Sepang II: The other side

Sepang II is done now. Gone are the thumping four strokes from the Malaysian shore. So what do we do between now and the next test in Australia? We take a look at the other side of the lap-time sheets. For instance, today, crash.net reported ...

Sepang II is done now. Gone are the thumping four strokes from the Malaysian shore. So what do we do between now and the next test in Australia? We take a look at the other side of the lap-time sheets.

For instance, today, crash.net reported Camel-Honda rider and former WSBK Champion, Troy Bayliss, may call it quits if he does not find speed quickly.

The biggest frustration of the Australian rider is how smoothly the RCV must be ridden, something Bayliss is not famous for. "At the moment the way it is the bike suits a smooth rider. It suits a GP rider more than anything because they are used to using the clutch all the time," explained Bayliss.

His style, that, all-over-the-bike, muscle-it-through-the-turn, way of riding not only made him popular in WSBK, but even handed him a championship. And changing it would be simply impossible and as the stand up man that he is, he'd rather give the opportunity to someone else.

"There's no way I'm going to change my whole style to suit this bike and if I can't get it to work around me a little then I'll give it to someone else. You don't just change you're style after 36 years. I can't change myself," said the frustrated MotoGP rider.

However, all hope is not lost and as the teams head to his homeland, he hopes for better luck at the picturesque circuit "I've never really had a lot of luck at Sepang and I'm trying not to beat myself up too much, but maybe when I get to Phillip Island I'll have a bit better understanding," stated Bayliss.

And while one MotoGP rider is finding the RCV hard to ride, another is finding the 2005 version to be not as good as the 2003 model.

Spaniard, Sete Gibernau, revealed that he was testing 2003-spec chassis, swingarm and rear suspension linkages during his latest Sepang visit. "I'm trying to work out the best package. I'm using the old chassis from the pre-season of last year because that's what I wanted. I went very fast in winter testing last year and was happy, but then Honda changed it. When the upper link came I was the only one to say no, I don't want to use it. But I had to use it. For me it's not an advantage. It's good to be able to work in my direction, whether that is going back to old stuff or not," said Gibernau.

Last but not least, they say the first rule in racing is to beat your teammate, and it appears Max Biaggi simply could not wait for the first race of the season, early April, to beat his teammate, Nicky Hayden. On their first day in Sepang, the two HRC riders collided with each other. Not on the track, but in pit lane. According to MCN, Biaggi was leaving his garage, unaware that Hayden was preparing to enter it. In his defense Biaggi said, "It was unbelievable. I went out of the pit and he came very close. He doesn't make the entry to the pits like everybody else in terms of curving in. He was close to the garage, maybe too close, and I couldn't see him. Nobody from the team advised me he was coming. It was a mistake of the management."

To what Hayden replied, "I was coming into the pits minding my own business and the old dude just pulled out in front me. He just T-boned me. I don't know if he'll admit that he screwed up. That's not his style."

To make things even worse, Biaggi's archrival, Valentino Rossi, was following Hayden when the collision occurred. "It was impossible not to smile. It was unbelievable. I was behind Nicky and I saw the crash but I didn't think it was reality. It was unlucky but some riders go too fast in the pits," smiled Rossi.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Max Biaggi , Valentino Rossi , Troy Bayliss , Sete Gibernau , Phillip Island