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GP Week : Issue 182
BRIEFLY » Hector Barbera found himself in embarrassing circumstance after staying on in Jerez after the tests for the sherry capital’s annual horse fair – under arrest and then before the courts. A late-night row in his hotel room with his girlfriend got out of control. First reports in Spain were that his girlfriend had been hospitalised, but these were not repeated, and the court took a different view, handing out a six-month suspended sentence to both Barbera and his supposed victim. “It was only an argument,” said the aggrieved rider. » Kevin Schwantz to ride again! Fresh from a war of words with Alberto Puig over some ill-judged comments about Dani Pedrosa, the 1993 world champion climbed the heights of public acclaim again with the news that he is to make an international racing return almost 20 years after his retirement, at the gruelling but nationally prestigious Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race. Schwantz will ride with Japanese ex-GP and World Superbike racers Yukio Kagayama and Nori Haga, riding a Suzuki in a team owned by Kagayama. The news sparked immediate rumours that Rossi and Cal Crutchlow will also do the race, so far denied by both riders, if half-heartedly. The 8-Hour used to be a regular stop for GP racers, but fell away because of the danger of injury and/or exhaustion in the middle of the championship. » The BMW prize for this year’s top qualifier – a specced-up M6 coupe – was put into proportion by current leader Jorge Lorenzo, when he was rather cloyingly asked about whether the prize gave extra aincentive. “To tell the truth, if you win a grand prix then you can buy a new car,” he said MOTOGP >>> NEWS The general reaction among riders to Marquez’s merciless attack on Jorge Lorenzo was of admiring approval. But Jorge’s long-standing rival Dani Pedrosa has sounded a note of caution to his pushy new team-mate. Marc had relied on the collision to slow him down, according to the race winner: “If they did not touch Marc would have run out of track,” Pedrosa told the official motogp.com website. “So [it] means he was a little too late on the brakes.” It was similar to what Marquez had done to him, he continued, in the first corner at Austin, but “I would have time to see him coming. “Let’s hope it doesn’t happen in the next one.” Pedrosa and even Lorenzo agreed with the majority on one other point: that the beaten Yamaha rider should not have left the door open: “I did not expect him to be so close, after his mistake before,” he admitted. (Marquez had pushed past at the far hairpin, only to run wide and lose the lead at once.) For other riders the move was hard but fair, given the circumstances. Rossi summed it up: “Last lap, last corner, two great champions ... I wish I had been faster, then maybe it could have been three at the last corner.” New- last-year race director Mike Webb indirectly affirmed a principle controversially espoused by his predecessor Paul Butler: that bike racing is a contact sport. The four-man Race Direction committee had been quite clear, he said. “Our opinion is pretty obvious in that we didn’t do anything. We considered it and looked at it from a number of camera angles, but all four of us agreed it was a racing incident. If it was free practice there would have been penalties, but it was the last lap of the race,” he told GPWEEK. Lorenzo had called in to argue the opposite case, but there had been no official protest from the team. Marquez escaped becoming the first MotoGP rider to incur penalty points on his licence, but doubtless the officials – and his rivals – will be keeping a close eye for any repeat of his Moto2 tactics. Footnote: Lorenzo issued a veiled threat to Marquez in an inter view with Britain’s MCN. “Maybe this will improve me as a rider, and I will be more aggressive like I was in 250s. Let’s see what happens in the future.” Lorenzo was notorious in the 250 class for hard riding, and was suspended for a race for knocking another rider off. “IT MUSTN’T HAPPEN AGAIN” Dani Pedrosa on Marquez’s last-corner move 4 GPWEEK.com // 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: