Better late than never, MotoOnline.com.au takes its weekly look at the world of motorcycle racing behind the scenes.
First of all, I must apologise for the late arrival of today’s Insider column, largely because time flies when you’re working to magazine deadlines in between website updates and then have a quick trip to Ducati thrown in for good measure. But anyhow, here we are as usual, so enjoy!
It’s race week for the 2010 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals series, set to commence this weekend at Horsham in Victoria, where MotoOnline.com.au will be live at the track giving news updates and posting video content throughout Sunday’s action.
Don’t forget to get your tips in for our first running of the official Tipping Competition here on MO, which you can find in the forum right here. Make sure you tell your friends that it’s on because a bit of bench racing is always great fun for everyone!
This week has largely been a week of last minute testing for the teams, with many of the factory stars having their first outings on their race bikes that they’ll take to the track on the weekend.
MotoOnline blog contributor and defending double Pro Open champion Jay Marmont flew down to Melbourne on Monday for the day to break in his new YZ450F alongside teammate Cheyne Boyd, while other teams have done much the same around the country. Boyd is confident and looking to bounce back from injury suffered in Super X, and we all know just how fast he can be in the great outdoors when he puts his head down.
The in form man right now seems to be Dean Ferris, the ex-factory Honda young gun turned privateer winning the Sunshine State round at Hervey Bay last weekend and making the big names take note after beating both Todd Waters and Andrew McFarlane in Queensland.
I spoke to Scottish Kawasaki rider Billy MacKenzie on Tuesday for our regular Moto Talk piece, having a bit of a laugh as Billy sounded very relaxed coming into the season – his first in Oz.
BillyMac has also been seriously fast in Queensland according to sources, making for a very uncertain opening round when the big guns hit the track come race day.
Another who has reportedly been on the gas is Tye Simmons, the JDR Motorex KTM rider acclimatising to his brand new 350 SX-F and possibly the man who will shock come Sunday afternoon if everything goes to plan.
In speaking to a host of top guys this week as I looked for a few hints as to who to tip in the competition, many said they felt Kiwi Cody Cooper is coming in under the radar for Suzuki considering his international experience and the fact that he has just come off the outdoor season in New Zealand.
Catch a glimpse of Cooper in a cool video that Suzuki Australia sent through this week tomorrow, and you have to say that the team is looking sweet in their new One Industries gear.
This weekend’s win is anyone’s guess, but we’ll be there amongst the action so don’t forget to log on come Sunday for updates as they happen. Also check out our Twitter page at twitter.com/motoonline for updates on the fly!
It’s been a horrible season for the Aussies so far in American Supercross, the biggest blow being Chad Reed’s injury that has ruled him out of the season and championship chase.
Reedy’s return isn’t yet confirmed, but check out this video from Kawasaki to catch up with Australia’s best and find out how his recovery’s going so far as of Dallas Supercross.
While Matt Moss won’t likely debut with Rockstar Makita Suzuki until at least the Nationals, twin brother Jake rejoined the injury list last weekend at Dallas after a first turn pile-up saw him suffer a broken knuckle, which saw the tendon ripped off the bone according to reports. He’s supposedly going to try and ride this weekend at Jacksonville in Florida.
There’s been no official confirmation just yet (that I’ve seen) that Dan Reardon has parted ways with the MotoConcepts Yamaha team, although sources indicate that they have in fact split, meaning the Queenslander will hopefully pick up a seat elsewhere in time for the outdoors.
Last week’s MotoGP test at Qatar was a good one for Casey Stoner, the Aussie setting the pace on his Desmosedici GP10 to remove Valentino Rossi’s pre-season dominance at the final moment.
Held under lights at the Losail Circuit under a month from the opening round at the same venue, Stoner was at his best around Qatar and lapped within a tenth of his qualifying record.
The big news of the test wasn’t the usual suspects up front, but more so that Dani Pedrosa was 13th fastest and 1.5 seconds off the pace while factory Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso was a credible third. Let’s hope Dani works it all out come race time.
Impressive rookie Ben Spies rode his Monster Yamaha Tech3 machine to a solid fourth overall despite a pair of crashes in Turn Two, although many of the leading riders crashed at the point for one reason or another during the test.
Stoner’s Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden made it two Americans in the top five behind Spies, continuing his solid form during the pre-season and edging out Rizla Suzuki veteran Loris Capirossi, again impressing on the Suzuki with yet more developments to the engine.
Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo returned from injury to place seventh overall, but was still in large amounts of pain, so expect him to be that much stronger come race time in a few weeks.
We reported with a news story this week on the confusing process that Garry McCoy’s FB Corse team is experiencing right now, first with the team announcing that they’d gained permission to race in MotoGP before then taking a step backward and admitting that they’ll have to complete one more test before they’re ready to take to the grid. Either way, the earliest we’ll see Mr Squiggle in action is Jerez’s third round – the first event of the European swing of the series.
This weekend sees World Superbike host its first European round of 2010, the Portimao round being moved to the early part of the season at the popular Portuguese track.
There have been a few last minute changes with Makoto Tamada replacing Roland Resch at the Reitwagen BMW team, however the word is that Tamada’s regular Pro Ride Honda is already struggling for funding.
The bad news for Aussies is that Broc Parkes is ruled out again and his replacement for both Portimao and Valencia’s third round is South African Sheridan Morais – Josh Brookes deciding to focus on his British Superbike prospects after a nightmare Phillip Island round in place of Parkes.
Queenslander Chris Vermeulen is highly doubtful for the round, although he’ll be in attendance with Kawasaki, which would mean that BMW riders Troy Corser and Andrew Pitt will be the lone Aussies on hand for round two.
Even still, I’m looking forward to the round and am all set for the regular racing season to fire into life fulltime once again… this off-season seems to have gone quick, but still not quick enough!
That’s all for today, thanks for reading once again.