MotoOnline.com.au looks at the world of motorcycle racing from this week, including ASBK, MotoGP, Oz MX and AMA SX.
Much of the news in the sport last week has surrounded Yamaha’s abandonment of the Australian Superbike Championship in favour of Formula Xtreme, but the aftershocks of that decision have been even more intriguing.
Rumour started straight away that current Supersport champion Bryan Staring would be packing his bags and leaving the YRT truck, confirmed on Monday as he debuted on a Honda CBR1000RR Superbike at Phillip Island.
Things moved fast in the Staring camp when he did decide to jump ship, setting up under the Full Throttle Sports banner with support from previous supporters Allect Racing.
You may recognise the FTS name, simply because it’s owned by Yarrive Konsky – who doubles as the Australian Superbike Championship promoter with International Entertainment Group alongside his FTS business, which currently fields Honda’s factory Motocross effort.
I don’t know that full story how it’s run, or who will be funding the project, however there have already been questions regarding how the promoter can support a race team in the series.
From a personal standpoint though, I’m pumped to see Staring get his chance on the Superbike again now that he’s got some experience and another title under his belt.
Following the news of Staring’s departure, Yamaha quickly signed Kevin Curtain to replace him to partner young guns Pat Medcalf and Rick Olson in FX this season.
Curtain had a rough end to 2009 after seemingly watching his career come to a close, but the latest happenings have revived his time in the saddle and will greatly add to the FX series.
One interesting thing to take note of is that Glenn Allerton was also in deep discussions with Yamaha about the FX role, however it looks as though he’ll continue with his privateer role in the ASBK on a Honda and will have himself a strong team to add to the series.
Apart from that we had another test at the Island on Monday, this time during a ride day, where it’s again reported that Jamie Stauffer was the unofficial fastest ASBK rider there on the day for Ducati Motologic.
Stauffer was this time joined by rookie teammate Jordy Burgess, who lapped in the 1:37 range and enjoyed his first laps on the 1198 R alongside his double champion teammate. Check out the Forum for an update from Jordy himself and also fellow rookie Kris McLaren (coolstunts45!) – we need more racers doing this!
Also in attendance were Team Joe Rocket Suzuki, Racers Edge Suzuki, ESG KTM and the aforementioned Staring, making for a fast group of contenders at the ride day.
The next test/ride day will be on Monday and Tuesday next week, where you can expect many on the list to be racers – with the word being that many ASBK competitors are on the waiting list already.
That test will also see the Phillip Island debut of Trinder Brothers Racing Aprilia, where Dan Stauffer is set to undergo his final preparations on the RSV4 Factory after limited laps at Queensland Raceway to date.
In wrapping up the ASBK news, has anybody else heard that the bikes will be live on television during the two-plus-four V8 Supercar rounds? That would be epic for the series, but IEG is yet to confirm the television deal that they’re working on at this stage despite the lingering speculation.
Last week saw the first test of 2010, where Valentino Rossi was the fastest both days at Sepang on the new-spec Yamaha YZR-M1, with Aussie Casey Stoner directly in tow.
It was a magnificent start for Rossi’s campaign to try and secure another world championship this year, however many industry insiders are tipping Ducati’s Stoner to come back stronger than ever before – you just can’t argue with his raw speed come race time.
While the testing was great to see all get underway for this season, it was a meeting between Dorna and the MSMA that produced much of the news for the test.
It has been revealed that 800cc engines are likely to remain in MotoGP during the 2012 season despite all previous indications having the category move to 1000cc motors that season.
The word is that 1000cc will be in use, but likely only for some of the field – potentially making for a transition year like we saw in 2002 where only the factory riders had the new motorcycles and the private teams had the older machines.
Back then it was a massive transition from 500GP two-strokes to MotoGP four-strokes, however you can expect either way that the factory contingent will be the strongest.
It was officially announced this week that Rockstar Energy Drink would be the title sponsor of the Australian Motocross Championship this year, introducing a television package for the series.
The Super X series has seen superb live TV coverage thanks to Monster Energy’s backing this year, so it’ll be unreal to see the likes of Jay Marmont and company on the tube in the MX Nationals this season.
So what’s the go with the television? The only confirmation that we’ve had is that all three classes – Pro Open, Pro Lites and Under 19s – will be covered, but there has been an ongoing rumour that a round or two may be live – we could only hope, however I’m not one to get greedy at this stage.
Yamaha officially announced its factory teams yesterday including the CDR Rockstar Yamaha, Serco Yamaha and Yamalube/GYTR/Rockstar Yamaha teams for the Pro Open, Pro Lites and Under 19s titles respectively. Click here for the complete rundown.
Suzuki is yet to announce its team, however as we’ve reported in many Insiders previously, New Zealander Cody Cooper will be partnering Lawson Bopping on the team in the Nationals before the Moss brothers return for Super X – all yet to be confirmed.
Here’s one for the Motocross fans who may not have been paying attention to our road race news this week: Full Throttle Sports is expanding its team – the factory Honda effort headed by Yarrive Konsky – to include a Superbike team with current Supersport champion Bryan Staring. As we all know, Konsky is also the ASBK series promoter with International Entertainment Group.
The best news out of the San Diego Supercross last weekend had to be that Chad Reed will likely be back for the Daytona round next month, dispelling any rumours that Australia’s double world champ would be sitting out the entire season.
From this point it would be spectacular to see Reed come back and get a win or two to round out the Supercross season on a strong note, but more so seeing him defend his national championship in the outdoors.
Back to San Diego, you have to hand it to Davi Millsaps for winning the round for Red Bull Honda Racing, but Josh Hill is the big danger man at this point in the season if you ask me – who woulda thought that it would be a San Manuel Yamaha other than James Stewart in championship contention at this point?
While Honda was celebrating Millsaps’ success this week, the bad news is that title contender Andrew Short will be out for up to six weeks following his crash in the main event last weekend, injuring his ankle in the process.
Speaking of Stewart, he’ll be back within the next round or two according to sources in the States, but there was also the news that he’ll have a television show that’ll span 10 episodes in the States beginning next month. It’s a behind the scenes look at Stewart, aptly named “Bubba’s World”.
Well, today is the day of the BMW S 1000 RR launch at Phillip Island, so I better get to it, thanks for reading everybody.