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GP Week : Issue 161
at BRIEFLY » Audi’s purchase of Ducati promises to bring German organisation and engineering values to the Italian inspiration of the company, but as Rossi said in Germany, they are a car company that knows nothing about motorcycles. But the new head of Ducat has a two-wheel background. Wolfgang Durheimer was head of development at BMW motorcycles, before taking the same role at Porsche, then working as CEO of another Audi acquisition, Bentley. » Stoner was not impressed when it was pointed out that one more win would put him equal with Mike Hailwood’s record of 37 premier-class wins. “I’m not here to be in the history books. If I was, I’d stay around a bit longer,” he said. “But it’s a privilege in quite a short career if I can be up with names like that.” » Former 125 World Champion Mike di Meglio is the latest victim of the financial pinch, after losing his Moto2 ride with the Speed Up team because he was let down by a sponsor, with whose money he planned to pay the Italian team for the ride. He was replaced at the German GP by Italian Moto3 rider Alessandro Andreozzi (21) With Dani Pedrosa expected to sign for another two years with Honda by next weekend, Valentino Rossi’s alternatives should he choose to leave Ducati are dwindling fast. The second factory Honda is earmarked for rising star Marc Marquez. There is another possibility at the Fausto Gresini-owned San Carlo satellite Honda team, which has had factory-spec machines in the past for Marco Simoncelli and other riders. “It is a romantic idea – but he has not approached us and we have not spoken to him,” said team manager Carlo Merlini. “If he wants a ride, we have a ride for next year.” But there were many obstacles, including the excess baggage (including a full pit crew) that Rossi brings with him. Yamaha has more than enough of its own riders to choose from to join Jorge Lorenzo in the factory team. Incumbent Ben Spies is favourite for the second seat, but a second successive defeat in Germany by satellite rider Andrea Dovizioso threatens his position. Cal Crutchlow is also on standby for Yamaha, but must decide by Mugello whether to take a two-year deal to join Ducati. Rossi softened his previous week’s criticism of Ducati’s lack of development on the eve of the German race, saying: “I spoke more deeply and had some discussions about future development with Filippo (Preziosi, race company chief),” he said. Two days later he had his first meeting with Ducati’s new owners Audi, when CEO Rupert Stadler headed a small delegation on his first MotoGP visit, to meet not only Rossi but also Ducati managing director Gabrielle del Torchio. Any talks with the rider were firmly behind closed doors. Audi’s purchase of Ducati was given final approval by European anti-trust authorities at the end of June. Rossi was looking for ward to tests at Mugello after next weekend’s Italian GP, as well as a revised engine for the US GP at Laguna Seca in three weeks. There is no new chassis expected, but there will be changes in weight distribution and balance. ROSSI – OPTIONS DWINDLE FOR 2013 Audi’s Ducati purchase ratif ied – may sweeten the pill 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS