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Baker's Dozen: Pre-Laguna Seca MotoGP

The Assen accident also cost Lorenzo an engine, which could return to haunt him later in the year. Do you think the engine rules need to be tweaked - perhaps allowing a replacement engine in such circumstances, but for free practice use only - or is 'no exceptions' the best policy?

Phil Baker:
It's a good question, especially when it is not your fault, but rules are rules and are there to be tweaked and improved from one year to the next. I don't think it is fair to change the rules in the middle of a season, (such as the Rookie rule), but it is something to be considered for next year.

4. Q:
Repsol Honda has now re-signed Pedrosa and will place Marc Marquez on the seat vacated by Casey Stoner. Your thoughts?

Phil Baker:
A Spanish rider on a Spanish sponsored bike was always looking the likely option. It is a risk from the Repsol Honda team as Marquez, although hugely talented, has no history on the bigger bike.

Personally, I liked the rookie rule of going to a satellite team first, and feel that it would have been better to remain in place. But that said, he is sponsored by Repsol and it would have meant he would have had to either lose that partner or for the satellite Honda team to give up their oil sponsor, either Elf or Castrol.

As far as the pressure goes, that is now down to Pedrosa. Severn years on the factory Honda and no Championship title. It has to be make or break for him now.

5. Q:
It was rumoured that Cal Crutchlow might sign a Ducati contract at Mugello, but nothing materialised. The assumption so far has been of a possible Rossi-Crutchlow line-up, but could the delay suggest Ducati might see Crutchlow as a back-up option to take Rossi's place, alongside Hayden, if Rossi decides to leave?

Phil Baker:
Cal has justified his position and should get a factory ride. I've heard people complaining that he hasn't got a podium in GP yet, but then the two riders on the Ducati team right now only share four or five between them in a total of six years' worth of Ducati riding, so I think change is a good thing and Cal has the right style and attitude to get the bike to the front.

6. Q:
What do you think the chances are of Valentino Rossi remaining at Ducati?

Phil Baker:
Ducati is now owned by Audi and they will want the best. I expect to see announcements in the coming weeks - maybe by Indy, and would not be surprised to see him remain where he is. Having the chance to drive for Audi in DTM or 24 Hrs Le Mans in the future must be appealing to him as well?!

7. Q:
Have you heard anything about the Rossi/Yamaha/Marlboro rumours?

Phil Baker:
Lots and lots, but like you say, it's all rumors and until we get confirmation from the horses mouth, then it remains as that....rumours!

8. Q:
All things considered, who would you put on the second Yamaha seat, alongside Lorenzo?

Phil Baker:
Every team needs a consistent second rider. Someone who can regularly score the points to support the manufacturer's bid for the title.




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