Rossi’s has natural traction control that is better than a computer. Hot conditions in Spain caused many riders so many problems, they thought they were riding in the wet. Valentino Rossi’s experience showed everyone the way and he stormed to a magnificent 87th Victory.
For as long as Matthew Birt has been covering MotoGP™, Rossi has been winning and in Jerez The Doctor showed he’s not out of tricks just yet
With 21 years of experience reporting on MotoGP™, Matthew Birt knows the championship inside-out. For the 2016 season he remains with the motogp.com team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock
It seems like an eternity since I covered my first MotoGP™ race at Jerez back in 1996.
I remember it well for the dramatic finale involving Mick Doohan and Alex Criville and the fact that I was able to walk away with only a cracked bone in my elbow and concussion after a truck tried to convert the Motor Cycle News hire car into a matchbox.
In those two decades since, I’ve seen the dreams of a gifted few fulfilled and the dreams of hundreds and hundreds of others fade without trace.
MotoGP™ has changed immeasurably during that time, but only one thing has remained constant.
Valentino Rossi at the top.
He just missed the podium that day when he finished fourth in an epic 125cc race behind Nobby Ueda, who ironically denied him a career first podium by just 0.046s.
If you had told me on May 12, 1996 that on April 24, 2016 I would be witnessing an ageless Rossi still winning in MotoGP™, well my response might have been laced with more than one expletive.
Rossi’s brilliant win last weekend in Jerez was just the latest chapter in a career that has bridged generations and continues to defy logic.
He is a force of nature. A master of reinvention, who aged 37, is still capable of performances that almost render you speechless.
Sunday’s win was his 87th in MotoGP™, yet the first time he’s led every lap from pole position to take a win in his illustrious premier class career.
This is an old dog you can teach new tricks to. Rossi has quickly adapted to the different characteristics of Michelin’s tyres and his wealth of experience means he’s a master in the art of tyre management now the unified software has lessened the influence of rider aids.
Rossi comes from an age before MotoGP™ machines became the laptop guided missiles of the modern era. Back in the day, your right hand was your traction control and in a Spanish Grand Prix where hot conditions turned the race into an examination in controlling wheelspin, Rossi simply coped better than anybody else.
Even Lorenzo’s crew chief Ramon Forcada admitted that after checking data, Rossi had handled the wheelspin issues better. The spinning issues were so severe that a few riders felt like they were riding in the wet. They’d all had to moderate throttle opening on the straight to get drive, and it was MotoGP™’s shrewdest operator that prevailed over its smoothest.
Sunday’s conditions seemed to play to the strengths of Lorenzo and his famed smooth style. Yet The Doctor gave him a taste of his own medicine.