MotoOnline.com.au takes fans behind the scenes of the sport in this latest edition of the Insider.
Current MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will be banned from riding Yamaha’s 2011 model YZR-M1 in the post-race test following the Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno on Monday, with American Ben Spies expected to share development duties with Jorge Lorenzo.
Ducati-bound Rossi has reportedly been advised by Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis that he won’t be required in developing next year’s contender for Yamaha, leaving the job up to world champion-elect Lorenzo and Spies – the rookie expected to replace Rossi at Fiat Yamaha next season.
Rossi’s Australian crew chief Jeremy Burgess has also been advised that he won’t have access to the revised model that Lorenzo and Spies will ride at the test, coming as the first indication that he’ll be wearing Ducati red with Rossi in ’11.
The Brno test usually comes as the first public test of the new models for the following season, with teams usually enforcing confirmed contract extensions if riders are to take their first taste of the new models.
It’s expected Rossi will have his first ride on Ducati’s Desmosedici GP11 at Valencia in November, just one day after the season-ending Spanish Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, don’t expect Ducati to unveil anything too advanced for Stoner at the post-race test at Brno, since he’s already signed and announced as a Honda rider for 2011.
Lorenzo’s expected to sign for Yamaha this weekend so he has access to the latest equipment from Yamaha, while the Rossi to Ducati announcement is almost certain according to some European reporters.
It’s all but confirmed that Italian Loris Capirossi will join the Pramac Racing team in a return to Ducati, while Moto2 title contender Toni Elias could join Suzuki alongside Alvaro Bautista in what would be a very strong line-up in 2011.
Looking to Brno this weekend, Spanish star Lorenzo has enjoyed a run of perfect podiums so far this season – all in 1-2 positions – making for one of the most consistent seasons in the history of GP racing alongside greats like Mick Doohan!
Interestingly though, Lorenzo has pinpointed this weekend as being the one where Rossi will really start to gain strength in his return from a broken leg, expected to gain momentum after his Laguna podium.
Speaking of broken legs, Frenchman Randy de Puniet will be back this weekend, returning to the track earlier this week onboard a Honda CBR1000RR production bike to test his injured leg after his horrific Sachsenring pile-up.
Aussie Superbike contenders took part in a teams test at Queensland Raceway late last week, where Team Suzuki, KTM Superbike Team, Valvoline Superbike Team, Trinder Brothers Racing Aprilia and Racers Edge Performance highlighted the main players on hand.
While Suzuki was out in force, they did so without defending champion Josh Waters, who continues to fight for full fitness after being hospitalised in a crash during an AMA Superbike test with Rockstar Makita Suzuki.
It was also interesting to note that Wayne Maxwell’s Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing team wasn’t on hand, nor was series leader Bryan Staring’s Cougar Boubon Honda Racing effort since he was in the UK racing for HM Plant Honda in the Superstock 1000 class at Brands Hatch.
Next weekend is going to be an interesting one for the ASBK series, especially after a lengthy break since the series was last in Ipswich as Staring raced to a double victory.
Yamaha held its own private test at the circuit a week earlier in preparation for its ASBK return in the Supersport class.
Watching Tom Sykes race to a pair of victories at the Brands Hatch round of the British Superbike Championship clearly shows the level of competition in World Superbike at the moment.
Kawasaki has absolutely struggled to fight for front-running positions with Sykes and Aussie Chris Vermeulen, however the Brands BSB round proved just how strong they are actually riding.
The round turned into a nightmare of sorts for Australia’s title contender Josh Brookes, but the real challenge awaits as he enters the ‘Showdown’ stage of BSB after the final few rounds of 2010 next month.
With the next round of the series coming up on 28-30 August at Cadwell Park, Brookes has returned to Australia for a quick break before his final charge in the final four rounds if the season.
Tom Sykes actually made a swift trip to Japan in the lead-up to the Brands Hatch BSB round for a test on the all-new 2011 model ZX-10R, however results of the test have been low-key at this stage.
The word coming out of Europe this week is that Yamaha is considering signing Michael Fabrizio to ride a factory R1 in next year’s WSBK series, probably coming as an opportunity since Cal Crutchlow is on the short list for a MotoGP ride with Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha. We’ll keep an eye on that rumour to see if it builds steam.
James Stewart’s return to AMA Motocross at Unadilla this weekend has been highly anticipated, going head-to-head with Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey in his first outdoor appearance since he won the title in 2007.
There have been many predictions who will come out on top, but it truly is a tough one to pick. Dungey has the race preparation at this point and the confidence, but Stewart is known as the fastest man on the planet. We can’t wait to see how it pans out!
Dungey’s lackluster performance at round one of the series as Chad Reed went on to win seems so long ago at this point…
Aussie Matt Moss has been contesting the REM races at Glen Helen in California recently with great results as he racks up some American wins, potentially building his confidence for some good results to round out the year.
Fingers crossed he can make it happen and possibly even take the momentum into the Motocross of Nations on a 250F for Team Australia on a factory RM-Z250.
The word getting around of late is that Chad Reed wants a place in the MXoN for Team Australia, with sources stating that he has returned to the United States to possibly begin preparing for the event in Colorado next month.
It was announced that Reed would be ruled out of the remainder of the AMA Motocross season due to being diagnosed with Epstein Barr virus, however a quick trip back to his hometown of Newcastle that included some fishing on the beach may have refreshed him enough for a Des Nations position – one of the most prestigious events on the motocross calendar worldwide.
While it would be a shame to see three-time MX Nationals Champion Jay Marmont miss out on a position in the team, the combo of Reed and the in-form Brett Metcalfe on 450s would no doubt be Australia’s strongest effort if Reed was up to it.
We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks I’d say, because the MXoN is only just around the corner. Either way, Marmont should definitely be there as a reserve if not a confirmed team rider.
That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by!