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Casey Stoner Extends With Ducati For 2008, And Possibly Beyond

Italian MotoGP news site GPOne.com is reporting that Casey Stoner has prolonged his contract with Ducati for 2008. The Australian, and current world championship leader, had an option in his contract to sign for another year with Ducati, and after Stoner's outstanding performance so far this year, Ducati were keen to tie him down for 2008. The contract is said to contain further options, which could lead to a very long term relationship between the Australian and the Bologna factory.

The question of Stoner's team mate is still undecided, however. Loris Capirossi is still favorite, but Capirex is said to be considering other offers, believed to include a very generous offer from Kawasaki. Other possibilities, according to GPOne.com, include Andrea Dovizioso and Alex de Angelis, both of which would make a great deal of sense, as Ducati is likely to want an Italian rider on board their bike. The one name which has been ruled out entirely is defending 250 world champion Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner and Lorenzo are believed not to get along (unsurprisingly, as there are very few people in the paddock who do get along with the Mallorcan superstar), and Lorenzo is believed to have already signed a contract with Yamaha for next year, despite opposition from Valentino Rossi.

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Catalunya Post-Race Testing - Day 2

Testing continued today, but with most of the paddock packed up and gone home. Only six riders were out testing today, Nicky Hayden on the Honda, Casey Stoner, Loris Capirossi and test rider Shinichi Itoh on the Ducatis, and Chris Vermeulen and Nobuatsu Aoki on the Suzukis.

Nicky Hayden was the fastest man of the day, after trying the chassis which team mate Dani Pedrosa had used on Sunday. Hayden was happy with the chassis, saying it gave him more confidence in the bike, and hoping it would carry through to Donington. Casey Stoner also tested some 16" rears, and told reporters they were a definite improvement on the package.

Today's test was the last chance until Brno in August. Until then, anything the teams want testing will have to be tested on track, during race weekends.

1 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1'42.40 *
2 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.76
3 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'42.90
4 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1'43.09
5 Shinichi Itoh Ducati Test Rider 1'45.51
6 Nobuatsu Aoki Suzuki Test Rider 1'46.01

* All the above times are on race tires. Hayden also did a 1'42.240 on a qualifier.

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Catalunya Post-Race Testing - Pitt And West Join The Fray

After Sunday's spectacular race, the teams were back to work on Monday, testing new parts and tires. The test at Catalunya is important, as it's the last chance for pure testing until after the Brno race in mid-August. Any other testing the teams want to do, they'll have to do during the free practice sessions during races, which is not the best time to be developing a bike.

The times make for interesting reading. John Hopkins improved on Valentino Rossi's pole time by nearly half a second. And while Casey Stoner was setting the same kind of times on race tires that he has set all weekend, he was joined by Valentino Rossi around the 1'42 mark.

Two interesting names on the list are Andrew Pitt and Anthony West. Pitt, who lost his MotoGP ride after Ilmor pulled out of racing after Qatar, is working as a test rider for Michelin, a role taken last year by former Dutch GP star Jurgen van den Goorbergh. West, after riding his last race of the season for Team Sicila in 250s, and before embarking on a challenge in World Supersport on the factory Yamaha, is filling in for Olivier Jacque at Kawasaki. With West already having another ride, it seems unlikely that the Australian will take a full-time ride with Team Green, despite persistent rumors that Jacque will be retired by Kawasaki before the season is over.

1 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'41.40 *
2 Toni Elias Gresini Honda 1'42.63 *
3 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.68
4 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.72
5 Alex Barros Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1'42.78 *
6 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'43.00
7 Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1'43.0
8 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1'43.05
9 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1'43.16
10 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1'43.23
11 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1'43.28
12 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1'43.37
13 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1'43.41
14 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1'43.65
15 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha 1'43.80
16 Alex Hofmann Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1'43.83
17 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha 1'43.90
18 Nobuatsu Aoki Suzuki Test Rider 1'44.2
19 Andrew Pitt Yamaha Test Rider 1'44.49
20 Anthony West Kawasaki Test Rider 1'44.73
21 Shinichi Itoh Ducati Test Rider 1'47.0

* Time set on qualifying tire

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2007 Catalunya Qualifying Practice Report

Whenever people talk about the weather affecting MotoGP, it's almost inevitably rain they mean. But it's not just water which affects the grip levels of a track, there's also the blazing sun. This is precisely what has happened at Barcelona, where the pummeling heat and blazing sun of the afternoon is driving track temperatures up towards the 120° mark, softening the surface of the track, reducing grip, and destroying tire rubber. As the riders returned to the pit lane after their qualifying laps, the afternoon's heat had helped to rip their soft qualifying tires to shreds, especially on the right-hand side, a result of the many long, fast right-handers the Catalunya track boasts.

The contrast with the mornings is marked, the early sessions taking place in almost perfect conditions for racing with temperatures in the low 70s and the temperature of the track in the mid-80s. Those conditions suit riders, machinery and tires all to a tee, as witnessed by Casey Stoner's astonishing string of laps in the 1'42s in Saturday morning's session. But in the afternoon, the temperatures rise, and the balance shifts in favor of riders who are good in less than perfect conditions and on sliding tires.

The temperature situation has been complicated by the new tire regulations. With only 14 front tires and 17 rear tires at their disposal, the nature of qualifying sessions has changed, with riders spending much more time searching for the right bike setup and the right tires to use on race day. Previously, qualifying tended to descend into a blitz of fast laps pretty quickly, with riders taking their first qualifiers out earlier and earlier. But no more.

So the first part of qualifying was fairly quiet, as the riders and their teams worked diligently at finding a set up which will work in the heat of the afternoon. But not all the riders: Olivier Jacque had suffered a nasty crash during the morning's practice, and was in a hospital in Barcelona being checked for damage. So far, reports are favorable, and it looks like OJ hasn't broken anything, but not having participated in the qualifying session, he is at the mercy of race direction as to whether he will be allowed to participate in the race.

Alex Barros was the first rider to set a competitive time, breaking into the 1'43 bracket on his Pramac Ducati after 5 minutes. But his time would not last long, as a minute later, Toni Elias posted the fastest time of the session so far with a lap of 1'43.153, the Gresini Honda man already beating his personal fastest time of the weekend by over a third of a second.

In the early part of the session, a pattern started to emerge. From the very beginning, Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa were fast and consistent, both men stringing together sequences of 1'43 laps with apparent ease, Hopkins, if anything, more regular than Pedrosa. But they were not having it all their own way, as they were soon joined in the 1'43 bracket by most of the field. The difference, though, was where Pedrosa and Hopkins were running low to mid 1'43s, Edwards, Rossi, Elias and Vermeulen were all hovering in the high 1'43 mark.

Casey Stoner, still the championship leader coming into Barcelona, was nowhere to be seen at first. Stoner's string of 1'42s had set the benchmark in the morning, and so there was a little surprise that Stoner's name was stuck persistently in the second half of the timesheets. This was not to last for long though, for when Stoner came out for his second run on the factory Marlboro Ducati, he immediately took a second of his own time, and improved the provisional pole time to 1'43.022. He did three quick laps in succession before diving back into the pits, returning 5 minutes later to put in another pair of laps in the low 1'43s.

After the first 20 minutes, the session settled down into as close to a vision of calmness as you could expect when in the vicinity of 130dB, 225 bhp racing motorcycles. Times remained steady, with the excitement coming from the machines themselves: First, Alex Hofmann parked his Pramac Ducati against the barrier with a clutch problem, causing a flurry of activity in the d'Antin pits as they hurried to get his second bike ready for him. Ten minutes later, John Hopkins ran straight on into the gravel trap at turn 1, his legs flailing wildly in an attempt to hold the bike up. His Suzuki had also suffered some kind of drive train failure, leaving Hopper to rush back to the pits to board his second, and definitely least favored bike.

The waiting, though, was for the qualifying tires. Normally, the Kawasaki riders are first to have a go, taking the first of their 3 qualifiers out shortly after the halfway mark. It's a risky strategy, as taking a third qualifying tire means sacrificing a potential race tire, gambling on the advantage an good start position offers. That's a risk the other teams are not willing to take, preferring a greater choice of tires on race day, willing to fight their way through the pack.

But the halfway mark came and went, and still no sign of the Kawasaki qualifiers. Of course, OJ was in still in the hospital, and out of contention, but where was de Puniet? The young Frenchman had earlier posted some fairly quick times, running with the front 5, but had elected to save himself, as he was suffering with a badly swollen knee, the after-effects of his big crash at Mugello last weekend. He was bound to come out early with a qualifier, the question was, when?

Tension was starting to rise by the 20 minute mark. Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi set a fast lap, then Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen, and the speculation started: They were fast, but not that fast. Were they really out on qualifiers? A minute later, the answer came, in the anticipated shape of Randy de Puniet. The young Frenchman came out with 19 minutes to go and obliterated the existing fastest time by over a second, setting a lap of 1'41.901, just a fraction outside Valentino's pole record from last year, set on the 990 cc Yamaha M1. Considering the shape de Puniet was in, it was a very brave performance indeed.

But if de Puniet could go that fast on an injured knee, surely it was only a matter of time before the entire field flew past him on their qualifiers? That proved much harder than it seemed. First Vermeulen took 2nd spot, but still over a second down on de Puniet's time, then Toni Elias took 2nd, followed a couple of minutes later by Casey Stoner. But even Stoner was still over 7/10ths of a second behind de Puniet's pole time, which was looking better and better as each minute passed.

Once again, it was starting to look like the tire restrictions were having an impact: instead of the teams sending the riders out in the last 20 minutes, they now seemed to be focusing on the last 10 minutes of qualifying to throw on the soft sticky rubber and attempting to conquer the grid. As it would turn out, this proved to be an unwise gamble.

With 9 minutes to go, there was one man on the track who was capable of beating Randy de Puniet's increasingly convincing time: Valentino Rossi was at one of his favorite tracks, and was making the most of it. He was absolutely flying, but though the 5 time MotoGP world champion snatched pole from de Puniet, even Rossi could only shave 6/100ths of a second off the Frenchman's time, setting a new lap record of 1'41.840.

As the clock ticked down, the gamble to wait until the last minute was going awry: The crowded track was putting paid to any attempt at getting near the pole time. Rider after rider was baulked on their fast laps, forcing a dash back to the pits for fresh rubber and another attempt. At the end of the session, no one had been able to get close, leaving Valentino Rossi to claim his 4th pole of the season, fractionally ahead of Randy de Puniet's best qualifying performance in MotoGP.

The fastest pair of the day are joined on the front row by Dani Pedrosa, who was fast throughout the session. Casey Stoner, quick in the morning, was relegated to head up the 2nd row in 4th, with the John Hopkins in 5th, and Colin Edwards in 6th. Current World Champion Nicky Hayden is in 7th, and looking surprisingly chipper. Hayden has constantly improved throughout the weekend, and his times during qualifying have looked surprisingly good. Not good enough to win, but certainly good enough to star putting up a worthy defense of his #1 plate. Hayden is joined on the 3rd row by the two Gresini Hondas of Toni Elias and Marco Melandri, with Pramac's Alex Hofmann rounding out the top 10, his best starting position of the season so far.

Today's qualifying was an interesting precursor to tomorrow's race. Although Casey Stoner is quickest by a big margin in the cooler conditions of the morning, his domination disappears in the hot afternoons. It looks like the winner will have to be able to run consistent strings of low 1'43 second laps. And looking at the lap charts, there are three names which jump out at you: Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and John Hopkins. Although Stoner ran several sets of quick laps, he was setting his times in sequences of 4 laps, not the 10 and 12 lap runs that Pedrosa, Rossi and Hopper were running. On paper, Stoner should be able to stick with them, but 24 laps is going to be a very long way on Sunday. Behind the front four, almost anything could happen. Once again, there are 8 or 10 riders who could figure, including Randy de Puniet, Toni Elias, Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden, the two Pramac Alexes, Colin Edwards and Chris Vermeulen.

Whatever happens, the race is going to be a real war of attrition. The heat is tough on riders, but it's also murderous on tires. The state of the tires coming in after the qualifying laps was horrific, and will be sure to give the people from Bridgestone, Michelin and Dunlop a very sleepless night tonight. It really will be the survival of the fittest tomorrow.

Catalunya Qualifying Practice result in full

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2007 Catalunya Day 1 Report

Where the weather a week ago in Mugello was as unpredictable as the outcome of a 125 race, in Barcelona the forecast was brief: Hot and sunny. And hotter and sunnier in the afternoon. No more worrying about very soft tires to run on a cold morning, no agonizing over slicks, intermediates or full wets, the riders could concentrate just on finding the right tire for the race, and setting the bikes up to go as fast as possible round the Montmelo Circuit on Sunday.

With two sessions gone, it's Dani Pedrosa who has done best at this. The local hero, who grew up little more than a very powerful throw of a small stone from the Circuit de Catalunya, set the fastest time of the day during the morning session. But most impressively of all, he set that time during a 10 lap spell, the last 7 of which were in the 1'43 bracket. Pedrosa has now set the mark for race pace, and set it very convincingly.

But Barcelona boy Pedrosa will not run alone here: There are three others who look capable of keeping him company on Sunday afternoon. Last week's winner Valentino Rossi was another rider to hit consistent 1'43s on the Fiat Yamaha, though he was better in the afternoon than in the morning, but having won the last three races here, he's a hard man to bet against. Title contender and championship leader Casey Stoner ran close to Rossi's pace on his Ducati, but was just a fraction off it, down may a tenth off Rossi. But the other real challenger was Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins. Hopkins was constantly at the top of the timesheets in both morning and afternoon sessions, and led FP2 for most of the hour, until Rossi stepped it up a gear towards the end. Hopkins ran a lot of laps, his times pretty close.

Behind the front 4, there's a large group all running very similar times, including Chris Vermeulen, Marco Melandri, Toni Elias, Colin Edwards and Loris Capirossi. The fight just behind the front could be really close, and anyone qualifying badly will have a very difficult time fighting their way forward.

Further down the field, Nicky Hayden is again making progress, but it's painfully slow. He has one of the fastest top speeds, but is still fighting chatter. The Kawasakis are mostly fighting their riders' injuries, Randy de Puniet even using a special set of leathers to contain his vastly swollen knee. And Team KR are still looking for some answers. They seem to be finding them, but at the moment, they're only finding tenths of a second, rather than the whole seconds they need to return to the thick of the fray.

Testing continues tomorrow morning, with the grid settled during the qualifying practice session in the afternoon.

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Tech 3 Yamaha A Certainty For 2008

Herv&eactue; Poncharal, team principal of Tech 3 Yamaha, today announced that the team had secured an agreement with Yamaha to run two Yamaha M1 bikes in 2008. The announcement had been widely expected, but has come very early on in the season. It seems that a lot of teams are busy trying to wrap up next year's line up early, so that they can concentrate on going out and securing sponsorship. It seems that the sponsorship conference held in Barcelona in April is starting to pay off dividends already (more details about some of the changes being made in Mike Nick's column over on crash.net).

There's a lot of speculation surrounding the Tech 3 team next year. Part of it concerns tires, with Poncharal believed to be keen to obtain more money, to be able to afford better rubber, in order to obtain a top flight rider. There is some suggestion that 250 world champion Jorge Lorenzo may go to Tech 3 Yamaha, and be provided with factory equipment. Valentino Rossi is said to be deeply opposed to sharing a garage with the Spaniard, whose behavior might most charitably be described as "flamboyant" and his manager Dani Amatriain, generally regarded as the equal of Alberto Puig in terms of ruthlessness. But Yamaha is determined to sign Lorenzo, who they see as their replacement for Rossi once the Italian retires to race in WRC. A factory bike at Tech 3 would be a way out of the impasse.

No such problems for Sylvain Guintoli. The young Frenchman has impressed everyone so far this year, regularly beating his team mate, the vastly more experienced Makoto Tamada. Guintoli looks certain to keep his seat in the French team for 2008.

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Jonny Rea Gets Team KR Wildcard For Donington

The rumors about a British rider getting a wildcard ride on the KR212V at Donington have finally been settled. Current British Superbike rider Johnny Rea, who rides a Michelin-shod HM Plant Honda in the domestic series, will join Kenny Roberts Junior at the British Grand Prix, according to Motorcycle News. Details to follow.

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Toseland Now A Target For Yamaha As Well

Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland is rapidly becoming MotoGP's hottest property for 2008. In addition to being linked to Pramac Ducati for next year, as well as Ten Kate's mooted MotoGP team, Hervé Poncharal has now admitted to Motorcycle News that he is trying to sign Toseland for the Tech 3 Yamaha team for next season. Poncharal has already signed a new contract with Yamaha to lease Yamaha M1 MotoGP machinery for 2008, but has refused point-blank to discuss which tires he will be running, increasing speculation that Dunlop could lose their last foothold in MotoGP, despite improving results. Poncharal is likely targeting either Michelin or Bridgestone tires and big name riders, in the hope of attracting sponsorship to fund it all.

Two things catch one's eye about this story: Firstly, the fact that Poncharal was given permission to approach Toseland by Yamaha, after Yamaha declared they had no interest in the young British rider. This suggest that if, as he has stated, he will only go to MotoGP on a factory or near factory ride, then his options could be more limited, for if one factory is not interested in Toseland, it is likely that others may also not have him at the very top of their hiring list. The one exception here could be Kawasaki, which is rumored to have a pair of blank cheques for two top-line riders to finally fulfill the mean green machine's potential. But with just about everyone whose contract expires at the end of the season being linked with Kawasaki by default, including Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi, John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen, the negotiations are far from being completed. Toseland's best hope may still lie with Ten Kate's strong links to HRC providing access to top-flight Honda machinery.

The other point of interest here is the insinuation that Yamaha are close to a deal with Jorge Lorenzo, current world 250 champion, and the man dominating the 250 series so far this year. While Yamaha are known to be looking to the future, if, as everyone expects, Valentino Rossi retires from MotoGP at the end of the 2008 season, Rossi is said to have been very explicit that he would be completely unwilling to share a garage with the flamboyant Spaniard. This would place Yamaha in a very difficult situation, forced to choose between the proven star of the past, and a potential future star. Yamaha have to build for the future, but can't afford to sacrifice the present.

Whatever the truth of any of this story, it seems that at the very least, the 2008 season will see a lot more personnel changes than the 2007 season did.

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2007 Mugello Qualifying Report

The weather once again played havoc with MotoGP during this afternoon's qualifying session, shaking up the grid considerably, leaving us with a result which is part shocker, part par for the course. The session started out with a wet track, but no rain falling, although the dark, pregnant sky made it clear that this situation would not last for long. Consequently, the track soon filled up with riders trying very hard to put in a fast time right from the start, gambling that a fast time now might just be good enough to secure a decent spot on the grid if the weather turned nasty later.

And from the start, it was the two Australians, Ducati's Casey Stoner and Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen who were vying for pole position, times dropping by almost a second a lap for the first 12 minutes, Vermeulen eventually coming out on top, with a time of just over 2'03. After 15 minutes, Vermeulen led Stoner, with Yamaha's Valentino Rossi taking provisional 3rd spot.

But the dark clouds held off, the watery sun allowing the track to form a dry line, and times kept coming down. 20 minutes in to the session, Marco Melandri took the fastest time from Vermeulen, putting in a couple of laps under 2'03 on his Gresini Honda, on a crowded track. So eager was everyone to take advantage of the temporarily dry conditions that Carlos Checa, after suffering a mechanical problem with his LCR Honda, was seen pushing his bike back into the pits, to ensure that it could be fixed to go back out again on.

Just before the halfway mark, times still gradually getting faster, it was Casey Stoner who took back pole position from Melandri, cracking first into the 2'01 bracket, before setting an even faster lap of 2'00.359. Vermeulen tried, but could not get close, but was fast enough to take 2nd place back from Melandri, ahead of Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque, returning from injury and a renowned force in the wet, with Loris Capirossi in 5th. Where OJ was the surprise name at the front, there were several surprises further down the field. Valentino Rossi had slipped to 9th position, ahead of Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, the man who had dominated in the two dry sessions we had had so far. Pedrosa's team mate, and reigning world champion was struggling down in 13th, trying to rebuild his confidence in the damp conditions, after the rain at Le Mans saw Hayden crash spectacularly and painfully out of 5th position, and the polesitter at Le Mans, Colin Edwards, was way down in 18th.

Then, the rain that had been threatening all session finally began to fall, and fall heavily. A mass exodus to the pits followed, leaving an almost empty track, where moments before it had been nearly full. Only Olivier Jacque and Nicky Hayden stayed out, though OJ soon retired to the haven of the garages. Hayden, however stayed out, working on his confidence, and once the rain eased off, and the track began to dry again some 10 minutes later, Hayden's times started to fall again.

With just under 15 minutes to go, and the track starting to dry a little again, pit lane became a hive of activity once again, as riders saddled up and rode on out to try their luck once more. At first it was mainly those with times putting them in the lower half of the grid, but one by one, as riders began to set ever faster times, the garages emptied and the track filled. Only one name remained absent: Casey Stoner was gambling, gambling that it would remain wet enough that his time was good enough to stay out of reach in the still tricky conditions, with some corners bone dry and others still streaming wet.

But with 5 minutes to go, Stoner's gamble was looking every more risky, and so the young Australian boarded his Ducati and set out to try and defend his pole position. Though many tried, his time proved good enough, as was Chris Vermeulen's time for 2nd spot, a full second behind Stoner's. But behind Vermeulen, the battle was surprisingly fierce. Valentino Rossi took 3rd position, 3/10ths behind Vermeulen, and Olivier Jacque eventually came out on top in the fight for 4th, just 0.014 behind Rossi, and ahead of Stoner's team mate Loris Capirossi in 5th. Marco Melandri, whose time had seen him on the front row for much of the session, came up just short, taking the final spot on the 2nd row of the grid.

Randy de Puniet took 7th spot, reinforcing Kawasaki's strong showing in the wet, ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who was less successful in the wet than in the dry. John Hopkins took 9th, ahead of Alex Barros in 10th.

The luckiest rider of the session must be Makoto Tamada on the Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha, whose time was outside the 107% limit allowed for qualifying, but who the Race Director has allowed to take part in Sunday's race, citing the difficult conditions. The same allowance was made for 250 qualifying, where current championship leader Jorge Lorenzo threatened to fall foul of the same ruling, after fast times were set during the first few minutes of the 250 session, before the rain started to fall, leaving much of the field outside of the qualifying limit.

Once again, the weather has had its wicked way with MotoGP, and that reign of uncertainty looks set to continue. The weathermen are predicting more rain for tomorrow, but none can be certain as to when it will fall. We could see a complete set of dry races tomorrow, or we could see them all rain-soaked. We could even see the race start dry, but become a flag to flag affair, if the rain starts to fall while the race is on. If the rain holds off, then Dani Pedrosa looks like being very hard to beat, but if it's wet, then the names of Vermeulen and Melandri look likely to be leading the field. But whatever the weather, those names will surely be joined by Valentino Rossi and championship leader Casey Stoner. A fascinating prospect awaits.

MotoGP Mugello Qualifying times.

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Red Bull Rookies Cup Applications Open

The series set up to nurture the stars of tomorrow has opened its doors once again. Admission has started for next year's Red Bull Rookies Cup series, aimed at finding young riders, aged between 13 and 16, talented enough to move into the MotoGP series. So if you know any youngsters who are consistently beating their rivals, and looking for the next step in their careers, the Red Bull Rookies Cup could be their ticket to stardom. 23 riders from all over the world will be provided with machinery and equipment, and coached to help them fulfill their potential. Mugello sees the second race of the current series, due to be run after qualifying on Saturday.

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