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Grand prix week has arrived and for the Australian Supercross industry, it’s an exciting time in the sport. For the first time in history supercross will be hosted alongside a round of the MotoGP World Championship, coming at Phillip Island’s AirAsia Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
If you’re a motorcycle racing enthusiast through and through, this is an event not to miss. Why? Because it is the only time that we will ever see Chad Reed and Casey Stoner racing in their prime on the same weekend at the same location.
That’s the international bases covered from an Aussie perspective, but what’s also unique is that the best of Australian Superbike will be on hand in the GP support races. Champions like Josh Waters will be on hand riding their domestic Superbikes, just metres away from the likes of Jay Marmont battling for the SX title.
What’s surprising about all of this is that the supercross will actually run during the day on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will see the pro classes run from around 8:30am practice to the main events that kick off around 6:15pm, and then the Under 19s and Juniors will make up Sunday’s action.
Keep in mind that the supercross events will be actually competing while the world championship MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes are on track. What we hope is that dust is kept to a minimum and that extensive planning has been put in place, otherwise Dorna and the FIM could be looking for answers.
This is the first year that we’ll see a round of supercross alongside the GP and it’s a one-year plan at this stage. It’s going to be a case of wait and see what happens in the future for series promoter International Entertainment Group, because from what we understand, this is the most expensive event of the season for them to hold.
I have been lucky enough to speak to a few MotoGP friends in the lead-up to this weekend and I can tell you that those guys are pumped to see Reed race come Saturday afternoon. It’s been the talk of the GP paddock for the past couple of rounds, so expect to see a who’s who at supercross this weekend come the main events (directly after MotoGP qualifying).
Speaking of Reed, Jay Marmont copped some flack last week about his comments that he’s ready to take on Reed at Phillip Island and the remaining rounds. While it’s easy to take his comments out of context, the truth is that Australian guys love the opportunity to race Chad these days and fair play to Jay if he’s excited to race against the TwoTwo. Don’t be mistaken, all of our locals know just how good Reed is and respect him 100 percent.
Reed arrived in Australia this morning after a flight delay out of Las Vegas forced him to miss his flight to Australia. The whole Reed family is here for a month or so, along with TwoTwo Motorsports regulars Lars Lindstrom and Mike Gosselaar.
Ford Dale made a whirlwind trip to Japan over the weekend and won a round of the Japanese nationals on a 250F, only returning to Australia yesterday. His preparation for supercross has been minimal ahead of Phillip Island, but keep an eye out for him. Teammate Ben Townley was also back to his winning ways in NZ and I tell you already, he’s going to be hard to bet against in the MX Nationals next year as long as he’s fit and healthy.
We had the exclusive news yesterday that Dean Ferris will be riding world motocross once again in 2013, signing with a team this week and confirming Australia in GPs for another season. The team or class aren’t yet announced, but we are stoked with the news and can’t wait to see who it is that he’s riding for. What we do know is that it’s one of the best seats in the class he’s riding – MX2 perhaps?
Ferris’ signing also takes one rider out of the Australian silly season and we have confirmation from Troy Carroll and Craig Dack that he was in discussions with both Monster Energy Kawasaki and CDR Yamaha respectively for next year if he didn’t get a GP ride. There was also the early rumours that he was initially on KTM’s shopping list, but those 450 rides are almost certainly going to Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs.
So where does that leave Kawasaki and Yamaha’s 450 programs? Kawasaki looks to be retaining Jay Marmont as their relationship gained a whole lot of strength with his Dubbo supercross win, and Carroll confirmed to MotoOnline this morning that they will now be turning to youth for the second seat. We don’t know who it is, but he said it’s a current Lites rider and he expects the deal done as soon as next week.
Dack confirmed this morning that Yamaha doesn’t have anybody signed for CDR at this stage, instead waiting to see how supercross pans out in at least the early rounds. He revealed that the team had been in discussions with Ferris and also has been speaking to Billy Mackenzie, but there’s also the possibility that it could keep on its supercross combo of Lawson Bopping and Daniel McCoy. We’ll have a breaking news story on CDR’s future to come this week.
Motul Pirelli Suzuki has Matt Moss and we’ll be expecting the return of Cody Cooper for the outdoors to make up their 450 program, while Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing has locked in both Townley and Dale for their MX1 team in 2013.
Speaking of Moss, he was scheduled to undergo surgery on his left shoulder today and now faces a lengthy road to recovery. I for one cannot wait to see Moss on a 450 fulltime in 2013, and although it would have been great to see him continue on in the US, Australian MX benefits from his switch.
That leaves a heap of MX2 seats wide open for next year, but we’ll wait until we know more about the Open class before starting to try and piece together the 250s at this point. There will be a number of rising stars stepping up from the Under 19s though, that is for certain.
Stay tuned for our GP coverage throughout the weekend and of course, if you’re into road racing as well as moto, check out our partner site at CycleOnline.com.au for all the latest direct from the Island. Thanks for stopping by!