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"Fast Bikes", April 1, 2013

Steve Parrish


Steve Parrish

Steve very much regrets the disco lighting in Alpine clubs...

Hi guys, can you believe it’s been ten years since Barry Sheene left us? I couldn’t believe it, though I haven’t really been keeping count either. It’s also sad for other reasons, as we lost one of our squadron members last week, suddenly. I’m not sure if you know, but there was a group of us that used to meet up in certain parts of the world, at certain times of the year to catch up and, of course, serve up some mayhem.

We even had a couple of NCO hangers on in George Harrison and Damon Hill, and our meet-ups were the highlight of the year. Since losing Barry, our squadron-leader, that’s happened less, but last week Jeremy Paxton passed suddenly, after going upstairs at home to put a different pair of trousers on...

He was fit as a fiddle, rich and full of life, but we now know had a heart condition that was never picked up, not even by him. There are now only two of us left, but I guess that’s life. I’ll also guess the bastards that have already gone have blagged the best rooms and the best bints before I can get there! I’ll raise a glass to the boys though, and look forward to the time we can get together again. Getting old is arse, so I need something to look forward to!

Back in the land of the living, there’s been some testing going on. It’s great to see Rossi somewhere near the front again, it’s almost like he never left Yamaha, bar the fact he’s no longer numero uno. That said, his die-hard fans are already proclaiming the fact he’ll win the title this year. Now, I would love that to happen, I really would, but I can’t help wondering what planet are these people from? As much as I’d like it to happen, can you really see him beating both Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa enough times to win? What, really? I haven’t even included Marc Marquez in that equation, either.

Frankly, I think Valentino will have his work cut out for him just beating the MotoGP rookie; he’ll need all of his vast experience to get the better of that kid alone, never mind George and Daniel.

And then we have the next bunch, in Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista, and so on. To them, Rossi is the big scalp they’ll want each weekend, and he’s got a big target on his back. That’s a lot of pressure on him to perform, and we haven’t even had a race yet. Still, was great to see him finish third, just tenths behind the top boys. This all means I’m super excited for 2013!

Over with Ducati though – what the hell is going on there? I got together with Neil Hodgson the other day, and over lunch we ended up discussing their situation. Neither of us have a single clue how they are getting it so wrong. The thing has two wheels, an engine, suspension and brakes, so why is it so hard to ride? When you consider all their racing success, it makes no sense at all. At Sepang they’re saying they need to fully evaluate the situation before any wholesale changes are made. Well, how much evaluating do they need to do exactly? Not even Jerry Burgess or Rossi could tame it, and they went through about six different incarnations. Evaluating a piece of shit will only tell you one thing – it’s a piece of shit! Why they are waiting, I just don’t understand. What I want more than anything though, is to see Casey Stoner back on it. You just know, don’t you, that if he was riding it he’d be winning and on the podium. Well, at least we have Vale back on a Yamaha, eh? I’ll buy that for a dollar. Bring it on!

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