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GP Week : Issue 167
at BRIEFLY » Superbike rider Jonathan Rea made a measured but impressive MotoGP debut at Misano, riding the Repsol Honda in place of the injured Casey Stoner. The rider from Northern Ireland finished eighth, improving through the weekend. He had followed the injured Nicky Hayden. “Until he dropped me I could pick up some things from him.” In the closing stages he closed to within a second ... only for Hayden to open up the gap again. “I’ve got a lot more to give,” said Rea, who is back on his Honda Superbike next weekend, then returns to Aragon the week after. » Colin Edwards’s hopes of dumping his difficult Suter BMW CRT bike have come to nothing, while the Swiss chassis maker has rebounded from the American’s criticism and now has a second bike on the grid. Impressive CRT rider Danilo Petrucci’s Ioda team has abandoned their own-built Aprilia- powered machine to switch to the Suter. But Edwards may achieve his hopes next year ... he and Moto2 team-mate Alex de Angelis have both signed up for next year with the same NGM Forward team, and there is a good chance he will be on an Aprilia ART. At 39, Edwards will remain the oldest rider on the grid. » The memory of local hero Marco Simoncelli was strong at Misano, the track now named after him and only a few kilometres from his home. A charity cycle ride from Donington Park in England to Misano, led by Kevin Schwantz, raised money for the Marco Simoncelli Foundation charity, and a sea of fans with placards bearing his “58” racing number crowded a section of the track. At the same time a biography assembled by his parents and friends, entitled “Il Nostro Sic” (Our Sic), was launched. An English version will be published in due course. On the eve of the Misano GP weekend Ducati officially announced that Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone are to join the factory ’s new “junior team” next year, to be run by current satellite squad Pramac. This confirms GPWEEK’s report of last week, and sets the scene for an accelerated development programme next year, with four riders on full factory-spec bikes feeding data and information back to factory engineers. Spies acknowledges it is a risk, but it is also the American’s only chance to stay in the premier racing series on a full factory machine. This was what persuaded the former World Superbike champion to change his mind about joining the BMW team in that series. “Next year is going to be a big adventure and a big change,” he said. “I don’t know what I can do in MotoGP, but I know I haven’t got the most out of myself yet. I had to think a lot about it, and I don’t want to look back in five years knowing I didn’t reach my full potential.” Team-mate Iannone is a Moto2 hot-shot also grasping a rare opportunity. He admitted he had asked Rossi’s advice about the move, and his compatriot had backed up his choice. “I preferred a full factory ride to a satellite team or in CRT,” he said. Ducati Corse boss Filippo PreziosI said there was an option to use the junior team to test out new ideas and equipment on behalf of official factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. “Mainly we are happy to have four strong riders using all similar material to collect more data to speed up the process,” he said. BEN SPIES AND THE BIG ADVENTURE Ducati Junior Team conf irmed MOTOGP >>> NEWS 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: