News 6 Mar 2009

Krusty: Start your engines!

Former Australian Superbike Champion Adam 'Krusty' Fergusson has his say on the world of racing in an all-new Blog on MotoOnline.com.au.

The wait is finally over, and after what seemed like an eternity, the 2009 racing season has finally kicked off around the world.

I am sure that most people already know what has happened at Phillip Island over the previous weekend, with both the opening round of the Superbike World Championship, as well as the Australian series.

This year's AMA Superbike will be much different to last year's

This year's AMA Superbike will be much different to last year's

One of the national series that I always tend to keep a close eye on is the American Superbike Championship, which kicked off yesterday at Daytona International Speedway.

The AMA has also gone through a change since last year with a new management company coming in and restructuring the way the series is run. Some people may see this as a change for the better, but if you ask some of the riders, I think they see it a little differently.

The door is open for someone new to step up to the plate to challenge Mat Mladin for the title after reigning and three-times champ Ben Spies has headed off to take on the Superbike World Championship.

I suppose the question has to be asked if Mat still has the hunger and desire to continue riding as hard as he can when his nemesis from the past few years has gone.

Previous years has shown that both Mat and Ben were in a class of their own, so only time will tell if someone else can step it up to the next level.

Likely candidates would have to be Mat’s teammate Tommy Hayden (Nicky’s older brother), Neil Hodgson on the Corona Racing Honda CBR1000, Ben Bostrom and Josh Hayes on the Yamaha Racing R1’s and it also appears quite possible that a challenge could come from a resurgent Larry Pegram on the Ducati 1098R.

With the current global economy in the state that it is currently in, most people would have notices a significant downsizing in almost all areas of motorcycle racing. That is also one of the areas that the new promoters of American motorcycle racing have introduced.

DMG (Daytona Motorsports Group) have introduced a significant amount of rule changes for 2009 that the majority of people are not overly happy with. One that really sticks out in my mind is the limitation of only one bike per rider.

You can look at this from both ends and understand that when you are spending well in excess of $200,000 per factory bike, it does tend to reduce the financial expenditure for any race team. But from a rider’s perspective, this means a lot less track time for setting up your bike.

Previously, if you needed to make a major change during a session, you would come in and hop on your spare bike and start testing another shock or fork setting. Now, if you want to make a major change, you have to sit in the pits and wait while the work is carried out.

Either way, it is what it is and only time will tell if it is the way to go to ensure the future of racing in North America.

Away from the politics and back to the racing, Daytona is one hell of a race track. It gives a weird feeling when you are up on the banking at 180mph, only a few feet from a concrete wall.

Drafting is also very important at Daytona, and it can mean the difference between finishing first, or tenth. So a lot of thought always has to go into your gearing choices, as well as your race strategy.

Then to throw some more change on everything, this year’s Daytona 200 will be held under lights for the very first time. I must say it will be a very interesting race, and I wish I was on the grid with the rest of the guys.

Anyways, that will do for my first blog for MotoOnline and I will check back with y’all again soon.

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