There has been much commotion in the World Superbike paddock recently, much of it caused by one man: Mat Mladin. The seven time AMA Superbike champion had intimated on social networking service Twitter that he had received a couple of "very interesting" offers to race in World Superbikes in 2010, though he didn't mention any names. He left that to the rest of the motorcycle racing world, and they did not fail him.
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Stiggy Racing may be no more but team owner Johan Stigefelt has reportedly wasted no time in securing gainful employment for 2010. Stigefelt is tipped to step into the role of technical director of the increasingly interesting Reitwagen Racing BMW privateer team. Stigefelt will also bring ex 500GP and WSBK rider Peter Goddard with him from Stiggy racing to fill the role of suspension specialist.
Johan Stigefelt's adventure into World Superbike racing is at an end. The team today issued a press release announcing that the financial situation in which they found themselves meant that they had been forced to call it a day, and that therefore the Stiggy Racing Team would not be competing in either the World Superbike or World Supersport championship next year.
The Holiday season is nearly upon us, and anyone looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, friend or family member who is crazy about bikes need look no further than our very own 2010 Motorcycle racing calendar, allowing the motorcycle racing fan in your life to organize their year around the most exciting sport in the world. Of course, at this time of year, the world's post offices are slowly starting to clog up with gifts and cards, making deliveries later and later. So if you want to order the most beautiful motorcycle racing calendar on the market, the time is now. If you don't order the calendar within the next couple of days, the chances of the calendar arriving in time to be gift-wrapped and placed under the tree will start to diminish. So better to be safe than sorry, and order your copy today.
Full details of the calendar are available on the MotoMatters.com calendar ordering page, but the highlights of the large 12"x18.5" calendar are one of Scott Jones' fantastic photos every month, as well as a monthly grid with the race weekends for that month clear marked, showing all three days of on-track action for the MotoGP and World Superbike series, as well as birthdays for most of the world's top motorcycle racers. An example page is shown below, while the calendar ordering page has the lowdown on the calendar. Best of all, 10% of the calendar's purchase price goes towards Riders for Health, helping provide health care in remote regions of the world.
Since recently retired 7-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin let it drop on his Twitter page that he had offers to compete in WSBK in 2010, this breaking story has grown legs and developed a life of its own. As noted here at MotoMatters, it's rumored that the "very good machinery" that Mladin alluded to is a privateer BMW S1000RR fielded by Alfred Inzinger's Reitwagen Racing team.
Testing concluded at Valencia for the World Superbike riders today, and it was Max Biaggi who finished the test on top of the timesheets. Biaggi broke Noriyuki Haga's existing lap record by some eight tenths of a second on his final lap of the test, before climbing off the bike and heading off to the airport to fly back home. Biaggi finished ahead of yesterday's fastest man Leon Haslam, the young Briton confirming his excellent pace on the Alstare Suzuki. Third fastest was Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, just a tenth off Haslam's time.
Ever since Ben Spies entered the World Superbike championship, all eyes have been on his former teammate at Yoshimura Suzuki, Mat Mladin. The 7-time AMA Superbike champion initially decided to stay in the US, but his disillusionment with the way the DMG - the rights holders for AMA Superbikes - was running the series became more and more prominent, and he eventually announced his retirement from racing at the end of July 2009.
Alstare Suzuki's Leon Haslam was the fastest of the World Superbike paddock on the first day of testing at Valencia. The young Briton was quickly up to speed on the new Suzuki GSX-R1000, taking two tenths of a second off Noriyuki Haga's race lap record at Valencia. That was exactly the same margin by which Haslam was faster than Max Biaggi, the Aprilia rider continuing his development of the RSV4, the bike continuing to show potential.
According to the well-informed racing site, Speedweek.eu, Czech Jakub Smrz will have the opportunity to test the Aprilia RSV4 at the upcoming combined WSBK/WSS/Moto2 test at Valencia this Wednesday and Thursday. According to Aprilia Technical Director Gigi Dall'Igna, no agreement has been signed to date between Guandalini Racing and Aprilia but a bike is available and ready for Smrz to ride at the test.
Since the announcement that Motomatters.com would be producing another motorcycle racing calendar, our inboxes have been filling up with requests when it was going on sale. We can finally answer that question with the words "today!" The printing has been completed, and the printed pages are waiting to be collated, bound and packaged ready for shipping. The first copies will be going out to customers late next week, but they should arrive in plenty of time for the holiday season.
The calendar is bigger than last year's edition (at 12" by 9.25", or 12x18.5 when folded open), and features one of Scott Jones' fantastic photographs on the upper side of each month, with the calendar grid on the bottom half of the page. The months contain the complete MotoGP and World Superbike calendars, along with the birthdays of all of the MotoGP riders, most of the World Superbike riders, and selected riders from other series. Race weekends are clearly marked, showing all three days of on-track action for the MotoGP and World Superbike series, providing an essential tool for planning your weekends without missing out on the world's greatest motorcycle racing series. US customers should be aware that the week starts on Monday in the calendar grid, in European style, to highlight the race weekends more clearly. At its heart, the calendar features a double-page spread of the 2009 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. See below for the layout of the calendar, or the calendar ordering page for full details of size and printing methods.
BMW has been making a big push in the marketing of its new sportbike, the S1000RR. Facing the difficulty of persuading the public that their products are more than just long-distance tourers or specialist curiosities, the German manufacturer has concentrated its efforts on racing, hiring Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus to contest the World Superbike championship and give them a presence on the global stage.
The World Superbike schedule underwent a serious shakeup at the start of the 2009 season. The introduction of the new Superpole format had already meant that part of Saturday had been changed, but further cuts, including the scrapping of all on-track activity on Friday morning, were introduced as part of the cost-cutting measures introduced to help WSBK face up to the financial crisis.
With the announcement that the Pedercini team will be back on the grid for 2010, the World Superbike paddock is starting to fill out. The addition of Pedercini brings the total number of entries up to 20 which, while well down on the nearly 30 which started the season in 2009, is still a reasonable size given the current economic climate. One factor that is both heartening and vaguely worrying is that 14 of those riders have been entered by factory (or factory-backed) teams, with 7 manufacturers fielding two-man teams.
After a difficult 2009, the World Superbike paddock is slowly starting to fill up. Although generously endowed with factory-backed entries, with 7 manufacturers submitting 14 full-factory (or nearly full-factory, in the case of Ten Kate Honda) supported riders, beyond that the pickings are rather slim, with just the Althea Ducati team, Echo CRS and Guandalini Aprilia adding 4 more riders.
One name keeps cropping up amidst all the speculation about still open seats in the various race series. Alex de Angelis has been linked with a range of options since the late summer, all of them revolving around sponsorship by the tourism agency of San Marino, the tiny Italian republic from whence De Angelis hails. It started with the Scot Honda MotoGP program, and when that was abandoned, went on to a second Aprilia World Superbike team, as well as several options in Moto2, including the Hayate Moto2 team.