Author: site admin
Category: AMA Superbikes, MotoGP
Once again, I find that I have a backlog of things I wanted to post on the blog but not enough time to do long postings on each one. Presented here is my second installment of “Odds and Ends”.
A month ago, I did a blog posting about some Dunlop posters that were being offered for sale with the proceeds going to a good cause. Well, if you have more money to spend and want an even cooler thing to show for it, there is an auction of signed motorcycle gear being hosted by RPM with all the money earned from the sale going to help injured motorcycle racer Vincent Haskovec. The list of stuff up for sale is amazing and its guilt free since you’re helping someone in need. Bid soon and bid often.
Another news item which raised my eyebrows was an announcement from the AMA that the Daytona 200 would again be a Formula Xtreme race in 2006 but that the Superbike race would again be promoted as the premier race. My first problem with this is that it implies that the AMA has the luxury of determining what is or isn’t the premier class. I’d say that the fans determine that. If the fans feel let down by the Superbikes being removed from the 200 then Superbikes aren’t the premier class. My second issue with this is that it doesn’t really clarify anything. The AMA seems unable to make up their minds about the how to continue their recent commitment to Superbikes through 2008 while at the same time promoting their vision of Formula Xtreme as the direction the series should be going. Looks to me like they are tabling this whole issue for another year by sticking with a confusing class structure and confusing priorities at Daytona for another year.
I did a blog posting back in April about TV viewership of MotoGP races in Europe. Well, another report came out showing 50% viewership of the Catalunya MotoGP race in Italy and 33% viewership in Spain. 50 - freaking- percent!?!? Is that amazing or what? Obviously I’ve got Italian blood somewhere in my past. Maybe I should move to Italy and see if it feels like home?
Rossi makes bank according to the Forbes annual survey. No real surprise there but this is probably the first time a motorcycle racer has shown up near the top of a salary survey since the days of Barry Sheene. Just another sign of both how professional the MotoGP series has become and just how valued as a rider Rossi really is. We’ll have to see if Yamaha can afford to keep Valentino on the payroll when his two year contract comes to an end this year.
During the MotoGP weekend at Assen a press release hit the air waves saying that HRC and Repsol have agreed to terms that will continue to see Honda’s MotoGP team sponsored by the Argentinean oil giant through 2007. What is interesting about this is that earlier this year, it appeared that Honda was in a tight spot with Spaniard Sete Gibernau being the Honda rider that earned full factory support but having a Repsol contract that prevented a full factory bike from being handed out to any team except the one in the Respol HRC factory garage. Some agreement was apparently reached which allowed Sete to get a full factory bike and now the Honda/Repsol contract has been renewed. There isn’t any indication of whether the new contract contains the same restrictions as the previous one. Could Marco Melandri now be the next rider to get full factory support without being on a Respol bike?
I saw somewhere, and unfortunately I’ve forgotten exactly where, that the Australian postal service issued a set of five postage stamps last year to honor Australia’s Grand Prix motorcycle racers. I couldn’t google up any good links but the stamps were printed for Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner, Daryl Beattie, Garry McCoy and Troy Bayliss. Damn, now I can’t decide if I should move to Italy or Australia!
My favorite news item, though, were the details about the British Superbike “R6 Cup” series. At first, it looks just like any other spec bike race class. Lots of riders racing on identically prepared bikes. However, there are two things that make this one particularly interesting. First, all the bikes are prepared by the same crew (sort of like the International Suzuki Cup series bikes). Riders are randomly assigned a bike at the beginning of the race and the bikes are returned immediately after the checkered flag. No monkeying around with the bikes allowed. The riders pay a flat rate to lease the bike for the race season. The second, and biggest difference, is the prize. At the end of the season the rider that wins the series gets a full factory Superbike ride the following year with the Virgin Yamaha team. Sweet! What a dream deal for a young rider. Last year’s winner, Tommy Hill, has performed well this year in his factory debut and is rumored to have the same ride next year along side the winner of the 2005 R6 Cup championship. Bravo to Virgin Mobile for helping bootstrap the British Superbike series.
[image from the Fast Dates Calendar web site.]