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GP Week : Issue 27
HIGH SIDES n MotoGP grid numbers, currently a rather marginal 18, may grow to 20 next year, with a fifth Ducati (see separate story) and third Kawasaki adding two to current numbers. There is still no firm word, however, on the hoped-for return of Team Roberts. n Brilliant Misano winner Alvaro Bautista will stay on in the 250 class for 2009, rather than moving to the new Martinez-Aspar MotoGP time to ride the third Kawasaki. He has been promised a full factory Aprilia. n As reported last week, the Rizla Suzuki team has confirmed that both Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi will stay with the team next year. The team had been delaying re- signing Vermeulen. n Nicky Hayden was “never approached”on the question of tyres, even while HRC was working hard to get Dani Pedrosa’s Michelin contract revoked for his controversial Bridgestone switch. n Double AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies is still eyeing a possible MotoGP seat o a satellite Honda team next year, after Suzuki closed down his options of staying with the firm. His name has been linked with the Gresini team, to replace de Angelis, and with the departing Dovizioso’s JIR-Scot Honda team. n Randy de Puniet had to ignore a painfully bruised arm from his opening-lap crash, as the only Michelin rider able to take part in the test day after the Misano GP. 12 Manufacturers ‘expre interest’ in 600 class ALL four Japanese manufacturers plus Aprilia “and possibly Triumph”have expressed interest in the planned production-based 600cc class scheduled to replace the 250 two-strokes in 2010, according to the manufacturers’association, the MSMA. But fears that the new class will be a one-make Honda benefit have only been slightly allayed, with the real acid test still to come. MSMA spokesman Takanao Tsubouchi confirmed the broad details to GPWeek.com last week, saying: “There was a very good response.” But while this opens the way to the next stage of the process, with no clear rules yet on paper, some thought the replies to Dorna (the deadline came during the summer break) were little more than politeness. “They may be interested,” said Race Director Paul Butler. “But it remains to be seen who will actually commit.” The next step, explained Butler, will come when firm technical regulations are submitted to the MSMA, at the Japanese GP at Motegi on the weekend of September 28. “The manufacturers will need some time to consider these in detail,”he said. The hope was that those interested in taking part would make a firm commitment by the end of the year. “The aim is for a competitive series that will help develop new talent while being inexpensive, and the manufacturers agree with that. “Only KTM and Ducati said they were definitely not interested,”said Butler. Make the most of the scintillating 250s – looks like they're a gonner ...