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Q: What happened in your crash this morning?
Andrea Dovizioso: So strange, but nothing dangerous. It's a consequence of the bumps and the rear movement. At that moment, the movement of the bike took the pressure off the front, so I lost the weight on the front and the front folded. It was strange.
Q: So you did qualifying on your number 2 bike?
AD: I don't have a number 1 and number 2 bike, I have yellow and blue! But there is no difference between them. We didn't need to try anything with the bike, so it was OK.
Q: Are you happy with your race pace.
AD: Not so happy with that, because we are 1 second off, and that's a little bit too much to start the race. But it's not really 1 second we are missing, I mean, when you race at a new track, you can learn a lot in the race, and it's easy to be faster. It's not like a normal track where you know everything, and in the race you can be so much faster. Tomorrow the lap time will be faster. But it depends on the tires tomorrow, the decision of the tires. Because nobody has chosen a tire yet, we have to wait to see the temperature.
With Valentino Rossi out until after the summer, the race is on to find a replacement. But with MotoGP bikes becoming ever more specialized, that's not as simple as it sounds. Most speculation so far has centered on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, with Colin Edwards the name most commonly linked to the Fiat Yamaha ride. An announcement had been expected to the effect that Edwards would be replacing Rossi on Friday afternoon after FP1 at Silverstone, but the decision is still on hold.
When asked by MotoMatters.com, both Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis and Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal confirmed that no decision had yet been made. "We have had many, many meetings," Jarvis said, "But we are still not decided."
With MotoGP returning to Silverstone after a 24-year hiatus, and the layout modified to make the track faster and more flowing than the configuration used by the World Superbike series previously, the general consensus after day 1 is positive. All of the riders had already been round the track on the scooter, and all were convinced it would be a fast and challenging circuit.
"It's beautiful," Jorge Lorenzo said of the Silverstone track. "The measures of the track are good, it is a very long track, very wide, a lot of changes of tarmac. It is very similar to the new tracks like Turkey and China. The other top riders concurred, praising the width of the track and especially it's high speed nature. "The track is fast, it has very long straights, the new part has some very fast and slow corners, but in general, I think it is a fast track," Dani Pedrosa said.
Marlboro Ducati's Nicky Hayden concurred. "It looks fast," the Kentuckian said. But like Dovizioso and Lorenzo before him, Hayden warned that impressions gained from a scooter are often deceptive once you climb aboard a 230hp MotoGP bike and take to the track. "It's one thing to go round on scooter, bicycle, feet," Hayden said, "But till you go round it behind that bubble, everything changes at speed."
With the MotoGP silly season fast approaching, much has been made of the internal team rivalries inside of the Fiat Yamaha and Repsol Honda garages. Speculation has been rife that the rivalries have helped to upset the delicate balance that exists within the teams. But when the question of how Rossi's absence would affect Jorge Lorenzo was put to Andrea Dovizioso during his Thursday afternoon debrief, the Repsol Honda rider disagreed, saying that the rivalries only served to make the team stronger.
The question came up after Dovizioso was asked about the reported signing of Casey Stoner to Honda. Here's what Dovizioso had to say on the matter:
Q: In a European magazine there was a story that Casey Stoner had definitely signed for Repsol Honda. Is this something that bothers you, or is it something you can't control so you don't worry about it?
When rumors emerged after Jerez that Casey Stoner had signed a contract with Honda, the news was met with a certain amount of scepticism. The story broke in the Italian press, with the TV broadcaster Sportmediaset the first to publish the reports. But Casey Stoner has consistently dismissed any such talk, saying it is far too early to be thinking about 2011, and that his first focus is on this season.
Those rumors appear to be firming up, however. For the German-language publication Speedweek is now also reporting that the deal has been done, and that Stoner will be switching to the factory Repsol Honda team for 2011, joining his former mentor at Ducati, HRC marketing manager Livio Suppo. According to Speedweek - run by the veteran journalist Gunther Wiesinger - Stoner has been offered some 5 million euros a year to ride the Honda.
Many US race fans were both excited and puzzled by Roger Lee Hayden's announcement that he would be racing a Pedercini Kawasaki in World Superbikes. Excited, because Rog, as Nicky Hayden's younger brother is affectionately called, is highly rated in the States; puzzled because although Hayden is good on a Superbike, his great strength - and his biggest successes, including an AMA Supersport title - is in riding a 600, rather than a thousand. Why did Roger Lee not jump on a Moto2 bike, the fans asked. The answer was simple: money, or rather a lack of it for Hayden to race in Moto2.
Fortunately for Hayden, and for the US fans who are convinced of his abilities, the American is to ride in Moto2 after all. Hayden has been named as a wildcard rider for the Moto2 race at Indianapolis, at the end of August. Hayden will ride a Moriwaki MD600 fielded by the Erion Honda team, one of the strongest teams in the AMA paddock, and supported by American Honda.
But there is even better news for MotoGP fans outside of the US. The team is to be led by 500cc legend and former World Champion Kevin Schwantz. Schwantz has been linked with a team management role in the Grand Prix paddock for a couple of years now, and has clearly been looking for the right opportunity to come along. That has finally happened.
With MotoGP returning to Silverstone for the first time in 24 years, what better way to get yourself reacquainted with the track and check out the changes than by attending the traditional Riders for Health Day of Champions? Activities start at 9am on Thursday morning, and feature a very full program, including concerts by James Toseland's band Crash, quizzes and interviews. On track, visitors can buy ticket for a lap of the track in a racing sidecar, watch stunt riders Gary Rothwell and Martin Crosswaite, or see a display of engineering glory from years' past win the classic bike parade. A full list of activities is available on the Riders for Health Day of Champions page.
But the highlight of the day is the traditional fund-raising auction over on the main stage. Early in the afternoon, the 125 and Moto2 riders will be on stage and selling off items of value in aid of Riders for Health, and from 4:30pm onwards, the stars of MotoGP will be selling memorabilia to eager fans, to help raise cash to provide healthcare in Africa. The line up is as follows:
The race to fill Valentino Rossi's seat is now running at full pace, not least in the press. Since Saturday afternoon at Mugello, the phones of everyone even tangentially involved with Yamaha's MotoGP effort have been ringing off the hook, with everyone from journalists calling for information to riders at every level offering their services.
Herve Poncharal is one such victim. As boss of the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, and as someone with very strong ties to Yamaha Racing, he has had everyone with access to his phone number calling him to either ask him questions or offer advice. So it was a very tired Tech 3 boss who took MotoMatters.com's call to answer the questions he has been facing for the past 9 days.
He still has no answers to those questions, though. Yamaha is still hard at work, running through all of the possible options, but each of those options faces almost insurmountable problems. "We have tried many things, but there are problems with any choices," Poncharal told MotoMatters.com, explaining that there were many hurdles to be cleared in finding a replacement rider.
As well as a Q&A with Valentino Rossi, the Fiat Yamaha team also released a question and answer session with several of the key players surrounding Rossi. Here's what team manager Davide Brivio, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis, Rossi's surgeon Dr. Buzzi and Yamaha communications manager William Favero had to say on Rossi's recovery, and who is to replace the Italian.
Gerno di Lesmo, Italy
Thursday 10th June 2010
Q & A WITH YAMAHA MANAGEMENT AND DR. BUZZI
1. What caused the accident? Was it rider error or a bike/tyre issue?
The latest update on Valentino Rossi's condition comes in a rather unusual form, though an extremely informative one. Yamaha Racing today released a question and answer session with Valentino Rossi, in which he answers most of the burning questions Rossi's many fans have. The good news is that Rossi has not lost his fire for racing. The bad news is that he won't be back until Brno at the very earliest. Read for yourself what Rossi had to say:
Gerno di Lesmo, Italy
Thursday 10th June 2010
Q & A WITH VALENTINO ROSSI ON HIS RELEASE FROM HOSPITAL
1. Vale, first question: how are you and are you still in pain?
The latest update on Valentino Rossi's condition from the Fiat Yamaha team. A further update is expected later today:
ROSSI RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
At 1530 CET today Valentino Rossi was released from the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico in Florence, Italy, where he has been recovering following surgery last Saturday to mend his broken right leg.
He was taken by ambulance to a helicopter and is now being flown to a hospital in Cattolica, close to his home, where he will meet with doctors to discuss the next stage of his recovery.
More information and details about his condition will be sent later today.
Once again, David Williams of the On The Throttle crew caught up with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies after the latest MotoGP round at Mugello in Italy. Spies talks to Williams about the Le Mans and Mugello races, about learning new tracks, about the difference between the older and the newer tracks, and about what goes into setting up a MotoGP bike for a race. As ever, an interesting interview and 30 minutes of a MotoGP fan's time extremely well spent.
Here's the video from OnTheThrottle.tv:
That Valentino Rossi's crash has had a huge impact on the millions of MotoGP fans who follow his exploits around the world needs no explanation. The huge outpouring of emotion at the Mugello MotoGP race showed that. For those fans who weren't at Mugello, and would like to pass on their best wishes to Valentino Rossi and wish him a speedy recovery, as well as send their wishes to Rossi's team, all of whom are equally hard hit by the crash, Yamaha Racing have opened a page on Facebook to give everyone an opportunity to do just that. So head on over to Facebook and send Rossi and all the guys at Yamaha a message, it will mean a lot to them. You can find the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/yamaharacingcom?v=app_7146470109
After crashing out during the race at Mugello, a disappointed Nicky Hayden spoke to the press about what happened. Here's the transcript of that debrief:
Q: That looked like a Casey crash.
NH: Yeah, I just, I got a terrible start, it didn't help things at all when I let the clutch out and the bike bogged. You know, from the first corner to the end of the first lap, I recovered a lot of positions. Even the next couple of laps, I felt OK, but then when I got clear track, it was strange, I couldn't really make a lap time. At Le Mans it was the same, I felt like after warmup, I could go a lot faster. Yesterday in the afternoon, I could do mid 1'50s quite steady with the harder tire. But this afternoon, it was just impossible to make the lap time. I was pushing the front a lot more in the race than I had been all weekend, I went back and forth a bit with Melandri, and I just followed over that crest, and … I was a little bit inside, because the lap before, I got in too hot and ran wide. And I just lost the front. It was pretty quick, and I didn't have my knee down enough at that point to try to save it, and that was it.
Q: The track wasn't dirty there was it?