Archive - Interview
November 7th, 2010
After a brave race in front of his home crowd at Valencia, Dani Pedrosa spoke to a small group of journalists. During the debrief, he spoke about the nerve damage and weakness he has suffered after his broken collarbone, which caused him to fade in the second half of the race, and he also talks about why he will be running the #26 plate again next season, despite being entitled to use the #2, as he has done in the past. Here's what Pedrosa had to say:
Q: That was an amazing race for someone who was injured, especially those first corners. How did you manage?
Dani Pedrosa: I don't know, I was fresh, I have power then. I was on, on for the race and I started well. I did the first corner not so bad. And then I just looked for the space, and I was aggressive. After that, I was there, in the top area, I was not really aware of my possibilities. So I was just pushing and I see I could keep Casey's rhythm. Maybe he was on the wrong tire choice, that was my feeling, looking from behind.
I was there for some laps when I was fresh. I did the fastest lap, so this is not so bad, even though if you look at the practice, I was never on the top, so. It was very impressive to be up front. And until I had this weakness, I became tired. I could not hold my body in the right way, in braking, when I tried to keep my body in the right position, I just...
Though MotoGP fans around the world focus on their favorite riders, there is a growing awareness of the importance of the crews that surround those riders, as witnessed by the constant harassment that Rossi's mechanic Alex Briggs received from his many followers on Twitter. As MotoGP bikes grow ever more complex, the role of the pit crew becomes ever more important, and the trust between rider and crew has become paramount.
This shift has led to most of the top riders switching teams this year also ensuring that they will be bringing their pit crews along with them. Valentino Rossi will be bringing Jerry Burgess and his Australian (and Belgian and Italian) crew members with him from Yamaha to Ducati; Casey Stoner will be taking Cristian Gabbarini and his Italian crew to Honda from Ducati; and even Ben Spies will be taking his former AMA pit crew and Yamaha World Superbike manager to the factory Yamaha squad next year.
During the rider debriefs on Thursday, several members of the press asked Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi to talk about the importance of taking their crews with them to their new teams. Casey Stoner had the most to say on the subject, and so his replies are shown first, while Valentino Rossi's responses were shorter, and are shown further below:
After the canceled practice session at Estoril, Casey Stoner spoke to the press during his regular media debrief. In that session, Stoner spoke about a number of issues, including electronics, fuel limits, Ducati's screamer vs. big bang engines, and the engine penalties. Here's what he had to say, in his own words:
Q: I spoke to Carmelo Ezpeleta yesterday, and I asked him about electronics, whether there was any plan to limit them, and he said that nobody has been complaining about electronics for the past six months, and he gave you as an example, that you turned your electronics right down, and there is nothing wrong with the current situation. What do you feel about the amount of electronics?
After the press conference at Estoril, Valentino Rossi talked to the press about his all too brief battle with Jorge Lorenzo, and why he had not been able to fight with his Fiat Yamaha teammate and bitter rival as he had in the past couple of races. The difference, Rossi explained, was the lack of dry practice time, as Jorge Lorenzo could use the setting which he used to win the race last year, while Rossi had struggled at the Estoril circuit in 2009. Lorenzo had earlier confirmed that they had done little to the bike except plug in the setting from last year, and the Spaniard had been able to walk away from the front.
Here's what Rossi had to say about the race, talking to the press at Estoril:
Valentino Rossi: The bigger difference, I think that, like Jorge said, they put the setting last year that was very good and the work is finished, you know. We race with a big difference in the setting compared to last year, because last year we had a bad result, but we worked very well in the wet.
While much of the current focus in the MotoGP paddock is on 2011, and the impending rider switches in the paddock - including Valentino Rossi's move to Ducati, Casey Stoner's switch to Honda and Ben Spies' promotion to the factory Yamaha team - there is a bigger change on the horizon, the return to 1000cc in the MotoGP class, the arrival of the 250cc Moto3 class and the introduction of the CRT concept, where 1000cc production engines will be allowed to compete in prototype chassis in the hands of private teams. These seismic changes are in the hands of the Grand Prix Commission, consisting of the manufacturers' association MSMA, the teams' representative IRTA, the FIM sanctioning body and Dorna, the commercial rights holders.
At Estoril, MotoMatters.com had the chance to spend 10 minutes with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and ask a few questions about the changes due to happen in 2012. We were particularly interested in the relationship between Dorna and the MSMA, given the fact that the contract between the two parties is also up for renewal at the start of the 2012 season. So that's where we started:
Moderator: Good morning, everybody. I'm John Gardner, the media manager for Miller Motorsports Park, and we're back for another teleconference with the riders in the HANNspree Superbike World Championship. Today we're pleased to have with us Cal Crutchlow, who rides the No. 35 Yamaha YZF R1 for the Yamaha Sterilgarda team. Cal, of course, won both ends of his home race in Silverstone last month, he's been on the podium seven times this season and has five poles. In 2009, he was the World Supersport Champion before graduating to the Yamaha World Superbike team this year. He is currently fifth in the championship with 217 points behind Max Biaggi with 397, Leon Haslam with 339, Jonathan Rea with 288 and Carlos Checa with 224 heading into the penultimate race of the season at Imola on the 26th of this month. As you all probably know, Cal has been chosen to move up to the Monster Energy Tech 3 MotoGP Team for next year, so we have quite a bit to talk about. Cal, welcome and we thank you for being here with us today.
Cal Crutchlow: Thank you very much. Thanks for inviting me along.
Moderator: So here we are. We've got two rounds left to go in the season, four races total. You are fifth and you're just about seven points behind Checa. What are your objectives for the remainder of this season?
Despite the fact that the Moto2 grid has nearly 40 regular riders, the class has also featured a regular stream of wildcard riders as well. With the Spanish CEV championship the only series featuring a competition for the Moto2 bikes, it is unsurprising that most of those wildcard riders have come from Spain. More of a surprise, perhaps, was that one of the riders in the running for the title in Spain is actually a young Scot, the British rider Kev Coghlan, who rides for the Monlau Competicion team in the CEV aboard an FTR machine.
Coghlan was a wildcard at Silverstone back in June of this year, but the young Brit will also be racing in this weekend's Moto2 round at Aragon, a track he already has some experience of, having raced here in the Spanish championship. Coghlan started out racing Supersport in Spain, and was closely involved in the development of the FTR Moto2 chassis throughout the end of 2009.
Reason enough, then to catch up with Coghlan, something which MotoMatters.com did at Silverstone. We spoke to him on the Saturday after qualifying, and the day before the British Grand Prix. Coghlan had a tough weekend at Silverstone, qualifying in 30th and ending the race in 22nd. Here's how he saw his weekend at Silverstone, and how he got there:
MM: How did you end up racing in Spain?
After the MotoGP race at Misano, the crash that killed Shoya Tomizawa was naturally on everyone's minds. Reporters asked just about every rider who would speak to them for their thoughts on the crash. Below is what Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden had to tell the press on the subject.
Q: You saw how bad the crash was, you already knew it was very serious?
Valentino Rossi: I saw the crash on television. I have to be sincere, I thought it was a bad crash, like with a lot of fractures, but not him dying. I saw the crash live. In the first moment, I did not think like this because I thought de Angelis had just hit the bike of Tomizawa and then Redding arrived. But unfortunately de Angelis also hit him.
About safety, they work a lot, but this is the worst thing that can happen in our sport - you crash, you remain on the line, and other bikes are right behind.
Also, in a fast, fast corner like this, usually if you crash, you go very much on the outside because the speed is high. Unfortunately Tomizawa crashed and didn't crash, he remained on the bike and on the line. The others were too close to try to do something.
But I think that with a crash like this, it's also very good that de Angelis and Redding are okay.
Immediately after the MotoGP post-race press conference at Misano, Race Direction held a press conference to explain their actions, how they had handled the situation and what had been done to try to save Tomizawa's life. Speaking at the press conference were Race Director Paul Butler, Claude Danis of the FIM, MotoGP's Safety Officer Franco Uncini, Doctor Claudio Macchiagodena of the Clinica Mobile, and Javier Alonso from Dorna. A shortened transcript of the press conference appeared on the Dorna website, along with the full video available for viewing. However, with Dorna's ever-infallible aim when it comes to the internet, the MotoGP.com website managed to shoot itself squarely in the foot by only making the video available to people with a MotoGP.com subscription. Naturally, this has been explained by some of the more radical fringes of the internet as a conspiracy by Dorna to make more money, but having had some experience of Dorna's attitude to the internet, MotoMatters.com is about 99.9% certain that this was down to incompetence rather than conspiracy. It is unlikely that anyone gave any thought to making this a free video, and it ended up automatically behind Dorna's video paywall.
Having been present at the press conference, MotoMatters.com decided to transcribe the entire press conference ourselves, for people without a MotoGP.com subscription. You will find the full transcription below, but one comment needs to be made on the transcription. Dr Macchiagodena is speaking in English, a language he does not speak with great fluency, and using medical jargon. So transcribing what Dr Macchiagodena said has proven to be extremely difficult. We have done our utmost best to transcribe what he said, while trying to make the points he is making as easy to comprehend as possible. This means that some of his answers - especially in the Q&A section - are very difficult to understand. We hope our readers will bear with us, and try to understand what the doctor is trying to say.
After Andrea Dovizioso set the 2nd fastest time during FP1 at Misano behind his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, MotoMatters.com went along to find out just why the Hondas were so fast. As we were the only English-language publication present, we had Dovizioso to ourselves. Here's what he had to tell us:
MotoMatters: So, 2nd.
Andrea Dovizioso: Not bad!
MM: Not bad at all. The only bad point is that your 0.6 behind Dani.
AD: Yes, exactly. I'm really happy about the 2nd position and how we made the session. But sure, six tenths from Dani is not really a small gap, and we need to improve. I think there are a few reasons for this: First is because he's a little bit faster than us; second, is also a consequence of the victory in Indy; third, is also I think the setup of the bike. His position on the bike is different to mine, there's a big difference. And maybe in this track this can be better. But we have tomorrow to try to see if we are going in the right way and how much we can improve.
After Sunday's MotoGP race at Indianapolis, in which he finished 4th, Valentino Rossi spoke to reporters for his usual post-race press debrief. During the conversation, Rossi talked about how his biggest problem is a lack of fitness, as he is still unable to run on his broken leg. He also told the press he still wasn't sure about what his legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess was going to be doing next year. And he went on to attack the role electronics plays in the sport, speaking of his hope that measures would be taken to reduce the importance of electronics when MotoGP returns to 1000cc in 2012. Here's what Rossi told reporters:
Question: How was the day? It was hot out there.
Valentino Rossi: Yes, is very difficult. I expected to be in trouble, because also during the practice after 8 or 9 laps, I started to lose strength. And in fact is very, very difficult. So for me, it was a positive race because for one part of the race, I could make the same lap time as Lorenzo and Spies, and I made also a little bit faster time than Lorenzo and same as Ben.
Randy Mamola truly is a MotoGP legend. The American may never have won a championship, but the perennial runner up was always a huge favorite with both the fans and the media. To this day, Mamola is still a regular face in the paddock, the American riding the Ducati X2 two-seater for VIPs and guests, although budget cuts and the loss of the live broadcast rights meant that he is no longer the pit lane reporter for British Eurosport.
Mamola holds strong opinions about the sport of MotoGP, which regular expounds both in his column for US magazine Road Racer X and on the Alpinestars website. MotoMatters.com's Scott Jones caught up with Mamola at Laguna Seca, to get his take on the Moto2 class.
MotoMatters: Randy, now that we're half way through the 2010 season, what are your thoughts on Moto 2 and what might be done to improve it next year?
Gabriele del Torchio: Once again welcome here. You have seen recently our press statement, we are very happy and glad to announce that next year, for the coming two seasons, 2011 and 2012, Valentino Rossi will join our team and will ride the Ducati bike in the MotoGP championship. We are very proud of that, we believe this is a very important accomplishment. I am personally glad of the choice that Valentino has made, and I believe that his decision is due to the fact of the excellent relations between Rossi and [Ducati Corse general manager] Filippo Preziosi. They worked well together and they established a very good relationship, very solid relationship. Those are the solid pillars on which we will build our new racing season for next year.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Alessandro Cicognani [director of Ducati's MotoGP project], because Alessandro played a very important role in the negotiations.
Q: Can you say whether Valentino be released from his contract with Yamaha in time to start testing with you in Valencia in November?
Here at MotoMatters.com, we are not in the habit of publishing press releases unless they have something of particular interest to impart. That is very much the case with the interview with Red Bull Ajo rider Marc Marquez that arrived in our mailboxes. Despite being a press release from a sponsor - therefore avoiding controversy and difficult questions - the interview is highly illuminating about Marquez. The current 125cc championship leader is widely tipped for success, underlining his status in the paddock by becoming the first rider to win five 125 races in a row at the Sachsenring, and looking just about unbeatable. At the age of just 17, Marquez looks to have a big future in MotoGP. Here's what he had to say to the Repsol Media service:
After so many weeks of races one after the other, are you looking forward to slowing the pace down a bit?
"It's true that racing every week can be hard but, in my case, where I have been winning and things came easily, I've been very motivated weekend after weekend. The holidays are always good though, even more when you've done your work well beforehand".
As is their custom, the press office at Miller Motorsports Park organized another teleconference with a top rider from the World Superbike paddock. This time, it was the turn of HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's Johnny Rea to field questions from the press. In the conference, Rea talked about his background, discussed the struggles he's had this year to get up to speed, and about how the new Pirelli tires have affected his Honda CBR1000RR. Here's the transcript of what he had to say.