Features 29 Feb 2012

Moto Insider: 8

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The news that Tye Simmonds would be departing JDR Motorsports for 2012 came as no real surprise to me yesterday, with whispers doing the rounds ever since he was brought home from the team’s U.S. program that he would prefer to ride elsewhere on a different team in Australia.

Although he had been confirmed at the final round of Super X last year, it was clear that he’d been looking to ride elsewhere before that.

Confirmation came yesterday morning that Simmonds and the newly-named JDR/KTM Factory Racing team have in fact split, leaving two very big questions surrounding Australia’s largest factory race team – where is Simmonds going and who will replace him, if anybody?

The news that Simmonds won’t be riding a KTM is actually bigger than the fact that he’s gone from JDR itself, because he’s long been one of KTM’s greatest developing talents since joining the Austrian manufacturer on 65cc bikes back in the day.

Now though, he’s definitely switching brands for this year, and our only real sign of what might be to come is that his Facebook page mentions Yamaha as his employers… Read into that what you will (and for all we know it might be one of those FB quirks), but it honestly makes sense if Yamaha were to pick him up.

Simmonds was one of KTM’s greatest developing talents since joining the Austrian manufacturer on 65cc bikes back in the day. Image: Shayne Rice.

Josh Coppins has confirmed this is his final season before retiring, and then Yamaha needs to find a replacement anyway, so to have Simmonds on a YZ-F could be a good option for the future. Whether he’s on CDR or somewhere else, Simmonds has proven he can ride both MX and SX. There’s still that lingering rumour that he could start his own team…

But just because his Facebook mentions Yamaha, it doesn’t mean it’s CDR, nor does it mean that the deal’s actually done to ride blue in 2012. Dack’s team looks like it’s lost Rockstar support (expect confirmation next week), so I’m not even certain where their budget is right now. Jay Marmont’s departure would have had to open it up a bit though.

Anyhow, that’s just my opinion on what I think would be a good move for both Yamaha and Tye, but whether or not that will actually happen, I don’t know. I must say that I spoke to Dack yesterday and he didn’t mention it, although that was before it was announced Simmonds and KTM had split.

Simmonds has also been linked to Suzuki, but that rumour was squashed by Motul Pirelli Suzuki team manager Jay Foreman yesterday afternoon when I spoke to him. Suzuki is supporting a lot of programs this year including Raceline Pirelli Suzuki, Team 07 and Hart & Huntington, plus the factory team has a second 450 rider now.

I had a quick chat to Tye yesterday afternoon via social networking and he said he should know more by today, so we’ll definitely keep you guys updated in the news with anything that we hear once it’s set in stone. With the departure of Simmonds and former team manager Danny Ham in recent weeks, JDR is in for some big changes just weeks out from round one.

As for whether or not KTM will even replace Simmonds, JDR is unwilling to comment at this stage. Rumours have Jake Moss as a candidate for the seat alongside Dan Reardon, which would be cool, apart from the fact that he’s committed to the new Campbell Mining Services Honda privateer effort. We’ll wait confirmation of the seat before making any real observations regarding the matter, but I for one hope that they do in fact add a second MX1 rider.

It will all come out in the open soon enough, but for now, it is a bit of fun to speculate. Don’t forget to have your say below and tell us how you think it’ll all play out!

Monster Energy Kawasaki has been in New South Wales during the past week with Jay Marmont and Kade Mosig, testing for the upcoming season. Both are really starting to hit their strides from what we are hearing, and both won on debut for Kawasaki at a Macarthur open meeting out at Appin last weekend.

Another who is once again going fast right now is Luke Styke, who is a real dark horse for the Lites title. Don’t forget Ryan Marmont either, coming off a couple of months in America riding AMA SX, and he’s back on the Lites bike full time this year.

Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing has been completing its poster shoots in Melbourne this week while launching the new test tracks. Remember last year the team raced on Ohlins for the most part, as well as Michelin tyres, but in 2012 it looks like we’ll see a combo of KYB and Pirelli.

You have to give credit where it’s due, Yarrive Konsky and Honda are going all out to get it done this year. In fact, by most accounts, the team enters the series as title favourites for the first time ever.

Mackie's stay with JWR Kawasaki could very much depend on his Visa status. Image: Simon Cudby.

Is it just me, or was AMA Supercross lacking interest last weekend in Atlanta? Obviously it’s exciting to see Ryan Dungey win for KTM again (and we’re hearing good things about that Factory Edition 450 SX-F in production trim!), but not having Chad Reed there flying the Aussie flag was tough.

Anyway, he’s scheduled for surgery on Thursday in California as we reported in news yesterday, so our well wishes go out to him. The bad news is, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that he’ll be fit to start the outdoor season. While we do expect him to return during the nationals, round one at May isn’t really that far away.

Either way we’ll have Brett Metcalfe and Cody Mackie to cheer for in upcoming rounds of Supercross, plus Matt Moss will be back for the final West Coast Lites rounds. If I were a betting man I’d say that Mackie will be part of JWR Kawasaki for the rest of the season, but that also depends on his Visa status from what I have heard.

Our resident film manager Guy Streeter headed out to the Moss Institute facility yesterday to put together a film of Matt training for the AMA outdoors while he’s back here in Australia, so stay tuned for that to be uploaded come Monday morning.

That’s all for this week, another very interesting seven days in our sport, but stay tuned for a great boost in local content throughout the site next week as the MX Nationals will be officially launched at Appin, with all the leading teams and riders on hand. MotoOnline.com.au will be on hand to capture it all.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by, and remember to check out MotoOnline on both Facebook and Twitter for all the behind the scenes updates we can provide.