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GP Week : 06-May-2008
M oto GP news >> PRESS conference badinage can get quite pointed, when you get riders like Jorge Lorenzo in the chair. And humorous, when Colin Edwards joins him. At the pre-event briefing at Shanghai, the moderator suggested that “the season starts now.” Lorenzo would have nothing of it. “No,” he said. “The season started in Qatar. Seventy- five points ago. “Anyway, the riders that have not had good results – they say it starts now. But the riders that started well will say what I am saying. So for sure for Casey Stoner, it starts now.” Edwards waited his turn, and spoke about how crashing at round two at Jerez had cost him a probable rostrum finish. “The championship’s starting now,” he said, to gales of laughter. Edwards chimes in YAMAHA expects to start negotiation soon to extend Valentino Rossi’s contract beyond the end of this year – confirming the rider’s one- time assertion that he hoped to complete his career with the Japanese company that had made him feel so at home after leaving Honda at the end of 2003. This promise had worn a little thin last year, when the M1 was soundly beaten in almost every aspect of performance; but the massive improvement in this year’s machine has answered those questions. “Yamaha is very keen to continue with Valentino Rossi, of course, and Valentino Rossi is very happy to continue with Yamaha,” said team manager Davide Brivio said. “Our relationship and the atmosphere is very good, very well.” One complication, he continued, was that Rossi had sacked his management company, after landing in trouble with Italian tax authorities last year. “We talk directly to him,” said Brivio. “Somehow it’s a little bit more complicated, because, for instance, you cannot make such an important discussion during the race weekend. If you have a manager, you can organize a meeting on Saturday afternoon and go on for a couple of hours if necessary. You can’t do that with a rider. So you have to find the right opportunity, the right occasion.” Rossi/Yamaha deal imminent 17