News 11 Mar 2009

Racing Insider #48

Australian Michael Byrne dislocated his shoulder at Daytona, plus news from MotoGP, World Superbike, Supercross, and Bayliss' V8 plans. * Updated.


Hungarian rider Gabor Talmacsi is sponsored by the Balatongring circuit

Hungarian rider Gabor Talmacsi is sponsored by the Balatonring circuit

Rumours are quickly spreading throughout Europe that the Hungarian MotoGP race scheduled for 18-20 September at the new Balatonring circuit could likely go ahead, despite fears last month that its development was held up, which would have caused the race to be postponed or cancelled altogether. It now seems as though the circuit is heading in the right direction once again, ideally keeping its date on this year’s calendar. An interesting thing to note is that the circuit is the lead sponsor for Hungarian Gabor Talmacsi in his debut 250cc season, with the former 125cc World Champion stepping up to the quarter-litre class for this season.

World Superbike
There are many things to be excited for at this weekend’s second round of the Superbike World Championship in Qatar, but one of the most anticipated stories is the progression of the newcomers now that they have a race under their belts.

When I say newcomers, I’m not only talking about the likes of fulltime Superbike rookies like Ben Spies, Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes, Shane Byrne, and Shinya Nakano, but also the new manufacturers with Aprilia and BMW sure to shine after a glowing debut at the Island.

All of these guys and both teams are new to the SBK category and will be entering this weekend with little track time at Qatar on their Superbikes, or zero for some, and this is going to make it a little more interesting to see how they cope compared to Phillip Island, where there was a test right beforehand.

Bayliss and V8 Supercar Champ Jamie Whincup

Bayliss and V8 Supercar Champ Jamie Whincup

While some of the riders are going to have to learn the notoriously difficult to learn circuit in a hurry, teams like Aprilia, BMW, and even Yamaha with its strikingly new YZF-R1 are entering the weekend with no real data for their new bikes. In fact, BMW doesn’t even have any data at the circuit from previous bikes, and they realise that it’s going to make it tough for them.

“The circuit in Qatar will be just the first of many tracks about which the team have no data or information from previous seasons and their task will be that much harder than that of the competitors,” said a team press release this week.

One interesting point is that last year’s race winners Troy Bayliss and Fonsi Nieto won’t be defending their victories from last year, since Bayliss is now retired and Nieto is on Moto2 testing duties in Spain.

Speaking of Bayliss, as reported in Racing Insider last month, he’s set to announce his V8 Supercar plans today in a press conference with Triple 8 Racing’s Roland Dane, who is the boss of the TeamVodafone current championship-winning team.

Update: Bayliss  has confirmed that he’ll test a TeamVodafone car in May, announcing it at today’s Queensland Raceway first official V8 Supercar test of the season. This is news that we have already reported here and in AMCN, but check tomorrow’s Racing Insider for the full scoop on his plans behind the wheel.

American Supercross

Byrne dislocated his shoulder at Daytona

Byrne dislocated his shoulder at Daytona

Australian Michael Byrne was involved in the first turn pile-up with James Stewart at Daytona last weekend and it’s been revealed that the Queenslander actually dislocated his shoulder in the accident. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider has had an injury plagued year so far, but an MRI this week is set to determine the exact extent of the injury. Byrne will be a contender once the outdoor nationals start later this year.

Another rider who has been affected by injury is Kiwi Cody Cooper in his American Supercross rookie season, and it’s now been reported by Racer X that Cooper might just sit out the remainder of the Supercross season in order to be ready to go in the outdoors for his JGR Yamaha team. Cooper was the surprise of last year’s outdoor series on a privately-run Suzuki, and will be a podium threat once again this year if he is healthy.

There has been much talk regarding Jason Lawrence’s 450cc debut at Daytona, where he lead the majority of the main event before series leader Chad Reed made his way past. Lawrence finished second in a great result, despite already being suspended once this season for an off-track altercation. It’s now expected that J-Law will step up to the 450cc class fulltime, including competing in the entire outdoor nationals. The excitement is never dull with J-Law in the mix.