World Superbike's return to South Africa in 2009 after an absence of seven years was to be the first attempt to restore the long history which South Africa has with international motorcycle racing. The initial race at Kyalami was judged to be a success - with the exception of Regis Laconi's terrible injury on his first full lap out of the pits - and the paddock and fans were all eagerly anticipating further visits to the spectacular South African circuit.
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The enormous success of MotoMatters.com has seen our traffic grow tenfold over the past three years, and we are starting to become the victims of our own success. We have completely outgrown our current hosting situation, and after DNS problems made MotoMatters.com unreachable for a small part of our readers earlier this year, it was clear we had to act.
Whenever fans talk of their dreams of being a world famous motorcycle racer, they have in their minds the image of travelling from circuit to circuit, and focusing on nothing but racing. Of course, life isn't like that, and one of the duties of a factory World Superbike rider is to turn up at motorcycle shows, corporate PR events and a host of other occasions to help market the brand helping to pay their wages. James Toseland understands this, and performs this task admirably, taking advantage of the situation to practice his second passion, playing the piano, at such affairs.
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.
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.
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.
Just three more days to go before the World Superbike season kicks off in earnest, and to further enhance your already over-stimulated anticipation of the new season, the Italian Superbike TV has another short video on their website. The video was shot on the second day of testing at the final WSBK test, and contains a brief summary (in Italian) of how the riders performed at Phillip Island. See all of the 2010 World Superbike season's protagonists in action, and get ready for Sunday. Enjoy!
In case you still needed a little help in getting warmed up for the World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island next weekend, here's a video from the Italian channel SuperbikeTV. Yes, it's in Italian, and therefore contains commentary which non-Italian speakers will find incomprehensible. But it also features footage of the bikes on track, and that should get your juices running ready for Sunday. Just a few more days to go ...
If there was any doubt that Ducati has set its sights on reclaiming the 2010 World Superbike title, then the last test of the preseason before racing starts in earnest will have put those doubts to rest. After allowing Leon Haslam and Suzuki top honors in the first session on Sunday, a Ducati has topped the timesheet ever since, ending the session with five bikes in the top six. Fastest over both days was Michel Fabrizio, the factory Xerox Ducati rider shattering Troy Corser's race lap record on Monday morning, after the track had dried and before the wind picked up too strongly.
Joan Lascorz topped the timecharts at the end of two days of testing at Phillip Island, getting within spitting distance of Kenan Sofuoglu's pole record from last year. The Spaniard had been strong all weekend, finishing as fastest in three of the four sessions the World Supersport class had at the Australian track, the final test in the run up to the opening round of the 2010 season.
Results of the second and final session of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island:
Results of Monday's first session of practice for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island. The session was delayed due to overnight rain, which took a while to dry out:
Results of the second and final session of testing for World Supersport at Phillip Island:
Results of the first session of practice for the World Supersport class on Monday:
The first day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island was a chance for Ducati to stamp their authority on the series they have so often dominated. The Italian factory tackled this challenge with gusto, putting five bikes in the top six of the morning test session, and taking three of the four top spots in the afternoon.