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GP Week : Issue 169
at BRIEFLY » Every cloud has a silver lining – literally so for factory Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies. Like everybody, they lost two practice sessions at Misano and one at Aragon to bad weather. Lorenzo explained the advantage. “I saved at least 300 km of engine use as a result.” Both he and Spies have suffered premature loss of one of their allocation of six engines. Jorge lost an almost new one when he was knocked off at Assen, and one of Ben’s blew up at Indy. » Bad weather and Spain’s economic woes contributed to a dismal crowd figure at Aragon, one-third down on an already disappointing figure last year. Capacious grandstands at the fine facility had only a smattering of filled seats, making a claimed Sunday attendance of 44,746 seem optimistic. Last year there were 63,267 race-day customers. » Luckless pre-season Moto3 favourite Maverick Vinales is to postpone his planned move to Moto2 by a year, to have another crack at the title. The 17-year-old star said “I am still young enough to wait”, after announcing he will stay on with his Avintia Blusens team. Crashes and mechanical problems have ruined his title chances in spite of five race wins to points leader Cortese’s three – and things got worse at Aragon when his FTR Honda broke down on the warm-up lap. With a single reservation, most riders are not concerned about the prospect of control electronics, believing it might make the racing closer and more exciting, without having much affect on the overall results. The reservation concerns safety ... the fear that less sophisticated traction control might lead to a return to the days of frequent high-side crashes: “Maybe the leather manufacturers will have to think about fitting parachutes,” joked Cal Crutchlow. “It could be positive for everyone, especially those who do not have the best electronics,” said Jorge Lorenzo, adding the usual rider: “We need to have the same security on the bike as now.” Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi both looked at the example set by F1: “It’s hard to say now,” said Pedrosa. “It seems like in F1 it works. The drivers don’t complain much ... but it’s a car, not a bike. Everything is unknown.” Rossi said: “We have to study the right level to remain safe, but for more fun and more fighting, we have to see ... with F1, people say it is good.” Crutchlow, also sitting at the top table at the pre-event conference, it was “a good idea ... but the same people will win. Guys are champions for a reason, not because they have better electronics.” Wheelie and launch control may be considered luxuries, but traction control is more important, and millions have been spent in recent years developing systems that measure parameters including lean angle, and can be programmed to respond differently corner to corner. Simplified systems would hand more control to the rider, but current horsepower levels mean some limits are essential. As Nicky Hayden said: “W ith 250 horsepower, a MotoGP bike would just be impossible to ride at a track like Laguna Seca.” RIDERS NOT FAZED BY ELECTRONIC CONTROLS MOTOGP >>> NEWS CALL FOR MORE TYRES AFTER ANOTHER DESERTED SESSION ‘Compulsory practice’ calls rejected For a second race in succession, half-wet track conditions kept most MotoGP riders sitting glumly in the pits for the first free practice – a let-down for fans and TV, and a loss of a chance to practice and find set-up in the conditions. At Aragon, only nine riders took to the track, and the blame went to the limited quantities of wet tyres available ... only four sets for the weekend. The second session was busier, which was better than Misano, where both Friday practices saw only a skeleton staff on the circuit. The problem is that although wet tyres are usable in wet-and-dry conditions, they quickly get torn up. “I’ve used two sets today,” said Nicky Hayden, after Friday ... he and team-mate Rossi were the only factory riders out in the morning session. “That leaves only two more for the weekend ... and we might need one for the race.” Riders rejected suggestions that intermediate or cut slick tyres should be made available, since they were not relevant. They were more vehement at suggestions floated at Misano by ex-rider Loris Capirossi, that it should be compulsory for riders to run practice laps in every session. “Imagine if there was a serious crash as a result,” said one. Dovizioso expressed the common view ... that more wet tyres should be available. “It is always important to try, you never know what conditions you will find in the race.” If riders had a more generous allocation of tyres, the track would be as busy as in a dry session, he said. 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: