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GP Week : Issue 185
MOTOGP >>> nEWs at BrIEFly » Cal Crutchlow is leading something of a British MotoGP revival, taking the first pole in the class since Northern Ireland’s Jeremy McWilliams achieved the same feat at Phillip Island in 2002. He was riding the three-cylinder Proton KR two-stroke against the new 990cc four-strokes, and it was the last ever two-stoke pole. Scott Redding is following on, leading the Moto2 championship; while Bradley Smith’s MotoGP debut continues to exceed expectations. The last British race winner was Barry Sheene, in Sweden in 1981. » Conspiracy theorists devised a more sinister reason for Lorenzo’s hasty race return. Not expecting him to be able to finish so strongly, if at all, they divined that Yamaha were taking the chance to introduce a sixth engine. Lorenzo, like Rossi and Crutchlow, is already on the fourth of his allocated five, and he and Rossi have each had one failure, with the first third of the season barely over. It would have meant a pit-lane start, but given his condition it would hardly matter. The theory proved wrong, triggering a fresh one: that the only reason Yamaha hadn’t done it was because they didn’t have enough engines on hand. That one might be true. Randy de Puniet gave the all-new suzuki MotoGP machine its first public airing at tests after the Catalunyan GP, and set an impressive lap time ... faster than his qualifying lap on his regular Aprilia CRT machine, and only seven tenths off the ftd set by Jorge Lorenzo. The Frenchman was eighth-fastest, admittedly with only one of four Hondas present, and said: “I think we showed the potential ... it feels like a real factory prototype.” But the impressive debut came with the downbeat news that Suzuki is to delay its return from the originally promised 2014 to 2015. The company will have to pay, with Dorna’s Ezpeleta playing hard-ball over letting the factory back in. In line with other proposals along the lines of F1’s Concorde Agreement, Suzuki and other new teams will receive no share of race income or travel allowance, and will even have to pay for its Bridgestone control tyres, he said. suzuKI COME-bACK COMEs WITH TIME DELAy Yamaha has been forced to extend the deadline for applications for its proposed MotoGP lease engines for next year, as potential customers drag their feet in coming up with firm orders. According to Yamaha Racing CEO Lin Jar vis, “the situation is not clear at all.” As a result, the original end -of-June deadline had been extended by two weeks. Firm orders will now have to be placed at the German GP at the Sachsenring – but that is the final cut-off point. If at least two orders have not been received, the project will be sidelined, he said. “T here has been a lot of interest for teams, both in the championship and outside, and I’ve had several meetings this weekend,” he said at Assen. But there was uncertainty about financial backing for 2014, among other things; “and if they are not sure of finance into 2014 they may decide to stay with what they’ve got,” he said. “ T his is not a cheap option,” he said. The package costs 800,000 Euros per rider before accident damage, and teams will need to commission custom chassis on top. Yamaha needed a minimum of two riders and a maximum of four, but the decision is urgent: “If we don’t start to produce parts immediately the engines will not be ready for post-season tests; and since they are made at the same facility as our race engines the schedule can’t interfere with our own.” The only other alternative to the new sub -works category, that will fit in between the prototypes and the remnants of the current CRT brigade, is to buy a production-racer version of the Honda RC213V, priced at one million Euros and already undergoing successful testing. The Yamaha package is likely to be more competitive as well as more costly; but neither is expected to be able to match the factory machines. FUTURE OF LEND-LEASE YAMAHA ON A KINFE-EDGE 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: