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GP Week : Issue 185
at BrIEFly » Honda is ready for 2014. That’s the message from tests at Aragon, the week after the Catalunyan GP, where both Repsol riders and Stefan Bradl had a first go on next year’s bike. It has, says Honda, an all-new engine and chassis, and design is so advanced that riders would have the option to switch to the bike later this year, if they wished. All said the right things about the new bike, but there were no takers. » Stefan Bradl has abandoned his exclusive use of Honda’s in-house Nissin brakes on his LCR RC213V, switching to the otherwise universal Brembos at Assen, and for the foreseeable future. The move came from HRC, he said. The company want him to take a testing role with development of the 2014 machine, which has front forks tailored to the Italian brakes, and requiring modification for Nissins. “I tried Brembos at Aragon, and felt quite comfortable with them,” he said. » The success of Mahindra’s Swiss-built MGP3O Moto3 bike – on its first pole at Assen, and with rider Miguel Oliveira regularly giving the all-dominant KTMs a hard time – has had other teams beating a path to the Indian-owned team’s door. Regulations stipulate that factories must be prepared to supply eight riders, and there are likely to be at least that many potential customers for a more competitive alternative to the Honda. The bike is the result of a partnership between Suter Racing and the Indian giant, which provided human and engineering resources to help get the bike race-ready in a record six months. Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo amazed rivals and fans at Assen, and confounded all predictions that a heavy crash on the first afternoon of practice would have him out for at least one race. Instead, in the space of three days, Lorenzo proved himself not only to be a fallible mortal, but also verging on the superhuman. He crashed at 285 km/h after touching a white line in the wet on Thursday afternoon, looping over the bars to slam down on his shoulder, suffering a dislocated fractured collarbone as a consequence. Events unfolded quickly: by evening he’d flown by chartered plane to Barcelona, by 2am he was on the operating table at the Dexeus Institut, and the next morning it seemed that rumours that he planned to return for the race, no matter how implausible, were actually true. Lorenzo returned on Friday night, was passed fit for warm- up, but had to undergo another medical before he was allowed to race. Tests included proving he could raise his arm, and do push-ups against the wall. After the race, his arm heavily strapped and his face pale and drawn, Lorenzo spoke about the achievement. “On Thursday I never thought about the possibility to race. Then I thought maybe it was great to try a surgery and come back to Assen, and I did it. “In the morning I was in doubt until I held the bike on track. After the first laps, when I was thinking about giving up I continued and felt every lap a little bit better. The pace was not so bad then with more painkillers I could managed an unbelievable race. “I suffered a lot, especially on the second half, but I never gave up The right half of the body was completely destroyed at the finish because I was pushing really hard to keep the bike on the line and not suffer further pain in my collarbone and shoulder. In the last two laps I felt even better because I saw on the screens that Dani was fourth. “I’m not a crazy person. I think riders are not crazy people. We know exactly if we are fit or not torace.Iamnotahero,Iamso human, but I think if you push hard to get your goal you can reach it.” LORENzO ADDs A DIMENsION TO HIs LEGEND MEDICAL DECISION "DOWN TO THE CIRCUIT" – Race Director Disquiet over safety issues concerning Lorenzo’s rapid surgical turnaround and return were answered by Race Director Mike Webb – pointing out that full medical checks had been carried out, and that the final decision rested with the circuit doctor rather than Dorna. “What I need to satisfy me is full reassurance from our own Medical Director that he has passed all the tests ... which I have just received,” he said. But Dorna’s doctor works only in an advisory capacity to the track’s own chief medical officer, he explained. Unlike some other sports, MotoGP has no set rule or suspension period for combatants who have suffered concussion or been under anaesthetic, said Webb; although there was a set procedure of neurological tests in the case of the former. Many feel that the rider has too much say concerning his own fitness, but it is a practice the riders were anxious to defend. The three front-row qualifiers, asked what medical tests they would like to see Lorenzo perform so they would feel safe, defended his own decision vigorously, as well as expressing faith in the medical authorities. “Lorenzo has enough experience to decide,” s aid Marquez; while Crutchlow said: “I don’t care (about tests). If he rides, he’s my hero.” MOTOGP >>> nEWs 15 GPWEEK.com // 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: