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GP Week : Issue 49
HIGH SIDES n The first day of tests since the start of racing will see all MotoGP teams with a long list of urgent works. Honda has promised a major upgrade to complaining factory riders Pedrosa and Dovizioso; Hayate/Kawasaki still has chassis variations untested since the start of the year; Suzuki has promised engine upgrades for top-end performance; and Ducati has decisions to make about its carbon- fibre or aluminium swingarm. Only Yamaha riders will be able to devote the anxiously-awaited one of only two test days to improving their existing machines. n Nicky Hayden was especially anxious to get testing, in his disheartening struggle to get to grips with the factory Ducati. “The lack of practice and testing has really cost me a lot,” he said again at Mugello. Hayden is known for his capacity for hard work at tests, and severely misses this learning process. n Displaced former GP 250 rider Aleix Espargaro has beaten his own best 250 lap time and challenged this year’s 250 GP pole time at Jerez, with a prototype Moto2 machine. The Spaniard rides one of four such machines running alongside 1000cc “Extreme” machines in the national championship. He was fifth on that grid but would have been second on the 250 grid at this year’s GP. His bike has a Harris chassis and Yamaha 600 engine, being built before the control Honda engine was announced. n More Moto2 news: among chassis builders interested are two engineers from the renowned Holzer German car-tuning outfit (Opel specialists). The Kalex outfit promise an innovative chassis design combining carbon-fibre and aluminium. The last major bike adventure by car-designers gave rise to a series of bizarrely suspended Elf endurance and GP bikes. n Sete Gibernau has confirmed he will return for the Catalunyan GP next weekend, after missing two races with a collar-bone injury. 16 f Pedrosa: REPSOL Honda’s Dani Pedrosa’s title challenge has been dealt another blow and his list of injury and other problems has grown longer, after doctors diagnosed a fresh fracture after his return from last weekend’s disastrous Italian GP. As well as tendon damage diagnosed at the track in a freak incident in practice, scans at the Barcelona clinic the day after the race revealed the break. It is on the greater trochanter, a knob of bone at the neck of the femur, where major hip ligaments attach. Primary treatment was immobilisation until virtually the day before practice for next weekend’s Catalunyan GP, his home race. Only then will any decision be taken on whether he will be fit to race, according to HRC. The Spaniard has suffered a catalogue of problems ever since he crashed out of the lead of the German GP last year, losing in the process the World Championship lead. Injuries spoiled his season, along with a controversial tyre row when he dumped Michelin and switched to Bridgestone. This year started with bad left arm and knee injuries in a heavy crash at the first Qatar tests. Struggling for fitness, Dani made a blazing return, on the rostrum from race two to race four. But at Mugello he was flicked out of the seat during practice, incurring the painful leg injury. He raced in spite of it, only to fall heavily once again. resh fracture diagn