A number of the top MotoGP stars were asked in the pre-event press conference at Misano whether they felt 15 time world champion Giacomo Agostini or Mike Hailwood was, in their opinion, the greatest roadracer of all time. Choose one.
Agostini's accomplishments in racing are beyond reproach. That said, not all riders of his era are huge fans of the Italian. In softer moments Kenny Roberts refers to Ago only as "that butt head", and 500 champion Phil Read, who was fast and smart, owned a Rolls long before Sheene, has had to basically ride his whole career and live his whole racing life, sadly, partially in the shadow of Ago.
What do the stars of this generation think of Ago, or Mike Hailwood?
After the question was asked, Valentino Rossi rolled his eyes, and took off his cap. Then he began furiously scratching his head like he'd just been diagnosed with lice. After he re-assembled himself, Rossi said that because he is Italian, he must choose Ago, but in explaining his answer Rossi showed himself to have a fairly impressive command of GP racing history, especially for a rider.
With piercing eyes, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo gave a nod to Agostini. However in a hugely magnanimous moment, Lorenzo said not once but twice, that he feels the best of all time is in fact his current teammate, Valentino Rossi.
|The best part of the press conferenceand assuredly from the portion of it dedicated to getting Ago's ego strokedcame when panel member and Yamaha team managing director Lin Jarvis spoke about his choice of either Ago' or Hailwood. |
HRC boss Livio Suppo was a member of the panel. He said that as he is a friend of Ago's, he felt it only right to choose him.
Points leader and legend in the making Marc Marquez watched the exchange sitting elbow to elbow with Rossi. Looking like a schoolboy who had been asked which long retired vice principle he felt had done the best job forty-odd years ago, Marquez laughed nervously when it became his turn to speak. Pressured, he sort of indicated that Ago was the best but he summed the situation by saying, "Truly, I cannot say."
The best part of the press conferenceand assuredly from the portion of it dedicated to getting Ago's ego strokedcame when panel member and Yamaha team managing director Lin Jarvis spoke about his choice of either Ago' or Hailwood.
Terming Jarvis's personality as "reserved" is like saying the color grey is nondescript.
Belying his image as a button-downed numbers and management guy, Jarvis told a wonderful story detailing how he became captivated by racing when at age eight his father took him via ferry to the Isle of Man TT. There he watched Ago and Hailwood duke it out at 140 mph from the top of Bray Hill.
Jarvis' eyes sparkled as he told of the memories he had from that time, seeing the booming GP bikes rail around the Island at full song.