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Former Doohan and Rossi Technician leaves MotoGP

Former Doohan and Rossi Technician leaves MotoGP

Former Doohan and Rossi Technician leaves MotoGP

Dick Smart, who prepared World Championship-winning Hondas for Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, has ended his lengthy career as a globetrotting Grand Prix motorcycle technician and joined Paul Morris' V8 Supercar motor racing team on the Gold Coast.

Smart will be a Crew Chief with Paul Morris Motorsports in this year's 13-round V8 Supercar Championship.

The 43-year-old New Zealander was a technician with the factory Honda Racing Corporation team in 500cc and MotoGP world championship racing from 1989 to 2005.

He helped prepare HRC machines for Australian Doohan from 1989 to 1999, Italian Rossi from 2000 to 2003, Brazil's Alex Barros in 2004, and American Nicky Hayden in 2005. During that period Doohan won five 500cc World Championships and 54 Grand Prix races, while Rossi secured one 500cc and two MotoGP titles, plus had 33 race victories.

Smart said his decision to join Morris' team was prompted by a desire for fresh challenges, and also a more settled family lifetyle. Since 1989 Smart has spent about nine months of each year overseas with racing and off-season testing commitments.

"I've had a great time in the motorcycle world championship, especially working with guys like Mick (Doohan) and Valentino (Rossi)," said Smart. "But I was getting tired of all the travel and I wanted to spend more time with my family and see my kids grow up."

Smart, who has spent some time on the Gold Coast during Summer off-season months for more than a decade, first spoke with Morris about a career change in November (2005). Later that month he joined Morris' team at the final two rounds of the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship at Symmons Plains in Tasmania and Phillip Island in Victoria.

Team Boss Paul Morris said Smart's past experience in international motorsport would be an asset to his team.

"Teams work the same way, whether cars or bikes, because it's all about getting things done on time and then moving on to the next thing."

Smart said in the short time he has been at PMM he had found considerable differences between working with V8 Supercars compared to Grand Prix motorcycles.

"Bikes are physically a lot easier to work on because you can walk around them and get to all the bits and pieces without too much trouble," he said. "With the cars you have to crawl under them, or climb inside them, and the parts are spread out."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan

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