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:
Results of qualifying for the World Supersport class at Phillip Island:
Results of the second session of free practice for the World Supersport class at Phillip Island:
After a long, cold, lonely winter, the World Superbike racing season is finally upon us again. With 26 machines on the grid, the series is down a bit in participation, but considering the depressed world economic climate, it could be a lot worse. Despite the drop in sheer numbers, there are seven manufacturers with factory (or the equivalent) teams. There has been some shuffling of marques and talent on privateer teams, but participation is fairly strong on that level as well.
Reigning World Superbike Champion Ben Spies has abdicated his throne for the theoretically greener pastures of MotoGP and there are a crop of both familiar and new faces eager to claim his title. There doesn't appear to be someone who is going to grab the series by the throat and make it his own in his rookie year like Spies did, but then no one could have predicted that at the beginning of last season either.
The Empire Strikes Back
At the end of the day at each MotoGP event, journalists crowd into hospitality suites and pit garages to question the riders on how the day went, and find out what they have been riding on. Unfortunately, those interviews are not usually available online during the racing season. However, our good friends over at GPOne.com have been recording these interviews at the current MotoGP test at Sepang, and have put up edited versions for their readers to listen to.
Valentino Rossi finished the second day of testing at Sepang in the same style he finished the first day: On top of the timesheets, with a comfortable lead over his closest rival Casey Stoner. The Italian smashed his existing pole record on a used tire early on the session, before going on to work on the electronics of his Fiat Yamaha M1. At the end of the day, Rossi pronounced himself very happy with the progress of the Yamaha, and even took time to try the Yamaha Test Team's bike, setting the 15th fastest time in the process on a bike not set up for him.
Rossi finished nearly a quarter of a second faster than Casey Stoner, the Australian having also lapped under Rossi's previous pole record. There was also good news for Stoner's teammate, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden. After struggling yesterday, Hayden improved his time by over 1.5 seconds, setting his best ever testing result on the Ducati. The Kentucky Kid had complained of a lack of strength from the arm pump surgery he had just a couple of weeks ago, but a day back on the bike was sufficient to sort those problems out too. Hayden took it a little easier than his usual marathon testing sessions, with 10 other riders doing more laps than the American.
Results of the first qualifying session of the 2010 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island:
Results of the first session of free practice for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island:
Results of the first qualifying session for the World Supersport class at Phillip Island:
Results of the first session of free practice for the World Supersport class at Phillip Island:
The new MotoGP regulations for 2012 have the MSMA caught on the horns of a dilemma: In the long run, the 1000cc formula should be cheaper than the current crop of 800s. In the short run, the switch requires that the factories design a new engine based on the new limitations imposed by the rules. With the factories still reeling after the global economic crisis has left their finances in turmoil, a significant investment to develop a brand new engine is not an attractive prospect at all.
Consequently, at the meeting the MSMA held at Sepang three weeks ago, the factories agreed to allow the 800cc bikes to remain in the class as a separate category for the foreseeable future. The 800cc bikes were to be given a 3 kilogram weight advantage over the 1000s, but were to be subject to the same fuel, engine limits and 81mm maximum bore restriction to be imposed on the liter bikes. This would allow the factories to get more value out of the 800cc bikes they have already poured so much investment into, and prevent them from having to persuade their management boards from dipping heavily into the rapidly-dwindling coffers to develop a new bike.