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GP Week : Issue 41
>>Moto GPnews Shortened practice costs some dearly THE new shortened practice – cut in all classes – had an immediate effect on the racing, causing various problems for several riders. And there will be worse to come, predicted Valentino Rossi. MotoGP has seen pre-race track time slashed from four hours and 20 minutes to just over two- and-a-half hours, with all classes cut from four practice sessions to three. One victim was Nicky Hayden, right, who lost a chunk of valuable time with an engine failure out on the track in the second free practice; and there was a general feeling that all could have done with more time to get ready. “Maybe it was not so much of a problem here, because we have tested here. But when we get to Motegi and other tracks where we had no test time, some riders will be struggling more,” said Rossi. In the 250 class, Alex Debon demonstrated the ase all terms of endurance. Rossi joked that it was all his fault – for once he had packed his suitcase and checked out of his hotel before the race, something he never normally does: “Tomorrow I will leave my suitcase at the hotel!” But he also summed up an increasingly lukewarm feeling among the riders to the whole concept of racing at night. “We should never do it again,” he said. “Maybe if all the riders decide to not race, for sure they change their minds. “I prefer to race in the day, and I said this from the first day, because there is no advantage to race in the night. It is for nothing. “I hope at least that race tracks like Sepang” (which was contemplating a night race to avoid the heat) “after today will change their decision.” problems of having only one bike when he missed almost the whole of the first session; while in the 125s Simon was on tenterhooks after crashing after the red flag stopped the race, in case he would have to restart on a damaged bike. In fact MotoGP and 250 riders are still allowed to have two machines. At present only the 125 class is confined to one. But from next year, cost-cutting rules have decreed that the same rule will apply also to MotoGP. Pedrosa counts success as merely taking part DANI Pedrosa was satisfied with his return at Qatar after a heavy crash during testing at the same circuit had forced him to miss the final pre-season tests – if only because he proved he was at least able to take part. The luckless Spaniard’s participation had been in doubt until days before the event: though he flew to Qatar during the week, he was still not sure he would be able to ride. The first practice session saw him circulate steadily in last position, 4.3 seconds off the pace … but he had completed 17 laps, and was ready to up the pace the next day, closing the gap to 2.4 seconds and placing 14th. “We’ve made it into the race, and that was the point of coming to Qatar,”he said. Pedrosa broke his wrist and hurt his knee in the testing crash, with the latter injury the longer-lasting and more troublesome: especially since he needed a large skin graft on the knee. It was the risk of splitting the graft that meant he was unable to even start bending his knee until less than a fortnight before the race. “The leg feels a little better and I pushed harder today than yesterday … though this situation is not something that is fixed after one day,”he said. 13