News 19 Jun 2009

Racing Insider #102

Get the rundown on the Catalunya post-race MotoGP test; 2010 rider movements; WSBK replacements; ASBK at V8s; Boyd pressure Marmont; Moss to test in U.S?; Alessi to fight back!

Dovizioso was fastest on Monday in Spain - also leading Honda's development of a new chassis

Dovizioso was fastest on Monday in Spain - also leading Honda's development of a new chassis

The post-race test on Monday after last weekend’s Catalunya MotoGP round saw some interesting developments, not least because it was the first time that teams have actually had the opportunity to test since the season commenced due to the new regulations implemented for 2009.

Every rider apart from Nicky Hayden went quicker than what they did in the race the day before, but it was Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso who lead the time charts with a new chassis that he felt was improved.

Dovi’s teammate Dani Pedrosa was absent from the test as he’s still recovering from injuries, but maybe that was a good thing for Honda because it seems in the past they’ve had no real direction on who is the lead development rider in the team – something that frustrates Dovizioso.

The Fiat Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were back just one day later and as strong as ever, although as per usual with Yamaha their developments were tiny in comparison with some of the other teams, obviously satisfied with the package they have at this point.

Ducati further worked on making its bike more suitable for a wider variety of riders, and both Casey Stoner and Hayden worked closely together for the day both on and off the track, although Nicky actually went slower than he did in the race.

The big improver for Ducati was Mika Kallio, going almost a second and a half a lap quicker than he did one day earlier in the race and giving him a massive confidence boost heading into the rest of the season.

There was bad news for Hayate Racing team’s Marco Melandri, crashing and suffering a suspected fractured wrist, although it was later determined that he may have been battered and bruised in the accident. Even worse for Marco and the team was that the incident totalled the bike, which could be disastrous later on in the season for the team as the put all their resources together for one shot at the championship.

Capirossi looking for more horsepower, but he'll likely be back with Suzuki

Capirossi looking for more horsepower, but he'll likely be back with Suzuki

Loris Capirossi’s performance in the race with a solid fifth place had him admitting that the new GSV-R engine had slight improvements, but it still lacks top speed needed to be a true podium contender on circuits with long straights.

It looks as though Loris’ results will have him staying there again next year for the third year in a row at Suzuki, and if he does remain it will actually mark his 20th year in world championship grand prix racing – an amazing feat in the modern era.

Speaking of next year, the rumours of Simoncelli to Honda are gaining strength at this point despite being denied by he and his managers, and it seems that he has a two year deal on the table that will see him with a factory bike in the Gresini Honda team next year before moving into Repsol Honda the year after.

This deal is attractive for Marco since he has factory bikes on offer and a future clear from the beginning, while if he were to go to Yamaha he’d have to live in the dark shadow casted by Rossi and Lorenzo at least for the first year or two.

Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha may remain with Colin Edwards and James Toseland next year if they don’t get the riders they want, but I personally would like to see them try some new blood in the team – both Colin and James could go to WSBK on competitive equipment and run up front.

There has been everybody mentioned from Ben Spies to Chris Vermeulen to even John Hopkins for the team, although a 250GP rider like Simoncelli or Bautista would have to be the best option for a MotoGP rider at this rate.

Bautista’s deal with Suzuki has gone awfully quiet, so it’s safe to say that he probably didn’t sign with them at Catalunya before the deadline. I truthfully expect him to remain with Team Aspar, but in MotoGP on a fifth Yamaha.

World Superbike will return to Europe after a few away rounds recently, the series competing at Misano in Italy where the battle between Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies will continue on.

Corser is just one of two Aussies in WSBK this weekend

Corser is just one of two Aussies in WSBK this weekend

Australia will only have Troy Corser and Broc Parkes to cheer on in the SBK class since Brendan Roberts is out of Guandalini Ducati, while Karl Muggeridge has a back injury that will see him forced out of Misano and Donington. Muggas will be replaced by Italian Alex Polita, who had actually raced for the Celani Suzuki previously in his career.

Other news this week is that Tommy Hill has been ousted from the Althea Honda team, citing that it was a mutual decision and that he simply wasn’t satisfied with the team’s professionalism.

Americans will have extra riders to cheer for with Jamie Hacking remaining at Kawasaki for the next two rounds, while John Hopkins will be back with Stiggy Racing Honda, bouncing back after his nasty Assen injuries.

The Stiggy team will have a new engine specification for the round, but they can’t rest as the most consistent Honda team this year because Ten Kate has been testing in the break and it looks as though that team will switch from WP to Öhlins suspension.


Rawhead Rex hd

Australian Josh Brookes continues his charge in the British Superbike Championship this weekend at Snetterton with HM Plant Honda, proving the in form rider of the Aussies at the most recent round with a podium in race two.

The BSB series is a great one for the Aussies as we have the likes of Brookes, Glen Richards, Jason O’Halloran and David Johnson in the Superbike class, while Billy McConnell continues to make an impact in the Supersport category.

AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE Christmas Town trailer
Word this week is that the Superbikes are all but confirmed to be racing with the V8 Supercars at Phillip Island in September. Watch this space…

Also interesting is that the rumours of more production-based rules have been discussed by the road race commission, and it seems that it’s Yamaha that is pushing for a more standardised set of rules in the class – stemming from Superbike and Supersport all the way to Superstock 1000 and Superstock 600.

I hope that they do make it even more standard than the rules already are in order to save costs and make it more inviting for privateers to race Superbikes, but I still believe that the factory riders and teams will be the class of the field.

The Australian MX Nationals will move on to the deep sand of Wanneroo in Western Australia this weekend, with CDR Rockstar Yamaha’s Cheyne Boyd chasing down defending champion Jay Marmont as the season winds down.

Marmont got off to the best start to the season, but Boyd has now won the last four motos in succession and sits 30 points down on the series leader at this point in time with three rounds left to run.

But there’s a spanner in the works with a number of motos and different formats left to run, because this weekend will see three 20 minute motos rather than the traditional pair of 30s.

Moss may be going to test in the U.S. next month

Moss may be going to test in the U.S. next month

Round seven at Lakes will be two 30 minute motos, and then the final round will be three 20s again – which seems to be most of the rider’s favourite format for the outdoor series.

That makes it eight races left to run, which gives Boyd plenty of time to apply the pressure to blogger Marmont. You can bet that Jay won’t just rest on where is at now, though.

Sand specialists will be out in force this weekend with the likes of Louis Calvin, Michael Addison and Dean Porter all set to shine in WA and make a run at their best round of the year.

In the Lites it’s Matt Moss who has pulled a comfortable lead in the series ahead of arch rival Luke George, and it seems that his results have been paying off and making teams in the United States stand up and take notice.

Sources suggest that he’ll be going over to the U.S. in between the Wanneroo and Lakes rounds for testing with selected teams, although there isn’t confirmation on that.

As for the teams said for him to be testing on, expect it to be Troy Lee Designs Honda, Star Yamaha, and even Canidae Kawasaki. The team I’d like to see him given a chance on is Rockstar Makita Suzuki, because his relationship with Suzuki in Australia has been excellent, but it is very hard to get a ride direct on a factory team in America.

While we are on the topic of AMA Motocross, Cycle News has posted a report that Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi isn’t counting out this year’s 450 outdorr title just yet despite undergoing surgery for a broken kneecap last week.

Alessi was leading the title when he was injured, allowing Australia’s Chad Reed to take over the series after scoring his first ever outdoor premier class victory last weekend at High Point, so it would be miraculous to see him back.

Read the full report here.

That’s all for today, have a good weekend and we’ll be back on Monday for a weekend wrap once again!