by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 97
GPWEEK OPINION >> ides in the GP/Superbike War As we know, anything can happen in the next six races... or five. Every weekend, the rumours about the Korean Grand Prix become louder. Track designer Hermann Tilke was in Spa and, when I asked whether the Yeongam circuit will be ready in time, tried to reassure me by saying that every single one of his tracks has been tight on time, and accompanied by similar rumours, only to prove them wrong. South Korea is no different, he said. Next Saturday, Karun Chandhok will attempt to drive an F1 car there for the first time -- a Red Bull car, no less. If the most recent pics I've seen are anything to go by, he'll be needing one of those Red Bull Touareg Paris-Dakar machines instead. The whispers I'm hearing suggest Bernie Ecclestone and his cronies are investigating the possibility of holding a replacement round in Doha, at the Losail circuit that hosts MotoGP. A night race, no less. The Qataris could afford it, I suppose. I've been there, and it's F1 standard. But the clock is ticking to sort logistics, personnel, promotion and paperwork, and I suspect we've already passed the line in the sand. One less race could have a dramatic impact on the championship outcome, of course. After yesterday's setbacks, Jenson and Seb will be hoping for as many races as possible to dilute their Belgian disappointment. In this light, withdrawal from Superbikes adds up to concentration on MotoGP. Particularly since the factory whose name has been almost synonymous with the production-based series from the start has been having a tricky time there of late, in spite of skewed technical rules allowing its V-twins another 200 cc to try to stay competitive with the currently rampant 1000cc fours. How big a blow will it be to Superbike? Ducati has promised factory development support to privateer teams. At a cost, obviously. Meanwhile, the series enjoys a great deal more factory backing in general than MotoGP: the senior series has only the three Japanese as well as Ducati; SBK currently enjoys the same, and adds in Kawasaki, BMW and Aprilia. What MotoGP is relying on is the rule change for 2012, when 1000cc 81mm- bore engines come on stream. It is privately considered almost certain that both BMW and Aprilia will then join in, in some form or another. And it was confirmed this last week that Norton also wants a slice of the new class. Another name, at least, though hardly a major factory. If this is the way it plays out, then the fact that Ducati has in effect change sides becomes all the more important. Victory is there to be claimed. Our spies tell us the Korean track has been surfaced since this pic was taken three weeks ago -- Karun Chandok should be able to confirm that this week! 23