New to here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Jean Claude Besse hoping for French success

Jean Claude Besse hoping for French success

Jean Claude Besse hoping for French success

As Arnaud Vincent prepares for a crack at the 125cc World Championship title at Phillip Island this weekend, one of his most erstwhile supporters will be happy to watch from the shadows. Jean Claude Besse introduced the Frenchman to Grand Prix racing as a member of the SCRAB team in 1998, after nurturing him through national and European competition, but the pair had an acrimonious split at the end of their first year on the world stage and have not spoken since. However, Besse says that he will be willing his compatriot on from pit lane when the red lights go out on Sunday lunchtime.

`I will be very happy for Arnaud if he wins the title,´ says Besse, who is now in charge of the Equipe de France project in the 250cc class. `It will be a good thing for him, for France and I think for me too. My aim is to bring riders through into this competition from France and if they win then it is natural for me to feel a sense of victory too. Arnaud does not speak to me anymore but I have no problem with him and I sincerely wish him the best for this weekend.´

A notoriously introverted rider, Besse believes Vincent has had to curb his hard streak in order to make the step from Grand Prix winner to World Championship contender in 2002. `Arnaud is very difficult to work with but many champions are this way - look at Biaggi for example. I think this year he has understood that he also must be soft at times. He has a good team and they work well together and Arnaud has responded to that. I think this compensation has made it possible for him to challenge for the title.´

Vincent is the only rider in all three classes to have scored points at every round this season, a consistency Besse admits may have been spotted too late in his career. `When I first watched Vincent I saw a rider who made very few mistakes and hardly ever crashed. There is no doubt he has the talent and maybe if he had started sooner he could have made it to the very top. Maybe at 27 years old it is too late for him to make that step, but it is impossible for us to travel in time!´.

125cc, 2002, SKYY VODKA Australian Grand Prix

Other updates you may be interested in ›