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GP Week : Issue 193
spaniard Pol espargaro secured the Moto2 title with a second successive win at Motegi, after cruel fate eliminated a courageous injury victim and long-time points leader scott Redding through no fault of his own. Redding (Marc VDS Kalex) had led on points since the fourth round, with Tuenti Kalex rider Espargaro gradually but somewhat erratically closing the gap race by race. The balance shifted in Australia when the English rider broke his wrist in a practice crash. He had surgery that night; next day Espargaro finally took over the lead. Redding, with a fresh plate and six screws, was passed fit to ride at Motegi and qualified 15th – then on the first corner of the race was unable to avoid Tito Rabat’s fallen bike in a pack of riders, and crashed heavily once again, lucky to avoid serious injury. The race was stopped and cut from 27 to 15 laps. Espargaro taking a second successive win after the restart to amass an unassailable total and win a first world title on the eve of his move to MotoGP. “I can’t describe how I feel in words, but I feel like I am flying,” he said. Rabat, his team-mate, didn’t make the restart, but still has the chance to steal second overall off Redding, just 20 points ahead. The opposite happened in Moto3, when points leader Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM) was knocked flying on the first lap, giving his closest rival Alex Rins (Estrella KTM) a clear shot at gaining the overall lead. Then Rins also fell, while his team- mate Alex Marquez (Marc’s younger brother) took his first win by inches from the other top Spaniard Maverick Vinales (Calvo KTM). They go to the final round with the top three covered by just three points: Salom 300, Vinales 298, Rins 295. The punishing heavy braking at Motegi means technical rules are relaxed for this track, allowing larger and more powerful front carbon discs – prompting calls from riders to use the better brakes everywhere. The first call came from Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who has been complaining of braking issues all season. It was widely echoed among others in the pits. The stop-and-go track places huge demands on brakes, surfacing with a vengeance in 2011 when Ben spies actually crashed after his brakes got so hot that they failed ... almost unheard of with carbon brakes, able to withstand temperatures of 1,000 degrees C or more. The limits were exceeded because of restrictive regulations aimed at limiting costs. The rule book for the MotoGP class not only limits size and thickness, but also the level of ceramic content, stating that “discs must be of one size for outside diameter of 320 mm, and only two standard choices of disc mass”, and “the proportion of ceramic composite materials in brake discs must not exceed two percent by mass.” For Motegi alone, bigger discs are permitted, with Brembo supplying all MotoGP except Bautista with heavier- construction 340 mm discs. The riders immediately asked why they could not use these more powerful and resistant brakes all the time. Not for the first time this season, Lorenzo cited increasing braking problems over the past couple of years, adding: “Our problem gets bigger in hot conditions. Here we can use more powerful brakes ... I would like to use them at every race.” His team-mate Rossi agreed, pointing out that not only have the bikes gained weight this year, but also they are running faster, causing problems at other circuits; while Dovizioso was clear, saying: “I think in the future we should have bigger, stronger brakes for all tracks. The brakes we have now are really on the limit.” BIGGER BRAKES PLEASE MOTOGP >>> nEWs BEN SPIES RETIRES Former World superbike champion and one-time grand prix winner Ben spies has decided to end the agony of his troubled racing career, after repeated injury piled on top of a mountain of bad luck forced him to announce his retirement. The Texan, also three times US Superbike champion, won at Assen in 2011, his first season with the factory Yamaha team, but things started to go sour in his second season. Mid-race mechanical problems included a cracked frame, collapsed rear suspension and a smoky engine blow-up, then he suffered serious shoulder injuries before the end of the season, requiring major reconstructive surgery. By then he had announced he was moving to Ducati to ride for the new factory B-team, but he ran only two races before withdrawing to continue recovery. Returning fully fit after the summer break, he crashed in practice at Indianapolis and suffered a similarly serious injury to his other shoulder. “I never dreamed that I would reach the level of success I have over the past 20 years but the time has come to stop and I do so with great sadness,” he said, in an official statement announcing his decision. This leaves the second Pramac Ducati vacant after all. Eugene Laverty has been linked with the ride, but Spies’s latest replacement Yonny Hernandez has been giving good account of himself, in the points at every attempt, including tenth in Malaysia. ESPARGARO TAKES GP2 Redding's heroic fight-back cut short 17 GPWEEK.com // 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: