News 31 Mar 2009

Racing Insider #62

Calder Park’s round of the Australian Superbike Championship is on “shaky” ground. Plus MotoGP, WSBK, AMA SBK, Oz MX, and FMX news.


Suzuki may build bikes for sattelite teams in light of the new restrictions

Suzuki may build bikes for sattelite teams in light of the new restrictions

Looking back at the regulation that will restrict rookies from joining factory teams in the MotoGP World Championship next year, it’s a questionable ruling that could hamper Suzuki more than any other manufacturer on the grid.

While Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati have satellite teams to back up their factory outfits, Suzuki only has its two factory machines, essentially meaning that the other three factory manufacturers will be able to hire rookies and Suzuki won’t.

This would have meant that Ben Spies couldn’t have joined Rizla Suzuki even if they wanted him, and we’re not even sure if it restricts first timers from taking part in MotoGP as wildcards.

Chris Vermeulen, Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, and Jorge Lorenzo are other riders who have moved straight into factory teams so far this decade, and it probably would have been a much more difficult transition for all if they were forced to join a satellite squad first.

That’s not to say that the ruling doesn’t have some positives, because it would allow the private teams to have first choice on a number of riders that the factories would usually outbid them for. It may even tempt some factories to give equally competitive bikes to their satellite teams just to keep their latest and greatest rookie wonders satisfied.

Another thing is that the ruling could even force Suzuki to finally form a satellite team, just so they can secure rookie riders and groom them for the factory team in years to come. MotoGP is making major changes and we can’t wait to see the end result.

Toseland and his team have had a rough start to 2009

Toseland and his team have had a rough start to 2009

Speaking of satellite teams, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha will have a split garage system like its Fiat Yamaha big brothers this season, which will go a long way in keeping the peace for Colin Edwards and James Toseland following their off-season argument over the infamous Tech 3 crew-chief swap. The pair haven’t spoken since.

News goes from bad to worse at each test for Toseland it seems, with the British favourite breaking a bone in his foot at the recent Jerez test, where he suffered his second major highside in as many tests. The injury won’t force Toseland out of the Qatar season opener.

World Superbike
Ex-MotoGP rider John Hopkins made his debut with Stiggy Racing Honda overnight at Almeria in Spain, taking part in a one day test to get comfortable on the Superbike before this weekend’s third round of the Superbike World Championship at Valencia in Spain.

Hopkins joined new teammate Leon Haslam in what was a cold day at the popular Spanish test venue, although he didn’t get out on track until the afternoon sessions due to the weather that set back his test schedule. Hoppers’ World SBK debut this weekend is much anticipated, although he knows that it will be a difficult step.

Australian Superbike
Calder Park’s seventh and final round of the Woodstock Bourbon Australian Superbike Championship is on “shaky” ground according to IEG’s Yarrive Konsky, with speculation last week surrounding the event pointing toward a cancellation of the round.

While it hasn’t been officially cancelled at this stage, it’s believed that a number of safety management systems need to be put in place before ASBK can visit the circuit, and it’s not 100 percent certain if these requirement will be met, or if they are met, it’s not finalised if they’ll be ready in time.

Will the ASBK stars compete at Calder in 2009? That's not yet 100 percent certain

Will the ASBK stars compete at Calder in 2009? That's not yet 100 percent certain

A meeting is scheduled to take place tomorrow in Tasmania at the official practice day, where IEG will speak to many teams and riders (both factory and privateer) on alternative options if it comes down to that.

Sources indicate that two circuits that are on the menu so far if Calder needs to be replaced are Barbagallo Raceway in WA and Oran Park in NSW, although neither of those two circuits are confirmed at this stage and Konsky said that they won’t be making a decision until Calder is officially off and they speak with the competitors. Either way, ASBK will certainly remain a seven round series whether Calder is cancelled or not.

American Superbike
It’s been a good week for Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki as Jamie Hacking’s suspension following his outburst leaving the media centre at the Fontana round has been lifted, meaning he’ll be able to compete at the next round at Road Atlanta. The other great news is that Roger Lee Hayden will be back on his number 95 ZX-6R for Atlanta after missing the opening two rounds dur to personal problems, according to Kawasaki. We never did find out what those problems were exactly, but let’s hope that Rog can shake the cobwebs and return to the front of the field where he belongs. He’ll just have to make his way past that pesky 1200cc Buell of Danny Eslick first!

Australian Motocross
It seems almost certain that Daniel McCoy will ride for Troy Carroll Cool Air Kawasaki in the MX Nationals this year after he made the trip up to Queensland to ride with the team over the weekend. McCoy has been frantically searching for a ride since returning home from the USA, and the fit with Carroll’s team may just be what he needs to have a successful 2009 season. The only bad news is that McCoy crashed on the Kawasaki and cracked his sternum, although he told us that he will be on the grid at the season opener this weekend anyway.

Freestyle Motocross
Australia has a new Freestyle Motocross sensation in Levi Sherwood, who is actually a Kiwi but he lives and trains in Queensland so we’ll claim him anyway. Sherwood won the opening round of the Red Bull X Fighters in Mexico City on the weekend, finally making his international debut and shocking many with his insane flexibility on a motorcycle. Cam Sinclair also had a good result in fourth, although he didn’t get to pull his double back flip on the night as he had originally planned.