Bayliss on track in MotoGP test at Mugello. Plus news from Moto2; WSBK; ASBK; British Superteens; and AMA MX.
Australia’s reigning Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss made his return to motorcycling for the first time this year at Mugello in Italy yesterday, testing alongside regular test rider Vito Guareschi as expected after MotoOnline.com.au was the first in the world to break the news.
No times have been released, but this picture shows Troy in action on the bike and his style hasn’t changed one bit since retiring at the end of last season, retaining his aggressive body position and obviously enjoying his joy ride on the 800cc Desmosedici GP9.
What I find incredible is that Bayliss has all the branding for this one private test, including the customary Marlboro logo on his helmet as all Marlboro-supported riders do.
Expect times to be released after the test is finished on Friday.
There is becoming great concern in Europe that MotoGP is following in the footsteps of Formula One, simply having the premier class and a support category for it, with Moto2 becoming MotoGP’s version on GP2 that is used to develop F1 drivers.
The concern is that the 125s may not have a future, and as silly as this sounds, there have already been series abandoned completely in the past such as the 350GP category and the 80GP category.
But how well will the Moto2 600cc four-strokes cope as the development class for MotoGP? They won’t be as aggressive as the current two-stroke 250s in their power band, but they will be four-stroke engines like in MotoGP and you can bet that they will quickly advance with technology.
And who is the winner in all of this? Honda. Development of the CBR600RR production engine is going to skyrocket, and that will transfer directly over to the road going model within years to come.
The opening race’s crash at Monza weekend has literally wiped out many of the World Superbike contenders for this weekend’s round in South Africa, forcing Australians Troy Corser and Brendan Roberts out of the weekend’s action along with Makoto Tamada and Max Neukirchner.
Interestingly, WSBK’s worldwide live feed will have a new commentator for the South African round as Steve Martin will trade his microphone for the handlebars and substitute for Corser.
Martin is an official test rider for BMW and has plenty of experience on the S 1000 RR, and his confidence is sitting pretty high at the moment after taking victory at the Le Mans 24-Hours World Endurance race last month.
Roberts will be replaced by Gregorio Lavilla, who ironically was speculated to be taking over Roberts’ position in the Guandalini Ducati team a few weeks ago. Lavilla has ridden the bike in the Italian Superbike Championship so expect him to be quickly up to speed.
Neukirchner has been replaced by ex-Alstare Suzuki rider Fonsi Nieto, who was originally slated for Moto2 testing duties with a Yamaha team in his home country this year, so he’ll be excited to be back in WSBK.
Tamada won’t be replaced at Kawasaki, leaving Aussie Broc Parkes to fly solo in the Paul Bird Motorsports team as the series revisits Kyalami for the first time in six years.
Shawn Giles made his debut on the 2009 model GSX-R1000 at AMCN’s AUStest, setting up the bike in stock trim for the magazine test riders in what was his first official outing on the radically changed K9 model.
The Team Joe Rocket Suzuki squad has the parts all set to be bolted on to the new bike apart from a few bits and pieces, but don’t expect it to be on track at the upcoming Queensland Raceway round as the team has already tested there with the K8s and that data wouldn’t be worth anything for the new model.
It’s expected that the 2009 model will be raced for the first time at the Eastern Creek round on 7-9 August, although it’s not confirmed yet if the team will run with the Showa BPF forks that come on the K9 or if they’ll stick to the developed and race-proven Öhlins that they currently run.
If you’re surfing the internet today, check out current ASBK champion Glenn Allerton’s new website at www.glennallerton.com.au where you’ll be updated on the progress of the Motologic Honda rider.
MotoOnline.com.au extends our congratulations to young gun Matt Davies, who took a fantastic race win in the British Aprilia Superteens at the Pembrey Circuit on the weekend.
Davies, who is the current Australian 70cc Metrakit Grand Prix Champion and multiple times dirt track champ, qualified on the front row for the meeting and won the first race, crashed in the second, and bounced back to finish second in the final two races of the day.
Davies is the first Aussie since Casey Stoner to compete in the Aprilia Superteens, so he is following in great footsteps.
Internet message boards are running hot today after an Aussie magazine website let it slip that Chad Reed is contesting the American Motocross Outdoor Nationals, but the post has since been retracted due to the new story not being entirely correct.
Either way, where there’s smoke there’s usually fire, and Chad has been hinting for quite some time that he’d like to contest the Outdoors with his Rockstar Makita Suzuki team.
Reedy’s move has sparked rumours that current champion James Stewart also wants to race in the Outdoor Nationals, although his San Manuel Yamaha team is a Supercross only outfit so it’s much more difficult for him to make the move outdoors in these late stages.
My bet is that we’ll see both line up for the Glen Helen National in a couple of weeks time, but the rest of the season is anybody’s guess. I’d say Reed is a better possibility to contest the entire season than Stewart.