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GP Week : Issue 24
HIGH SIDES n Casey Stoner picked up a mystery bug en route to Europe from Australia after the summer break, and was so sick on Friday he could barely manage four laps on end. “Even putting my gloves on was tiring,” he said; and he looked flushed and uncomfortable in the pits. Thankfully, he recovered for Saturday without treatment. n Spanish 125 rider Esteve Rabat was disqualified from the German GP after two samples of fuel were tested and found to be illegal. He had finished ninth. n Recovering riders were mostly coming good at Brno – when the tyres allowed it. Bridgestone user John Hopkins admitted his knee was still painful, but said “you don’t feel it on the bike”before qualifying on the front row. Jorge Lorenzo said he was “60 percent fit for walking but 90 percent fit to ride”as his left ankle recovers from Laguna Seca injuries. Only Dani Pedrosa was complaining of lingering pain and weakness, from injuries to his left hand and finger, which was still in a cast. n Tech 3 Yamaha riders James Toseland and Colin Edwards both got power upgrades for Brno, with a new engine spec used by factory riders Rossi and Lorenzo all year. The new engine was “a bit peaky”, according to Edwards, but the performance increase more than made up for it. n Dani Pedrosa was scheduled to test the pneumatic-valve engine at two-day tests at Brno, but it was far from certain whether he would bother to make the effort, with no tyres good enough to stretch the bikes legs. 12 New Kawasaki team as contracts fall into place A NEW one-rider second Kawasaki team for next year will add to the grids, and has helped other contracts fall into place, as the 2009 line-up nears finality. The team, with a new Spanish telephone company sponsor, will be run by former multi- 80/125cc champion Jorge 'Aspar' Martinez, and will field current 250 star and former 125 champion Alvaro Bautista on a Kawasaki. This ends Martinez’s long quest to add a MotoGP team to his impressive portfolio of 250 and 125 teams, increasing his influence in the paddock. Martinez had previously been in negotiation with Suzuki, but was told earlier this year they would not be able to supply him with a motorcycle. In addition to satellite-team runners Randy de Puniet, Toni Elias and Sylvain Guintoli, Chris Vermeulen is being kept in the air by the Suzuki team – possibly to keep a place open for Ben Spies. Team manager Paul Denning said it was “premature” to suggest his contract would be terminated, but said it was up to the Suzuki factory. Other contracts are falling into place: n Nicky Hayden is expected to be confirmed as Stoner’s Marlboro Ducati team-mate within the next two weeks. n Andrea Dovizioso is almost certain to take his place at HRC alongside Dani Pedrosa, though he is also considering an offer from Kawasaki. n Failing that, the second factory Kawasaki seat will go either to Marco Melandri or (a surprise late entry) veteran Sete Gibernau. n American champion Ben Spies is close to agreement to join the Gresini-owned San Carlos Honda team, with backing from Honda US. According to his manager Doug Gonda, a decision is imminent. However, Suzuki might yet act to keep him on their books. n Loris Capirossi is on the verge of signing for a second year with Suzuki. n Yamaha is settled: Rossi recently signed up for two more years, Lorenzo for next year; and both Tech 3 riders Edwards and Toseland on for next year. n Kawasaki second rider Anthony West is considering an offer from the factory to move to World 600 Supersport. The new Kawasaki team will field Alvaro Bautista