A variety of sources are reporting that "Super" Shinya Nakano wiil announce his retirement from competition at a press conference in Japan tomorrow. Nakano, who raced for the Factory Aprilia team in WSBK this past season, had some good finishes but was plagued by injuries in the latter portion of the year.
Latest World Superbike News
One of the big moves in the World Superbike paddock for next season is Max Neukirchner's move to the Ten Kate Honda team. Now that the first test of the 2010 World Superbike season is underway at Portimao, the Ten Kate team have released a video featuring the Ten Kate riders in action at the Portuguese track. Here's how Max Neukirchner's first day in his new team went.
According to German site Motorsport Aktuell, Ant West, Martin Cardenas, James Ellison, and Gino (no relation to Jonny) Rea will all test in the next two days for the Yamaha Factory World Supersport team. West, who was scratched for the final race of the season at Portimao by his Stiggy Honda team because they couldn't afford to put him on the grid, has made no secret of the fact that he's looking for a ride for next season.
Putting together the calendar for any motorcycle racing series is always a puzzle, depending on a huge number of factors such as circuit availability, travel distance, expense and a host of others. Alongside all of these more obvious factors, the MotoGP calendar also takes into account the scheduling of Formula One. An informal agreement exists between the bosses of Formula One and MotoGP to avoid direct calendar clashes wherever possible, in order to ensure the highest possible TV audiences for both series.
If you want to know what it's like to win your first World Superbike championship, you need wonder no more. Ben Spies spoke to Jonathan Green for the excellent OnTheThrottle TV website on Sunday evening about the season, the races at Portimao and how it feels to go to MotoGP as a champion.
Ben Spies said that he that he had trouble getting focused enough to start "holding the thing wide open." That "thing" of course, is the trusty Yamaha YZF-R1 that carried him to his record-setting eleventh Superpole of the 2009 World Superbike season today at Portimao. Spies had been lagging about a half-second off the pace in practice and the first Superpole session and didn't find his groove until the second outing, where he topped the field, two-tenths of a second faster than Ten Kate Honda's Jonny Rea, who previously had been at the top of the time sheets all weekend. The Texas Terror went out in the third round with a used tire that didn't meet to his liking and subsequently returned to the pits without setting a lap time. Spies' Yamaha Italia crew then fitted a fresh qualifier on the back of the R1 and Spies ventured out with three minutes and change left in the session and merely set the fastest lap ever at the Portugese track, over a half-second faster than his nearest rival, Sterilgarda Ducati's Shane "Shakey" Byrne.
With this being just the second time that the World Superbike series has visited Portimao, the brand new circuit which nestles in the hills overlooking Portugal's Algarve coast, not very many people have ridden the track yet. That is a shame, as the track is probably the finest motorcycle racing track in Europe, and a case could be made for it being the best in the world.
Shinya Nakano has decided to sit out the last World Superbike races of the season, citing the neck injury that has kept the Japanese rider out of the last two rounds. Nakano says that the injury isn't too debilitating in real life but didn't think that he was up to the strain of traveling from Japan and enduring the stress of racing speeds for three days.
The RES Software Veidec Racing Team has announced that Colombian Martin Cardenas will replace the injured Robbin Harms at Portimao. Harms, who hails from Denmark, is still recuperating from deep back and rib bruises incurred in the warm-up session at the Imola round. Cardenas, who raced this year for team M4 Emgo Suzuki in the AMA Daytona Sportbike class, where he finished the year in third place, has 250 GP experience and is widely regarded as one of the rising stars on the American racing scene.
Both MotoGP and World Superbikes are in action this weekend, and a grand total of four titles could be wrapped up on Sunday. At Sepang, Valentino Rossi could secure his 7th MotoGP title on Sunday, while Hiroshi Aoyama could clinch the last ever 250cc world title. Several hours later, at the last WSBK round at Portimao in Portugal, the World Superbike title is likely to go down to the wire, with little to choose between Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies. Between the two World Superbike races, Cal Crutchlow looks likely to secure the World Supersport championship.
In yet another depressing occurance of the Economic Crisis Blues, Stiggy Racing, already sorely beset by financial woes, has announced that they can't afford to support Australian Ant West in the final race of the World Supersport season at Portimao. The latter part of this year's campaign has been a war of attrition for Stiggy, first cutting down to one rider per series and then severing ties with the financial portion of the team, S2 Racing.
After a wild rumor appeared last night that Paul Bird was about to sign Scott Redding to join Chris Vermeulen at the factory Kawasaki squad in World Superbike - a rumor that appears to have been a piece of deliberate misinformation from the Bird camp, after promising an exclusive to Britain's Motorcycle News, and was quickly scotched by a look at the FIM regulations, which confirmed that Redding is too young to ride in World Superbike - the team has finally announced their 2010 line up.
With Shinya Nakano returning to the fold at Portimao after an injury plagued rookie season in World Superbike, Aprilia Racing will dig deep and field a third bike for newly-crowned British Superbike champion Leon Camier. The ride for Camier is a second audition for a seat on the team after his debut with the squad at Magny Cours showed flashes of promise but was marred by technical difficulties. Nakano, who has had difficulties both with injuries and a self-admitted problem adapting his 250 based style to superbikes, is widely believed to be on his way out of the factory squad.Alex DeAnge
Sylvain Guintoli has had a tough season this year. Forced to switch to the British Superbike series at the end of last season once his tenure with the Pramac Ducati team was at an end, he made a fantastic debut, winning his first two races aboard a Superbike, following that up with a double podium. It all went wrong for him after that, horribly fracturing his leg in a warm-up-lap pile-up caused by Australian Josh Brookes.
A variety of sources are reporting that Carlos Checa will ride a privateer Ducati for the Althea team in the World Superbike series in 2010. Checa, who was recently voted off the Ten Kate Island, is still capable of running intermittently at the front, especially around contract time.