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GP Week : Issue 114
v MOTORSPORT transporters, including the MotoGP trucks travelling to the British GP on June 12, will have to allow a bit of extra time to clear customs, after Kawasaki World Superbike team trucks returning to the UK from last weekend’s race at Assen two weekends ago were busted with massive quantities of drugs on board. The vehicles, which have since been released, were stopped at the Dover docks, as they came off a cross-channel ferry. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the UK Border Agency found 18 lbs of cocaine, 157 lbs of amphetamine pills and more than 220 lbs of cannabis on board one of the team trucks, as well as a handgun and 35 rounds of ammunition. The cannabis and cocaine alone would have a street value well in excess of a million pounds (US$1.7m). Four members of the Paul Bird Motorsport team, which runs the Kawasaki effort, have been questioned and released on bail, pending further enquiries. The bad news for all other motor sports is that the border agency has promised a crack- down on racing transporters in future. Until now, as confirmed at Estoril by the Marlboro team drivers, racing vehicles have been allowed to pass through customs more or less freely. to access a huge global audience ADVeRTISe in gPWeeK World Superbike drug bust could impact MotoGP, F1 HIGH SIDES n Nicky Hayden was the first rider to use a third engine this season after one of his first two suffered a terminal failure on the first day of practice. “It was sent back to Bologna – I hope I can get it back because it didn’t have many miles on it,” he said: but by race day it had been officially withdrawn from the allocation. Riders get six engines for the season. n Ducati riders will have a revised front chassis and a different-spec engine to test the day after the Estoril GP, at this season’s first official test day, as they strive to fix the front-end problems that are plaguing all riders. The engine is understood to have a heavier crankshaft, to tame throttle responses. Yamaha riders also have a revised engine and electronics as they strive to catch up to Honda. Honda riders were not expecting anything special, because they don’t need it. n Alvaro Bautista made a heroic return to racing six weeks after breaking his femur. Unsure whether he would be strong enough to ride, he was three seconds off the pace in first practice, but improved all weekend. Twenty separate treatments in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber had helped to speed up his healing. n Australian Red Bull rookies rider Arthur Sissis had a lucky escape on the first day of practice when lightning struck the track only a couple of metres away from him. The strike killed power to the track: Sissis won the second rookies race after first-race winner, South African Brad Binder, crashed out. n A decision on whether to run the Japanese GP at Motegi will be made in July, according to Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. As well as damage to the circuit, there are fears because the leaking nuclear power plant at Fukushima is less than 100 miles from the circuit. n Jorge Lorenzo has switched to Alpinestars leathers this year, and like the factory Honda riders is using the latest airbag suit. Last week’s report had him still using Dainese leathers. MOTOGP riders have asked for a change of policy concerning wet-weather tyres, after problems on the drying track at the last race at Jerez. Several riders at that race barely made the finish, with third-place Nicky Hayden in particular saying: “My tyre was completely destroyed by the finish.” Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso also fell foul of the conditions, when traction- control problems meant he had to stop for a tyre change mid-race. Because the current rules only allow a bike change if the second machine has different tyres, he was obliged to wait while mechanics changed the rear wheel, losing more than two minutes and finishing the race last, a lap down. Rossi confirmed that the matter had been raised at the Friday afternoon Safety Commission meeting between riders and race management: “We want the rule to be changed so that we can have more wet tyres, and also a choice of wet tyres.” At present, Bridgestone bring only one type of treaded tyre. “ That tyre is very good in the wet, but you have problems when the track is drying, as we saw in Spain,” said Rossi. They had also asked to be allowed to change bikes in a flag-to-flag wet race without having to use different tyres. This would have allowed Dovizioso to jump from one bike to the other, and carry on without losing nearly as much time. “ We also asked Bridgestone, but we don’t have their answer yet,” said Rossi. Riders seek more tyres, rule changes