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GP Week : Issue 13
M oto GP news >> JORGE Lorenzo, wheelchair bound before placing fourth at Le Mans two weeks ago, was moving much more freely on crutches at Mugello, but the question of stricter medical testing remained a hot paddock topic. Most riders were not worried about sharing the track with injured riders, saying that there was generally a way to ride around such problems. Ex-racer Randy Mamola cited several examples of racers who had been successful with fresh fractures, including Kevin Schwantz and Loris Capirossi, who had finished third at Assen after sustaining hand fractures in morning warm-up. “We are not superhuman, but sports people in general have very strong minds … you know the phrase: Mind over matter,” he said. Formula 1 drivers have to pass rigorous physical and mental tests after a crash, but “the G-forces are much stronger in an F1 car, in braking and in cornering. Maybe they need that broken finger,” he said. Nicky Hayden agreed that injuries are to an extent self-regulating, and that existing tests were sufficient. “I’ve only gotten tested one time, and it seemed pretty thorough,” he said. But he raised the question of the medication involved. “It’s not so much the injury, more the dope – how much drugs they give a guy. If a guy can suck it up and ride through pain, that’s cool, but if he’s not all there and doesn’t have his balance, that’s what gets scary. I’m more worried about how much juice they give a guy.” Stoner expressed doubts about the true severity of Lorenzo’s injury. “No offence, but if you can push-start a MotoGP bike, then you’re strong enough to ride.” His concern was that a better system was needed for concussion testing, having falling on the wrong side of the rather haphazard system in Germany in 2006. “I was sent for a CAT scan and the results were clear … but I found out later I’d been ruled out of the race before the test had been done. To me, that’s a system failure,” he said. Medical tests still under scrutiny DUCATI will not be rushing out a new bike before the end of the year, contrary to rumours that poor results for all riders except Stoner has prompted a major rethink. “It’s bullsh*t,” said team chief Livio Suppo. There is a new model of the Desmosedici already undergoing testing, but it is simply the normal development of next year’s machine. Factory test riders Guareschi and Capella have been exercising it already, with promising results, and Suppo expects that factory riders will get their first chance to try it at tests at Brno after the Czech Republic GP, which follows the summer break. The Desmosedici GP9 looks little different, said Suppo. “From the outside, you see no difference,” he said. The factory is, he said, already doing what it could to try to help the other riders match the performance of Stoner … at Mugello, factory rider Marco Melandri and satellite teamsters Sylvain Guintoli and Toni Elias were at the back of the grid, and had similar problems in the race. Melandri has been using a different engine spec for several races now, concentrating on a softer power delivery and better mid-range responses, according to technical chief Filippo Preziosi. “Stoner prefers quicker responses and more aggressive power, but Marco’s style is more centred on low-range and mid-range torque,” he said. The changes were achieved both electronically and mechanically. Ducati sticking to the plan 14