News 14 Jul 2010

Racing Insider #28

Get the latest behind the scenes info on the world of moto with the Racing Insider.

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi has been using crutches in between Superbike testing. A decision is expected today on whether he'll race this weekend.

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi has been using crutches in between Superbike testing. A decision is expected today on whether he'll race this weekend.

Today is the big day that we’re set to find out whether or not MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will return at this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.

Rossi was expected to announce it early this week, however his decision was delayed until today, but neither he or Yamaha are giving much of a hint if he’ll be there.

After two very promising tests onboard Yamaha’s factory Superbike (read more below), there’s no doubt that Rossi’s speed is still there, but his crutches used during the tests indicated that he’s certainly not at 100 percent fitness.

While much of the attention surrounds Rossi’s comeback at this point, Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo is going for his fourth straight win to keep his podium tally alive for the season.

The Spaniard’s form has been unquestionably good this year, in fact Lorenzo’s riding at a level that even the almighty Rossi would have trouble matching if he were still in the title hunt.

An interesting fact for Aussie Casey Stoner this weekend is that Brno was the circuit where he scored his first ever 125cc Grand Prix podium, so let’s hope he can build momentum now that all’s clear and open on his signing with Honda for 2011.

Expect the Rossi-Ducati announcement any day now…

Australia will have another Aussie in Andrew Pitt to cheer on at the Brno round of the Moto2 World Championship, the former dual Supersport World Champion replacing MotoGP-bound Alex De Angelis at that round.

Pitt will miss this weekend’s Sachsenring round and then the Moto2 guys don’t visit Laguna Seca with the premier class, so we’ll have to wait until next month to see him debut as the second Aussie in the class alongside Anthony West.

Rossi’s surprise second test that took place earlier this week on a Sterilgarda Yamaha YZF-R1 at Brno caused quite a stir when he managed to lap faster than the WSBK regulars in the Czech Republic.

Rossi completed 46 laps with a best time of 1:59.135, which was faster than the 1:59.291 that Sterilgarda Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow set on race day last weekend in the first leg on Sunday.

There has been speculation as to what tyres Rossi was using at the test, because if he was on Bridgestone MotoGP tyres then it wouldn’t have been so impressive, however reports from Italy say he was using the latest spec Pirelli WSBK rubber.

The time has also triggered the latest comparisons between Rossi and current WSBK series leader Max Biaggi since Rossi lapped faster than Max, however the comparisons really are pointless in some ways since there’s no doubt they are all very special riders in their own rights.

Australia had some bad news in the fact that Chris Vermeulen will sit out the remainder of 2010 due to pending knee surgery, a first corner crash in race one last weekend ruling him out for the weekend.

Vermeulen had already been considering getting a reconstruction to his injured right knee before that particular incident, now focused on Kawasaki’s 2011 model ZX-10R that he’ll hope is much more competitive next season.

There was also a scare for Wollongong’s Troy Corser at Brno when he was helicoptered out of the circuit on Saturday morning, receiving a concussion and badly bruising much of his body.

Corser sat out the round as well, but it was positive to see ECHO CRS Honda’s Broc Parkes score points in both races for his best weekend of the entire season so far.

The Ducati twin-cylinders will drop even more weight in time for the next round at Silverstone, the FIM announcing a three kilogram reduction due to the point calculation process that’s in place.

Don’t expect massive improvements from the 1200cc Italian machines right away, which are now equal to the 1000cc four-cylinders, and Ducati personnel have stated that it’s the air restrictors that are limiting those bikes the most at this stage.

It’s been a massive lead-up to the stage we’re at right now in Aussie Motocross, the series coming down to the final two weekends on the calendar at Moree this weekend and then Coolum the next.

Moree will be another awesome four-moto Sprint format with plenty of points on offer, while Coolum’s finale will mark a massive double-header with six motos contested over Saturday and Sunday.

Defending dual champion Jay Marmont is in the box seat for CDR Rockstar Yamaha at the moment, but he has a very determined Billy Mackenzie chasing him down in the points, plus an in-form Tye Simmonds in tow.

Simmonds is riding a massive wave of confidence after winning his first ever Pro Open moto in the final outing at Wodonga, and the fact that Moree is his home track will make him all the more determined come Sunday.

Between Marmont, Mackenzie and Simmonds the series is wide open, but don’t rule out Cheyne Boyd just yet, or the in-form Cody Cooper, who is fresh from his overall win at the most recent round.

Marmont has been constantly evolving his strategy and training routine this season in a bid to retain that very heavy number one plate, so let’s hope he’s found the right recipe in time to put him at his best for these final two weekends of action.

In the Lites class we have American PJ Larsen absolutely dominating the series, winning 12 of the 16 motos contested so far and he is on par to wrap up the series on Saturday at Coolum if things go his way between now and then.

An interesting point is that the JDR Motorex KTM team is awaiting the arrival of the 2011 model 250 SX-F with linkage suspension and fuel injection, hoping that the bikes would arrive sometime this week. All going well, they will be onboard them at Moree – if not, then definitely at Coolum.

Don’t forget guys, make sure you sign up for our MX Nationals Tipping Competition in the Forum right here – there are round-by-round prizes to be won even if you aren’t in the fight for the title.

A weekend off for the AMA Motocross Championship has allowed Aussie Chad Reed to regroup in a bid to make one final push at defending his title, which has been derailed of late partly due to a cruel run of luck and the undeniable form of Suzuki rookie Ryan Dungey.

Millville’s Spring Creek round will be an interesting one for the ANZAC assault as Reed, South Australian Brett Metcalfe and Kiwi Ben Townley all fight for top five positions in the series title chase. Queenslander Dan Reardon has also been having a consistent run of late.

Injured Suzuki rider Jake Moss returned to Australia last week and the word is that he’s very interested in staying here fulltime next season in a bid to regroup from his devastating run of injuries recently. While unconfirmed at this stage, it’s believed Moss has been in contact with a number of teams and would surely have to be a favourite for a top spot if he does decide to return home.

That’s all for this week and, as always, thanks for reading!

American PJ Larsen has dominated the Pro Lites MX Nationals season as a rookie. Will he be on a 2011 model SX-F come Sunday?

American PJ Larsen has dominated the Pro Lites MX Nationals season as a rookie. Will he be on a 2011 model SX-F come Sunday?