• Welcome to the new B.I.R.D. Forum. Please be sure to read the "New Member / New Registered ? Please Read" thread in the Coffee Shop. This contains some important information. To become a full member ( £5.50 a year ) simply click on your user name near the top on the right I hope you enjoy the new site ................ Jaws ( John )

Moto GP news


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One thread for all news from Motogp ....i don't wont create all the time new thread for new press information

McWilliams ready for Qatar
London 12.02.07: Ilmor GP rider Jeremy McWilliams is set to make his return to the race track during the
MotoGP test this week at the Losail circuit in Qatar. McWilliams suffered multiple injuries after crashing out at
the test in Jerez back in November 2006 - a fractured left femur, suspected fractured collarbone and the loss
of a fingertip were the result - injuries that McWilliams played down and has since worked tirelessly to return
to form as quickly as possible.

Following the Malaysian test last week in Sepang, the team are very keen to continue developing the bikes
set up ahead of the start of the season in Qatar in March. McWilliams' team mate Andrew Pitt put in a sterling
effort in Sepang clocking up 70 laps in one day however the Australian understandably has made no secret of
his eagerness to once again share the responsibilities of testing.

Jeremy McWilliams, Ilmor GP Rider: "I had some minor work to my damaged leg on Friday in Ireland, they
fiddled around with the screws in my knee to make it easier for me to train and ride. I've made good progress
in the past few weeks and I'm feeling really strong, I can't wait to get back on the bike. It's been so frustrating
being out since November, I've been in constant contact with the team and Andrew but nothing compares to
actually getting out there and putting the bike through its paces.

"I think we're all realistic and the biggest problem we have at the moment is a lack of track time, the start of
the season will be upon us before we know it so every day counts. We made great progress in Jerez before
the incident so I hope we can continue going forward and see a significant improvement in Qatar and Jerez."

Mario Illien, Ilmor GP Team Principal: "I'm pleased and surprised at the speed of Jeremy's recovery, he's
dedicated himself to getting fit again as quickly and safely as possible. Andrew has done a good job without
him but it will be great to have both of them back out on the track.

"I know that the team were a little disappointed with the test in Sepang, everyone is working incredibly hard
and sometimes you don't progress as fast as you would like but I believe in persistence and we are at the
start of a long journey in terms of development, no one is expecting overnight miracles - slow, steady
progress is our goal. I'm expecting good things from both riders in Qatar."
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Q&A: Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet

Randy de Puniet is one of the emerging young stars of MotoGP, entering his second season at the elite level of racing with Kawasaki. By his own judgement his rookie season in 2006 was not easy, a learning year slowed by some unlucky crashes and injuries.

But, having achieved a childhood dream of reaching MotoGP, the five-time 250cc GP winner is now aiming for success in the premier class. He is intent on improving on his rookie season result of 16th in the championship standings, and the 25 year-old Frenchman has shown impressive speed in pre-season testing, with a smooth transition to the new 800cc ZX-RR.

In 2007 he will race alongside the experienced Olivier Jacque in an all-French squad at Kawasaki. From scooter racing as a youngster to the ZX-RR in 2007, De Puniet is out show to that he has a winning future with Kawasaki in MotoGP.

Q: What are your feelings in advance of your second season in MotoGP with Kawasaki?

A: I'm feeling very positive about the new season, I feel very settled now with the Kawasaki team. One of the most important things for me as a rider is that my crew chief and mechanics are same as last year; it is very good to have the same staff. We did a lot of hard work last year, even though my results were not that satisfying, and I'm looking forward to a much stronger season.

Q: Looking back, what were some of the problems you encountered last year?

A: As a rookie I had a lot to learn and everyone understood that, but even so I thought I was unlucky with some crashes and injuries. I was an innocent victim of that big, six-rider crash in the Barcelona race and those things do not help in your rookie season. But I'm looking ahead, not back, this is a new year and I'm very positive.

Q: Have you set any goals that you would like to achieve?

A: My first target is to improve at every race and improve my consistency over the race distance, which is what I have been working on during the winter testing. We have a very good base with the new 800cc ZX-RR and I'm looking to go a step forward with my own riding performance. But there are now a lot of factory bikes and very good riders in MotoGP, so it will not be easy.

Q: How have you had to adapt your style to riding the new 800cc machine?

A: Without the same level of power as with the previous 990cc bike you brake later and carry more corner speed, so I have done a lot of work on adjusting my style to suit the new bike. For me, it's a nice feeling as a rider on the 800, my first impression was very positive and after many laps in testing I'm enjoying it even more.

Q: What do you feel will be the important areas for a fast lap time on the 800?

A: Perhaps the key factor this season will be good tyre life and durability, especially at the end of the races because of the close competition. And braking stability will also be very important, as this will assist in carrying higher corner speeds.

Q: You come from a background of 250cc grands prix, has this helped in the transition to the 800cc concept?

A: Not so much, because I don't think the 250cc riding style is exactly what is required on the 800. Now on the 800cc ZX-RR I'm working on moving my weight around to able to pick the bike up earlier on corner exit, and get on the throttle earlier. And during the winter tests I have been concentrating on doing race simulations, so that I can understand how to change my style towards the end of race when the tyre performance is going down, to be more consistent. At some of the tests I have done a long race run each day.

Q: How have you prepared for the 2007 season?

A: I have done a lot of cycling and motocross, and also some supermotard riding. In the winter break I have been out with some other French riders, Regis Laconi and Fabien Foret, and we do 45 minute runs on motocross bikes, which I think is more exhausting than a MotoGP race. I'm hoping this will help my endurance over the race distance this season. I've also done some work in the gym, but once the season starts you need to balance fitness with recovery time, because it's a long year.

Q: For the first time there will 18 races in the MotoGP championship, what do think about this?

A: I like racing so this is not a problem for me. The difficult part will be in May and until the end of June, that is a busy period on the calendar, but it's the same for everyone. This season will be an important one for me, so I hope there are not too many surprises.

Q: Did you get some time for holidays and to relax during the winter break?

A: Yes, I was in Ireland with my girlfriend for ten days and then mainly at home training, maintaining my fitness and just relaxing.

Q: And where is home for you?

A: I live in Andorra. It's a nice place and in the winter there is snow, which is a lot of fun, plus I have many friends there.

Q: And this year there are two French riders in the Kawasaki team...

A: It's great, the more French riders in MotoGP the better. For Kawasaki this was the best choice this season because Olivier has been the test rider and doing a lot of work with the team. I already had a two year contract and I'm happy OJ will be racing with us this year.

Q: With less electronic control on the 800cc motors this year will this mean the opportunity for greater rider input?

A: Yes, there will be more influence from the rider and I prefer that, especially towards the end of a race when you have to manage the tyres. Fortunately it is not like F1, this is important, because in MotoGP the rider can make the difference.

Q: What is the difference between testing and racing?

A: Testing is more relaxed even though it is an eight hour day at the track, which can sometimes mean 85 laps. But you do not have the same pressure as a race weekend when there is less time. At the race weekends I try to carry over that relaxed approach because when you are relaxed it is easier to perform at your maximum.

Q: Do you have some favourite tracks in MotoGP?

A: I like the fast circuits, like Mugello, Sepang and Barcelona but not so much tracks like China and Estoril.

Q: What is the best part of being a MotoGP rider?

A: Just to be able to ride these bikes, which are at the top level of performance in motorcycling. My dream is keep doing this for a long time and become one of the top riders in the world.

Q: This year you will race with number 14, not your usual number 17. Why?

A: Last year was not a good season for me so I thought I would change from number 17. I wanted to use number 7 but Carlos Checa uses this number - so it is 14, two times seven.


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AKASHI, February 2nd 2007: After several months of discussions about the sudden termination of their MotoGP cooperation in November last year, Japanese motorcycle giant Kawasaki and Harald Eckl have solved their dispute. Following apologies from the side of Eckl for the situation that resulted in the termination by Kawasaki, negotiations followed in Japan and Kawasaki and Eckl worked out a solution.

They both declared that the negotiations had been "constructive" and they stated to be "happy that further legal escalation could be avoided". They agreed that further information about the deal would not be disclosed.

Kawasaki in the meantime is preparing for the first MotoGP race in Qatar in March with a new - "in house" - factory team.

Harald Eckl: "I'm really happy that after years of cooperation this could now finally be brought to a good end. I wish Kawasaki all the success for the future".


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Olivier Jacque will make a welcome return to full time racing as part of Kawasaki's new look MotoGP squad in 2007. The versatile Frenchman is one of the most experienced riders in motorcycling and can count the 250cc world championship in 2000 as the highlight of an outstanding career.

Now 33, Jacque began racing at 17 and has been on two wheels ever since, progressing through the French national 125cc series, the 250cc European championship and then to the 250cc world championship with the Tech3 Yamaha Team. After winning the world title Jacque moved up to the premier 500cc class and then into the four-stroke MotoGP championship, his success rate only hampered by a series of injuries.

Jacque came to the attention of the Kawasaki Racing Team as a wild card rider and his value as a test and development rider was quickly recognised, a role that has led to the rebirth of his race career in the factory team. As a wild card in the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, Jacque scored Kawasaki's best MotoGP result with a superb second place. This is just one of the 35 podiums, 17 pole positions and seven victories (in 250cc) that Jacque has scored in all classes of GP racing.

Q: After two years as test rider for Kawasaki, what was your reaction when you were asked to become a full time race rider in MotoGP for the 2007 season?

A: It was a dream come true, and in some ways it was a complete surprise, but a very pleasant surprise. Actually, I was hoping to have been a race rider with Kawasaki in 2006 but they selected a young guy instead and I can understand the reasons for that decision. At the end of the 2005 season my performances were not that strong so it made sense for Kawasaki to sign a young rider for the future. But now this race contract is like a new beginning in my career.

Q: You stayed in the Kawasaki family as a test rider in 2006, but had you given up hope that one day you could return to MotoGP racing?

A: Not really, but I was happy to accept the position of test rider which has been a very interesting experience. But I did become a little bored by not racing. I was doing many, many laps which was important for Kawasaki to improve the bike but this is not like the challenge of racing, which is a great personal satisfaction. And then, at the end of last season when I knew that Shinya Nakano was leaving Kawasaki I told the team that, if there was an opportunity, I wanted to race again, because I missed racing.

Q: So you never lost the motivation to be back racing full time?

A: No. I had a very strong motivation to race again, and a very strong desire that it should be with Kawasaki because I really like the way they work in MotoGP. Plus Kawasaki is a relatively new team to MotoGP and this project, now with the 800cc regulations, is very interesting. It was also an attraction to work with people I knew from my 250cc career, like Ichiro Yoda (Racing Director), who trusts in me. And the grand prix team is a young team, with a good outlook, this appealed to me.

Q: Do you think your background as a test and development rider with Kawasaki will be of benefit now you are in the race team?

A: Yes, this experience is an advantage for me because it will assist in better understanding the direction of the technical development of the bike.

Q: And the new 800cc MotoGP class, what do you think?

A: I like the concept, it's an exciting new rule for MotoGP.

Q: And what about riding style, is there any difference between the new 800cc bikes and the previous 990cc machines?

A: I don't think there is such a big difference in riding style between the bikes. When the 800cc machines first appeared there were actually many comparisons to the riding style of a 250cc two-stroke, but now I think this comparison is not so valid. At the beginning the relative lack of power with an 800, compared to a 990, is perhaps why some riders were comparing the bikes to 250s, but not anymore.

Q: What do think is the potential of the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR and the Kawasaki team this year?

A: I think the potential will be strong, and perhaps surprise a few people. When I first rode the 800cc ZX-RR in testing it was already a very good motorcycle and during the winter programme we have developed a strong base for this season. There have not been any major problems, but as always in racing it is difficult to make predictions, especially compared to your rivals before the season has started. What is certain is that we will have to continue to work hard to constantly improve the level of our own performance.

Q: It appears there is now a lower level of electronic control on the new 800cc motors, compared to the more powerful 990s. What impact will this have on the riders?

A: Yes, that's correct. One outcome of this will be to make the competition closer between all of the manufacturers. And for the riders it will mean less electronics to deal with, and put more importance on rider input, especially over a race distance.

Q: Your teammate this year is another French rider, the emerging MotoGP star Randy de Puniet. What do you think this all-French combination?

A: For me this is a very good situation, and I have a good relationship with Randy. We have had some good times together socially, most recently in Japan. At the racetrack we have a strong working relationship, very professional. We can talk about the bike and compare our information and try to increase our speed together. It's a friendly atmosphere, this is important.

Q: How have you been preparing for the new season?

A: As soon as it was confirmed that I would be a race rider in MotoGP this year I have been doing a lot of hard training over the winter; I want to show faith in Kawasaki for this opportunity. Mainly just a lot of fitness work in the gymnasium. Unlike many riders I don't use bikes in my training, such as motocross or supermotard, I ride bikes enough during the grand prix season.

Q: Long and exhausting pre-season test days are part of the MotoGP season. Is there a difference in the approach to testing and racing?

A: In testing you have to use your experience and work time with the team in a different way, obviously to maximise the performance of the bike, and there is more time available. But during a grand prix weekend there are only two hours per day on the track before the race, so the focus is more on lap times and being ready for the race. It is more intense.

Q: You have had a long and varied grand prix career, including winning the 250cc world championship in 2000. What are some of your personal highlights?

A: The first would be winning the 250cc world championship, which was a very satisfying result for me. And the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in 2005 was also a special moment, one that I could share with Kawasaki. It was a wet race, a lot of rain, and I finished second which was Kawasaki's best result in MotoGP. And then signing on as a factory race rider with Kawasaki was a very happy moment for me.

Q: In 2007 there are 18 races on the calendar, the longest ever GP season. What do think about this schedule?

A: I'll tell you at the end of the season, but for sure it is a lot of work!

Q: Racing motorcycles has been your life, but if were not a professional rider, what would you be doing?

A: I would like to open a sushi bar, because I love Japanese food. And I would probably be involved in the sport in some way, perhaps in a technical area with a team.

Q: You live in London, what's that like?

A: I enjoy London a lot, although it can be quite cold in winter. And there are some good sushi restaurants there, and clubs to go to with my friends. There also are some great places, like Portobello, away from the tourist areas plus the theatre - I like musical comedy. I live near the King's Road in Chelsea, the Sloane Street area, and there are always a lot of interesting things to do.

Q: You have a new helmet design this year, is that of special significance?

A: No, not really, there is no special meaning. I got together with my designer and we just wanted to make something very different for this season.

Q: What are your personal goals for the 2007 season?

A: Just to be racing at my top level, to get the best out of myself and the Kawasaki ZX-RR - that's it. If I do that I'm sure some positive results will flow during the season.


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The Kawasaki Racing Team resumed their intensive pre-season test schedule with the first of three days of testing at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha in Qatar.

This official test is the first at which all the MotoGP teams and riders have participated, providing everyone with the perfect opportunity to compare progress with their rivals. This is of particular importance for Kawasaki with their new Ninja ZX-RR, as the previous incarnation of their MotoGP racer was not well suited to the Qatar circuit.

After two productive tests in Malaysia, Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque were quickly up to speed in Qatar today, as they continued to work on refining the set-up of their Ninja ZX-RR machines. The focus throughout the three-day test will be on identifying the best set-up and race tyre combination for when they return to Qatar for the opening race of the season in three weeks time.

Randy de Puniet and his crew had to overcome minor chatter problems at the start of today's test, but this was successfully dialled out with slight modifications to set-up. After the compulsory midday break, the 25-year-old Frenchman continued with his planned test schedule, finishing with a best time of 1'57.73s after completing 88 laps of the 5.380 km Losail circuit.

Olivier Jacque also spent today working on refining the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR. Unfortunately, the 33-year-old Frenchman was forced to cut short the opening day of testing after 67 laps, when he banged his head in a crash at turn two and was forced to go to hospital for observation.

Apart from the sore head Jacque was uninjured, but a decision as to whether the Frenchman will continue testing tomorrow will be delayed until his condition has been fully assessed.

Randy de Puniet: 88 Laps - Best Lap 1'57.73

"It was a good test. We focused on working on the set up this morning before doing some rear tyre testing for Bridgestone in the afternoon. The objective is to find a good tyre for the first race of the season, but for this moment we don't know yet which tyre will we going to use neither for the race, nor for tomorrow's race simulation. We still have some more tyres to try though. Tyre endurance is essential here and tomorrow we will check it. We also need to improve the setting as we have mainly focused on tyres today. We have to improve all the set up but mainly front suspension in order to gain more corner speed. I'm pretty fast at the fastest parts of the track but I need to improve on the first part. Today it's been the first day and I'm sure tomorrow I will be able to improve my lap times."

Naoya Kaneko: Technical Manager
"Overall, our objective was finding a good base set up for the first Grand Prix of the year, which will take place here in less than a month. Basically, we started with the best set up that we had from Sepang. First, we confirmed some of the basic set up and then did small modifications to adapt it to Losail, which is also a fast track. We worked as well on tyre choice, which will be very important as well. We worked really close with Bridgestone to find the best tyre to optimize our package. Tyre life is critical here. Apart from that, I'm not worried about lap times because they will come when we find the best set up. We understood from the last test that for us it is more important to focus on tyre life to be able to perform consistently for 22 laps, a race length. At the moment, a couple of the tyres we tried have potential but we need to confirm it tomorrow. First day is still too early to draw conclusions. Especially at this track which is not in perfect conditions yet."


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When Ichiro Yoda joined Kawasaki's MotoGP project for the 2005 season, he brought with him more than 20 years of grand prix engineering experience. For two years the Japanese engineer has been the driving force behind the development of Kawasaki's 990cc Ninja ZX-RR, a period that culminated in the podium finishes by Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano in Shanghai and Assen respectively.

For the 2007 season Yoda takes on a new role with the reorganised Kawasaki Racing Team. Having been responsible for managing the development of the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR that Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque will campaign for the first time this season, a promotion to the position of Race Director means that, this year, Yoda is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Kawasaki's MotoGP racing activities.

Q: There have been some big changes for the Kawasaki Racing Team since Kawasaki made the decision to bring the team 'in-house' for the 2007 season. As part of this reorganisation you've been promoted to the position of Race Director, but how has that changed your role for the coming season?

A: Now Kawasaki has brought their MotoGP team in-house, my role has changed significantly. Our Technical Manager, Naoya Kaneko, will now take responsibility for technical issues, while I take on more of the commercial aspects of running a MotoGP team, such as budget control. I will also be working closely with our Competition Manager, Michael Bartholemy, in other areas, such as human resources and logistics.

It's a big change for me, but I'm looking forward to my new role with the team. My biggest task this season will be to put in place the new way of operating as an in-house, factory team, as this will be different to last year. This year our only focus is on results and development.

Q: Will you be based in Japan this coming season, or will you move to Europe to be closer to the team base in the Netherlands?

A: I will be based at the headquarters of Kawasaki Motors Europe in Amsterdam, which is about two hours drive from the team's offices in Heerlen.

Q: Will your new role still allow you to play an active part in the development of the Ninja ZX-RR?

A: Development will continue in Japan, but that doesn't mean that we won't use outside suppliers in Europe for certain components. Because I'll be based in Europe I will be much better placed to ensure that we choose the best supplier for the job, and that the components meet our requirements, both in terms of quality and delivery time. So yes, I will still have some involvement in the development process.

Q: Whatever your role now, you led the development of Kawasaki's new 800cc machine last season. At the start of the development process you must have had a list of design aims, but what was at the top of that list?

A: We knew from the start that we would have to rev the 800cc engine harder and higher if we were to liberate enough power to be competitive. We calculated that we would need to rev the first evolution of the new engine to 18,000 rpm to achieve our power target and at this level a conventional valve train, with a spring return, is inefficient. So, our first major decision was to run a pneumatic valve system on the new engine. This allowed us not only to achieve our initial target, but also gives us more options for the future.

Q: Was the pneumatic valve system developed in-house by Kawasaki, or was the technology bought in from an outside supplier?

A: This technology is not widely used in the motorcycle industry, so we had to bring this technology in from an outside supplier. But, as a lot of people have discovered to their cost in the past, the technology doesn't transfer directly. A lot of modifications are required to take what is effectively car technology and apply it to the very unique characteristics of a racing motorcycle.

Q: So the pneumatic system was identified as being of significant benefit to the performance of the bike, but what knock on effects did it have for the design and implementation of the rest of the bike?

A: Of course, we didn't just design the head first and then think about the rest of the bike afterwards, as the whole thing has to work together as a package, and each major component has a direct effect on the other components that go to make up that package.

For example, we decided to use a pneumatic head because of the increased revs, but that had a knock on effect on the rest of the bike. The pneumatic head is lighter than a conventional cylinder head, and it's also physically smaller. This means the engine is more compact, but it also moves the centre of gravity compared to an engine that utilises a conventional head. It's a big change, and that is reflected in other areas of the bike, which needed to be designed specifically to complement the new engine.

Q: It seems that mass centralisation is a common development aim at the moment, but what do you achieve by centralising the mass of the bike?

A: Mass centralisation is the process of centring the mass of the bike in one place. By centralising the mass, and then positioning that mass in the right place in the frame, you produce a bike that is more agile and easier for the rider to turn, especially at high speed. Quick, and accurate turning is critical to a good lap time, especially with the new 800cc machines. The other advantage of mass centralisation is stability under braking, and this is also important in terms of lap time.

Q: Was the unorthodox rear shock mount on the new 800cc Kawasaki also designed to improve mass centralisation?

A: Sure, one of the reasons we run an unorthodox mount for the rear shock - effectively running it upside down in the chassis - is that it places the majority of the weight closer to the central mass of the engine, but the main reason for using this method of mounting the rear shock was for ease of maintenance. Running the shock inverted makes quick changes to spring and settings much easier, and much quicker, to do when the presure is on during practice and qualifying.

Q: If any, how many parts does the new 800cc Ninja ZX-RR have in common with the old 990cc version?

A: The 800cc machine is an evolution of the 990cc bike, in that we have taken what we learnt during the past four years and incorporated those lessons into the design of the new machine. Yes, there are some parts that remain from the 990cc machine, such as the running gear and the bodywork, but the major components like the engine and the chassis are all new. Because the engine has changed so much with the use of the pneumatic head, it wouldn't have been possible just to change the engine mounts and use the old frame. The bike needs to perform as a package, and to achieve that we basically had to design the new bike from the ground up.

Q: A lot of effort went into controlling the power delivery of the ultra-powerful 990cc machines, is this still the case with the 800cc machine, or are you facing different control issues now?

A: The 990cc bikes had so much power that a lot of our development time was spent trying to counter the tendency to lose grip at the rear under acceleration. The bigger bike could feel quite nervous to the rider on the throttle, and when it did lose rear traction it did so suddenly. The characteristics of the 800cc machine are such that it is easier to control on the throttle, and the transition between grip and no grip is both smoother and more predictable. The engine is the input for the whole system. Because the engine is smoother with the 800cc bike, it means the whole system is more stable.

It is interesting that, despite less power, Randy was faster then he's ever been before at Sepang during our first test there. This is because he now has more control of the bike; maybe he feels he has more input because of this control, and that allows him to ride the bike as he wants to ride it, rather than having his riding style dictated by the sheer power of the engine.

Q: I guess this change in cornering style also has implications for tyre design and construction. Will there be a significant change required on the part of the tyre manufacturers this season?

A: The 800cc bikes place different demands on the rear tyre than the 990cc machines, which means we will see a change in tyre characteristics as the tyre manufacturers gain a better understanding of the new bikes. We have a lot of confidence in Bridgestone. This year they are supporting more teams than ever before, which means they are collecting a lot of data during testing, and from this data we're confident they will quickly develop tyres designed specifically to suit the characteristics of the 800cc machines. To help accelerate Bridgestone's development programme in this first year, we have many tyre tests planned during the season after race weekends.

Q: Pre-season testing has been very positive, but testing and racing can be very different. What are your expectations for Kawasaki in the coming season and, more importantly, what are your aims in terms of results?

A: The 800cc Ninja ZX-RR we will race this season is very new, so our first priority has to be the continued development of the bike. But we also have specific targets in terms of results. I expect both riders to be chasing pole position during qualifying and podium finishes in the races this season. I think a first win in the MotoGP class for Kawasaki is also a realistic goal for us this year. In terms of the championship, I think a position in the top seven at the end of the season is a reasonable expectation for us.

Q: At which tracks do you feel Kawasaki have the best chance of success this season?

A: I think Sachsenring, Assen, Phillip Island, and Motegi, because they suit the characteristics of our bike, and they are also favourites of the riders.


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Hopkins aiming to be fit for first round in Qatar

Hopkins aiming to be fit for first round in Qatar
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins has been evaluated by on orthopaedic specialist in England following his heavy crash in Qatar on Thursday, with encouraging results.

Following the 190+km/h crash initial reports were of several injuries, but following a thorough assessment Hopkins has a fracture in the second toe of his right foot, some damage to both hands and acute bumps and bruises over his whole body.

The Anglo-American will undertake intensive physiotherapy work in Great Britain and with Team Physio Dean Miller this week, and will join Rizla Suzuki MotoGP at Jerez in Spain for the second Official MotoGP Test starting on Friday. It is not yet known whether he will be fit enough to ride.

Hopkins will continue to be assessed by Miller and the Rizla Suzuki rider will continue with his convalescence over the next couple of weeks to guarantee that he is fit enough to take his place on the grid for the first round of the season at Losail in Qatar on Saturday 10th March.

Dean Miller ? Team Physio:

?John was re-evaluated in the United Kingdom on Friday 16th February. The fracture to the right second toe is confirmed. John saw an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in wrist and hand injuries and further evaluative X-rays were negative for any additional complications. The bumps and bruises and the sprain/strain injuries to the soft tissue areas of the hands, wrists, arms and overall body are of some concern. John will rest and recuperate over the next few days and join the Team in Jerez this week, we do not know as yet whether he will be fit to ride in the test because the main aim of John, Suzuki and myself is that he will be 100% fit for the first round of the season at Qatar next month.?


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20/02/07 11:31
Final test for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP is in Spain for the second Official MotoGP Test this week, the final round of testing in readiness for this season?s MotoGP Championship.

The test will be held at Jerez on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the final day featuring an all-exciting 45-minute televised timed session in the afternoon. The rider with the fastest time from this session will drive away from the test in a brand-new BMW car.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will be represented at the test by Chris Vermeulen and Team Test Rider Kousuke Akiyoshi. John Hopkins is unlikely to be able to ride this weekend due to the injuries he sustained after his high-speed crash at Qatar last week.

The 4.4km long Jerez track is a great test arena for the new range of 800cc motorcycles. It features short, medium and long corners, plus both uphill and downhill braking sections over its undulating layout. It is a track that requires a good chassis set-up and Hopkins and Vermeulen showed that Suzuki were on the right lines when they conducted a positive test at the Spanish circuit last November.

Akiyoshi is joining the Team to both assist in the further development of the GSV-R800 prototype bike, and to familiarise himself with the layout of the track in preparation for his debut there as a wild-card rider in next month?s Grand Prix.

The three-day test will also see Rizla Suzuki MotoGP officially launch the new GSV-R800 on Thursday evening in front of an invited audience. Full reports on the unveiling and the progress of the Team will appear on this site during the three day test.

Chris Vermeulen:

?This is the last chance that we have to make any significant improvements to the bike in a test environment. The bike is pretty good at the moment but we are always looking for a bit more. It will be good to get some competitive action with Sunday?s timed session. I know it?s not a race but it is nice to have that extra edge. It?s such a shame that John might not be fit, but it is more important to him and the Team to make sure he?s 100% for Qatar, I know he?ll be helping us as much as he can and wishing he was out there.?

Kousuke Akiyoshi:

?I am very much looking forward to testing at Jerez. I was always coming here so I could learn the track for next month?s race. It is now even more important for me to be here as John has some problems. I want to do very well and will give Rizla Suzuki MotoGP my best performance.?
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ROAD RACING - Indy To Host U.S. GP In 2008?

ROAD RACING - Indy To Host U.S. GP In 2008?
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will likely host a round of the MotoGP World Championship in 2008, according to a number of sources, but it won?t replace the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Instead, for the first time ever, the U.S. will host two rounds of the championship.

The news was first reported by Motor Sport Aktuell, an authoritative Swiss weekly. MSA said that the race would replace the Chinese GP at Shanghai, an event that hasn?t had the success that Dorna had hoped for in the world?s most populous nation.

Though nothing has been signed, all indications are that an event at Indianapolis is moving forward. Ron Green, a spokesman for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said that ?There is no agreement in place,? but, he added, ?The Speedway is still active in its dialogue with several motorcycle racing sanctioning bodies. It is clear that the Speedway wants an event. And it?s something that we?ve been exploring for quite some time.?

Green referenced an AMA test in 2003.

?That was probably the first real feasibility or exploratory effort we undertook. So very serious about the possibility of having a major motorcycle race here in the near future.?

The near future could be 2008. Green said the Speedway was looking at a motorcycle race as one way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the track in 2009. (The first ever event at IMS was a motorcycle race in 1909.)

?We automatically received an incredible amount of enthusiasm and feedback from the motorcycle industry, which made us maybe think there?s something more here than just a single anniversary event. Because of that enthusiasm and talking with various sanctioning bodies, it?s certainly something we?re exploring diligently and it could move forward and it could happen as early as 2008.?

Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indianapolis 500, the largest motorsports event in the world, as well as the Brickyard 400, and a round of the Formula One World Championship.

?We know what it takes to present an event of that magnitude. And we sense that the potential for this motorcycle event is going to be of significant magnitude as well.

?We know how long it takes to plan one of those events,? he continued. ?We probably have almost an 18-month promotional calendar to present an event appropriately. And if we?re going to do it in 2008 we know we need make some decisions very soon and make an announcement in the spring of 2007.?

The problem with the IMS Formula One layout is the right-hand final corner onto the front straight. With the track running clockwise, the F-1 cars face a wall on their left as they speed toward the finish line. Since this is unacceptable for motorcycles, FIM safety boss Claude Danis was tasked to find a solution.

?Actually the last corner will not be used since we will run anticlockwise and the track will turn left immediately after the pits,? Danis said in an e-mail message. Danis has not yet homologated the track, he said, with the final drawings to be approved and works to be carried out by end of 2007. He also said he may be joined by F-1 safety boss Charlie Whiting for a site visit in early February.

?That is, from what I understand, one of the solutions being discussed,? the Speedway?s Ron Green said. ?And even if that counterclockwise is a solution, there will still have to be some modifications made, from what I understand. That?s been an area of discussion and certainly an area of focus.?

Gavin Emmett, the Dorna press officer, acknowledged that the series organizers were interested in expanding their presence in America.

?I know they?re looking at a lot of other options to develop the sport,? he said. ?Obviously to have a second race would be a good thing.? He continued. ?I know that in the past they?ve talked, but I also know that they?ve talked since then. I know they went to look. They have looked at the possibility. I also know the American market is interesting to them at the moment, especially with Nicky [Hayden] as World Champion.?

?No deal has been done,? race director Paul Butler said in a cell phone conversation from Majorca. ?[FIM safety boss] Claude Danis went there and inspected it en route to Laguna three or four weeks ago. So there?s been contact. And there are examinations ongoing.?

Gill Campbell, the CEO of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, said in a cell phone call that it won?t affect the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

?To my knowledge it?s not confirmed by any means,? she said. ?When we originally had our agreement we had a three-year exclusivity [which meant no other track in the U.S. could hold a MotoGP event]

?Again, I don?t know very much other than I know they?ve been talking. That?s truly it. Beyond that, knowing that I have an exclusivity through 2007, I know that it wouldn?t be any earlier than 2008.?

Dorna?s Emmett added, ?They?re not looking at replacing Laguna in the future.?

IMS President Joie Chitwood attended July?s Red Bull U.S. GP for the second year in a row. At the time, the Indianapolis Star wrote that he ?came away feeling more optimistic than ever that he understands the sport's landscape well enough to host an event." The Star quoted him as saying, ?I think I've got my arms around [MotoGP] now. I definitely think it makes sense to continue moving forward with this."

Spokesman Ron Green said ?likewise [Chitwood] came away from his trip to Imola for the World Superbike event there equally as excited and I think what he references, is he?s excited about a premier motorcycle event. After both of those events discussions continued with both of those groups and the AMA.?

The likelihood of the Speedway hosting a stand-alone round of the AMA Superbike Championship is slim, given the magnitude of their other events. But it?s possible the AMA would provide support races for a MotoGP race.

?We would want a full menu of on-track activity for that weekend,? Green said. ?Again, the Speedway, our reputation, in fact our mission statement is providing leadership and excellence in motorsports entertainment, and we would want an active track that weekend.?

With MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden a native of nearby Owensboro, Kentucky, the location would play well to his Midwest fan base.

?You don?t have to be a huge motorcycle fan to know about Nicky Hayden,? Green said. ?The fact that he?s from Owensboro, almost a sister city to Evansville, Indiana, hasn?t gone unnoticed. And he is, if not the star, one of the premier stars of the sport.?

Television is another tool that Dorna plans to use to increase exposure in the U.S. Last year ABC broadcast a highlight version of the Red Bull U.S. GP a week later. The ratings were considerably higher than for the original Speed telecast.

?The idea was to get it to a mainstream sports public,? Emmett said, adding that having more telecasts on broadcast television is one of the options Dorna is considering for 2007.


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Yamaha Factory Racing Team To Run In Special Blue Livery In Jerez

Yamaha?s Factory MotoGP Team will take part in the Official MotoGP Test in Jerez this weekend sporting a special blue Yamaha livery.

The livery reflects the familiar blue colours used in other Yamaha racing disciplines and also makes a direct connection with the blue colours and the famous Yamaha speedblock stripe used on the high-performance Yamaha R1 and R6 machines throughout the world.

The one-off livery will be used by Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards over the three days of the test, including during the traditional televised timed ?qualifying? session on Sunday.

Davide Brivio, Team Director
?We?ve chosen this important pre-season event to run in full Yamaha livery and it?s a nice chance to thank everyone in the company who has worked so hard over the winter. This could be the only opportunity to see Yamaha MotoGP bikes in this special blue livery as the design and colour will change again for the first MotoGP race in Qatar. I hope our fans and the all Yamaha network will appreciate and enjoy this special event!?


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New Rizla Suzuki GSV-R800 is officially unveiled

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has officially revealed its brand new GSV-R800 at Jerez in Spain this evening, in front of an captivated audience of journalists, photographers and selected guests.

The all new 2007 GSV-R ? codenamed XRG0 ? features an original ?retro? inspired livery with Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen following the same theme on their racing suits.

The new machine has been developed with the clear aim of being a competitive machine for the 2007 MotoGP season, and of improving the riders? ability to control the machine in all situations - in a predictable and repeatable manner. This has been assisted by fully analysing the data collected throughout 2006, and by the transfer of some new technologies (introduced last year) into the all new ?XRG0? GSV-R 800cc GP racer.

Suzuki has followed the fundamental engine layout of the final 990cc machine, but the engine size has been minimised with newly designed bore, stroke and cylinder pitch optimised for the new engine displacement size. Suzuki?s target was to achieve the best possible horsepower and reliable high rpm operation, and to provide the riders with user friendly power delivery and predictable engine character.

The pneumatic valve system has been modified to achieve more stable valve action and higher valve lift, as well as to control the ultra-high range of engine rpm. This system contributes to the result of high rpm capacity and high power, as well as smooth and controllable engine character.

The combination system of drive-by-wire throttle body and double injectors is a completely original design. With the new type Mitsubishi ECU, this induction system enables the GSV-R to generate over 220 PS of maximum horsepower at an engine speed of over 17,500 rpm - an equivalent of 275ps per litre - and to achieve outstanding throttle control and excellent fuel consumption in accordance with the new regulations of 21-litre tank capacity.

The change of bodywork design has been minimised just to match the engine character, and the fundamental chassis layout including wheelbase length has remained as that of XRE4, the last 990cc model. A change of cowling shape has focused on reducing the wind resistance force and also for good handling. The contour of the fuel tank cover helps the riders to control the machine easily. The shape of the air induction hole at the centre of front fairing is designed for more effective air boosting to the engine at high speed.

With excellent tyres and continued improvements from Bridgestone, Suzuki has completed a top level package which is its highest technology and best quality four stroke race machines ever produced. It hopes to achieve fantastic performance and its aim is to help its talented riders to achieve the best possible positions in the 2007 MotoGP races, for the sake of all race fans and Suzuki fanatics worldwide.

The latest version of the GSV-R will make its debut at the Official MotoGP Test at Jerez this weekend, followed by its initiation into the fiercely competitive world of MotoGP racing at the first round of the season, and of the new 800cc MotoGP era, at Losail in Qatar on Saturday 10th March.

John Hopkins:

?I think the new bike looks great. We have already had the chance to ride it but this is the first time I?ve seen the new colours. I am looking forward to getting out on the track again and showing what the new GSV-R can do. Suzuki has produced a pretty good package with the new bike and we have performed well in the tests so far so we now need to show what it can do in a racing situation. It is a great bike to ride, in fact it is more like a motocrosser rather than a GP bike and the also the fact that it carries more corner speed than the 990 certainly suits my riding style.?

Chris Vermeulen:

?I really like the new bike, it?s very fast and very blue! The bike has had about a 20% reduction in capacity but it feels very similar to last year?s bike to throw a leg over. The whole off season has been really exciting because Suzuki has seemed to come up with something new at every test so now we just have to keep the momentum going into the races.?

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

?The change of regulation has produced some interesting, and quite unexpected, testing results over the winter. As a team, we are delighted with what the Suzuki factory has produced ? the new GSV-R800 (factory code XRG0) is beautifully detailed, very durable and right on the weight limit. In my opinion, it?s the best GP bike Suzuki has ever produced, and without doubt it is the best of the 4-strokes so far.

?Suzuki has taken a different route to most manufacturers by incorporating a lot of suitable technology in its final 990cc racer to transfer over to the new 800. This has resulted in a bike that has hit the ground running with very few problems and with a lot of data to back up our testing results.

?John and Chris have performed well over the winter and their fitness levels are superb. They both have to learn the fine art of competing to win at MotoGP level, but this is a bike that will allow them to take that next step ? and they both have the ability and commitment to take full advantage.

?2007 should be an incredible year of MotoGP action ? we hope that Rizla Suzuki will be a big part of the story as it plays out around the globe.?


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Rizla Suzuki MotoGP looking for Turkish delights in Istanbul
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins will be back in action for the first time in three weeks when the MotoGP circus roars into Istanbul next weekend.

Vermeulen qualified in pole position for last year?s Turkish Grand Prix and will be looking to emulate that feat this year. The Australian star knows that he must do be better in qualifying to enable him to capitalise on his impressive race performances. In the first two rounds in Qatar and Spain Vermeulen qualified in 13th and 14th places, but raced to seventh and ninth respectively.

Hopkins is still recovering from the wrist injury that he sustained at the Qatar test in February. Suzuki?s tough Anglo-American rider was offered the chance of surgery during the break to repair the injured joint, but chose not to go along with an operation as it would have meant a six week lay off.

The Grand Prix of Turkey is round three in the MotoGP World Championship and the 5.3km long Istanbul Park circuit is one of the most demanding and technical on the calendar. With fast tricky downhill braking sections and many elevation changes, plus one of the fastest corners in racing - which is taken at speeds in excess of 250km/h ? the circuit has supplied plenty of high-speed action in its two previous motorcycle Grand Prix.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP takes to the track on Friday 20th April for two hour-long practice sessions. This is followed on Saturday with a further hour?s practice in the morning before the all-important afternoon qualifying session. Sunday?s 22-lap race gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Chris Vermeulen:

?I have good memories of Istanbul because that is where I got my first ever pole position. I have been a bit disappointed with the first two races as I know I can do better. The bike is improving all the time and I must improve on my qualifying. Being down on the fifth row makes the job hard work. I need to be up there with the front guys from the start and not playing catch up. So this will be a good place to start going about doing that!?

John Hopkins:

?My wrist is still painful, but there was no way I was going to have an operation! I would have been out for about six weeks and every race is so important that I can?t afford to miss any. I will have my wrist taped up and once I?m out on the bike the adrenalin will kick in and it should all be ok. I think that at Jerez last time out I could have made the podium, if I hadn?t have crashed, so I need to get my head down and keep aiming for that goal.?


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Lorenzo close to MotoGP switch

Lorenzo close to MotoGP switch

250cc entry list Jorge Lorenzo could be in line for a MotoGP ride next season, according to Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis. The reigning 250cc champion has already won the first two races of the season, and the 19-year-old could be set to follow predecessor Dani Pedrosa into MotoGP.

"From a casual point of view we've had some tentative chats. Remember that when Yamaha were sponsored by Atladis so was Lorenzo, so of course we met," Jarvis said.

The Gauloises Fortuna team currently comprises Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards, but the veteran American's contract expires at the end of the season and Yamaha may look to blood a youngster.

Recent seasons have seen youngsters such as Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and current champion Nicky Hayden take MotoGP by storm, and Jarvis said Lorenzo could be next.

"Lorenzo is one of the interesting riders and we're looking towards the future. Getting a feel of the riders' market is always in our interest. We also know Andrea Dovizioso from 250 so we're well aware who's out there," he said.



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Ilmor heads to Goodwood Festival of Speed
Brixworth 04.06.07: Ilmor GP will attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month (22nd -24th June)with Jeremy McWilliams at the helm of the Ilmor GP bike. Team Principal Mario Illien has been an admirer ofthe event over the years and whilst his team continues to secure commercial partners he saw the perfectopportunity to get the bike back out in the public eye - thousands of people attend the historical festival inSussex each year.

McWilliams is no stranger to the event having competed previously at Goodwood - most recently in 2006 on a BMW K1200R Power Cup racer where people say the shy and retiring Northern Irishman 'stole the show' riding the whole hillclimb on his rear tyre. He'll be in good company this year as he joins motorsport legends such as Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees and Sir Jack Brabham and rubs shoulders with some of today's hottest properties such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Petter Solberg and Colin McRae.

Jeremy McWilliams said: "I'm really looking forward to taking part again, it's a great event - last year the atmosphere really blew me away. The event covers every aspect of motorsport with the most astonishing collection of historical machinery and ex riders and drivers. Everyone comes together for Goodwood, I've never seen so many famous faces in one place. Obviously as well as the fun side, it'll be great to get back on the bike."

The Festival of Speed famous for the hill climb is much more than an exhibition, the event can justifiably claim to be the world's biggest and most diverse celebration of the history of motorsport. It is the only occasion where you will see in action the greatest competition cars and star drivers from all eras: everything from 19th century steam carriages to current racing motorcycles, Formula One cars, classic rally cars to 3000bhp dragsters.

Motorcycles make up a key part of the Festival, over the years an enviable collection of machines and riders have gathered at Goodwood in celebration of motorcycling history. Around 40 bikes gather at the Festival each year, with entry by special invitation from Lord March. Some of the greatest names in motorcycle racing have ridden at Goodwood including Carl Fogarty, the late Barry Sheene, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan,Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Giacomo Agostini, Luigi Taveri, John Surtees, Jim Redman, John Reynolds,Troy Baylis, Troy Corser, Randy Mamola, Paul Smart, Mick Grant and Marco Lucchinelli.

Mario Illien said: "We're still working very hard on the development of the bike and securing sponsorship for the team. Obviously I would love for us to be racing at Donington the weekend that we're at Goodwood, but at
least this way the British public will get a chance to see the bike and Jeremy in action in the mean time. We have built up a huge fan base since we launched last year in Estoril and the support from the public since we
announced our plans to temporarily suspend racing has been phenomenal - we're still very focused on racing and we want to be back out on track as soon as possible."

Goodwood Festival of Speed Information

Motor racing first came to Goodwood in 1936 when the 9th Duke of Richmond held a private hillclimb through the park. Five years earlier he had won the Brooklands Double 12, and then in 1948 he opened the Goodwood Motor Circuit. These early events inspired his grandson, the present Earl of March, to bring motor sport back to Goodwood. This resulted in the first Festival of Speed, held in 1993 in the picturesque parkland surrounding Goodwood House.

Since the inaugural meeting, the Festival has become established as a key event in the motor sport social calendar. But it is not all about action on the hill. A 2.5-kilometre loose-surface rally stage - cut into the wooded area close to the hillclimb finish line - has around 30 cars from the history of rallying providing a thrilling demonstration of sideways driving throughout all three days of the event. Unrestricted access to the paddocks means that spectators and autograph hunters can get closer to the cars and drivers than at almost any other meeting. Away from the bustle of competition, you can relax with a picnic on the lawns of the House among some of the most beautiful and innovative automotive creations, which are judged in the Cartier 'Style et Luxe' design competition. You can explore the exciting
displays of our many exhibitors, or seek an adrenaline rush from the Festival's interactive entertainment, including driving simulators and 4x4 driving. Children will delight in the special amusements to be found at the Junior Festival of Speed.

The Festival is motor racing's equivalent of Ascot or Wimbledon: an extravaganza of sound and colour that has been described as 'the
garden party of the Gods'. In combination with the rich period theatre of the Goodwood Revival, the Festival of Speed ensures that Goodwood is unrivalled throughout the world.


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After a gruelling fortnight of back-to-back races, there was one final day's work left for the Fiat Yamaha Team today as they completed a day of tyre testing at Montmelo. Despite having had little time to recover from their efforts during yesterday's spectacular MotoGP race, Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were nonetheless back out on their M1s under the sweltering Spanish sun for a full day's work, concentrating exclusively on testing a variety of tyres for Michelin. Today was especially important as it was the last time the team will test until after Brno in August, by which time they will have completed five more races.

The unofficial fastest time of the day was set by John Hopkins on a qualifying tyre, who posted a lap of 1'41.40. Rossi completed 77 laps and was fourth fastest in a time of 1'42.72 whilst Edwards set a best lap of 1'43.41, putting him 12th fastest after 82 laps.

The team and riders now have a ten-day break in which to recharge their batteries before the next pair of races, firstly at Donington in the UK, where Rossi lives, and then at Assen in Holland.
Test Times

1. John Hopkins (USA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'41.40
2. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda Gresini 1'42.63
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.68
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.72
5. Alex Barros (BRA) Pramac d'Antin 1'42.78
6. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'43.00
7. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki Racing Team 1'43.05
8. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1'43.16
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team 1'43.23
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'43.28
11. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Konica Minolta Honda 1'43.37
12. Colin Edwards (USA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'43.41
13. Carlos Checa (SPA) Honda LCR 1'43.65
14. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.80
15. Alex Hofmann (GER) Pramac d'Antin 1'43.83
16. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.90
17. Andrew Pitt (AUS) Yamaha Test Team 1'44.49
18. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki 1'44.73


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BBC TV Commentator, and former bike and truck racer, Steve Parrish, will become only the sixth person to ride the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR this season, when he takes Kawasaki's MotoGP machine out for a test ride around the Donington Park circuit ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Parrish will test Randy de Puniet's bike, the same one he brought home in fifth place at Catalunya, at 12.30 on Thursday 21st June during the annual Day of Champions. The test ride will be broadcast on the BBC during the build up to their live coverage of the British Grand Prix on Sunday 24th June.

Steve Parrish was 22 years of age when he turned professional in 1976, riding alongside Barry Sheene in the Suzuki Grand Prix Team. His best year was 1977, when he finished fifth in the 500cc World Championship. Parrish, who is a practical joker of some repute in the paddock, then went on to win the British Championship before turning his attention to four wheels, where he became the most successful truck racer in history by taking five European titles.

After retiring from racing in 2002, the 53-year-old Briton quickly established himself as the resident expert on motorcycle racing at the BBC, with whom he's worked since 1985.

Parrish will be only the sixth person to ride the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR. Previously only Kawasaki's official riders - Randy de Puniet, Olivier Jacque, Naoki Matsudo, Fonsi Nieto - and temporary test rider, Anthony West, have thrown a leg over Kawasaki's MotoGP racer.

"Obviously I am very, very excited about riding the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR and particularly at Donington Park, my home Grand Prix and a circuit where I have ridden many times," declared Parrish.

"I have been looking at the Kawasaki all year and it looks to be a great bike, as Randy's fifth place at Catalunya proves. And it is obvious that the Bridgestone tyres are working very well too. It is going to be the second 800cc MotoGP bike that I've tried and I am really looking forward to riding this time, as I already have some idea from riding the Suzuki and it will be interesting to see if there are any differences. I feel like one of the luckiest men in the paddock, as I also rode all the 990cc MotoGP bikes last year."

"I must say that I have always been a great fan of the Kawasaki, and when you watch it on the circuit it seems that it handles very well. Hopefully this test is going to help our viewers to understand a little bit more about how good MotoGP bikes are. They see them on television but it's difficult to see on screen just how unbelievably fast they are, and how the riders have to be athletes to ride them. I will do only four laps and even this will be pretty exhausting. But this is not to prove myself, but rather to be able to explain better how tough MotoGP racing is when I am commentating," concluded Parrish.

Allowing Steve Parrish to test their Ninja ZX-RR ahead of the British Grand Prix is a new departure for Kawasaki. Previously the Japanese motorcycle giant has restricted journalist access to their current MotoGP racer to a one-day test at the end of the season.

"While it's unusual for us to allow someone other than our official riders to test the Ninja ZX-RR mid-season, we were happy to make an exception for Steve, as he is uniquely qualified to pass on his impressions of riding a MotoGP bike to the BBC's audience in the UK," said Kawasaki's Communications Manager, Ian Wheeler.

"And Steve will definitely get a true impression of the bike, as he will ride the Ninja ZX-RR on which Randy finished fifth in the Grand Prix of Catalunya; the only thing we'll change is the tyres. This is a unique opportunity, as Kawasaki won't release the bike for a test like this again until the end of the season."


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Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces that it has concluded a two-year agreement with 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The 20-year-old Spaniard will make his MotoGP debut in 2008 aboard a YZR-M1, with direct Factory support.

Lorenzo, who won the 250 title in 2006, is currently leading the championship, after winning six out of the first ten races this season.

"Yamaha has been watching Jorge's career with interest for some time and we are delighted that he will be joining our MotoGP line-up from next season? - commented Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. ?We are sure that he will be a valuable asset for the future and we look forward to the commencement of his MotoGP career with Yamaha.?

The exact structure of Yamaha?s team and rider organization is still under consideration at the present time. Further details, including Lorenzo?s team structure, will be announced in due course.


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Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP rider announcement

Tech 3 Yamaha would like to announce that it has secured the services of James Toseland for the 2008 season. The British rider will begin his MotoGP career with the Yamaha factory supported organisation next year.

Toseland ? who is currently leading the Superbike World Championship by 43 points ? has already proved his racing credentials. He was the youngest ever World Superbike Champion in 2004 and is aiming to secure the title once again this season.

?I am delighted to have secured a rider of James? calibre and am looking forward to working with him,? says Team Principal Herve Poncharal. ?Procuring James is a major coup for Tech 3 Yamaha and for the MotoGP championship in extending our reach into Northern Europe. It is an exciting time for us all and I am certain that he will be an integral part of the team?s future.?

Further details, including James? team structure will be announced in due course.


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Rizla Suzuki MotoGP planning to Czech out with good results in Brno

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins return to action at Brno in the Czech Republic next weekend refreshed and ready to go after the mid-season break, and both are sure that good results are a strong possibility.

Vermeulen is especially eager to get back into the fray following his first dry weather podium last time out in America. The 25-year-old Australian will also be riding competitively for the first time since agreeing to remain with Suzuki for 2008 and will now be looking to fully concentrate on racing hard for the rest of 2007. Vermeulen will also be planning to build on his already impressive points tally that sees him in fourth place in the riders? championship, having already scored 15 points more this season than he did in the whole of 2006.

Hopkins had a strong race at Brno last year and finished seventh, following what he described as his best race of the season. The combative Anglo-American is still looking for another podium to go alongside his first top-three in China this year, and believes that Brno holds a good chance for him. Hopkins has recovered from the disappointment of Laguna Seca, where a first lap incident cost him any chance of a possible podium at his ?home? GP and will be determined to make amends in the Czech Republic.

Brno is situated in the south-east of the Czech Republic, not far from the Austrian border and is the most eastern of all the European Grand Prix. The 5.4km circuit is an ideal track to come back to after the summer break and has a habit of producing exciting races. The layout features various types of corner combinations over many different elevations.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP takes to the track on Friday for two hour-long practice sessions and then another free practice session the following morning. Saturday afternoon is reserved for an hour of qualifying to determine starting positions for the race. The main event is round 12 of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship and the 22-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 19th August.

Chris Vermeulen:

?I cannot wait to get back in the saddle again. I have had some downtime relaxing on my boat in Australia ? I even went whale watching! But I need to be racing again - it?s my job! I?m glad that I have got next year?s negotiations all sorted and out of the way. I?m delighted to be staying with Suzuki and will now be able to concentrate on my riding and getting the best possible results for the remainder of the season, starting at Brno!?

John Hopkins:

?I was very disappointed at Laguna, but that?s racing and it?s all done now. I love Brno, it is a great circuit and with how the bike and the tyres are working this year I really believe we have a great opportunity there. I am fully committed to getting the best out of the GSV-R, and with corner-speed being a vital ingredient to success at Brno I think I have a good chance of putting us on the podium again!?


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Vermeulen goes ?back in time? to pay tribute to Barry Sheene at Phillip Island

Vermeulen goes ?back in time? to pay tribute to Barry Sheene at Phillip Island

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP is set to 'go retro' with Chris Vermeulen at his home Grand Prix in Australia, as the hometown hero pays tribute to his hero and mentor, Suzuki?s legendary 1976 and 1977 World Champion Barry Sheene.

The 25-year-old Queenslander will be riding a one-off Rizla Suzuki GSV-R inspired by Barry Sheene?s Suzuki XR-14 Grand Prix bike of the mid-seventies. The 2007 800cc GSV-R will have an individually designed Rizla blue and white paint-scheme that will also feature a tribute to Sheene?s famous crossed seven, set within Vermeulen?s 71.

Suzuki?s Grand Prix winning Australian will also be sporting a retro style race-suit to match the bike and a helmet inspired by Sheene?s iconic style.

Vermeulen was singled out as a remarkable talent by Sheene in the nineties and he persuaded the young Aussie to go to Britain and pursue his racing dream. Vermeulen took Sheene?s advice and has never looked back since then, winning a World Championship on his way to becoming a full-time MotoGP racer with Rizla Suzuki.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP and Vermeulen will unveil the bike at Phillip Island on Thursday 11th October, in the Team?s pit-box at 16.45hrs local time.

Team-mate John Hopkins will be racing in his usual, instantly recognisable Rizla Blue colour scheme at Phillip Island as he lines up alongside Vermeulen for round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship on Sunday 14th October.

Chris Vermeulen:

?This is a great honour for me to ride the latest generation of Suzuki GP bike in a colour scheme inspired by my hero, Barry Sheene. Barry did a lot to make sure I became a success when I arrived in the UK and I miss him a lot. I rode one of his XR-14 Grand Prix bikes at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year and that was certainly a privilege, but to ride my bike in the same livery is just awesome. Thanks to Suzuki and the team for letting this happen, I just hope that we can do credit to it!?

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

?Towards the end of 1998, when I was running our fledgling Suzuki British Superbike team, my wife took a call at home and yelled that it was Barry Sheene on the line. ?Yeah, right, of course it is? was my response but sure enough it was Barry himself telling me that I had to get this new Australian kid on our bike for 1999. We couldn?t then, as our deals were done, but it was a great pleasure to shake Chris?s hand to become a Suzuki Grand Prix rider just a few years later and I?m sure that Barry would have approved. This one-off livery looks stunning and it?s a pleasure to be able to run it in Australia, Barry?s second home.?