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Randy Mamola comments on the new World Champion and the best race of the year so far

Randy Mamola comments on the new World Champion and the best race of the year so far

What a fantastic way for Valentino Rossi to clinch the title in a race that proved the fact that MotoGP is the greatest show in World Championship motorsport. Everything about Valentino and everything about the championship was in that race at Phillip Island.

Valentino is the last ever 500cc World Champion and there could not be a better person for the new MotoGP Championship. He has shown many times he is willing to take the extra step to promote the sport. He´s unique because he has fun if he´s won or lost races. He still gives that wave even though he may not be happy. Valentino is a unique person and as the World Champion he will be asked to do even more. I believe he will be a leader and I honestly can´t compare him with any other World Champions.

The last young 500cc World Champion was Freddie Spencer back in 1983. Freddie is very different to Valentino. He was enormously talented but totally opposite. Valentino will be the next Barry Sheene, especially in Britain, because he will be recognised outside our sport, which is exactly what Barry was able to do. He will show other riders the direction to follow.

I take my hat off to him because he said in the press conference after his win that the journalists were saying the championship was all over after he won the first three races but he did not agree. I think he has far too much respect for Max Biaggi to assume the title was won after just three races. Max pressured him all the way but had those three crashes. It´s always easy to say, if that had not happened...........

The whole race was more like a 125 grand prix and we have seen some other 500cc races like that in the last couple of years but not at a track like Phillip Island where they reach speeds of 190mph. You see 125´s racing around like that chopping and changing. It´s pretty simple on a 125, which is so light. On a 500 you are committed with the weight once you have started braking and turning and you have to have a great deal of trust in the other riders.

Valentino said that he felt the race was dangerous, especially going into the Honda hairpin and he thought it was better for him to lead. He could not pull away, Max responded and it went right down to the wire and it was just 0.013th of one second between them at the finish.

Valentino is the leader of the greatest shown on earth and don´t forget the eight guys behind him that were separated by just 2.8 seconds. The depth of the field in unbelievable and there were some new people up there. Noriyuki Haga had the commentators screaming and had his Yamaha passing Hondas where there was just no room to go. He did it in Haga fashion and with no intention of pushing anybody off. Olivier Jacque was another guy right in that battle. He´s coming into good form after his injury and was looking forward to the race after winning the World 250cc title at Phillip Island last year.

Sete Gibernau was disappointed to be at the back of that leading group after starting from the front row. He ran with a very high fuel load after running out of gas at Motegi and they decided at this race to miss the sighting lap.

I think the riders on the four-cylinder factory machines racing against the twins at the back of the field had everybody in the paddock feeling dumbfounded and shocked. I think the word pathetic is how most of us felt, otherwise you would have to say Anthony West is a hero.

I had plenty of passengers for the two-seater bike including winners from pre-race ticket purchasers. I enjoyed taking Sarah Jane, the most downloaded girl, for a ride.....round the track! I also did a speed comparison with Malcolm Campbell riding a 250cc road bike and Kevin Magee a 748cc Ducati road bike. We gave the 250 a 40 seconds start and the Ducati 22 seconds. The finish was as close as Valentino and Max.

Finally Valentino has given us such great celebrations after grand prix wins I decided it would be nice to give him something back from all of us in the way of a cake. As usual he took it just like the championship; in true Rossi style.

500cc, 2001

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