Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1995 08 16

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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Page 62 of 63

:IN·THE·PADDOCK·.'. ....BY Scott . ~ M1ch~ in the world, as well as the most manfar this year, it hasn't been easy to know how to react to Luca Cadalopower in the paddock, are nothing withra. out the right spirit. The once mighty squad is alone Any triple World Champion (once 125cc, twice 250cc) clearly should comamong 500cc works teams in using Dunmand respect. But his petulant perforlops instead of Michelins. The choice mance on the troubled Team Marlboro was at least partly because the rider Roberts Yamahas has complicated matupon whom the team's greatest success ters considerably. was built - Wayne Rainey - liked them It's aU about his dislike of Dunlop for their more forgiving nature at the tires, and insistence that the team switch point of breaking away, an area where to Michelins forthwith. This began at the only he and one or two other riders second race, but has been thwarted on could ride. all sides ever since. His response was to sulk, which in racing terms means riding without enthusiasm, then often as not pitting an otherwise healthy motorcycle rather than take big-time risks for smalltime rewards. All the while, teammate Norifumi Abe has had his head down, racing as hard as he can while so learning the bike and a whole set of new tracks. When he has fallen off (only twice in the first eight races) he's immediately remounted and tried to carry on. In other words, he's behaved just like a real racer. . So where does this leave Luca? Do we respect him for having the courage to ride below his ability on a point of principle? Or feel mild contempt because he lacks the courage to challenge his own weaknesses? Is he being brave or feeble? Methinks he will gain more sympathy if he continues with what at Le Mans seemed a revival LUC8 Cadalol1l • hero or helIdcue? of spirit. There he claimed his third second place of the year, fending off a determined if injured The tires had always been troubleDaryl Beattie for'full race distance. some, however. Other riders comWhen the rear tire had started to slide, plained of difficulty in finding a good front-rear combination; and ef poor he let it slide and kept the gas open. "I've never been able to do that before. quality control that led to tire chunking, inconsistencies, and even out-of-round Today must be a special day," he said tires. afterwards, with an almost shy smile. What exactly led to this revival, and At the end of 1992, Dunlop persuaded Roberts to stay married and to indeed the slump before it? Tires; but they are just part of it. In a address these problems by backing a full-time test team, with Randy Mamola second near-disastrous year for the formerly dominant Team Roberts, the disin the saddle. integration of confidence has kept on And there was the money. Nobody knows how much, but it is believed that spreading, showing that all the budget S Dunlop's financial contribution to the most expensive team in the paddock goes significantly beyond footing the test-team bill. And Kenny Roberts has plenty of outgoings. His team seems to include a fair proportion of the population of his native Modesto, among many others. Kenny loves hiring people, but is believed to have fired only two people in the past decade. . The next problem was the worst Rainey's catastrophic crash in 1993. After that, the heart went out of the team to such an extent that it probably rebounded on tire development too. Certainly Luca was complaining of the infidelity of the front wheel last year, even while adding two race wins to his first of the previous season. When the same problems continued into 1995, at least Dunlop had a reason. The Han-Shin earthquake in January had flattened their Kobe factory. This hadn't introduced new problems. Indeed, the troublesome fronts came from the British plant at Fort Dunlop outside Birmingham. But the widescale disruption to the company helped explain why they hadn't been able to fix the old ones in time. . Luca didn't buy it. After crashing through losing the front in Australia, he toured ignominiously into the pits in Malaysia, where the first of several angry confrontations with Roberts is understood to have taken place. It was now that Luca embarked on his campaign to get the team to swi tch to Michelins. This took several levels. One was' through the Italian Press. Luca made his feelings. very clear,

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