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GP Week : Issue 179
MOTOGP >>> NEWS KTM RULES THE ROOST IN MOTO3 Mahindra ahead of Honda in f inal tests Defending champions KTM seized the high ground in four days of Moto3 testing at Jerez, with “stock” production-racers taking the top four positions, and a Kalex KTM the fifth. But the surprise of the sessions came from Indian team Mahindra, with their brand-new Swiss-built machine slotting into sixth position, ahead of the top Honda – a Suter-framed bike. KTMs took the next five places, and the best stock Honda was down in 23rd place. The top time went to Luis Salom, a couple of tenths ahead of new KTM recruit Maverick Vinales. Then came two more compatriots – Alex Rins (for many the favourite to win) and the younger Marquez brother, Alex. Jonas Folger was fifth, just over six tenths down on pole on the Kalex KTM, with Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira another half-second away on the Mahindra. The Indian manufacturer had a dire first Moto3 season last year with the slow and unreliable Italian-built Oral engine, and formed a new alliance for this year with Swiss manufacturer Suter Racing Technology. Suter is well-known as a successful chassis manufacturer, but the Mahindra engine is the first engine they have designed and built from scratch. “I am very satisfied with the package we have put together since last season,” said Mahindra Racing CEO Mufaddal Choonia. “Everything has gelled well and we are achieving the targets we set after some very hard work over the winter. This is an entirely new bike. But we are not getting ahead of ourselves. This is only testing and we have a long season ahead of us.” MOTO2: FAVOURITE ESPARGARO TOPS TEST Last year’s title runner up Pol Espargaro dominated Moto2 tests at Jerez in the absence of his 2012 nemesis Marc Marquez, ending up almost half-a-second ahead of fellow Kalex riders Takaaki Nakagami, Julian Simon, former champion Toni Elias and Briton Scott Redding. Redding had been fastest in the wet, but Espargaro was on fine form at all other times. at BRIEFLY » Jorge Lorenzo has eschewed the defending champion’s right to use the number “1” on his Yamaha, preferring to stick with his favoured “99” instead. It is a matter of superstition, confirmed a close associate. “Jorge thought he had no luck when he used the number ‘1’ in 2011, and lost the championship; whereas he won it twice racing with ‘99’. So he decided to stick with it.” » Not all racing developments are driven by science. Last year, Moto2 riders scrambled to copy dominant rider Marc Marquez’s extra- large front mudguard, in the hope of matching his speed. Didn’t help. Now it has been revealed that the extra size was added only to make room for a bigger sponsor sticker. » Will all the factories end up making 90-degree V4s, like those of Honda and Ducati? Rossi’s legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess believes that Yamaha might also have a similar V4 in its future. “If you look what happened with the 500 two-strokes, they all ended up pretty similar,” he said. Designers tended to copy the most successful design. It was only the frequent changes in technical regulations that had prevented it so far in MotoGP. “It takes at least three years from design to a finished engine,” he said. Currently, the rules are changing more frequently than that, so it is not worth embarking on anything new. 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: