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GP Week : Issue 4
14 ADVERTISE in GPWEEK For more details CLICK HERE to access a HuGE global audience Suzuki: ‘Back to the Future?’ AFTER Honda’s unsuccessful “back to the future” move at Qatar, Suzuki is on the brink of a similar exercise, as problems with its 2008 machine prove difficult to solve. The bike showed well in early tests, but momentum was lost by the time of the first race, where Loris Capirossi started a trend by switching back to ’07 bodywork and aerodynamics. Team-mate Chris Vermeulen followed his lead at Jerez, but the problems are much deeper than just the cowlings, and two days of intensive testing after the Jerez GP will be dedicated to deciding whether to persist with the new ’08 machine, or to dig out last year’s engine to fit in the new chassis. Neither rider qualified in the top ten at Qatar, and at Jerez Capirossi just made it into tenth. Over at Honda, Nicky Hayden is “grateful” that he has now received the new chassis that team-mate Dani Pedrosa took to second at Qatar, where the American had returned to the 2007 bike, only to slump to tenth in the race. “It’s got a lot better feeling at the front – I’ve been enjoying riding again. It’s a much better bike than I had in Qatar,” he said after qualifying fourth. Both Honda riders are still awaiting the pneumatic valve engine that was taken back to Japan for more work after tests in January. n The Red Bull Rookies Cup returned for a second season at Jerez, with two more races than last year for the young teenagers, plus two intercontinental finals between the ten best from Europe and the new Rookies Cup in the USA. There are 24 riders, from an exhaustive selection process, with ten of them in their second year. The kids ride GP-spec 125cc KTMs. n New Kawasaki rider John Hopkins homed straight in on the clutch when he switched machines, after several years with Suzuki. MotoGP bikes use back- torque-limiter ‘slipper’ clutches to avoid rear wheel lock-up and hopping on corner entry. “Corner entry was the strong point on my last bike. Maybe that’s why I thought it was the downfall of the Kawasaki,” he explained. n If you’re reading this, your internet connection is working fine. Not so for internet TV service Babelgum, when it launched its new motorcycle TV channel at Jerez. Just as they fired up the screens for a demonstration, the whole thing failed … n The expected proposal for a 250-class replacement was deferred yet again at Jerez, when it was dropped from the agenda of the GP Commission meeting. Rights lease-holders Dorna had been expected to propose 600cc four-stroke production engines, but instead it asked the meeting for more time. HIGH SIDES