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GP Week : Issue 111
HIGH SIDES Silverstone is backing Britain, in an initiative announced at Jerez. With numbers swelled to eight riders, including MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow and Moto2 rostrum man Bradley Smith, as well as GP winner Scott Redding, hopes of a national revival are growing. Crutchlow’s strong debut has impressed the paddock. The ex- World Superbike race winner crashed out while chasing a possible rostrum in the wet at Jerez, but had early set seventh- fastest lap, ahead of factory riders Dovizioso and Spies, and with only Rossi, Simoncelli, Lorenzo, Stoner, Pedrosa and Hayden quicker. Japanese team fears of running short of parts as the season wears on were thrown into focus in the week after Jerez, when Honda announced a radical cut in car production at its major plant in Swindon, England. Shortage of parts was blamed for a 50-percent cut in production. Alvaro Bautista is fighting to be fit for the Portuguese GP, after ceding his seat to John Hopkins at Jerez. The Spaniard broke his femur at Qatar on March 19, but was at Jerez, and able at least to sit on his Rizla Suzuki. Valentino Rossi got some criticism on Italian web-site GPOne for a remark he made on Italian TV. Asked to respond to Stoner’s on- air comment: “Your ambition outweighed your talent;” Rossi provoked ire for the apparently big-headed remark: “Maybe he forgot who I am.” The FIM responded to questions from riders with a special anti- doping briefing at Jerez. FIM medical director Dr David McManus briefed them on the complexities of anti-doping rules, and answered questions afterwards. “ We need such a meeting at least once a year,” said Andrea Dovizioso. DUCATI have stolen a march on stricken Japanese rivals – the Italian factory first out on track with a prototype of next year’s 1000cc MotoGP Desmosedici GP12. And both current factory teamsters have ridden the big bike. Rossi rode the bike on Friday and Hayden on Saturday, after team manager/chief tester Vito Guareschi had given the machine its initial shakedown, all at Jerez in the week after the GP there. Aware of the publicity value, Ducati released a professionally produced YouTube video of Rossi’s first gallop on the bike, which was in full team livery. More importantly, the bike’s designer Filippo Preziosi was able to record a highly favourable first reaction from Rossi, both for the machine and the extra torque available from the bigger engine. “ The engine is nicer, and you can do some nice slides. In my opinion, it’s more enjoyable, more fun to ride,” he said. Hayden concurred. “ The motor is really nice to use,” he said. The major outward difference, apart from a gruffer exhaust, is an under-slung swinging arm, moving the location of the suspension unit lower. Preziosi added to the up-beat official Ducati statement. “ We chose to have our factory riders try the bike beginning with its first test, because we think their feedback is essential for starting us on the right path for the early development,” he said. “ The positive thing is that the technical choices made for the GP12 in the initial planning phase, in 2010 – I’m referring primarily to the engine, which is still a big- bang, and to the rear end – were endorsed by Valentino. This gives us great satisfaction, and we’re optimistic about the work that still remains to be done.” Honda and Yamaha prototypes are due on track soon, but programmes have been disrupted in the wake of the catastrophic Tohoku tsunami of March 11. Rossi gives thumbs-up to 1000cc ‘Duke’