MotoGP » 28 July 2005
Surtees: Rossi won't leave MotoGP.
The only man to have won premier-class world championships on both two- and four-wheels, John Surtees, has told Crash.net that he doesn't think Valentino Rossi will now follow in his footsteps and leave MotoGP for Formula One.
"I've talked to him - and he at one time was talking about it - if he does, he can't leave it too long," said Surtees when asked if he thought Rossi would still make the move. "If he does, he's got to do it within the next year, perhaps two years, but preferably a year.
"But I can't see it happening now, for the simple reason that he's obviously coming together with that machine. He went to a new team, he took his previous team along with him and they've now developed the Yamaha to a point where it is obviously a very rideable bike.
"It's no good just having power, or just having stopping power, or just handling. What you need is a complete bike and you have to become as one. And there is a new challenge of course in that the formula is changing (from 990cc to 800cc) at the end of next year.
"So he may say, 'ah yes - I want to win the first championship of the new formula', with the reduced engine size etc, so who knows? If he does go over to four-wheels, who knows if it'll actually be Formula One - it may be rallying, because his recent statements have been around rallying."
Surtees, who won four 500cc and three 350cc world titles on two-wheels before claiming the 1964 Formula One crown for Ferrari, was also asked for his thoughts on Rossi's latest conquest - in which the Italian triumphed through appalling weather conditions in the British Grand Prix at Donington Park, setting a best lap almost two-seconds clear of his nearest opposition in the process.
"I was at Silverstone watching my son competing in a kart race, which was washed out, but everybody who's spoken to me since has said 'did you see it - did you see it?' and unfortunately I didn't!" smiled John. "But I have a copy of the race coming, so I will see it.
"I'm in for a treat, because when someone comes together with a vehicle, whether it be bike or car, in the way that Rossi obviously did in that event - and also to a degree Kenny Roberts - and you see the skills, you see this point of going to the brink, a bit beyond the brink, but actually catching it and coming back - that's something rather special.
"Certainly, it brings back memories of times when I had to do events - like at the Isle of Man one year - when we had those types of conditions: The bike was breaking away and you had to just hold it, lift it up for a moment, then drop it down again to get around the corner.
"Rossi obviously did an incredible job and it can only be good for motorsport and motorcycling," he concluded.
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