The waiting is over, and the Moto2 bikes are finally out on track at Valencia on equal terms, with equal engines. At last we can start comparing times properly, as everyone is now using the official standard Moto2 engine. Using the spec Honda engine, Kenny Noyes is so far quickest, confirming the form the Antonio Banderas Racing rider has shown at all of the Moto2 tests so far. The American - son of US journalist and Spanish TV commentator Dennis - leads the Gresini squad, with Russian newcomer Vladimir Ivanov surprisingly ahead of the championship favorite, Toni Elias. Yuki Takahashi, who has also been fast throughout Moto2 testing, sits in 4th, the Tech 3 rider currently about eight tenths off Noyes' pace.
But the times so far don't mean too much, as no one has put in a great many laps yet, and a sizable group of riders are still in the pits waiting to get underway. Some of the teams are suffering the consequences of - unsurprisingly - the economic crisis: One such is Scot Honda, who according to GPOne.com were forced to wait until this morning before receiving their Moto2 engines, as the team still has unpaid back payments for their MotoGP adventure last season. The team, which is to field Alex de Angelis and Niccolo Canepa, has been given a reprieve for this test, but could still be in trouble before the season starts.
There was much disappointment around the world when it was announced, shortly before the first round at Phillip Island, that the 2010 World Superbike season would not be shown live online on the World Superbike website, as it has been done in previous years. The reason was simple: TV companies - who had paid sizable sums to Infront Motor Sports to screen the races live - were fed up of losing their audiences (and therefore their advertising income) to the website of the company they had handed their money over to.
Fortunately, the World Superbike series can lend at least some succour to racing fans. For Infront has placed highlight reels of both World Superbike and the World Supersport race up on the World Superbike series' Youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/sbk. So fans who have missed the races can at least get a taster of the action from Down Under before their local TV stations show the races - if they are being shown in those territories.
After a very long wait, the official Moto2 engines have finally been delivered to the Moto2 teams. The teams, assembled at Valencia for testing over the next three days, have had to wait for the engines since November last year, but reliability issues have prevented Honda from supplying them to the teams earlier.
Each rider has been issued with one engine, assigned at random by IRTA officials, which they will have to make last for the upcoming two official IRTA tests and the first three races of the season. The engines are numbered and marked, the numbers unrelated to the numbers the riders use, though Andrea Iannone of the Speed Up team will be using engine number 73, the reverse of the number he will be running on his FTR Moto2 bike this season.
With the engines now being fitted into the chassis, the riders and teams are preparing for tomorrow's test. And for once, the weather gods appear to have looked kindly on the Moto2 class, for though the northern part of the Iberian peninsula has just been lashed by storms, the weather at Cheste looks like being largely dry and relatively warm for all three days, with rain forecast to fall only when the bikes aren't on track.
Results of World Superbikes race 2 at Phillip Island:
Results of the World Supersport race at Phillip Island:
Results of World Superbike Race 1 from Phillip Island:
Results of the warm up session for the World Supersport class at Phillip Island:
It's cool and windy at Phillip Island, and the problems which the Aprilias have had over the past few days have disappeared. The colder conditions and lower grip seem to have negated the chatter that Max Biaggi has complained of all weekend. Biaggi finished ahead of his teammate Leon Camier and polesitter Leon Haslam.
Results of the warm up session for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island:
In the runup to the first World Supersport race of the 2010 season, MotoMatters.com - like every other motorcycle racing news outlet - is swamped with press releases. Unlike most other news outlets, however, we do not bother our readers with them, for they are, for the most part, bland and uninteresting fare, and completely interchangeable.
Not all of them are so insipid, however. In the press releases of some teams, the character of the riders, press officer or team manager shines through, spicing them up and making them a much more palatable affair. And they don't come much spicier than the missives from the pen of Parkalgar Honda World Supersport boss Simon Buckmaster. Buckmaster is not shy of expressing his opinion, and likes to do so forcefully and frequently. This makes him a breath of fresh air, and always informative and entertaining to talk to, whether you agree with him or not.
Just prior to the first race of the season getting underway, Buckmaster fired off a press release with his view of how the season will unfold, and who he thinks will be champion this season. It will come as no surprise to find out that the Parkalgar team boss believes that his very own Eugene Laverty will be the man holding the trophy at Magny-Cours in seven months' time, but his reasoning provides a fascinating insight into the politics of the World Supersport class, and is a very entertaining read to boot. Here's what Buckmaster has to say:
Simon Buckmaster says...
The MotoMatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar has been a huge hit, and is now adorning the walls of homes and offices around the world, helping hardcore motorcycle racing fans plan their weekends around their favorite sport. With each race weekend clearly marked, keeping up with when the next race is now incredibly easy for the lucky souls who purchased the calendar. But those who have not yet done so are about to get even luckier: We have slashed a sizable chunk off the purchase price, to help sell the last few copies we have in our storerooms.
On top of the price cut, we will also be offering a free Riders for Health sticker (graciously provided by the US chapter of Riders) to the first 15 people to place an order. 10% of the purchase price already goes to Riders for Health, and the bonus sticker is our way of showing our support to this outstanding organization, and can be your way of joining the mass of people who have helped Riders become what it is today.
Results of the World Superbikes Superpole session, setting the grid for tomorrow's race at Phillip Island:
Results of the final session of free practice for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island. Roland Resch did not participate, as the Reitwagen BMW rider was being treated in the medical center for his injuries.
Results of the second qualifying session for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island: