17 years ago
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Ex-MotoGP rider Randy Mamola airs his views of the Brno action, and speaks his mind about Kenny Roberts
During our five weeks away from racing there was a great deal of anticipation about this race. We all thought it was going to be fantastic. Max on a roll coming into the race on Sunday with three successive pole positions and after numerous days of testing at Brno. Valentino coming back from a successful eight hour in Japan all made for a big bubble of anticipation.
Unfortunately on lap 12 of the race the air left the bubble.
I don´t want to take anything away from Valentino but the fact he has a29 point lead in the Championship just took all the air out. Valentino dida wonderful job at the beginning of the race, setting the fastest lap andmaking up ground on Max who had clear road in front of him. I think therewas a bit of toying around with lap times between the two of them. Max thenjust lost the front end at a place where it´s easily done. Mick Doohan wascaught out there previously. It´s a place where the radiuses are long andyou are in the corner for a long time. That little bit of extra speed canmake it a place where it´s so easy to fall. I admired the way Max pickedup the bike immediately and got back in the race. Who knows, those sixpoints could still be vital...
It was a mistake by Max that just happened and he has no answer to why. Asa racer I really feel for him. I was in Valentino´s garage after the raceand congratulated the team and told them I was disappointed that Max wasnot able to race with Valentino because of the crash. I was talking interms of the strength of the Championship. Since their problems after theBarcelona race I think that both Valentino and Max have shown a great deal more respect for each other. I think that Valentino´s team also felt bad about Max´s crash but they arethere to win a world championship for their rider and racing is racing.
Before the race I picked Max, Valentino and Alex Criville to be on therostrum. I think Max would have won the race if he´d not crashed and Iwould have picked up the money if I were a gambler. Alex rode a great raceand what a last couple of laps when you had no idea who was going to finishsecond or even on the podium. Congratulations to the television director for keeping the cameras on Alex, Loris Capirossi and Norick Abe as theywere coming up the hill for the last time. I was shouting, ´don´t switch toRossi!´ The director waited until the last possible moment before switchingto Valentino as he crossed the line and then picked up the other three intheir race for second. Alex had really enjoyed his five-week break afterhis ´grand prix from hell´ in the Sachsenring. He suffered two horrendouscrashes there and the break did him so much good. Brno is a racetrack heknows very well and has won on. He looked good all weekend and that´s why Ichose him for a rostrum finish. Just before the race I told him he had agood chance of getting on the podium, he nodded and said I know that, andboom he did it.
Poor old Norick finished off the podium in fourth. He was the only rider tochose very soft rubber and felt a little bit timid towards the end of therace after losing the front end a couple of times. He was very down afterthe race but cheered up after a couple of hours.
Garry McCoy in sixth place admitted he got tired before the end of the raceafter being out of action for so long. His wrist have recovered but it wasvery hot and he still needs to regain the fitness you only get when you ride with guyswho are the top of the sport. Don´t forget Garry won in Estoril andValencia last year and that´s where the next two grands prix will be held.
Now I´d like to talk about the reigning World Champion Kenny Roberts. Hemade another great start from the second row of the grid once again. Suzukicame to Brno with a new firing order after a good test in Mugello and whenMax, Valentino and Kenny started to pull away from Norick in fourth place, Ithought wow Kenny could put this thing on the podium. It was moving a bitout of the corners but so was Valentino´s Honda. You could say that the Hondaalso had a bit of a power advantage but that was the same last year whenKenny won the title.
When Kenny pulled in on the 15th lap he was only 11 seconds behind theleader. He virtually just gave up, stepped off the bike and walked out ofthe garage. There was no mechanical problem with the machine. To me Kennywas saying I´m not riding this bike because these guys are going to beatme. He just literally gave up and when he did that I lost a great deal ofrespect for him.
He lost the respect of a lot of people, because he´s the reigning WorldChampion and he gave up. He might answer by saying that, ´I´m not there torace for seventh place´. His father was three times World Champion, oftenhaving to ride on lesser machinery and tyres than his rivals. If he hadever given up in a race he would not have won one title let alone three.Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey never gave up whatever the situation and thenKenny gets off the bike when just 11 seconds behind the leader to make apolitical statement. It shows no respect for the people that are workingfor him. You have to learn to respect yourself and others round you. Youhave to earn that respect, which he did when he won the World title lastyear.
I never once, since the beginning of the season, saw the Suzuki team leavefor the hotel early because they thought they did not have the tools to winthe race. They stayed with it and put in 100 per cent effort and that´swhat Junior should have done. He elected not to and to me that was a bigmistake.
You have responsibilities to yourself, your team and your sponsors. Thereis a guy leading the World Championship by 29 points. If Valentino hadpulled in while battling for seventh place in Germany five weeks ago thatlead would be just 20 points.
Finally it was great to see a Formula One winner enjoy his first MotoGPrace so much. David Coulthard and his friends had a great time at Brno andthey were like kids in the candy shop especially when they watched thestart from the pit wall. Many people are in awe of Formula One, and it was greatto see David in awe of MotoGP and enjoying our sport so much.
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