News 22 Sep 2010

Racing insider #38

MotoOnline.com.au is back again with its weekly round-up of insider news and gossip from around the globe.

Is Valentino Rossi going to sit out the final two rounds of MotoGP 2010? Sources say yes...

Is Valentino Rossi going to sit out the final two rounds of MotoGP 2010? Sources say yes...

MOTOGP
The big news circulating throughout Europe this week has surrounded speculation that Valentino Rossi will sit out the remainder of the MotoGP World Championship.

Well, that’s what was first reported, however the good news for Aussie fans is that it seems he will keep racing through the Japanese, Malaysian and Australian GPs before opting out of the final two European rounds at Estoril and Valencia.

The reason for Rossi electing to skip the final two rounds is that he requires surgery on his injured shoulder, an injury that has clearly affected him in the second half of 2010 so far.

If it is confirmed, it’ll also mean that Rossi won’t test at Valencia’s post-season event, forcing fans to wait until February before he makes his debut with Ducati on the Desmosedici GP11.

With the season set to commence in late March next year, that leaves just weeks for Vale and the Italians from Ducati to make the bike suitable for his needs.

Interestingly, it was reported last weekend at Aragon in Spain that Rossi’s crew of Australian Jeremy Burgess, Alex Briggs and co. will in fact be joining him at Ducati – something that has been kept very quiet in recent weeks. It’s believed that Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis broke the news to MCN reporter Matthew Birt, which he then posted on Twitter.

The relocation of Rossi and his crew means that the incoming Ben Spies will be able to take members of his crew over to the factory team, including American crew chief Tom Houseworth and Gregg Wood – both who have worked with Spies since his AMA days and also in WSBK.

It’s also reported that current Yamaha WSBK team manager Massimo Meregalli is going to manage Spies’ side of the Yamaha garage, replacing David Brivio, who is believed to be going into a rider management role of sorts.

The word that Meregalli is leaving the WSBK team for MotoGP fits in nicely with previous reports that Davide Tardozzi is going to Yamaha after a long career at Ducati and then a single season at BMW this year…

Either way, Spies has certainly got all his stars aligned for a huge year in 2011, once again proving that the team structure is vital if you are to be a championship threat in MotoGP in the current era.

Moto2 World Championship leader Toni Elias is certain he will make a premier class return next year, largely depending on whether or not Rizla Suzuki fields two bikes or not.

Elias could join fellow Spaniard Alvaro Bautista in the team, however uncertainty remains whether or not Suzuki will actually have more than one bike on the grid in 2011.

We reported in Breaking News today that the series will revert to four practice sessions, albeit 45 minutes in length, which I believe is the way to go rather than three hour-long sessions on a race weekend.

For those waiting on the 2011 calendar, you won’t have to wait too long because it’s scheduled to be released this week or next.

WORLD SUPERBIKE
This weekend’s penultimate round of the Superbike World Championship at Imola in Italy will mark Ducati’s last dance as a factory team in WSBK on home soil, which is sure to be a memorable occasion for the Italians.

Ducati has had massive amounts of success in WSBK at Imola, so expect a huge celebration of sorts when the race weekend wraps up come Sunday afternoon.

After that, we have one more weekend and then the Ducati Xerox team will be no more, which marks the end of an era in World Superbike terms. The best thing is, MotoOnline will be at Magny-Cours in France to witness it first hand…

WORLD MOTOCROSS
It’s finally here – the 2010 running of the Motocross of Nations to be held at Thunder Valley in Colorado, USA, on Sunday!

Team Australia and a large contingent of international countries are now in the States for their final preparations, so fingers crossed that the Aussie team consisting of Brett Metcalfe, Jay Marmont and Dean Ferris can score a solid result for Oz.

The big battle will be between American Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey and double world champion Antonio Cairoli, with controversy over some comments the Italian made regarding Dungey only increasing the rivalry in the lead-up to the event.

Since then Cairoli has commented on the respect he has for Dungey, also stating that he hopes to contest the first two AMA Supercross rounds next year (now that’s a surprise!) before maybe even heading to the U.S. fulltime in 2012… read it all here on Racer X.

Enough about those guys though, at this point it’s all about Team Australia in our eyes!

By the way, it still hasn’t been confirmed what 250F Ferris will be riding come Sunday, however we’re hearing that he has lined up a ride for the weekend through GEICO Powersports Honda (Factory Connection) – Metcalfe’s team – which should give him first class equipment since that’s what Trey Canard won the AMA 250 Class Nationals on this season.

Can world champion Antonio Cairoli defeat AMA champ Ryan Dungey on home turf at this weekend's MXoN event?

Can world champion Antonio Cairoli defeat AMA champ Ryan Dungey on home turf at this weekend's MXoN event?

AMERICAN SUPERCROSS
Speaking of Metcalfe real quick, sources suggest that he is going to Suzuki on the 450 fulltime in 2011 to replace Matt Moss alongside Ryan Dungey at Rockstar Makita Suzuki, which would be a dream ride for anybody at the top of the sport right now.

Metcalfe has also been rumoured to be joining Honda Red Bull Racing by some, however that seat has also been linked to Reed, Trey Canard, Christophe Pourcel and current rider Andrew Short.

It’s thought that Reed and Pourcel are both on the shopping list of Honda and KTM, while Davi Millsaps will leave Honda and join JGR Yamaha, taking the position of Josh Grant.

And where’s Grant going? We’ve heard that he may just be on his way to an expanded Hart and Huntington line-up on Honda machinery… Watch this space.

There are so many rumours doing the rounds right now, so lets just sit back and watch this one ride itself out.

AUSTRALIAN SUPERCROSS
The speculation that Chad Reed won’t be on the start gates continues to swirl despite many claiming that he definitely will be there in time for the Newcastle opener next month.

Adding fuel to the fire during the week was a post on Twitter by the man himself that he would be “in the stand” during Super X, so we’re not quite sure what the deal is at this stage.

Fingers crossed that a deal is signed and sealed for Reedy’s 2011 AMA ride soon, otherwise his preparation time for the series will be severely lacking for Super X even if he does decide to ride (as was the case one year ago when he first switched to Kawasaki at the last minute).

We understand that Josh Hansen is in line to join Billy Mackenzie at Kawasaki since Reed definitely won’t be in green even if he does ride, however all indications from the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider’s Twitter point toward the deal not quite being finalised just yet.

I have a feeling that both Jake and Matt Moss will surprise for Rockstar Motul Suzuki in Super X this year, although from what I’ve heard it’s not yet confirmed if Matt will ride Opens or defend his Lites title after a frustrating season in the U.S during 2010.

Both are coming in as underdogs of sorts (can you believe that?), but we’ve all seen just how fast the twins are when they’re well prepared and healthy – which they should be by round one.

WORLD ENDURO
Motorex KTM’s current Australian Off-Road Champion Toby Price left Sydney this week to head to Europe for the French round of the World Enduro Championship this weekend.

The dual AORC champion is finally getting his chance to show his skills on the world stage, however a trip to the United States next month for a round of the GNCC (Grand National Cross Country) will most likely be more suited to his motocross racing background.

We look forward to seeing how the talented off-road star goes in these next few events – it should be a great step forward in his career.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading!

Dual AORC champion Toby Price will ride for KTM in France this week.

Dual AORC champion Toby Price will ride for KTM in France this week.

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