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GP Week : Issue 53
Looks are deceiving It’s not just all electronics for Stoner CASEY Stoner has always denied it, but it looks from the trackside as though his greatest advantage on the Ducati is his total trust in the electronics. His style makes it look as though he simply slams the throttle open, and lets the sensors and computers do the rest. Now his denials have confirmation from an unexpected ally: new team-mate Nicky Hayden. “I know that everybody says that about Casey, but I don’t believe it,” said Hayden. “Casey looks loose and aggressive on the bike, but he’s really good with the throttle.” This was obvious when Hayden compared data on throttle opening between himself and his successor as World Champion. “If we do a lap overlay, my throttle’s wide open more than his. He is controlling the (suspension/chassis) pumping with the throttle. “It’s not as it looks on the outside, that he just twists the grip and goes. That style doesn’t work right now in MotoGP.” “From the data, he doesn’t rely all on the electronics at all. At times he uses less throttle, especially right the last seven or eight percent of the throttle, right when the pumping comes in,” said Hayden. Money talks as Takahashi gives way to Talmacsi THE MotoGP dream is over for Japan’s only rider in the premier class – or so it seemed to all except Yuki Takahashi himself, who turned up at Laguna Seca anyway. The ex-250 racer and Scot Honda team stalwart has been officially dropped, at least temporarily, in favour of mid-season rookie Gabor Talmacsi. The Hungarian came to the cash-strapped Italian team at just the right time, with big-money backing from Hungarian petrochemical giant MOL. 1 Team statements somewhat fudged the issue, suggesting that a back injury meant a temporary suspension to Takahashi’s entry, but then admitting that the major cause was financial. But while financially obliged to take the life-line offered by Talmacsi, the team had tried to find a way to hang on to the Japanese rider as well. For the last two races, the pair each had use of one of Team Scot’s Honda RC212Vs – a situation that would have become untenable if a bike-swap was required in a wet-dry race. According to sporting director Alberto Martinelli, the team had approached Honda for support to keep running two riders, but it had been impossible for technical as well as financial reasons to find the extra machinery required. Still the team retained a ‘wait-and-see’ element in their approach to Takahashi, suggesting there are still hopes of securing the extra resources required to run two riders. Takahashi, a promising but luckless 250 rider, was moved into MotoGP with Honda’s blessing when former Team Scot rider Andrea Dovizioso was taken for the factory team. HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto said: “Takahashi was the only Japanese rider in the MotoGP championship and of course Honda wanted to see him continue.” Takahashi’s first top-class season had not been easy, languishing at the bottom of the points after seven races which included two first-lap collisions. Talmacsi was also an early crasher, out of Sunday’s race.