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GP Week : Issue 14
M oto GP news >> Football- crazy Rossi backs the Italian Azzuri FOR the first time in living memory, Valentino Rossi has abandoned the colour yellow on his leathers and motorcycle. The occasion was the start of the European Football Championships on the day of the Catalunyan GP, with his beloved Italian team among the contenders. Rossi’s helmet was a football, and his leathers were designed to resemble the Italian national team’s strip, including the white strip. The team, nicknamed the “Azzuri” (the Blues), had the colour echoed on his fairing. The bike livery was “the idea of Fiat,” he said. The leathers had been his own choice, to go with the bike and to say good luck to the Italian team. Dorna chief defends 250 replacement option WHAT is a prototype? To Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta, the definition is clear, if also clearly flexible. It doesn’t matter if a racing bike uses a production engine … as long as it has a racing and not a production chassis, it is a prototype. Ezpeleta was vigorously defending proposals for the 250 class replacement, after representations from the manufacturers have forced him to abandon his plans for 625 to 650cc four-cylinder engines, in favour of production-based 600cc engines. This brings the proposed new class into direct conflict with 600 World Supersports. Unless you accept that a prototype can still have a production engine. Ezpeleta revealed the MSMA’s decision at Catalunya, saying it would be considered and discussed again at the next GP Commission meeting at Assen. The next stage would be to see which manufacturers were interested in taking part, he continued. “Then we will study with them the best way to achieve our goals – for an economical class, a competitive class, and a good training ground for MotoGP. And prototype.” Ezpeleta said he wasn’t concerned whether using production engines affected Flammini’s production-racing contract with the FIM. “I know my contract, and my contract authorises me to make races with prototypes.” The new bikes would be so, even if they did have production engines. “Even MotoGP bikes use parts from production,” he said, though he could only name the drive chain as falling into this category. Taxed with the serial disqualification of the WCM MotoGP bike in 2003 for using a production-based engine, he said: “That was completely different … [it] was another point.” But he thought that arguments about whether the proposed replacement bikes are prototypes or not would not be important. In a clear threat against any opposition from World Superbikes, he said he would raise objections to prototype parts used in that series. “If there are problems, I will start to discuss about who makes the real parts for the Ten Kate (Honda) bikes, made by Kenny Roberts. I will ask why Superbikes are using slick tyres. I will discuss about many things …” 13