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GP Week : Issue 187
at BrIEFly » The pleas of Yamaha riders for a seamless-shift gearbox like those used by Honda and Ducati may be met before the end of this season, boss Lin Jarvis confirmed in the USA. Factory testers have been developing the system in Japan, factory riders will test it within weeks, and if successful it could be brought straight into action. The seamless-shift shaves vital tenths over every lap because of better acceleration and corner- exit stability. » Nicky Hayden put a brave face on it when he announced at Laguna that his Ducati MotoGP contract would not be renewed next year. It is not unexpected, but after five years in red, “nobody likes to be sacked”, he said, adding: “Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ll survive.” One route may be to the Ducati Superbike team, though he would prefer to stay in MotoGP, he said. Second US Ducati rider Ben Spies was at Laguna, promising to back and fully fit for the next round at Indianapolis. » In spite of assurances to the contrary from the team, Yamaha’s chances of finishing the season without exceeding the allocation of five engines are looking slender. Each of the four riders has but one unused engine remaining with half the season already gone; while Rossi and Lorenzo have each lost the use of one engine. Honda’s quartet have only used three engines each with only one (Bautista’s) withdrawn from use; Ducati riders are also on their third, though each of the four has lost one engine apiece. Fans are bracing themselves for Casey stoner to make an unexpected return to MotoGP, after news broke last week that the 2007 and 2011 World Champion is to test the Honda RC213V MotoGP machine in the run up to the Australian GP. Denials from Honda, the rider and his associates have not been enough to stem the tide of hopeful rumours, that the 27-year- old Australian will be back for his home GP at Phillip Island on October 20, aiming to add one more to his record of six wins in a row there. Stoner stunned MotoGP last year when he announced his retirement when at the height of his powers. Disillusioned with the direction of racing development and the off-track flim-flam, he moved to a race V8 cars at home in Australia and “spend more time with my family”. His return to two wheels begins in the first week of August in Japan, with two days exercising not only the 2014 factory prototype, but also the production-racing version on offer for sale to teams. Stoner has a record of strenuous denial followed soon afterwards by about-face confirmation, as when he slow-roasted a Spanish journalist who announced he was planning to retire, then a few weeks later confirmed it. This gives hopes in spite of fer vent denials. Honda’s statement acknowledged “r umours of a wild card appearance this season,” but said “this is now out of the question.” Stoner would do four tests at Motegi over the coming months with HRC’s R&D team. Stoner was relishing the chance to “enjoy what I miss: riding a MotoGP bike!”, but added: “I’m still happy and comfortable with the decision I made to stop racing.” Watch this space ... STONER COME-BACK Does "no" mean "yes!" MOTOGP >>> nEWs 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: