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GP Week : Issue 156
at BRIEFLY » Moto3 points leader Sandro Cortese had a new chassis for his Red Bull KTM at Catalunya, giving a further weight saving to a machine that has now shed some 5kg since testing began at the start of the year. A major weight saving was a reduction in radiator size of 35 percent, achieved after tests in blazing-hot Malaysia showed the bike was somewhat over-cooled. » The rookie rule that will prevent Marc Marquez from moving directly into the factory Repsol Honda team next year is likely to stay ... but it will make no difference, according to Valentino Rossi. “Honda will give him a full factory bike anyway, just like did for me when I came to the class in an independent team in 2000.” » Stoner’s fourth place at Catalunya ended his chances of breaking the record for successive rostrum finishes. He had amassed 19 in a row before arriving here ... and the number would probably have been 22 had Rossi not knocked him off at Jerez last year. Rossi holds the record with 23, one more than illustrious predecessor Giacomo Agostini. Dani Pedrosa and Repsol Honda team-mate Casey Stoner are alone in the MotoGP class in preferring the original Bridgestone front tyre to the new softer-construction ‘33’ that will be the only one available from the next race at Silverstone onwards. Both riders have criticised the tyre’s instability under braking, and while all other significant riders chose the 33 for the Catalunya race, the Honda duo stuck with the original front. Until now the new front has been available in limited numbers, two per weekend. “It is kind of strange with this change coming that we have no test with the new tyre,” said Pedrosa. “Tomorrow we will have only two of the tyres, and none for Aragon. It is the only tyre we will not be able to test.” Stoner was more sanguine. He didn’t like the tyre, he agreed, because “under braking it squishes more than the other one. But we’ll make it work. I’m not worried.” Speculation on how the rider line-up will change for next year after the departure of Casey Stoner from Honda rumbled on at Catalunya, with Jorge Lorenzo’s decision one major key to the final solution. Lorenzo would say only “it is too early to think about it”; but one intriguing possibility is that he goes to Honda and Rossi returns to Yamaha. Cal Crutchlow, enjoying a very strong second season on a satellite Yamaha, stands to benefit if there is a vacant saddle at Ducati – and he was enthusiastic about a prospect from which many riders would shy away. “I’m prepared to take a chance on Ducati, if it comes up,” he said. “I open the throttle the same way as Casey, though he’s about a second a lap faster than me, so maybe I’d get on alright with the bike.” Crutchlow’s position at Tech 3 is under threat because the team already has a contract in place next year for Briton Bradley Smith, currently having a difficult second season with the team in Moto2. TYRE CHANGE BAFFLES PEDROSA New ‘33’ replaces Honda’s preferred rubber, but none available for Aragon tests CRUTCHLOW: “I’D TAKE A CHANCE ON DUCATI” 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS