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GP Week : Issue 40
>>Moto GPnews Honda on tenterhooks as Doubful Dani eyes Qatar trip WITH no decision yet on Repsol Honda factory team’s top rider Dani Pedrosa’s fitness for the opening GP, now just days away, HRC is on the back foot for the start of the season, with little relief in sight. Pedrosa broke his left wrist and mauled his left knee in a heavy crash in the second of three pre- season tests, at night in Qatar. The arm injury was less problematic than the knee, which was kept immobilised until less than two weeks ago, to give a bad flesh wound a chance to heal. “There’s nothing concrete – but at present we believe Dani will go to Qatar in the hope he will be able to ride,”said a team source on Sunday. It is reminiscent of last year’s US GP at Laguna Seca. Pedrosa, who had lost the points lead the race before with a heavy crash in the German GP, attended the Californian circuit, but pulled out after battling in the first day of practice. As well as his wrist, his hopes were stricken by problems for all Michelin tyre users. With Pedrosa unable to race at full strength even if he does make the start, the pressure is on new factory teamster Andrea Dovizioso, but his progress has been hampered by problems adjusting to Bridgestone tyres, as well as power delivery problems from the full factory engine. Ducati pushes the technical front Top-secret cast-alloy chassis rolled out for Jerez test DUCATI factory tester Vittoriano Guareschi (pictured right) tested a new secret chassis development at last weekend’s Jerez tests. While factory riders Stoner and Hayden worked on adapting the latest carbon-fibre swing-arm to the Desmosedici GP9’s new carbon-fibre chassis, the tester circulated on a version with a cast-aluminium chassis. Guareschi achieved a personal best lap time on the experimental machine, which was spotted in spite of being kept under wraps in the pit. If the Italian firm does switch to an aluminium chassis, it will be stepping into line with the rest of the field … but rather differently, by using cast components. The norm is for chassis fabricated from aluminium sheet or complex-section extrusion, with some sub-sections sometimes in cast aluminium. The only European manufacturer still in MotoGP has danced to its own drum in design terms. Earlier versions of the Desmosedici used a space-frame/ trellis chassis fabricated from steel tubes. This year’s carbon- fibre version incorporates the all- important airbox into the main frame member. Design chief Filippo Preziosi described the new design as “an experiment. We want to understand the chassis.” Aluminium was a much cheaper material than carbon- fibre, but tuning the degree of chassis flex was much easier with the latter material, he said. As well as its unique 90-degree vee angle and desmodromic (positively closed) valves, Ducati has also pioneered electronic developments in MotoGP, with sophisticated GPS-triggered traction control and fuel economy programmes. 17