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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
“WHAT'S the point?” a colleague asked, without a hint of sarcasm. We were sitting in the media centre watching the screens as Friday’s first free practice session was going on around us. Or rather, it wasn’t. What we had on our screens was the image of one of our highly respected and well liked press colleagues, talking about something in a rather animated way to a couple of other people in the paddock. He looked rather embarrassed when we told him he’d been the star of the show for the last five minutes. The reason the FOM cameras had centred on our friend was that he was about the fastest moving thing at the track at that moment in time. There was no roar of engines. No blaring of air horns. No excitable buzz. There was nothing. “What’s the point?” my colleague continued, “of racing at a track the week after we’ve tested here? I mean really, what’s the point? OK sure, let’s race, but why bother with a full day of practice? Don’t tell me this silence is why the fans bought tickets this weekend.” He had, and he has, a point. Letters email us at email@example.com FROM this point, work starts in earnest. For the next six races, until the US GP precedes the summer break, the MotoGP season goes European and starts ticking off the GPs in a punishing drumbeat … one a fortnight, and sometimes one a week. There’s always something of a … not exactly holiday atmosphere, but an air of unreality to the early-season flyaway races – even when they are interspersed with quick visits to Spain and Portugal, as this year. It’s not that you expect the unexpected, but you accept it more easily. And you don’t expect lasting trends to be set. That’s why early rookie wins are not always to be taken that seriously. It’s also a matter of timing. As Lorenzo showed with his rush wrist op after the last round in Portugal, there was time in between that race and China for at least a modicum of recovery. It was the last such window until June. The same applies to the engineers. The relatively relaxed start-of-year schedule meant if they were still not quite ready, or if they had under-estimated the opposition, there was still time to make a few crucial changes. That time has now passed; it’s now emergency action only. This is particularly acute in the case of delays to the new pneumatic-valve factory Honda. If it had been ready for testing, as promised, after the Portuguese round, there is a good chance it would have been ready to race in China. As it is, first tests come after the next race in France … with another two races in the following three weeks. It will be a miracle if Honda can get the bike from test stage to full race fitness in that time; and a miracle also if its late arrival does anything other than confuse the issue for the team. Extra pressure for all of them. The same applies to everyone, no matter what his individual situation. The going has already been tough for some. o p in io n WiLL Buxton GPWeek Editor MichaEL Scott MotoGP Editor o p in io n Bring back the turbos too Great to see that slicks will arrive back in 2009. With these and the new aero regs, along the banning of electonical driver aids, all we need is to bring back the 1.5 litre turbos and the racing would sort out a few! It would allow us to see the real racers; it would sort out the Massas from the Hamiltons. It could be a great spectacle, albeit on the sterile circuits that we have seen appear over the recent years. Anyways, looks like we are headed for a fantastic season-long battle. Scott Pryce firstname.lastname@example.org F1 drivers – a bunch of girls … Looks like skirts are set for a comeback to Formula One but this time not on the cars (but on the drivers …). How dare the current batch of F1 drivers criticise next years banning of tyre warmers? Tyre warmers aren't used in pretty much every other form of motorsport which uses slick tyres and they all seem to cope!! It will be the same for everyone and most importantly, THE SHOW WILL BENEFIT! I'm getting quite sick of drivers moaning about how their job will be more difficult. There are plenty of people ready to step into their spot! Geordie Pugh, Brisbane, Australia email@example.com Da Barcelona Blues ... So remind me. Formula 1 is happy to walk away from tracks that historically have provided great motor races, yet it still goes back to a track which is historically impossible to pass on, and has been 'improved' by the addition of a chicane which makes passing even more difficult. Is it not time to 'open up' Barcelona to encourage racing rather than continue the chicane plague? Safety isn't an issue – Heikki K proved that. At least the next round is at a track, a modern one at that, where they got it right. Alan Fitzpatick, Sunderland, UK ADFitzall@btinternet.co.uk Next weekend’s Chinese GP marks the end of the phoney war What’s the point? 18