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GP Week : Issue 181
MOTOGP >>> NEWS ‘FREE KEVIN’: SCHWANTZ-COTA DISPUTE GETS TOUGH Dorna Chief Ezpeleta served summons at breakfast The ongoing dispute between Texas GP prime mover and CoTA hit several peaks during the weekend, while the all-time racing hero’s absence from the track was described as “absurd” by Rossi, among many similar comments. Then on Friday morning Dorna CEO was drawn directly into the conflict, when he was served with a subpoena to give evidence in the continuing case. This was gleefully announced on Facebook by Schwantz himself, who wrote: “I just received word from my attorney, Austin Tighe: ‘I want to let you know that earlier this morning, over what I am told was a delicious Four Seasons’ breakfast, Carmelo Ezpeleta was served with a subpoena to appear for deposition in Austin on May 8 at 9:00 am’.” Ezpeleta, who is required only to give evidence rather than face any charges, said he would make no comment at this time. Amid a show of loyalty by some fans wearing specially made ‘Free Kevin’ T-shirts or other Schwantz regalia, the circuit also maintained a “no comment” silence on the fact that he was persona non grata, although the track boss Steve Sexton did allow that it was “unfortunate” . Schwantz was at one stage rights- holder for the Texas race, but was caught up when his ally Tavo Hellmund fell out with CoTA. Since then, citing a broken contract, Dorna passed the rights directly to CoTA; but the former rider accuses the circuit management of “rewriting history” to supplant him from his rightful role. at BRIEFLY » CoTA may be an unusual anti-clockwise circuit with a preponderance of left- hand corners, yet Bridgestone found that the fast rights near the end of the lap punish the tyres more. The first asymmetric tyres of the year had the harder compound on the right, rather than the left. This was also the first time that CRT bikes had the benefit of special softer tyres than the prototypes. Making less power, they have trouble getting harder compounds to work. » Karel Abraham missed the race as the bad start to his first CRT season just got worse. The Czech MotoGP rider had an inexplicable crash out of the first lap at Qatar; then at Austin was black-flagged in free practice when the engine of his ART started smoking. Then in qualifying he collided with Australian rookie Bryan Staring, and broke his collar-bone as a result. After surgery he hopes to be fit for Jerez. » Alvaro Bautista has signed up to stay with the Gresini Go & Fun team until the end of 2014, in exchange for agreeing to continue to be the only MotoGP rider to use Showa suspension instead of the dominant Öhlins. “I was concerned that if I didn’t get good results then I wouldn’t get any ride for 2014, and I wanted to switch to Öhlins,” he said. Now he will continue development for the Honda subsidiary brand. The CoTA circuit’s modern and well- equipped pit garages saved the day when a fire broke out in the Yamaha Tech 3 pit in the small hours of Thursday morning, with all flames safety extinguished by the time the fire department arrived. But a chaotic scene that greeted the team when they arrived at the track to prepare for the next day’s practice. Sprinklers had flooded not only the Tech 3 pit but also the factory Yamaha pit next door, with overspill into the pits of Bradl and Abraham; while the sodden equipment was coated with fire-retardant. “Everything was drenched,” said Yamaha race boss Lin Jarvis. Not only were TV monitors, servers and computers wrecked, but the crates were full of water, along with boxes of tools and spare parts. Lost computer data was all backed up, said Jarvis, “and we have the resources to get through the weekend. “But everything has to be taken apart and dried out.” One concern was potential damage to electronic components; another that the water might cause corrosion to gears and other parts. “The good thing is that without the excellent equipment we would probably have lost six bikes or worse. My thanks to the circuit and the fire service.” YAMAHA PIT FIRE SAVED BY SPRINKLERS ... but damage could show up later 5 GPWEEK.com // 5 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: