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GP Week : Issue 155
The manager of Spain’s young shooting star Marc Marquez, former 125 World Champion Emilio Alzamora, believes that Dorna might find a way round their own stumbling block preventing the favoured rider from taking Casey Stoner’s place at Repsol Honda. The Rookies Rule bans new riders in the premier class from joining a factory team, and was introduced in 2010 to ensure that high-level new riders like Superbike champion Ben Spies would need to spend a year on a satellite bike, improving lesser teams’ chances of securing sponsorship backing. In 2008 Jorge Lorenzo had made such a move, winning a race in his first season. Marquez took a dominant 125 title in 2010, and only missed a maiden Moto2 title last year through late-season injury. His sponsor Repsol wants to move him into the factory squad next year, and Stoner nominated him as his ideal replacement. But so far pressure to cancel the rule from the sponsor and HRC has resulted in a firm refusal from Dorna. Speaking exclusively to GPWEEK, Alzamora did not believe the door was closed. “Sure he has the talent, and the ideal situation is Honda or Yamaha,” he said. “I think Carmelo [Ezpeleta] would like to have one more Yamaha or Honda on the grid, though he may have a different official line,” he said. Ducati runs successful test at Mugello, but no new engine until Silverstone ROSSI COMEBACK ON HOLD: THREE MORE WEEKS PBM UK rider James Ellison recorded his first points of the 2012 GP World Championship season with a superb 11th place in Le Mans... silkolene.com Marlboro Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finally found some good weather to test crucial new developments to the slow- to-improve Desmosedici GP12 at Mugello last week – but hopes that the beleaguered superstar’s best-yet second at Le Mans heralds an instant revival will have to wait. Both riders will have to use their current engines, with a savage throttle response, for one more race, to avoid the risk of running foul of the limit of six engines per rider and incurring another embarrassing pit-lane start. The revised motor, along with chassis modifications, will be available from the British GP on June 17. A veil of secrecy kept details and lap times under wraps, although unofficial figures published by GPOne.com put Rossi at 1m48.62s and Hayden at 1m48.84,s within sight of Lorenzo’s 1m48.402s 800cc lap record, but more than a second off Stoner’s test time there on the 1000cc Honda prototype last year. Both riders tested the revised engine, retuned for smoother pick-up. This was behind schedule: Rossi had been due to ride it on May 7 at washed-out tests at Estoril. Another significant change was a return to an aluminium swing-arm, in place of the carbon unit used for some years. If adopted, this would mark the final stage in embracing Japanese factory convention in every area except engine configuration. So far, Ducati has stayed faithful to its well-balanced but relatively bulky 90-degree vee. On the final day Rossi ran 76 laps and Hayden 81; the only break coming when temperatures rose in the middle of the day. This is in sharp contrasts to Hayden’s previous test at Mugello, scheduled to make up for lost time, which was rained off. Ducati Corse chief Filippo Preziosi described the tests as “very useful, because we were able to gather interesting information on the different areas of the bike.” Test items included electronics, engine and chassis, including the swing-arm. But aside from electronic tweaks riders will have to wait until after the next race and subsequent further tests at Catalunya and Aragon. “We want to go to other tracks to test the validity of the solutions,” said Preziosi. Rossi has said that major upgrades will not come until the US GP at the end of July. ROOKIE RULE MAY CHANGE – Marquez manager 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS