Features 12 Dec 2012

MotoInsider: 49

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The closer we get to 2013, the more things seem to heat up as teams finally begin to take shape for the new year. Here in Australia we’re still a long way out from the national opener in April, but budgets are being finalised, riders signed and bikes are undergoing their initial developments.

Today’s big breaking news story was confirmation that KTM will field Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs in its all-new super team. JDR Motorsports is out, KTM Australia is taking it back in house and the team has signed two of the country’s brightest rising stars.

First up it was Waters who posted a first look at himself on the 450 SX-F via Instagram, so we immediately contacted him for a news story – after approval from returning team manager Rob Twyerould of course. Soon after it was Gibbs who unveiled his new look, which resembles a very familiar number five on KTMs in the US.

Like Billy Mackenzie at CDR Yamaha and Serco Yamaha’s combo of Luke Styke and Luke Clout recently, social networking took centre stage when it came to confirming these signings, rather than official announcements from the teams directly. Hey, like I’ve said before, we’ll take the news any way we can get it!

Upon closer inspection of KTM it looks as though they’ll run KTM branded gear, but riders have done their own deals when it comes to helmets, boots and goggles (from what we can see). Interestingly, Waters is in the brand new M2R X4, as already worn by the Monster Energy Kawasaki team, while Gibbs is in Bell. Both are brand new helmets to the Australian market.

Todd Waters revealed his all-new 2013 KTM setup via Instagram today.

In speaking to Waters this afternoon, he revealed to Adam Spence that KTM is planning on entering him in a number of grand prix races next year, which will further boost his profile on the world stage after an impressive European debut with Suzuki at the Motocross of Nations this year.

Gibbs made his official KTM debut yesterday during testing at Appin, picking up his practice bike in the process. It’s awesome to see Gibbs back after that scary incident at Coolum and he could be a dark horse for moto wins and podiums in the nationals as an MX1 rookie. As for Waters, is he the early title favourite? Don’t underestimate the size of his gamble after such a successful season with Suzuki this year.

As far as KTM’s MX2 program goes, we’re hearing Kiwi Kayne Lamont will join MXD title rival Dylan Long at Choice Motorsports, but it won’t be completely factory supported. It’s a youthful team that KTM has selected and one that may prove very beneficial in the proceeding years.

Waters’ previous Motul Pirelli Suzuki team is actually still waiting on its final budget from Suzuki in both Australia and Japan, not yet signing Matt Moss officially for 2013 according to the grapevine. Now we do expect Matt there along with Cody Cooper, but they are eagerly awaiting their budget before moving forward. It’s the same with Suzuki’s Superbike team.

Jay Foreman confirmed yesterday when we took delivery of an all-new MotoOnline Project bike that the team will not run an RM-Z250 next year, instead focusing on the 450 after that strategy worked so well with Waters and Cooper at the end of this year’s nationals. It’s a proven structure that Craig Dack and Yamaha have had work for them again and again, but stay tuned on a The Point feature from Simon Makker tomorrow regarding that very topic.

Luke Clout returned from the US this week and took delivery of his 2013 Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha YZ250F practice bike. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Where does that leave Suzuki’s Lites effort? So far, Raceline Pirelli Suzuki is the favourite, but it needs a team leader/structure after Chris Woods headed south to Honda’s factory team. Ryan Marmont has been linked to the team, while Errol Willis confirmed with us this week that he’s yet to secure a contract for 2013.

Willis’ 2012 teammate Jay Wilson has been seriously linked to be moving to GYTR Yamaha for another season in the Under 19s, spotted recently at Queensland Moto Park on a YZ250F with the ultra professional Yamaha development team run by Scott Bishop. If a done deal, he’ll join talented rookie Joel Dinsdale – what a team that would be!

Speaking of Yamaha teams in Queensland, the word is that Luke Clout has been ultra impressive in initial outdoor riding aboard the Serco Yamaha YZ250F. Clout dominated Moree in his Under 19s debut this year and was again promising at Coolum, but with factory support from Yamaha alongside Luke Styke, many are expecting big things from him as an MX2 rookie.

While Suzuki’s Lites program is up in the air, the latest word is that Kade Mosig will join Zero Seven Motorsports aboard a Kawasaki in MX2 with backing from the factory. The team had run privateer Suzukis this year in a revamped operation, but next year expect Mosig to field their Lites bike.

Who else will they sign? It looks as though the returning Cody Mackie will ride a KX450F in MX1 – remember he has a close relationship with team manager Steven Powell, as does Mosig. That will be an interesting development to watch if it falls into place. Also don’t forget Mackie’s impressive American campaign as part of Jeff Ward Racing earlier this year before he headed to Africa on set with Mad Max.

Dan McCoy made his way to the US to chase the dream and try his luck against the world’s best supercross riders. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

As for Monster Energy Kawasaki, Jay Marmont has his 2013 outdoor practice bike now and will immediately begin to prepare for the new season when he shoots for a fifth MX Nationals title in six years. Can he bounce back after a title-winning supercross campaign? We’ll have to wait to find out.

And what of Honda’s Lites team now that Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing will focus on 450s, at least for the outdoors? The logical step would be to offer support to either DPH Motorsports or MX Factory, but they need more than just bikes and parts to really make a go of the title. Even more complicated is the fact that the official Honda team will likely have Gavin Faith back to defend his title alongside Hayden Mellross.

Apart from all of these silly season topics coming to a head, Aussie fans will be happy to hear that Daniel McCoy jetted off to the US yesterday morning complete with a bunch of parts that will basically have him mounted on a CDR Yamaha during the opening rounds of American Supercross. Without a ride for the MX Nationals, our Australian Supercross number two will ride the first six rounds and deserves to do well.

For McCoy it’s very much a case of chasing his dreams, looking to see how he fares in the AMA and it’s never been a better time in his career to do so. McCoy will practically spend every cent he earned in SX here to race in the States, so it’s a great bonus that Dack has let him take many of his proven components developed right here in Australia.

That’s it for this week, the penultimate MotoInsider for 2012, so thank you as always for stopping by. All early indications are that next year is going to be a cracker!