Valentino Rossi has always been something of a trendsetter, but some of the fashions he has introduced have been more welcome than others. One of his less attractive innovations has been the introduction of a dividing wall between his own pit garage and that of his team mates, a trend which was followed before the year was out by Dani Pedrosa.
The dividing wall was ostensibly meant to separate not the riders, but the tire technicians, to ensure that Rossi's Bridgestone engineers could have no contact with the Michelin technicians working with Jorge Lorenzo, and keep the data from the two team members and tire brands strictly apart. But since the announcement that MotoGP will be switching to a single tire supplier, namely Bridgestone, in 2009, the wall is no longer necessary for that purpose and could - in theory at least - be removed.
Theory, however, is foundering on the rocky shores of Valentino Rossi's will. The Doctor has been very public about his desire to keep the wall in place next year, leaving him and his team to focus on the job of defending his 2008 world title.
His Fiat Yamaha team mate, Jorge Lorenzo, disagrees. Both men were attending the Monza Rally Show at Milan's legendary Monza circuit in Italy, and while there, Lorenzo was asked what he thought of the wall dividing the two pit boxes. "It's Vale's choice, not mine," he told Italian site GPOne.com. "Now that we're both on Bridgestones, we don't need it any more, there are no secrets to keep. Rossi's attitude looks like a sign of weakness towards me, but he has won 6 MotoGP titles, I haven't won any. I don't understand."
Rossi's reply was fast, and clear. "There are two riders who both want to win the world championship at Yamaha," Rossi said. "The wall improves the harmony in the team, and it worked well this year. Why change?"
But The Doctor was willing to offer some concessions to Lorenzo, however ironic: "I'll only keep the wall on my side," he joked, "But Jorge can pull down the one on his side!"
Adding insult to injury, Rossi finished the Monza rally in 2nd place, while Lorenzo managed only a 38th place.