25 July 2007
Q&A: Opinions from the Repsol Champions.
What is the most surprising thing for you at the halfway mark of the season?
Obviously Ducati and Stoner. I think that this is something that has surprised us all; we did not expect this reaction from Ducati and Stoner. Casey did not arrive with a great record – he fell a lot in 250cc – and last year in MotoGP too. Logically he was not among the favourites. But he is having an incredible season and making things difficult for Honda and Yamaha.
Jorge Martínez “Aspar”:
I am surprised with the great balance achieved by Ducati, Bridgestone and Stoner. I was convinced that Honda was going to be much higher up. The truth is that this is a surprising season all round. Not one that many people would have been able to predict at the beginning. Not even me! I did not think that what is happening was going to happen either.
It is clear that Stoner's performance on the Ducati is what has most surprised me.
Well, the most surprising is Stoner and his Ducati. People thought he would have difficulties above all on the twisty circuits, but this is not the case. He has been competitive right up to the present day, half a season, at all the circuits, in all conditions, whether in the wet or in the dry, and in complicated training sessions… This is what has been the most surprising.
At the same time perhaps the negative surprise has been Dani Pedrosa's position and where he is now, because I think he is a rider that has what it takes to be higher. He had had a year that few riders ever have and that was in his first season in the top category. But this year he has come across some difficulties and a new bike that even HRC has admitted was wrong, the concept and the MotoGP project, and this means that we are not seeing Dani where he should be halfway through the season.
The truth is that this season is surprising because Stoner is showing great consistency. I think that he has been the revelation of the season. Above all because he is showing a great maturity for his age. It is clear that he was a fast rider, with talent and with a great future, that is what we thought when we thought about signing him up for the MotoGP project, so that he could take a step up. But now with the Ducati and the Bridgestone tyres, I think that this combination has given him the confidence necessary not to make mistakes and to have this great season.
What is your opinion of the battle between Bridgestone and Michelin in MotoGP. Is it fair that they make so much difference?
“The truth is that for me people speak too much about tyres. Lately it seems they are the reason why some win and others lose. I think that the tyres work when the chassis and all the other components on the bike are in their place. Then the tyre behaviour can always be better or worse, and if the chassis is giving problems they are going to wear down more and the rider will probably not feel comfortable. I think that a machine is the whole, what happens is that the tyres have their importance. Bridgestone and Michelin are fighting to win the championship, another war apart from that of the rider's and the constructor's. The World Championship is exciting!
JMA:: We are speaking about a World Championship. The rules are what they are and tyres have always marked the difference when it comes to titles. In any category. With the situation we have at the moment perhaps Michelín is complaining more, because it has always been the one that dominated but now without a doubt it is Bridgestone that is ahead.
I think it is OK. This year it seems that Bridgestone is winning the battle with Michelín, but we have to finish the season. There is nothing decided yet and Michelín of course is pulling the stops out. They are going to work well and are going to win races this year as they have already done.
We are in the middle of a complicated year for the constructors and riders, because the new regulations that limit the number of tyres means that there are changes and we have already seen some this year. I think that Bridgestone, with the experience it had and with the new regulations, is one step ahead. Tyre technology should also be limited a little, because the behaviour of a bike depends a lot on them.
I think that it is just another ingredient to make the championship more exciting.
Do you feel that technological progress ruins the spectacle of racing?
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