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GP Week : Issue 73
Power-down Moto2 engines get cautious thumbs-up The one-size-fits-all control Honda engines for the new one-make 'prototype' Moto2 class were used in anger for the first time at the first official tests at Valencia in March ... and in spite of less power and slower lap times than had been expected, they were given a cautious nod of approval by riders because of the closeness of the times. The top 20 were within 1.5 seconds: "It should be exciting racing, with lots of slip-streaming," fast American rookie Kenny Noyes told pressmen. He said the longer-endurance engine was "slightly less powerful" than the World Supersport-type engines used in earlier tests, but had a good feel and linear throttle response. Julian Simon, the 2009 125 champion, ended up fastest, with Noyes second and MotoGP race winner Toni Elias a close third. But the test was spoiled and eventually cut short by bad weather; and conditions at Valencia later in the month were not much better. Elias topped the sheets at Valencia, with Colombian rookie Yonny Hernandez second and Noyes third, but lap times were some way short of the standards set by the 250s that the new 600cc four- strokes replace. The fastest of the new bikes ran 1'45.024, compared with a best 250 lap of 1'42.808 (set by Dani Pedrosa in 2005). Happily, however, the new bikes were a bit faster than the junior-class 125s: the best lap for the smallest class is 1'46.937. Hungarian GP doubts resurface THE running of the Hungarian GP on September 19 has been thrown into doubt again, with the project running into fresh financial problems following the repudiation of a loan offer amid allegations of secrecy and corruption. The Balatonring circuit was scheduled to join the calendar last y ear, but the race was postponed for a year, reportedly due to weather delays to the building programme. But the international financial crisis was another factor, with the original Spanish partner to the venture being forced to pull out. Government backing got the project going again and construction work is reported nearing completion. But now there are fresh fears that the track may not be ready, after a government finance organisation refused to approve a loan already agreed in parliament. The Hungarian Development Bank announced last week that concerns raised about the project during due-diligence investigations led to the decision. The loan is for 15.3- billion Hungarian Forints, while another 20-billion has already been approved as a government development grant. The total budget for the project is 40-billion (about US $200-million). "The Hungarian government is still committed to the construction of the racetrack," read the statement, "but it is only prepared to take responsibility ... if the investor can build the track with a different financing construction." Should the problem not be solved, the MotoGP calendar will be preserved at 18 races by switching to the reserve circuit, Moto Aragon in Spain.