News 19 Jan 2011

Moto Insider #2

MotoOnline looks at the latest topics in the sport in our weekly Insider column.

MotoOnline.com.au will be in the thick of the AMA Supercross action accross the next few weeks.

MotoOnline.com.au will be in the thick of the AMA Supercross action accross the next few weeks. Image: Hoppenworld.com.

American Supercross
This weekend will see the third round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship take place, the series making its debut at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.

The good news for MotoOnline readers is that we’ll be there to capture all the action as the site transforms into a U.S. special over the next few weeks, beginning with this weekend.

While the American sites set the benchmark in AMA coverage, we’ll be looking to go behind the scenes with the Aussies and continue building on our expanded coverage that has seen us complete Post Race interviews with Chad Reed and Ryan Marmont already after the opening two rounds.

Keep an eye out for that as we base ourselves in the States for the ultimate moto adventure.

Speaking of Reed, he improved one position to fourth last weekend at Phoenix and won his heat race, so could this be the weekend that he gives his very own TwoTwo Motorsports team its first ever main event podium? Let’s hope so… we’d love to be there to see it.

Marmont put forward a very solid heat race himself in the Lites at Phoenix to take third before a crash dashed his hopes in the main, but he has confirmed this week that he’ll remain in the U.S. for the next three rounds at LA, Oakland and Anaheim 2. He was originally planned to be returning home this week.

I’ve been watching South Aussie Brett Metcalfe so far and although he has pretty much finished where most expected as a 450 rookie, it looks as though he could chip away during the year and really be in the running for a top five overall come May’s finale in Vegas.

We’re still awaiting the return of Queenslanders Dan Reardon and Michael Byrne to the series as they recover from injury, with Reardon expected back any round now. As for Byrne, he told us via Twitter this week that he’s just started rehab and he should be back in action in “a few weeks”.

All things considered, especially the battle that’s brewing between series leader Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart, it looks as though this year really is going to live up to the hype.

Australian Supercross
We finally got confirmation this week that JDR Motorsports KTM’s PJ Larsen is the 2010 Super X, Australasian Supercross Champion, in the Lites class after Suzuki’s appeal wasn’t successful.

It’s been a long road to an official result and I know that many involved in the situation have been left disappointed in the situation from both sides. However, we now have a champion and Larsen was a very welcome addition to the Aussie scene last year.

We’re seeing Super X Open Champion Josh Hansen dominate the West Coast Regional Lites series in the AMA with two wins from two so far, and I wouldn’t mind betting that Larsen could be the big surprise when the East Coast series begins shortly.

Interestingly, Matt Moss is now part of the JDR KTM outfit and he’s been riding the 250SX-F as of last week. Wondering how he is going so far? We’re hearing from very reliable sources that he’s comfortable on the bike and is on the gas already.

Will Troy Herfoss be Team Suzuki's lone full time factory ASBK contender?

Will Troy Herfoss be Team Suzuki's lone full time factory ASBK contender? Image: Andrew Gosling/TBG Sport.

Australian Superbike
Okay, so Suzuki Australia have confirmed that Josh Waters is doing a partial season in the ASBK, but we already knew that. He’s set to do a wild card at the Phillip Island World Superbike opener for Yoshimura Suzuki, which effectively rules him out of the ASBK round for that weekend.

What we do know is that he’ll be at Tasmania’s second round of the series one week later, but from that point his future is anybody’s guess. The question is, was he always supposed to do a part-time season in the ASBK, or have he and Team Suzuki simply turned their back on a shot at the ASBK title in favour of giving him an opportunity to shine against the world’s best at the Island?

To be honest, I’m not certain and it’s kind of irrelevant right now, but even if he does miss the first two races of the ASBK at the Island, that doesn’t exactly rule him out of the title chase altogether if he completes the rest.

What would be cool would be to see him do the WSBK wild card and possibly some additional ones overseas, plus a few ASBK rounds, a few AMA SBK rounds and a few BSB rounds. That would be a dream year for many, but it’s pure speculation/hope on our side at this point.

With long time Suzuki star Shawn Giles announcing his retirement yesterday, that leaves Troy Herfoss as the lone confirmed (even if it hasn’t been released by Suzuki officially) full time factory Suzuki Superbike rider in Australia – as a rookie at that.

Brodie Waters will take over from Herfoss in the Supersport ranks at Suzuki, but surely the team will draft in a second regular on the Superbikes to support Herfoss? That is unless Josh Waters is doing all but the Phillip Island opening round.

We’ll have to wait and see what exactly pans out with this one since the likes of Glenn Allerton, Shannon Johnson and other high profile names still haven’t been confirmed for the year.

Both rode for Evolution Sports Group last year, but it’s been confirmed that ESG and KTM are separating for 2011 and there will be no factory-supported RC8Rs on the grid this year.

There is still a chance that Allerton will remain on a Honda with support from Wayne Hepburn though.

Speaking of teams we haven’t heard much about, the Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing team seems to have fallen off the radar of late since it was confirmed Wayne Maxwell would be joining the factory Team Honda Racing effort.

Let’s hope that GAS Racing has the funding and support – along with a top rider – to continue once again this season.

MotoGP
While so much attention has been on the launch of Ducati’s MotoGP team alongside Ferrari’s F1 effort at the Wrooom Press Ski event in Italy over the past week, it’s Spain that still reins supreme in GP racing right now.

Looking back at stats from last season, Spaniards won 36 out of the 52 races contested across all categories last year – resulting in world title victories in MotoGP, Moto2 and 125GP.

With Spain quickly talking over from Italy as the leader in GP racing, the pressure is certainly on Valentino Rossi and Ducati to put the red, white and green flag back at the head of the field.

Then again, we of course would prefer to see the likes of Casey Stoner and Ant West rise to the top in MotoGP and Moto2 respectively – Stoner very much standing a real possibility with factory Honda equipment.

Just over a week remains until the first test of 2011 featuring the top riders in the sport at Sepang in Malaysia on 1-3 February.

Australia's Casey Stoner stands a real chance of upsetting Spain and Italy's MotoGP dominance this year.

Australia's Casey Stoner stands a real chance of upsetting Spain and Italy's MotoGP dominance this year.

In Brief

  • The shoulder injury sustained by Jake Moss in Germany at the beginning of the month may be worse than expected, with sources indicating that he’s undergone surgery and is in a race to be fit for the MX Nationals that begin in March.
  • The annual AMA Superbike test at Daytona took place this week, with defending champion Josh Hayes topping the times sheets for Graves Yamaha overnight. Aussies Chris Trounson and Jordy Burgess debuted for Aussie Dave Racing, ranking 16th and 17th respectively. As for ADR team owner Dave Anthony, he was a solid 10th.
  • Ten Kate’s new Castrol Honda partnership has sparked great memories throughout the World Superbike paddock this week, a welcome return of a brand that could boost an injection of big dollar sponsorship back into the sport.
  • Think that your favourite MotoGP riders are sunbaking in Europe waiting for the testing ban to finish? That definitely isn’t the case for world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who has been in Indonesia once again on location for Yamaha.

That’s all for this week, we’ll be back as usual next week writing in direct from California with all the inside scoops that we can get our hands on over there in the U.S.

Thanks for reading!

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