MotoOnline.com.au looks back at a massive week on the Australian motorsport calendar.
Last weekend’s opening round of the Monster Energy Super X, Australasian Supercross Championship, was everything we hoped it would be and more, with Chad Reed coming out and putting on an exceptional show for his hometown fans at Newcastle.
Reed was phenomenal on a production bike with very minimal changes from stock – a far different beast compared with what he has been so used to riding in the States over much of the past decade.
The question is now though, will we see Reed again for the remainder of the series? He says not until he has an AMA ride secured for 2011 and has even gone as far to say he won’t be back at all in some cases.
But the thing is that Global Action Sports continues to promote him as being a starter, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out. I don’t think he’ll front the grid at Canberra this weekend, but maybe he’ll be back for Sydney and Brisbane to round out the season if his AMA deal comes together…
A severe blow for Aussie fans came last week that Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto wouldn’t be competing in Super X this year after previously being confirmed for Sydney and Brisbane, and G.A.S has lined up Kiwi Ben Townley and American Ivan Tedesco to replace him.
It will actually be good to see Townley over here onboard a factory Kawasaki before he leaves for Europe and a return to the Motocross World Championship, and don’t forget that he’ll also be at the New Zealand rounds.
Perhaps the most impressive guy on the night at Newcastle was Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen, winning the Eliminator Challenge to seal the first gate pick for the finals and the going on to take second overall in the main.
Hansen said he was feeling tight throughout practice after just minimal seat time in recent months, however he looked right at home and will contend for the title this year.
Fellow American Justin Brayton was also impressive on his Muscle Milk Toyota Yamaha that was pitted out of the CDR truck, showing great amounts of speed and even beginning a rivalry with Dan Reardon as the pair came together on two separate occasions during the night.
Brayton is only here for the first few rounds, so look for Hansen and Reardon to battle it out for the championship honours if Reed doesn’t show this weekend in Canberra. However, you can never count out Jay Marmont and he was a solid fifth at Newcastle.
The Aussie contingent is actually pretty strong this year with the likes of Tye Simmonds, Jake Moss, Dan McCoy and Todd Waters all seemingly able to challenge for podiums if the night goes their way, so keep an eye on them.
The biggest disappointment of the night had to be Mike Alessi, not because of his speed, but because of the sheer bad luck he suffered in both 12-lap main events.
Alessi will be strong in the up and coming rounds though, and I wouldn’t bet against him claiming a podium and maybe even winning a race or two if he can get his customary good starts dialed.
The Lites battle is only just heating up, because JDR Motorex KTM’s PJ Larsen won at Newcastle, but Matt Moss is back to defend his title for a third time with Rockstar Motul Suzuki.
Moss crashed in the first final and bounced back to win the second final after an epic dual with Larsen and Kawasaki’s Cody Mackie, and you would have to say that those three guys will go bar-to-bar on many more occasions before the year’s out.
We had a load of content from the season opener and will continue to do so as the season progresses, so make sure you keep checking back for daily updates in Breaking News direct from the stadium on Saturday, as well as films, images, interviews and more.
Also, don’t forget to check out our Supercross Tipping Competition, which can be found by licking this link. We’ll have round-by-round prizes, so even if you missed round one you’ll still have a chance at winning some cool memorabilia from the riders.
The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix has been run and won for another year, the end result being Casey Stoner’s fourth consecutive home victory for Ducati Marlboro.
Stoner is incredibly fast and consistent around the Island, making the best seem mediocre as he simply sprinted away from the start and made it look relatively easy.
Obviously it’s never easy to win at the pinnacle of the sport, but the most positive thing out of all of this is that Casey should be able to carry some good momentum into his testing debut on the Honda at Valencia next month.
The structure at HRC is yet to be revealed at this stage, however the latest is that Stoner will be on a third factory bike in his own team run by ex-Ducati man Livio Suppo, while Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will remain in Repsol colours.
We got away with the weather at Phillip Island for another year as rain was expected throughout the weekend, however a mostly dry race day resulted in a nice surprise for fans and riders even if it was cold and blustery.
The battle between Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden for third was an entertaining one that saw Rossi work his magic and deny Hayden of the rostrum, even creating a little bit of tension between the pair who will become teammates once again at Ducati in 2011.
As far as Australia goes, all the focus was on the incident involving Wayne Maxwell in his one-off ride with the Matteoni Racing team in the Moto2 World Championship event.
Maxwell was taken down by Spaniard Hector Faubel in Siberia on the opening lap before Maxwell proceeded to get up and fight Faubel, costing himself over $7000 in fines (5000 Euro). It looks like the Wayne Train might have to change his name to Mad Max…
In all seriousness though, he is a very professional athlete who puts his life into racing bikes, so on that front you can understand his anger when his opportunity to shine was taken away after he qualified so well in 11th. He may have overreacted but has since aplogised and accepted the fine, so let’s all move on from there and wish him the best in his future racing endevours wherever they may sit.
Apart from Maxwell in Moto2, Anthony West finished 21st and Alex Cudlin battled to 30th in his grand prix debuting, later saying that he never really got a good feeling with the chassis on his BQR machine.
Young Aussie wildcards Josh Hook and Joel Taylor did a good job in finishing 18th and 20th respectively in the 125cc Grand Prix category, and it was cool to see Kevin Schwantz getting behind Hook and showing his support throughout the weekend.
It was disappointing to see Dani Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi ruled out after qualifying at Phillip Island, shrinking the premier class grid to just 15 riders.
Phillip Island will mark the final time we’ll see Mika Kallio in MotoGP for now as he’s been let go by Pramac Ducati, and it’s believed Spanish WSBK star Carlos Checa will return to GP racing to round out the season. That will be good to watch as he’s been in good form this year and has plenty of GP experience.
The Australian Superbike support races saw Ducati make a historic return to the winner’s circle with Motologic team rider Jamie Stauffer, the former dual ASBK champion winning the final race to clinch the overall for Ducati’s first Aussie Superbike win in over 10 years.
With the hot rumour being the Motologic is switching back to Honda next year – denied by Free at Phillip Island – it makes you wonder why right when the Ducati is coming good and there are already a hoist of very capable Honda teams on the grid. Racing is a business afterall though, so we will have to see just what direction the ever-popular Motologic team will take for 2011.
It was an exciting weekend for the domestic Superbike riders in a non-championship event, with three different winners – Stauffer, Josh Waters and Shannon Johnson – all making their marks during the weekend.
Waters was hugely impressive upon return from injury to take fourth overall, riding safely but still being able to win in the wet second race, and the word is that he’s still very much hopeful of gaining a ride in the United States for next season despite his injury.
Johnson was another impressive performer for Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing on the CBR1000RR of Wayne Maxwell while he focused on Moto2 duties, taking the opening race win of the weekend and barely missing out on the overall.
Speaking of factory-supported riders on different manufacturer bikes, Trinder Brothers Racing Aprilia regular Daniel Stauffer was a surprise addition to the grid aboard a Shock Treatment/Jones XL Honda and did a good job throughout the weekend.
Rumour has it that Tasmania will be Johnson’s last with the KTM Superbike Team as uncertainty surrounds the future of that team, but we have heard that Glenn Allerton recently completed laps aboard the RC8R at Broadford… the only thing is that Allerton also recently signed for Yamaha to ride Formula Extreme for the remainder of this year, so who knows what 2011 will bring for the former ASBK champ.
Team Suzuki’s Troy Herfoss took another Supersport win at Phillip Island in the one and only race of the weekend after Friday’s events were cut from the schedule after a delay, and you’d have to think he’ll be on a Superbike next year for sure.
Herfoss will either replace an overseas-bound Josh Waters or a retiring Shawn Giles, however neither of those are confirmed and both could quite possibly remain where they are and do a good job once again.
Giles suffered a broken collarbone at Phillip Island in a dramatic Friday practice session that saw many of the top ASBK riders fall victim to the conditions, but there’s no word yet on weather he’ll continue or not in 2011 just yet from Suzuki.
If Herfoss does vacate the factory GSX-R600, the logical replacement would be Brodie Waters, the younger brother of Josh who has made massive inroads this season as a regular podium contender.
That’s all for today’s edition of the Insider, thanks as usual for reading!