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GP Week : Issue 176
BRADL EARNS CONTRACT EXTENSION Honda Racing Corporation put their faith in Stefan Bradl to become the first German rider to earn a legitimate win in the premier class by extending his contract. The MotoGP Rookie of the Year extended his current deal with LCR Honda Team through to 2014, with full works machinery in the final year of his contract. In casting this vote of confidence, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) vice president Shuhei Nakamoto said: “We were more than happy with Stefan’s performance in 2012.” The soon-to-be 23-year-old finished eighth in his first season in the premier class. “He showed his ability to race fast on used tyres in the second part of the race, he was aggressive and fought for a podium finish at three or four races. We wanted to keep Stefan in the Honda family.” The love-fest continued, with Bradl saying, “HRC and LCR gave me a unique chance to step up to MotoGP in 2012. I am very grateful for this and the first class material I received during the whole season. HRC have me a chance to try the 2013 chassis at the Aragon test and later at the tests in Motegi and Valencia. With the new rules that come into place in 2014 I am sure Honda is the right place to be. I have set high goals for next year.” The only German to win a race in the premier class is Edmund Czihak at Nurburgring in 1974, but it was under far from normal conditions. Snow fell on Saturday and riders complained of a lack of straw bales. Most boycotted Sunday’s race, with Czihak riding his 351cc Yamaha to a German sweep of the 500cc podium. Contested circumstances were also responsible for the last podium by a German in the 500cc class. Rain at Misano in 1989 made conditions so slippery that all but one of the established grand prix riders boycotted. Under pressure from his sponsor, HB, Italian Pier-Francesco Chili entered the race, winning easily. German Michael Rudroff finished a distant third. MOTOGP >>> NEWS HONDA BOSS BACKS DANI TO DELIVER The always candid HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto gave a state of the team address days after the season finale in Valencia. The Repsol Honda team had started out slowly, with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo dominating much of the early season while Honda played catch up. Nakamoto blamed the slow start on the imposition of a four kilo penalty and the introduction of a new front Bridgestone tyre that caused chatter at most tracks: “New regulations just before the start of the year and then tyre changes basically meant that we had to rebuild our bike from scratch, and that was whyv our teams and riders had such a hard time in the first six months,” he said. “Dani (Pedrosa) has had a good year. No injuries, and seven wins this season is a big leap for ward from his previous best of four. And he won his first race in wet conditions, too. Last year he always seemed overshadowed by Casey (Stoner), but this season he confidently took on both Jorge (Lorenzo) and Casey. That makes it all the more disappointing that we had a troubled first half to this season as we adjusted to new weight and tyre regulations. That was what cost us the riders championship.” Then he gave Pedrosa a vote of confidence, saying, “But if Dani keeps performing next year the way he did in this season's second half, then I'm very confident he will bring home the title for us. We're just starting the tests for next year now. I hope Dani will put even more effort than usual into these winter tests, and that we can all move on from the setbacks we suffered this season.” 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: