MotoOnline.com.au looks at various topics in the world of racing, this week including ASBK, WSBK, MotoGP, Oz MX and AMA SX.
The calm is here before the storm right now, but the fact is that we are just over one month away from the opening round of the 2010 Australian Superbike Championship.
There has been no title sponsor for the series announced as yet after Woodstock and series promoter International Entertainment Group went its separate ways, so that will be one topic to keep an eye on as the season draws closer.
Many of the top guns have revealed their whereabouts for the new season by now, however we eagerly await the news of what 2008 champion Glenn Allerton will be doing along with 2003 champ Craig Coxhell.
The Allerton has been supremely quiet since it was confirmed that Motologic would be fielding Ducati equipment with Jamie Stauffer and Jordy Burgess on board, while Wayne Maxwell has taken Honda’s support with him to G.A.S Honda Racing.
Speculation first suggested that Allerton would be on a satellite Honda with the G.A.S effort, but that now seems like a no go for the rider who won five races just last season.
It’s astounding to think that a rider of Allerton’s caliber is yet to secure a deal for 2010 at this late stage, however don’t think that he’ll be on the sidelines come round one – he’s won races as a privateer in his own team structure before and I don’t doubt that he can do it again if need be.
As for Coxhell, his direction has been more difficult to track throughout the off-season. The 6 Hour winner, alongside Russell Holland and Gareth Jones, and current top ASBK privateer will continue with CJC Racing if funding is sourced, a team formed by he and his family last year and proving a professional outfit for the series. Bisley Workwear is back for another run, although another sponsor will be required before the team officially gets the green light to go racing.
In speaking to Craig this afternoon, the latest is that he has completed laps on a BMW S 1000 RR at Phillip Island this week while helping Reitwagen Racing World Superbike rider Roland Resch learn the circuit on a production-spec bike.
Coxhell said it’s the best production bike he has ever ridden and couldn’t believe the power it had for a stock bike, also admitting that riding an S 1000 RR could be an option for this year if the budget can be sourced by his team.
Wouldn’t it be exceptional if the likes of Allerton and Coxhell built their own teams, built them up and made professional efforts of them? It would be kind of like what Troy Carroll has done in Motocross with factory Kawasaki backing for this year.
Also on hand at Phillip Island was Maxwell and the G.A.S team, debuting its new bike for the season ahead and getting in some early test time before next month’s opener.
Christan Casella was also reportedly on track testing for the new factory-backed Triumph team on the Daytona 675, which will be one to watch in the 2010 title chase.
We’ll have more info in Breaking News next week following the first official test of the year hosted by IEG at Phillip Island on 28-29 January.
The big news this morning was the revelation that Garry McCoy has been axed from the BE1 Racing Triumph team after it was already announced that he’d be the rider for the 2010 season.
McCoy earned Triumph’s first podium in 40 years at a world championship level, but obviously that doesn’t mean much to the BE1 team as they’ll replace the veteran Aussie with American Jason Disalvo, who’ll join Chaz Davies on the team.
What’s interesting about the new team line-up is that Davies and Disalvo will make up the factory team, while former world champion Sebastien Charpentier and Spaniard David Salom will ride satellite bikes under the same banner.
The provisional entry lists have been released and are missing the likes of Mark Aitchison and Anthony West in these late stages, which is a real shame, while Makoto Tamada is a surprise addition to the Superbike series on a Honda according to Crash.
Testing will officially commence for 2010 at Portimao in Portugal this weekend, where we’ll get our first glimpse of how the New Year may pan out with an all-new line-up in many instances.
The MotoGP World Championship has been in limbo for quite some time as we await the start of testing to be held at Sepang in Malaysia at the start of next month.
Vale Rossi is driving cars, Ben Spies is riding at least five hours a day on his road bicycle, Jorge Lorenzo is Twittering like crazy and Col Edwards is nursing his newborn baby, so I guess it’s safe to say those guys are looking forward to getting back on two wheels.
We saw plenty of news about Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden during last week’s Wrooom Press Ski Event in Italy, and you can bet those guys can’t wait to sample the latest evolution of the Desmosedici GP10.
This off-season has felt like it’s taken forever, so until then, we’ll move on to some Aussie Motocross news.
The MX Nationals is another season that’s coming up quickly, securing Rockstar as the title sponsor once again for 2010 and shaping up to be one of the greatest yet.
The round formats are yet to be released or the television coverage that has been speculated for quite some time, however judging by WEM’s past you can bet that it will live up to expectations when revealed.
The Lakes Summercross in New South Wales was our first real chance to see some of the main players in action for the new season, with both Danny Anderson and Matt Ryan were said to be in great form alongside returning star Luke George.
I’m excited to see the progress that the series will be making this year, firstly to see Craig Anderson on a Husqvarna running his own team, but also to witness the likes of Jay Marmont and Cheyne Boyd going at it as teammates for CDR Yamaha again on the new YZ450F.
Tye Simmonds will be on the 450 with JDR Motorsports/Motorex/KTM, and we’ll also see Andrew McFarlane in orange on the team while PJ Larsen and Ryan Marmont spearhead the team’s Lites campaign.
Billy Mackenzie will be one to watch and very much an unknown for Kawasaki in the Opens, while Cody Mackie will be a standout in the Lites following a solid season on the 450 last year.
Honda has lost Woodstock as the title sponsor, with a new one said to be in negotiations as we speak, but we can confirm that it’s likely that team will be made up of Todd Waters in the Open class while Kiwi Michael Phillips will be in the Lites on the new EFI CRF250R. Expect internationals to be imported for Super X.
Rockstar Motul Suzuki is yet to announce its line-up either, but as we said a couple of weeks ago, Cody Cooper is in the frame for the Opens and Lawson Bopping for the Lites. Again, international-based riders will be back home for Super X.
Having the international riders come home for Super X really puts a spanner in the works when our domestic guys are negotiation their contracts, simply because their worth is possibly pushed down somewhat because teams can rely on the overseas riders to come home and do the job with maximum exposure in Super X.
It’s an interesting time in the sport right now.
Hasn’t this season been an epic one to date? It’s been disastrous for Australia’s Chad Reed after not finishing both of the opening rounds, and the bad news continues since he’ll sit out another six following surgery to his broken hand.
We’ve covered the Reed/James Stewart incident enough this week, as have websites all around the world, so we now have to focus our attention to the sterling job that rookie wonder Ryan Dungey is doing for Rockstar Makita Suzuki.
Stewart is going to have his hands full defending that number one plate for L&M Yamaha whether Reedy is in it or not, and last weekend’s podium in Phoenix displays the talent that is emerging as threats – young guns Dungey, Ryan Villopoto and Josh Hill.
Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Matt Moss can perform up to Suzuki’s expectations when he returns from a broken back for Indianapolis, and that Dan Reardon can shake off any lingering injuries that forced him out of Phoenix after his gigantic Anaheim heat crash at round one.
There’s been plenty of speculation that Michael Byrne would be replacing Josh Grant at JGR Yamaha for upcoming rounds following Grant’s requirement of shoulder surgery, and Grant even admitted the possibility himself last week.
Now, the word is that Kawasaki are also keen to give Burner a shot on Reedy’s bike while he’s out, so if I were Burner I’d go for the option that offers some kind of stability for the remainder of the year if he gets good results on the bike as a replacement rider.
One last piece of information on Reed today is that he is now ranked the fifth biggest sports earner according to BRW’s annual Top 50 Australian Sports Earners after last year, with $8.8 million, dropping down to him down from the number three spot from the year before. We’ll have a full story on this including the position of MotoGP star Casey Stoner when the list is officially released tomorrow.
We’ll have to see what happens from this point, that’s all for today!