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GP Week : Issue 215
23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: One door closes, another opens. By a quirk of reasoning, the 2015 MotoGP season began at midnight on the sunday of the final race of 2014. Drunken parties must wait: testing started at noon on Monday. It was worth saving the hangover. The series will look a little different when it really does begin next year. The new line-up included not only Moto3’s nearly champion Jack “It’s only a motorbike” Miller, making his first acquaintance with an extra 170 horsepower; not only the first iteration of the prototype factory Aprilia, coming one year early; and not only the Suzuki, all blue and yellow and noisy, fresh from its abbreviated race debut the day before. There were old guys on new bikes – Crutchlow on an RC213V factory Honda; Bradl (who’d raced the Honda the day before) on the Forward Yamaha. Also new guys on old ones: Superbikers Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty. And young Alex Marquez, who had wangled a factory RCV outing after taking Moto3 for Honda. There was a feeling of freshness too, at least on sunny Monday, before rain wrecked the next day and half. A freshness in no way spoiled by having the usual guys up front: Lorenzo on day one; Marquez and Pedrosa on day three. Funnily enough, Lorenzo and Marquez posted almost identical times, the latter faster by a mere 0.002 sec. Significantly Marquez did it in worse conditions, and with fewer laps. It’s not a race but a shakedown. At those lap record levels, however, the times matter. For each rider, it’s opening a new account. And for those two, it’s personal. Miller was wide-eyed, but impressively hard-working, and in a total of 122 laps he kept improving. He was riding without electronic aids, per HRC’s instruction, so he could get used to controlling the throttle himself. In the end, he lapped a full 5.5 seconds faster than his Moto3 circuit best lap. Marquez Jr did only 12 laps, shepherded by big bro Marc, and cut his Moto3 best time by less than three seconds. Neither fell off, even once. Crutchlow did, three times. Once at walking speed, but the third leaving hand and thumb injured. Still went out to set a respectable eighth-best time. And Espargaro (Aleix) whizzed around with a will on the Suzuki; first out on track and within a handful of laps bettering test- rider de Puniet’s race times. He ended up tenth, only a second down on Marquez. Dorna’s dumbing down of racing in the interests of “fairness” and cost control jars with racing purists. In spite of it all, it’s beginning to appear possible that the end might justify the means. To change the words of that old song from “The Producers”: It’s springtime, for Dorna, and Motorbikes. But it’s still winter outside in Europe, so we shall have to wait and see. RIGHT "It's only a motorbile" – Jack Millar jumps from Moto3 to MotoGP ... springTime for dorna – and moTorBikes? OPINION OPINION MotoGP MICHAEL SCOTT