Read up on the latest in the sport in this week's edition of the Racing Insider column.
The Toowoomba round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals will go down in the record books as an action-filled weekend on track, however much of the attention and emotion still surrounded the sad death of Andrew McFarlane at the Broadford round two weeks prior.
There were a lot of shorts, stickers, banners and more floating around Queensland’s Echo Valley over the weekend, with the sport bracing together to remember the former national champion and world number two.
Monday marked Sharky’s funeral and many remained in the state to attend and celebrate his life, with international heroes Chad Reed and Michael Byrne flying in from the USA to attend and remember Andrew.
As difficult as funerals are, it was a nice way to remember Sharky with the various stories and memories that were reflected upon throughout the day and also over the weekend for that matter.
Cameron McFarlane actually completed a lap of the track to lead the field around on a number seven JDR Motorex KTM before the first Pro Open moto on Sunday, obviously an emotional moment for him as the brother of Sharky.
As far as the racing goes, Jay Marmont is leading the series as we move past the halfway point of the series, the defending champion again proving that consistency is vital.
Former series leader Todd Waters suffered a massive crash on the main straight in moto and suffered a broken collarbone, undergoing surgery on Tuesday and hoping to ride at Raymond Terrace in a fortnight.
His fellow Honda rider, Dean Ferris, suffered the same crash just a few laps earlier, avoiding injury and making his way back out for moto three in a borrowed custom painted Monster Energy helmet after he wrecked his in the fall.
You have to hand it to Tye Simmonds, who only just celebrated his 18th birthday in the week leading up to the event, stepping up to finish second overall in his race debut with Sharky’s number seven and he’s gunning for the title before heading to the U.S. next season.
Simmonds challenged for the win in the final moto and was on the gas all day, but in the end a collision with a crashed lapper ruined his hope of trying to put a move on Marmont in the third moto.
A massive question mark remained over Billy Mackenzie before the weekend after spending four weeks off the bike with his broken hand suffered in Canberra, but he managed to get it done in his fight to regain points on the title lead.
Word is that there’s another top British Motocross contender heading over for the Raymond Terrace weekend – one that’s believed to be able to challenge BillyMac according to rumours.
As for the Lites, what can you say about PJ Larsen? The American is super fast, proving consistent, and is really enjoying his time in Australia. I think he was surprised to enter the round second in the series and then leave with a 24-point lead after former title leader Kirk Gibbs had a horror round.
Larsen is going home directly after the Raymond Terrace round for a few weeks, before coming back to try and wrap up the title as a rookie in the second half of the season.
Also, remember we currently have a Ringmaster Images competition running on MotoOnline, so check it out and get your entries in today!
Monday and Tuesday marked the Queensland Raceway ASBK test organised by the teams, however a massive oil spill on the first day of the test slightly held up the proceedings after the Superbikes were scheduled only for a half-day following the Drift Cars in the morning.
There have been various reports regarding the test as per usual when there’s no official timing on hand, and all the top teams were in attendance testing for next month’s race weekend apart from the KTM Superbike Team and Valvoline Superbike Team – both run by Evolution Sports Group.
Valvoline team rider Glenn Allerton is again overseas contesting the Asian Road Race Championship, riding the Yamaha YZF-R6 in Japan this weekend before jetting back for the Queensland ASBK round in a few weeks time.
We’ll see if we can get more news on the test in the coming days, but the general report is that the times are again a couple of seconds from the previous pace due to the switch to lower spec control tyres in 2010.
Just quickly on MotoGP this week as the series heads to Le Mans in France, the word is out of Europe that Fiat Yamaha is preparing to keep just one mega star out of the current dream team of Vale Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
The question is, what one should Yamaha keep? It’s known that Ducati is interested in Rossi, and Honda is keen on Lorenzo, so at this stage it would seem that expectations are that one may leave.
What’s interesting is that some of it hinges around Casey Stoner, because if he leaves Ducati and joins Honda then that would seemingly close the HRC door for Lorenzo, also opening up the door at Ducati for Rossi.
It’s a complex situation right now since we are so early in the season, but all indications are that at least one of the leading three will change teams for next season.
What’s going on with the Ducati Xerox team in 2010? First, Nori Haga struggles, wins a race out of the blue at Valencia, and then goes back to struggling again.
Now, Michel Fabrizio goes from a horrible weekend at home at Monza, to winning race one in South Africa last weekend, and then finishing eighth in the second race!
An interesting statistic coming out of the weekend was that in race one on Sunday, Haga’s race time was a whopping 36 seconds slower than his time from 2009, while Fabrizio’s race-winning time was within half a second of last year after 24 laps of racing.
It certainly is a mystery just what’s going on over there, but let’s hope they figure it out sometime soon.
They may just figure it out at Miller’s next round in the States since the FIM awarded twin-cylinder machines a three kilogram break after Kyalami, and I’ve heard various people state that it’s not fair Ducati gets to lower their weight just because they are struggling.
In fact, that’s not the case at all. When the series switched to 1200cc for twin-cylinder machines in 2008, it was decided that a system would be worked from the average points scored by the bike’s capacity, etc. It just so happens that Ducati’s poor results of late mean that they are in the range to strip the weight due to a lack of points compared to the four-cylinders.
Roll on, Miller!
I went to Nitro Circus Live at the Acer Arena in Sydney on Friday night before heading to Queensland for the MX Nationals on Saturday, and I can assure you that you’ll be a fan if you get to see it when the circus hits your town.
I won’t spoil the surprises of the show, but there’s no doubt that Global Action Sports have again rised to the challenge and created a spectacular show that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the night.
Big shout out to FOX’s Mick Sinclair for getting us backstage behind the scenes on the night too, thanks!
That’s all for this week’s Insider, we’ll be back for more next week.