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.A RESULT TO WRITE HOME ABOUTWhat an awesome weekend we've all just had, with Remy scoring an unexpected second place in the latest round of the Spanish CMV Championship at Catalunya. After coming such a long way to experience the disappointments of our last two trips, this is such a fantastic result.
As usual, it was all a bit of a struggle at first. We'd never seen Catalunya, didn't get any testing, and were riding the Moriwaki we'd recently shipped over from Australia. The track itself is massive and fast and the most challenging circuit of the year, so we had to overcome all of that plus a few set-up issues as well. At the start of practice Remy was a long way off the pace - 10-seconds to be exact.
We were lucky enough that his Monlau teammate Maria Herrera took him around to show him the way. But after a few laps she took off and left him because he was really slow. Not a great start. In the end he managed to qualify sixth and was praying for rain because of his obvious aptitude for wet weather. But I said to him, ‘you've got to go and prove yourself in the dry, mate. You can do it in the wet - that's nice. But you'll have more dry races than wet ones.'
In the race he made a reasonable start, getting away in sixth. There was a bit of a gap to the front group and for several laps he just sat and watched. Then something just clicked. He understood what to do and took off, catching the lead group and having a fantastic battle with them. By that time the eventual race winner had shot ahead by three or four-seconds, so there was no catching him. But Remy kept fighting until he finally managed to pull away from the second group and beat them by about half-a-second.
It was great to see him up on the podium spraying the lemonade, which had been his main mission all along. Team director Emilio Alzamora, who was at Mugello scoring a fantastic win in Moto2 with Marc Marquez, called straight after. He was also very excited. It was another big step forward and we all can't wait for the next race.
What a great ride by Jorge Lorenzo at Mugello on Sunday. It was a fantastic result and great for the championship. For Casey, it was obviously a disappointing afternoon after establishing such a commanding early lead. Still, bringing it home in third and not pushing his luck too far when the worm turned was a very smart approach. As the old saying goes, ‘points make prizes', and Casey's definitely adopting the right strategy when things don't go his way.
It was interesting to see that there was virtually no difference between the top speeds of the Yamaha and Honda down the long main straight. Yamaha have spoken about the impending arrival of some updated engine components, and from Sunday's performance I think it's safe to assume they've arrived. Up until recently, Yamaha's firing order was great for getting the power down but not so great for generating top speed. It now looks like they've managed to achieve both.
While I'm at it, I also want to give a huge wrap to Andrea Dovizioso. I can't remember him ever putting in a more determined and aggressive ride. Up until now he's been the third wheel in the Repsol team, so it's fantastic to see him assert himself. I hope he can keep it up.