Watching Casey Stoner bring his Ducati across the finish line for yet another win makes me wonder once again, why do we focus on the racer almost to the exclusion of the bike and the team? Stoner is an extremely talented and skilled rider, no doubt about it but without the Ducati the factory produced this year and the team that sets it up and the tires that stick so well, Stoner would be somewhere lost in the pack. Tires were a big deal this year but the 800cc machines were all over in their capabilities, too. The rider is the public face of a huge effort, yet sometimes the rider is all anyone talks about.
When riders are interviewed, they always give credit to their team, they know how much is involved but the award is MotoGP or Superbike champion not a MotoGP team champion. If a football team wins the Super Bowl, the quarterback isn’t the champion, the whole team is. If a marathon runner or weight lifter wins a contest there’s no question who made it happen, a coach might help but the performance was up to the athlete. In any motor driven vehicle race, the rider or driver is only one piece of many.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to occasionally see all of these riders race identical motorcycles none of them were familiar with?
Is it just our human nature that wants to attach a single person to the win for all of the glory? Just curious.
Photo credit: MotoGP.com