World Superbike Racer
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Princeton NJ, Ithaca NY (school)
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Ryder Notes: Taxman
by julian ryder
Friday, August 17, 2007
Don't look for too many insights from Valentino Rossi this weekend --anything you do see will be from the team's
press release not from questions asked by journalists. Why? Because the Italian media have been obsessing over
the Italian tax authority's investigation into Valentino's affairs and he isn't going to put his head over the
parapet. I wonder if he'll turn up to the front-row press conference tomorrow if he qualifies in the top three.
How big a story is it back home? Uccio told Jerry Burgess it was bigger than the death of a pope. This is not too
much of an exaggeration. Vale appeared on RAI, the country's number-one TV station, reading a prepared statement
in the manner usually reserved for presidents and prime ministers. Newspapers are devoting pages to the subject
every day. The Doc is quoted as saying he thinks this story will go away quickly; sounds like wishful thinking.
In the meantime, the first day of competition after the Summer break ended with the splendid sight of Sylvain
Guintoli at the top of the timing sheets on his Dunlop-shod Tech 3 Yamaha. Sylvain was ninth or tenth fastest on
race tyres, but Dunlop are not covered by the new tyre allocation rule (they haven't won races in the last two
years) so can throw as many tyres at the problem as they want.
Not that it will matter. The weather was pretty dismal today and both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden said their
tyres will be better when the track temperature rises.
Nicky, however, was disappointed by the performance of the
new engine parts from Honda. He offered the opinion that it would help for test riders to do a couple of wild
card rides each year, as Suzuki are doing. Tady Okada is currently the man doing that job and while he is still
blindingly fast around Suzuka he isn't in Stoner territory around Motegi.
Nicky refuses to criticize Honda - quite the reverse - but did call the situation 'a bit demoralizing.' That
remark, though, applied as much to Michelin as it did to HRC. It is quite amazing how often staff of Michelin
teams have made disparaging remarks to me at this race: 'Nice bike, shame about the tires,' is a typical example.
Rossi has a new more enveloping fairing on one bike, he used it in both sessions.
Melandri missed the afternoon free practice with a trapped nerve in his shoulder (obviously more painful than
riding Laguna with a broken ankle...)
Rizla will continue their sponsorship of Suzuki into 2008
The last Dunlop pole position was Tetsuya Harada on the Aprilia V-twin at Mugello 1999.