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GP Week : Issue 48
Simoncelli outraged by yellow card DEFENDING 250 champion Marco Simoncelli has been hit with a fine of US $5,000 and a warning of possible suspension, after Race Direction decided his collision with rival Alvaro Bautista in Sunday’s race meant he had been riding “in an irresponsible manner, causing danger to Bautista”. The suspension is threatened if there is “any incident of the same nature this year”. The team did not protest the decision, but the rider gave an angry informal Press conference, drawing attention to a number of similar incidents after which riders had not been punished. The most recent was at the French GP, where Spanish rider Alex Debon crashed while attempting an impossible overtake on Thomas Luthi in the 250 race, taking both riders down. The incident happened when Simoncelli tried to dive under Bautista in between a right-hand and a left-hand corner – the famous Casanova-Savelli combination overlooking the paddock. Bautista closed the door and they collided, with both running out into the gravel trap, without crashing. “I think it was just a normal racing move,” said Simoncelli. “It’s possible for a rider to make a mistake, and usually they don’t get punished like this.” But the word from inside racing’s ivory control tower was that Simoncelli, as a rising young rider heading sooner or later to MotoGP, needed a strong warning. Moto2 massively over-subscribed THE deadline for applications for the next year’s 250-replacement Moto2 class closed on the eve of the Italian GP, with 47 teams and 91 riders signing up for a chance at the planned 34-strong grid. All but one entry are for the new 600cc four-stroke machines, although 250 two-strokes will be allowed to race for one more year in the class. An Italian web-site reported that the single two-stroke entry was from Gilera, adding that Aprilia were offering to supply bikes free of charge to any teams willing to face up against the much more powerful new four-strokes. 1 But off-the-record comments from race management at Mugello suggested that two-stroke entries would be very low on a list that will have to be ruthlessly pruned. All five non-factory MotoGP teams have applied to join the new class, including Gruppo Francesco Hernando, the new private Ducati team fielding Sete Gibernau, accounting for 10 slots. According to teams association IRTA chief Mike Trimby, virtually all the current 250 teams had also applied, and “12 or 14 from the 125 class”. “We have got many more applications than we expected,” he said. Now the three- strong selection committee, comprising IRTA, Dorna and the FIM, will have to filter the list to a manageable number. Priorities are now more clearly defined: “The first priority is to existing 250 teams,” he said. Then MotoGP teams, then 250 teams from 2008, not competing this year. Then 125 teams will get a chance, before applications from outside the paddock. “Some may be smoke and mirrors,” said Trimby. The first task would be to weed out the less realistic propositions. The committee will meet at the Catalunya GP in two weeks, and there they will announce the preliminary entry list.