News 22 Nov 2010

ASBK: Redding reveals Yamaha’s potential ASBK expansion

Yamaha Racing Team manager John Redding has revealed that the factory-backed team could potentially expand its involvement in selected categories of the Australian Superbike Championship series for 2011.

Could we see FX 600 Champion Rick Olson contest the ASBK full time in 2011 with the likes of current Supersport number two Christan Casella?

Could we see FX 600 Champion Rick Olson contest the ASBK full time in 2011 with the likes of current Supersport number two Christan Casella?

Yamaha Racing Team manager John Redding has revealed that the factory-backed team could potentially expand its involvement in selected categories of the Australian Superbike Championship series for 2011.

The factory YRT team sat out much of this year as it focused on winning the Formula Xtreme FX1000 and FX600 Championships with Kevin Curtain and Rick Olson respectively, however Redding told MotoOnline.com.au late last week that there is the possibility of a greater involvement in the ASBK next year.

“If the budget was sufficient, we’d look at doing more ASBK events for sure,” Redding revealed.

With Yamaha pulling out of the ASBK Superbike category due to the current technical regulations this year, Redding noted both Supersport and the new Pro Stock 1000 category as classes that Yamaha is currently considering.

“We haven’t decided what classes we would do if were were to race in the ASBK,” Redding continued. “Obviously the R6 proved at Queensland Raceway this year that it’s still very competitive and I think our current riders could do very well in that class.

“But we’ve also been looking at what else is on offer there and we still have a policy of not returning to Superbike under the current technical rules.

“We’ve looked at the new Pro Stock 1000 class, which follows our original vision of where we thought Superbikes should be going – and that class does look quite good.

“A decision still needs to be made if we do ASBK events whether we’d do one class or two classes. Once again it comes down to budget and ultimately what sort of a profile those classes have.”

When queried whether or not Yamaha is considering campaigning the entire ASBK season in 2011 or again just a part-time schedule, Redding said it’s too early to comment precisely.

“That’s a question I can’t answer at the moment,” he said. “As soon as we have all the information then we’ll make an informed decision, but certainly if the budget’s there then we’ll do as many, if not all, the ASBK events that we can.”

While the ASBK calendar has not yet been released, sources suggest it won’t clash with any FX events next season, and that is a factor that could contribute to YRT contesting the majority of rounds in both series.

Yamaha will almost certainly return to FX next season with its current line-up of Curtain, Olson and Pat Medcalf, while Glenn Allerton is also a possibility for the full season after he was recently signed to contest the summer-based Australasian FX Superbike Championship for YRT.

Redding also revealed that this year has been a positive one for YRT in terms of its return on investment in the sport – a factor boosted since the FXSBK series was reduced from three rounds to one last Thursday.

“This year Formula Xtreme has been very good for us and it’s the first year with this racing team that I’ve got to the end of the year and I still have money left over,” Redding added. “With the two rounds being dropped then I’m going to have more than I even thought I was going to have.

“It does go to prove that the series makes viable economical sense, and right at the moment as a factory team, we definitely believe that we have got more back per dollar spent than what we had done in previous years competing in ASBK regardless of whether we won championships there or not.”

Speculation has been mounting that YRT is considering re-launching a second team for next season, however Redding denied the rumours despite noting that the team still has the infrastructure to do so.

Yamaha team riders Curtain and Olson won the FX1000 and FX600 Championship double in the AFXC this year, with Curtain also winning the Australian Supersport Championship round at Queensland Raceway in August with an impressive clean-sweep.

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