Features 6 Nov 2016

Cycle 360

An all-access Australian view of road racing, presented by Alpinestars.

It’s been one of the more quiet weeks here at CycleOnline.com.au, as the racing season’s all but wound up and the festive season fast approaches. It’s pretty incredible to consider just how fast this year’s gone by, really.

But that’s not the main reason we’ve been on idle to an extent this week, as over at MotoOnline.com.au – a partner site here at Foremost Media – we’re currently in the midst of four supercross rounds in three weekends to cap off the season.

And as well as that, we’re already pretty deep in planning for the 2017 season to ensure we can keep heading in our upward direction for another year. This one’s been one of the most satisfying of all, so hopefully that puts us in a stronger position into the future.

One of the major pieces of content we posted in the latter stages of the week was that of Suzuki’s increased Australian Superbike Championship involvement in 2017. No, Team Suzuki isn’t coming back, but the manufacturer’s adding support to selected teams that field GSX-Rs.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

With a new GSX-R1000 announced, Suzuki wants a larger presence in Australian racing and is willing to put its official support behind a deserving team or two, but it has to be the right fit. Their ‘factory’ motocross team is a perfect example.

And not only that, Suzuki Australia currently has a contingency plan it’s working on that will be on offer to every rider aboard a GSX-R in the series. If you’re good enough, factory-type bonuses would be within reach. The amounts aren’t finalised, but stay tuned for more when we have it.

This type of support will no doubt stimulate the sport in many ways, despite only really catering to the highest quality of teams and riders if it’s for top three results. There are a number of teams/riders that could benefit from this type of support and every dollar does amount to making a difference, so here’s to a strong line-up of healthy satellite entries.

That’s what’s important to someone like me, who just wants to see the best competition with a good amount of depth. That depth is what adds interest and also gives us the widest opportunity to write about the sport and it’s talent – which is extremely high-end in Australia at the elite level.

Elsewhere, after three weeks of MotoGP racing back-to-back we’re definitely missing it this weekend, however of course the final round will be back on track next weekend at Valencia, Spain. It’ll be a great way to round out the year, albeit far less exciting than one year ago with all 2016 titles already now decided.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

In light of that, the post-race test will be a major talking point throughout the weekend and I’m typically excited about it, especially with Jorge Lorenzo making his Ducati debut, Maverick Vinales on the Yamaha, Andrea Iannone on the Suzuki and more. It’ll be massive.

What will also be important this week is that KTM Factory Racing is officially entering MotoGP. Fans of off-road racing will know just how major this move is because in most things KTM competes in – from American supercross to Dakar and even Moto3 – KTM wins. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of if the brand will win in MotoGP, it’s when.

That won’t be the end of the racing year completely either, because the Australasian Superbikes still have a round to go in Sydney on 16-17 December! By the way, it’d be ideal to get an ASBK or FX calendar released for 2017 sometime soon, right? That’s it from me for this week!

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