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GP Week : Issue 56
No Proddie 1000s in MotoGP– Superbike Chief WORLD Superbike supremo Paulo Flammini has threatened legal action against Dorna and MotoGP, if the latest plan to allow 1000cc production-engine-based ‘prototypes’ in to swell the grid numbers goes ahead. One week after the suggestion became public at the German GP, Flammini – CEO of Infront Motor Sports, rights leaseholders for World Superbikes and Supersport – issued a statement and called a Press conference at the Brno World Superbike round, insisting that if the project was to proceed, “action in defence of the rights of Infront Motor Sports … will be immediately set in motion at all levels. Flammini said he did not consider the idea “realistic or feasible”, and not only because it infringed Infront’s existing contract with the FIM, which gives it all World Championship rights to production-based racing. “We believe therefore that such a project will not have any follow-up,” read the statement. At the conference, he said he didn’t think either the manufacturers or the federation would allow the idea to go ahead, but that he was ready to fight if it did. Apart from the contract problems, the idea was “against the logic of the championships. It creates confusion in the MotoGP class, which would probably become the ‘mixed grill class,’ because you would have everything there.” Superbike have been trying to balance twin-cylinder versus four-cylinder machines for 20 years with sundry differential formulae: “It has been very difficult,” he said. “I think it is time for the MotoGP people to try to solve their problems looking inside their garden, not outside,” he concluded. The idea for low-cost 1000cc prototypes was put forward by Dorna to the manufacturers’ association, the MSMA. They counter-proposed making 800cc prototype engines available to private teams for lease. The MSMA, charged with making technical regulations, will report back at the end of August. Aspar move to MotoGP becomes reality FORMER tiddler-class World Champion Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez, now the owner of the biggest team in the paddock, will move to MotoGP next year with a one-rider Ducati team, probably fielding current 250 star Alvaro Bautista. The decision, formally announced at the British GP, is the culmination of “three years of negotiations with 1 different manufacturers, (after which) Jorge Martinez has finally come to an agreement with Ducati.” The well-sponsored and highly professional Martinez currently runs five riders in the smaller classes: Julian Simon, Bradley Smith and Sergio Gadea in 125s, plus Alvaro Bautista and Mike di Meglio in 250s. He also has an interest in the Balatonring 250 team, which fell out with rider Gabor Talmacsi earlier this year. The Aspar bikes are frontrunners in both classes. But his attempts to move up to MotoGP have been thwarted. His name has been linked in the past not only with Ducati, but also with Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki, with a series of projects that came to naught. Aspar’s first choice for his 2010 MotoGP debut is Bautista, but if that doesn’t happen he also expressed an interest in other Spanish riders Toni Elias and Hector Barbera. For 2011 he plans to expand the team to two riders. Although no help this year, the move does at least replace the lost Grupo Francesco Hernando/ Sete Gibernau team.