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GP Week : Issue 29
HIGH SIDES n Defending 125 champion Gabor Talmacsi injured his left scaphoid at Indianapolis, and underwent corrective surgery the day after he had battled to a pained 14th in the shortened race. The Hungarian’s injury is less complex than Stoner’s, and he hopes to be fit to race this weekend at Motegi. n The Rizla Suzuki team will again field a wild-card third rider in Japan, with factory tester and Suzuka 8-Hour winner Kousuke Akiyoshi repeating his rides of the previous two years at Motegi. Akiyoshi will be hard-pressed to match the results of double US wild card Ben Spies, who finished eighth and sixth respectively at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. n Max Biaggi took the trouble on his own web- site to deny rumours that he was set for a GP return with Kawasaki, in the new ‘Aspar’ Martinez team set to run a third bike. The seat remains a hot property, after both Elias and Bautista turned down the chance. n The Chinese/European Maxtra machine has been testing again in Britain, after project leader Garry Taylor made a second GP visit to Indy, searching for riders. Powered by a novel engine designed by former Aprilia supreme Jan Witteveen, the 125 machine is scheduled to debut next year. n British bright hope Bradley Smith has accepted an offer to join the title- winning ‘Aspar’Martinez 125 team next year, with a move to the 250 class the following year. Smith rides for the Polaris World team, but has yet to win a race. 12 ADVERTISE in GPWEEK to access a huGE global audience Hayden gets early release from Honda 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden will get his first taste of Ducati power at Valencia, the day after the final 2008 GP there, thanks to Honda giving him an early release from his contract to begin testing immediately. The American has already discussed the move and the machines with his new team- mate Stoner, but is reluctant to make any predictions, about a machine that the man he will replace, Marco Melandri, had terrible trouble in getting to grips with. Hayden's whole GP career so far has been with Honda. “I’m going in there with an open mind. he said, after his first rostrum of the year at Indianapolis. “Just go in there with a clean sheet, and try it out. See how it goes. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a big change for me – a big challenge to go over there and try to adjust to the bike.” Stoner has denied what looks obvious to outsiders: that the Desmosedici is a one- rider bike, built around him. “It’s just a matter of getting the settings right,”he said, earlier this year. Hayden has four more races with Honda, and hopes to go out with a bang, after his second place at Indianapolis, achieved in spite of still suffering from a heel injury that ruled him out of the Czech Republic GP. "Indy gave us a little bit of a boost, so we'll see if we can keep that going at Motegi," said Hayden. “I’m planning on finishing the season strong. I owe that to Honda, so it would be nice to get some more podiums.” Another spur is his team- mate Pedrosa’s shock move to Bridgestone tyres before the Indy race. Hayden was not even told about the move. The American former AMA Superbike champion has been with Honda throughout his top-level racing career, and is the company’s only champion since Rossi switched to Yamaha at the end of 2003.