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GP Week : Issue 23
HIGH SIDES n Öhlins is set to resume experiments with electronically operated active suspension, abandoned after GP tests with the 500 class in the 1990s. Advances since then promise better performance with rear suspension that can be set to respond in a variety of ways. It will be tried again in World Superbikes, on the Yamaha Italia machines. n Tragic Brands Hatch victim Craig Jones is to be remembered by his Portuguese sponsors Parkalgar, with a corner named after him at the new Parkalgar circuit, to be built at Portimao, Portugal. Jones (23) suffered fatal head injuries while fighting for the lead in the World Supersport race, on his Honda. n A new book, ‘Rocket Men’details the racing lives of the Haslam family, from former GP ace ‘Rocket Ron’ to his current BSB racer son Leon, and including the tragic stories of his brothers Phil and Terry. Phil, older than Ron, was a rising British racer when he was killed at Scarborough; Terry died in a sidecar crash at Assen. Written with Rick Broadbent, Ron’s autobiography is published by Bantam Press. n The deadline draws near for applicants for the second year of the US Red Bull Rookies Cup. Would-be racers hoping for tuition from Kevin Schwantz, aged 13 to 17 and from the Americas should check the Red Bull Rookies web-site, and apply before August 15. Hundreds will be tested to select the lucky 23. 12 Dovizioso eyes Honda hot-seat ANDREA Dovizioso has turned down a big money offer from Kawasaki as he eyes the coveted Honda factory ride now certain to be left vacant by Nicky Hayden at the end of the season. The Italian ex-250 star expects to get the ride as a reward for his long loyalty to the marque in 125 and 250 classes, where his title hopes were repeatedly scuppered by below-par machinery. His debut MotoGP season has marked him out as a future star, with consistent top-five finishes putting him not only streets ahead of all other satellite-team Honda riders, but also Hayden on the second factory bike. At 22, he is six months younger than Pedrosa, which would return a long-lost element of youth and vitality to a team that has – but for Hayden’s 2006 victory – been in the wilderness since Rossi walked out at the end of 2003. Hayden has struggled to adapt his ex-dirt-track style to the less powerful and more precise 800cc MotoGP bikes, and had not finished on the rostrum all year. He has been told that if he wishes to continue a ten-year career with Honda, it will have to be with a satellite team. The 2006 World Champion is considering a risky switch to Ducati, as Stoner’s team- mate in the factory team. “I’ve talked with Ducati and some others but nothing’s done,”he said, adding: “Ducati might be quite a risk. Seems nobody but Stoner can ride the bike.”