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GP Week : Issue 60
HIGH SIDES n Mattia Pasini tested Pramac’s vacant Ducati at Brno with respectable results, but the ride will go to Spaniard Pol Espargaro at the next two rounds … and perhaps for as long as Stoner stays away. Ex-250 charger Espargaro is rideless this year, and takes over from Kallio as the Finn rides the factory bike. n From the Cathouse to the doghouse – five-time World Champion Mick Doohan found his name involved in scandal once again, after one of his partners in the Las Vegas Cathouse bar was sued for financial irregularities involving the company. The Cathouse, in the heart of the casino-land, is modelled on a 19th-century French brothel. Doohan’s other business interests include leasing private jets and helicopters to ferry celebrities round his native Australia. n Former GP racer David de Gea gave the Yamaha-powered Blusens Moto2 prototype a run at the Brno tests – but crashed without making much impression on the lap times. n Alvaro Bautista has “made a big mistake”, signing for Suzuki, according to his current team boss and mentor Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez, who also encourage Lorenzo to make the switch from Yamaha to Ducati, according to Spanish reports. n Rossi’s Brno win put him equal with Stoner on wins in the 800cc class. Each has 18 victories since the smaller bikes replaced the 990s in 2007. n James Toseland and his recently renamed ‘Yamaha Crash Band’ are to perform on race eve at the Indianapolis GP for a second year in succession, after doing the same at Laguna Seca. Toseland is an accomplished jazz pianist and vocalist as well as “an old rocker”. 1 Stoner “may have a problem with Ducati” – Schwantz ALL-time racing hero Kevin Schwantz, baffled by Casey Stoner’s abrupt withdrawal from the middle of the MotoGP Championship, chose the launch conference for next weekend’s Indianapolis GP for some controversial speculation that there may be other reasons than those already revealed. As reported in the last issue of GPWeek, Schwantz said: “I think he should try and work through it.” Now, in response to questions from the floor, he wondered whether there might not be some other underlying problem. “As a rider, my gut feeling is Casey needs to be out there competing,” he said. Stoner’s choice of wet tyres at Donington had been “off the norm. He didn’t need to be making a gamble like that when he was in a championship hunt. “That kind of told me there was something more going on with Casey,” he continued. “Maybe … Stoner (has) hard feelings towards Ducati or towards the series,” he said. “I don't exactly know what it could be. But to just decide you're going to skip three races and see if you feel any better at the end of it, to me, is a little bit out of the norm.” Earlier in the year, at Motegi, Stoner did issue veiled threats to quit MotoGP, in response to the loss of one practice session, the cut in test sessions and a new threat of one bike per rider in 2010. Since then, however, practice sessions have been lengthened again, and the one-bike threat has melted away. Unable by his absence to defend or explain himself, Stoner did get some support in the paddock. Rossi’s revered crew chief Jerry Burgess told England’s Motor Cycle News that he understood and approved of his fellowAustralian’s decision. “He wants to be a winner. If by taking time off he can come back 100 percent and win races, then he’s better off than getting half the points in the next few races. “Many times we see an injured rider race, whereas some extra rest might give him the chance of a bag of points, rather than half points.”