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GP Week : Issue 60
De Angelis feels the Butterfly Effect THE Butterfly Effect deals with how an insignificant eddy from an insect’s wing can have a chain reaction eventually affecting world weather systems. San Marino rider Alex de Angelis found a new version, in the strangest story to come out of the Brno GP. De Angelis, whose impetuous riding style has recently been somewhat moderated, was running strongly in ninth in a midfield group, when he suddenly dropped back. Had it been another indiscretion? A gallop across the gravel? Not so, he told his surprised team afterwards. “A butterfly got into my helmet, and it was flapping around. I couldn’t see a thing,” he said. “I nearly crashed.” Old hands recalled an earlier visit to Brno, when a plague of wasps had caused several problems, with a number of riders stung while out on the track. When one flew into his helmet during the race, eventual winner Rossi might have had cause for concern. He opened his visor, and it flew straight out again. Even the insects, it seemed, were on Valentino’s side. Rossi test2010 Yamaha ALREADY fully at peace with his current machine (right), defending champion and series leader Valentino Rossi devoted the second and final test session of 2009 to development of next year’s M1 Yamaha. The Italian used a new engine and a new chassis to place second to team-mate Lorenzo at the Monday test, which was interrupted by early afternoon rain showers. His lap time of 1’56.622 was just over half-a-second slower than his own pole position time of two days before; and a similar time off Lorenzo. “It's always hard to go back to work after a great win like yesterday but it was an important chance to try some things for the future,” Rossi said. Data gathered will go into refining the bike before Rossi can test it again after the end of the season. Lorenzo’s 1’56.171 was just short of Rossi’s Saturday pole, as he worked mainly on electronics. Pedrosa was third-fastest, the Honda another tenth down; then Capirossi (Suzuki), Dovizioso (Honda), Elias (Honda), Vermeulen (Suzuki), Hayden (Ducati), Melandri (Kawasaki), Kallio (Ducati), Canepa (Ducati), Talmacsi (Honda) and Pasini (Ducati). Missing from the test were both Tech 3 Yamaha riders Edwards and Toseland, plus satellite Honda men de Puniet and de Angelis. With the cut in post-race testing, this was the last chance until after the final round in Valencia. Honda’s new suspension promising FACTORY Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso had their first taste of the otherwise universal Öhlins suspension at the post-Brno tests – and bland comments from the former that the distinctive gold forks and rear units were “promising” barely hinted at the agony of decisionmaking within HRC. 1 The company has stuck faithfully with Showa suspension, while other manufacturers have now universally adopted Swedish Öhlins. Showa is a wholly owned Honda subsidiary; while Öhlins then occupied the same position with Yamaha. Last year, however, founder Kent Öhlins bought back a controlling interest, changing this status. The Brno tests, where the pair were a close third and fifth fastest, followed track and laboratory tests in Japan, analysing the performance of the highly successful Öhlins units. At the same time, Showa also presented a new front fork, which was tested by satellite rider Toni Elias, fresh from the rostrum the day before. If HRC does decide to transfer allegiance, the decision will bear the stamp of the influence of Pedrosa’s manager, Alberto Puig – who has shrugged off allegations that Pedrosa’s pending contract with Honda (and a rumoured offer from Yamaha) depend on his being removed from his current position of power within the team.