United States GP Next Year?

John P Burns
by John P Burns
This just in from Camel...

*PRESS RELEASE*

AMERICAN GRAND PRIX


Grand Prix motor cycle racing will make a welcome return to
America next season after an 11 year absence. There appears
a choice between two circuits to stage the grand prix which
was last held at Laguna Seca in California in 1993.


The Barber Motorsports Park at Birmingham Alabama and
Homestead in Florida are the two favourites to host the race
although Laguna Seca has expressed interest, after they
have carried required safety work. That work could not
completed until 2005 and so a new grand prix venue looks
certain to be revealed next year.

Birmingham has a good track but Homestead better
facilities. Only the MotoGP class will race at the grand
prix which will also incorporate a round of the American AMA
Superbike Championship.

At the moment there is no plans to replace one of the
existing grands prix and so there could be 17 races next
year - not the news to tell wives and girlfriends back home
over the telephone from the first grand prix of this season
in Japan.


CHINESE FIRST

The first Chinese rider to compete in a grand prix
motorcycle race made his debut at Suzuka but only in
qualifying. Twenty-one year old Cheung Way On failed to
qualify for the 125cc race in the very difficult conditions.
Due to his lack of experience he did not receive special
dispensation to start the race.

Way On comes from Hong Kong and was the 2001 China GP 125
Champion. For three successive years between 1998 - 2000 he
also won the 125cc class at the Macau Grand Prix street
race.

"It has been my aim to go grand prix racing for the last 16
years but the problem in China is collecting the finance to
compete at such a high level," explained Way On, who crashed
his Honda in the wet Saturday morning practice session.


ABE REPLACES INJURED MELANDRI

Japanese rider Norick Abe will replace the injured Marco
Melandri in the Yamaha MotoGP team. Abe, twice winner at the
Japanese Grand Prix, was a wild card entry at Suzuka this
year but was drafted into the official team when the World
250cc Champion Marco Melandri crashed in the first MotoGP
practice session.

Melandri was flown to hospital by helicopter with a double
fracture of his right ankle and chipped femur. He could be
out of action for three months and Abe was the natural
replacement with his MotoGP experience and the fact he is
the official Yamaha test rider this season.

Twenty-five year old Spanish rider David De Gea will
partner British rider Chris Burns in the WCM team for the
remainder of the season, starting at the Africas Grand Prix
in three weeks time. Originally German veteran Ralf
Waldermann was due to ride for the team but he found
problems adjusting to riding the four-stroke Yamaha powered
WCM in testing. He turned down the chance to return to grand
prix racing.


BARROS MAKES 180 TH PREMIER CLASS START

Former Honda Pons star Alex Barros made his 180th premier
class appearance in Japan, which a record. Australian Jack
Findlay is the second highest, starting 165 500cc grands
prix with American Randy Mamola third on 145.
Five times World Champion, Australian Mick Doohan who was at
Suzuka, was fourth on 137 with former multiple World
Champion Eddie Lawson fifth, ten less than Doohan.

Both MotoGp stars Jeremy McWilliams and Loris Capirossi
celebrated their birthdays on Friday. McWilliams was 39
years old and Capirossi 30.


ENGINE PROBLEMS

British rider Chris Burns failed to make his MotoGP debut
at Suzuka because his WCM team run out of Yamaha engines.
He damaged his last engine when he crashed in the Saturday
morning practice session.

The team are short of engines after their engine builder
Dave Hagen broke his ribs when he was run over in a road
accident back home in England.

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