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Top Stories

Casey Stoner Quits MotoGP - Friday, May 18, 2012

Casey Stoner to Quit MotoGP at the end of 2012

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Pierre Terblanche To Norton - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

South African Designer Pierre Terblanche joins then quits Norton

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2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R finally launched

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Ducati V4 Superbike - Monday, February 14, 2011

Read about Ducati's plans for a Rossi inspired V4 sportsbike

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MotoGP Rumour Mill - Rossi to Quit?

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The MotoGP Rumour Mill is in full swing and this year seems to be full of rather crazy speculation. The biggest news by far is the rumour that Rossi intends to quit at the end of 2012 or even before. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published a story recently that speculates that Rossi has told those close to him that this will be his final season in MotoGP. There is even talk of his last race being at Misano this year. Rossi has dismissed the rumours, but as always, where there is smoke, there is a story... It is widely expected that Rossi's crew chief Jeremy Burgess will quit MotoGP at the end of this year, for personal reasons.

At Assen this weekend the rumours have got even wilder, as Cal Crutchlow has openly admitted that he is talking to Ducati, because he is after a factory ride. His logic is that he is beating Ben Spies who has the other Yamaha factory bike, while Crutchlow is on the Satellite Tech3 Yamaha under Herve Poncheral.

However as Crutchlow seems to rate the word 'Factory" with higher value than the actual performance of the machine, his logic seems to be a bit flawed. How he can equate a Factory Yamaha with a Factory Ducati at the present moment is beyond current comprehension. The only logical explanation or analysis of his thinking would be that he rates his own riding skill not only better than Spies, but also better than Hayden and Rossi. Perhaps Crutchlow believes that if he was on the Ducati, he would be a title contender?

Nicky Hayden is stuck right in the middle of all this, as Ducati are not yet offering him anything for next year, despite the fact that he is faring better than the paddock favourite - Valentino Rossi on the troubled Ducati. The Ducati team, have cited the Audi takeover as reason why they have not been able to finalise contracts for 2013, but that has not stopped them talking to Crutchlow... (did anybody say fickle?)

Then there is the rumour that Rossi is going to ride for Repsol Honda next year to replace Casey Stoner? Sounds outrageous that Honda would even consider having Rossi back after all the nasty things he has had to say about them, but stranger things have happened.

The final news of the weekend, lets me have a dig at the European organisers of the MotoGP series.

After Casey Stoner publicly condemning the "Rookie Rule", which prevents MotoGP rookies riding for a factory team, (a rule which prevented both Stoner and Spies from getting factory rides in their rookie year, but was not around when Rossi moved from 250 to 500), The organisers have now decided to scrap the rule... just in time for Marc Marquez to step up next year with Repsol Honda into a MotoGP factory ride. Now that stinks as far as I am concerned. I have nothing against Marquez, I think he is a fantastic rider, but it certainly looks a bit dodgy to me to remove the rule at this point. Stoner cited this rule as one of the things "wrong with MotoGP", saying that it was things like this that made him tired of being a part of the sport.

The problem is that there is no real opportune time to remove a rule that should never have been made in the first place, as the people being favoured by its removal will benefit, and those who were subjected to it will never be compensated, so it just reinforces that fact that the people who organise the sport are not thinking these things through. We all know that sport and politics should not mix, but it's even worse when the politics in the sport spoil the sport for all concerned. 

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Assen - Stoner Wins, Lorenzo Taken Out

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What a disappointing weekend! At one of the best tracks on the calendar, Assen is known as the "Cathedral Of Speed". The Assen race has been part of the premier racing calendar since 1947 and we were all looking forward to an exciting race, but it was not to be. Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was taken out on the first corner of the race by Alvaro Bautista, who went in way too hot, failing to turn his San Carlo Honda and hitting Lorenzo like a sidewinder missile. Bautista has been penalised for the risky move, being found guilty after Yamaha lodged a protest, he will now start from the back of the grid at the next round at Sachesnring.

Lorenzo, understandably furious, has lost his 25 point lead through no fault of his own, which just goes to show that racing is as much about luck as anything else. Assen is certainly an unlucky place for Lorenzo, having been taken out last year at the same race by another rider.  In an extremely boring race, dominated by the two factory Hondas of Stoner, and Pedrosa, we saw the lead change once only when Stoner overtook Pedrosa towards the end, after biding his time all race long.

Pedrosa once again proved why he will always be the bridesmaid, no matter what team he is riding for. On identical machinery, Stoner whipped his butt and, pulled out enough lead to make sure there would be no final challenge from his team mate.

Other notable disappointments of the day included Rossi pitting mid race with a worn out rear tyre, while Nicky Hayden on the same bike, ran full distance, so that would indicate a different setup between the two riders, or a completely different riding style that allowed Hayden to run full race distance, or maybe Hayens tyre choice was different?

Colin Edwards also retired early due to technical problems on his CRT machine. I suspect that it might be the last season in the premier class for Edwards, surely it's time for him to call it quits now?

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