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Old 10-16-2006, 09:34 AM   #1
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rossi on the other riders

Borrowed this from another board. This was posted in Yamaha's Insider Magazine and I thought it was pretty interesting....

Nicky Hayden was your teammate in 2003. What's your opinion on his ability to setup a bike, his race strategy and riding style?
Hes no reference in setting up, because he can adjust himself to the bike even if its not completely ok. This is because he comes from superbike, and hes used to riding bikes that swing a bit. So he's never worked really deep on the setup and thus hes not so experienced. As far as riding technique is concerned his best feature is bike control when it's spinning. Having done dirt track in the past, hes good at controlling the bike while sliding across the track. As for mental strength, he looks like one who can concentrate easily, plus hes tough and brave. Concerning his ability to pass, I havent seen him doing a lot of this so far, its hard to judge. His race strategy is not bad, if the guy ahead speeds up hes able to change his pace, and thats good.

Carlos Checa is back on a Yamaha this year and he was also your first teammate when you came to the team
Hes always used strange methods in the setup, maybe because his riding style is a bit strange as well: quite clean, not very good at braking though. Rarely pushes it to the limit, so his bike is a bit different from the others. He rides really accurate race lines, but his braking could be better. Mentally he's not so strong. This is his weak spot in a way: he can get nervous before a race and his performance sometimes ends up not as good as it should be. As for his ability to pass, I have to say he's not a master at this, because of his limits when braking.
Racing strategy: hes a guy who can ride ahead of the others, he tries to set his own pace and if hes all right he succeeds. Like all those with a clean style, if hes allowed to ride his own lines he becomes very fast and constant, but if someone bothers him then he may get in trouble.

In 2005 you asked Colin Edwards to become your teammate at Yamaha. What did you see in Colin that made you request him?
Colin is a good test rider because he can spot the sensations the bike gives him, and instruct the engineers correctly. I saw this both with Yamaha engineers and with Michelin's. Hes great, then. Being American, he rides 'dirty'. Hes good at braking and at keeping control when the bike spins. He got these skills from his superbike experience. His problem is consistency. This is an issue he ought to work at. On a good day just like in Turkey he stays ahead, hes not afraid of the others, and hes brave and aggressive. Hes done many good passes. He even passed me, once, in Laguna Seca as well. Colin, as opposed to Hayden, likes to be ahead. So he tries to set the pace, and this is way more difficult than just following another guy.

What about your main contender in the last two seasons, Sete Gibernau?
His bikes are always quite well set up, and this means hes good at it. Watching his riding style, you can tell he practiced in dirt tracks a lot. As a matter of fact hes spent a long time in the U.S. at Roberts, whos got a track where you can practice. Hes actually taken advantage of four stroke bikes, which you can ride while spinning and hes good at this. He's got quite a physical style, though and just like in real life: he's presumptuous. So, as soon as you start giving him a hard time, he gets into trouble. Hes very tough, this is his strong area. Hes not the one to back off, and in fact, hes done many fine passes. As for race strategies, he hasnt got many. Usually he wants to start ahead and stay in first position, keeping a fast pace. Its not easy to ride like that, and if you bother him he gets a little stressed.

Marco Melandri is a guy you've known since you were a kid. What do you think about him now, as a professional rider?
He doesnt always get to the point, he fixates on details, even if unimportant. He doesnt set priorities well enough. He can 'feel' the bike, but sometimes gets stuck. He goes into the corner very fast and he turns fast throughout. He rides clean and keeps control when spinning. He's great at late braking. When in good shape hes really tough, but he's not so constant during the whole season. He's very good at passing, he always tries and he can succeed anytime because he can slip through from any side. Hes constantly aggressive, always fighting, so hes always hard to beat.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:46 AM   #2
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:47 AM   #3
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:11 AM   #4
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I've got that magazine. Colin gives his take on each of those riders as well, but I ain't gonna type it up.


Colin on Sete: "No comment about his mental strength... well, let's just say it's his weak area."
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:22 AM   #5
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Here's Colin's input....

Valentino Rossi is an amazing rider. What do you think makes him such an exceptional racer?
He knows what he wants, how his bike should
be, and he works straight to the point. He's very clever and knowledgeable. Actually, we work in similar ways, and at the end of the last season I could have used his settings for my M1. As for riding style, he hasn't just got one, but many, all different. He can adjust himself to what's going on, he's great at managing tyre wear, and the race pace. He's won with all kinds of bikes and he's put his 125, 250 and 500 experiences to good use. Everybody out there knows that Valentino has more. He's won seven world championships and he’s never spent a year losing! You look at all the other riders, we've all spent one or two years struggling to make something work, he never had to. Concerning his ability to pass, Valentino is unbelievable. I’ve been behind him a few times in the first lap and saw him pass two or three guys at once while I was thinking “no way he’s gonna make it…”. He always keeps his cool and is calm, he’s really good at finding the strengths and the weaknesses of his competitors, especially his followers, and he always uses what he's learnt at the first possible occasion.

What do you think about your fellow countryman, Nicky Hayden? Has he got what it takes to set up the ideal race bike?
I honestly don't know much about his ability to set up his bike, because I haven't had the chance to work with Nicky in that area. Even in 2004, when I was a Honda rider, I didn't really get a feel for if he was good or bad at setting up the bike. So I can't actually answer this question. Nicky is more American-style, more dirt track. He likes to ride controlling the braking, with the bike spinning. In fact, he keeps control of the bike even when the tyres are worn out. To me, you can do this kind of stuff in Superbike, but in MotoGP, you have to be so much more precise and 'connect the dots'. If you connect the dots you don't have to spin... there's something about Nicky, he’s been on bikes forever. Put him on a Supermotard, dirt track or a motocross bike, and he can beat anybody. But Road Race, I think it’s different, and although he's made progress, he isn’t completely up to it, yet. As for passing skills, he hasn't got any problems. He's talented and generally able to find the right moment. Generally speaking, if he starts well he can stay ahead and get a good pace going, whereas if he's coming from the back and having to pass other guys he may not be so strong.

Sete Gibernau was your teammate during the 2004 season. Did you have things in common, riding around on the same type of bikes?
He’s definately ok, but our styles are very different and he uses different settings. When we were teammates I couldn’t ride his bike while he couldn’t ride mine! So, he’s very capable in setting up the bike for himself, for his style. He comes from 500, and you can tell. Those were less forgiving bikes, so now he's comfortable with MotoGP 4-stroke bikes, he keeps total control of the bike even if it moves or spins. He wasn't so good back in the days with 500's, he had more problems then. No comment about his mental strength... well, let's just say it's his weak area. I'm still good friends with Sete, but I think that he should just be himself instead of kinda projecting this macho image of himself that really isn't him. He's really good at overtaking. He puts pressure on you and takes advantage of any hesitation you may have. As for racing strategies, he hasn't got many, he's not so versatile as a rider. Unlike Valentino he can't decide his strategy on the fly and he's not quick at changing it. He's usually best when he's ahead and with a certain lead.

Carlos Checa was Valentino’s teammate, in the year before you moved to Yamaha. Have you got an idea on how Carlos does his set up work?
I don't really know, I heard something from Valentino
but I can't tell how much experience he has. He's got more of a Superbike riding style: get it in, turn it, then go, not caring too much about corner speed. But I think he’s slowly changing that a little bit. Mentally he could be better. Maybe because he's been around for a long time but not won so much. He's often fallen at important moments, or got tense before a race. As for racing strategy, he looks at what's going on, and acts accordingly. He just sees an opening and goes for it, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. He’s good at passing, if you leave him some space he goes for it.

Marco Melandri was the big surprise last year. What do you think brought him up to the front?
Those two races he won last year, he won them outright, showing he could manage the pace and control his rivals. On the other hand, many other times he lost focus. His setting up ability, again, I wouldn't know. I know he works closely with his chief engineer but I can't tell exactly how much Marco brings in terms of setting. He sure is very good and fast, both in the corners and all over the track. He still maintains a bit of 250 style which might be his strength. And he's great at late braking. As far as mental strength is concerned, I can say that it depends on how he arrives at the race and on how well his bike is set up. If he feels sure, if he's calm, then he's alright. Otherwise, he becomes influenced by problems too much and ends up making some mistake. Just one problem, and he loses confidence a bit. He's very good at passing, because he's great at braking. He always tries and he's got the ability of delaying the braking just up to the limit. He's one of the best for sure
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