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GP Week : Issue 31
HIGH SIDES n Dani Pedrosa managed 22 laps of testing on his revised Honda at Motegi the day after the Japanese GP before rain stopped play; but Rossi didn’t even go out on his '2008-point-five' Yamaha. “We have to wait until after Valencia,”he said. n Casey Stoner abandoned the strapping on his injured wrist for the Aussie GP, saying he found it “a hindrance” when changing direction. n Former champion Wayne Gardner used the occasion of the GP to issue an impassioned plea for a revival of junior dirt-track in Australia. The school from which he and all top racers in between had graduated, up to and including Stoner, is being allowed to die. n Valentino Rossi is leading a riders’ move to try to get the Oz GP shifted from its early Spring date to the other end of the year, to avoid the bad weather. It would clash with the F1 GP, but he said that should be moved to make way: “F1 is boring in winter or summer,” he said. n No love lost in the factory Honda pit, where Pedrosa’s switch to Bridgestone tyres meant a wall had to be built down the middle of the garage, as at Fiat Yamaha (where Rossi and Lorenzo are on different tyres). Hayden’s pit crew let slip that one of the nicknames for the Spanish rider was Thumbelina. n Ben Spies has put his GP ambitions on hold by accepting a one- year contract in World Superbikes with Yamaha. But paddock rumours suggest that if the triple AMA champ is successful, he is earmarked to replace Colin Edwards in MotoGP. 12 Big names tumble in isl VALENTINO Rossi was the biggest name to crash in practice and qualifying at a tricky Phillip Island, with a spectacular tumble at what he estimated at 200 km/h after running off the track and into the gravel. But with Casey Stoner another to fall on the dry second day, he was far from alone in falling victim to the demanding circuit. Rossi fell after running off the track on the second corner, the Southern Loop, as he was accelerating towards the dauntingly fast fifth-gear Turn Three. “I was pushing a lot with the qualifying tyre, and unfortunately I went too wide at Turn Two, and I came onto the grass at the exit,” he explained. “I thought I could take the bike back onto the track but as soon as I touched the muddy grass I lost control and couldn’t stop it. Then I bumped my head and neck pretty hard when I landed in the gravel.” Although he looked dazed as he got to his feet, he returned to the pits and went out again, just a few seconds too late for another qualifying lap. But he left the circuit directly, and said the next day: “When I woke up I felt as though my head was going to explode.” Loris Capirossi had an even more spectacular crash, from the point of view of machine damage. He slipped off under braking for the subsequent hairpin, and his Rizla Suzuki wrapped itself into a ball of ADVERTISE in GPWEEK to access a huGE global audience