News 1 Sep 2010

Racing Insider #35 again delivers the latest in an action-packed week of world motorcycle racing.

There has been massive amounts of speculation regarding the future of Aussie Chad Reed recently.

There has been massive amounts of speculation regarding the future of Aussie Chad Reed recently.

There has been so much speculation regarding Chad Reed in recent weeks, mostly revolving around what colour bike and what gear he’ll be wearing in 2011.

For Australian fans, we may be in for a treat as – like last year – Chad could make his debut on home soil in new colours at the Monster Energy Super X opener if that’s the path he does in fact choose to follow.

Reedy’s relationship with Kawasaki this year has no doubt been rocky from the beginning, with indications at the first few rounds of Super X being that he wasn’t completely comfortable on the KX450F and it all seemed to spiral from there.

The highlight of his year this year was certainly his Hangtown win to kick off the outdoor season in style, but from there it slowly went downhill to the point where we’re at now.

Rumour has it that Red Bull Honda is on the cards for the AMA next year and that Chad may show up to Super X on a ‘privateer’ CRF450R, which fits in nicely with the fact that his cousin and good friend Craig Anderson is also campaigning his own Hondas for Super X.

But another interesting thing that I noticed on Twitter this morning was that CR ‘retweeted’ the following post by KTM North America president Jon-Erik Burleson: “I think this week will go down as one of the best for @KTMUSA. Stoked for what’s to come!”

Now, I’m probably looking into it far too much, but how cool would it be to see our very own Chad Reed onboard a KTM in the future? Either way, KTM looks to have something big in the works.

The Super X season is drawing closer every week for its 16 October opening night at Newcastle in New South Wales, so stay tuned for some last-minute rider announcements that are sure to filter through over the next few weeks.

Confirmation came of the most vital rider signing in the Australian Motocross paddock this week when Yamaha announced that it will be retaining Jay Marmont for a fourth straight season.

Marmont had been speculated to be joining JDR Motorex KTM by many industry sources, however he says he was certain all along that he would remain with the CDR Rockstar Energy Yamaha outfit after a glorious three seasons to date.

Like we’ve said earlier, expect Marmont to be joined by international star Josh Coppins in the MX Nationals, before an American guest rider or two will likely partner him for next year’s Super X season.

That said, it looks as though Cheyne Boyd is out of a seat at Yamaha, but don’t be surprised to see him pick up a position at either Suzuki or Honda if a deal can be struck.

It’s believed that Jake Moss is returning home next year fulltime and you’d have to rank him as a favourite for Rockstar Motul Suzuki, however there are still whispers that he’s in negotiations along with twin brother Matt to join Kawasaki.

Kawasaki is already a full house though with Billy Mackenzie and Cody Mackie, so we’re not quite sure how that would all pan out. Watch this space…

Cougar Bourbon Honda currently has Todd Waters onboard and you’d think it would be a smart move to retain him as he’s about to reach his potential, but Ford Dale also seems to be a favourite of team owner Yarrive Konsky’s.

We can’t forget the JDR Motorex KTM team either since it’s been all but confirmed that they’re starting an American-based team (you only have to visit for proof).

You can bet that PJ Larsen will be on the team and it’s also anticipated that Tye Simmonds will be too, opening up two of the most sought-after seats in Aussie Motocross.

Under 19s Champion Josh Cachia will step up to the factory team in the Pro Lites and all indications have Ryan Marmont joining the Pro Open class on the 350 SX-F, so that leaves at least one position available in orange for next year.

As usual, we’re speculating far too early, however the silly season continues to inch forward year after year, making for some of the most fun and confusing bench-races of the whole year!

Monday’s Phillip Island Ride Day featured a field full of Australian Superbike regulars as many of the series’ top men gathered some last-minute preparation before next weekend’s two-plus-four round.

While lap times aren’t legally permitted at ride days, we’re hearing that some pretty impressive laps were in fact laid down during the ‘test’, probably largely thanks to Dunlop’s new 200-profile rear tyre that was introduced recently.

Some were expecting Josh Waters to make his return to riding at the ride day, however that didn’t happen, so it’ll once again be a waiting game to see whether or not he’ll be ready to go come race time.

One man who wasn’t on hand at the test was Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing’s Wayne Maxwell, who was instead over at the Cadwell Park round of British Superbike with good friend and fellow Aussie Josh Brookes.

It doesn’t take the brains of Einstein to work out that Maxwell was probably over there putting out the feelers for a BSB switch for 2011, which would have to be the ultimate goal of his for the new year if he wants to make progress in his career at this stage.

Ducati Motologic Racing team rider Jordy Burgess will likely be forced to sit out the Phillip Island round due to his broken foot suffered at Queensland Raceway. It’s a tough blow for the Superbike rookie who thoroughly enjoys the Island, however it’s always best to compete at full fitness.

Burgess’s injury comes as bad news for the series since we have a dwindling grid that could potentially be made up of less than 10 riders if you discard the Superstock bikes, and two of the best bikes in the pits may just be sitting pretty on display come the weekend.

The toughest thing in racing these days seems to be finding a replacement rider for the regulars to keep the bikes on track.

In other news, Ben Attard announced via Facebook yesterday that he has officially retired from racing effective immediately following Aluma-Lite Racing’s decision to quit the ASBK last month.

Ben Attard (12) has retired from racing, while a broken foot will rule Jordy Burgess (obs.) out of the Phillip Island two-lus-four next weekend.

Ben Attard (12) has retired from racing, while a broken foot will rule Jordy Burgess (obs.) out of the Phillip Island two-plus-four next weekend. Image: TBG Sport.

The confirmation of Ben Spies signing with Yamaha’s factory team and Nicky Hayden re-signing with Ducati to partner Valentino Rossi came as good news for Americans on the Indy weekend, meaning that only Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa need to be confirmed to complete the major signings of 2011.

Suzuki will retain Alvaro Bautista and it’s now said that they’ve made a big money approach to snatch Randy de Puniet from LCR Honda, however Italian sources are reporting that the Frenchman will stay put at LCR for another year on what is very competitive equipment.

Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal confirmed at Indy that they are in the final negotiations with Cal Crutchlow, while Texan Colin Edwards could remain if Yamaha USA can sweeten the deal with some additional funding – something that seems likely to happen.

Aussie Casey Stoner continues to rage over riders getting in his way during practice and qualifying, this time pointing out his ongoing feud with Pramac Ducati’s Mika Kallio.

A crash during the race dashed Stoner’s hopes of picking up his first win of the year and also put an end to his podium streak, so let’s hope he can get off to a fresh start with Honda for 2011.

Many teams on hand at Indy had Ohlins’ 2011 model forks on hand even if they didn’t work so well in the USA compared to the Brno test, however Yamaha won’t be usuing the forks at all for the remainder of the year at this stage.

And the reason? Yamaha’s policy is to only run new parts if there’s a minimum of three available for the team. Instead, Ohlins only made two sets available so they will be sticking to the current forks for now.

Bring on Misano this weekend… Rossi has won the last two GPs there at home and I have a feeling this round could be his turning point if he can manage to restore confidence after an uncharacteristic three crashes during practice at Indy.

A big name guest was on hand at Indy in NASCAR star Juan Pablo Montoya, who went for a joyride on the back of Ducati’s two-seat Desmosedici with Randy Mamola at the helm. Television star Jay Leno was also on hand for race day.

In finishing on the subject of MotoGP, our thoughts go out to the family of talented 13-year-old American Peter Lenz, who was killed at Indianapolis last weekend in a support race while competing on his Moriwaki MD250H.

The Superbike World Championship will return to action this weekend in Germany, and the good news for Australia is that Broc Parkes has secured a seat on the factory Kawasaki Supersport team.

Parkes quit the uncompetitive Echo CRS Honda Superbike squad last week and immediately tested a ZX-6R at Almeria in Spain, likely to finish out the season with the team.

Ducati and Aprilia are actually testing at Mugello this week with their test teams, and after such a long time out of the saddle, Michel Fabrizio, Nori Haga and Max Biaggi have all attended the test as a warm-up for this weekend’s race.

The announcement that Ducati has quit Superbike racing came as a huge surprise last weekend, but in reality their involvement will be quite similar to that of the leading Japanese manufacturers as they all field heavily-supported ‘satellite’ teams in the series.

Althea Ducati is the main team likely to take up the ‘factory’ Ducati reins, and Spanish veteran Carlos Checa will remain on the team for another season in 2011.

It depends on the budget Althea can put together whether or not they’ll have a high profile teammate alongside Checa next season. It’s said that Haga is going to Kawasaki and Fabrizio to BMW in the wake of Ducati’s news.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by!

Althea Ducati and Carlos Checa will likely lead Ducati's charge in WSBK 2011.

Althea Ducati and Carlos Checa will likely lead Ducati's charge in WSBK 2011.