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GP Week : Issue 102
Suzuki team awaits the verdict ANXIOUS Rizla Suzuki team members were expecting to hear during this week whether the Japanese factory will continue its MotoGP team for 2011, after top-level meetings after the Japanese GP between factory management and Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta. Originally scheduled earlier in the weekend, the delay gave rider Alvaro Bautista the chance to salvage some pride with a strong seventh place ... though only at the expense of team- mate Loris Capirossi, whose engine let him down. The meeting, behind closed doors, was expected to give Ezpeleta a chance to remind Suzuki of its contract to supply a two-rider team until the end of next season, and the factory a chance to negotiate a withdrawal, if so desired. They would be following Kawasaki’s example, although that company preserved a single entry for one more season in 2009, under the Hayate name. Rumours have suggested a number of possible outcomes, after Suzuki cut its World Superbike team down to one rider. Most believe the company will honour its 2011 contract with two riders, although it is possible they might just field Bautista, who is already under contract. Some fear a complete withdrawal, after an increasing struggle to remain competitive in recent years. A wilder rumour suggests that Superbike and MotoGP teams will be put under one roof under the control of SBK manager Francis Batta. Team manager Paul Denning said he was in the dark: “I hope to have a clear plan before the Malaysian GP, when Suzuki has considered the outcome of the discussions here this weekend.” The final MotoGP line-up depends on Suzuki’s decision, with Randy de Puniet and Moto2 title- leader Toni Elias poised to take up a second seat in the team, and the Frenchman’s LCR Honda team waiting to see if they can keep him on board. THERE was no doubt that Pedrosa’s engine had run on while he was trying to slow for the V-corner – but in spite of Honda’s explanation of a cable problem, there was doubt in the air and accusations of a human rather than a mechanical failure. According to a spokesman for HRC, already embarrassed by the incident, the fly-by-wire system is operated by twin cables from the twist-grip, both connected to the throttle bodies. The failure was in the closing cable. But Spanish web-site Motocuatro. com accused HRC of a cover-up, reporting that the real cause had been an assembly fault in the pit, and Honda was taking the blame to protect its employee. Honda closes ranks after jammed throttle nightmare Dorna meeting to decide on future Pedrosa fights for fitness after two-hour op First-day crash gives Stoner a sniff of second 17 Moto GP news >>