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GP Week : Issue 191
MOTOGP >>> nEWs at BrIEFly » In the fifth year of control tyres in MotoGP, riders find the speed of development frustratingly slow. They will have to wait until the final round at Valencia before getting use of Bridgestone’s new “hard” rear tyre, tested after Misano. With the current hard option basically unusable, it won universal approval, but seemed somewhat overdue, exacerbated by the late delivery date. Bridgestone acknowledged that the current hard was effectively redundant, saying that improvements in electronics had changed the requirements. Riders complain that the harder rear has poor grip and offers no advantages in endurance. They will have to wait even longer for a revised front, which Rossi and others find squishy under braking. Bridgestone expect to wheel it out only for post-season Valencia tests. » Honda’s future in Moto3 is in the air, with news breaking of a planned fight back against KTM’s domination. HRC boss Nakamoto has complained of the Austrian’s high- level effort in what was intended to be a low-cost class. Amid rumours that Honda was considering withdrawing comes a counter-rumour that HRC plan a technological war. Current title candidate Alex Rins and Mk2 younger brother Alex Marquez are tipped to head a strong Honda-backed team next year. Officially, however, HRC remain “undecided” about its future in the beginner class. » More news from the new Caterham venture into Moto2: they have signed newly crowned AMA Pro Superbike champion Josh Herrin to join fast Frenchman Johann Zarco on their entry next season. Backed like the F1 team by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, the new squad will use a Suter chassis. MARQUEZ UNdER THE MICROSCOPE Race Direction is to investigate the freak incident that cost Dani Pedrosa his race and his chances, with a threat of sanction to Marc Marquez. But with a delay of almost two weeks between announcing the investigation and the actual hearing – scheduled to take place at the Malaysian GP at Sepang in a fortnight – the committee has opened a can of worms, and faces criticism for muddle management. The crash was caused because Pedrosa’s traction control was disabled with no warning to the rider; that failure was caused by a slight brush-past collision as Marquez swerved to run wide after braking later than his team - mate. The committee, comprising Race Director Mike Webb along with permanent representatives from the FIM, Dorna and rider safety rep Franco Uncini, were first happy to pass this off as a normal racing incident: the sort of contact (according to Webb) “that you see time and again in the smaller classes”. Later they were apprised of the technical details, which in the logic of strict cause and effect suggested that Marquez had contravened the rules (inadvertently or otherwise) by endangering another rider. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo were quick to remind us that Marquez has serious form in this respect, not only in MotoGP but more so in Moto2. But unless there is an official witch-hunt aimed at reigning the young superstar in, it is hard to see you this chance -in- a - million brush-past meriting any real punishment. One reason why he may however be sanction by something worse than penalty points on his licence is to make good what the current committee might consider excessive leniency in the past. With new race director Webb in place, Dani Rivas was given a two -race suspension for running into the back of other Moto2 riders at the end of practice at Silverstone. When Marquez did something similar, though much more dangerous, at Phillip Island in 2011, continuing at full racing speed and injuring Thai rider Ratthapark Wilairot, his punishment under then race director Paul Butler was a back of the grid start – he finished third. ENGINE USE PUTS FACTORY MEN ON EDGE Pit-lane starts loom with four tough races to go With three-quarters of the season completed at Aragon, riders at both end in the MotoGP scale might be in danger of suffering a pit-lane start by the end of the season, with most Yamaha and Ducati riders with no spare engines left in the allocation of five for the season. Mechanical problems at the flyaway races, all at punishing circuits, would make problems for the likes of Lorenzo and Rossi, as well as more than one CRT team, where two teams are already up to number 11 out of their 12. Both factory Yamaha riders put their fifth and final engines into use at Aragon, with satellite rider Smith already on his fifth from the last race. Only Crutchlow has one unused motor left. Most the Honda riders are still on their fourth motor, although satellite rider Bradl is using his fifth. And all but one of the Ducatis is also using the last engine ... the exception being Ben Spies’s satellite bike, campaigned by Pirro, de Angelis and currently Hernandez. As important are the numbers of old engines still available, rather than dead and “withdrawn from allocation”. Marquez and Pedrosa still have all engines available, but all Yamaha and Ducati riders have lost one. CRT bikes are allowed 12 motors, and two of them are already up to number 11: Aoyama’s FTR Kawasaki and the ex- Hernandez Paul Bird ART Aprilia, ridden at Aragon by Damian Cudlin. The engine casualty rate is much higher with the production-based units. Aoyama has lost eight of his, as have several others including Petrucci and Laverty: backmarker Lukas Pesek having lost nine of his BMW motors, currently using his tenth. There is only one Honda, Australian rookie Bryan Staring’s FTR bike, with a race -tuned CBR1000RR motor, but it is showing well. Staring has used only six motors, with only two withdrawn from allocation. 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: