The way it all played out, who would blame Kevin Schwantz if he decided to gloat a bit?
The much publicized feud between Schwantz and Alberto Puig set off global fireworks in 2013 when, prior to the MotoGP season beginning, Schwantz told an Italian news site that he felt Dani Pedrosa would be better off if he fired his longtime mentor, Puig.
Schwantz, whose opinions are sought after because he is a former world champion, pressed all the right buttons on Puig's doomsday briefcase by simply stating: Dani lacks nothing. But he has too much - like Alberto Puig. Dani needs to reach another level by himself. He is like a child who cannot be freed because his parents are holding him back. I like Dani, but he's a rider who has been with Honda for eight years and not won anything. I would like him to prove me wrong, but I don't think that will happen. It was a measured statement.
Puig reacted predictably, by over-reacting as seemingly only Alberto can when he feels threatenednot leaving one dagger in the scabbard, mobilizing all firepower at Schwantz via Dorna's motogp.com web site. With that gigantic bully pulpit at his disposal, Puig unloaded on Schwantz for fifteen paragraphs about how improper and clueless it was for Schwantzwho barely won a GP title, Alberto inferredto suggest that Dani would be better off without Alberto at his side.
As it happened, Pedrosa and Puig didn't win the MotoGP title in 2013. Instead, Pedrosa's rookie teammate Marquez won the title, steamrolling past Pedrosa, all the while telling the media that Dani was the A rider on the Repsol team and he was just a support player in all of this. It was played perfectly by Marquez and his manager Emilio Alzamora.
Most developments at HRC are three act plays, say the HRC-students. We waited for the third act.
It came as expected. The political fallout of Pedrosa's failure was, essentially, Puig being sent to the Russian Front. For 2014 he has an "increased role" in HRC's global operations. Instead of shadowing Pedrosa's every movement, he will get to manage HRC's Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup.
Okay, Schwantz is the clear victor in this little skirmish.
So, after being attacked for fifteen paragraphs and having endured Puig criticizing seemingly every aspect of his career and life, we called Schwantz recently to get a quote on Puig being handed his hat and coat.
We fully expected him to gloat a little. Who wouldn't?
Schwantz said, "Largely, I have no comment. You know, I never thought of Alberto when I raced--I mean, I just never thought about him much. And it's the same today."