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GP Week : Issue 55
HIGH SIDES n Honda brought a revised-spec engine to Germany for factory riders Pedrosa and Dovizioso – intended to tame the savage throttle response and wheelspin and make the bike easier to ride. It was only a small change, however, said Pedrosa. “It is hard to make a big step at this level.” n Brazil, South Korea and Bulgaria have all applied to Dorna to get MotoGP races as soon as possible – but with the calendar already full at the planned maximum of 18 races, they will have to await a vacancy, according to Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. The calendar will return to 18 races next year, with the Hungarian GP (cancelled this year) back on the list. n The independent Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team got the latest anti-wheelie electronics in Germany to put riders Edwards and Toseland on a par with the factory team. “It used to be so much effort to manage the bike under acceleration, but now it is incredible,” said Edwards, after his first outing. n One of the possible replacements for the 125 class made a first public appearance at the German GP, wearing the MZ name famous in the area. MZ pioneered the high-performance two-stroke in the 1950s and 1960s, and the factory is only a few miles from the Sachsenring. The new machine uses a 250cc four-stroke single-cylinder KTM motocross engine, tuned to run at 14,000 rpm. “It was within three seconds of the lap record at its first shake-down test at the Lausitzring,” said new factory owner Martin Wimmer, a former GP racer. The bike was demonstrated by test rider Ralf Waldmann, also a former GP winner. This is an alternative to the lower-tuned 450cc singles proposed in the USA. n Jorge Lorenzo tried the Dainese airbag leathers for the first time in practice at the Sachsenring, though he did not use them in the race. “I must say I felt much safer,” he said. The safety system was first seen at the end of 2007, and is still under development. n Motorcycle GP legend Jarno Saarinen was remembered at the Sachsenring, when he was admitted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame. Saarinen was killed in a notorious multiple crash at Monza in 1973 when on the way to winning Yamaha’s first 500 championship, the first for a two-stroke. He was already 250 champion, and regarded as a motorcycling genius in the making. The award was accepted by his widow Soili, and two of his three brothers. 1 Lorenzo to Hond MotoGP on tente JORGE Lorenzo, one of the hottest properties in MotoGP, is threatening to blow all racing’s money-saving pledges into disarray as he holds out for a 2010 sign-on fee comparable to Rossi’s rumoured 15-million Euros. “I am worth more than Yamaha is offering,” he told the Spanish Press in the week before the German GP. Lorenzo told GPWeek that his preferred option is to stay where he is in the factory team alongside Rossi, but that “the conditions have to be right.” His tactics continue to fuel strong rumours that he will be snapped up instead by Honda, prepared to spend more freely to recruit a rider capable of restoring the team to the top of the class. Yamaha is also anxious to keep him. “Rossi is the king at the moment, but Lorenzo should be Yamaha’s future,” said a team insider. “It would be crazy to let him go after investing two years in getting him where he is. If the Honda option does prevail, it is most likely he will take the place of factory team new boy Andrea Dovizioso rather than ousting his deadly rival and compatriot Dani Pedrosa. The Italian is taking longer than expected to get top results on the factory bike, and Spanish sponsors Repsol would also be glad to have a team with two Spanish riders.