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GP Week : Issue 110
GPWEEK OPINION >> In search of the sun – climatic gambling What Ducati needs, it can't have! an improvement on the first race, if he hadn’t crashed his better bike. But that only happened because he was having to try so very hard on it. The better comparison comes from Nicky Hayden, who has now been slower in qualifying at two consecutive races than the year before. He is, of course, mystified and frustrated: “All the others have gone faster; I’ve gone slower,” he said ruefully, after losing a full half-second on his 2010 Jerez qualifying time. Pole had gone to a different rider than last year, Stoner from Pedrosa, but Dani was close behind, and the times were half a second better. Both riders say that this year ’s GP11 Duke is fundamentally little different. No radical changes, but (as Nicky said) enough to make a difference. In the wrong direction. Engine-wise its mainly electronic, aiming at a friendlier power delivery on throttle opening. Rossi was reported to have asked for an engine redesign, but when questioned at Jerez he denied it. There is a new chassis coming, ready for testing after the next race in Portugal, that both riders profoundly hope will solve the increasing problems with understeer. Problems that are highlighted by the latest Honda, which (as Stoner explained) turns much better than the Ducati with the power on. Hence a better corner exit, helped still further by the clever-clogs seamless gearbox. The special Stoner tool is not available. The special Rossi tool, however, can only get better. It’s impossible not to think that Ducati will get its mojo back, with his help. The question is: how long will it take? got the first flight into Samui for two days the next morning. It was only when we got there that the full extent of the storm was apparent. There was no electricity on the island. In places the roads were flooded by 4ft of water. The sea was completely out of bounds. Tourists were being evacuated by aircraft carrier, and we were the only nutters trying to get in! I write from a beachside bar against which the rain still lashes, but at least we’ve got the electricity back and I can actually send some GPWEEK copy. The Dunkirk spirit has set in and we’ll ride out the storm till the next race. One source of humour from the trenches is James’ surname. ‘Moy,’ we’re told, is Thai for ‘pubic hair ’, m uch to the hotel’s amusement. Wet weather could once again affect the Malaysian GP this year, and with the new Pirellis that’ll be a big unknown for the teams. Some may take a gamble in a bid for glory. We did. But our holiday roulette hasn’t proved an inspired choice. Lesson 1: if the weather fines up in Melbourne ... stay there! 23