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GP Week : Issue 33
HIGH SIDES n Valentino Rossi has raced since 2001 with a cartoon of Guido his English bulldog on his bike – but his mascot died on his return home from Australia. “I love him and I am very sad,”he said after the race at Sepang. “So tomorrow I take another one.” n Casey Stoner has acknowledged he may not be able to race at Valencia, after a second race when his wrist injury left him so exhausted he thought he might not finish the race. Favouring the wrist puts great demands on his upper body, and it is a safety issue. “We’ll do Friday and Saturday, and if it feels good then we’ll do the race. If it starts to feel like it did today then I think we’re going to have to pull out,”he said. n Luckless Kawasaki rider Anthony West’s 18-month MotoGP career is over, after the Australian signed up to race in 600 World Supersport in the Honda team run by former 250 team-mate Johan Stigefelt. “I need to race on a bike that can win, and in Supersport with team Stiggy I can," he said. n Marco Simoncelli was fined US$1,000 after removing his helmet for his celebratory cool-down lap after winning the 250 World Championship … while his special T-shirt went some way to explain the massive and unruly hairstyle that was revealed. Reading “The World Live Tour”, it was a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. n Racing at Sepang, the favourite MotoGP test circuit, is safe until 2010, after the contract was renewed during the weekend. 12 Third Kawasaki plans hit the rocks THE plan for a third Kawasaki in MotoGP for next year has run into serious trouble and now seems unlikely to go ahead, in a clash over sponsors’ and the manufacturer’s interests. Former 80cc/125cc multi- champion Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez had hoped to run a Kawasaki in a new MotoGP team, to go with his successful 125 and 250 teams. But problems over agreeing a rider have left him all but high and dry. His Spanish sponsors were keen to have a Spanish rider, and as long as Toni Elias’ name was at the top of the list everything was rosy. But Elias elected to go back to his old Gresini- Honda team instead, where he will get a factory bike. Spanish interests then suggested 250 veteran Alex Debon, or 600 Supersport rider Angel Rodriguez, but neither were acceptable to Kawasaki. A solution seemed in sight in the run up to the Malaysian GP, with ex-factory Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano earmarked for the job. Kawasaki approved, but the sponsors did not, and said that the amount of backing would be cut. A last-minute rescue plan was hoped for after an emergency meeting between Martinez, Kawasaki team manager Michael Bartholemy and Dorna’s Carmelo Ezpeleta; but an information vacuum suggested that no such rescue was immediately forthcoming. Dorna has frequently propped up financially troubled teams, and may yet do so to save the third Kawasaki.