Stoner's mystery illness diagnosed, plus all the news and industry scoops from the world of racing over the past week right here in RI.
It’s been a pretty big seven days in the world of MotoGP, where we’ve finally received a diagnosis for Casey Stoner’s frustrating mystery illness, and also had Sete Gibernau’s team pull the pin mid-season.
Starting with the good news for Australian Stoner this week, American doctors have found the culprit for his recent run of races spoiled by illness and weakness, but the bad news is that he’s not expected back to full fitness for a few more weeks and we have the German GP at the Sachsenring on Sunday.
Stoner has been diagnosed with mild anaemia and a slight gastritis, but he says that his biggest problem is his rib injury that was suffered in qualifying at the U.S. GP at Laguna Seca.
As for Gibernau’s Grupo Francisco Hernando Ducati team, there had been rumours circulating that it was on the chopping block a the time of Laguna Seca, but just a couple of races ago at Catalunya the team was actually considering running two riders in 2010.
The team had actually paid for the bikes up front before the season even started so Ducati shouldn’t be out of pocket, although rumours of the team starting again with another rider don’t look to have any real substance behind them.
It’s a shame that the team is out of the running as the premier class grid continues to shrink, but European press have been speculating that the demise of Gibernau’s team was more because of a lack of results than funds.
At this point in time Dorna and the FIM are on the back foot and need to urgently make changes to make the series more affordable, making last week’s rumour of a allowing production-based engines in a prototype chassis sound like quite a good option if they can differentiate it enough from World Superbike.
While the focus is on the fact that MotoGP has one less team, let’s not forget that this will probably mark the end of Gibernau’s MotoGP career just six months into what was supposed to be his dream comeback season.
Gibernau won nine MotoGPs and had 30 podium finishes in his career that spanned since 1997, but the Spaniard has scored just 12 points so far this year, leaving him 17th in the standings.
Other news in MotoGP this week has had Spanish flyer Dani Pedrosa almost ready to sign with Repsol Honda once again following his shock Laguna victory, although Alberto Puig has said that Dani is in no rush to sign on the dotted line with HRC just yet.
With Pedrosa set to sign at Honda, current Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo has been linked with an all-new satellite Honda team with sponsorship from Spanish company Telefonica. Lorenzo is reportedly asking for a sign-on fee larger than what Yamaha is willing to pay at this point in his career, and this may steer him toward his very own team if speculation is to be believed.
Lorenzo’s injuries suffered at Laguna Seca in qualifying have been confirmed upon return to Barcelona, with scans revealing that he not only suffered a partially dislocated collarbone in the massive high-side crash, but also broke a bone in his foot before racing to third in the race.
Testing for the Superbike World Championship will kick off at Imola tonight, with almost all Superbike and Supersport teams on hand for the official tyre development test.
Things to watch for at the test is the debut of Jason O’Halloran with Althea Honda in World Supersport, while Superbike rookie standout Ben Spies will gain the upper hand on his main rival Noriyuki Haga as the Japanese star won’t be in attendance for the two days due to injuries suffered at Donington.
This season is shaping up to be one of the tightest in history as we head into the final stages, but if you ask current world champion Troy Bayliss who is going to take it out then he’ll tell you that his money’s on Spies despite Haga riding for his former Ducati Xerox team.
Apart from that it’s been a quiet few weeks for World Supers as its grid also gets slightly smaller with the demise of a few private teams of late, although it is certainly still in better shape than what MotoGP currently is.
This weekend will see Mallory Park host the seventh round of the British Superbike Championship, where we’ll have two less Aussies to cheer for on the grid as Jason O’Halloran’s SMT Honda team has closed shop and he’s moved on to World Supersport as noted above, while Glen Richards is still recovering from a broken femur suffered at the most recent round.
All Aussie eyes are on Josh Brookes though, who continues to get better with each race and there’s no doubt that he’ll take his first victory very soon for HM Plant Honda.
Mallory is the scene of a massive crash for series dominator Leon Camier back in 2007, so this weekend may just be the weekend for Brookes to strike for the top spot after a solid run of podiums.
Brookes has been in Japan testing for the Suzuka 8-Hour, where he’ll partner Chojun Kameya on the Sakurai Honda, but he reported on his Facebook page that he’ll need more pace if he’s to keep up with the Bridgestone-shod riders come race time.
The organisers of the American Superbike Championship are finally getting rid of the pace car that so many top flight riders have said does not belong in motorcycle racing, suspending it for this weekend’s Mid-Ohio round before looking at ways to implement a Safety Bike at the round after.
As for the title chase, Aussie Mat Mladin has over 100 points advantage over second place in the series, so you’d be hard pressed to bet against him heading into the technical Ohio circuit or for the rest of the season as he shoots for title number eight.
It feels like forever since the double-header round of the Woodstock Bourbon Australian Superbike Championship that was held in Queensland back at the end of May, but we’re now less than one month away from Eastern Creek’s round four, which also marks the halfway point in the series.
Defending series champion Glenn Allerton leads the series for Motologic Racing ahead of Team Joe Rocket Suzuki’s Josh Waters, but as shown in yesterday’s Moto Talk with Phil Tainton, Suzuki has a trick up its sleeve for the final half of the year.
TJRS will debut its 2009 model GSX-R1000 at the Creek after gaining positive results in testing at Winton last Friday, although don’t ask me the lap times because they were kept very close to their chest when queried.
Either way, we all remember last year when Allerton debuted the current model Honda CBR1000RR at Mallala last year with the round victory, so Suzuki will be very keen on making it happen at the Creek.
Another thing to remember is that Allerton hasn’t had his best results at the Creek in the past, and that’s something he wants to change this year because it is the circuit that he wrapped up the title at last year so he’ll have good vibes heading into the round.
Good news for the series this week came in the form of Channel 10 picking up the broadcast along with its ONE HD sister channel, meaning that the entire country will get to see the ASBK rounds and not just the areas that receive the brand new ONE channel.
Riders have been anxiously awaiting the upcoming round, with Wayne Maxwell and Bryan Staring making the visit to New South Wales recently to do some training with Troy Herfoss and Glenn Allerton both Motocross riding and mountain biking, while those guys have also been trying to get as much track time as possible on road race practice bikes that they can.
Millville’s seventh round of the AMA Motocross Championship is on this weekend and Chad Reed will be looking to extend his points lead, but with seven first time winners in the 450 and 250 classes this year the series is becoming very hard to predict who will come out on top.
There’s no doubt that Reed will be strong at the Spring Creek Motocross Park, before the series then heads to Washougal next weekend and then there’s a two week break while the X Games is held in Los Angeles.
Cool Air Kawasaki’s Daniel McCoy was back atop the podium at the Yamaha MX Cross Cup in Canberra last weekend, but the question remains whether or not he’ll be at the final two rounds of the MX Nationals to be held at Lakes in New South Wales next weekend and Coolum in Queensland on the weekend after.
There was a bunch of pro riders practicing and testing at Lakes last weekend in an open practice day, and the title fight between CDR Rockstar Yamaha teammates Jay Marmont and Cheyne Boyd will be a very interesting battle with just 20 points separating them and over 100 points up for grabs over the final rounds.
MXTV revealed a couple of scoops from Troy Carroll and Cameron Taylor last night, with the men themselves both indicating that they’ll be retiring at the end of this season.
While TC was open about his retirement and seemed set in stone with the decision that this year will be his last, holeshot king Taylor hinted that he may reduce his racing to a state level in 2010 – we’ll have to wait and see.
But once again it was a great show by Brendan Bell and his team, giving us dirt bike enthusiasts something to look forward to every Tuesday night on Foxtel’s Aurora channel.