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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Q&A: BBC Motorbikes team
TEXT: 81111

BBC Sport has coverage of all the major motorcycling competitions throughout the year.

We'll be bringing you all the latest from British Superbikes, World Superbikes and of course MotoGP.

Once again Valentino Rossi has dominated the MotoGP season, winning four races and confounding the critics who thought his Yamaha bike was too slow to compete.

Where does this leave Sete Gibernau, Max Biaggi and the rest of the field?

Steve Parrish and Suzi Perry answered your questions on this, and all your other queries.

Qu: Suzy, What would be your dream bike, money no object? The New MV Agusta F4 1000? And are you and Max Biaggi an item after the "kiss" the other week?

Simon Jacklin, England

Suzi: Good question - you've chosen a great bike there but my love of superbikes means I'd have to have Carl Fogarty's 1998 Championship winning Ducati - great bike, brilliant rider and some fantastic memories.

Biaggi? Possibly not.

Qu: With our Domestic series geared up almost totally to producing Superbike Riders and the lack of personal sponsorship our top riders get in comparison to say the Spanish or Italians are we ever going to see a British rider challenging consistently in MotoGp again?

Andy Goldsby, UK

Steve: You've got a point Andy - it's certainly going to be harder, and some of the continental Europeans will always have an advantage when they are growing up. That said, as long as we have a strong domestic scene then the top MotoGP teams will always pick British riders.

Shane Byrne and Neil Hodgson are two examples - both came up through the Superbikes ranks. I don't think there will be any changes on the domestic scene, but with World Superbikes now competing on four-strokes I think the gap between the classes has slightly diminished.

Qu: Why is it that Neil Hodgson chose to go to MotoGP with a second rate team when he could have retained his position with Ducati in WSB?

Peter Fox, UK

Suzi: I think that after winning the Champinship last year Neil felt he had nothing left to prove in World Superbikes. He has always dreamt of racing in MotoGP, which represents the pinnacle of the sport, and it was only natural for him to seek a new challenge.

Qu: If Rossi actually manages to win the title this year on a bike that wasn't supposed to be even be competetive until next year, do you think that he will look to challenge himself in other teams/sports?

Simon Swift, England

Steve: As far as I understand it, Valentino's contract runs out in 2005. if he manages to win another MotoGP championship this year or next I think he'll call it a day. It is a dangerous way to make a living and if he wins on the Yamaha he'll have nothing left to prove - as if he does anyway.

I can see him making a move to rallying - he took part in the RAC rally last year - it's slightly safer and I think the sport would suit his style. Formula One? He'll be 27 in 2005 and would need at least a year testing before he could contemplate driving one of those machines - there's so much to absorb - so I think rallying is his likely destination.

Qu: What do you think Neil Hodgson's plans are now for next season. Do you feel that he will find his feet and excel next season like Colin Edwards has done?

Tegan Sandell, Wales

Suzi: It's a bit early to talk about next season; I think Neil is totally focused on the Ducati this year - he says he has a three-year plan to win the title, so we'll have to give him a little bit of time. I think he can and will improve on this year's results, and he'll definitely want to stick it out in GP for another few seasons.

As for Colin Edwards - has he excelled this season? I'll leave it to you to work it out!

Qu: Rossi would probably have won in Germany if his tyres had lasted longer. Do you think it is wrong that a rider's ability is compromised by failing tyres regardless of which bike he is on?

Gary, England

Steve: There was no failiure of tyres in Germany - Valentino's were fine. What the problems he faced did illustrate was that he is pushing his bike far harder than the others, particularly round the corners. He's having to ride like a demon as the Yamaha isn't quite there.

His team may think about using a different composition for his next races, but the plain facts are that his tyres are taking more of a battering than his opponents'.

Qu: Has Sete Gibernau blown his one and only chance to win the MotoGP Championship?

Mark Frere, N'Hants

Suzi: No - we're only halfway through the season and it's still quite tight at the top. Sete is a great rider and although early results haven't gone his way it's too early to write him off. His Honda can still improve and get faster.

Qu: How good do you think Valentino Rossi is - and can he get better?

Dom, Cornwall

Steve: If Valentino Rossi manages to win the championship this year or next year I think he'll go down in history as the best rider the spirt has ever produced. I think motorcyle racing has been a tough old sport in the past few years, and in some respects has got more dangerous, and for him to flourish in such an environment is a credit to him. A simply superb rider who can, and is, getting better.

Suzi: Valentino Rossi is a motorcycling legend, and it's a privilege to be able to watch him race. He's extremely talented and clever rider who has got a great technical mind.

He didn't just bring his on-track skills to Yamaha, he gave them the benefit of his knowledge of the bikes - how they work and how they can improve. I think he'll go down in history as one of the top-three riders of all time.

  • Thanks for all your questions - if you'd like to get in touch with the BBC motorcycling team you can do so via the link at the top of this page.

  • MOTOGP 2004




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