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GP Week : Issue 5
M oto GP news >> CASEY Stoner found a solution to the problems that ruined his Spanish GP – but one day too late. In the race, he dropped to the back after one off-track excursion, then ran off again for an eventual 11th-place finish. The Australian world championship defender knew exactly why: setting problems robbed him of the feel and confidence in the front wheel, forcing him to run wide and off the track when his bike wouldn’t get stopped in time for the corner. “Usually braking performance is one of the strong points of our bike,” the top Ducati rider said after the race. “It took me by surprise.” The following day, Stoner was a close third to Rossi on test times, and bemoaning the fact that he hadn’t found the settings in time for the race. “We’ve done a few different tests with the new setting, and we tried some different things,” he said after the Monday test. “It’s a bit of a shame, because with just a few small changes to what we had yesterday, the situation has improved a lot. We could have had a much better race if we’d gone with this in the first place!” he said. Stoner now looks forward to the next round, at Estoril. “In general, the track has a lot of places where you can overtake, so the race should be fun.” Better late than never STRENGTH in numbers was no comfort for the biggest team in the paddock in Spain, the 125 and 250 “Aspar” squads run by former multi- champion in the 125 and 250 classes, Jorge Martinez. The first home race for the Spanish squad was a disaster, with all five riders failing to finish except 125 junior Pere Tutusaus, in a lowly 19th. The other riders in the class didn’t get that far. First defending champion Gabor Talmacsi had a crankshaft failure on the fourth lap for his second non-finish; while Sergio Gadea crashed out after seven laps. The 250 class was no better. Hector Faubel crashed out in the early stages; and Alvaro Bautista fell out of the lead on the final lap, after his motor nipped up. This was a major comedown for the team, which dominates the smaller classes on numbers and, often as not, on results. Last year, Aspar riders took all three rostrum positions in the 125 class in Turkey and Barcelona, and took the title as well. Big ain’t necessarily better 19