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Mick Doohan on Bayliss, Biaggi and Honda

Mick Doohan on Bayliss, Biaggi and Honda

Mick Doohan on Bayliss, Biaggi and Honda

Mick Doohan was at the Phillip Island circuit in his native Australia last weekend to catch up with a dose of preseason MotoGP action and discuss future plans for Grand Prix events at the venue with Victoria's Minister for Tourism John Pandazopoulos (pictured).

Whilst several factory teams continued their testing programmes in preparation for the MotoGP World Championship, Doohan cast an eye over proceedings and gave his thoughts on some of the hot topics under discussion so far this winter.

First up was the progress of his compatriot Troy Bayliss, who has struggled to adapt to the Camel Honda team and the RC211V machine, with reports in some quarters suggesting the former Ducati rider is set to quit MotoGP altogether if he can't adapt the bike to suit his style of riding.

"I've read some stuff, and I don't know how true it is, that he says he's too old to change his style. I don't believe that for an instant. If I could change the way I rode after my accident then I think he can change the way he rides." commented Doohan, in reference to the crash in 1992 which cost him the chance to challenge Wayne Rainey for the title after missing several races with a broken leg.

"I think it's just a matter of him settling down a little bit and just working the thing. He's obviously a very quick rider, he just needs to adapt himself or the bike to what he needs. It's an early stage but he is a fast rider and I can only see him getting better and better.

"In one of the Australian papers I read that he was thinking of stepping off it already but I can't imagine why. It's just a matter of taking the time to settle into it and not rushing.

"I've only ridden the four-stroke a couple of times but the progression from the Wayne Gardner 500 to what I liked was to make it more user-friendly, more rideable, which in turn made it easier for the other guys to ride the 500 as well.

"The same philosophy has been carried over to the RCV so I would imagine it's got a completely different character to what he (Bayliss) is used to riding, it's just a matter of him getting his head around that and just adjusting – perhaps slowing down a little bit to go fast.

"I think all these bikes at the moment have a huge amount of torque, a huge amount of power, so the rideability of all of them is pretty good, but the Honda definitely seems to have the smoothest, most tractable engine and I'm not sure whether or not that's a good thing because sometimes Honda run away with themselves.

"Maybe they need to change the power character a little bit for someone like Troy. I know Honda like to focus a lot on what I call an ‘electric engine', especially on their four-stroke machines, where you basically have just a flat torque curve, and maybe he's not used to that.

"Maybe he needs something that's a bit more docile on the bottom and gets more aggressive as it starts to kick in. I've not spoken to Troy so I might be wrong but I think that's what he will be asking for and I hope he gets it because it wouldn't be that hard to do."

Doohan also gave his opinion on HRC's decision to give full support to his old rival Max Biaggi in the Repsol Honda garage, claiming that Sete Gibernau would have been his personal preference.

"I don't really think that Max is the man to lead development," stated Doohan. "No disrespect to the guy, but I just think that he tends to be too precise when you need a bike that can be ridden in all conditions.

"Gibernau… if I was Honda, and given last year, I would be focusing all my development on him. He's really the number one Honda rider at the moment.

"It's very rare that you come across a guy like Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson or myself who can work with a team and get everything working properly. At the moment there is really only one guy that stands out and that's Valentino."

Doohan also confirmed that his own official role with HRC has finally come to an amicable end, but added that he will still be collaborating with the Japanese factory on an informal basis.

"Last year I almost didn't do anything with Honda because I wanted to come back here (to Australia). We had a great association but I honestly wasn't doing any good there and I could only bring so much coffee!!

"It got to a point where it wasn't beneficial for me, it wasn't beneficial for them and to go to half the races you may as well not go to any of them. I'm planning to go to four to six races this year and I still have the same relationship with Honda, but without a contract!"

MotoGP, 2005, Mick Doohan

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