Archive - Feb 2009

February 28th

2009 Phillip Island WSBK And WSS Qualifying - The Perils Of Superpole

The brand new Superpole format adopted by World Superbikes for the 2009 season threw up a great many conundrums at Phillip Island on Saturday, as well as a few surprises. But perhaps most of all, it also threw up confirmation of what some had suspected, and many had hoped.

The format is relatively simple, and borrowed from Formula 1:

  1. The 20 riders who set the fastest times during the two ordinary qualifying practice sessions go through to the new Superpole;
  2. At the end of the afternoon, Superpole is run, consisting of three 12 minute sessions, with a 7 minute break between the sessions. The riders are given two qualifying tires, which they can use at any time during any of the three Superpole sessions. But only two super-soft qualifiers spread over three sessions means that they will have to use race tires only in at least one of the sessions;
  3. At the end of the first Superpole session, the 4 slowest riders are excluded, and grid positions 17 through 20 assigned in order of time;
  4. At the end of the second Superpole session, the 8 slowest riders are excluded, and grid positions 9 through 16 are awarded in order of the time set in the second session;
  5. In the third and final Superpole session, the 8 remaining riders compete against each other in a straightforward fight for grid positions, with places awarded based on the times set in this third and final session.

Easily understandable, but the subtleties and difficulties arise in the interplay between the number of qualifying tires and Superpole sessions. And those subtleties claimed their first victims in the very first session: both BMWs failed to make it through to the second session, after gambling on a soft race tire, and saving their qualifiers for later on. As it happened, neither Ruben Xaus nor Troy Corser ended up using them, the race tires leaving them just short of making the cut. They were joined by Roberto Rolfo and Tommy Hill, Hill victim of an earlier blown engine, and not enough laps to set a fast time. 

2009 WSBK Phillip Island Superpole - New Boy Swipes First Ever Knockout Superpole

Pos.No.RiderCountryBikeTime
119B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'31.069
23M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'31.402
365J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'31.596
496J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'31.600
584M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'31.837
691L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.112
77C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'32.537
855R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'32.649
956S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'31.843
109R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'31.860
1171Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'31.867
1266T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'31.881
1341N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'31.907
1476M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'31.916
1567S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'32.119
1623B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'32.719
1711T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'32.873
1844R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'32.997
19111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'33.152
2033T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'33.363
2124B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'33.588
22100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.709
2386A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.174
2425D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.194
2531K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'34.341
2699L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.390
2777V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'35.767
2815M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.363

2009 WSBK Phillip Island FP2 Result - Rea Edges Smrz

Pos.No.RiderCountryBikeTime
165J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.217
296J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'32.388
319B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'32.676
476M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.717
59R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'32.740
63M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'32.811
791L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.842
871Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.875
984M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'32.882
1056S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'32.965
1167S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'32.973
1241N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'33.015
137C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'33.281
1411T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'33.288
1523B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.453
1644R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'33.479
1766T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'33.484
1855R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'33.711
1924B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'33.902
20111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'34.182
21100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.213
2225D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.301
2333T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'34.492
2431K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'34.641
2599L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.847
2677V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'36.759
2715M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.779
2886A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R2'09.514

 

2009 WSS Phillip Island QP2 Result - Sofuoglu Stakes His Claim

Pos.No.RiderCountryBikeTime
154K. SofuogluTURHonda CBR600RR1'34.320
226J. LascorzESPKawasaki ZX-6R1'34.689
31A. PittAUSHonda CBR600RR1'34.786
435C. CrutchlowGBRYamaha YZF R61'34.875
550E. LavertyIRLHonda CBR600RR1'34.962
699F. ForetFRAYamaha YZF R61'35.063
751M. PirroITAYamaha YZF R61'35.086
824G. McCoyAUSTriumph Daytona 6751'35.187
98M. AitchisonAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.263
1077B. VenemanNEDSuzuki GSX-R6001'35.401
11127R. HarmsDENHonda CBR600RR1'35.466
1213A. WestAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.585
1369G. NannelliITATriumph Daytona 6751'35.644
14117M. PraiaPORHonda CBR600RR1'35.680
1514M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR600RR1'35.795
1621K. FujiwaraJPNKawasaki ZX-6R1'35.862
17105G. VizzielloITAHonda CBR600RR1'35.871
1855M. RoccoliITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.028
195T. PraditaINAYamaha YZF R61'36.341
2096M. SmrzCZETriumph Daytona 6751'36.350
2183R. HollandAUSHonda CBR600RR1'36.379
2219P. SzkopekPOLTriumph Daytona 6751'36.546
237P. VostarekCZEHonda CBR600RR1'37.021
249D. Dell'OmoITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.075
2530J. GuntherGERHonda CBR600RR1'37.170
2628A. VosNEDHonda CBR600RR1'37.344
2732F. LaiITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.719
2878S. GeronimiAUSSuzuki GSX-R6001'38.590
2971J. MorillasESPYamaha YZF R61'38.638
3088Y. GuerraESPYamaha YZF R61'38.977

 

2009 WSBK Phillip Island QP2 - Jumpin' Johnny Leads The Pack

Pos.No.RiderCountryBikeTime
165J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.161
23M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'32.306
396J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'32.312
441N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'32.377
511T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'32.397
684M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'32.491
719B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'32.500
855R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'32.508
966T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'32.509
1076M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.525
119R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'32.602
1291L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.623
1371Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.704
1467S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'32.708
1533T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.884
1656S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'32.928
177C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'32.947
18111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'32.992
1944R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'33.055
2023B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.104
2124B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'33.588
22100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.709
2386A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.174
2425D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.194
2531K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'34.341
2699L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.390
2777V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'35.767
2815M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.363

2009 WSS Phillip Island FP2 Result - Lascorz Finds His Feet

Pos.No.RiderCountryBikeTime
126J. LascorzESPKawasaki ZX-6R1'34.625
254K. SofuogluTURHonda CBR600RR1'35.003
335C. CrutchlowGBRYamaha YZF R61'35.143
424G. McCoyAUSTriumph Daytona 6751'35.323
51A. PittAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.498
650E. LavertyIRLHonda CBR600RR1'35.565
78M. AitchisonAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.801
851M. PirroITAYamaha YZF R61'36.069
999F. ForetFRAYamaha YZF R61'36.070
1014M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR600RR1'36.127
1121K. FujiwaraJPNKawasaki ZX-6R1'36.322
1213A. WestAUSHonda CBR600RR1'36.332
1377B. VenemanNEDSuzuki GSX-R6001'36.451
14105G. VizzielloITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.516
15127R. HarmsDENHonda CBR600RR1'36.582
16117M. PraiaPORHonda CBR600RR1'36.685
1755M. RoccoliITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.819
1819P. SzkopekPOLTriumph Daytona 6751'36.884
1969G. NannelliITATriumph Daytona 6751'36.981
2083R. HollandAUSHonda CBR600RR1'37.152
2130J. GuntherGERHonda CBR600RR1'37.207
2232F. LaiITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.327
2396M. SmrzCZETriumph Daytona 6751'37.329
247P. VostarekCZEHonda CBR600RR1'37.471
255T. PraditaINAYamaha YZF R61'37.723
269D. Dell'OmoITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.767
2728A. VosNEDHonda CBR600RR1'38.656
2871J. MorillasESPYamaha YZF R61'38.696
2978S. GeronimiAUSSuzuki GSX-R6001'39.627
3088Y. GuerraESPYamaha YZF R61'39.865

 

February 27th

The Dornasaki Saga, Pt 2^64 - Melandri: "Nobody Asked Me!"

How could we be so naive as to think the on-again-off-again saga of Kawasaki's withdrawal from MotoGP had reached its final conclusion? The official announcement from The Team Formerly Known As Kawasaki (and now to be called Hayate, according to Motorcycle News) that they would be fielding a single bike in MotoGP next year, came as news to Marco Melandri, the man supposed to be riding it. Speaking to the Italian press,  Melandri claimed that nobody had spoken to him about it. "It was a surprise to me too!" Melandri told Sportmediaset.it. "I wasn't expecting it, because until yesterday, I knew they were looking for a new name for the team, and that's all ... I need some time to examine the situation, and to get confirmation from Japan, because nobody has called me about this."

Bulgaria To Host MotoGP From 2012

MotoGP continues its expansion eastwards. After adding Hungary to the calendar this year, Dorna announced that it has struck a deal with the Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation to stage a round of the series from 2012 onwards. The deal would see Bulgaria host the round for five years at first, and was struck in conjunction with a TV deal for the terrestrial broadcaster BNT to air the 2009 season of MotoGP. No details of which, if any, track the series would run at were released, but the series would visit with all three classes, MotoGP, 125s and the new Moto2 class.

While any expansion of interest in MotoGP must be welcomed, the experience with the Hungarian round must surely act as a salutary lesson. Uncertainty continues to cloud the Hungarian round of MotoGP, with disputes continuing between the Hungarian authorities and the Spanish construction company over both who is to blame for delays in the construction of the brand new Balatonring circuit, and the current status of the project. 

The difference, though, is that Hungary was awarded the race at very short notice. The Balatonring round was announced only a year before the race was due to start, a hard enough task in even the most ruthlessly efficient countries. But despite having three years to prepare, the job could be  even more difficult in Bulgaria. The former Eastern Bloc country is currently being threatened with a subsidy stop from the European Union, after continually failing to tackle the corruption that is rife throughout all levels of Bulgarian politics. Unlike Hungary, which is relatively well run for a former Soviet satellite state, there is little sense that things are likely to improve in the short term, and so however desirable more races in Eastern Europe may be, question marks remain over the feasibility of the project.

Toby And Jules Are Back! British Eurosport To Cover MotoGP

A palpable sense of outrage rocked the MotoGP world at the news that British Eurosport would not be showing MotoGP in 2009, the victim of contractual agreement between several terrestrial broadcasters and Dorna. But it was not so much the loss of the pictures that fans were enraged about, as the loss of the sounds. Commentators Julian Ryder and Toby Moody had built up a cult following over the years, and their interaction with former GP legend Randy Mamola - acting as pit lane reporter - managed to inform, entertain and fascinate, all in one. A difficult trick, and an admirable one to be able to pull off.

Petitions were drawn up, attracting many thousands of signatures, and the BBC was buried under a deluge of requests to replace their commentary team of Steve Parrish and Charlie Cox with the Diamond Duo of Moody and Ryder. But the BBC would not budge: they were happy with their current commentators, and would be sticking by them. MotoGP fans looked to be plain out of luck.

But no longer: Eurosport have now done a deal to broadcast the practice and the races with Moody and Ryder which won't interfere with the BBC coverage. Under the deal, Toby and Jules will provide commentary for practice, qualifying and the 125 and 250 races live, and the MotoGP races will be broadcast a few days later with the recorded live commentary. Sadly, though, Moody and Ryder will no longer be at all the races. They will  be providing commentary from a studio in the UK for most of the races, with the exception of the Spanish and British round, and possibly one other race, where they will be attending in person, and able to provide their inimitable blend of excitement and in-depth knowledge. Hardcore MotoGP fans around the world can breathe a sigh of relief.

2009 WSBK Phillip Island QP1 Result - Kuba Libre!

Czech rider Jakub Smrz took the first provisional pole of 2009 at Phillip Island today, after firing in a last-second fast lap to trounce the opposition. In hot conditions, Smrz put his Guandalini Ducati ahead of the factory Xerox Ducati of Noriyuki Haga. Briton Leon Haslam was third fastest, after setting a time that looked quick enough to clinch pole with just a couple of minutes to go. Behind Haslam's Honda followed the Suzukis of Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama, all within a few hundredths of Haslam. 

Shinya Nakano was first of the Aprilias in 6th place, while Ben Spies, who had led the cooler morning session, slipped to 8th place, losing over a tenth of a second in the afternoon. Troy Corser was fastest of the BMW men, taking 16th spot, while Makoto Tamada was the quickest Kawasaki, way down in 18th, and just ahead of his team mate Broc Parkes, and the other BMW of Ruben Xaus. Practice continues tomorrow. 

World Superbike QP1 Results

2009 WSS Phillip Island QP1 Result - Local Boy Strikes Back

The Ten Kate dominance continues in the World Supersport class, with Andrew Pitt taking provisional pole in this afternoon's session. Team mate Kenan Sofuoglu was fastest in the morning session, but was pipped by 6/100ths in the afternoon. The Yamaha riders also saw their order reversed between morning and afternoon. Rookie Cal Crutchlow had been fastest Yamaha during free practice, but the Briton saw his French team mate Fabien Foret leapfrog ahead of him up to third place. BE1 Triumph's Garry McCoy remained on the front row, fourth fastest in both morning and afternoon session. Fellow Australian Ant West managed a creditable 7th fastest time, and must feel relief at being near the top of the timesheets, rather than the bottom.

Dutchman Barry Veneman was the fastest of the Suzukis, though only managing to set the 12th fastest time. The first Kawasaki was Spaniard Joan Lascorz, directly behind Veneman in 13th. Practice and qualifying continues tomorrow.

World Supersport Qualifying Times

2009 WSBK Phillip Island FP1 Results - Spies Off To A Flying Start

Pos.No.RiderCountryBikeTimeDiff.
119B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'32.752 
276M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.8130.061
391L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'33.0150.263
471Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'33.0770.325
555R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'33.1400.388
641N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'33.2390.487
756S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'33.2800.528
884M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'33.3710.619
944R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'33.4330.681
1023B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.4960.744
119R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'33.5080.756
1265J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'33.6950.943
1366T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'33.7470.995
14100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.8351.083
1533T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'33.8451.093
1696J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'33.9011.149
173M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'33.9091.157
1867S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'33.9911.239
197C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'34.0121.260
2011T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'34.2011.449
21111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'34.7802.028
2225D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'35.8513.099
2324B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'36.2223.470
2499L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.7624.010
2531K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'36.8534.101
2677V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'37.7164.964
2715M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'37.8665.114
2886A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'38.6765.924

 

2009 World Supersport Phillip Island FP1 - Sofuoglu Leads First Racing Session Of 2009

154K. SofuogluTURHonda CBR600RR1'35.482
235C. CrutchlowGBRYamaha YZF R61'35.652
38M. AitchisonAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.758
424G. McCoyAUSTriumph Daytona 6751'35.804
51A. PittAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.867
699F. ForetFRAYamaha YZF R61'35.893
726J. LascorzESPKawasaki ZX-6R1'35.965
813A. WestAUSHonda CBR600RR1'36.056
914M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR600RR1'36.061
1077B. VenemanNEDSuzuki GSX-R6001'36.182
1150E. LavertyIRLHonda CBR600RR1'36.547
1296M. SmrzCZETriumph Daytona 6751'36.650
1321K. FujiwaraJPNKawasaki ZX-6R1'36.722
14127R. HarmsDENHonda CBR600RR1'36.735
1569G. NannelliITATriumph Daytona 6751'36.827
16117M. PraiaPORHonda CBR600RR1'36.936
1751M. PirroITAYamaha YZF R61'36.955
1855M. RoccoliITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.957
1919P. SzkopekPOLTriumph Daytona 6751'37.071
20105G. VizzielloITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.225
215T. PraditaINAYamaha YZF R61'37.853
2230J. GuntherGERHonda CBR600RR1'37.989
237P. VostarekCZEHonda CBR600RR1'38.470
249D. Dell'OmoITAHonda CBR600RR1'38.508
2583R. HollandAUSHonda CBR600RR1'38.957
2632F. LaiITAHonda CBR600RR1'39.664
2728A. VosNEDHonda CBR600RR1'40.712
2871J. MorillasESPYamaha YZF R61'40.771
2978S. GeronimiAUSSuzuki GSX-R6001'41.257
3088Y. GuerraESPYamaha YZF R61'42.086

2009 World Superbike Season Preview

After MotoGP went four stroke, there was never any doubt about which was the premier class of motorcycle racing. Coinciding with the flight of the Japanese manufacturers from World Superbikes, the combination of Valentino Rossi's charisma and roaring, smoking, sliding 990cc bikes solidified the series' position as the pinnacle of two-wheeled racing which would brook no competition. But as the Japanese manufacturers started to slowly creep back into World Superbikes, and MotoGP switched to an 800cc capacity, the balance of power has started to shift. 

During the off-season, that movement has started to snowball: The combination of 35 entries in World Superbikes and Kawasaki's withdrawal from MotoGP has switched the spotlight from the Spanish-run series to the Italian-based championship. Once jokingly referred to as the Italian Open Championship, the ten nationalities which fill the 2009 World Superbike paddock has laid that old chestnut very forcefully to rest. World Superbikes are in the ascendancy, and with the might of the marketing organization which runs FIFA behind them, the Flammini brothers are preparing to take on the pomp of Carmelo Ezpeleta's Catalunyan power base. 

They have everything going for them: While Kawasaki was pulling out of MotoGP, two new manufacturers, BMW and Aprilia, were joining World Superbikes, with KTM warming up their RC8R in the supporting Superstock class. What's more, and probably more importantly, this season looks like being one of the most open contests there has been for a very long time. Ask one WSBK fan who they like for the title and they will give you a long list of favorites, and ask a couple more fans and you end up with a list of possible champions almost as big as the entire MotoGP field.

Top Dog

But force them to make a choice, and you soon whittle it down to a manageable list of names in with a serious chance of lifting the title this year. The bookies' favorite and heir apparent to Troy Bayliss' throne is Noriyuki Haga. The Japanese veteran is after all on Bayliss' bike, and as Haga came surprisingly close to preventing the Australian from running away on the factory Xerox Ducati last year, now that he's on the 1098R, he is surely a force to be reckoned with. The only problem with this scenario is Haga's undoubted ability to beat himself. Always fast, and always spectacular, too often Haga is also prone to throw the bike up the road, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. If Haga is to finally secure the championship he has been chasing for so many years, he will need to be a little more considered, and a little more consistent. 

For Haga has some very serious competition, from rookies and veterans, young riders and old. It is unusual for one rookie to be tipped for the title, but for three of them to be in the mix is truly remarkable. And it is a remarkable crop which will be entering World Superbikes this year. The newcomer whose name is generating the most debate is Ben Spies. The triple AMA superbike champion is revered in the US for beating the relentless Mat Mladin three years in a row, while elsewhere around the world, there is much scepticism about the depth of Spies' talent. Such doubts are understandable, as the AMA series gets very little exposure outside of North America, and it is perceived as a two-horse affair between whoever happens to be aboard the field-destroying Yoshimura Suzukis. 

February 26th

Gerrit Ten Kate: "Spies Will Be Strong This Year"

On a visit to Holland's biggest motorcycle exhibition, the Motorbeurs Utrecht, MotoGPMatters.com ran into Gerrit ten Kate, part-owner of the multiple championship winning World Superbike and World Supersport team. Seizing the opportunity with both hands, we grabbed a few quick words from the Dutchmen on the upcoming World Superbike series, set to kick off on Sunday at Phillip Island, Australia.

MGPM: Who's going to be your number one rider this year?

Gerrit ten Kate: All of them! They'll all be on equal equipment, so it's whoever finishes first. But I expect good things of all of them. Carlos (Checa) is obviously a title candidate, but they're all capable of winning. Carlos will win a couple of races, Johnny (Rea) will win a couple, (Ryuichi) Kiyonari will win a couple.

Apart from Checa, who else look like title candidates. Haga of course...

Of course, Haga. But Spies is looking very strong too. Fabrizio is difficult to tell. He's very much up one week, down the next. But he's still young. Things can suddenly click, and then he'll be something to worry about.

About Moto2, you've expressed an interest in it, how's that going?

We're in discussions about that, but I can't tell you anything more. It's too early to say anything on the record.

It'll be based on a Honda, though?

Of course. Anything we do will be with a Honda.

And you're not worried about the Flamminis  (who hold a contract for racing with production-based motorcycles)?

Not at all. We work with them in a lot of areas, and we're active in a lot of series, so it won't be a problem.

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