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GP Week : Issue 118
Aprilia power for MotoGP? WITH BMW’s S1000RR engine already in the testing stage, a second European candidate to provide motive power for next year’s new MotoGP ‘Claiming Rule Team’ machines has emerged, with the Aprilia factory fielding requests from potential users. This was confirmed on the Italian GPOne website, when the factory race chief Gigi Dall'Igna revealed that several teams had expressed an interest in the RSV-4 engine. The motor won the World Superbike championship last year with Max Biaggi. After 16 teams initially registered an interest in joining MotoGP, cut directly to 14 by teams’ association IRTA, names of those definitely applying to join the class (and paying a substantial deposit) will be released next weekend at the Catalunyan GP. The Aprilia engine easily fits within the 81mm maximum bore size for the class, with cylinder dimensions of 78x52,3mm; and has the advantage over the BMW motor of being able to use gear rather than chain camshaft drive, although the modification was banned in SBK. In SBK trim, with variable -height intakes and ride- by-wire throttle, power is 215bhp@15,000 rpm. Dall’Igna was keen to distance himself from the notion of any factory involvement, which would run foul of CRT rules. But he confirmed the enquiries, and that there was nothing to stop a private team buying and developing RSV-4 motors. The difficulty would be in matching the electronics. It remains to be seen whether Aprilia will offer their sophisticated package, developed in-house, for sale. Claiming Rule Teams are allowed 12 engines for the season, double the factory team allocation; and three litres more fuel. But expensive development is discouraged by the rule that means factory teams (but not rival CRT teams) can claim an engine at any time for a fixed cost of 20,000 Euros. to access a huge global audience ADVeRTISe in gPWeeK Fans to ride Laguna with King Kenny and Steady Eddie TWO American racing legends will be leading riding groups around the Laguna Seca circuit at this year’s US GP – with up to 200 motorcyclists getting the chance to follow in the wheel-tracks of the former multi-champions. Kenny Roberts, champion from 1978 to 1980, and Eddie Lawson, four-time champion between 1984 and 1989, will lead the parade on specially equipped Yamaha M1s, with those following selected from among hundreds of expected applicants by Yamaha. It is one of several promotional events celebrating Yamaha’s 50 years of racing timed for the US GP, where the factory bikes of Lorenzo and Spies will run in special retro red-and- white livery. The other centre of celebrations will be at Assen, where a number of historic Yamaha racers, including some from the factory’s own collection, will parade at the GP. The line-up includes the company’s first title winner, the air-cooled twin-cylinder RD56 250 ridden to victory in 1964 and 1965 by Phil Read. HIGH SIDES n Former multi-champion Jorge Martinez’s Aspar team has opened talks with Ducati to field a second rider in the MotoGP class next year, further boosting grid numbers. This would add a seventh Ducati to the list, and reinforce Aspar’s status as the biggest team in the paddock, with top-level machines in Moto2 and 125, as well as plans to enter Moto3 next year. n Racing observers watching the wretched return of former MotoGP race winner and reigning Moto2 champion Toni Elias to the senior class are concerned that his poor progress proves that the new 250- replacement class is a poor training ground for would-be MotoGP riders. “Maybe he has learned bad riding habits,” said one pit-lane sage. Elias has qualified last for all four GPs so far, but claimed a best of ninth in Spain. n 125-class team owner Paris Hilton turned up on the Jay Leno show after the French GP wearing white-and-pink bike leathers, after the victory of team rider Maverick Vinales at Le Mans. But although she revealed exclusively that she found bike racing “exciting”, she spent more time talking about the palatial dog kennel at her Beverley Hills home. n Valentino Rossi hopes to get the revised heavier-crankshaft Ducati motor for next weekend’s Barcelona GP, which would be the normal time for the third of his six motors to be unleashed. But team-mate Hayden is already on his third motor, and will have to wait longer. n Luckless Italian former 125 and 250 rider Raffaele de Rosa has lost his Moto2 ride in the Spanish G22 team after failing to score points in the first four races. He has been replaced by 32-year-old Spaniard Carmelo Morales, winner of the Spanish national Moto2 title last year. The Italian had to go, explained team owners Gelete and Pablo Nieto, because they needed a Spanish rider for their sponsors. n More Moto2 news: Aspar rider Julian Simon was fastest in private Moto2 tests at Aragon, attended by a number of teams. And in the 125s Nico Terol was ousted from top spot on day two by 16-year-old rookie Maverick Vinales, who beat him at the last gasp at the Le Mans race.winner of the Spanish national Moto2 title last year. The Italian had to go, explained team owners Gelete and Pablo Nieto, because they needed a Spanish rider for their sponsors. 16