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MotoGP Features. Page 9
Rossi's replacement still a mystery.
18 November 2003:
The identity of Valentino Rossi's replacement at Repsol Honda - the most coveted ride in MotoGP - still remains a mystery almost three weeks after the Italian's seat at the factory team became officially vacant.
Rossi should have read the small print...
14 November 2003:
It now looks certain that Honda will block any attempts by Valentino Rossi and Yamaha to get the Italian onto their M1 before his HRC contract ends on 1/1/2004, thus reducing Rossi's input into next year's machine considerably.
Doohan: Yamaha are sick of losing.
11 November 2003:
Following yesterday's announcement that Valentino Rossi would be joining Yamaha, Mick Doohan - HRC's general manager of racing - has given a multiple world champion's insight on the biggest shake-up in the premier-class for over a decade.
Rossi to take Burgess to Yamaha?
4 November 2003:
The delay in announcing Valentino Rossi as a Yamaha rider is rumoured to be partly caused by efforts to tempt key members of Rossi's former factory Honda team - including legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess - to move with him.
Biaggi hopes all Hondas are equal.
4 November 2003:
Max Biaggi's first season as a Honda RCV rider came to a disappointing end as the double 2003 race winner limped home in fourth place at Valencia – after suffering from a lack of engine braking.
Rossi's 'crazy' future.
3 November 2003:
Its official: Valentino Rossi has made the bravest decision of his career, turning from Honda's biggest star to Honda's biggest rival as he accepts a challenge that in his own words is 'a little bit crazy'.
Bostrom pleased with Hayden, eager to join him.
30 October 2003:
This year, for the first time since 1997, two of America's most promising future stars - Eric Bostrom and Nicky Hayden - haven't faced each other on a racetrack, after Nicky made the jump from AMA Superbike to MotoGP. However, he hasn't escaped yet: Eric is eager to join him and has been watching his progress closely.
Yamaha set-up report - Valencia.
30 October 2003:
Valencia offers good camber and an abrasive surface, but it's slightly undulating layout, stop and go corners, bumps and a tight design have led to many front end loses.
Cobas Insight: Valencia.
29 October 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Valencia Grand Prix...
2004 line-ups to test next week.
28 October 2003:
While the majority of seats for the 2004 MotoGP campaign remain officially up in the air, the wait, like the season, is fast coming to an end.
Telefonica: Second seat still open.
24 October 2003:
Despite persistent rumours that Colin Edwards will join Telefonica Movistar Honda next season, the team insist that although the American is one of a number of 'possibilities', no deal has yet been done.
Rossi still holding MotoGP hostage.
23 October 2003:
With deadlines and final offers having come and gone, Valentino Rossi continues to hold MotoGP hostage - intentionally or not - by refusing to announce his future plans with just one more GP to go this season.
Jacque, Nakano repeat epic title showdown.
22 October 2003:
Last Sunday at Phillip Island, Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano reinacted one of the most spectacular two-wheeled championship deciders ever seen, outside of the famed Edwards/Bayliss WSBK battle.
Rallying holds Rossi's future?
17 October 2003:
Valentino Rossi has admitted he could switch to four-wheels after several more seasons in MotoGP, but with rallying – not F1 – the most likely.
Race direction seeking direction?
16 October 2003:
The decision of race direction to ban John Hopkins (pictured) and exclude Makoto Tamada for 'causing danger to other riders' at Motegi caused uproar within the MotoGP community, and - like it or not - set a trend for future racing incidents which is yet to be resolved.
Cobas Insight: Phillip Island.
16 October 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix...
Fear of flying prevents Rossi family celebration.
15 October 2003:
It's a shame that Graziano Rossi is not a great fan of air travel as, for the fourth time out of five, a proud father has missed the chance of celebrating a world title with his son because he will not venture up the steps of the 'silver bird'.
Rossi dilemma deepens as Ferrari offer F1 test.
13 October 2003:
Just when you thought Valentino Rossi's contract negotiations for next season couldn't get any more complicated, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo (pictured) has now invited the Italian to drive Michael Schumacher's world championship winning Formula One machine for "a serious test, not a joke" – in what is interpreted as a move by Marlboro to tempt the five-times world champion towards Ducati next season.
250 awaits as Pedrosa turns potential into title.
13 October 2003:
Daniel Pedrosa raced to a brilliant victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix to clinch the ultra-competitive 125cc world crown with two rounds still remaining. Afterwards, Dani and mentor Alberto Puig talked about his career so far, what the title means to them – and confirmed their futures lies in the 250cc class next season.
Checa collision ignites 'dangerous riding' debate.
11 October 2003:
On paper, Sepang was the best qualifying session of the season for Carlos Checa, the Spaniard finishing the hour long outing as top Yamaha - and second only to Valentino Rossi. However, a collision with team-mate Marco Melandri raised many difficult questions for both the Catalan and the FIM.
Update: Telemetry wasn't checked at Motegi.
10 October 2003:
It has been revealed that the decisions to exclude Makoto Tamada from third at Motegi, and ban John Hopkins from this weekend's race at Malaysia, were taken without examining telemetry from any of the riders concerned.
Dangerous riding – Have your say... the response.
9 October 2003:
Max Biaggi's first on-track victory of the 2003 season at Motegi was overshadowed by two controversial decisions by the FIM, which saw Makoto Tamada stripped of his third place finish, and John Hopkins banned from this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Yamaha set-up report – Sepang.
9 October 2003:
Due to the Sepang circuit's hairpins, and numerous hard braking areas a fast lap, any hope of making a pass at the Malaysian venue comes down to braking stability and the bike's turn-in characteristics. Two such areas include the combination of long straights and hairpins that make up the final sequence of the 5542m layout.
Cobas insight: Sepang.
8 October 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix...
Ukawa must step out of the shadows...
2 October 2003:
The quietly spoken, but always polite, Tohru Ukawa admits he's facing a crucial time in his MotoGP career – and arrives at Motegi this weekend fighting to keep his Honda ride. To do that, the man who's often been happy to stay in the shadows of some pretty impressive team-mates will need to step out into the limelight.
Cobas insight: Motegi.
1 October 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Pacific Grand Prix...
Moriwaki 'dream' to beat factory team.
30 September 2003:
This weekend at Motegi, the Moriwaki Racing team will make their second MotoGP appearance of the season, with Tamaki Serizawa riding the fantastically named 'Morwaki Dream Fighter'.
Yamaha set-up report – Motegi.
29 September 2003:
Like many things designed and built in Japan, Motegi is unsurpassed in its design and circuit quality – the surface is seamlessly smooth, offering high levels of grip, and the facilities are exceptional.
Kawasaki chassis programme breaks cover.
26 September 2003:
At last weekend's Rio Grand Prix, Kawasaki team manager Harald Eckl revealed his team is developing its own new chassis for the ZX-RR.
One spare Honda?
26 September 2003:
While Valentino Rossi's contract negotiations with Honda have captured most of the attention of late, there remains the chance that even if, as expected, the Italian remains on an RCV next season, Honda could still have room to hire one new rider to join their 2004 line-up.
Dunlop deny MotoGP withdraw.
25 September 2003:
Dunlop has denied that they are set to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the year, and instead confirmed their commitment to the premier GP class for '2004 and beyond'.
Edwards, Hodgson 'superteam' ruled out by Ducati.
23 September 2003:
The chances of Colin Edwards partnering Neil Hodgson in a second Ducati MotoGP team appear to be more than little off the mark, with the two WSBK champions likely to be riding for opposing manufacturers next season.
Hodgson announcement 'sometime in October'.
23 September 2003:
It had been expected that, as soon as Neil Hodgson wrapped up the 2003 World Superbike championship crown, Ducati would announce that he would ride a semi-factory Desmosedici in MotoGP next year. However, despite the Brit winning the WSBK title at Assen on 7 September, there has been no official announcement of what is expected to be a two-rider team run by Luis d'Antin.
Suzuka scrapped from 2004 calendar.
19 September 2003:
The FIM has announced that Suzuka, the traditional home of the season opening Japanese Grand Prix, has been removed from the 2004 calendar.
Yamaha set-up report - Rio.
18 September 2003:
Although it was resurfaced only four years ago, the Rio de Janeiro circuit doesn't have a reputation for offering the traction one would hope for while racing a 220-plus horsepower machine.
Cobas insight: Rio.
17 September 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Rio Grand Prix...
Rule of thumb would not cope with MotoGP.
17 September 2003:
It was a simple thumb on a stopwatch button that decided the outcome of close finishing races when motorcycle grand prix racing started back in 1949 on the Isle of Man. Today the thumb has been made redundant as modern technology decides what the eye or the stopwatch cannot - the winner of some of the closest finishes in the history of the sport.
Half GP grid slower than a Superbike.
11 September 2003:
Last weekend's World Superbike round at Assen provided the first chance this year to directly compare the pace of production based WSBK machines against the prototype MotoGP racers – with startling results.
One less Honda in 2004.
8 September 2003:
The main news to come out of Honda's Portuguese Grand Prix technical presentation was that there will be one less RCV on the MotoGP grid next season, that Valentino Rossi's contract talks are still continuing and that the V5 RCV is likely to race for at least one more year.
Cobas insight: Estoril.
4 September 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix...
Eric Bostrom to MotoGP?
2 September 2003:
Sources close to
have indicated that both Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt could lose their seats at Kawasaki, as team green calls-up AMA Superbike star Eric Bostrom to join Alex Hofmann in 2004.
Yamaha set-up report – Estoril.
1 September 2003:
In some ways many of the issues that plague the South African circuit of Welkom, also make racing at Estoril 'interesting'...
Provisional 2004 calendar announced.
17 August 2003:
The FIM has today announced the provisional calendar for the 2004 season, which sees the number of rounds increase from 16 to 17 with the addition of a Qatar Grand Prix on October 2.
Yamaha set-up report - Brno.
14 August 2003:
Visually Brno appears challenging with many long radius medium-speed turns and medium-length straights, but it's this very feature, this repetitive layout, which lends the Brno Automotodrom to being one of the easiest circuits, technically speaking, on the 16 round MotoGP calendar.
Cobas insight: Brno.
13 August 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix...
D'Antin Ducati deal announced in September?
7 August 2003:
The ongoing attempts by Ducati to obtain more grid slots for 2004, for Neil Hodgson and one other rider, appears to be reaching a successful conclusion with an announcement possible as early as next month. Due to the franchise agreement between Dorna and the teams, Ducati can't simply set-up a new team to run their WSBK championship favourite, and instead need to reach some form of agreement with an existing team to either run Hodgson, or loan them a grid place to do it themselves.
Why aren't the best bikes being raced?
4 August 2003:
Jeremy McWilliams' headline grabbing performances on a 500cc KR3 during qualifying for the German Grand Prix raised some interesting questions about the future of two-strokes in the face of what had looked like being unstoppable 990cc four-stroke technology.
Rossi nears Honda deal, no factory RCV for Biaggi.
24 July 2003:
Speaking at the pre-event press conference in Germany, Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi both gave announcements regarding their future with Honda, Rossi commenting on his contract negotiations and Biaggi his race machinery.
Deja vu behind Biaggi's yellow flag sympathy.
23 July 2003:
Sympathy is certainly not a word used frequently when Max Biaggi ever discusses the fortunes of his bitter rival Valentino Rossi, but it was on Max´s agenda after the events at Donington last weekend.
Yamaha set-up report – Sachsenring.
22 July 2003:
The tight and twisty nature of Sachsenring lends itself to close racing. This is partially influenced by it's rather short overall length - while the spaghetti layout itself has the reputation of making passing moves on fellow competitors difficult even at the best of times.
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