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GP Week : Issue 38
HIGH SIDES n Dani Pedrosa will definitely miss the opening rounds of tests, after also missing the official launch of the Repsol Honda team that he spearheads. Pedrosa addressed the massive conference via a tele-link, while new team- mate Andrea Dovizioso was star of the show. n There were few surprises when the FIM released ‘provisional’ entry lists last week, with all the MotoGP placements already known. It did confirm the three- strong factory Derbi 125 team. Spaniard Pol Espargaro had already been named: he will be joined by veteran Joan Olive and second-year racer Efrem Vazquez. n Randy de Puniet resumed Bridgestone duties last week when he joined former MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams at on- track demonstrations at a road-tyre launch at Almeria circuit in Spain. The Frenchman rode the Japanese tyres when at Kawasaki, but last year was back on Michelin on the LCR Honda. n The name change of the new Chinese 125 team from Maxtra to Haojue has been confirmed, with team director Garry Taylor saying that “a number of issues” over the international use of the Maxtra name meant they had reverted to the original plan to run under the Haojue name. He also contradicted web-site rumours that engine developer Jan Witteveen has left the project, headed by racing legend John Surtees 14 “Who is hurt worst?” Lorenzo strikes back FIAT Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo struck Casey Stoner an oblique return blow with his comments to Dorna’s official web-site following a team launch with a kart race at Valencia on Thursday. Lorenzo was commenting on doubts about Stoner’s fitness, raised by the Australian over whether his post- operative left wrist will be strong enough over full race distance. “I don’t think that he is injured in a way that is apparent when he is riding,”said Lorenzo. The barbed comment is a retaliation for Stoner’s comments last year, when Lorenzo earned a hero’s accolade for racing on while injured in China and France, where he was confined to a wheelchair when off the bike. Stoner pointed out to GPWeek that when Lorenzo stalled before the warm-up lap in China, he had been able to push-start his bike – suggesting that the ankle injuries were not nearly as bad as was being made out. Lorenzo also said that the Press have correctly identified Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa as the title favourites: “They have ridden in more campaigns than I have and finished ahead of me last year, so they have the most possibility of taking the crown,”he said. But the debut-season race winner added that he expected to win again in 2009, “and more than once”.