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GP Week : Issue 175
DUCATI DESIGNER PREZIOSI KICKED OUT? Rossi failure comes home to roost RED CARD PLAN AFTER “DANGEROUS” MARQUEZ PUNISHED Ducati would neither confirm nor deny reports from Italy that Ducati Corse chief Filippo Preziosi, designer of the Desmosedici MotoGP bike, is to be moved out of the racing department as the first victim of the Audi takeover. But sources close to the team insisted it was true ... and that Rossi's condemnation had played a big part in the decision. Preziosi's reputation was made when Casey Stoner took the first 800cc Desmosedici to a resounding title victory in 2007, and remained unsullied as the same rider continued to win races on subsequent generations of the uniquely desmodromically valved V4. But it has taken a battering ever since Rossi joined the team last year, and not only failed to replicate Stoner's form, but continued to the end to complain that the understeer and traction that beset the bike at the beginning of his tenure were still the same at the end of it. "Unfortunately, we still have the same basic problems," he confirmed at Valencia. It was suggested that when Audi took over and tried to persuade him to stay, he made a change of design management a condition ... but the new bosses felt unable to comply. Rossi also declined to comment on "rumours"; but the response of trackside team staff – scuttling away from confrontation with the press – was taken as one confirmation of the truth. Dorna is working on borrowing from football and other sports a formalised system of penalties for riders where offences can be carried from one event to the next – replacing the current rather haphazard ‘case-by-case’ system of the moment. This was revealed after Marc Marquez fell foul of officials again, convicted of dangerous riding when an over-ambitious overtaking move pushed Italian Moto2 rival Simone Corsi into a high-speed crash in Friday afternoon's second free practice session. The penalty was to start from the back row of the grid, the same one he suffered after hospitalising Ratthapark Wilairot running into him after the end of practice in Australia last year. Marquez, well nicknamed ‘The Merciless’, has been in trouble several times this year as well. In the first round at Qatar he was censured for barging Thomas Luthi off the track while they were battling for the lead. When he knocked Pol Espargaro off at Catalunya four rounds later, he was hit with a time penalty by Race Direction ... only for the punishment to be rescinded later that afternoon by FIM Stewards. The matter was eventually decided only halfway through the season, when the FIM appeal court backed up their officials. Commenting on the Valencia affair, Dorna's Javier Alonso confirmed that they expected to announced a more formal system in December. “We are working since the middle of the year on carrying penalties from one event to another, so that a rider who has been involved in several incidents can have a bigger penalty," he told the official MotoGP website. Next year Marquez will be in MotoGP, where riders believe the speed and horsepower will enforce a calmer approach. "Nobody here will give him any room," said Cal Crutchlow, though he added: "I think people have got it in for him because he is so good." Andrea Dovizioso compared him with the late Marco Simoncelli, saying: "He did not want to make Corsi crash, but if you are too dangerous you have to change." Simoncelli was censured for rough riding several times last year, though his fatal accident in Malaysia was considered a normal racing crash that went wrong when his bike carried him back into the path of following riders. Rossi admires Marquez's skill and aggression. "Young guys have to be like this – but Friday afternoon in difficult conditions, you shouldn't ride like this. "In MotoGP speeds are higher and it's more dangerous, so naturally you have to be more quiet," he added. at BRIEFLY » Bad weather threatened to make a nonsense of the two-day Valencia test, with rain predicted for the rest of the week. This was especially bad news for riders changing teams - with Rossi making his Yamaha return, Andrea Dovizioso due to get his first go on the Ducati he will ride next year, and Marc Marquez his first go on a MotoGP Honda. Yamaha was considering a switch to Aragon for the second day of the test, but bad weather is forecast there as well. A rule change cancelling a previous allowance for three days of testing in November/December for MotoGP class rookies means that Honda's planned outing to Sepang with Marquez is also in jeopardy ... unless Honda appoint the Malaysian circuit as their official test track. » Maverick Vinales will have to buy himself out of his two-year contract with the Blusens Avintia team, if he is to fulfil his ambition of switching from Honda power to KTM next year, according to team principle Ricard Jove. Vinales caused a sensation when he stormed out of the Malaysian GP, dubbing the team "second-division", before returning to the Australian GP with his tail between his legs. » A small crowd of just 61,856 spoke volumes about the economic problems troubling Spain. This was the fourth GP in Spain this year and the fifth on the Iberian peninsula, and observers believe it may be more than one too many. In previous years crowd figures at the stadium circuit outside the port of Valencia have nudged 100,000. MOTOGP >>> NEWS 12 GPWEEK.com // 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: