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GP Week : Issue 165
MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS at BRIEFLY » Revered Japanese engineer Masao Furusawa, architect of Yamaha’s much- decorated cross-plane-crank M1 MotoGP bike, has confirmed that he was approached by Ducati for help. Had the meeting in Italy with Ducati Corse chief Filippo Preziosi resulted in him accepting a role with the company, it might have been a powerful lure to keep Rossi on board. Now retired from Yamaha, Furusawa has a consulting practice in Kyoto, and told a Japanese interviewer of deep discussions with Preziosi. In the end, “Japanese culture” meant he shrank back from joining their MotoGP rivals – he had asked Yamaha, he said, and they had replied: “We are sure you will do the right thing.” » Cal Crutchlow is the new leader of something of a revival in fortunes for the once-dominant British. His 2013 team-mate at the French Monster-backed team is fellow Englishman Bradley Smith. Stoner’s replacement is Ulsterman Jonathan Rea; while Scott Redding is a candidate for the Ducati Junior team and also possibly Gresini Honda. » New Ducati recruit Andrea Dovizioso won’t be discussing his new role with compatriot predecessors Marco Melandri and Valentino Rossi, both of whom found the Desmosedici beast more or less untameable. “There is no reason to. Everybody knows their results at Ducati, and you can speak to other riders and hear their point of view, but I prefer to wait and see for myself. When I was at Honda, I thought many things about the Yamaha ... and they were wrong.” Ben Spies remained tight-lipped about his racing future ... but the US and World Superbike champion gave a clue at Brno when he recanted an earlier statement that he expected to leave the MotoGP paddock. At Indy he had given strong signs – echoed by BMW – that he would be moving back to World Superbikes. It is understood a form of pre-contract had already been agreed, and BMW team sources expressed confidence he would be joining Melandri in the production-based series next year. The sub-text was a possible return to MotoGP with BMW the following year, although there has been no confirmation of the move from Germany. “You say some things after a couple of weekends when things have happened not out of anger but out of frustration,” he said at Brno. “I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent going to leave MotoGP. If I stay, I want everything to be right, to be happy. I don’t believe I’ve shown what I can do, and I don’t want to look back and know I never got to show all my potential. That would be the reason to stay. “BMW has not gone away, but there are others. “I’ve been approached by a couple of people since Indianapolis. there are some MotoGP offers, though nothing’s done yet.” There are four possibilities: » Switch to World Superbikes with the BMW team » Take over the factory Honda in the satellite Gresini team from disappointing Alvaro Bautista. “It would be a good bike,” said Spies; and in the short term this is probably the most tempting route. » Join Ducati’s so-called ‘Junior’ team, with a view to replacing Hayden in the factory squad next year. » Return to Suzuki, for whom he rode in the USA, to develop their 2014 bike next year, possibly with some wild card rides. He would return full time with the factory the year after. This was reinforced by the presence of factory Suzuki GP personnel at Brno. SPIES: MYSTERY SURROUNDS HIS FUTURE ROSSI REUNION: “NO CONSPIRACY” Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis firmly denied rumours that Dorna played a hand in the rebirth of their former ‘Super-team’, that netted the manufacturer the rider, team and constructor championship triple crown in 2009 and 2010. “The initial approach came from Valentino,” said Jarvis, in a special briefing at Brno. In response to rumours that Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta had brokered the deal, he said: “Carmelo had no influence whatsoever in the entire process. I have never discussed Valentino’s return to Yamaha with him, to this day.” The gossip had been triggered by Ezpeleta himself in an interview in June. When asked about the cost to the championship of Rossi’s run of bad results, he told an Italian reporter: “I am calm. Valentino next year will be riding a competitive bike, but I cannot tell you what it is. It is still too early to talk about: but in 2013 we will see Rossi fight for the win again.” Jarvis put a later time-line on the scenario. There had been “background discussions” for some time, with Rossi making the approach. “Real negotiations began in July, and final negotiations were quite quick.” Rossi would be taking a big pay cut, with Jarvis revealing that after meeting Lorenzo’s demands to keep him from moving to Honda “for Valentino there is not a huge budget remaining” . Nor would he resume his former senior role at Yamaha, where he dictated there should be a wall down the pit between his crew and Lorenzo’s. Both riders would receive identical treatment, but “we consider Jorge the most capable to win the World Championship,” said Jarvis. 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: