Wayne’s World: Money Talks

| April 27, 2011

Former 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner will be offering his GP insights on a regular basis to cyclenews.com readers and we’re happy to have him. For more from the Wollongong Wonder, visit his website at www.waynegardnerapproved.com.au.SHOW ME THE MONEY!You know what really surprises me? The fact that Yamaha’s factory MotoGP team, fielding a Spanish world champion in a sport run by a Spanish company, still can’t secure a naming rights sponsor. It really makes me wonder: is MotoGP being marketed in the best possible way? Are potential sponsors being approached in the best possible manner? Is the sport being made attractive enough for them to consider becoming involved? Is enough being done to look after the sponsors who are actually involved already? Personally, I think it looks quite bad when the leading team can’t find a company to put its name on the side of their bike. What’s happening to the sport? It seems as though the more MotoGP tries to re-invent itself as Formula One on two wheels, the less appealing it is to the corporate dollar. I’d be really keen to hear other people’s thoughts on this one as I reckon it’s an issue that will only become more critical in the next few seasons.Anyway, onto this weekend’s Portuguese MotoGP race and I think it’s fair to say it’ll be between Lorenzo and Stoner, with Stoner coming out on top. It’ll be a tight battle and I don’t think either rider will get away. Unfortunately, I think Dani Pedrosa may struggle to keep up. My paddock spies tell me he’s still having plenty of problems with that shoulder despite his recent surgery so we shouldn’t expect too much. My other prediction is for a great battle for third between Spies and Simoncelli. I reckon it’s going to be a cracker.MEANWHILE, HERE IN SPAIN…Remy’s CMV debut was also incredible and much more than we’d hoped. It all started with two days of testing at Parcmotor – a difficult track to learn. He struggled on the first day, which is to be expected with a new team and the new RMU pre-GP 125 bike. But I could also see there were issues with him translating information about the bike to the Monlau team engineers. We worked our way through it and all was good at the end of the day. On day-two, the bike feeling improved and his lap times tumbled, ending up more than 10-seconds faster than what he managed when we came here late last year. It was incredible to watch. As the bike improved, he started picking better lines and was also able to take advantage of advice offered by team members in the many debriefs they held. Needless to say, he was very excited by the possibilities.HEART STOPPEROur troubles started on Friday during the actual race meeting. Firstly, we had mechanical problems that proved difficult to identify. Basically, the bike would just die and Remy’s track time was cut significantly. Then on Saturday qualifying the rain came down. He’d never ridden in the rain so I told him to go very slowly. But as he got more confident up went the pace – right up until he had a massive near-highside right in front of me. Somehow, he saved it, hanging off the side of the bike in a style very reminiscent of Randy Mamola’s famous save at San Marino back in the mid-80s. It was pure luck. I’ve never been so frightened in my life. I was in shock – Remy as well. A couple of gentleman said to me, ‘now you know what your father used to go through’. The team discovered electrical interference from the data logging system, which was cutting the ignition. By Sunday warm-up, it was fantastic. Despite the rain Remy was quickest by six-tenths. We were all stunned. Team owner Emilio Alzamora was amazed to find he’d never ridden in the rain. I don’t mind telling you I felt very proud.WHEN IT COUNTSThe track conditions at race time were patchy, with lots of water still on the track despite drying conditions. The team decided on wet tires, and from 12th on the grid Remy blasted off the line, smoking the back tire and launching into a giant wheel-stand as he shot past a heap of riders and into the first corner in third place. On the second lap he hit the front and started pulling away – just amazing. But on the start of the third lap the gear lever broke off and that was that. Race over. He was incredibly disappointed and felt he could have won easily. I really believe he could have as well. But that’s how it goes sometimes.


Wayne Gardner