By Peter McLaren
editor Michael Scott has covered Motorcycle Grand Prix racing since 1984 - and written best selling books on the likes of Wayne Rainey
and Barry Sheene - making him perfectly placed to assess the sport on the eve of the opening round of the 2005 season.
caught up with Michael at the recent UK MotoGP launch, where he spoke about the significance of the 2004 championship, his impressions of 2005 testing, the difference between Formula One and MotoGP, his view of the new flag-to-flag and one qualifying session rule changes and much more…
Michael, what did you make of last year - it was a big year for Valentino Rossi
and for MotoGP - but what was your opinion?
Last year was absolutely sensational and it was the proof of how humanity remains the most important factor in motorcycle sport. Valentino Rossi
proved it. He transcended machine weaknesses and did all those things that make us love motorbike racing.
All the pre-season testing has now finished, what have you made of it?
Well I always make the point that testing is only testing and nothing more than a rough guide - and I would extend this still further and say that I don't think Valentino Rossi
has shown all his cards yet. I'd suspected that he wouldn't before the tests and I still think he hasn't
One thing that struck me was in Catalunya, when he didn't win the (BMW) hatchback, he gave a very theatrical punching of the air. No-one had ever seen him do that before - I certainly hadn't - and I don't believe it. He's such a showman and he was putting on a show.
Do you think that's to wrong foot Honda - to make them feel more confident than they should?
Every little psychological advantage (Rossi) can get he'll take and that's just another one. He's already so predominate in that regard. They are obviously the world's best riders - for example Max Biaggi is an absolutely divine rider, he's superb - and I think (Biaggi) turns up on the grid, he's got the factory Honda, everything's great and he looks over his shoulder and… oh my god there's Rossi. He's half beaten already.
On the subject of Biaggi, by the looks of it he had a tough test at Jerez - he's been making some statements saying that the good bike he had has vanished - do you think that's genuine?
I don't think he's bluffing no. I think (Biaggi) is an erratic rider, he's an erratic person, he needs for everything to be absolutely right. When it goes a little bit out of kilter he's in serious trouble.
Personally I'd love to see him win the championship this year. This is possibly some natural championing of the underdog - and (Biaggi) has been underdog for so long. As I said earlier, he's such a superb rider and another very human person and I hate to see him getting the worse of Rossi every time. It would nice to see it go the other way.
What do you think we'll see this year regarding the machines and tyres?