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GP Week : Issue 141
THE end of two-stroke GP racing was mourned at Valencia, with the last-ever 125 race ringing their death knell. But with two new Moto3 bikes on display, plus a new engine, there was not too much time for regrets. The launch of one of the new bikes, the Italian Ioda Racing machine, was cancelled out of respect for Marco Simoncelli, but the bike was on display in the paddock. The other launch was of the new Mahindra machine, with the group’s vice-chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra taking the veil off the white-and-red machine with the words: “Ladies and gentlemen, watch out. The Indians are coming.” Mr Mahindra promised that the company was in GP racing to stay, although for the present planning to stay in the smaller category, in line with their new two-wheeled product range, at the lower end of the market. Their first season had been “a learning year . .. but the boys did us proud,” he said. The Mahindra uses an Oral Engineering motor, which was also independently revealed at Valencia. It is a conventional DOHC four-valve single with an 81mm bore, in line with the new class’s very restrictive technical regulations. The Mahindra-owned Engines Engineering company in Italy had co-operated with Oral on development, but “the difference is they sell engines, but we will produce complete motorcycles.” The company was ready and willing to supply eight riders, in line with the regulations. The Mahindra uses a steel-tube frame for ease of development. It was a new design, and would doubtless need revisions to stiffness and geometry, said Engines Engineering chief Alberto Strazzari. “ We can make a new steel frame in one week, but an aluminium frame takes one month,” he said. to access a HUGE global audience ADVERTISE in GPWEEK HIGH SIDES n The loss of Marco Simoncelli’s helmet in his fatal accident was not a failure, but by design, according to AGV. The strap had pulled out, in accordance with a design breaking strain of 375 kg, beyond which there was a danger that the helmet might inflict further injuries. n At least two different CRT machines are expected to join the 1000cc test session on Tuesday and Wednesday. One is the Spanish-built BQR Kawasaki, with two bikes at the track. It will be the first time the machines have been tested. There will also be at least one Suter-BMW on test, with Colin Edwards’s Forward Racing team one customer ready to roll. n Casey Stoner equalled Mick Doohan’s record of 12 poles in a single season at Valencia, but refused to crow about it. “Mick made his record when there were a lot less races and at a different time,” he said. n US Superbike champion Josh Hayes had a wet MotoGP baptism at Valencia, after he was drafted in to substitute for Colin Edwards, injured at Sepang. At a new track on a new bike, his first time on Bridgestone tyres and using carbon brakes, Hayes nonetheless made a good fist of the weekend – including setting fastest time in morning warm-up after a canny switch to slicks on a drying track. Hayes finished seventh, beating experienced riders including Loris Capirossi. “ I’d like to do it again,” he said. n The German GP at the Sachsenring will go ahead after all. One of three events still “to be confirmed”, it was threatened when promoters ADAC baulked at the doubling of Dorna’s fee from the race, from 1.5- to 3-million Euros. However the national organisation was shamed into coming back to the table after a local group offered to step in to take their place. Marquez hands the Moto2 title to Bradl STEFAN Bradl became the first German World Champion for 18 years without even having to turn a wheel, when Marc Marquez pulled out of the final race of the year before qualifying. Marquez was injured on his first out lap at Sepang, when he hit a wet patch on the Malaysian circuit with no warning. The organisers were later fined 15,000 Euros for the marshalling failure. Marquez came back to qualify, but ruled himself out of the race because he was suffering from double vision: “In Malaysia, I could see too much,” was his quaint explanation. At Valencia, he sat out free practice in the hope of an unexpected recovery. “It is clear like this I cannot ride the bike because it can be dangerous for me and all the other riders,” he said. He delayed his decision as long as possible because “one doctor told me the eye can improve suddenly.” No improvement was forthcoming, and on Saturday he officially withdrew. The cause was a stretched muscle in his right eye. He congratulated his successful rival. “Bradl did a better job than us, so congratulations to him,” he said. Bradl went on to crash out of the race, but had already started celebrating his championship on Saturday evening. He spoke of the help and support of his father Helmut, who was 250 runner up in 1991: “In my opinion, he is also World Champion,” he said. Bradl (21) also congratulated Marquez on “a great rookie season. Marc won more races than me, butintheendIcansayIwas more consistent ... because I won the championship,” he said. Bradl claimed four wins early in the season, then ran into a slump after a wrong turning with chassis development, he explained. At the same time, Marquez was piling up seven wins. Moto3 bikes break cover 16