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Doohan on Rossi: "Business is business"

Doohan on Rossi: 'Business is business'

Doohan on Rossi: "Business is business"

Mick Doohan has spoken for the first time on his Honda protégé Valentino Rossi's decision to quit the factory in favour of a switch to rivals Yamaha. The Australian, who won five 500cc World Championships with Honda in the 1990s and now works as racing manager for HRC, believes the Italian's decision was motivated by ‘business' matters, but insists he will still be the man to beat despite taking over the reigns of a machine which had a highest championship finish of seventh this season with Carlos Checa.

"Good on Valentino if that's what he wants to do. He's had a great run with Honda, but at the end of the day business is business. The business side of things has probably been as big an influence as anything on him taking up the option to ride for another team," commented Doohan.

"The challenge for any rider in Valentino's position is to stay at the top of the game and making sure the environment is right. He's obviously confident in his ability to pull all the various pieces together to keep winning. Yamaha hasn't had a really strong rider since Wayne Rainey and they haven't won a championship since 1992. Valentino knows that, as I did when there was talk I'd go there (Yamaha) at various stages of my career.

"This time around it appears Yamaha are sick of losing. They've decided to do something and get serious about needing to win. They obviously believe Valentino is the rider to go with to get the results they want. Honda will still be in a strong position, with plenty of numbers out there. Nicky Hayden is probably Honda's biggest long-term asset, but he's still a little bit green.

"The challenge for the Honda riders will be to match Valentino's consistency race-by-race. Honda also have to keep their development on the correct track. You need a rider who can develop the bike. Honda have had Valentino in recent seasons, whereas Yamaha and Suzuki haven't had that.

"Valentino is still going to be the guy to beat for next year's championship. He may need a little time in the beginning to win as dominantly as he did on the Honda, but his consistency will still be a plus. In all honesty I don't think the Yamaha is that much behind the Honda. While Valentino has been doing most of the winning recently, there's not much between the next Honda and the Yamaha, or the Ducati.

"When I was riding (Luca) Cadalora was on a Yamaha he said you needed a Honda to win. When Cadalora got a Honda his results basically didn't change. We've seen the same with (Max) Biaggi when he changed from Honda to Yamaha, and then back to Honda.

"Overall I'm not that surprised about Valentino changing. As I said before, business is business, and Yamaha decided they wanted a winning rider."

MotoGP, 2003, Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan

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