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GP Week : Issue 173
$3-MILLION REFIT FOR FAVOURITE CIRCUIT PEDROSA’S DREAM IS OVER Work is scheduled to start within weeks on a major refit to the classic Phillip Island circuit, with full resurfacing the major part of a $3-million refit announced by the circuit owners on the eve of the GP. “This year we celebrate the circuit’s 60th year and are about to embark on a $3 million track resurfacing and upgrade," said circuit manager Fergus Cameron. The announcement forestalled growing complaints from riders about worsening bumps at key points on a track. “It has become very bumpy, and some turns like five and six the tarmac is not constant, not flat,” said Jorge Lorenzo. Phillip Island is in the top three of almost every rider’s list of favourite circuits. The fast layout and lack of chicanes gives it a flow that particularly suits motorcycle racing. Stoner summed it up. “It was designed 60 years ago before computers. It follows the flow of the countryside. It is a classic track and beyond anything else we race on. The high speed corners get your heart racing and there are a lot of corners you can slide through,” he said. He was concerned that resurfacing should not spoil the character of the track, possibly by giving it a surplus of grip, and volunteered to advise on the project: “Nothing needs to change except the bumps,” he said. One of the circuit’s original designers was car and bike legend Phil Irving, designer of the Vincent motorcycle and later the engine of the title-winning Repco Brabham formula one car. It was refurbished in 1989 and inaugurated with the first Australian motorcycle GP, won (as was the next) by Wayne Gardner. It was last resurfaced in 1998. ‘I ’m more sad than disappointed ’ Dani Pedrosa’s chance at the World Title may have been increasingly distant, but it was the closest he has ever been – and he was riding better than ever in his career, having won five out of the last six races. He would probably have won six, if he hadn’t been knocked down at Misano. It came to an end after less than two laps at Phillip Island. The only consolation was that he was leading the race at the time. “It’s a sad feeling more than disappointment,” he said after wards, philosophical at the loss. “I did what I had to do and have no regrets for my riding this season. I feel very proud of my team and my performance throughout the year. I think after what happened at Misano we showed a very good attitude, skill and power. “The crash was nothing strange. I just went wider on the corner, I had some chatter, and lost the front. Maybe the tyre was not warm enough as well ... but it’s like it is,” he said. “Congratulations to Lorenzo, because he deser ved the championship.” With six wins this year, Dani added 60 percent to his career total in seven years in the class ... but his run of wins came only after Repsol Honda team- mate Stoner was absent injured or riding hurt. Next year’s team-mate is Moto2 champion Marc Marquez, tipped as a future great. Will the youngster steel Pedrosa’s thunder? MOTOGP >>> NEWS titanrace.com High performance engine oil providing optimum protection. LUBRICATION 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: