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GP Week : Issue 47
HIGH SIDES n After successful surgery, Sete Gibernau’s collar- bone injury is not as bad as originally feared, and the 36- year-old veteran is targeting a return for his home race, the Catalan GP, two weeks after the upcoming Italian round. He will thus miss two races after highsiding at Le Mans in practice. n Valentino Rossi lost the chance of taking his 100th GP win at home when he plummeted to last at Le Mans. Should he win at home it will be number 99. Should he not win, it will break a seven year’s straight streak of Mugello victories. n Mechanics working late in the pits at Le Mans on Saturday evening had the shock of their lives when a jet-powered drag racer exploded down pit lane in front of packed grandstands at the climax of a long stunt show. “Just about blew our pit door off,” said one dazed 125 mechanic. n Beleaguered Chinese Haojue 125 team has called for a restoration of Thursday morning’s 125 practice, in a bid to solve development woes that mean neither rider even qualified in France; fourth time in a row for rookie Matt Hoyle. “It doesn’t save any time, and very little money,” said team chief Garry Taylor. “You can understand it for MotoGP, where engine maintenance is a major cost. But it’s not like that for 125s.” n Not strictly MotoGP, but it can happen to any motorbike. Yamaha’s official release about Superbike star Ben Spies’s retirement at Kyalami explained how he had been unable to change gear, after “his shit linkage broke”. Don’t you hate when that happens? 14 to access a huge global audience ADVeRTISe in gPWeeK Rossi-to-Ferrari rumours surface … again PERSISTENT rumours linking MotoGP dominant figure Valentino Rossi with a Formula 1 future with Ferrari have surfaced once more in Italy – and Rossi played along, when questioned by leading paper Gazzetta dello Sport. “We need to wait and see how the situation evolves, even if for next year it seems almost impossible for me,”he told reporters for the massive national sporting daily. Rossi has tested the F1 Ferrari several times, including a special “just-for-fun”outing at the factory’s Fiorano circuit at the end of last year. He came closest to a switch three years ago, and joined open F1 tests at Valencia … but found the atmosphere and the attitude of the existing drivers oppressive, and re-dedicated his racing future to MotoGP. That closed the door on any chance of emulating John Surtees, the only man to be two-wheel and four-wheel World Champion. Especially since Rossi is now 30. But in spite of his insistence, the notion will not die. The latest rebirth is as part of Ferrari’s current dispute with the FIA, with suggestions that the traditional racing factory might find a seat for Valentino if it pursues its threat of a rebel series with three-driver teams. Rossi has just started a new two-year contract with Yamaha, tying him up also for 2010. Such a move “would be very difficult,” he told the newspaper. But he did not rule it out altogether. “It is everybody’s dream,”he said. MotoGP is dreading the eventual departure of the most popular rider ever, though a successful switch to F1 would bring some reflected glory. More worrying is the fear that he might persuade Yamaha to switch him to World Superbikes in 2010, for a final flourish to close his career.