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GP Week : Issue 173
at BRIEFLY » Moto2 rider Alex de Angelis missed the race he has won for the last two years after sustaining a serious finger injury when his hand was caught under the handlebar in a crash in qualifying. The fourth finger of his left hand was crushed, and required plastic surgery and an artificial tendon for a repair in Melbourne on race morning. » Next year’s first MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas at Austin, Texas, has been officially named: the Grand Prix of the Americas. The April race heads Laguna Seca’s United States GP and Indianapolis GP next year, with the US rivalling Spain for the most home races. » Australian racer Kris McLaren had a bruising MotoGP baptism, replacing Yonny Hernandez, who dislocated his shoulder at Motegi. He crashed the Blusens Avintia FTR Kawasaki in qualifying, but came back only to fall short of the 107 percent-of-pole cut-off point. He was allowed another go in warm-up, but failed by just over half-a-second. » Sylvio Berlusconi was not the only prominent Italian sentenced to a jail term last week. Former 250 champion and MotoGP race winner Marco Melandri also received a sentence – one year and seven months, for tax dodging while resident in England. The sentence was suspended, so the rider can return to his duties as factory BMW Superbike title contender. » Inaugural Moto2 champion Toni Elias has been through three teams this year – dumped by the Aspar team in Moto2, substituting for injured Barbera on the Pramac Ducati in MotoGP, and then as replacement rider in the Italtrans team. Now he hopes to come to rest, having signed to race Moto2 with the Blusens Avintia team next year, on his preferred choice of Kalex chassis. MOTOGP >>> NEWS Dorna’s parent company Bridgepoint has sold a substantial chunk of the Spanish company to a Canadian pension fund, in a move that dove-tails with Dorna’s take- over of World Superbike racing less than three weeks ago. Now the private equity company has sold a 39-percent stake in Dorna to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Financial commentators reported the price at 400-million Euros, only slightly less than Bridgepoint paid when they purchased Dorna from CVC Capital Partners in 2006. With 61 percent remaining in the hands of Bridgepoint and Dorna management, this is equivalent to a tripling in value. Given the straitened circumstances of many teams and individuals in the paddock, the news that at least someone was profiting from racing brought mixed reactions. The sale completes a sequence of events, and makes sense of the news that took the paddock by surprise before the Japanese GP. Bridgepoint had brokered internal agreement to bring World Superbikes from another wing of their organisation under complete control by Dorna. This considerably enhanced the value of the company, in preparation for the forthcoming sale. In a CPPIB statement, senior vice-president Andre Bourbonnais described the purchase as “a unique opportunity to invest in a leading international sports management business. We look for ward to working together with Dorna’s CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, his management team and Bridgepoint to continue Dorna’s global growth and to pursue exciting opportunities to expand into emerging markets.” CPPIB invests surplus funds from the Canada Pension Plan. MOTOGP HAS NEW (PART) OWNER Pension fund buys into Dorna in sport-for-sale surprise VINALES (AND LAWYER) RETURN Teenage tearaway eats humble pie Moto3 multi-winner Maverick Vinales, tipped as a future giant of the sport, returned to the paddock in Australia with his tail between his legs, less than a week after he had walked out of the Sepang race, calling his team “second division”. His companion then had been his father, who had been party to a row with the Avintia Blusens team the night before. This time he was accompanied by a “sports adviser”, overcome with careful contrition, and appearing at a press conference to read out the words of an earlier written statement. He apologised to his team, the fans, his chassis and engine manufacturers, the sports organisers and promoters, and a long list of sponsors by name. “I'm here to come forward, ask for forgiveness and take responsibility for my mistakes,” he said. "I made a mistake, because although I was not mentally prepared to ride the bike, I should not have left the Sepang circuit, or make such statements.” The 17-year-old had signed to stay with the team only two races earlier, at Aragon, but now proposed to walk out on that contract. Clearly wiser counsel had prevailed once he arrived home in Spain ... in the form of “rider advisor” Paco Sanches, who told the official MotoGP web-site that he was not Maverick’s representative, but was acting as mediator. “A 17-year-old, who was ill-advised or misguided, who wants to be World Champion, can make bad decisions,” said Sanches. “For reasons I will not mention it would not have been right to get on the bike. The error was not that he didn’t get on the bike – the mistake was leaving.” The rising stars future will be negotiated in the coming weeks. “The intention is to stick with the team – that would be the first priority,” said Sanches. “But if it cannot be due to internal differences, we must find amicable solutions.” Vinales crashed out of a relatively subdued race, but his rival for second, Luis Salom, scored only one point after a jump-start penalty. Vinales is nine points behind. 12 GPWEEK.com // 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: