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GP Week : Issue 105
NEW World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, only Spain’s second in the premier class, returned to Mallorca after the gruelling three-week flyaway routine – to be given a hero’s welcome by thousands of home fans on the Mediterranean holiday island where he grew up. Lorenzo was flown home by Air Europa, one of his personal sponsors, and the budget airline HAD named the aircraft “Lorenzo’s Land” in his honour. He was surprised to see giant murals of himself in action on his Fiat Yamaha on the side of the Boeing’s fuselage when he christened it with the traditional champagne. A rapturous reception at the airport was followed by a parade down the main street of the capital Palma de Mallorca in an open car, and a reception at the presidential palace. There, joined by his family and the president, Frances Antich, he waved like royalty to his admirers, chanting the chorus to 'We Are The Champions'. “I need five minutes by myself to think about the title,” he said after securing the championship in Malaysia; but he has hardly had that time since then. He spent the weekend off relaxing with friends and family. Returning Elias swaps jobs with de Puniet HIGH SIDES n The innovative stemless steering head seen only on prototype FTR Moto2 chassis – raced by Iannone, Debon, Abrahams and others – will be back next year, promised the British firm’s design chief Steve Bones. Removing the stem improves air-flow to the airbox, but was too radical a step for customers this year, he said. n Double World Supersport champion Keenan Sofuoglu tested at Albacete last week in advance of his two-ride Moto2 debut at Estoril, taking the place of tragic Misano victim Shoya Tomizawa on the Technomag-CIP Suter. He is earmarked for the same team next year, but is considering offers from other teams. n Just to confirm last week’s report, Twitter-prone Rossi crew member Alex Briggs has confirmed that not only Jeremy Burgess would be departing Yamaha for Ducati, but “all the gang”. This means the whole side of the pit will be cleared. n Triple 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey turned 50 on the weekend. Yamaha stalwart Rainey was set for a classic fourth successive title when he was badly injured at Misano in 1993. n Yamaha may keep the wall down the middle of the pit, according to team chief Lin Jarvis. Introduced when Rossi and Lorenzo were using different tyre brands, it had allowed each rider’s pit crew to concentrate on their own work, he said. n Ivan Silva is due to test the independent Spanish-made Inmotec at Valencia tests after the final GP, giving the machine its first public outing. The 800cc prototype will make an interesting comparison with the 1000cc BMW-powered Suter 2012 MotoGP prototype, expected to be ridden by Scott Redding at the tests. n Who is the most successful 800cc-class rider? Right now, Stoner leads Rossi by 23 wins to 21 MAIDEN Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias has turned his back on proposals for him to join Pramac Ducati in the MotoGP class next year, and will return instead on a Honda. The move comes after a complex switch-about, with Elias to join the satellite LCR Honda team while current rider Randy de Puniet moves to the satellite Ducati team. It was brokered after Elias had thrown a spanner in the works of a plan financially backed by Dorna, to prevent Pramac halving team strength to field just one rider, new signing Loris Capirossi. Elias rode for the Pramac team in 2008, when it was sponsored by Alice, and the partnership went sour in spite of two rostrum finishes. On the down side, he suffered burns when the clutch exploded at full speed at Estoril, and the pit atmosphere had deteriorated badly by the end of the season. LCR chief Lucio Cecchinello revealed he had been in negotiation with Elias for some time, for a return to a satellite Honda – the same combination that gave him his only GP victory, over Rossi in 2006 in Portugal, although that was a V5 990. De Puniet’s swap to the Pramac team still serves one of Dorna’s aims ... to keep a French rider in the premier class. Hero’s welcome for homecoming Jorge 16