News 15 May 2009

Racing Insider #91

Rossi leads MotoGP to France with R1 ride in Paris. Plus news from MotoGP; WSBK; ASBK; and AMA MX.

Today will be a brief version of Racing Insider as we’re currently at Broadford conducting the Road Race Performance Academy rider training program along with Australian Superbike Champion Glenn Allerton and national Superstock 1000 frontrunner Jordan Burgess.


Rossi on a Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 in Paris yesterday

Rossi on a Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 in Paris yesterday

It’s a big weekend of racing action coming up over the next two days, with the opening practice for MotoGP taking place at Le Mans in France tonight where the battle between Aussie Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa will resume.

Rossi’s weekend began with a ride on a special edition Monster Energy- livered R1 by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, through nearby streets to a press conference and then he did a burn-out in front of the French capital’s famous sky-line all in a display organised by the energy drink company.

“It was quite slippery out there with the rain, but I managed to do a little burn-out by the Eiffel Tower,” said Rossi who leads the current MotoGP standings by 11 points on his YZR-M1. “It’s my first time to the Eiffel Tower so I was pleased to do that, we all had some fun out there. I’m looking forward to this weekend at Le Mans now.”

Australia’s reigning Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss wrapped up his MotoGP test overnight at Mugello in Italy, setting a very respectable time that was similar to what Marco Melandri did at the race one year ago, but just over a second slower than Casey Stoner’s best during the race.

Word heading into this weekend’s GP is that Bridgestone will introduce a marking on the softest tyre to help spectators and commentators know exactly when riders are on the soft or hard tyre – just like in Formula One where Bridgestone where they are also the control tyre supplier.

Former 125cc Grand Prix World Champion Gabor Talmacsi has split with the Aspar Aprilia team just three races into this year’s 250cc Grand Prix World Championship, although expect him to take his sponsorship to another team for the remainder of the season.

I’ve spoken to a few members in the paddock over in Le Mans via email this afternoon, and there is already speculation that he has a greater deal on the horizon that could see him enter the premier MotoGP premier class onboard a Scot Honda if speculation is correct.

Kawasaki’s earlier decision to send Broc Parkes alone to South Africa for the Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki team has been reversed, with local star Sheridan Morias joining the team for his home round onboard Makoto Tamada’s factory-supported ZX-10R.

South African’s are typically fast around Kyalami, so don’t be too surprised if he upsets some of the regular and more established riders at the round to be run this weekend.

With Miller Motorsport Park coming up next in the USA, there’s a chance that we could see Jamie Hacking ride the bike there if Tamada isn’t recovered in time, and that would be interesting to see.

Jake Zemke may also be back on the Stiggy Racing Honda at Miller if John Hopkins isn’t ready in time, and you can expect his performance to be much greater on a circuit he knows well than what it was at Monza’s previous round.

Like we reported earlier in Racing Insider, Stiggy will not be taking a second bike to South Africa, leaving Leon Haslam in complete control of the team’s results for the long trek south to Kyalami.

Things have been very quiet in regards to the Australian Superbike Championship in recent weeks, but event promoters International Entertainment Group have been working away in the background in order to move forward with the series for the remainder of 2009 and also for 2010.

And what is the latest rumour regarding the series you may wonder? How about cost-cutting measures being put into effect for next season that could even include a greater restriction on what you’re allowed to modify on the Superbikes.

Recent rumours have surrounded the series trying to tie up a deal with the V8 Supercars for a round later in the year that would see the final round’s TBA confirmed, although it’s old news that ASBK wants to run at least a couple of events in conjunction with the V8s.

But whether or not it will happen is anybody’s guess at the moment, and I’m quietly confident that IEG will continue to work hard and push forward with the series despite the tough economic times and certain negative voices in the industry.

There’s good news today for the Donington Park round of the British Superbike Championship, with the circuit being granted a licence to run the race after much concern that it wouldn’t take place at all. Aussie Josh Brookes will be one to watch at the round after he won the World Supersport race there last year.

Chad Reed is back in America after a quick trip home and he was seen testing at Glen Helen in California yesterday, which is the site of the first round of the outdoor nationals.

According to sources on the scene Reed wasn’t setting the world on fire compared to some of the guys who have been testing already, but you can bet he’ll be ready come round one if he and Rockstar Makita Suzuki do decide to contest the outdoor series.

We’ll be back Monday, so have a great weekend.