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GP Week : Issue 172
at BRIEFLY » The Moto3 championship is likely to be decided at next weekend’s Malaysian GP: as long as Cortese finishes in front of Vinales he is champion, assuming they will be battling up front. Moto2 is in a similar position: Marquez needs to be in front of Espargaro to convert his current 50-point lead into a certainty. MotoGP is more likely to be decided in Australia the following week. Lorenzo has an 18-point advantage, and would need 50 when he leaves Sepang, which is impossible even if he wins and Pedrosa doesn’t finish. » The French Tech 3 team reinforced the entente cordiale still further at Motegi, announcing that they have signed Moto3 race winner Danny Kent to take over from compatriot Bradley Smith in their Moto2 team next year. Smith moves up to MotoGP alongside third Englishman Cal Crutchlow. Kent’s team-mate however will be French: the recruitment of Louis Rossi was announced last week. » Carmelo Ezpeleta’s assertion that World Superbikes use as many as 29 engines a year was promptly disputed from Italy, by a writer on the GPOne website. BMW had used just 12 for a full season campaign with Marco Melandri, the report said, and this was similar with most other teams. Ezpeleta had been pointing out the disparity between the high state of engine tune (and fragility) allowed in the production-based series, while exotic MotoGP prototypes are limited to six a year. Casey Stoner put a question mark against his ability to add a record sixth successive Phillip Island victory next weekend, after recovery from extensive surgery to his wrecked ankle seven weeks ago was taking longer than he had expected. “It’s more week by week than day by day,” he said after his first day’s riding Sepang. He’d found the process easier than at Motegi, but wasn’t sure how much that was due to the more flowing nature of the circuit. “I haven’t been able to train properly,” he added. “I thought I could do some swimming, but they recommended that I don’t because it will twist the ankle the wrong way.” By the end of the weekend, after an increasingly strong ride to third in the wet, he was only a little more confident, revealing that he’d even considered pulling out of the race after seeing so many crashes in Moto2. “If I tweak my ankle, that’s game over for the rest of the season.” In the race, he had gained confidence in the wet for an increasingly strong ride to third, but was still unsure of his island chances. “We’ve really struggled with bike set-up the last two races, and we can’t seem to improve, though at Phillip Island we always seem to be able to pull something out of the bag somehow. “But this year will be a lot tougher. I’m not up to scratch with everything, and I need a lot more time before I can work up to full speed.” Stoner can still play a crucial role in the championship. If he finishes ahead of Lorenzo and so does Pedrosa, no matter who is in front, the Spanish rivals would go to the last race with less than 20 points between them. MOTOGP >>> NEWS PHILLIP ISLAND BECKONS FOR STONER RECORD But will the retiring champion be f it enough ... 12 GPWEEK.com // 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: