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Lightbulb Mick Doohan to race V8s?

From The Herald Sun

Bathurst drive tempts Doohan

PETER Brock could finally have a rival as king of the mountain.Mick Doohan, who won five motorcycle world titles, is thinking about a guest star start in the Bathurst 1000.

He drove a V8 Supercar for the first time yesterday and hinted he would like to do it again -- at Mt Panorama.

"I'd be happy to have a drive of one of these V8s again," Doohan said after hot-lapping Paul Morris's Holden Commodore on the Gold Coast.

"Although you can never say never about actually racing one, I'd have to be able to fit it into my other commitments with Honda on the bike scene.

"I'd also want to be able to do a lot of testing so I could get comfortable. If all those things were to fall into place then you never know what might happen."

Doohan had said many times he wasn't interested in swapping from two wheels to four, but he has tested a Formula One car -- and crashed it -- and driven in Targa Tasmania, crashing again, since retiring from 500cc bike racing.

Although he's had some mishaps, he has also shown plenty of potential.

He was tempted into the V8 Supercar yesterday as Morris announced his racing plans for the 2002 season, aiming to win more than the single round of the V8 Supercar series he claimed in 2001.

Doohan only managed a couple of laps yesterday before the Commodore developed a gearbox problem, but he talked keenly about the experience.

"It's pretty difficult to just jump in and go flat-out in my first time out in this car," Doohan said. "The biggest problem was trying to backshift and stop it. It was a little bit hard because of the injuries to my feet when I was bike racing.

"My feet aren't as good as they should be. The car was surprisingly smooth, but I wasn't pushing it that hard. Under race conditions I'm sure that would be a lot different."

Doohan would be certain to have solid offers, including from Morris, if he ever became serious about V8 Supercars, but he admitted his real focus was MotoGP racing with Honda.

He is the Japanese company's racing manager and is also emerging as a powerbroker in the new four-stroke category, which is being developed as the two-wheeled equivalent of Formula One. A growing number of bike makers, led by Honda and Yamaha but now also including Ducati, Suzuki and Kawasaki, have been lured into MotoGP racing and Doohan is helping drive its development.

That's likely to leave him well away from V8 Supercars, although he refused to slam the door yesterday.

You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.

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