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It’s time for part two of the three that make up motogp.com’s exclusive interview with MotoGP™ Legend Mick Doohan. You can read part one right here!
What are your thoughts on Andrea Dovizioso?
“He is strong, again you don’t know if the Ducati is as strong as the other bikes week in week out, Dovi was on the Honda and the Ducati for a long time and never really done anything. Last year and this year he’s done some great racing but he just doesn’t seem to be able to do enough to clinch a Championship or consistently be better than the other guys. He’s a great guy but I don’t know if he’s strong enough to challenge.”
So does Dovi need everything to be right in order to win, but Marquez can win regardless?
“I guess that’s what I’m saying. Marc can ride whatever bike. Like I was saying before when everything’s good for some of these guys, everything’s closer. As soon as the bikes go away a bit, Marc makes the difference and he can ride it whatever. I think that’s the difference with people like Marc that make them stand out, he makes the difference. It was true of other guys too, Pedrosa…when everything’s perfect with Pedrosa you can’t even see him. Cadalora too, but then the next race…Dovi has got better but still has a bit of hesitation on that, but again I think he’s got stronger over the last few years but now we don’t know what the position is…is it Ducati? For me, to put him on the same playing field as Marquez…he’s not there yet.”
And what about Yamaha?
“Disappointing is one word. Yamaha has always been so strong, they go up and down a little bit but to go from Maverick at the beginning of last season when he came out so strong and then the bike just seemed to fall off a cliff. Is it the bike? How did they make something so bad? Who knows. But it seems like in the last few races they have got the bike a bit better. But over the history of the sport they’ve been one of the strongest, the recent history since the seventies, it’s been Honda Yamaha Honda Yamaha. When I was competing with Honda, changing their mentality a bit to keep the development of the bike fairly neutral instead of big swings and highs and lows…I think Yamaha still do that a lot.
“When I first got to Honda, one year it would feel good and then they’d just tear the paper up and start a new bike for next year and it was like ‘where did this bike come from?!’ The team got Honda to keep the good parts and try and develop the bad parts, and that’s when Honda started becoming more consistent. Yamaha I still think they still tear up the paper and then when you try and find a part again, that’s gone. Honda used to do that too, they’d put a new part on and think ‘this feels ok’, so the other one had completely gone when you tried to look for it. Whether Yamaha are still in that mindset I’m not sure.”
Are Honda more stable in terms of evolution because of Marquez?
“They’ve always had strong riders but getting the platform to stay not too far removed from a baseline…but I think Yamaha, Suzuki and Ducati…sometimes they way above or below the baseline but Honda are more consistent.
“Yamaha have had Valentino for a long while and he’s a good rider and an intelligent rider. Maverick is a young guy coming through, but look back at the beginning of last season, the bike seemed strong, he came out in Qatar and disappeared and then since he wasn’t able to ride the thing. So who knows what the mentality is there, whether it’s the engine or something else. I’m not really close enough to the sport and the teams to really know what’s going on but my understanding of how the teams were in the past, it still looks much like that.”
Should Ducati have waited longer for Lorenzo?
“Who knows. At that point in time whether it was the bike or Jorge, he wasn’t doing so well. But certainly in the latter part of this season the Ducati has come on strong again and Jorge was quick. He made a few mistakes and hurt himself but who knows. I’m not close enough.”
How much will Pedrosa be missed?
“Dani will be missed because he’s been such a fixture of the sport for so long. It’s a shame he never won a MotoGP Championship which, whether because of his size or weight or whatever, a lot of it was bad luck rather than the ability. He hurt himself a lot. And it’s disappointing to see he never won a Championship because he deserved it. But I think the time was right for him to move on, I think he’ll be in a great position to be the test rider for KTM and I think that will help them immensely. But you know, the sport is always bigger than one rider. It’s like in Formula 1 with Senna, when Schumacher stopped…but the sport is always bigger. It’s a shame when people like Pedrosa leave the sport and for the people who’ve grown up being a fan, but equally it allows some new talent to shine.”
Bad luck exists?
“Yes. Sometimes things are out of your control. They say you make your own luck which you do with preparation and staying mentally on top of it, but if someone crashes in front of you, or you hit some oil or the bike breaks…what do you do? These are things that are bad luck and that’s why you need a bit of luck. All you can do is prepare yourself better than everyone else to try and minimize the risk. Unfortunately in motorsport and MotoGP risk is always on, but if you could remove risk it wouldn’t be so exciting!”
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MotoGP™ Legends talk about Dani Pedrosa's career
Do you think he’ll be tempted to come back?
“Initially when I stopped competing yeah, but to be honest…if there was an exciting position, maybe, but there’s nothing there which would excite me enough. To work for a manufacturer isn’t so exciting. Maybe it’s different now. Alberto is in a great position because he’s got such…the way he works, the Japanese have great respect for him and he can make a difference. But equally for me there’s nothing exciting enough for me. At the moment I can’t see anything, what could I do to make a difference?”
Part three with five-time 500cc World Champion Doohan can be seen on motogp.com on Wednesday 18th.
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