News 13 Jan 2009

Racing Insider #7

Ducati’s annual Wrooom event has kicked off today, which will mark the first time that we’ll see Nicky Hayden in Ducati colours.

Silverstone has been confirmed as the venue for the British Grand Prix in 2010, officially replacing Donington Park after it was announced by Dorna early this morning. The deal will run over five years, with the premier motorcycle racing series returning to the circuit for the first time in over 20 years – the series competed at Silverstone from 1977-1986.

“We are delighted that the MotoGP World Championship is returning to Silverstone as of 2010. The venue has excellent facilities and a circuit with a great heritage, having hosted some superb Grand Prix racing in the 1970s and 1980s,” confirmed Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta. “We are sure that MotoGP’s visits to the UK will continue to be highly successful when we make the historic move back to Silverstone next year.”

Donington Park is disappointed to lose the race, although they’ll continue to run World Superbike this year and will also have their hands full with hosting the Formula One Grand Prix next year for the first time.

Another lead story today has been FIM president Vito Ippolito speaking out on the current MotoGP crisis in Corriere dello Sport. Ippolito isn’t too concerned about Kawasaki’s withdrawal from this year’s series, although he is concerned for 2010 when there’s a possibility that some of the satellite teams could withdraw.

According to Ippolito, it’s time for MotoGP to make some changes –- and quick.

“The problem isn’t 2009 when one way or another we’ll manage to have a full grid, but it’s 2010,” he said. “There’s the risk of more defections, especially among privateers, which could leave us with just 14 bikes. That’s why I’ll repeat to the Japanese manufacturers the absolute need for going back to the past.

“That is going back to the building and selling of road production prototypes like the ones that used to be raced in the eighties. The FIM will speak through a press release next Monday.”

Hayden will make his debut in official Ducati colours

Hayden will make his debut in official Ducati colours

It will be interesting to see what the FIM and Ippolito say in the release, and it’s refreshing to see one of the sport’s main players stand up and speak out for once.

In other news, Ducati’s annual Wrooom event has kicked off today in Italy, and we’re expecting pictures to filter through within the next day or so. This week will mark the first time that we’ll see Nicky Hayden in Ducati colours officially.

Yamaha’s launch of its new livery will be broadcast online at on 2 February. The virtual presentation will feature interviews with Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis and Fiat Yamaha team managers Davide Brivio and Daniele Romagnoli.

World Superbike
Motorcycling Australia (MA) is calling for applications from riders interested in competing in the 2009 World Superbike and Supersport Championships as a wildcard entry at the Australian round. The Australian round will take place from 27 February to 1 March at Phillip Island, with wildcard entries closing on 21 January. Visit for further details on the event.

Australian Superbike
Honda Australia has officially, and surprisingly, announced its withdrawal from the Australian Superbike Championship –- leaving the series as the defending champions. But we will

Honda has pulled its support from the ASBK

Honda has pulled its support from the ASBK

still see #1 plate holder Glenn Allerton on a Motologic-prepared Honda CBR1000RR as the team runs a private effort with equipment from big red.

The question remains, will the team have the budget to run as complete as it did in 2008, or will cut backs hamper their ability to hold on to the crown? I think they’ll be stronger than ever, personally, with development on the Fireblade continuing throughout the offseason.

There’s been controversy surrounding the Supplementary Regulations for the ASBK series, with a testing restriction implemented for factory teams, essentially forcing them to select two test tracks for the season.

Privateers are also limited in where they can test and when, although it’s the wording that has competitors scratching their heads.

It’s this wording these sections of the Supp Regs that are the controversial parts:

• All Factory Teams shall have unlimited use to test or race at two (2) only tracks that they nominate with MA.

• Each team must nominate its 2 circuits with MA no later than 31.1.09

• All Factory Teams to nominate their team riders and their supported team riders (determined as those riders receiving a motorcycle or motorcycles for the purpose of racing that can be returned to the distributor at the end of the year without having to purchase it) for approval by the Road Race Commission as a Factory rider and who will be subject to these restrictions.

• The nominated Factory Team Riders shall be allowed to ride any road based bikes at any ride or track day/public training day/ press days providing the motorcycle being used by the riders are of no higher spec than S/Stock 1000 and have no Data Logging devices fitted that may contribute to a Race bike set up and are fitted with DOT. Approved tyres on any ASBK Championship track during the testing restriction period in that year of competition.

• Nominated Factory Team riders and their Teams shall not enter any practice sessions or races on any sanctioned or non sanctioned race meeting on any ASBK Championship tracks that is not one of their nominated tracks and is not part of the ASBK Championship during this testing restriction period

• There shall be no organised Privateer Test days for all other riders not described earlier as a Factory rider on any ASBK Championship tracks apart from the organised and open practice days held by the track owners themselves.

• Breach of these terms and conditions set out in this testing restriction schedule will suffer the following penalties under GCR 4.3.6:

a) The possible loss of all Championship points for the whole Team or individual for the next race meeting or the entire Championship which shall be determined by MA.

b) AUD$10,000.00 fine for any Team and AUD$4,000.00 fine for any individual rider payable into a privateer travel assistance fund.

Now, the confusing part to me is the second last point, because most circuits don’t actually hold their own practice days anymore as there are track day providers in place at most venues. The question remains, are privateers allowed to take part in these ride days? Also, are privateers allowed to compete in any other race meetings at any of the ASBK circuits at all? Are club races or other national races considered to be “Privateer Test days” if a privateer is getting some extra track time? Some clarification on these rules will be needed.

I believe testing restrictions are a positive way to reduce costs, although the extent of the restrictions is always going to be a difficult thing to manage when the majority of the classes or privateer based. Either way, it’s a positive sign that we actually have Supp Regs and the series is officially going ahead this year after all the controversy that has surrounded the IEG takeover.

American Motocross

Ashley Fiolek is the reigning WMA champion

Ashley Fiolek is the reigning WMA champion

It’s been announced that MX Sports, the managers of the AMA Motocross Championship, has acquired the Women’s Motocross Association (WMA) National Championship. As a result, the Women’s Motocross Championship will be fully integrated into the AMA Pro Motocross Championship beginning with the 2009 season.

The 2009 schedule will feature eight rounds of women’s racing with both motos on Saturday in the new one-day national format. The outdoors will begin on May 23 at Glen Helen in California.

Dakar Rally
Frans Verhoeven (KTM) has taken another stage of the Dakar Rally, winning stage nine over David Fretigne (Yamaha) and Francisco Lopez (KTM). Overall leader Marc Coma (KTM) finished fourth for the day, while his factory teammate Cyril Despres (KTM) rounded out the top five. It’s still Coma leading overall, with Fretigne holding fort for Yamaha and Despres in third after a slow start to the Rally. Aussie Dave Schwarz remains in 21st position, with just six days to go in the event.