News 4 Aug 2010

Racing Insider #31

MotoOnline.com.au takes fans behind the scenes of the sport in a packed edition on the Insider.

Will Chad Reed lead the field again in this year's Super X series? GAS says he will be there for his title defence.

Will Chad Reed lead the field again in this year's Super X series? GAS says he will be there for his title defence. Image: Sport The Library.

AUSTRALIAN SUPERCROSS
The question of whether or not Chad Reed will be racing Super X in 2010 continues to do the rounds despite series organizers Global Action Sports confirming that all indications say he will be on the start gates come October.

If GAS is saying he will be right for the series then there’s a good chance that he will be there, so we’ll have to sit back and see how this one plays out. Unless there’s some health problem that rules him out, there’s no doubt in my mind that Reedy will be excited for the chance to race in front of a home crowd at Energy Australia Stadium in Newcastle.

At this point in time, I’m more curious as to whether or not James Stewart is coming over for any Super X rounds after his disappointing absense at last year’s Brisbane round.

GAS had previously indicated that Stewart would be here, however his name still hasn’t been listed on the official AMA riders’ list to be contesting selected rounds of the series. Hopefully they are saving one of the best for last in the lead-up to the event…

Speaking of American visitors, it’s believed that Kyle Cunningham will be back with Serco Yamaha alongside Kirk Gibbs and Ford Dale. Judging by his AMA form this year, he could be a real threat to fellow American PJ Larsen in Super X.

One of the more interesting rumours doing the rounds at the moment is that World Superbike and MotoGP race winner Chris Vermeulen is looking at starting a team for Super X. I know that the Queenslander has contemplated the idea, and since a knee injury has ruled him out of the rest of the WSBK season, what better way to spend his time?

AUSTRALIAN MOTOCROSS
Ever wondered what a top motocross rider gets up to when they’re spending large amounts of time off the bike injured? In the case of JDR MXRAD KTM’s Brenden Harrison, it’s safe to say the Queenslander has been spending plenty of time on the MX vs ATV Reflex video game on his PS3.

Harrison was in exceptional form after securing the sattelite ride with KTM before his injury, but since then he’s been absolutely killing it in our online series.

Check both our Playstation 3 and X Box competitions out in the Events section of the Forum if you’re into a bit of online gaming. Other national level pros joining the fun alongside Harrison include former national champion Luke George, as well as Pro Open top 10 rider Beau Ralston.

We also kicked off our tipping competition for the MX Nationals series in 2010 and I’m happy to say that we’re just about ready to send out the prizes awarded for the round winners as the final items are in the process of being delivered.

Included as prizes for each individual round winner are items such as a Jay Marmont FOX jersey and Oakley Mayhem goggles, Tye Simmonds Shift jersey, PJ Larsen Shift pants complete with custom butt patch, Todd Waters Thor jersey, plus Scott goggles from Luke George, Cody Mackie and Larsen – all signed!

To decide who gets what, we’ll be drawing the prizes from a hat since the prizes were sourced post-series. The only confirmed item to date will be the Marmont jersey for Coolum winner, Wilko.

The good news is, as long as there is a Super X tipping comp, we’ll have prizes announced before the rounds take place, so be sure to spread the word so we can get some good entries and increase our ‘bargaining power’ for cool prizes!

By the way, for those who haven’t seen it yet, what a shame it is that Australia won’t be hosting a World Motocross round in 2011. Check out the news here.

AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE
Yamaha will be back in action at this month’s Queensland Raceway round of the Australian Superbike Championship with Kevin Curtain, Pat Medcalf and Rick Olson in the Supersport class.

To prove just how serious they are for the event, Yamaha hired the circuit for a private test late last week and also invited its various development riders to join in.

No times have been reported, however Superstock 1000 C and D title leader Cru Halliday had a highside crash out of Turn One, forcing him to pack up early in the test, albeit unscathed.

Ducati Motologic has also completed a test recently, this time near their team workshop at Winton in Victoria. Something tells me that Jamie Stauffer is going to be back with a vengeance at the next round in a real step forward for the 1198s.

Is it just me, or does it seem like International Entertainment Group is going all out for this second Queensland round in a row? With Freestyle Motocross, Supermoto, Aussie Racing Cars and the Monster Energy station set to be on hand, I’m actually really looking forward to the scene out the come Sunday’s race day on 20-22 August. Besides, it is the final standalone ASBK round of the year!

Yamaha will be back in action at Queensland Raceway's ASBK round this month.

Yamaha will be back in action at Queensland Raceway's ASBK round this month.

WORLD SUPERBIKE
Aprilia’s gear-driven camshafts have been outlawed for 2011, the Superbike World Championship leaders required to return to chain-driven camshafts for next season unless their production bikes are released standard with gear-driven cams.

Aprilia and Max Biaggi have dominated the series this season, however only adopting the technology mid-season, and the Italian manufacturer seems cheated in some ways that the engine has been outlawed.

“When I started to design the RSV4, together with my colleagues,” Aprilia WSBK boss Gigi Dall’Igna told GP One. “I read the rules in force at the time and I interpreted them is such a way as to create solutions which would turn a street bike into a race bike.

“Just to be sure, I asked the FIM for clarification and received confirmation that I could adopt certain solutions. “I can’t understand why they changed the rules. Maybe some of our competitors, annoyed by us being title contenders after only a year and a half, pounded their fists on the table and got the better of us, as we tried to remain respectful of everyone.”

Another rule change for WSBK will involve the Supersport class, where teams will be permitted just one bike for the new season. In an effort to reduce expenses, teams will be allowed just one bike per round in 2011, with a spare motor permitted at each round. The reaction has been mixed to this ruling at this stage.

Speaking of Supersport, championship contender Joan Lascorz and Roberto Tamburini were both injured in a fiery crash that halted the first start of the Silverstone race, causing a full restart.

Lascorz suffered broken ribs and a fractured shoulder blade in the incident, while Tamburini dislocated his shoulder and also suffered a fractured shoulder blade.

American Colin Edwards will likely return to the Superbike World Championship in 2011, the current Tech 3 Yamaha rider turning has back on MotoGP for a Superbike switch.

Edwards looks certain to join the factory Ducati Xerox team in WSBK next year in a bid to reassert the Italian manufacturer as championship contenders following a difficult season with Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio this year.

“I don’t want to finish my career being angry all the time. I want to have some fun and win some races, or at least have the chance to do that,” Edwards told British Motorcycle News.

Edwards has been critical of the performance of Yamaha’s current sattelite MotoGP bikes, deeming them uncompetitive after finishing fifth in the world title last season.

“We know the bike is not that competitive,” he said. “We’ve always tried to look over it and stay motivated and push, but my motivation has always come from extracting the most I can out of myself and riding good and feeling good about how I race. I’m riding better than I’ve ever ridden. I’ve got the same bike and tyres as last year and I’m going faster. But I’m further down the field and the results aren’t there.”

Edwards was set to join Ducati in 2003, however it seems 2011 will be the season the pair finally merge in what could be a lethal combo come Phillip Island’s season opener.

Japanese hero Haga is set to join the factory Kawasaki team alongside Australian Chris Vermeulen in 2011, the speculation mounting at Silverstone last weekend.

Haga has had a difficult season to date with Ducati’s factory team after taking runner-up in the series last year, expected to be replaced on the official team next season.

Vermeulen has a two-year contract at Kawasaki, while it’s uncertain where Sykes will head if Haga is indeed contracted to partner the Queenslander next season.

Aussie Troy Corser is certain to stay at BMW next year, but its almost certain that he’ll have a new teammate join him on the factory S 1000 RR. Spaniard Ruben Xaus seems to be on the way out, paving the way for the German manufacturer to bring in a young up and comer to learn the ropes alongside dual world champion Corser.

One of the favourites for the ride is new Superstock 1000 champion Ayrton Badovini, who has had a perfect season to date with seven race wins for BMW on his way to claiming the title with three rounds still left to run!

By the way, Biaggi is expected to re-sign with Aprilia after he returns from a short break in the United States, set to extend his career by another two years as WSBK champion elect.

MOTOGP
To kick off the MotoGP section this week, I saw a pretty cool post by motocross GOAT (Greatest of All Time) Ricky Carmichael on Twitter today – Casey Stoner is over at his place in Florida taking some time out. I’m not sure who would be more pumped to meet who, Ricky or Casey? Stoner’s Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden is also a good buddy of RC’s.

MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has reportedly spoken out toward the Superbike World Championship in response to claims that grand prix racing could become too production based in the near future.

With Moto2 already using production-based engines and the premier class expected to utilise 1000cc production-based engines from 2012, WSBK director Maurizio Flammini has voiced his concern that WSBK owns the rights to production-based world championship motorcycle racing.

But in an aggressive response to Flammini, Dorna CEO Ezpeleta says it’s up to the FIM – world motorcycling’s governing body – to determine the rules allowed in both series.

“I don’t care at all about what Maurizio Flammini has to say,” Ezpeleta reportedly told German magazine Motorrad. “He has nothing to do with this. The MotoGP regulations are like this, and for the moment they will not change. If something must be changed it is not Flammini’s decision, but that of the FIM which matters.”

While MotoGP has long been recognised as the pinnacle of the sport, dwindling grid numbers compared to WSBK have had Dorna rushing to reduce costs in a bid to save to series in the long term.

“The FIM has not taken any decisions at this point,” Ezpeleta said of MotoGP’s future regulations. “Flammini’s opinion has no meaning to me and his WSBK series is a second class championship, considering the spectator numbers they had for Brno compared to what we had for Sachsenring. That says everything right there.”

In good news for Aussies, Fans can expect to see Casey Stoner onboard a Honda RC212V MotoGP bike directly after the season-ending round at Valencia, with Ducati approving such a move last week.

Most MotoGP World Championship contracts run from January 1 to December 31, meaning riders are required to get allowance from their current teams if they are to test for their new outfits before the new year.

Ducati boss Alessandro Cicognani confirmed Ducati had accepted a request from Honda to have Stoner on board an RC212V after the final race in Valencia on November 7.

“Casey will be free to ride for Honda at the Valencia test,” Cicognani said. “On Monday after Valencia the 2011 world championship starts and we don’t have a problem with releasing Casey.”

While it’s very rare that teams disapprove the post-season switch, it’s believed that Ducati is preparing for the arrival of Valentino Rossi, who has all but been announced by the Italian manufacturer for the 2011 season.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading as always! Apologies for the delay in getting this week’s Insider up – have been flat out after a couple days out of the office at the 2011 model Kawasaki KX250F launch!

Aussie Casey Stoner is still in the USA, hanging with motocross legend Ricky Carmichael after Laguna.

Aussie Casey Stoner is still in the USA, hanging with motocross legend Ricky Carmichael after Laguna.

Related