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GP Week : Issue 95
Moto GP news >> Moto3 four-strokes con rmed for 2012 THE end of two-stroke grand prix racing was officially confirmed at the Brno GP Commission meeting, along with more details about the four-stroke replacement for the 125 class. Called Moto3, it will commence in 2012. As previously reported in GPWEEK, the new bikes will be 250 single-cylinder four- strokes with a maximum bore size of 81 mm -- the equivalent of one cylinder of a 1000cc MotoGP machine. Although engine costs will be capped and a durability clause invoked, Moto3 will not follow Moto2 in using identical control engines. Engines can come from any supplier -- but only if that supplier is "ready to supply a minimum of 15 riders", according to the FIM statement. Engines should cost a maximum of 10,000 Euros, and should last "for a minimum of three races", the FIM said. Rider courage saves grid numbers at Brno RANDY de Puniet shaved two weeks and one day off Valentino Rossi's record return after breaking both bones in his lower leg just 26 days before getting back on the LCR Honda to commence practice at Brno. The Frenchman survived a vicious out- of-the-saddle flick in his first session and a tumble on day two, to race to tenth on Sunday. But he was not the only rider to face the race with injuries that would stop most people in their tracks. Nicky Hayden crashed in qualifying, the bike landing on his left wrist and taking a chip of bone off the end of the radius bone, at the wrist end. "When I woke in the morning I thought there was no way I'd be able to ride," he said. But some painkillers from Dr Costa and a dose of racing adrenaline changed his mind. "I was praying for rain," he said. "That forces you to ride more smoothly." The other hero was Alvaro Bautista, who was stretchered away in agony after crashing his Rizla Suzuki on Saturday morning. At first a broken vertebra was diagnosed, but a subsequent CT scan in hospital revealed there was no fracture, only contusion and tissue damage. Bautista missed qualifying but was allowed to start because he had already set a qualifying time in free practice. He was an active member of a strong battle for an ultimate eighth place, but crashed out on the second-last corner of the last lap, luckily without further injury. The pair were the only injured victims of a spate of crashes on Saturday. Rossi and Lorenzo both crashed in the closing stages of qualifying. Rossi fell on the same corner as Bautista, at low speed; but Lorenzo crashed at such a high speed that his Fiat Yamaha ended up on top of the tyre barrier. Hector Barbera also crashed in the closing stages of the session. Hiro Aoyama, who smashed vertebrae in a race-morning crash at Silverstone, was at Brno, looking fit and ready to join tests on Monday on the Interwetten Honda. "If I feel okay on the bike I will return for Indy," he said. Spate of crashes threatens to decimate the grid Elias nes, banned from Practice for illegal test MOTO2 points leader Toni Elias was fined 3,000 Euros and banned from the first free practice session at Brno, after his Gresini team broke rules banning testing in any break in the racing with a well-publicised outing at Misano the previous Sunday. A break is defined as any period when there are two consecutive weekends without a race, and the team insisted that the breach of rules had been a simple error. "I take full responsibility," said a shamefaced Fausto Gresini, owner of the team. But rival Moto2 teams thought the punishment derisorily lenient. "If we'd known we could test just for the cost of 3,000 Euros and missing one hour of practice, we'd have come here for three solid days of testing," said a member of Anthony West's MZ team, based in Sachsenring not far from Brno. The feeling was echoed throughout the Moto2 paddock. Too lenient, say rival teams 17