News 15 Apr 2009

Racing Insider #73

Is MotoGP going to be a snooze fest throughout 2009? Plus, MotoGP, WSBK, AMA SBK, and Oz Off-Road news.

Welcome to a very short and apologies for the late arrival of today’s Insider, a day which will forever be remembered as the date of the funeral of Judd Greedy, who was tragically killed while leading the second round of the Australian Supersport Championship. Our thoughts go out to all of Judd’s family and friends as they celebrate the life of one of the sport’s most promising stars.


Stoner was gone from the very beginning at the Losail Circuit

Stoner was gone from the very beginning at the Losail Circuit

In MotoGP circles today, much has been said of the snooze fest in Monday morning’s opening round of the series at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. While the 800cc motorcycles and control tyre regulations were supposed to make the racing more exciting, Casey Stoner’s dominant victory by a massive 7.771 seconds at the race’s conclusion was anything but exciting.

Current world champion Valentino Rossi is certain that he’ll be stronger come round two at Motegi in Japan, although that is yet to be proven as the might of Stoner and Ducati at Losail looked almost unstoppable. He led every single session before winning the race.

When scrolling through the timesheets the closest battle on the track was for 11th place between Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden, who were the only riders that were within a second of each other at the end of the race. The top five were spread out by over 27 seconds!

Even worse for the fans, Casey has said that his wrist was at 100 percent in Qatar despite speculation that he’d be sitting out the entire season, and he’ll only be stronger from this point on – but in reality that’s a great thing for his career.

As an Australian I am very proud to see the ex-dirt tracker win and hope that he can put it together for the full season and claim his second title, because either way you look at it, Casey is challenging The Doctor like nobody has ever done before.

As far as the rules go, what is going to make the race closer? Unlike in Formula One, it seems that the best motorcycle racers always rise to the top no matter what the rules are – which has been proven time and time again.

Until the FIM or Dorna put restrictor plates in every single GP bike on the grid and limit them to a top speed of 100km/h (which is never, ever, going to happen!), the truth is that close racing will never be certain because this sport relies so much about the man on the bike and that’s why we love it so much.

We shall wait and see what sort of racing Motegi can produce, but don’t be too disappointed if it’s yet another show of Stoner and Rossi streaking off at the front while the others battle for the final step of the podium.

Rivalry is obviously still brewing fiercely on the track though, as Pedrosa and fellow Honda rider Alex de Angelis made it very public of their anger over a collision during the race, but it was de Angelis in the end who had to meet with the officials after the race.

Both better watch out though, because new factory Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso has a very strong start to the race that saw him running in the top three early on before struggling with tyre wear on the RC212V. Once he gets the set-up issues sorted he shall be a threat for the podium on many occasions this season.

World Superbike
The organisers of the Superbike World Championship, Infront Motor Sports, must be rubbing their hands together as the financial crisis hits MotoGP and the premier class’s racing action lacks the sheer excitement that SBK has been providing in 2009.

Manufacturers who were once lining up for MotoGP like BMW, Aprilia and KTM are now reaping the rewards of racing production bikes in SBK whether it be in the world championship or domestic series, and that fact in itself is a very strong asset for the production based series.

Even rookie Ben Spies has had his say on SBK by telling European press that he’d be happy to remain in SBK, which is a very big statement considering how eager he was to race MotoGP before he joined the SBK ranks. It will be interesting to see what John Hopkins says once he gets a little more SBK time under his belt.

Last week’s announcement that Moto2 will be using control engines must be a sigh of relief for the World Supersport campaigners, essentially eliminating any true confusion as to what class is what. Moto2 will remain primarily prototype based, while World Supersport will stay strong as the leading production 600cc series.

American Superbike
Buell’s performance in the opening five races of the Daytona SportBike Championship has not gone unnoticed, with AMA Pro Racing releasing a technical bulletin that the twin-cylinder will have to add weight while the four-cylinders will be able to be lighter from the next round onwards. Here’s the info on the weight changes in detail right here, while an update to the Buell’s ‘special allowances’ can be found here.

Australian Off-Road
The Australian Four-Day Enduro gets underway in Orange tomorrow, with factory supported teams in town ready for the challenge of what is Australia’s premier off-road event of the year.

Everybody from enduro racing professionals to motorcycle enthusiasts seem to come out in droves for the A4DE, simply because the sport has an unrivalled balance of being competitive and being an enjoyable few days on the bike for all.

This year’s event will be more interesting than in years previous because only one round of the Australian Off-Road Championship has been run to date, so the battle of 2009 between Chris Hollis, Anthony Roberts, Jarrod Bewley, and more is really set to sizzle in Orange. Stay tuned for updates throughout the event.

Australian Motocross
As the Australian Motocross Championship heads to Canberra in the ACT this weekend, check out videos on the series’ official website at for the latest in the sport. The site has been revamped for the new year, and for those ASBK fans who check out, you’ll be able to see series promoter Yarrive Konsky in his role of head honcho of the Woodstock Honda Thor Racing team.