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GP Week : Issue 157
As ever in Britain, much will depend on the weather at next weekend’s British GP – and if long- range forecasts of continuing rain and cold prove correct, it could provide a surprise winner in a season with only two different ones so far. The score over the first five races is 3:2 in Lorenzo’s favour over Stoner; but while Pedrosa still admits that wet weather is one of his weaker points, there are potential surprises from both satellite Yamaha riders Dovizioso and Crutchlow. And another chance for Rossi to shine in rain conditions that favour the Ducati. The revised Silverstone layout used by MotoGP for the first time in 2010 is at 5.902 km (3.667 miles) the longest track of the year and one of the three fastest, with enough of the old open airfield layout extant for high average speeds, although without any long top-speed runs. The new 1000cc bikes should handsomely crack Stoner’s 2011 800cc pole speed of 174.129 km/h (108.199 mph). But a mix of old and new track surfaces is challenging, and the rain likely to play a wild card. Track knowledge, familiarity with the conditions and “the home GP itch” will favour Crutchlow, denied his chance last year after a cold-tyre crash in practice; while team-mate Dovizioso is a former wet British GP winner (at Donington). The Honda riders face another difficulty if it is dry: Silverstone is the first race for the new softer- construction Bridgestone ‘33’ front tyre ... see separate News story. New protest over unprecedented to-and-f ro race penalty MARQUEZ FURORE COULD LAST WEEKS fuchslubricants.com - Optimum Protection - Maximum Power - High Performance Moto2 star Marc Marquez may lose the 16 points restored to him in an extraordinary FIM stewards’ turnaround at the Catalunyan GP, after rival team owner Sito Pons put in a fresh appeal against the reversal of the original penalty. Double 250 champion Pons’s 40 HP Tuenti team rider Pol Espargaro was victim in a controversial last-lap crash, when Marquez swerved across his bow. This incident was cited on the Race Direction sanction, earning Marquez a one-minute penalty, losing his third place. But his CatalunyaCaixa Repsol team immediately appealed, and within hours the FIM Stewards rescinded the penalty – the first such reversal since the Race Direction committee was introduced in 1999. Pons’s appeal was lodged on Monday, along with a 1,200 Euro deposit. If the points are again stripped from Marquez, it would put him one point behind title rival Espargaro, rather than a potentially valuable 15 ahead. It will now go before the FIM’s international disciplinary court (CDI). The decision could take up to six weeks. The unprecedented reversal is attributed to the wording of the citation. It mentioned only the collision with Espargaro, which many thought merely “a racing incident” . It appears the stewards made their judgement on that incident alone. Race Director Mike Webb explained that the punishment had in fact taken much more into account: that Marquez was already under warning, as well as his riding earlier in the race. “I had my heart in my mouth watching him pass Iannone into turn one, and doing his trade-mark move ... which is to pass on the inside and immediately move over into the guy he’s just passed. How Iannone didn’t crash I have no idea,” he said. SILVERSTONE: TYRES, WEATHER AND SPEED ‘European Monsoon’ predicted to persist 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS