News 8 May 2009

Racing Insider #88

Troy Bayliss has been confirmed to test Ducati’s GP9. Plus news from MotoGP; WSBK; AMA SBK; ASBK; and AMA SX.

MOTOGP

Bayliss will be testing the MotoGP Ducati next week

Bayliss will be testing the MotoGP Ducati next week

Australia’s reigning Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss has been confirmed to test Ducati’s Desmosedici GP9 MotoGP bike at Mugello in Italy, testing with the factory test team including regular tester Vito Guareschi.

MotoOnline.com.au broke the news almost a fortnight ago after a brief chat with Bayliss, who is in Italy to visit the Superbike World Championship round this weekend in support of his former Ducati Xerox team.

So what’s a retired 40-year-old going to help out with on the GP9? Firstly he has great experience with developing the original 990cc Desmosedici, and it has to be said that those bikes were more lethal than what the current 800s were in power delivery.

Whatever it is that has been putting riders such as Marco Melandri and now Nicky Hayden under the “Ducati curse” may just be realised by Bayliss in his three days on 12-14 May, although you can bet your life that he is going into the test with the idea of having a bit of fun – and seeing how fast he is while he’s at it.

Interestingly, Troy will also carry out development work on the 2010 version of Ducati’s GP racer later this season.

The future of Spanish hero Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha in MotoGP remains up in arms, with discussions beginning about an extension to his contract, but Yamaha bosses are not in any rush to get the deal done.

This is despite Repsol bosses showing a keen interest in Jorge, meaning that if they swoop in and offer him the world quickly then the surprise move could actually happen.

WORLD SUPERBIKE
The addition of Sterilgarda to Yamaha’s World Superbike team as a lead sponsor is one of the more surprising news pieces of the day, mainly because the Italian food company already supports the Ducati satellite team in a major way with Shane Byrne.

The Yamaha team is based in Italy and has close ties with many European companies, so I’d expect this relationship to expand in the future as time goes on.

The Sterilgarda Ducati team also competes in the domestic Italian Superbike Championship, so that is one of the major benefits that Sterilgarda gains by being associated with Marco Borciani’s team.

WSBK has undergone some major changes this year with rider movements and sponsor changes even mid-season, which is all part of the economic downturn as companies look to place their dollars in the most cost effective sponsorship package.

AMERICAN SUPERBIKE
Want something entertaining to read? Check out six-time American Superbike Champion Mat Mladin’s blog at matmladin.blogspot.com and enjoy his outlook on the recent Barber round of AMA Superbikes – including wet weather riding and his experience with pace cars and motorcycle racing.

Also interesting is his take on how old a rider should be when they hit the world stage, with his opinion being that the younger the better if they really want to take on the best riders that Europe has to offer.

AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE

Shannon Johnson is currently at Oran Park testing a KTM RC8R race with factory support, with speculation mounting that the Victorian former Australian Supersport Champion will be racing on the bike shortly.

Johnson impressed on a KTM streetbike at Eastern Creek recently, and also rode a Procon Racing Honda to victory at the opening round of the Victorian Road Race Titles.

It is believed that Johnson will be on the bike in some upcoming BEARS races as a development effort before joining the Australian Superbike Championship if all goes well with the Austrian team.

AMERICAN MOTOCROSS
I did an interview with Chad Reed for Australasian Dirt Bike magazine yesterday, which you can listen to selected pieces of it in an edited version right here on MotoOnline.com.au.

With much of it going to print in the next edition of ADB (the stuff that’s not on the recording), he has some very interesting opinions on his season with James Stewart and believes that Aussie kids showing promise should head stateside as soon as possible.

Now when asked about the possibility of him competing at the outdoor nationals Chad didn’t say yes or no, simply telling us that he’s heading back to the States next Wednesday and we’ll soon know afterwards. My bet is that you’ll at least see him at some rounds, but probably all of them.

Since he is returning to the States next week it dispels rumours that he’s racing the upcoming Toowoomba round of the MX Nationals.

We’ll have to cut this one short as I’m writing live from Eastern Creek today, where AMCN is preparing to hold the upcoming AUStest this weekend, which is open to the public free of charge.

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