News 16 Feb 2009

Racing Insider #31

Valentino Rossi's Monster Energy deal is now official, with decals on his helmet officially filling his pockets full of cash.


Rossi and Monster are now official

Rossi and Monster are now official

If Valentino Rossi’s Monster Energy sponsorship wasn’t clear enough after the speculation and stickers on his helmet during the recent Sepang test in Malaysia, it is all official now after Monster released the worst kept secret in the paddock.

“I’m happy to join up with Monster Energy and to be one of the first European sportsman testimonials for this new brand,” Rossi said. “Monster is growing all over the world and I am very excited to be joining them. I think that together we can make something special and the M-claw is going to look good on my new helmet!”

Monster Energy president Mark Hall is just as pleased with the addition of Rossi to the team as they set their sights on Red Bull in the very competitive energy drink market.

“Going Big has been our motto at Monster Energy for some time and aligning ourselves with Valentino Rossi is about as big as it gets in motorsports,” said Hall. “We feel that Valentino is one of those rare athletes that not only defines his sport, he actually transcends it.”

Energy drinks are one of the biggest sponsorship companies in motorcycling (both road and off-road) in the world.

The Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team pit will be a quiet area this season as former double Superbike World Champions turned MotoGP teammates Colin Edwards and James Toseland have quit communications over the off-season it seems.

Their feud began when Toseland requested Edwards’ crew-chief Gary Reynders to be on his side of the garage in 2009, leaving Edwards with ex-Toseland crew-chief Guy Coulon. A war of words was waged in the press, with Edwards clearly angry that Toseland and Reynders sparked the deal behind closed doors, much to the surprise of Edwards.

Now that they’ve had their first official test of the year in Malaysia earlier this month, Edwards has spoken out once again on the official Indianapolis GP website, where he has his own blog column.

“[Toseland’s] not on the Christmas card list whatsoever,” said the Texan. “It’s funny. We don’t talk anymore after this little incident.”

He also took the time to highlight his competitiveness with the fourth quickest lap of the test compared to Toseland’s dismal 16th after a 200km/h crash early in the test.

“We looked good in front of him being two and a half seconds off the pace,” Edwards continued. “That was good times. You should hear some of the comments being made. He got the crew chief he wanted. That was going to make all the difference in the world, and we just sit and laugh.”

It’s about time MotoGP had a real rivalry once again, we just didn’t expect it to be between teammates!

The 250cc GP replacement class certainly is the talk of the town at the moment as Fonsi Nieto becomes the biggest name to commit to the class in these early stages, signing a testing deal with the L’Oreal LaGlisse team to test their Moto2 bike, and possibly ride it in the 2009 CEV Spanish Championship – where the class will undergo a development year this year. Nieto is a former 250GP runner-up and has been competing in World SBK in recent years for Alstare Suzuki and Kawasaki. He also completed a MotoGP race with Kawasaki in 2007 as a stand-in rider.

Japanese engineering company Moriwaki released an early version of their Moto2 machine at Suzuka last year, and it’s now been revealed that they are ready to test. The bike is a continuing development and features a Honda CBR600RR engine in a prototype chassis, and it’s a possibility that former GP racer Tohru Ukawa will test it first.

MotoGP’s official website features a lot of stories on these Moto2 bikes recently, signalling the importance of the class for Dorna.

American Supercross

San Manuel L&M Yamaha rider James Stewart scored his sixth straight victory in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, series at round seven in San Diego, California, on 14 February.

The victory now sees Stewart tied for the points lead with defending champion Chad Reed (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), which is a remarkable fight back for Stewart after he had crashed out of the opening round of the series.

“To come back from where we were at, 23-points back, it’s just amazing,” said Stewart, who won by a comfortable 8.2 seconds.

Australian hero Reed has been just as consistent, finishing runner-up on the last six occasions, but has lacked the outright speed in recent races to truly challenge his arch rival.

“I got great starts and I was there, I just wasn’t fast enough,” Reed explained. “We’re just keeping it consistent.”

Rounding out the podium was Andrew Short (Honda Red Bull Racing), while Australian Michael Byrne (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) made his return to racing with a solid eighth place finish. Dan McCoy (Moto Concepts Honda) didn’t make the main event for the first time in the past three rounds.

The Lites class was won by series leader Ryan Dungey (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), while Jake Moss (TLD Honda) finished eighth in his second race back after suffering a broken back at the end of last year. Dan Reardon (GEICO Powersports Honda) finished 18th after a crash early in the race.

The series now moves on to Atlanta, Georgia, on 21 February.

AMA Supercross Championship
After 7 of 17 rounds
1 J Stewart (Yam) 152
2 C Reed (Suz) 152
3 A Short (Hon) 122
4 J Grant (Yam) 112
5 R Villopoto (Kaw) 106