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GP Week : Issue 150
at BRIEFLY » Honda riders have been promised upgrades but no new chassis for tests after the Portuguese GP at Estoril. The factory riders face not only chatter problems but also stability issues with the all-new front tyre from Bridgestone, chosen over their preferred option by all other riders. » A second tribute meeting to Marco Simoncelli at the Czech Republic GP circuit at Brno has set a new record for the number of vehicles on the track. MotoGP rider Karel Abraham led a cavalcade of 1,349 motorcycles, all but filling the 5.403-km circuit.Dorna’s latest proposal of a 12.5 -million Euro budget cap on factory teams has been laughed off by both Honda and Yamaha. It would be, they responded, “impossible to police”. » King Kenny Roberts, triple champion of the 1970s, is clearing out his climate- controlled private museum in California and turning some interesting racing relics into hard cash, with an auction of several historic grand prix bikes. Kenny will hang on to his own title-winning Yamahas, but is flogging two Protons V5 (990 four-stroke) and a V3 (500cc two-stroke), plus an earlier Modenas 500, all built for his private team, as well as a couple of second son Kurtis’s AMA racers. Look for RDM Motors: Roberts has promised to ship anywhere worldwide. Ducati, on the back foot after Rossi’s Qatar outburst, lost almost all of an important three-day test at Mugello to bad weather – while Nicky Hayden made the trip from Kentucky almost entirely in vain. The 2006 World Champion was top Ducati at Qatar, in spite of missing out on tests injured last year and this. With factory tester Franco Battaini at Mugello for three days, testing urgently needed upgrades, Nicky flew in for the Wednesday and Thursday sessions. “We were looking to make up time lost missing the Valencia test and having limited time at Malaysia and Jerez, but it was pretty much a wash,” Hayden said. Two outings on slicks on the first day were cut short, leaving him to try wet settings. Day two was worse: “Conditions were wet but also cold and windy, completely unmanageable. With two back-to-back races coming up, there wasn’t much to be gained by risking testing in the wet,” said Hayden. It was a huge set-back for Ducati, with urgent problems to solve. The riders have been promised upgrades for the first post-race test of the season at Estoril, after the Portuguese GP on May 6. Racing chief Filippo Preziosi is under pressure after Rossi criticised Ducati’s response to his requests, after his dire Qatar GP, where he was last Duke home. The targets for improvement are the (possibly related) understeer and aggressive power delivery As well as chassis and electronic revisions, there are persistent rumours of a new engine: either a lighter iteration of the current unit, which has cases designed to be part of the chassis; or even a totally new engine with a narrower vee angle than the current 90 degrees, to help centralise mass. Preziosi did not give away details. “We tried to optimize our work by doing some setup tests with Nicky. With Franco, particularly on the relatively nice first day, we started doing some tests that will be useful for preparing updates for Vale and Nicky to try after Estoril. I really hope we get sunny weather in Portugal.” DUCATI'S BLACK CLOUD RUINS CATCH-UP TESTS New engine rumoured, but for Hayden – ‘It’s a wash’ 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS