MotoOnline.com.au fires into the 2010 season with our first instalment of the Insider column for the New Year.
Hello and welcome to MotoOnline.com.au’s first instalment of the Racing Insider column for 2010, starting fresh at #1 and working our way throughout the year in what is set to be an epic year of two-wheel action worldwide.
Although there isn’t a whole lot happening in the world of racing right now as we await the season to begin, this Saturday night will see the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, kick off at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Australia’s very own double AMA and world champion Chad Reed will enter the new season fresh and ready to go on his Monster Kawasaki KX450F after wrapping up the Australasian Super X title just last month, possibly giving him a head start on arch rival James Stewart.
Stewart’s off-season has been clouded by a mysterious illness that forced him out of the Brisbane Super X, however he and the L&M Yamaha team have been hard at it with the revolutionary YZ450F and will be hard to beat in their title defence.
The big news so far during the pre-season has been Jason Lawrence’s release from jail after a four month sentence, released eight months early for good behaviour and immediately declaring he’ll line up at Anaheim with minimal bike time.
It’s going to be an action packed opener as always at A1, with Ryan Villopoto entering his second full season on the 450, Ryan Dungey stepping up at Rockstar Makita Suzuki, Davi Millsaps on the gas for Honda, and last year’s opening round winner Josh Grant back and as determined as ever, although his pre-season has had a last minute derailment with a broken nose in a testing crash.
For Australian fans we’ll have our fingers crossed that Dan Reardon is good to go on the MotoConcepts Yamaha after a few years in red, while Michael Byrne will surprisingly enter the round as a privateer riding a Kawasaki with support from Rockstar and Answer.
Reigning Australian Pro Lites Motocross and Supercross Champion Matt Moss is still recovering from his back injury suffered at Brisbane’s Super X finale, but expect him to debut with the factory Suzuki team in February between rounds five and eight of the 16 round series.
South Australian Brett Metcalfe will officially switch to the East Coast in the Lites class after recently injuring his ankle, the Geico Powersports Honda rider entering that series as a favourite next month. Jake Moss will also be on the East Coast for Rockstar Canidae Suzuki, hopefully healed in time from his devastating arm injury suffered at the Launceston Super X opener in October.
While our international stars are preparing for Supercross in the States, our domestic riders are well into their off-seasons awaiting the opening Australian Motocross Championship round to be held at Horsham at the end of March.
Many haven’t even ridden since Brisbane’s Super X final, instead having a well deserved break before the itch starts to kick in again and they begin pounding out practice laps at their local tracks.
Defending Pro Open champ Jay Marmont has had very little time on the bike since Brisbane, but he’ll start to focus further next week before the CDR Rockstar Yamaha team joins him in Wollongong for testing time next month.
Marmont has officially had his wedding to Abby during the off-season in a holiday to Thailand, before a New Years Eve wedding party took place to celebrate with friends, family and many familiar faces from the Motocross industry.
One team that we are all waiting to see is the new MXRAD effort now that it’s the factory KTM team, with Tye Simmonds and Ryan Marmont set to lead the charge in orange for 2010 while the word is that Andrew McFarlane will race the Nationals only – yet to be confirmed as far as we know.
Doggy Marmont will be fast back on the KTM, although his reunion with the 250SX-F didn’t go so well late last year on an ex-Kade Mosig bike, a mechanical fault causing a crash that put the former Lites champ in hospital under precaution for a couple of days. The end result was some fractured ribs, ruining plans for him to go and contest the first four West Coast AMA rounds this year. Big brother Jay has also confirmed that he won’t be heading Stateside as originally planned, instead having a break before the Nationals commence.
Dan McCoy will also be on KTM machinery again with Coastal KTM, although in a satellite effort to the factory team with MXRAD support.
It’s been very quiet on the Suzuki front, with Rockstar set to remain as the team’s title sponsor (alongside Motul again?), and we’re hearing that Lawson Bopping has been awarded with a seat on the factory team for the new year.
More interesting is Suzuki’s Open seat for the MX Nationals, with New Zealander Cody Cooper thought to be the man for the job for the outdoors before the Moss brothers, Matt and Jake, will return for Super X.
Honda is believed to be doing a similar thing, said to be hiring guys for the MX Nationals (more Kiwis?) before relying on international riders in its Super X campaign – apart from the already signed Todd Waters, of course.
While we are looking at favourites for the Nationals, let’s not forget that Cheyne Boyd will be back with Yamaha in 2010 alongside Marmont, the pair set to resume their epic battle from last season.
The factory Kawasaki team, now managed by Troy Carroll, will also be one to watch with Billy Mackenzie contesting the series, while Cody Mackie is no doubt going to be strong in his return to the Lites class.
We’ll bring more news when it comes as the season progresses.
By the way, congratulations to WEM for securing the rights to the series for the next decade. Kevin Williams and his team have really helped the sport progress in recent years and we’re hearing great things for this year as Rockstar has rejoined the series as the title sponsor and a television package is all but confirmed, set to air both the Pro Open and Pr Lites classes throughout the entire season.
This off-season has been one that seems to of dragged on forever as teams and riders scramble to piece together their 2010 puzzles, as is promoter International Entertainment Group in a bid to put on the best series possible.
There has been plenty of feedback for Yarrive Konsky and his team via MotoOnline’s very own forum pages in recent weeks during the holiday season (keep it up guys!), with the final calendar now released and said to be finalised.
Good or bad, our Moto Poll from this month has proven interesting so far in that the majority of voters have still declared the ASBK as the premier series for 2010, despite Formula Xtreme putting together a cost effective package in New South Wales and Victoria.
Either way, the Northern Territory is back on the calendar for the next five seasons at Hidden Valley with a large amount of government support behind it. The question is, will private teams be able to afford the time off work and the expense that goes with it? Time will tell.
Here is an updated team line up from what we know so far:
Team Joe Rocket Suzuki: Josh Waters, Shawn Giles, Robbie Bugden (satellite), Troy Herfoss (Supersport)
ESG KTM: Shannon Johnson, Chris Trounson (Superstock A)
Motologic Ducati (TBC): Jamie Stauffer, Jordan Burgess
TBR Aprilia: Dan Stauffer, Cole Odendaal (Superstock A), Jackson Leigh-Smith (Superstock A)
Yamaha Racing Team: Bryan Staring (Supersport), Pat Medcalf (Supersport), Rick Olson (Superstock 1000 – TBC)
GAS Honda Dealer Team: Wayne Maxwell (TBC), Kris McLaren (satellite), Glenn Allerton (satellite – TBC)
Aluma-lite Ducati: Ben Attard (Superstock A – TBC)
Racers Edge Performance Suzuki: Scott Charlton
Triumph: Christan Casella (Supersport)
That’s about all we know at this stage, although Allerton could have some surprises up his sleeve in a number of series for the New Year if plans come to fruition on a number of levels.
Watch this space…
In wrapping up the ASBK section, how about we have a guess at what company will be the new title sponsor for 2010? Insure My Ride and Motul have confirmed that they’ll be back as presenting sponsors, but what will be the big one for IEG’s second season now that Woodstock’s out?
The only real piece of international road racing news that we have this morning that hasn’t been published in our Breaking News section is the fact that Italian supremo Davide Tardozzi will be joining BMW Motorrad for 2010.
Tardozzi sensationally left Ducati at the close of last season but has now admitted to British MCN that he’ll be part of BMW’s WBSK effort with Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus, managing the pair in a reunion for the trio of sorts.
Don’t forget that Andrew Pitt will also be on a satellite S 1000 RR, so hopefully he’ll take advantage of added development from the factory team when the season commences.
For now though, that’s all we have to start off season 2010 here at Moto HQ, stay tuned as the pre-season fires up and all final seats are finally confirmed in place throughout the world.