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GP Week : Issue 119
THE circuit of Catalunya laid on armed guards for Marco Simoncelli, after there had been threats to his life in the weeks after the French GP incident, where he took out local hero Dani Pedrosa. Two burly men, dressed in San Carlo Honda team uniform to avoid drawing attention, accompanied him everywhere in the paddock, and even to the post-practice Press conference. They were from the local police, a team spokesman explained, provided free of charge ... although they had to pay for the single guard who protected him overnight. It may not altogether have been an over-reaction: the crowd booed and hissed the Italian at every oppor tunity; and hostile signs were festooned the grandstands – including: “SIMONCELLI – WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE”. The rider was summoned again to Race Direction on race eve, after the ride -through penalty at Le Mans that cost him his first MotoGP-class rostrum. Afterwards, officials issued a statement saying he had promised to “evaluate situations better and be a little more cautious”. The statement said: “Race Direction informed Simoncelli that they wished to ensure that he was aware of his mistake and to avoid any repetition in the future. “Simoncelli responded that in the interval after the French Grand Prix he had had time for reflection and regretted the statements he had made in the heat of the moment immediately after the Grand Prix. He also recognized that he had made an error of judgment.” The rider said: “Maybe it would have been better if they called me before, but it is normal because I never spoke with them after they penalised me at Le Mans. “For me it was clearly a racing incident. I have my fault, because it was not necessary to resist Pedrosa. I could wait until some other point to overtake. There was still time, with 10 laps to go. “Looking at the TV I understand I did not leave enough space for him. I spoke with Rossi, and he said I did a mistake; I closed the door too much. It’s his opinion.” Footnote: Race Direction was busy with the penalties again at Catalunya. French rider Johann Zarco was given a 20-second penalty after barging leader Nico Terol onto the grass to lead him across the line. After the Moto2 race they announced that there would be a hearing before the next race to investigate a crash in which Kenan Sofuoglu rammed Julian Simon, breaking his leg. MONSTER Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards broke his collarbone in seven places – requiring a plate with 13 screws to repair it – in free practice on Friday, one of several riders (including Rossi) to fall victim to cold tyres at the downhill Turn Five, the first left-hander after a long run of rights. But the tough Texan was back at the track on Sunday ... and determined to race. He was prevented from starting after a medical examination, breaking a run of 141 consecutive GP starts, with Aprilia, Honda and Yamaha. “It’s not a lifelong ambition never to miss a MotoGP race, but it was a run I was pretty proud of,” he said. “I understand the decision, but my shoulder feels great. It was never my intention to do the full race ... I just wanted to do a couple of laps. I only considered it because I was here in Barcelona and it seemed pointless to break the streak. But I’m too big and too old to get upset.” He pledged he would be ready to race next weekend at Silverstone. Aged 37. Edwards is the second-oldest rider on the grid. Loris Capirossi is 38. Edwards misses first race since 2003 Texan breaks a record 141-race run Armed guard for Bad-boy Simoncelli 14