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GP Week : Issue 153
at BRIEFLY » Stoner beat Rossi at an auction of Ducatis, held last week at Monaco. Valentino’s rostrum bike from last year’s French GP fetched UK £168,420, but Stoner’s triple race winner from 2010 sold for £172,430. » Italian Moto3 engine manufacturers Oral have issued a statement denying a rift with one of two teams using the motors, the Ambrogio Next squad. GPOne. com had reported that poor performance compared with the class-leading Honda and KTM machines would see the team switch, but “no such meetings have taken place,” said the company. The other team to use Oral engines, under their own name, is the Indian-owned Mahindra. » James “Off-again/ On-again” Ellison is to get another chance to tame the near-terminal chatter problems that have haunted the British rider’s return to MotoGP on the Paul Bird Racing ART. They were so bad at Estoril that he retired, and team boss Bird told TV interviewers that he would be replacing Ellison at Le Mans by Shayne Byrne, a former GP rider now in Bird’s British Superbike squad. Days later he hit reverse gear, and the team issued a statement confirming that Ellison would be riding the CRT bike in France, but confirming an option of a substitution in future. Is there smoke without fire? Definitely, according to Valentino Rossi. The nine- times World Champion was quick to refute a report in Britain’s respected Daily Telegraph that he had confided to intimates that he would quit bike racing at the end of the season. The Monday report named no sources, but said: “The Daily Telegraph understands that Rossi has now told his inner circle — his father, Graziano and his manager, Davide Brivio — that he will not race beyond this year. His decision may have been influenced by the likely departure ... of his legendary chief engineer and mentor, Australian Jerry Burgess, for personal reasons.” The writer went on to suggest that Valentino might quit even before the end of this, his second downbeat season with Ducati, bowing out to go rallying or sports-car racing after the mid-September San Marino/Rimini GP at Misano, close to his Tavullia home. Rossi responded on Twitter within hours, but denied only the latter part of the report. He wrote: “Ciao guys, the rumours about my retirement at the end of the year are not true! See you in Le Mans.” There is a strong case for suggesting that Rossi, now 33, might retire after this season, unless there is a major transformation in the Ducati’s performance. HRC’s Shuhei Nakamoto has already said there would be no place for him back at Honda, and there is unlikely to be a welcome back at Yamaha. Rossi enjoys rallying, and earlier this year made a good impression in a sports-car endurance race at Monza. Burgess, who previously shepherded Mick Doohan to five championships, could not be reached for comment, but has previously said he will continue as long as Rossi continues. Rossi denies Fleet Street retirement rumours ‘PURE SPECULATION’ 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS