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GP Week : Issue 174
at BRIEFLY » Teams have turned to Japan for injury substitutes at Valencia. Ben Spies’s Yamaha will go to factory tester Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Last year he took injured Lorenzo’s machine to sixth at the track, and was a wild-card ninth at Motegi this year. In CRT-world, with Yonny Hernandez still out, the second Blusens Avintia FTR-Kawasaki will be ridden by the final 250 champion Hiroshi Aoyama, hoping for a full- time return after a disappointing year in World Superbikes.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. » Another Honda favourite, three-times British Superbike champion Ryuchi Kyonari, is being steered towards the Gresini team, for a role as development of the proposed production-racer version of the RC213V. But reports on the Italian GPOne web-site say the team owner, with a long close association with HRC, is lobbying for an Italian rider. Current Gresini (San Carlo) rider Michele Pirro is joining Ducati as full- time test rider. » Ducati has firmly addressed Italian rumours that the factory was about to pull out of World Superbikes next year – triggered by a split with the factory-backed Althea team. An announcement last week confirmed that rider Carlos Checa had signed directly with Ducati Corse, and that development of the new Panigale he will ride was well in hand. MOTOGP >>> NEWS WEST BANNED FOR “INNOCENT” DRUG-TEST FAILURE Double Moto2 rostrum f inisher to miss Valencia after energy-drink error Australian Moto2 rider Anthony West has been hit with a 30-day ban and will miss the final GP at Valencia, after failing a drugs test earlier in the season at the French GP. The 31-year-old 250 GP winner was also retrospectively disqualified from the French race, where he finished seventh – his best result this year until the rostrums in Malaysia and Australia. The decision came in an October 29 judgement of the FIM International Disciplinary Court. The light punishment indicates sympathy for an offence that technically could result in a life-time ban. West claimed he had inadvertently ingested the banned Methylhexaneamine in an energy drink. The substance is found in many such over-the-counter products, and is not always named in the ingredients. West is not the first athlete to fall foul of the inclusion of this substance in the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) list, followed to the letter by the FIM. One controversial case in South Africa is still under consideration on appeal: the winner of this year’s gruelling 89-km Comrades Marathon, Ludwick Mamabolo, was another victim, still protesting his innocence. Methylhexaneamine was originally used as a nasal decongestant but also has a mild stimulant effect, increasing the heart rate. It is nowadays also found in diet supplements and sports energy drinks, but is also considered a recreational drug. Race director Mike Webb said the minor punishment showed the court had accepted West’s explanation: “I don’t know if this is seriously a substance we need to be worried about, or if we need to be more picky rather than just taking the whole WADA list,” he said. 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: