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GP Week : Issue 158
at BRIEFLY » Alvaro Bautista. the forgotten Spaniard of MotoGP, backed up his first MotoGP pole with the promise that he is now ready for battle, after spending the first part of the season adapting from his old Suzuki to his new Honda. “From the first tests we made very few changes to the settings. I needed to understand the bike,” he said. “Then when we wanted to try tests at Estoril were rained off.” Only in tests after Catalunya had they started experimenting, putting more weight on the front and adjusting fork settings ... his San Carlo team is the only one to use Showa rather than Öhlins suspension. “It’s better, but we can improve it more,” he threatened. » The annual Day of Champions for MotoGP’s official Riders for Health charity broke all records, thanks to a pound- for-pound contribution from the British Government that doubled takings from their auction. The state contributed £65.500 to double the proceeds from the auction, while gate receipts brought the overall total to £254, 989. Riders for Health provides mainly motorcycle transport for health care workers in rural Africa. » The new ‘33’ Bridgestone front tyre took over the full MotoGP allocation at Silverstone for the first time, to exactly the expected reaction: all the riders prefer the softer-construction carcase except for factory Honda riders Stoner and Pedrosa. But chatter was not a problem at this fast flowing track in these cold conditions, and Stoner had a dire prediction. “When we get to tracks with harder braking I can see some riders who liked the tyre at first not liking it any more. Valentino Rossi’s small but discernible improvement in form in the last two races has not come from copying team-mate Nicky Hayden, the multi-champion insisted at Silverstone. But he did admit his progress in taming the Desmosedici was lagging behind that of the American, who is often faster in practice and the race. Rossi’s first breakthrough after his dire start to the year had come in abandoning his own quest for a shorter, taller and more agile machine like the Yamaha M1, and adopting the same “longer and lower” settings preferred by Hayden. The suggestion of copying gained strength at Barcelona tests after the race there two weeks ago, when Rossi found another improvement adopting settings already used by Hayden earlier in the test. “The settings we tried at the test were not the idea of Nicky, but of the factory,” he insisted. “At the end of the practice Nicky make another modify to change the front. I think we are in delay compared with him,” said Rossi. The front modification, said Hayden, was too subtle to be summed up easily. “The front wheel is in the same position; but it’s more the head pipe (steering stem) and off-set. It’s not easy to explain,” he said. “I’M NOT COPYING NICKY” – ROSSI 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS