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GP Week : Issue 138
GPWEEK OPINION >> CRT to the rescue. Along with engine growth from 800 to 1000cc, so too the advent of the B-team racers, a totally new concept for motorcycling’s premier World Championship. They get more fuel and more engines, but must be ready to cede engines to factory teams for 20,000 Euros, under the cost-controlling and controversial Claiming Rule that gives CRT its name. Take up had been slow and a couple of original candidates are still wavering. But suddenly there is a gathering tide. San Carlo team owner Fausto Gresini plans to run a CRT machine alongside his factory- spec Simoncelli bike; and Jorge “Aspar” Martinez’s “something else” will be one or possibly even two CRT bikes. Both are teams of the very highest quality and reputation, with long and successful histories. Their commitment to the new dumbed-down class will be a huge encouragement to the waverers. They endow CRT with instant credibility. Dorna needs a similarly instant response from the other would-be CRT teams. Colin Edwards’s Forward Racing squad is the only official confirmation so far, although BQR has a Kawasaki-powered bike under development. They might get that response, with at least one new candidate: the British Paul Bird Motorsport team (dropped from SBK by Kawasaki). But it still requires a massive leap of faith. Nobody is quite sure just how uncompetitive CRT bikes will be against the factory prototypes, only that they will be uncompetitive. More than that, with a variety of engines, nobody is sure how competitive they will be against each other. Which begs the final question ... just what will they be racing for? Only an informal competition amongst themselves, with no prizes beyond bragging rights. There are no plans for a b-grade championship within the championship. Will racing for tenth be enough to attract the sponsorship that even ‘low-cost’ GP racing sorely needs? be something of a theme in this part of the world. The race organisers have put on coaches to ferry the media between Mokpo and Yeongam, which is a godsend in a country where pre-booked hire cars are handed over only after the presentation of a valid international drivers’ licence, which wasn’t mentioned at any point in the booking process. At least, it would be a godsend if the coach drivers knew where they were going and/or possessed the ability to read signs. Each trip to and from the circuit has been via a different route, with journey times ranging from 20 minutes to an hour. But that’s fair enough. The pain comes when you pull into the circuit and see giant signs in English and Korean pointing left for the paddock. The drivers turn right. Every. Single. Time. But you have to laugh, or else you’d cry. Other highlights of the Korean Grand Prix weekend from a media point of view have included no TV feed of FP1, which eventually became a black and white stream; the total failure of all ISDN connectivity at the circuit during FP2; and the inability of the press conference T Vs to display anything other than an amusing Korean soap opera. For me, the defining moment came when I checked into my love hotel and attempted to get down to work. I unpacked my laptop and world plug converter only to find that there was no way any of my plug attachments would fit the Korean socket. Mokpo? It really is out of this world. CRT rescue boosted – but will it be enough? Last tango in Mokpo 23