After a long and busy summer, the guys from OnTheThrottle caught up with Ben Spies once again, to talk about Spies' last three races. In conversation with David Williams, Spies covers finding himself in Jorge Lorenzo's oil patch at the Sachsenring, the differences between setting up a MotoGP bike and a Superbike at Laguna Seca, and his first front row start at Brno. Along the way, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha talks about testing the 2011 factory machine at Brno, the differences between the factory bike and the satellite Yamaha, and just how good Jorge Lorenzo is at the moment. Spies almost - but not quite - lets slip that he'll be on the factory Yamaha next year, the second-worst kept secret after Rossi's defection to Ducati, and reveals that Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis is pretty pleased with the way Spies has been riding this year. So spend a worthwhile 25 minutes hearing Spies talk Yamaha, past, present and future.
The penultimate round of the World Superbike series brought some great racing once again - including one of the most intense duels of the last 10 years or so in the World Supersport race - and as every Monday morning, the official World Superbike Youtube channel has highlights of the races up. The highlights reels are pretty full, especially as the outcome of the races decided the championship this weekend.
It's been a long time since the last time the folks at OnTheThrottle caught up with Ben Spies, but it's definitely been worth the wait. Once again, OTT's David Williams talks to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider about his race at Indy, his adventures at Misano and the thrilling battle for 5th at Aragon with Andrea Dovizioso. Along the way, Spies talks about the role that electronics play in riding a MotoGP bike, and his own progression as a rider, as well as revealing just how much support he is really getting from Yamaha. Here's 31 minutes you'll be glad you spent listening to Ben Spies:
Carlos Checa confirmed today that he is seriously in contention to ride the Pramac Ducati at Estoril and Valencia in place of Mika Kallio. In a video posted on Twitter, Checa is shown testing the Ducati Desmosedici GP10 at Mugello today, evaluating whether he is ready to race the GP10 or not. A decision is expected sometime shortly after the test.
Below is the video Checa just posted:
At the end of every year, Yamaha hold a presentation to talk about their YZR-M1 MotoGP bike and how they changed it for the new year. In it, Masao Furusawa and Masahiko Nakajima give an always fascinating and surprisingly detailed technical presentation on the bike and the important factors they improved from last year.
This year was slightly different: As Masao Furusawa will be retiring at the end of this season, Yamaha gave a presentation covering all of the bikes he has worked on, from the 2004 machine through to the 2010 M1. Furusawa gave a presentation covering the bikes from 2004 through to 2009, and his descriptions were illustrated by a video featuring Valentino Rossi, talking about each bike and each season in detail, the strengths and weaknesses of the bikes. Yamaha was kind enough to release that video for use to the media, and allow us to post it to the internet. It's shown below:
At the end of 2010, Yamaha lost two of the driving forces behind their MotoGP program. Valentino Rossi left to try his luck at Ducati, and Masao Furusawa, head of Yamaha's engineering operations, reached the age of 60, when senior figures in Japanese firms are expected to retire. Valentino Rossi has repeatedly said that these two departures were linked: the loss of Furusawa - the engineering genius behind Yamaha's M1 MotoGP bike, and the man who turned it into arguably the best machine on the MotoGP grid - left a hole at Yamaha, and one that Rossi could not see being filled easily.
If the Sepang tests mark the season kickoff for MotoGP, the Daytona tire tests are the unofficial start for the American motorcycle roadracing season. The top riders of the AMA American Superbike and Daytona Sportbike classes gather at Daytona International Raceway, and prepare for the start of the coming season.
As we reported earlier, Kawasaki's Chris Vermeulen has been forced to skip both the test at Phillip Island and the World Superbike season opener which follows this upcoming weekend. The problem is Vermeulen's knee, which he damaged in two crashes last year, and which is preventing him from being able to bend his knee sufficiently to ride the bike properly. Vermeulen posted a video on his Youtube channel explaining his decision not to ride, but pronouncing himself hopeful that he will be back at Donington and Assen. Here's what he had to say:
The World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island was an excellent way to whet the appetites of motorcycle racing fans around the globe, but the downside of the Antipodean round - and it's a big downside - is the fact that round 2 of WSBK follows fully four weeks after round 1. The MotoGP season opener fills that space, but even the Qatar race doesn't take place until three weeks after Phillip Island.
After the announcement that Bridgepoint Capital - the company that owns Dorna - had acquired 100% of the shares in Infront Sports & Media, the parent company of World Superbike series organizer Infront Motor Sports, IMS CEO Paolo Flammini gave a press conference to give IMS' vision on the merger, and how it will affect the World Superbike series. Nieuwsmotor editor Iwan van der Valk was present at the press conference and recorded what Flammini had to say on video. Here's the video of the press conference: