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GP Week : Issue 41
HIGH SIDES n Will Sete and Valentino ever be friends again? The soap opera was cranked up again at a pre- race conference when each professed a desire that it might happen. They fell out, apparently terminally, at the first Qatar GP after Rossi blamed Gibernau for reporting a rules infringement. It was Gibernau’s last win. n The Qatar crowd may be small – at 6,500 it was 1,000 more than last year – but they deserved a medal for good- natured patience when they paid to watch three races on Sunday night, but saw less than half that number. A smattering of the same people returned on Monday night. n Trackside pundits described the four-lap 125 race as the shortest ever. Not so. Last year’s French 125 GP was a five-lap dash, but over a shorter distance on the smaller Le Mans circuit – 20.925 km compared with Sunday’s 21.52. Lap-wise, the Isle of Man TT races over the 1960s and 1970s were run over just three laps. n The single-engine rule for Moto2 has been ratified, according to an MSMA statement at Qatar. But who will the supplier be? Speculation is rife, as we reported last week, including Kawasaki, Honda and Ilmor, but nobody in authority was saying anything. n The return of the racing Russians: Vladimir Leonov, racing a 250 Aprilia to 18th, is the first Russian in racing for many years. The last Russian to score points was Nikolaj Sevostyanov in 1968, when he rode the little-known Vostok four-cylinder GP 500. 12 Postponed race did not plea THE decision to postpone rather than cancel the Qatar MotoGP race was a controversial and divided decision, carried overwhelmingly in the end by the pressure of the majority of the teams. There was no argument about stopping on Sunday night. Race direction had decreed at last year’s pioneering night-time race that rain would prevent any on-track action, due to spray and track reflections in the floodlighting. But while some were anxious to race whenever it might be possible, others thought it should have been cancelled outright. The postponement was agreed upon by an ad hoc committee comprising the FIM, teams association IRTA, Dorna and the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, the postponement triggered frantic activity through the night for team co-ordinators and travel agents, while other snatched some daylight sleep. It also found a mixed reaction among riders, who were not consulted at any stage. Most were glad to race after having come this far, but a contingent of the injured (like Dani Pedrosa) would have been only too pleased to give it a miss. But Stoner was one to question the decision, on the economic grounds that if it should rain again, it would only cost more, and be throwing good money after bad. One suggestion that did not get far was to return to Qatar in September, to take advantage of the vacant slot left by the cancellation of the Hungarian GP. “The ‘teams’ decision to race was not unanimous, but it was overwhelming,” said IRTA president Hervé Poncharal. HRC were not keen on the postponement, given Pedrosa’s conditions; while Ducati were also not in favour – with Hayden still battered and also short of tyres the team would have preferred not to race. Tyres were a major talking point. With the postponed race scheduled for 9pm local time, two hours earlier than planned and slightly warmer, it remained to be seen whether Bridgestones carefully selected compounds would suffer in