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From Superbike Planet:

Rossi Interview Transcript
by susan haas
Monday, July 23, 2007

Valentino Rossi held his post-race press conference outside of his motorhome last night after the USGP at Laguna Seca. This is a transcript of the session.

I'm happy because I am the first of the Michelin. [Laughing] No, is quite frustrating, because today, the difference was unbelievable. We have some problem with the rear, because we don't have the same amount of grip of yesterday with the same tire and the same condition. But anyway, also if we have the grip of yesterday, is not enough, because Bridgestone have half a second lap by lap. In the perfect condition, after we have some problem, the tire don't work very well this afternoon, and we take nine-tenths for lap. What I have to say, I think, that in these two races, we see that the condition is quite bad for our championship, because now the tires decide all the results. Last week, just six days ago was the opposite, where Bridgestone was in trouble and Michelin arrive in front. And in just seven days, is the opposite. So I think is very bad for all the factories, all the team, and I think also for the crowd, because like this is difficult, and also the race is like Bridgestone race, Michelin race. So have one moment where Bridgestone go faster and all the rider of Bridgestone go faster, or have one moment where Michelin go faster and all the Michelin go faster than Bridgestone. But you never have the battle at the same level.

Q So do you want the tire rule scrapped, the 31-tire rule?

A. I don't know. For sure, the rule what do from Bridgestone, because they say Michelin have an advantage to make the tire during the weekend. I agree. But for sure this rule is not good. We need more tires.

Q Just on the safety question, we've seen some bad incidents this weekend, crashes, qualifying. Only one fine has been given, one action was taken, a $2000 fine for John Hopkins. Do you agree with this?

A. First, this track is dangerous. So can happen if you race in Laguna. We make a lot of work. This year fantastic work with the asphalt. But have some point, like the Corkscrew where Guintoli and Hofmann have the crash, is very easy to make mistake. And I think the fee is more for Kurtis Roberts than for Hopkins. Because is not possible to put one rider that arrive 13th in Superstock to ride MotoGP. Is not good. I mean, is dangerous, because Melandri have a bad crash and is lucky to don't make a lot of pain, but Roberts was in the center of the line, roll off the throttle and look behind. So this is the more dangerous. Hopkins is just angry with Carlos, but is just bad for looking, but can happen.

Q Talking about the tires, do you think we should have a one-tire rule in MotoGP?

A. So. Now, I don't know. But I have to say that like this is very bad for the show, I think. Because all the fans like the riders and like the manufacturers. You have Ducati fans, Yamaha fans, Rossi, Stoner, Capirossi, everybody. But nobody is Michelin fan or Bridgestone fan. So the people that looking on television say, "Why now Rossi take 30 seconds and last time Stoner take 30 seconds? What's happened?"

Q Do you feel that Michelin gave you an advantage in years before, though?

A. For sure. But so we speak a lot about this, come se dice monogomma in English? One-tire rule. But it was one-tire rule until 2003, just Michelin for 15 years. And nobody have problems. For sure Michelin give an advantage in the last years. Until the half season of last year, where Bridgestone make a big step, and I have to say a big thank you to Michelin. Now the situation is opposite. The problem is for the show and for the people, and for the riders, and for the manufacturers that put a lot of money. At the end is the tire decides.

Q Vale, the situation now, do you think it's possible, everything being equal, that you can catch Stoner like you caught Hayden last year? If nothing bad happens to Stoner?

A. Nothing is impossible. We have seven races, a long way to go. But we have to wait what's happening this month in France for our tire. We have to go in front of [the factory in] Clermont-Ferrand to say "You have the new tires?" If not, is difficult. But we never give up. We are here for try to win.

Q Is it only the tires? What about Yamaha?

A. Yes. Yes, for sure. I'm agreed, because the bike is a little bit too slow this year, unfortunately, especially compared to Ducati. And this is a big disadvantage. But we have some, I hope, some new stuff in Brno, and I hope that work. Usually arrive something from Japan. And after, we see. For sure we have to work. I have to work. Yamaha have to work. But at the end, I think my setting today was not bad. But we take one second for lap.

Q Can you believe it, two years in a row, last year and now this year? You're so far behind, 44 points behind the championship leader.

A. Eh, can I believe, because is real. And yes, for me, you know. I try my maximum. I want to enjoy, I want to ride my bike like I want, I want to fight with the other guys, the same 11, or sometimes you have less speed, sometimes you have better handling. But with the tires, no way.

Q Valentino, are you prepared to take mechanical risks from Brno onwards, if they have new parts? You are far behind now, are you willing to take risks?

A. We - no. Risk, big risk, never. We try. I don't know exactly what arrive. I hope something arrive, because Brno is very important the engine. Maybe we try during the practice, and after we decide.

Q Like all the other manufacturers, Yamaha could go and get Bridgestone tires if they wanted. They could do this.

A. Now I don't want to say nothing very strange this early. I trust in Michelin. I don't know why, I don't have a reason because Bridgestone is a lot, a lot better than Michelin. More or less have equal. But we'll see. We'll see. But for sure, we have another seven races for try to come back and try to fight with the Bridgestone.

Q Will it be more difficult to try and catch Stoner than it was to catch Hayden last year?

A. So, last year the difference was that the situation was different. Unlucky braking, tires, engine. This year is more performance about Stoner, about Ducati, about Bridgestone. So I don't know. Now we go on holiday, and we'll see. We have seven races. Is a long way. We always try to win. After, we see.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I like this quote:

Q Just on the safety question, we've seen some bad incidents this weekend, crashes, qualifying. Only one fine has been given, one action was taken, a $2000 fine for John Hopkins. Do you agree with this?

A. First, this track is dangerous. So can happen if you race in Laguna. We make a lot of work. This year fantastic work with the asphalt. But have some point, like the Corkscrew where Guintoli and Hofmann have the crash, is very easy to make mistake. And I think the fee is more for Kurtis Roberts than for Hopkins. Because is not possible to put one rider that arrive 13th in Superstock to ride MotoGP. Is not good. I mean, is dangerous, because Melandri have a bad crash and is lucky to don't make a lot of pain, but Roberts was in the center of the line, roll off the throttle and look behind. So this is the more dangerous. Hopkins is just angry with Carlos, but is just bad for looking, but can happen.
Basically, Rossi calls Roberts a butt-hat that doesn't belong in GP. And you know what? I tend to agree.
 
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If Rossi can overcome this obstacle (tire) and take the championship from Stoner what a huge accomplishment that'll be. But Casey sure does look strong...VERY STRONG.
 

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Did you see the last comment? Rossi basically de-valued Hayden's effort last year, attributing it all to luck while this year is about performance, granted, not just with Stoner, but with Ducati and Bridgestone. Honestly, you'd be a fool not to see and confess that Stoner has a spot-on package. You can win a lot of races with a great package, Rossi should know; he did it on the dominant RC211V/Michelin when it was introduced.
 

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^true very true. i love rossi b/c he is a very honest person. but all in the same he is very optimistic.
but my opinion is that everyone goes to a spec tire. look what it did for WSBK, or looking in the 4 wheel world F-1. tire manufacturers come up with so many different tire compounds for every different race track, that it is hardly down to the teams how the bike performs. a more exagerated form of it happened in f-1 for years. it even got to the point where bridgestone and Micheline were making different tire compounds for the teams that could afford such things. it creats a whole mess!!! and it kills racing. i say Moto Gp goes to a spec tire!!!
 

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Rossi is the man. He says what's on his mind a holds nothing back. I have a ton of respect for this dude. And the same tire thing mentioned above is a great idea. I'm all about freedom and teams having choices in bike setup and parts and all that. It makes things more fun and exciting. Like in Nascar, they have no freedom, everything has to be to spec. They are the same exact machines. But with motogp the tire situation is getting out of control. It has come down to a tire war and not a manufacturer/rider war that the fans want to see. I think they will do something about this but it will take time, because the manufacturers won't want to do this and will fight it all the way.
 

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^true very true. i love rossi b/c he is a very honest person. but all in the same he is very optimistic.
but my opinion is that everyone goes to a spec tire. look what it did for WSBK, or looking in the 4 wheel world F-1. tire manufacturers come up with so many different tire compounds for every different race track, that it is hardly down to the teams how the bike performs. a more exagerated form of it happened in f-1 for years. it even got to the point where bridgestone and Micheline were making different tire compounds for the teams that could afford such things. it creats a whole mess!!! and it kills racing. i say Moto Gp goes to a spec tire!!!
+1
Spot On!!!
 

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bwwwahahhaha, i can hear his ass talking right now. yes this i agree about ah.. roberts.. yes.

but Michelin ah not so good zis year, and we have to work. yes.
 

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They REALLY need to drop either michelin or bridgestone and have everyone riding on the same tires like in F1. Im sick and tired of seeing races being lost/won because of tires.......
 

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They REALLY need to drop either michelin or bridgestone and have everyone riding on the same tires like in F1. Im sick and tired of seeing races being lost/won because of tires.......

word, a control tires like WSBK would be sweet...
hell they could change it every year for all i care.
But they would prolly lose out on even more sponsorship, dont you think?
 

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word, a control tires like WSBK would be sweet...
hell they could change it every year for all i care.
But they would prolly lose out on even more sponsorship, dont you think?
Maybe, but i dont think it will make a difference in the long run, hopefully the racing will be closer and more interesting and bring more new fans into the sport.
 

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they should take the 4 best tire makers and have them all rotate races - so that every rider has to ride the same brand of tire (but choose the right compound for their bike) in each race - then rotate the to the next company for the next race -

that way no one team gets an advantage all season long - but every tire manufacture still gets to participate in the circuit - and the money from those factories and their sponsorship still keeps flowing in.

michelin - race 1
pirelli - race 2
bridgestone - race 3
dunlop - race 4

and so on -

let the teams determine how many & what compound to use in a given situation.
 

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i don't think there should be a spec tire rule because this is racing at the highest level. why should it be limited? obviously there has to be rules and i don't necessarily agree with the current rule, like the riders shouldn't have to choose which tires to use before the weekend even starts.

in my opinion, saying that only michelin or bridgestone can supply tires in motogp is the same as saying that only honda or yamaha can make the bikes in motogp.

racing should be racing, whoever has the best package wins at the end of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The situation is easily rectified by allowing more tires. 32 isn't enough for the race weekend. Perhaps, they can amend it by saying manufacturers can bring, say, 42 tires, with the option of exchanging 8 tires after the first day of free practice, per rider. I have little belief that even if Michelin could build a better tire in one day and have it shipped, that it would be any different than right now. Michelin's best tires aren't lasting the whole race distance. Bridgestones are just plain better everywhere. Look at Laguna, Casey was pulling TENTHS every lap!

But add to that rectification that no manufacturer shall be allowed to construct a tire the weekend of the race and have it shipped. This will just force the manufacturers to bring any and everything they got. By upping the number of tires per weekend with the option to exchange, I think you give the tire choices a better shot.
 

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racing should be racing, whoever has the best package wins at the end of the day.
My only problem with that is what Rossi said. It's no longer about the machine. It's a tire battle. Every make of motorcycle shod with Bridgestones were competitive. Every other bike on Michelin (besides Rossi and Pedrosa) slipped back in the field. That's not "package". That's the "Best Tire Wins"! Melandri's bike is no where near the factory-spec Repsol of Dani's (similar, but not identical) and he put it on the podium GAINING whereas Dani was slippin' back! That's not a bike issue, that's a TIRE issue. No one wants to see that.

You're right: You want to see the best PACKAGE win.

I'm a Honda rider on Bridgestones, so I want to see them go well, but not at the expense of a crappy Michelin tire. I want to see the best Honda on the best Bridgestones, run against the best Honda on the best Michelins, all else being equal. That's what I want to see.
 

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Bridgestone is building a better tire than Michelin. They are bound by the same rules as Michelin. This is no different than the bike manufacturers building a Moto GP bike.

While were at a spec tire rule to make the races closer and more fair we should limit HP as well. Should we punish the factories to de-tune thier bikes to the tune of the KR212 so that HP doesn't play a factor?

Don't dumb down the series becuase one supplier cannot keep up. Force Michelin to step it up. If Michelin cannot than we will see a rash of works teams jumping ship to B-stone. I would like to see the rule to stay in place for next season. Michelin is gathering thier data at the tracks this year and will be able to use it next year. In theory this will even the playing feild.
 

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Bridgestone is building a better tire than Michelin. They are bound by the same rules as Michelin. This is no different than the bike manufacturers building a Moto GP bike.

While were at a spec tire rule to make the races closer and more fair we should limit HP as well. Should we punish the factories to de-tune thier bikes to the tune of the KR212 so that HP doesn't play a factor?

Don't dumb down the series becuase one supplier cannot keep up. Force Michelin to step it up. If Michelin cannot than we will see a rash of works teams jumping ship to B-stone. I would like to see the rule to stay in place for next season. Michelin is gathering thier data at the tracks this year and will be able to use it next year. In theory this will even the playing feild.
Yea this really puts things in to perspective. Part of the excitement of moto gp racing is seeing who has the best combo and teams having to work hard to be better than other teams. If they imparted a spec tire then that would lead to other limitations.
 

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Yea this really puts things in to perspective. Part of the excitement of moto gp racing is seeing who has the best combo and teams having to work hard to be better than other teams. If they imparted a spec tire then that would lead to other limitations.

In all honesty I wouldn't mind having a spec tire rule. I just fear that they would begin to build the bikes around the tire, instead of the tire around the bike.

If you look at the last season of the GSVR, they would produce fast single laps on a Q tire or at the start of the race. The problem was the power delivery of the GSVR destroying the tires.

The tire manufacturers could not keep up with the power the 990's were putting to the ground. In a sense the bikes were ahead of the tires. I just don't want it to go backwards.
 

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In all honesty I wouldn't mind having a spec tire rule. I just fear that they would begin to build the bikes around the tire, instead of the tire around the bike.

If you look at the last season of the GSVR, they would produce fast single laps on a Q tire or at the start of the race. The problem was the power delivery of the GSVR destroying the tires.

The tire manufacturers could not keep up with the power the 990's were putting to the ground. In a sense the bikes were ahead of the tires. I just don't want it to go backwards.
that makes me think, are the b stones only doing well because the 800s arent as rough on them as the 900s were?

and this less abuse on the michelin has them not functioning right?
 
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