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GP Week : Issue 16
M oto GP news >> Chinese racer comes through first tests MAXTRA’s new 125, the Chinese challenger, has been in public track action for the first time, with two days of shake-down tests in the week before the British GP, running privately at Rockingham Raceway, and then joining a test day at Mallory Park. The machine, with its novel downward-pointing cylinder, was ridden by British 125 championship racer Michael Wilcox. And the news from the team is: so far, so good. “We weren’t going for lap times. We’re still proving the machine, and we have only one,” said Garry Taylor, former Suzuki team manager who was a founder member of the joint Chinese-European project. “Neither engine nor chassis design is finalised, but we hope to have a second bike for more serious testing in Italy in a few weeks,” he said. The bike had run trouble free at Rockingham, he said; then given a good account of itself compared with national- championship-level 125s at Mallory, before a piston problem stopped testing. “You’re almost pleased when you have a problem, because that means you can go ahead and find a solution,” said Taylor. A small Chinese delegation from Haojue, the manufacturer behind the Maxtra, was at Donington for practice, including team manager Simon Wei. The Maxtra is scheduled to make its GP debut next year, with the rider not yet decided. Footnote: John Surtees, patron of the project, was awarded the OBE in the week before the GP. Surtees, seven- times World Champion on two wheels and once in Formula One (the only man to achieve this), was already an MBE. The OBE is a higher honour. The stats don’t lie – Rossi’s legend continues VALENTINO Rossi made his 200th GP start at Donington Park, adding yet another remarkable statistic to an almost unrivalled collection – the seven-times World Champion has not missed a single GP since his debut at Shah Alam in Malaysia on an Aprilia 125 in 1996. Rossi was a star almost from the start. His first podium came in his tenth race, and his first win in his 11th. He went on to clinch the 125 title in his 27th race, the following year. Race 37 brought his first 250 win, and 22 races later he secured the 250 title to become the youngest champion so far. Race 77 was Honda’s 500th GP win. Rossi also won the last 500cc race and championship, then the first 990cc ditto, both on Honda. At Le Mans this year Rossi equalled the 90 wins of Angel Nieto, until then the second- most successful rider in history. Rossi added a 91st at the next round in Italy. This gives him an extraordinary career win rate of 45.5 percent. Only Agostini has more race wins, with 123. But Loris Capirossi beats Rossi on starts, with 273. Images used in GPWEEK are shot by the photo-artists at Sutton Images. Posters available of any shot – CLICK HERE for more information Interested in Aussie V8 Supercars? CLICK HERE to access Australasian Motorsport e News ... 15