News 7 Jan 2009

Racing Insider #3

There’s been no word yet from the meeting in Japan involving Dorna and the manufacturers, and still no confirmation from Kawasaki that they are pulling out of MotoGP.

MotoGP

Could Hopkins be headed for AMA Superbike?

Could Hopkins be headed for AMA Superbike?

There’s been no word yet from the meeting in Japan involving Dorna and the manufacturers, and still no confirmation from Kawasaki that they are pulling out of MotoGP this year. Is it possible they are waiting to see if Dorna can somehow raise the money to keep them in the series? Probably not, and almost every insider I know still expects the team to announce its departure in the coming week or two.

News has surfaced from the USA from selected sources that Kawasaki’s American Superbike team could land the services of John Hopkins, who is still on Team Green’s payroll for another season. This would be an interesting scenario to see if another manufacturer could challenge the dominant Yoshimura Suzukis finally (if they actually commit to racing). Hopkins would partner the already contacted Roger Lee Hayden (brother of Nicky) on the ZX-10R.

On a more positive note, Ducati’s annual Wrooom event in Italy to introduce the team is taking place on 12-17 January, where we will see Nicky Hayden in a Ducati Marlboro uniform for the first time. Both the Ducati MotoGP team and Ferrari Formula 1 teams take part in the snow event, which is held at Madonna di Campiglio.

It’s unknown if Casey Stoner will hit the slopes considering his wrist injuries from last season, but we do expect him to be back in the saddle of his Desmosedici GP9 at the first pre-season test of the year.

World SBK
Reigning 250cc Grand Prix World Champion Marco Simoncelli will not be competing in the opening rounds of the Superbike World Championship, with Aprilia bosses signalling that it’d be too difficult to prepare six RSV4s in their return to SBK racing. It looks as though Shinya Nakano and Max Biaggi will have to fly the flag, leaving 21-year-old Simoncelli to concentrate on his GP career. Expect him in MotoGP in 2010.

Dakar Rally
The fourth stage of this year’s Dakar Rally in South America went to overall leader Marc Coma once again, the Spaniard winning his third stage in four days. Coma piloted his Repsol KTM to the stage victory over fellow KTM rider Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM), who finally had a stroke of luck in this year’s event. He still sits in 11th position overall. Third for the stage was American Jonah Street, also on a KTM, and he moves up to second overall behind Coma – a whopping 42 minutes and 57 seconds behind. Aussie Dave Schwarz dropped back to 18th after the stage.

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