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GP Week : Issue 145
A speed differential of 15 mph or more on long straights and the likelihood of having to deal with lapped traffic at some tracks has elicited worried remarks from top MotoGP riders, with Stoner and Lorenzo just two on record as concerned about the possible danger factor introduced by slow CRT bikes. While Aprilias have been setting ball-park lap times, they have yet to be tested alongside the factory teams. Veteran Colin Edwards’s Suter-BMW was more than three seconds off the top testing pace at Sepang; while the two Kawasaki-powered FTR-framed BQR machines more than doubled that deficit. Some think they protest too much, but Dani Pedrosa articulated a greater concern, of oily blow-ups by over-stressed street-based engines. His fears were triggered after both the BQR bikes suffered major engine failures at the first Sepang test. “The speed could be a problem, but that is something you can manage. I am more scared about if there are engine blow-ups. If you are behind when that happens then you can do nothing,” he told GPWeek. The two-tier level of factory versus CRT bikes evokes memories of privateer V-twin Honda two-strokes, produced to bolster grid numbers at the end of the 1990s. These had a similar top-speed deficit, and the outcome of at least one race (the Brazilian GP of 2001) was affected by one of these bikes being lapped out of the last corner. Colin Edwards had his own take on the matter, telling Britain’s MCN: “Those other guys will learn pretty quick to get the hell out of the way.” Former 125 superstar Marc Marquez – denied a maiden Moto2 title last year by late-season injury – has been making such a slow recovery that he missed the first tests in February, and only rode his race bike for the first time two weeks ago. The private outings, a shakedown at Alcarrás and then full testing at Albacete, were shrouded in secrecy, sustaining doubts that he will be fully fit for the start of the season. Marquez crashed on an unflagged puddle on his out lap in Malaysia, and suffered an injury that gave him double vision. It was expected to clear over the coming weeks, but instead lingered so he missed the rest of the season, ceding the crown to Stefan Bradl in spite of having taken seven wins to the German’s four. He expected to recover over the winter, but instead under went corrective surgery in January. It seemed to have achieved little in speeding his recovery, in spite of reassuring promises from his Repsol team, as he missed the first two group tests. He expects to be at Jerez this week, saying “I still have a little way to go, but it really has been incredible to get back on the bike again.” FAST MEN FEAR CRT 'SLUGGARDS' MYSTERY SURROUNDS MOTO2 MARQUEZ 10 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS In depth Formula 1 coverage at