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Doohan plays down Rossi-Stoner row

Doohan plays down Rossi-Stoner row

MotoGP Legend Mick Doohan has commented on the battle of words which took place between Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner after their awesome duel at Laguna Seca.

Last Sunday´s race at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix saw some to the most exciting racing of the year so far with World Championship leader Valentino Rossi battling lap after lap with MotoGP title holder Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca, eventually outdoing his young Australian foe.

There were some tight overtaking manoeuvres and on several occasions the riders almost clashed, with Rossi riding through the gravel at the bottom of the Corkscrew at one stage. Afterwards Stoner admitted that his costly crash eight laps from the end was his fault but questioned Rossi´s tactics, calling them over-aggressive, only for The Doctor to reply, `that´s racing´.

However, Stoner´s compatriot Mick Doohan, a MotoGP Legend and winner of five consecutive premier class titles from 1994 to ´98, believes the words were exchanged in the heat of the moment and saw nothing untoward in what was said and done.

`Don´t be surprised if there are a few more words spoken between them if the points gap closes up, and that will keep things interesting off the track. What they said after the race seems normal when you have two guys fighting for the championship,´ Doohan commented.

During his time at the top, taking that quintet of successive titles for Honda, Doohan himself was known for his unrelenting style off-track as he did battle with the likes of Max Biaggi and Alex Criville, and the 43 year-old former World Champion has seen it all before.

`Riders say things sometimes to try and get an edge on their rivals, or maybe unsettle them. It´s part of the game. This type of verbal battle has been going on forever - Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts were doing it 30 years ago and we´ve seen it many times since between various rivals of different eras.´

`However, Casey and Valentino have both been around long enough to realise, as we all did, that results on the track are all that really count. You don´t score championship points with words.´

Of course Rossi himself clashed with Biaggi on numerous occasions during their own championship fights and last year there were indirect digs between the Fiat Yamaha star and Stoner - as the Aussie stormed to the World title.

Doohan continued, `Regardless of what was said after Laguna Seca, I´d say that deep down both Casey and Valentino have huge respect for each other. And why wouldn´t they? Valentino has won five championships and is one of the greatest riders of all time, and Casey is a young guy fighting hard to keep the title he won last year.´

`Both of them have won four races this season and the rest of us can now sit back and enjoy what should be a fascinating battle over the remaining seven Grands Prix. I saw the race, but unless you´re actually riding the bike it´s impossible to say who was right and who was wrong with what happened on the track. Only Casey and Valentino know that.´

Doohan is set to witness the next instalment of Rossi and Stoner´s intriguing 2008 tussle first hand when he visits Brno as a guest commentator for American television network CBS next month.

MotoGP, 2008, Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan

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