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Doohan v Crivillé: Team-mates at war

Doohan v Crivillé: Team-mates at war

In the second instalment of its Head to Head series, looks back at the intense rivalry between the Repsol Honda team-mates in the mid to late 90s.

Mick Doohan and Alex Crivillé enjoyed some passionately fierce contests from 1994 to the forced retirement of the former at the end of the decade.

Australian Doohan was five times 500cc World Champion from 1994-1998, turning the Honda NSR500 which both he and Crivillé rode into the benchmark machine of the second half of the decade.

Having joined Doohan on the factory Honda team in 1994, Crivillé was the rider who pushed his colleague the hardest for the title. The challenger recalls the 1996 season as being the one in which he came closest to getting the better of Doohan.

“1996 was the year when I was the most prepared in all aspects. Physically and mentally I was very strong and the bike was more competitive compared to other seasons. It was the time when the fans started to separate into groups for either Doohan or Crivillé,” recalled the Spaniard.

Crivillé won the title in 1999, finishing his career two years later with 15 premier class wins to his name, and Doohan also remembers the 1996 campaign as perhaps the most hotly-contested between the pair.

“In 96 he definitely stepped up his level,” said Doohan. “Without taking anything away from him I probably played a different type of race strategy that year, which caught me a few times and he capitalised on it. He was quite clever in fact because he was using that to his advantage and I was caught with my pants down, so to speak, a few times.”

Doohan added: “Your team-mate is the only other person out there on machine perceived to be the same as yours. You don’t want to be the second one in that race! You always want to be quicker than your team-mate. Thankfully I was quicker than my team-mates nine times out of ten.”

In the attached video you can watch interviews with both riders as they review their close encounters, along with fantastic footage of their on-track battles with the 1996 season brought into focus. Tomorrow, concentrates on another struggle between team-mates: the competition for the 2000 250cc World title between Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano.

MotoGP, 2010, Mick Doohan

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