News 22 May 2009

Racing Insider #94

Get the inside line on updates, plus news from MotoGP and its tyre rulings; WSBK; ASBK; Oz MX; and AMA MX. has undergone some changes in its news line-up has undergone some changes in its news line-up

Today marks an interesting time in our development of as or first ever redevelopment has kicked in overnight, which comes just two and a half months after the site was initially launched.

The changes have been made due to a number of reasons that we’ve been experimenting with in recent months, and not least the fact that website stats have indicated where the site’s strong points lay and we want to capitalise on them to provide you guys with the best possible content.

You’ll see that we have the Breaking News section now that will be all be handwritten by us or our contributors about any news that filters in via our sources, and this will enable us to bring you the news directly as we get it without having to wait for the next edition of Racing Insider.

The Press Releases section has been moved into a more prominent position because there are so many strong news stories that actually come via our media resources, and we believed that hanging over in the sidebar just wasn’t doing it justice.

A Team Event Releases section has also been added beneath both of those other sections, and that section is also made up of press releases for the team previews and race reports, simply separating them from the news-based Press Releases section because we get so many previews and reports from teams.

With those three sections we will be able to give you one of the most detailed and straightforward news sections on the web, all spit up into categories and designed so that you can check out exactly what’s going on each and every day.

So what’s this mean for Racing Insider? Not much really, other than they might be a little shorter because our news will be going directly into Breaking News as it happens, but RI will essentially be the place where our detective skills come into effect – breaking stories that may not be confirmed as yet, but using our Insider status for the hottest gossip around the tracks.

It will also be a place for opinions on certain topics happening before and after every race weekend, and there’s a good chance that once we get the ball rolling with the news sections that it will be reduced to Monday and Friday uploads, allowing us to wrap up one weekend and preview the next in the most interesting way possible.

That will also allow us to focus on the regular content of the site like interviews, bike tests and features so we can bring you a solid assortment of content throughout the working week like never before.

That’s enough about us and the direction that we’re going in, now on to the stuff that you clicked into RI for – the racing!

There will be more options now for Bridgestone's front control tyre

There will be more options now for Bridgestone's front control tyre

The FIM and Dorna have announced that there will be revisions in the way that the front Bridgestone control tyres are handed out, with the process now changing from being a 50/50 share of the two tyres, with an option of how many each that they get per weekend.

For instance, instead of being limited to four A compounds and four B compounds as they currently are, now they can favour their best tyre and get an extra one of it, meaning five of one compound and only three of the other.

This has come about since some guys simply can’t use the second compound of tyres and can only go quick on the one, effectively running out of their favourite or having to save them for race time.

The catch is that they have to choose how many compounds of each tyre they want well before the race weekend, meaning that the gamble will pay off for some but could very well hinder a team worse if they choose the wrong tyre to get more of.

Surprisingly there was no added compounds from the three that are available, although we have to remember that it’s up to Bridgestone to choose only two of their three compounds for any given race weekend.

Sources had earlier said that they would make all three available and let it be the team’s choice of what ones they favour per weekend, but that still remains Bridgestone’s choice.

Write in and tell us if you believe the control tyre rules have improved the quality of racing in MotoGP…

Interesting news filtering in this week is that Sete Gibernau won’t be replaced on Grupo Francisco Hernando Ducati team for next weekend’s Italian MotoGP round at Mugello.

It was expected that Fonsi Nieto could replace him on the team considering his brother Pablo Nieto is the team manager, but then last minute speculation had Vittoriano Guareschi onboard for the round, which could have been a good choice for the Ducati test rider who has logged countless laps around Mugello.

Now it seems that the team won’t compete at the round without Sete, which leaves the field with just 17 bikes on the grid and indicates the fragile state that MotoGP is in at this current point.

The key with 17 is that Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta has said previously that the lowest number he’d like the series to go ahead with is 18, and even though Sete is on the sidelines to drop it below that number, it would only take one devastating blow to lose a private team or two and we’d be in very hard times.

Look at it this way. Scoring points used to be a great achievement in the premier class grand prix ranks, but in all honesty at Mugello it would only take two riders to have mishaps and the entire field would be in a top 15 points scoring position!

Zemke will be in again for Miller in place of the injured Hopkins

Zemke will be in again for Miller in place of the injured Hopkins

As reported earlier this week, AMA stars Jamie Hacking and Jake Zemke have been confirmed for the Miller Motorsport Park round of the Superbike World Championship, with Hacking replacing Makato Tamada at PBM Kawasaki and JZ replacing John Hopkins again at Stiggy Racing Honda.

Hacking finished on the podium in the AMA Superbike race at Miller last year and could be a threat for the podium in WSBK if he can get the ZX-10R sorted quickly, and he’ll be pumped to be racing against good friend Ben Spies again.

As for Zemke, he didn’t set the world on fire at Monza when he filled in for Hopper two rounds ago, but get him on home soil and you can guarantee that he’ll be much further up the results sheet this time around. Hopkins isn’t yet fit enough to compete according to American magazine Cycle News.

It’s believed that Troy Corser will be back for BMW after Steve Martin replaced him at Kyalami, and as a former AMA Superbike Champion from way back in 1994, America has great memories for him so I’d put money on more top 10 results for him.

Sources have reported that Shannon Johnson is testing a Motologic Racing Honda at Winton in Victoria today, having his first ride on the bike in an initial shakedown test before making his debut on the CBR600RR at Queensland Raceway next weekend.

Johnson is going to be a contender from the outset in the Supersport category with Honda (sorry for the pressure mate!) judging by his current form, and I personally believe that the class needed an extra main player to spice things up a bit – it just wasn’t the same without the current world champion CBR up the front.

Check back later this afternoon for a Breaking News story on Johnson’s progress on at the test and what his initial thoughts are on the bike.

The location of the final round of this year’s series is all but confirmed I believe, with the final details being sorted as we speak. The problem is, we don’t know where it’s going to be! My guess is that it will either be a standalone round at Winton or will be an inclusion at the V8 Supercars round at Phillip Island.

It may be too late to join up with the V8s at these late stages, but something tells me that the ASBK may very well be racing alongside the tip-tops within the next year no matter what, and I reckon it’s a good move at selected rounds. We’ll have to wait for confirmation on that though.

Following the controversial 20-second penalty applied to Luke George at the MX Nationals round in Toowoomba last weekend for cutting the track, WEM have implemented a new procedure to penalise riders if it’s to happen again, using a stop and go penalty to ensure that riders don’t gain any advantage when cutting the course intentionally or unintentionally.

The refreshing thing about this is that in light of the controversy about the penalty, WEM and MA have stepped up and clarified on the rules, implementing a new rule to ensure the same arguments don’t happen again.

And what’s the best part about all of this? The racing in Mackay is going to be action packed, with both Matt Moss and Luke George racing for not only the championship but also for each other’s respect to prove a point who is the faster man. We can’t wait.

Lawrence could be a dark horse outdoors on the 450

Lawrence could be a dark horse outdoors on the 450

AMA Motocross bad boy Jason Lawrence has been confirmed for the Motocross class (450s) at the opening round of the outdoor nationals to be held at Glen Helen next weekend, finally confirming that he’ll move up from the Lites in his return from yet another suspension.

J-Law will be one to watch considering his sensational second at the Daytona Supercross earlier this year, and love him or hate him, he brings fireworks to what is otherwise a very clean cut series.

Australian Chad Reed is also confirmed with Rockstar Makita Suzuki, so now we just have to wait to see what rounds new Supercross champ James Stewart will show up at since he originally only had a Supercross-only contract.