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GP Week : Issue 46
Gibernau’s MotoGP comeback gets a bad break SETE Gibernau has badly broken his left collarbone in a practice-session crash at Le Man on Saturday morning … and the potentially troublesome injury has put his MotoGP comeback in serious jeopardy. The bone has been broken a number of times in the past, first in 1996, and again in 2006, in the multiple first-corner crash at Barcelona, when Gibernau was riding a factory Ducati. The injury then required two operations, two plates and 15 screws. Then he broke it again at the penultimate race in Portugal, when he was (ironically) brought down by Casey Stoner, who then took his place at Ducati. Another legacy of the Barcelona crash, a broken shoulder, spoiled his pre-season testing, when he had to pull out of Qatar tests due to painful problems. Gibernau flew home to Barcelona to undergo surgery by the renowned Spanish surgeon Dr Xavier Mir. The injury was complicated, said Mir, who at first could give no prognosis of when the 36- year-old rider might be able to return. His team believed he might miss only one race, and were delaying finding a replacement rider until more information was available – but some thought this was wishful thinking, and that recovery might take a lot longer. If so, there may be several candidates to take his place. One is former 250 GP winner Fonsi Nieto, nephew of Angel Nieto and cousin to team manager Pablo Nieto. Another might be Talmacsi (see separate story). But retired World Superbike champion and MotoGP winner Troy Bayliss, fresh from testing the Desmosedici at Mugello, turned down the opportunity flat. MOTO2 rules ensure no engine mods Revealed: the techical regulations behind Honda’s 250cc replacement TWO weeks after it was confirmed that Honda will be the sole engine supplier for the new Moto2 class, replacing the 250 class from next year, more details have emerged for teams anxious to start building chassis for the new four- stroke class. There are some significant changes from the first announcement – especially that engines will be sealed, presented to teams at the start of a race weekend, and returned afterwards. Rather than teams being able to do their own maintenance, and explore routes for sneaky modifications, the engines will be maintained by a firm to be nominated by Honda. Dutch Superbike entrants Ten Kate remain 1 the favourite, according to persistent paddock rumours. The announcement came from teams association IRTA, announcing that the engine would be a development of a CBR600 engine with identical mounting points. Chassis designers can now finalise designs; while IRTA confirmed that any testing can be performed using production CBR600 engines. The main heads of the announcement were: n engines will be supplied free of charge, although the payment to teams will be less than the 200,000 Euros paid to 250 teams per race at present. This takes into account an expectation of a 34- strong grid n control ECUs and limited data- logging equipment will be supplied to teams, and limited electronic adjustments will be permissible n gear ratios will be fixed, but “ratios will be appropriate for a race engine” n revs will be limited to 16,500 – the production CB600RR produces peak power at 13,500, with the red line at 15,000 n a single fuel supplier may be commissioned, and a single tyre supplier is “under discussion” n a slipper clutch will be fitted, but it is not known if it will be wet or dry n teams will make their own exhausts and airboxes; fuel tank size will be free.