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GP Week : Issue 79
Pressure is on manufacturers for crucial Jerez meeting THE GP Commission will meet at Jerez on the Saturday, with the proposed 1000cc MotoGP shift at the top of the agenda, and Dorna, FIM and IRTA delegates agog to hear what the factories' association, the MSMA, will be proposing. The 800cc sanction expires at the end of the 2011 season, and with Dorna pushing ahead with proposals to introduce a second- tier budget level for so-called "claiming rule teams", time is running short for decisions. Matters need to be settled before the end of 2010, if not sooner, to give designers and engineers time to prepare. "The pressure is on the MSMA to take a clear position," said race director Paul Butler, who added: "We haven't heard anything about their deliberations until now." Proposals for 1000cc machines with a maximum bore size (to limit revs) became complicated when some factories proposed to continue running the current 800cc prototypes alongside them; while Dorna's proposal for a third tier of 'claiming-rule' private teams using production-based engines muddied the waters still further. "And ideal scenario would be if BMW or perhaps Aprilia decided to supply these teams with engines," said Butler. They had already proved, with Team Gresini and Tech 3, they were capable of commissioning special prototype chassis. But there had also been some opposition from within the MSMA, to block factories from involvement in this third low- budget level. "It all contributes to and progresses the debate," said Butler. But decisions would need to be made sooner rather than later, he added. The factories had recognised that building up grid numbers was crucial, and had been given plenty of chance to find a way to provide satellite teams with engines under the current rules, said Butler. This had proved impossible, with costs for lease 800cc engines little less than those for a whole motorcycle. "The solution needs to be sustainable. Nobody thinks these teams will win the championship, but they can provide a viable sponsorship package." Moto GP news >> Extended break gives riders a helping hand SEVERAL riders were grateful for the extra week of idleness afforded by the cancellation of the trip to Japan, with Rossi leading the way among those glad of extra recovery time. "For me it was quite lucky to have this extra week," the Qatar GP winner said. He had wrenched his shoulder falling from a motocross bike the week before, and while nothing was broken, there was a question mark over his fitness for the Japanese GP. "I didn't hurt myself badly in the motocross fall but my shoulder was quite sore so it was good to give it more time to recover. I don't know yet how much it will affect me this weekend, I hope not too much," said Rossi. Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, recuperating from his own minibike crash that fractured bones in his right wrist, was also happy for the time bonus. He overcame pain and weakness at Qatar to finish second, but had been concerned about the effects of the repeated hard braking at Motegi. Now he was full of confidence for Jerez. "It has always been a good track for me," he said. Moto2 favourite Toni Elias also enjoyed the recovery time, after dropping back from the early lead in the opening Moto2 round at Jerez due to hand and ankle injuries sustained in testing. 14