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Repsol Honda has stated this is a ‘key race’ for Dani Pedrosa to stay ahead of arch-rival Jorge Lorenzo. I’ll say. With the Yamaha man’s apparent ability to apply the screws at will when leading, Dani needs to keep one hand over his nuts.

The Yamaha riders have a good record at Shanghai. Rossi won here in 2005 (the first ever MotoGP race in China) and Lorenzo did the same on a 250. And Rossi, who is always good for something to say, er, said: “Last year in China we weren’t quite able to win but this year our bike is working very well and, together with our tyre package, I think we should be fighting for the victory. The race in 2007 was very exciting I think, a long battle with Stoner; this year I hope for a similar battle with my rivals but with a different outcome!”
Former 500cc world champ and F1 world champ John Surtees is backing a brand new British 125cc team which will go public in China. The engine has been built by Jan Witteveen, the chassis by Harris and the bodywork painted by, ah-ha, I know something you don’t…
As always, Honda will want to have the fastest bike in a straight-line, and Nicky Hayden is being all enthusiastic about straightaways. He said: The track has got two big straightaways, the back straightaway is the highest top speed of the year and right after you’ve got one of the slowest corners in MotoGP, so it’s really important to be stable on the brakes, so we worked on that during our tests at Estoril. You also need something good on horsepower, something you can do some drafting with.”

Alice Ducati’s Sylvain Guintoli is looking forward to the fast that it might piss down with rain. He said: “It’s true, in China it could rain at any moment, and after having seen how I did in the warm at Estoril with wet track, I can be positive if one day we’ll meet a race with the track completely wet.”


Alex de Angelis has recovered from the bout of tonsillitis that hampered him in Portugal. So that’ll be him back on the podium then.

Marlboro Ducati has been testing some new electronics at Mugello and is having some new tyres wheeled in by Bridgestone. Hopefully, they’ll have great big paddles on them for when it a) rains or b) Stoner decides to go ploughing again…

Kawasaki’s John Hopkins will be marking his 100th race in MotoGP and: “where better to do it than at the track which gave him his first premier class podium spot last year”. Where indeed? Oh, I don’t know. Laguna Seca..?

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