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GP Week : Issue 178
at BRIEFLY » The secret of the vee angle of Honda’s near-dominant RC213V MotoGP is out: it is 90 degrees. This is the same as the Ducati Desmosedici, and a significant increase from the estimated 72 degrees of the 800cc motor that came before. A 90-degree angle does away with the need for a balance shaft; while suggestions that the extra engine bulk were the major cause of Ducati’s handling problems no longer hold water. » A new Rossi? Actually Valentino’s half- brother’s name is Luca Marini, and the 15-year-old is hoping to make his GP debut as a Moto3 wild card at Misano later this year. Marini is tipped for success at home, and is campaigning a high- level FTR-Honda in this year’s Italian Moto3 championship ... continuing a family tradition of making sure of the best available machinery whenever possible. » Former World Champion Franco Uncini, last month appointed FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer, made his debut as a circuit inspector at Austen, Texas, and immediately made a list of required improvements, including more air-fencing and more gaps in the guard rails. Uncini, 1983 500 champion, was previously the Dorna Rider Safety officer. » Kevin Schwantz is the proud new owner of an 11,500-Euro Fender Stratocaster guitar. But it is not ordinary axe: the Simoncelli tribute Strat is custom built and bears the late rider’s number 58 and characteristic colour scheme. It was used by Manchester’s Rainband. Like the proceeds from their single Rise Again, the cash goes to the Simoncelli Foundation. After winning the Ebay auction, Kevin – a fan and supporter of the colourful Italian – will need to learn some licks. » Moto3 has caught on as an international racing class, and first-year champions KTM are ready to cash in. As well as supplying 27 machines to the Red Bull Rookie class, which until last year used 125cc two-strokes, the Austrian factory is to make 40 replicas of champion Sandro Cortese’s machine, although lacking top-level factory ancillaries, for sale. MOTOGP >>> NEWS HAYDEN: ‘MARQUEZ A GAME- CHANGER’ Experienced MotoGP rider Nicky Hayden thinks MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez “could be a game- changer to MotoGP, and all of road-racing.” The 2006 champion was answering questions at a teleconference organized by Indianapolis, in the run up to the season. “I don’t think anybody doubted he was going to be fast,” he said. But to be quite this quick and even so consistently quick this early wasn’t expected. “Some of us riders, we aren’t so pumped up on it,” he added, reflecting the caution of his new rivals who have watched his ruthless overtaking tactics in Moto2. “Honestly, I think we wanted to give him a little more time.” But his arrival was exciting for the sport. “If he can stay healthy, he is really going to shake things up this season,” he said. Hayden was fresh from the surgeon’s table. With Ducati opting out of the familiarization test at Austen’s COTA, the most experienced pilot of the troubled red bikes took the chance to get his wrist-action smoothed out in anticipation of hoped-for improvements to the Desmosedici’s sudden throttle response. Nicky Hayden broke bones in his right hand in a heavy qualifying crash at Indianapolis, then exacerbated the injury with his infamous vault over the barrier at Aragon. The latest surgery was, the rider tweeted last week, just a “minor tune-up last night to clean up some old scar tissue. “All went smooth.” 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: