
17 years ago
17 years ago
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