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GP Week : Issue 48
HIGH SIDES n Rumours linking star Superbike rookie Ben Spies with a MotoGP move next year suggest he might not stay with his current employers Yamaha. Formerly linked with Suzuki, a move to the Rizla-backed MotoGP team for whom he raced in Britain last year is considered the most likely, but team boss Paul Denning denied that any formal offer had been made. “We are in touch with Ben and considering our options, but there have been no contract-type conversations,” he said. n Valentino Rossi always has a special helmet design for Mugello, with last year’s classic showing his screaming face on top of the lid. This year’s showed a pair of hands clutching his head. “It is to show all the pressure at Mugello,” he explained. n GP riders were asked to avoid “using their engines pointlessly” at Mugello, as part of a green initiative supported by the FIM. It was part of a packet of pledges they were expected to support. n Displaced former 125 champion Gabor Talmacsi was at Mugello, one race after walking out on his 250 ride with the Aspar team. He hopes to be back on track in two weeks at Catalunya, but could not say which team would be able to offer him a berth. n Valentino Rossi will join former Yamaha World Champions Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey on track before the US GP at Laguna Seca on July 5, in a demonstration kart race. Rossi is a former karting champion, and Lawson currently a strong competitor in Superkarts in the USA, with his old rival Rainey also taking part from time to time, driving a kart with hand controls n The Chinese Haojue 125 team was absent from Mugello, after opting out of the race “to concentrate on problems affecting engine performance”. The bikes, powered by a novel inverted-cylinder engine designed by former Aprilia designer Jan Witteveen, have proved both slow and unreliable.also made it the biggest motorsport crowd so far in 2010. What credit crunch? n Bridgestone racked up its 200th motorcycle GP podium finish at Mugello. The first came in 1987, when wild card rider Masaru Koboyashi won the 250 GP at Suzuka. The number will certainly grow faster from now: as sole MotoGP tyre suppliers the company is assured of three podiums at every race. 1 Pedrosa’s (bad) lu championship fou THE four-strong MotoGP battle may be over, with one of the Famous Four injured, and falling seriously behind, leaving just a titanic threesome still almost within touching distance on points. Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are covered by just nine points – between 90 for Stoner and 81 for Rossi. But Dani Pedrosa left Mugello now more than 30 points adrift, after crashing out of the race, and suffering injuries that also threaten his appearance at his home Catalunyan GP in two weeks. The Spanish Repsol Honda rider started the season on the wrong foot after suffering left leg and arm injuries in pre-season testing. He was able to finish only 11th at the opening round at Qatar. But he made a remarkable recovery, on the rostrum at the next three races and closing up fast. It all went wrong in Saturday morning practice. Dani did not fall, but a vicious flick and a near high-side on one of Mugello’s fast ess-bends left him almost crippled by pain from an injury in his right hip joint. “The bike shook me, and I felt a crack in my leg, at the head of the femur,” he said. “The pain was unbelievable.” Early diagnosis was that the tendon to the bulge at the top of the femur had been stretched and possibly detached, but the real problem, he said, was intense pain, because it seems a nerve has been trapped or damaged. “When the pain comes, my leg doesn’t work any more. It’s like I have a misfire,” he said, after battling to qualify eighth. He led off the line, but dropped to fourth by the end of the first lap, and to tenth before pitting to change bikes. Then he had a heavy high-side crash in his third lap on slick tyres, and was stretchered off. Although doctors found no further damage, the pain intensified, and he was to fly Barcelona for a more thorough check-up the day after the race. “The next race is my home GP. I hope I can go there, and be in contention,” he said. Pedrosa was leading the championship last year when a crash in the German GP ruined his chances.