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GP Week : Issue 11
n All MotoGP teams stayed on at Le Mans to test, the last chance until after the Catalunyan GP in three weeks time. Only Jorge Lorenzo went home to recuperate. “It will cost some time, but I need to recover,” he said. n Colin Edwards met with Yamaha US after the China race, to discuss the possibility of finishing off his career racing for them in the American AMA series. Nothing was decided, he said. “I’d rather stay here, and there is a good possibility of staying with the Tech 3 team,” he said. n The famously light- fingered Le Mans fans were in action at usual, with James Toseland one victim. His paddock scooter was nicked while he was attending a PR event. He still had the key, alerted track security, and the thief was apprehended pushing the bike out of the main gate. n Valentino Rossi will have to keep winning for another six years, if he is to challenge the old-timers in the career stakes. And that’s only if Loris Capirossi doesn’t ever win another race. Capirossi leads the field with a stretch of 17 years and 49 days from his first 125 win in 1990 to his last MotoGP win in Japan last year; Angel Nieto is next, with a span of 16 years and eight days, then Phil Read (14 years and 71 days). Rossi’s recent win gives him an 11-year and 274-day reign. n Spanish teenager Luis Salom took a third victory in four rounds in the Red Bull Rookies cup, less than two seconds clear of American racer JD Beach. HIGH SIDES THE latest safety measures are making racing too easy! This was the response of some riders to the addition at Le Mans of large paved run- off areas for many corners, making it possible to run off the track without necessarily hitting the gravel. One critic was Nicky Hayden. “We’re having all the (electronic) rider aids, and we’re having extra run-off, and it’s taking something away. It lets you get away with a lot more … you can just pick the bike up and run wide. “If you make a mistake in a race, you should lose time, but here, Assen and some other places you can get right back on track … pull right back on in the middle of the racing line, or in the middle of a big group, really not losing any time. “Seems like it should be more difficult,” said Hayden. Casey Stoner agreed. “For me, all this extra run-off is … not racing. It gives people the opportunity to push beyond the limits. For me, if you make a mistake you go in the gravel, and it’s your problem. You made a mistake and you have to deal with it. “Now it’s easier to make a mistake and then come immediately back on the circuit. "I think in the past you didn’t see so many mistakes, because they knew if you made a mistake you were in the gravel,” the World Champion said. “Also in the wet if you crash you don’t slow down until you hit the gravel. For me it’s not the best situation … it’s a little bit more dangerous,” he said. Both riders were among many to make use of the second-guess facility during practice. ADVERTISE in GPWEEK For more details CLICK HERE to access a HuGE global audience A RASH of crashes during practice and qualifying at Le Mans was backed up by even more riders using escape roads or the new paved run- off areas to avoid falling – and the leader of the pack was the already injured Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard already had to unzip a special cast from his right leg to put on his leathers, and was travelling round the paddock in a wheelchair. Thus everybody winced when he crashed on Friday, immediately standing up “to check that I hadn’t made anything worse”. On Saturday, he first endured a wild high-speed ride across the gravel at the very fast first corner, leaping the kerbs to rejoin at the exit of the subsequent chicane; and then he fell again, to be stretchered off. Again, he was able to return in the afternoon. Asked if he thought it dangerous to ride in his condition, he replied: “It’s dangerous when you are okay, and it’s dangerous when you are not okay.” But he preferred the risk to sitting the race out. The most spectacular faller was English teenager Danny Webb, whose high-side off his Aprilia 125 must have broken a few records for height. “I’ve high-sided before, and you always feel your heart go into your mouth,” he said. “But this one happened so quickly it was all over and done with.” Webb escaped with comprehensive bruising, and also came back to ride again. Crashes aplenty at Le Mans despite run-offs 14