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GP Week : Issue 37
HIGH SIDES n Sete Gibernau has been given a clean bill of health for the Jerez tests, after suffering ligament problems at the Sepang outing in February and missing the Qatar sessions. “I am really excited about getting back on the bike again,” the comeback rider said. One-time Rossi rival Gibernau has been out for two years, but returns on a satellite Ducati. n The Hungarian GP, new on the calendar for 2009, has been formally cancelled at the request of the organisers. The September 20 event will not be replaced, cutting the credit-crunch calendar to 17 rounds. The organisers blamed construction delays to the new Balatonring circuit due to bad weather, as well as financial concerns, and requested a postponement until 2010. n Racing legend Geoff Duke, the oldest surviving World Champion on a Gilera, joined the newest, 250 title- holder Marco Simoncelli, at a ceremony at Monza last Thursday to celebrate the Italian marque’s centenary. Duke, who turns 86 on March 29, won three of his four 500cc titles on a Gilera four. The name is now part of the Piaggio stable, run as part of Aprilia. n Kawasaki’s new MotoGP machine, the Hayate, is not the only bike to undergo a name change. The Maxtra 125 has also been rebadged – as Haojue, in line with production bikes made by the Chinese factory. Copyright to the Maxtra name was belatedly claimed by a French company. 14 Colin Edwards riding on bridgestones Bridgestone switch “painless” so far THE switch to Bridgestone tyres for this year’s radical new single-tyre rule has gone smoothly at early tests, with riders switching off Michelins able to start adapting and set good lap times without too much delay. At the same time, the Japanese tyre company has pledged to continue development, after bring experimental tyres to Qatar tests, to extend the tyres already impressive working range. Fears that only two compounds would not be enough to cover all conditions have so far proved groundless, except in the case of mixed conditions. With no intermediate tyres available, half-wet surfaces continue to present a problem. Long-time Michelin user Colin Edwards described the switch as “painless”; while fellow Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo was second only to Stoner at Qatar tests, after a massive improvement on the final day. It was not so much due to setting improvements, he said, but “mainly I have adapted and found a way to be comfortable ADVERTISE in GPWEEK to access a huGE global audience … I have a much better feeling with the Bridgestone tyres.” Bridgestone’s development manager Tohru Ubakata said: “I am happy about the results at Qatar, as it shows that just two specifications can cover a range of difficult conditions.” The new compounds on test were aimed at development for 2010, when the company hopes to make tyres with an even wider operating range. For 2009, said Ubakata, “we are now in a position to make more precise compound selections for each coming GP this season.”