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GP Week : Issue 44
HIGH SIDES n Fears that the British GP may be cancelled have been allayed after assurances that the forthcoming British Superbike meeting at the end of May will go ahead as planned. Constructors have promised that corner run-off will be restored, while it is thought that Dorna will find a way round any financial problems. n The Suzuki team has been granted an exemption from the new rule that dictates that a factory MotoGP team may not run a rookie rider, because Suzuki does not have a satellite team to use to train up new talent. The Hayate team is also exempt, because it is not an official factory effort. n Valentino Rossi is to ride at the Isle of Man TT – but only a demonstration lap on a Yamaha R1, in the company of the famous travelling marshals. He will be on promotional duties for bike clothing company Dainese, but said: “I am very interested to understand the meaning of the TT,” n Friday practice should be cancelled completely, says Ducati racing chief Livio Suppo. “If we are really in crisis and need to save money, then it should be a two-day meeting – two hours practice on Saturday, and then race.” n French LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet had an unwelcome companion when he was looking for a fast lap during Friday practice. A bee got into his helmet and stung him under the eye. n Famed GP medic Dr Claudio Costa launched his third book at Jerez, entitled ‘Grand Prix College’. His announcement described GP riders as “the children I never had. In the wake of high-speed falls and pain, I offer them a comforting caress …”, adding that bike racing was “perhaps the last remaining dimension where passion can put reason into perspective”. If you can stand more of this, go to www. fucinaeditore.it/books.php n Nightmare number two: The Chinese- backed Haojue 125 team had more seize-up problems at Jerez, and only one of the two riders, Michael Ranseder, qualified. Then the gearbox failed as he tried to go out for the warm-up lap. n Nicky Hayden’s Ducati nightmare continued at Jerez, as he battled not only a sore back and a stiff neck but also the recalcitrant factory machine. “I’m still struggling to get the right feel,” he said, adding after finishing a glum 15th in the race: “My best lap was my 17th, so we do have something to work with.” 12 Lorenzo andPe head-to-head in bid JAPANESE GP winner Jorge Lorenzo may have crashed out in Spain, but the Fiat Yamaha rider is on Repsol Honda’s shopping list, and it may be at the expense of current Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa. The Spanish petroleum company’s interest in a clear future big star will at the very least increase his value as he negotiates next year’s contract fee, whether he goes or stays. At the same time, it will also be an extra spur to Pedrosa, coming back from injury and a couple of disappointing seasons. The taciturn rider from Barcelona has already exceeded all expectations with a pair of rostrum finishes in Japan and Spain. “I had a meeting with Yamaha on Friday, and we discussed the future,” Lorenzo told a pre-race press conference at the circuit. “I think that now I am in a good place, and my first idea is to continue with Yamaha. But after you have good results, then other people want you, so …” Yamaha’s racing chief Lin Jarvis hardly needed to confirm that “we hope Jorge will be a part of Yamaha’s future”. His two- year contract is up at the end of this year, but he is seen as a long-term replacement for Rossi, who may also retire at the end of this season. Strong races spur hopes TEAM Hayate rider Marco Melandri hopes that his strong races in Japan and Jerez – where he finished sixth and fifth – will spur Kawasaki into putting more development into the machine the independent team has inherited from the closed-down factory effort. The factory had said there would be no further development after the start of the season, but the upgraded bike and new rider have comprehensively out- performed the factory bike of last year, and exceeded all expectations. “We are still working on this bike – it was important to find good weather,” said a smiling Melandri after the race. “We made some more set-up changes here, and I hope there is more to come. I think we can get the bike better just by set-up. “But though I haven’t spoken to Kawasaki yet, I also hope that they are watching us, and they can see that the bike is doing well, so they will put in