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Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Matt Roberts' MotoGP column

By Matt Roberts
BBC Sport at Valencia

The Muppets' Swedish Chef
To make your omelette, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk them

It is the nature of motorsport that the dust barely settles on one season before preparations begin for the next, and that was very much the case at Valencia.

The day after the 2009 championship finished, the MotoGP teams began a three-day test that saw some notable debuts in the premier class as well as the dawning of a new era, with the 250cc class officially replaced by Moto2.

Marco Simoncelli, Alvaro Bautista and Hector Barbera, who are all making the step up to MotoGP next year, got a taste of what they can look forward to on their new bikes.

Simoncelli likened trying to master the power of a MotoGP bike to "walking on eggs - and I didn't know from one moment to the next if I was about to make an omelette!"

Barbera was similarly excited by the notoriously hard-to-handle Ducati Desmosedici, but there is good news for all next season's Ducati satellite riders.

Factory duo Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden were testing a new engine designed to smoothen out the power delivery, as well as new forks.

Suzuki must make giant strides if they are to be competitive with Bautista and Loris Capirossi next year after a disastrous 2009, and have began working with new engine parts, exhaust system and fairings.

Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo had a new evolution of the 2010 prototype they already tested in August.

Although it still has a 2009 spec engine, both riders reported that the updated chassis gave them more stability and better rear grip in corner exit.

Honda, meanwhile, have virtually wiped the slate clean and given Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso a completely new version of the RC212V.

The test ended on Wednesday lunchtime with only a handful of riders taking to the track for the final session.

Casey Stoner set the fastest lap of the whole test, and Ben Spies was the best rookie with a time of 1:32.942.

Barbera was the quickest of those making their full MotoGP debut in the test with a very respectable 1:33.787.


Pedrosa's unlikely win in Sunday's final race - combined with Stoner's bizarre warm-up lap crash - means the Spaniard can wear the number three on his bike again next season, after finishing third in the standings.

Mark Williams, Johnny Depp, Paul Whitehouse
All the ladies love a man in a suit Mr Pedrosa Sir

So surprised was Pedrosa that he revealed in his post-race interview that he had not bought an outfit for that evening's FIM Awards ceremony, and he would have to try to buy a new suit.

Finding a tailored suit for a 5'3" man must be difficult at the best of times, never mind on a Sunday evening in Valencia, and that is why he turned up to collect his bronze medal in a sweater and jeans!


Stoner's bizarre crash was explained to us in our MotoGP Extra show by Ducati design genius Filippo Preziosi.

He revealed their 'grid strategy' whereby the GP9 is tuned to use less fuel on the sighting and warm-up laps, saving horsepower for the race - which, of course, also means less pace, hence why we often see him arrive last on the grid.

With low track temperatures at Valencia on Sunday, Stoner was not able to go fast enough to keep sufficient heat in his tyres and they lost grip as a result, throwing him into the gravel.


In my last column, I referred to the sensationalists among the Italian press, and they went into overdrive on Monday following the broadcast of Suzi Perry's interview with Rossi in our show.

Valentino Rossi

Switching teams 'unfaithful' - Rossi (UK users only)

For the first time Valentino openly admitted that he had the opportunity to join Ducati in 2011 but insisted that the decision would be down to Yamaha to effectively choose between him and Lorenzo.

Unsurprisingly this caused no end of headlines in his home country and a good deal of unrest at Yamaha, which he made a move to play down on Tuesday.

"It was a case of journalistic interpretation," Rossi told Gazzetta dello Sport, and he should know.

When it comes to manipulating the press and his employers, Rossi is the master and he knew exactly the kind of response he would generate by making those comments to Suzi.

I am convinced that is why, despite his near perfect English, he chose to say certain words in the interview in Italian - so that they would not be interpreted inaccurately by his national press.

"I prefer to stay at this moment with Yamaha because the love between me and Yamaha, our relationship, is something special and to change bike is something like... Come si dice 'traddimento'?" said Rossi.

"Unfaithful?" suggested Suzi.

"Unfaithful, yes," he answered. And just to underline the point, he added: "En Italiano, si dice traddimento."

On Tuesday Lorenzo was asked to give his reaction to Rossi's comments.

"I have no problem with him," said the Spaniard.

"I'd prefer to have him as team-mate in order to try to beat him. I don't know what he said, but if he said that, then he is the one with a problem dealing with me."

With Spies already looking likely to stake a strong claim for a factory ride in 2011, Stoner back to peak form and fitness, and Honda pulling out all the stops to finally regain the title, 2010 could be Rossi's most challenging season yet - both on the track and off it.



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see also
Pedrosa ends season with victory
08 Nov 09 |  MotoGP
Rossi hands ultimatum to Yamaha
08 Nov 09 |  MotoGP
Cool Rossi crowned world champion
25 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Bautista makes step up to MotoGP
16 Aug 09 |  MotoGP
Simoncelli confirms MotoGP switch
25 Jun 09 |  MotoGP
Toseland to return to Superbikes
01 Oct 09 |  MotoGP


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