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GP Week : Issue 180
MOTOGP >>> NEWS HONDA AND YAMAHA HAVE THE EDGE FOR AUSTIN Schwantz dispute a shadow over new event The factory Yamaha and Honda riders Lorenzo, Rossi, Pedrosa and Marquez plus satellite Honda rider Stefan Bradl will have a distinct advantage at next weekend’s first MotoGP race at Austin’s CotA, after taking part in exclusive three-day tests in March. And insiders believe it is the Honda trio with the greater edge: the Texan circuit has the longest straight on the calendar, entered from one of several slow corners. This aspect plays to the strong corner exit and high top speed of the RC213V Honda. Marquez dominated at the tests, but on a slippery surface; lap times will drop significantly during the progress of the weekend.) The track earned praise for its variety, including changes of elevation and blind corner entries. Rossi was an instant fan. “It’s very flowing, with a lot of fast corners,” he said. But he commented on three very tight hairpins. “This is better for Formula 1 overtaking, not for us,” he said. The CotA straight is 1,200 m (0.746 miles), putting existing MotoGP circuits Mugello (1,141m) and Catalunya (1,047) down a rung. The 5.513-km (3.426-mile) lap makes it the third-longest circuit of the season, behind Silverstone (5.90 km) and Sepang (5.548). The only shadow hanging over the first race at the track, and the first of three visits to the USA, is the circuit’s continuing dispute with MotoGP hero and local resident Kevin Schwantz. Schwantz advised on circuit design and played a key role in bringing MotoGP to the track, but is now locked in dispute with the circuit after losing promotional rights to the event. Schwantz was barred from the March tests, and later responded to the fall-out from that with a written statement. “CotA’s attempt to downplay my involvement with Austin’s MotoGP event is silly, but some of the group’s other actions may verge on something far more serious. It is my belief that just like the F1 event, they are attempting to rewrite history in an effort to qualify for one of the Texas Event Trust Funds,” he said. at BRIEFLY » Nicky Hayden rode a street Ducati at the head of a 100-strong parade of bikes in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, last week – another sign of how the motorcycle industry is looking towards Indonesia for prosperity. Hayden was there to promote Shell Advance oil; Honda and Yamaha riders including Pedrosa and Lorenzo have all visited the country over the past two years, and the factories are urging Dorna to revive the short-lived Indonesian GP. » CRT teams who have chosen to use the new Dorna- supplied control electronics, developed by Magneti Marelli, ran into a few problems at Qatar, with FTR-Kawasaki rider Colin Edwards tweeting a desperate call for help, if there was anyone familiar with the system in the area of Austin. He and NGM Forward team-mate Claudio Corti suffered non-running problems and a tendency for the electronics to self-switch into pit-lane mode; Suter-BMW rider Danilo Petrucci likewise. He and Edwards both failed to finish. » MotoGP fans in the US have hitherto had to struggle somewhat to find TV coverage of MotoGP, but after Indianapolis the world championship will at last be on mainstream TV. The launch of Fox 1’s new 24-hour sports channel, a challenger to ESPN, coincides with the weekend of the Indianapolis GP, and the event will get major billing. Fox takes over MotoGP coverage from that race onwards from Speed TV. Cancelled round to return in 2014 Struck off this year’s calendar in a political row, the Argentine GP is back on track, with familiarisation tests at the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit scheduled for July this year. Representatives of the factory teams are expected to take part in two days of testing, with some CRT teams also on the list. But factories may not necessarily send their top riders on an exercise that is more about publicity than racing science. Cal Crutchlow will go for Yamaha, according to a report from Britain’s Motor Cycle News; while Stefan Bradl or Alvaro Bautista are likely to be Honda’s candidate. The hastily convened trip will see riders and bikes flying to Argentina the day after the Dutch TT at Assen. The five-day venture, from July 1 to 5, includes media appearances in Buenos Aires, and two days at the new circuit, on the other side of the country. The race is backed by the Argentinean tourist board, and the combined window- dressing/circuit-proving exercise comes a year after their official visit to Assen to announce details of the track. The presentation was overtaken by a doubts because of a Spanish government decree that the safety of Repsol employees could not be guaranteed: at the time Argentina had nationalised the YPF-Repsol fuel company, effectively seizing Repsol’s assets. The official warning has since been withdrawn. According to a statement, “several representatives of the world championship – including those of marques such as Honda, Ducati and Yamaha – will take part in official trials in Argentina. The program will include two days of intensive work on the track.” The race was originally scheduled as the third round of this year, a week after the Austin race. MotoGP has a fitful history in Latin America. The last visit was to Brazil in 2004; the last Argentine GP in 1999. MOTOGP TO TEST IN ARGENTINA 5 GPWEEK.com // 5 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: