News 3 Apr 2009

Racing Insider #65

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa will likely have to sit out the MotoGP opener. Plus, more MotoGP, ASBK and WSBK news.

Australian Superbike

Symmons Plains is host of the ASBK this weekend and will be live

Symmons Plains is host of the ASBK this weekend and will be live

Today seems to be the calm before the storm as there’s not much news happening right now, but this weekend will see the Australian Superbikes at Symmons Plains in Tasmania, along with a host of other events worldwide, so it’s set to be a busy weekend.

ASBK promoters International Entertainment Group hosted a launch dinner for the series at the Mercure Hotel in Launceston, where all riders in attendance had the opportunity to go up on stage in front of around 150 guests in total.

There was everybody from the top riders to the young guns of the sport, as well as factory teams, families, and key media outlets in a bid to make the ASBK more personal than ever as IEG hopes to build the identities of our star riders.

Today marks the opening day of practice for ASBK in its brand new era, and in speaking with a lot of riders and team crew members, it’s hard to think back to a time when there has been more anticipation for a new series than this year.

Yes, we had the opening round of Superbike, Supersport, and Superstock 600 at Phillip Island alongside the Superbike World Championship’s opening round, but Tasmania marks the real beginning of IEG’s promotional expertise.

All is on track so far and very knowledgeable sources have indicated that Network Ten’s MotoGP commentators Greg Rust and Daryl Beattie are all but confirmed for the ASBK television commentary gig, which will broadcast on the new ONE dedicated sports channel.

It’s believed that the coverage will be shown about two weeks after each round, but having Rusty and Beattie is a real feather in the cap for the ASBK as their familiar voices and commentary will make the series all that more attractive for MotoGP fans who are looking to check out more bike racing action on the tube. will be heading to Tasmania this afternoon, so be sure to check back over the weekend for a live blog of all the happenings taking place at the series opener.

Live timing of the action can be found at Computime.

Will WSBK become a home for Hopper?

Will WSBK become a home for Hopper?

World Superbike
Infront Motor Sports has launched an all-new website for the Superbike World Championship at, which features similar content as in years past but is much more functional and nicer on the eyes when checking out the site.

The site’s main feature is live streaming of the events, although the bad news for us Australian viewers is that it’s not available due to television broadcasting agreements. So once again this year, the only way to watch live from Oz is by subscribing to Fox Sports.

In other SBK news, American Ben Spies has told European reporters that he is in no hurry to leave the Superbike World Championship to follow his MotoGP aspirations, despite speculation that Monster Tech 3 Yamaha are very interested in his services for 2009.

After completing selected GPs last year Spies is very much aware that the atmosphere of SBK is a lot warmer and slightly less serious, allowing the riders to battle it out on track during the races and then hang out in the paddock afterwards. MotoGP isn’t like that at all, being the Formula One of motorcycling.

Stiggy Racing Honda newcomer John Hopkins may also feel much more welcome in SBK and he too could forget his MotoGP future quite quickly if he begins to get results and enjoys himself in SBK.

One other attraction of SBK these days is that rookies can actually join factory teams from the outset if they are good enough. The question is, how long until a 250cc GP star will find himself left with uncompetitive options in MotoGP and just decide to switch to SBK on a factory team straight away rather than plodding around at the back of the pack?


Pedrosa is very uncertain for the MotoGP opener

Pedrosa is very uncertain for the MotoGP opener

Something to think about that is a very real possibility is if we were to imagine if both Spies and reigning 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli joined the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team in 2010. This would essentially give Yamaha a complete dream team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in the factory squad, and then two more of the brightest young stars in their satellite outfit.

Considering the new rules that limits rookies from joining factory teams in the debut MotoGP season, Tech 3 Yamaha would have to be the favourite team of all rookies to try ride for because Yamaha has a history of providing Tech 3 with near factory spec bikes when you compare it with some of the dated Hondas on the grid. Ducati’s satellite Pramac team, and Sete Gibernau’s new team, both have great bikes although the Ducati is very sensitive as to what riders can ride it well, so Yamaha is still a safer option at this point.

Looking towards the season opener in Qatar next weekend, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will likely have to sit out the event, although that hasn’t officially been confirmed and all sides are remaining very tight lipped on the subject. Dani has been anxiously recuperating back at home in Barcelona trying to get some movement in his knee, although doctor’s have advised him to hold off as long as possible before he begins to bend it very far.

That’s all for now.