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GP Week : Issue 34
>>Moto GPnews ha reveals of its secrets water temperatures. Revised air-flow had dropped temperatures by as much as 15 degrees in the case of the oil, said Nakajima. Most of the 12-percent power boost and the six percent fuel economy improvement came from cutting internal friction, boosting top speed by an average of seven km/h. The move to pneumatic valve springs was the major contributor. Valve train loadings had been cut by 30 to 40 percent, said Nakajima. At the same time, switching oil feed to the crankshaft from the end to the centre of the crank had cut the pressure needed by 20 percent, easing the load on the oil pump. Chassis revisions had been to increase stiffness in the vertical plane, for improved braking performance; while reducing lateral stiffness to improve compliance while leaned over. “This year, we adjusted the chassis to suit the tyres,” said Furusawa. “Next year, with the new regulation, we will have to do more in the same way.” The other major development thrust had been in electronics, with a fly-by- wire throttle including GPS to tailor responses to where the bike is on the circuit. The software operated in at least two modes, one during cornering, when side-grip is an issue, and another on corner exit, when anti-wheely response is required, said Nakajima. Rossi to test F1 Ferrari again VALENTINO Rossi is to test Ferrari’s latest Formula 1 car in the winter break, fuelling fresh rumours that he will move on from his dominant role in MotoGP to take on the four-wheelers. But he was quick to scotch any rumours. “It is just a present to me from Ferrari, for winning the championship,” he said. “I have one more year contract with Yamaha for next year, and when that is finished I will be 31. That is too old to go to Formula 1.” If he did do so, he would be following some illustrious names, including pre- war car superstar Tazio Nuvolari, who was European Motorcycle Champion before moving on to cars, with Alfa- Romeo and subsequently the fearsome Auto-Union. Mike Hailwood was another former bike multi-champion to achieve a degree of success in Formula 1, but only John Surtees has won the World Championship on two and four wheels. Rossi has two more car dates for the off-season: joining several other riders at the just-for-fun Monza Rally Show as reported previously. He is also scheduled to take part in the early-December RAC Rally in Britain. “I will drive a Ford in the rally in England, on the weekend of December 7,” he said. “It is my passion, and I am quite excited, because always have fun with a car, and there is less pressure than at MotoGP.” Control-tyre era starts at once THE new era, with Bridgestone the sole supplier of tyres to MotoGP, began the day after the Valencia GP, with all but the Tech 3 Yamaha team staying on at the Ricardo Tormo circuit to try advance versions of the new-for-2009 tyres. With endurance a major feature of the new tyres, Bridgestone motorcycle sport manager Hiroshi Yamada said that they had brought sufficient numbers of the new tyres for all. Yamada and Tyre Development Manager Tohru Ubukata confirmed details of the new plan, in advance of official ratification: eight front and 12 rears for each rider for each weekend; two compounds to be brought to each track, in turn chosen to suit from a range of four overall compounds. Yamada also repeated reassurances that riders should be able to make full use of both available tyres at each weekend, and the tyres will be more than adequate to last for four hour-long practice and qualifying sessions, plus the race. “Even now, some riders start the race with a used tyre,”he said. There should not be any down-time in the pits to save rubber, as some riders fear, he insisted. The major difference was in focus. Whereas even with the restricted number of tyres of the past two years, tyre engineers developed carcases and compounds to suit individual bikes and riders, now the riders and their engineers will have to adapt to the tyres. According to Ubukata: “The point is every rider has the same spec, so next year the rider has to understand how to use the tyre. If some rider doesn’t want to use the soft one, or the hard one, that is the rider’s problem. I believe this is the philosophy for the one- make regulation. “This year, some riders could choose a correct tyre and get better lap times, rather than set up the bike properly.” There will be significant savings, estimated by some at 40 to 50 percent, for Bridgestone. Some will come in the reduction in transport costs from Japan for a much smaller number of tyres; still more from the reduction in numbers of new tyres that were previously scrapped without even being used. 15