Cycle News

Cycle News 2013 Issue 31 August 6

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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CN III IN THE PADDOCK P128 BY MICHAEL SCOTT BRING IT ON R acing, much like real life, is all about transitions. This is true at so many levels. Consider the progress of a MotoGP bike through a chicane. Its ability to make the transition from one angle of lean to the other without losing the line or becoming unstable is key to a fast lap time. Or the transition from a slow corner exit through the gearbox to sixth. Honda's seamless-shift gearbox smooths the transitions. Less interruption to the power flow pays out in acceleration and yet more chassis stability. Transition also among the riders, always. Heroes arrive, grow older and slower, new ones take their place. Often before they are ready to give way; these transitions are seldom smooth and comfortable at a personal level for the outgoing ones. It can be hard to accept the inevitable. The 2013 season has been rich in transition. The most prominent being personal: the wresting of the mantle of Greatest of All Time from Valentino Rossi by Marc Marquez. Of course, this is still very much a work in progress. But it is happening faster and more smoothly than anyone could have imagined. Including both riders. Rossi has made many epic overtakes in his long and glorious career, but three in particular stand out: bombing Sete Giber- nau on the last corner at Jerez in 2005; bamboozling Casey Stoner at the Corkscrew in 2008; and carving up Jorge Lorenzo at the last corner at Catalunya in 2009. So far in his first season, Marquez has repeated two of these moves, the first on defending champ Lorenzo, the second on Rossi himself. Talk about giving the Doctor a taste of his own medicine… Perhaps he'll do Catalunya next year, though he has little trouble inventing new moves of his own. It's the legacy of Moto2. And vast reserves of talent. Another transition has been less in the public eye: how the mantle of Honda White Hope has passed from Stoner to Marquez as seamlessly as the famous gearshift. Even if Pedrosa does win the title this year (still possi- ble), that will make no difference. The stripling has found a warm welcome in the Stoner pit. Marquez took over Stoner's crew to a man, aside from bringing his own Spanish crew chief (Stoner's, Cristian Gabarini, was promoted to oversee both riders). Their affection for the new boy knows no bounds. Not surprising, considering not just the results but also his persona. Breath of fresh air. But the Australian is not letting go that easily, and Honda have clearly forgiven his precipitate departure, for they have invited him back for another go. By the time you read this, the fast and feisty V8 saloon car racer will have had the first of four planned tests on next year's RC213V at Motegi. He will also be testing next year's customer bike. On his side, it's apparently just for the fun of it; on

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