Former 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner is now offering his Grand Prix insights and opinions on a regular basis to cyclenews.com readers and we’re happy to have him. For even more from the Wollongong Wonder, visit his website at www.waynegardnerapproved.com.au.HONDA TRIPLE TREAT
If the rumours are true and Casey Stoner has indeed agreed to terms with Honda for 2010, then it’s highly likely the factory team will field three bikes next year. Despite the fact he’s so far been unable to deliver a MotoGP championship, Dani Pedrosa will keep his spot. Repsol is Spanish and so is Dani – enough said. Dovizioso, being Italian, is also safe for now, providing the company with a strong presence in that market as well. But in terms of results, just banking on these two clearly won’t be enough. Honda still needs a consistently fast rider, and that’s where Stoner comes into calculations. If they haven’t already, I think Honda will have to dig deep and pay him whatever he wants. I think this is the best solution to Honda’s current problems. With three factory machines on the grid they’ll also have access to a lot more rider data, which is crucial for the bike’s development at this point in time.
I noticed that comments I made regarding the Isle of Man TT a few weeks back were picked up by popular UK website crash.net over the weekend. It was also interesting to see that my views provoked such heated responses from readers on the site’s forum. While it’s always disappointing when people feel the need to base their arguments on such personal attacks, I can certainly live with it. My only concern is for rider’s lives and the families of those left behind. I stand by my opinion that the TT is insane, outdated and should be banned. If being alarmed about unnecessary death makes me a “knob” or a “moaner” as some have suggested, then that’s fine.One criticism levelled at me was that I never raced the TT and have no idea what I’m talking about. While it’s true I never actually raced there, I still know how dangerous the place is. I spent a week back in 1981 learning the circuit with the idea of trying my luck. I was young and naive and had been tempted by the offer of substantial start money. But at the last minute I got a call from Moriwaki asking me to come to Japan to race the Suzuka 200 instead. Thankfully, I was never tempted to roll the dice at the TT again.Interestingly, Barry Sheene, arguably Britain’s toughest-ever racer, was another rider highly critical of the TT and its dangers. I wonder: do these same people regard his views with the same disdain and venom? Was Barry Sheene also somehow lacking in courage or manhood for voicing his concerns? Hardly. People should understand one thing: I love motorcycle racing. I always have. I understand that it’s inherently dangerous and that you have to take risks to win at any level. A few people out there may have forgotten that I once took many of them. But where’s the shame in testing your skill and courage on a circuit that doesn’t involve the risk of a collision with a wall or fence? I just can’t agree with anyone who thinks otherwise. Remember: there’s a key difference between closed circuit racing (such as MotoGP) and the TT, and that’s this: The TT virtually guarantees bodies in boxes every year.