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GP Week : Issue 188
With less than three months before the official start of the 2014 season – the day after the final round in Valencia on November 10 – only three customers have committed to the new-generation production-racer factory bikes. Honda have “two-and-a-half” customers, according to HRC’s Livio Suppo, and Yamaha just one. More may follow, given the financial backing, but this remains a thorny point for most independent teams. The GO&FUN Gresini team is a definite for a Honda, to be ridden by Moto2 points leader Scott Redding; while Karel Abraham (AB Cardion) likewise, though the rider said: “Nothing is signed yet, but I am looking for ward to seeing the bike” . Another possible is the LCR team, hoping to sign Nicky Hayden (see separate story); but “until we can be sure of the necessary sponsorship we can’t go ahead,” said a team spokesperson. Yamaha have reached agreement with the NGM Mobile For ward team, currently fielding Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti on FTR-Kawasaki CRT bikes. Originally Yamaha only offered engines for lease, but have now added a chassis and swing-arm to the package, to help the team in its first year while they develop their own chassis with FTR. Top independent Power Electronics Aspar team is waiting to see if Aprilia will upgrade the current ART CRT bike, but failing that will probably go to Honda. But they are in danger of losing top rider Aleix Espargaro, currently considering an offer to join NGM. ShORT quEuE FOR FAcTORY REPlIcA MOTOgP BIkES MOTOGP >>> nEWs Former World superbike champion Ben spies may not be back at all this season – and possibly not next year either, after Ducati and his Pramac team found themselves cut out of the loop in the injured rider’s network of information. Spies had only raced twice this year, pulling out after round two with continuing problems with his right shoulder, still not recovered from reconstructive surgery at the end of last season. At Indianapolis the eternally unlucky Texan dislocated his other shoulder in a low-speed high-side crash in practice. He had come out of the pits and through the first tight corners, still in first gear, when he spun the rear wheel and lost control. He blamed his own misunderstanding of his Ducati’s electronics, not realising that the traction control was not activated until he’d changed to second. The shoulder required surgery, with doctors predicting a six- to 12-week recovery period. At the same time they operated again on the right shoulder, to clear scar tissue. Twelve weeks will only just have elapsed before the final round at Valencia in mid-November, and Spies is thought unlikely to risk a return until he is fully recovered, to avoid further complications. His misdeed was to announce the details on social media, without informing his employers and catching their own information service on the hop. Spies did the same thing when he unexpectedly announced he was to quit Yamaha, midway through last season. He has a two-year contract with the Ducati B-team, but there were strong suggestions at Brno that he might not be invited to return when he is fit. SPIES OuT FOR gOOd? double shoulder op jeopardises American's career 17 GPWEEK.com // 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: