Wayne Gardner shares his thoughts with the readers of cyclenews.com…CZECH IT OUT!
It was great to see Casey Stoner win so convincingly at Brno, but it definitely would have been good to see a more exciting race, especially after the absolute corkers in 125 and Moto2. Regardless, I reckon it’s fair to say the 2011 MotoGP crown is now his to lose. Like I’ve said all year, his style has matured so much that he hardly resembles the rider he used to be. Although he seems to regularly suffer bike set-up problems in practice, he’s continually able to turn it all around come race time. Did you notice how he adapted his style throughout the race? As tire edge grip faded, he responded by squaring off the corners and standing the bike up mid-turn before getting on the throttle. All the top riders are masters at adapting their style as their race package changes, but none seem to do it quite as noticeably as Casey. He wasn’t even troubled in the race and I reckon he could have gone quicker if he had to.Which brings me to Dani Pedrosa. What can you say? If you look at his history in MotoGP, it just seems that whenever he starts putting in strong performances, things like yesterday’s crash always happen. He just doesn’t seem to be able to maintain the rage without incident. It’s quite sad, as he’s a really nice guy. But it’s because of incidents like this that I think he’ll never win the World Championship. His lap-three crash at Brno just looked like the smallest error in judgement, but at this level that’s all it takes. But even if he’d stayed on, I still think he would have been hard-pressed to beat Casey. The big question now is: with his championship hopes now definitely gone, will Dani help Casey consolidate or increase his lead in the points standings if the opportunity arises? The top brass at Honda, desperate to win their first-ever 800cc crown, may well insist on it.
The other big story of the day was the decline of Jorge Lorenzo due to what turned out to be a very poor tire choice. I’m not sure how the idea to use a soft front came about, but I find it quite mystifying. Surely the team would have assessed possible tire options during practice and been well aware of the individual performances of each. As it turns out, he struggled badly for grip and ultimately did well to stay out of the clutches of Ben Spies and Valentino Rossi. As things stand, he’s hanging onto his championship by his fingernails, and I think he’ll have to resort to some major risk-taking in the next few races to have any hope of closing the gap to Casey.DON’T COUNT YOUR CHICKENSDucati fans shouldn’t get too excited by Valentino Rossi’s sixth place. Yes, it was probably the closest he’s been to the eventual winner all year, and he was certainly in very close touch with the likes of Spies and Lorenzo throughout the race. But I think a lot of it can be put down to the flowing nature of the Brno circuit, which seemed to mask some of the Ducati’s issues. Yes, it looks like recent changes that the team have made to the GP11.1 have had a definite effect, but I think we need to see how it performs at the next few tracks before making a solid judgement. Whatever improvements Vale’s bike might be receiving are certainly needed throughout the remainder of the Ducati fleet. Nicky Hayden looked to struggle again, while the likes of DePuniet and Capirossi must be having real nightmares about the time they signed on to ride Italian terror.