Racing Insider rounds up the week of on-track action and happenings from around the world once again, featuring MotoGP; Moto2; ASBK; Oz SX and AMA SX.
The finish to the MotoGP World Championship at Valencia last weekend featured many surprises as Casey Stoner set the pace for Ducati Marlboro in all sessions before crashing out on the warm-up lap of the race, enabling Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa to have the last laugh of 2009 with his second victory of the season.
While it was surprising to see the likes of Stoner and Pedrosa quite easily defeat the Fiat Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in Spain, success came for Yamaha in the form of Colin Edwards finishing fourth in the race to secure fifth in the title, assisted by impressive WSBK champ Ben Spies with his ride to seventh.
But that’s all old news now in the form of internet content, and all eyes have this week been on the test that’s currently in its final stages in Valencia – two days in total run over three days (half a day each on days one and three).
Lorenzo set the pace overnight on a new evolution of the YZR-M1, but Yamaha will be packing up early while the other teams return to the circuit this morning for the AM test to wrap it up. See our Breaking News and Team Event releases sections for the full rundown.
The one thing that is certain out of that test is that 2010 is going to be even better than this season, with Stoner back and stronger than ever, Lorenzo more experienced, and Honda’s Pedrosa having a new crew behind him for the new year.
Let’s not rule out rookie WSBK winner Ben Spies, who was fourth quickest in post-season testing, because the accelerated learning curve that he has demonstrated so far is simply incredible.
While Spies is best of the rookies (albeit with some MotoGP experience), his fellow rookies are at the back of the pack finding their feet. Who says Superbikes aren’t the way to go if you’re looking for a MotoGP career?
In fact, the European press has reported that Stoner even questioned the pace (or lack of) from the top 250cc World Championship guys in the Valencia test – namely Marco Simoncelli after he impressed in a WSBK wildcard ride at Imola this year.
But don’t write them off just yet, because you can guarantee that they’ll be fast come round one at Qatar under lights next year.
Speaking of the rookies, there’s been some reaction regarding a special rookie-only test to be held at Estoril, with the current top riders (apart from Lorenzo) declaring that they believe it’s an unfair advantage to the rookie contenders.
In fact, even Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal has said that he won’t be taking Ben Spies to the test and that he believes it’s an expense not typically required for the newcomers to be competitive.
The other big news is the addition of 1000cc engines for 2012 when the current agreement for the regulations comes to an end, but don’t get too excited if you’re picturing the awesome 990cc MotoGP engines of the yesteryear. Instead, you can expect highly-tuned production-based engines with an open exhaust fitted to give them that signature MotoGP sound.
We don’t know that for sure yet, but we do realise that in order to cut costs there are going to be some drastic changes required, essentially following in the footsteps of the new Moto2 class where 600cc production engines are utilised in prototype chassis.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our Breaking News section for an updated provisional calendar for the 2010 season.
Speaking of Moto2, the Tech 3 team announced that Raffaele de Rosa and Yuki Takahashi will be riding for it next season in the GP2 category, confirming the longstanding rumours that de Rosa had signed for the team.
Current MotoGP rider Toni Elias has been on track at Valencia for the Gresini Honda team, while his former teammate Alex de Angelis is also expected to join the category after recently missing out on a ride in MotoGP with the Scot team due to a lack of funding.
Spanish-based American Kenny Noyes will join the Antonio Banderas Racing team in Moto2 next year, moving into the world championship after a number of successful seasons in Spain’s Superbike series.
The category unfortunately lost two high class teams last week due to finances, with Kenny Roberts’ team withdrawing its entry, as did the Pramac Racing team in order to focus on MotoGP.
The Scot team will focus on Moto2, pulling out of MotoGP after a dreadful season with Gabor Talmacsi and a lack of funds to secure good riders or technicians for next season.
Many riders are awaiting the release of the 2010 Australian Superbike Championship calendar, with International Entertainment Group working feverishly toward next season.
What we do know is that the holdup is between adding a fourth V8 Supercar round to the schedule as three are currently listed on the provisional calendar, and IEG are still in negotiations with Phillip Island and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation regarding the World Superbike and MotoGP support events.
IEG does have a provisional calendar in place, but series director Yarrive Konsky is adamant that he won’t make the same mistake of announcing a calendar before it is officially confirmed and in place as he did one year ago.
That’s all we know for now, but anyhow, has everybody forgotten that the current series is going down to the wire with nine points separating the top three entering the final round at Phillip Island this month? I, for one, can’t wait.
Last weekend’s Canberra round of the Monster Energy Super X series was spectacular on a number of accounts, with a hard-packed surface and relatively small whoops creating some of the best racing of the season to date.
A revised schedule for the Triple Challenge format to increase the number of laps was a superb decision by Global Action Sports, again indicating their ability to adjust and work with the riders and teams to make the most of each and every round.
It was an emotional night for Jay Marmont after winning the race following the sad passing of his baby daughter Lila just two days earlier, taking advantage of a massive crash in the last final from Chad Reed.
At this point now that we’re four rounds into the series, Jay has won two rounds, Reardon one round and Reed one round, making for a wide-open finish to season 2009.
The Lites class has been an all Matt Moss affair as he continued his perfect streak in Canberra, but he did lose a race for the first time in the Super X season this year when American Kyle Cunningham won final two of three for the evening.
A big shout out also has to go to privateer KTM Dan McCoy after his podium performance at Canberra Stadium, getting up there and proving that he still has the ability to run with the best on Australia soil.
We reported that Mossy will be riding a 450 in New Zealand, but it seems that will only happen as long as he finds comfort on the bike in testing leading up to the race weekend. If he has the Lites title wrapped up a round early, you can definitely bet to see him on the 450 at the Brisbane finale.
It’s been revealed that Matt Moss will ride a 450 fulltime in the U.S. next year, fulfilling the ride that was originally pegged for his brother before his devastating arm injury in Tasmania’s opening Super X round.
As for Jake, he’s said to be working on a deal with the Canidae Rockstar Suzuki team to contest the Lites class, likely to be on the east coast for Supercross as he won’t quite be fit enough for the Anaheim west coast opener.
There’s been a lot of talk regarding the Moss brothers of late, but when you have two 21-year-olds who are that talented and are that determined, it’s easy to shine a lot of the media spotlight onto them.
That’s all for today’s Insider, thanks for reading.