It’s been on of our busiest weeks yet here at Gobert Media, one that has unfortunately seen the front-end content on CycleOnline.com.au lacking until late in the afternoons as far as the news goes. But the good news is that as of next week we’ll be expanding to a two-man operation, enabling us to take control and make this very website meet its potential. As I wrote earlier this week, thank you for you patience in the meantime!
- It became clear this week after I read a story on Britsh MCN’s website just how vital Valentino Rossi’s success is at Ducati in MotoGP this year. With the Italian manufacturer in its final stages of development with a brand new road-going superbike, success is crucial for the GP team right now. Why? Because Rossi and teammate Nicky Hayden are both using a very similar version of Ducati’s monocoque-type chassis that will be used in the new superbike (albeit with alloy instead of carbon) in MotoGP. If Rossi doesn’t show how good the chassis can be, then what will fans worldwide think? Ducati will steer away from its signature Trellis steel-tube frame in the new superbike in preference of the monocoque.
- Italian manufacturer Husqvarna has revealed that it has built a 900cc twin cylinder road bike engine, set to power the first of five road bikes to be launched over the next five years. Now owned by BMW, Husqvarna’s engine is said to be based on the F800 motor.
- CycleOnline.com.au attended the national Suzuki launch for the GSX-R600 and 750 at Hidden Valley last month, and the good news after a slight delay is that we’ll have the 600 test live on Wednesday. After that on the following Wednesday we’ll post up the 750 test.
- This week saw us take delivery of a Honda CBR250R at the CycleOnline office, one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Stay tuned for a test on that, as well as a test on the Yamaha YZR-15 that we carried out this week.
- CycleOnline.com.au can confirm that Australian Alex Cudlin will make his second Moto2 World Championship appearance at Le Mans next weekend in France. Cudlin will ride a Moriwaki with backing from his Qatar-based team that he won their local series with, putting him alongside countryman Ant West for the event. Better yet, it may not be a one-off at this stage!
- Alex’s brother Damian Cudlin was lucky enough to help Marc DVS Racing develop its 2012 model MotoGP bike at Estoril on Tuesday and Wednesday. One of the coolest looking bikes out, it has a Suter frame and BMW S 1000 RR-based engine. Wouldn’t it be great to see him rewarded with a race contract for next year?
- Speaking of Ant West, he raced with a new chassis at Estoril in the form of an IAMT unit. While MZ Racing continues to develop its latest frame, West didn’t mind the relatively unknown IAMT frame so he decided to race with it. Hopefully they can find some stability within that team soon.
- The Japanese GP scheduled for 2 October remains in doubt following the devastating tsunami in the country earlier this year. If it is in fact called off, it’s likely the series will shrink to 17 rounds rather than replacing it with an 18th. Portimao was speculated as a possible replacement, but we understand that won’t be happening.
- Much has been made of the 14 teams who have shown interest for the 2012 MotoGP World Championship. If they were all accepted we’d see an addition 21 riders on the of the 17-rider grid we already have, but the word we’re hearing is that there will likely only be a maximum of 24 riders next year despite the quality of those who want to enter.
- We haven’t heard the last of Kawasaki’s transporter bust that saw authorities find illegal substances and firearms while in the UK after Assen. The Paul Bird Motorsports team released a statement to say they knew nothing about the substances found in the transporter, but you can guarantee there are further investigations going on by both Kawasaki and WSBK organisers as we speak.
- With World Superbike on this weekend, now’s the time we really need to get behind our Aussie contingent and show them we as a country are behind them. Whether its via Facebook or Twitter, the likes of Chris Vermeulen, Bryan Staring, Mark Aitchison, Mitch Pirotta, Beau Beaton and young Adrian Nestorovic are more accessible than ever before, so let them know you’re cheering from home!
- Aussie standout Josh Brookes has made a huge impact in British Superbike 2011, both via incredible bouts of speed and determination in the races, plus some spectacular spills. Check out this scary incident he had a Oulton Park while challenging for the lead last weekend…
- While on the subject of BSB, how good is it to see Jason O’Halloran finding his feet in Europe as part of the powerhouse HM Plant Honda team? He has been a top contender so far in 2011 at Brands and Oulton, creating a pathway that could see him land a first class factory Superbike ride if he keeps it up. It also seems as though he and teammate Shane Byrne have also made a great friendship this year. While where at it, congratulations also go to Ben Burke as he leads the Superstock 600 category after a pair of podiums.
- Josh Waters this week took part in AMA Superbike testing at Miller Motorsport Park, impressing with the seventh fastest time in the process as he learned the track ahead of his World Superbike appearance this month. We shot Aussie Rockstar Makita Suzuki head man Peter Doyle an email this week to find out how JW went and he was more than impressed. Doyle said that since he was racing the WSBK bike for Yoshimura Suzuki in a few weeks that they didn’t focus too much on setting up the GSX-R for Waters, basically letting him circulate.
- While speaking to Doyle I checked what the chances are of Waters racing next weekend’s AMA Superbike round at Infineon Raceway since he’ll be there anyway. Doyle said that although they’d like to, they don’t have the resources to add another bike on track in such a busy stretch for the AMA series. However, he didn’t rule out the opportunity for Waters to race some AMA rounds later in the year.
- Team Honda Racing’s Australian Superbike effort made some great improvements at Barbagallo’s fourth round of the ASBK series with a dual podium for Wayne Maxwell (2nd) and Jamie Stauffer (3rd). After a disastrous double DNF with technical dramas at Darwin just two weeks earlier, we’re hearing the team has reverted to a HRC engine management system instead of Motec. Plus, those at the race said the bike now has a Showa shock back in the rear-end.
- Speculation has been building that BMW is keen to see Superbike leader Glenn Allerton ride its S 1000 RR overseas sometime this year. The 2008 ASBK champion has quickly gelled with the German machine in 2011, with insiders reporting that he could ride in the U.S. or Europe before the year’s out. Let’s hope so, he deserves it!
That’s all for this week, thank you as always for stopping by and remember, the next week or two will mark a brand new beginning for CycleOnline so watch this space!