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GP Week : Issue 53
HIGH SIDES n Mika Kallio missed the US GP after suffering grisly finger injuries after his last-lap lunge went wrong at Assen. The Finnish Ducati rider was heading the big group disputing sixth when he fell at the fast Ramshoek, with two corners to go. n One person appreciated the nine- hour time dislocation after flying to California directly after racing in Assen was Valentino Rossi. It meant his preferred mid-day rising time was effectively an early morning start. “I like American jet lag. In the mornings here I am in much better shape than in Italy, or Europe!” n Many compromises are made to race at Laguna, shortest track of the year. One is a lack of access to some track areas. Vermeulen and Toseland each lost one bike for a full hour session after tumbling early on – there is no way to get a crashed bike back to the pits from much of the outside section. n A fillip in practice for beleaguered second Marlboro Ducati rider Nicky Hayden had the rider reaffirming his commitment to the marque, and his faith in the team. His predecessor Marco Melandri had given up hope by this stage, but Nicky has “never been for quitting”, he said. His contract has an option for next year, and from his side he hoped to renew it. n James Toseland has had some high- level help in his pit as he struggles to adapt to the 2009 Yamaha – the only M1 rider having such trouble. The double Superbike champion has had former M1 project leader and senior factory race- department Masahiko Nakajima by his side for the past two races. n Toseland is one of a number of MotoGP riders currently described as “fighting for their future”. Others under threat are Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen, both San Carlos riders Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis, and even possibly Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. n To the discomfort of his rivals, Rossi confirmed at Laguna that he feels fit to race “for three or four more years”. His contract with Yamaha expires at the end of 2010, but just one more year would give him a good chance of beating Agostini’s all-time record of 122 wins. 1 Lorenzo: Tyre lim High-side crashes trigger call for dual-com FIAT-YAMAHA pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have been joined by other top riders in the first serious complaint this year about the effects of the one- tyre rule – with Lorenzo describing the situation as “a little dangerous” after qualifying session crashes to two of the top three contenders jeopardised the prospects of the USGP at the weekend. The call is for more mixed-compound tyres to be provided, to suit the unequal left-hand/right-hand demands of a number of tracks. Lorenzo was back in his wheelchair after a heavy high-side crash in the closing minutes of qualifying, after already qualifying on pole. Now he was suffering from right foot and shoulder injuries, and a doubtful starter. Within seconds of his crash, at the opposite side of the track, third-fastest Stoner had a copy-cat tumble. Although badly shaken up, he was not seriously hurt. Both explained that they had fallen on right-hand corners with the throttle closed, as a result of having insufficient heat in that side of the tyre. Both had been held up by other riders, and were travelling below optimum speed. Earlier in the day, Edwards and Vermeulen also had high-side crashes. Stoner typically shrugged it off as his own mistake in a situation that was the same for everybody: “We knew those tyres take a little warming up, and it was a long corner entry,” he said, of his Turn 3 tumble. But Lorenzo, who had slowed to avoid acting as tow truck to a number of slower riders, felt there was a strong case for dual- compound tyres to be supplied, with (in this case) the right a softer compound than the left. “In this track, you have to do a lot of laps before the right side of the Bridgestone is