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GP Week : Issue 22
HIGH SIDES n Chassis constructor Moriwaki has beaten everyone in building a 600cc production-based prototype, in line with proposals for the 250 class replacement. “I wanted to show people what it would be like,” said the noted Japanese constructor of the compact machine. n Double US champion and current AMA leader Ben Spies was rushed to hospital days after the US GP for an emergency appendix removal. The MotoGP hopeful felt queasy after the race, but did not seek medical attention until he was home in Texas. n Dovizioso spoke up for the beleaguered 250 class this week, saying the multi-adjustable half-litre racer was the ideal training ground. But the impressive MotoGP rookie admitted the extra engine braking and other four-stroke aspects meant that he also had to relearn his technique to an extent. n Aussie heroes Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan will make a GP comeback at their home race at Phillip Island this year, in a special demo run with old rival Randy Mamola. Gardner was Australia’s first 500-class champion, and Doohan won the crown five times. They will ride Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades; Mamola a Ducati. n Jorge ‘Aspar’Martinez revealed his growing influence in racing when he spoke as president of Spanish company WCM (Worldwide Circuit Management) at a function to launch Hungary’s new Balatonring. WCM have a 70 percent stake in the new circuit, a surprise addition to next year’s MotoGP calendar. 14 Gibernau on the pace again for Ducati TWO-time title runner up Sete Gibernau used qualifying tyres for the first time in his new lease of life as a Ducati tester last week – and came within well under a second of Rossi’s pole time this year. Gibernau was also setting highly competitive lap times on race tyres, in a two-day stint with the Ducati factory test team at Mugello. But the Spanish racer’s immediate future with the factory team remained unclear, with current number two rider Marco Melandri now expected to stay on after the summer break. Gibernau had been pencilled in as a replacement by the team, after dismal results by the Italian, in spite of a previous record of five MotoGP wins. The Spanish ex-Suzuki/ex- Honda rider rode for Ducati in 2006 before a year of enforced retirement, but was called back to test earlier in the season. He was up to speed almost immediately. He not only tried qualifying tyres again for the first time last week at Mugello, but also survived a high-speed spill. “Today I experienced again the thrill of a crash, and I’m fine,” he said. “Despite the crash, it’s been a very positive test.” But he could give no clue as to whether he had a MotoGP future. “We will see together whether and how there will be the chance to continue our co- operation,” was the best he could say. Gibernau had been testing with full-time testers Vittoriano Guareschi and Niccolo Canepa, who stayed on for a third day to continue testing both this year’s machine and the part carbon- fibre GP9 for next year. “The development is proceeding well,” said Ducati Corse chief Filippo Prezioso. “We got positive feedback despite the hot and difficult conditions.”