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GP Week : Issue 152
at BRIEFLY » Jorge Lorenzo turned 25 on the first day of practice at Estoril, marking exactly 10 years since he made his grand prix debut at 15 at Jerez, on the second day of practice for the Spanish GP. “I felt old on the track today,” he tweeted, prompting a quick response from Casey Stoner on the same medium. “Be careful not to break your hip now you are so old.” » Energy Drink Monster’s increasing involvement with MotoGP – with personal deals with many riders including Rossi and event sponsorship for the French GP in a fortnight – took an intriguing turn when Coca Cola was named as likely buyers of the company, for a cool $12-billion. Rumours had already suggested that Coke might come to MotoGP, backing an independent Rossi team. » Hopes that BMW might move to MotoGP after achieving success in World Superbike took a boost when the bikes dominated practice at Monza ... but at the same time came news that meant they may have to be put on hold. On Friday came the announcement that the head of BMW Motorcycles Hendrik von Kuenheim, a racing enthusiast, will be moving on within the company to manage car business in Asia, Oceania and South Africa. His replacement is Stephan Schaller, whose views on racing are not known. The reason for GP winner Ben Spies’s dismal performance at Qatar was revealed at Estoril, when Yamaha admitted that the carbon-fibre seat/ subframe on his M1 was broken after two heavy crashes in practice, but had gone unnoticed. Study of video shows the seat vibrating wildly as Spies battles for control. At Jerez, Spies admitted that the problems had occurred on the same bike he had crashed, but would not reveal details. “The chassis and swing-arm weren’t bent, but I’m not going to say what the problem was,” he said, adding: “It was nobody’s fault.” Spies was 11th again at Jerez, prompting rumours that he was seriously detuned. At Estoril, a major setting change meant he could explain that more clearly. The adjustment had been counter-intuitive, but the result was, he said, “night and day. “After Jerez people were quick to say I rode like crap, but I’m not riding any harder now ... it’s just that the bike is working,” he said. “In MotoGP when the bike isn’t good and you’re not confident, you’re light years off the pace. People were saying I don’t have drive, but I rode Jerez just as hard as I rode Assen last year [he came first]. The bike wasn’t there for me. “Usually I like a lot of weight on the front to make the bike turn, but in fact we’ve taken weight off the front, and I’m really comfortable now. “It would never have worked on the 800, but the 1000 is such a different motorcycle. That’s how feelings are sometimes – the opposite of what you think,” he said. The change put the Texan up among the fast guys again; qualifying alongside Lorenzo on the second row. In the race Spies blamed his own errors for slipping back to eighth, but he said: “I’m out of the championship now, but the important thing is the feeling with the bike has improved and at least I’m rebuilding my confidence.” Breakthrough lifts factory Yamaha man’s hopes SPIES WAS NOT SITTING COMFORTABLY 10 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS