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GP Week : Issue 177a
SPIES: I’LL BE READY FOR SEPANG “I think maybe my bad luck has ended ” New Ducati rider Ben Spies has promised he will be ready for the all-important first of next year’s tests at Sepang at the end of January, as his fight for fitness continues after extensive shoulder surgery ruled him out of his last two races with the factory Yamaha team. Spies suffered serious damage when he crashed in the monsoon-hit Malaysian GP at Sepang, and under went surgery to rebuild displaced tendons and replace damaged tissue. With the recovery process scheduled at possibly longer than ten weeks, this not only ruled out a Ducati debut at Valencia and later private Jerez tests, but also jeopardised the Sepang test. This is more important, because Ducati has indicated there will be significant changes to the bike for that test. “There’s not much pain at all now and the rehab’s going to be good – I can see the progression in the last week. It’s starting to feel pretty normal,” said the former World Superbike champion, who suffered a dire second season with Yamaha, peppered with technical failures and riding errors. “I would say probably 100-percent strength by the middle of February. It’s going to be very close at the first Sepang test to be perfect. But the season doesn’t start until later and it’s going to be good enough at the first test that it’s definitely not going to hold us back or anything,” said Spies. He thought that missing this year’s tests may be “a blessing in disguise, that I don’t ride something that isn’t what we’re racing.” The bike for Sepang “will be a pretty big change from that one. “We didn’t miss anything in Valencia tests,” he said, adding: “I think my bad luck maybe ended and the good luck maybe started.” at BRIEFLY » Moto3 maverick Maverick Vinales has succeeded in his aim of getting a factory- class KTM for next year’s championship. The xxx-year-old rejected a chance to join the Marc VDS team on a Kalex-KTM in favour of the Laglisse team, which this year ran Efren Vazquez on an FTR-Honda like the bike the Vinales criticised and rejected when he walked out on his team for one race. Vinales had to be bought out of a two-year contract with his old team, BQR. He tested the bike at Almeria in Spain last week, and was immediately at lap-record speed. His team-mate is Spanish compatriot Ana Carasco (16), the first female in Moto3. » HRC team chief Shuhei Nakamoto has welcomed the new 2014 regulations, which still allow free electronic software, as preserving an important element of MotoGP. In an interview in the Inspire LCR team magazine, he said: “I believe fans follow the races to see the technological advances, not only the battles between the riders.” Factory teams drop from six to five engines, and from 21 to 20 litres of fuel, posing a technological challenge with potential value to production bikes, he said. But how big a challenge? Even this year Honda could have survived on five engines. Nakamoto talked up the fuel restriction, but added tellingly: “even if our bikes are already capable of doing this.” » James Ellison has lost his battle for a second year in his on-and-off MotoGP career, after it was confirmed he had been dropped by the British PBM team – but his expected replacement Shane Byrne has turned town the slot. Ellison rode a PBM ART to fourth overall out of nine CRT bikes, but it was not enough. Team boss Paul Bird has announced a two-rider team next year, on the ART and a PBM chassis, expected to be Aprilia powered. Another BSB rider, Ulsterman Michael Laverty (brother of SBK star Eugene), is a likely replacement, along with spectacular Colombian Yonny Hernandez. MOTOGP >>> NEWS silkolene.com MotoGP - Paul Bird Motorsport James Ellison ends rookie season in style with 4th place finish in CRT. 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: