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GP Week : Issue 5
MICHAEL Schumacher rides again! The retired F1 giant has followed his Hungarian race debut two weeks ago, and another low-key outing at Barcelona, with another test of the factory Desmosedici Ducati, at official factory team tests at Mugello. But both the part-time rider and his lap times poured more cold water on persistent rumours that the Ferrari ace is to have a wild card ride at the Italian GP at the circuit. Schumi was invited to join the tests to take the place of regular factory tester Vittoriano Guareschi, who had fallen and sustained a painful coccyx injury that ruled him out of the final day of testing. Michael was happy to take up the factory invitation at short notice, and ran 42 laps in dry but cool an cloudy conditions on the V4 2008 MotoGP racer, as used by Stoner to win the opening GP. His lap times were in the 1.58 region, according to official Ducati sources. These are impressive times for a novice, but not good enough to join the race. Last year’s qualifying was wet, but based on free practice times, Schumi’s time was outside the 107 percent-of-pole required to qualify for a start. In any case, Schumacher was keen to remind the press that “I have no intention at all to step into any kind of MotoGP competition.” Michael: will he, won’t he? M oto GP news >> 17