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GP Week : Issue 192
at BrIEFly » Further misfortune for luckless Nicky Hayden means he is in danger of a pit-lane start for needing an extra engine beyond the allocation of five, after “my last good engine” blew up mid-race at Sepang. “It’s gonna be complicated getting to the end of the season. We’ll have to put in one of the older engines. We’ve got one with some life in it, but it may not be enough to last. We can’t really catch a break at the moment,” he said. » Karel Abraham, whose doctors finally went ahead with shoulder surgery the week before the Sepang race, will be fit to return next year ... on a Honda production racer. The Czech independent former Moto2 race winner has had two tough years with a Ducati and now and Aprilia ART. His team confirmed on the weekend that he will be the second definite customer for the new Honda, after the Gresini team, who will have a bike for Scott Redding. » Australian Anthony West joined the exclusive double-century club at Sepang, the former GP winner racking up his 200th start. But claims by fans that he was the most seasoned Australian racer of all time were scotched by MotoGP statistician Martin Raines, who pointed out that long-time top privateer Jack Findlay had racked up a total of 280. A freak injury to German LCR Honda rider stefan Bradl triggered a wacky rumour at sepang ... that Casey stoner would after all make a come-back at Phillip Island, as a replacement on the satellite machine. In spite of instant official denials by Honda, the story wouldn’t go away, with top riders Marquez and Rossi saying they would welcome the chance to race against him again. More seriously, Bradl’s misfortune in final free practice on saturday raised questions about the increasing use of Astrotur f to mark the edge of the track, even though all agreed it was a freak incident. Bradl described a minor front-end low-side, saying “normally you would walk away and get on your second bike. This time, as he slid off at a tangent, “something, the handlebar or my boot, lifted up the green carpet.” It caught his foot and broke his ankle. Bradl had surgery on saturday evening in Kuala Lumpur, and returned to the track as a spectator on sunday. There was “a very small chance” of being fit for Australia, he said, “but I definitely want to be back in Japan.” Top riders agreed that Astrotur f was as effective as grass at defining the edge of the track, since it also offered no grip for acceleration. Both Marquez and Rossi criticised the extensive use of paved run-off as potentially more dangerous. “If it is there, everybody uses it,” said Marquez. The danger, Rossi pointed out, was that riders were able to save crashes and rejoin the track without losing speed. “At some point, you have to finish the track. If not, it becomes too fast,” he said Rossi, naming Misano as particularly bad.” They would discuss the Astrotur f in the safety commission, they said, with Rossi adding that whatever the material used at the point where Bradl crashed, “I think they have to take it out tomorrow.” bRADl OuT .... sTONER IN? Astroturf attack breaks German ace's ankle, starts rumours ... MOTOGP >>> nEWs 15 GPWEEK.com // 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: