Well, we have already had our first silly season rumor for the 2008 season, and now the team negotiations seem to be gaining momentum. We had reported last year that Yamaha were interested in World 250 Champion Jorge Lorenzo, and now Autosport.com has further confirmation that Lorenzo is talking to Yamaha for next year.
Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins has elected not to have surgery on his injured right hand. He damaged the ligament between the lunar and scaphoid bones in a huge highside during pre-season testing at Qatar in February, and has been riding injured every since. He revealed that he had spoken to doctors about having surgery to fix the tear, but decided against the procedure, which would have required a 6 week layoff from racing.
Roberto Locatelli, the 250 cc rider who suffered such a horrific crash at Jerez, is recovering well. He is currently at home, having left hospital yesterday. And despite the terrible injuries he suffered when he careened off the track into a tire wall, he is determined to return to racing. Dr Costa has told him he may be ready to race at the Mugello round in June, but Loca himself is determined to return one round earlier, at Le Mans.
Perhaps the must stunning image of the opening Grand Prix at Losail in Qatar was the Ducati's awe-inspiring power as Casey Stoner pulled away along the front straight, leaving everyone, but most especially the Yamaha of Valentino Rossi, for dead. That image made it blindingly obvious both that Ducati had a huge power advantage, and Yamaha are woefully short of horses. Fortunately for the Fiat Yamaha squad, the next circuit the MotoGP circus visited was Jerez, a track which is much more about maneuverability than about speed.
After Ilmor's withdrawal from MotoGP, the rider people felt most sorry for was Andrew Pitt. He had been dumped by Yamaha from the World Superbike team right at the end of the season, despite winning a race for them, and signed for Ilmor. Then Ilmor withdraw from MotoGP after just one race in the new season. That is a very tough break, by anyone's standard.
The medical profession has thrown up many colorful and memorable phrases. One such is "the bed nearest the door", which is said to be where nursing staff would put the patients they considered most likely to die during the night, so they could be removed without bothering the other patients when they did finally pass away. Now, the phrase has come to be used for anyone or anything about to expire. And in MotoGP, the bed nearest the door is currently occupied by the Ilmor GP project.
Only a month after threatening to pull out of MotoGP due to funding problems, Team KR now seem to be welcoming new sponsors on an almost weekly basis.
Possibly the biggest mystery in motorcycle racing since Max Biaggi failed to get a ride for 2006 ended today: why Neil Hodgson, a rider who is talented, popular and likeable, could not get a ride for the 2007 season, after Ducati pulled out of AMA superbikes at the end of last year. Surely, everyone believed, there must be someone in need of a fast rider?
Well, the waiting is over, at least for Loris Capirossi. Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Capirossi's wife Ingrid gave birth to a son, Riccardo, on April 2nd. Capirossi's impending fatherhood had been widely blamed for the disappointing performance so far of the man widely tipped to challenge for the championship this season.
The MotoGP silly season seems to start earlier and earlier nowadays, but April seems to be taking things a little far. Over at Autosport.com, they are reporting that Alstare Suzuki boss Francis Batta may switch his team from World Superbikes to MotoGP for the 2008 season, taking rider Max Biaggi with him.
I know that many of my readers follow both the 125 and 250 cc world championship, in addition to MotoGP, so I'm posting this for all of you who saw Roberto Locatelli's horrific crash during practice at Jerez last weekend. Eurosport is carrying a story that Roberto Locatelli did not suffer brain damage as a result of the freak accident, which saw Locatelli inexplicably veer off into a tire wall, hitting it at high speed.
The fact that the owners of Indianapolis Motor Speedway are talking to Dorna in an attempt to get a MotoGP round run at the track is an open secret. FIM officials have already visited the legendary American circuit for a safety inspection. And now, rumors are surfacing that the race is scheduled to take place in September 2008.
Testing continued in much improved conditions today, the rain having disappeared, though the wind continued to cause a few problems. The field was rather depleted, with several teams and riders electing to skip the days testing, and head off home for a rest before the next race at Istanbul in 3 weeks time.
The teams and riders stayed on for testing at Jerez after the race weekend. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not prepared to play ball, and so the test took place in poor conditions, with wind and rain making times fairly meaningless. It did allow the teams to find some wet weather settings though, and considering weather conditions at both Istanbul and Shanghai last year, that information could well prove to be invaluable.
On any given race weekend, riders line up to be measured. They pit themselves and their machines against all comers, borne by an unwavering belief in their own ability to overcome their adversaries and the limitations of the equipment they have been given. They stand to be measured every time they line up. Sometimes, though, the measurement goes deeper. For there are some days when a racer has to step up and go beyond himself, beyond the limitations of his body and his machine, and reach a higher plane.