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GP Week : Issue 125
Moto GP news >> DUCATI will take four bikes for two riders to next weekend’s US GP at Laguna Seca, while they debate whether to continue trying to develop the new GP11.1 that Rossi has ridden for the last three races, or go back to the GP11 he had ridden before, and Hayden has ridden all year. “ We will have a big meeting now, tonight,” said Rossi. “I don’t know what we will decide. The GP11.1 is next year’s prototype with the engine reduced to 800cc capacity (next year the limit goes up to 1000cc), with different rear suspension but a similar front carbon-fibre chassis to this year’s GP11. Rossi has ridden it at Assen, Mugello and the Sachsenring, but with no improvement in results and even worse qualifying positions, as he battles to get back to his usual front position. The new bike had been “a great delusion for us,” he said. With the larger engine allowing a different cornering style, with lower mid-corner speed and better acceleration, the front-end vagueness had been less acute; while the rear suspension was a big improvement. “We thought by using the new bike we could make another step – but it doesn’t happen,” he said. The front-end problem was at least as bad as with the original bike. “I expected to go faster, but I am not able to ride this bike to my maximum.” He had qualified second from last, looking very tentative, but said: “this morning we made a change in the balance that improved the front feeling. Finally I felt something of the improved potential.” Even so, he finished only ninth, behind his team-mate and the ill-favoured Suzuki. Hayden had hoped to get the new bike for this German race, to get used to it before his home GP next weekend. He too was in a quandary. “Maybe I’ll do back to back tests at Laguna next week – though it is hardly the track where you want to test a new bike” LORIS Capirossi hinted in Germany that he might be about to announce his retirement, after a 22-year career including three World Championships in the 125 and 250 classes. The 38-year-old rider, who has racked up 321 GP starts, failed to add another in Germany, when his come-back attempt ended after the first free practice. The Italian Pramac Ducati rider was injured three weeks ago in a qualifying crash at Assen, suffering two broken ribs and a shoulder injury. The team had tested former MotoGP rider Sylvain Guintoli after Mugello, but he was kept on standby when Capirossi decided to try to return, because “I hate to see somebody else ride my bike.” But after his first outing he handed the keys over to Guintoli, because the pain was too much. “I will try again in the USA next weekend,” he said. Then he hinted that this may at last be his final season. “I am sure I am close to saying goodbye to everybody, but the feeling is still good and I am still enjoying racing so much,” he said. “ When I come back to Brno after a little holiday, I will say something then,” he said. Ducati debates whether to go forward or backward Retirement looms for oldest MotoGP rider 17