Mike's Sepang Preview (Sort of)

Nicky Hayden's grenaded RC212V motor is barely cold and we are already talking about next weekend's meeting in the steamy jungles of Malaysia. This may be the only time that one hears the word cold in the same sentence as Sepang as the Malaysian track is synonymous with wretchedly hot and humid weather conditions. Valentino Rossi has done well here in the past as has Loris Capirossi. Recent results haven't much favored one tire brand over another, not that conjecture that one track or another commonly favors one brand or another has much relevance this year. We could talk endlessly about history, ancient and modern, and how it may affect the outcome of the race. We could speculate on who will win too, but who really cares.

At this point in the season the really interesting stuff will be happening off the track and after the race. Quiet whispers that Valentino Rossi will race on Bridgestones next year have become a cacaphony and some are saying that the switch is a done deal. Most of the rumors have it that Bridgestone will supply 'tino and 'tino only. Perhaps the most surprised by all this is Rossi's future teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, who was supposed to have the same equipment and support as the doctor. Perhaps Hor-Gay should go talk to Marco Melandri about what promises of equal equipment are worth in the real world. Maybe the Lunatic is worrying about nothing. Solomoto.es is saying that a deal that would supply Bridgestones to both riders is imminent. All may become clear after this weekend.

There will be some new and old faces on unfamiliar equipment at the test session sheduled after the race. Ben Spies will test for Suzuki, Andrea Dovisioso will reportedly have a crack at a RC212V and maybe Aprilia will let Lorenzo finally climb aboard an M1 should he clinch the 250cc world championship on Sunday.

Silly Season might finally be over as well. Speculation has been flying about the Spanish press that Fausto Gresini has been actively impeding Toni Elias' departure to the Pramac d'Antin Ducati team. Gresini denied this in a statement issued last weekend saying that Elias was supposed to submit any offers to the team so that Gresini would have the chance to match, as per the terms of an option clause in Elias' contract. Gresini is saying that Elias has failed to do this, hence the delay.

Most of the Euro press thinks that Gresini is playing both sides against the middle in order to get the maximum possible sponsorship. Elias could conceivably bring in Spanish sponsors whereas Shinya Nakano, the other rider in the picture, is reportedly bringing Konica Minolta Kash to the team. Gresini says that the situation will be resolved this weekend. We shall see.

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