of the Japanese teams are still in the process of coming
together and selecting riders, but the Ten Kate Honda of
Germany based team with Chris Vermeulen and former Superbike
Champion Troy Corser is already firmed up. While another
factory supported team, PSG-1 Kawasaki have sign Chris Walker,
formerly of Foggy Petronas. And with so many new team now
looking for riders, there's going to be a lot of out of
work MotoGP riders next month who will be very happy to
have another top level World Championship to move to, particularly
other former Ducati World Superbike Champions like Troy
Bayliss and Neil Hodgson.
might say the Japanese are returning to World Superbike
through the back door, using European distributor run teams,
to save face in returning to the series which they abandoned
2-3 years ago for the glamour of 4-stroke MotoGP. But we
welcome them back in any way, shape or form. And the fact
they are returning through already established distributor
teams in various European countries means they have an establshed
infrastructure of shops, staff, mechanics and transporters
already in place. Their costs will be less, they can support
more teams with money, bikes and parts. And these already
established teams can come out swinging from the first race.
We are going to have some incredible racing in World Superbike
But not to forget, we also had some incredible racing in
2004 World Superbike. Despite the 1-2 brand dominance, it
was certainly the closest Championship ever with 5 riders
in contention for the title win from week to week. And the
title going down to the final round at Mangy Cours between
James Toseland and Regis Laconi.
don't let us forget, much appreciation must go to Ducati
for continuing to support the superbike championship through
its lean years to help it survive, both for us fans and
for the important marketing tool in is for manufacturers.
The Japanese factories lost sight of this important aspect
the last few years, and a dramatic decline in Japanese sportbike
sales and spectator race attendance (in America and Japan
in particular) was the result.
and appreciation also needs to go out to FGSport president
Paolo Flammini and marketing director Robert Wicks for enduring
the criticism and allowing Pirelli Tires to come in as the
major SBK Championship sponsor to allow the SBK Championship
to financially survive in its lean season. And it is acknowledged
now by all that the use of required Pirelli spec tires has
allowed the racing to be closer and more exciting. Spectators
can't see spec tires being a second a lap slower, but they
certainly can see the closer racing.
Next year in 2005, instead of seeing 5 riders fighting for
the lead at the front of the pack in World Superbike, we
just might be seeing 10-15 riders!
here in America, an acknowledgment of disappoint goes
to Laguna Seca Raceway for not renewing its contract
with World Superbike. And to AMA Pro Racing for not
creating a world class environment for its class
rules, race tracks and promoters so World Superbike
could find another home in America -the world's biggest
sportbike market. Ironic, isn't it?
Announces its 2005 Superbike Teams
World Champion Neil Hodgson confirmed for AMA Superbike!
8th - Ducati Corse’s 2005 Superbike programmes
are now taking shape with the triple announcement of an
unchanged line-up in its World Superbike factory team,
the debut of a young Italian talent in a satellite World
Superbike structure and a redoubling of its efforts to
win the AMA Superbike championship.
Brit James Toseland, who won the 2004 World Superbike
championship on a Ducati 999F04, will defend the title
on the ‘05 version of the bike that won ten of
the 22 races on the calendar. One month ago at Magny-Cours,
James became the third British rider to win the Superbike
crown, and his team-mate will once again be the 29-year-old
Frenchman Regis Laconi, who has also been confirmed
as Ducati factory rider for 2005.
past week has been brilliant, first winning the MCN
Man of the Year award and then having my position with
Ducati Corse confirmed for 2005,” commented Toseland.
“It’s fantastic to start the season with
the same team that I won the championship with and I’m
hoping that our relationship will continue to be as
successful. I learned an awful lot last year and I feel
confident about retaining the world championship. I
can’t wait to get started.”
am very happy to be reconfirmed by Ducati; this is what
I wanted,” declared Laconi. “Next year I
will try and win the championship for sure, I came very
close this year but unfortunately I made some mistakes,
even though I was nearly always the quickest rider out
on the track... c’est la vie! It’s sure
to be more difficult next year but I know that Ducati
will be working harder than ever over the winter to
prepare an even more competitive bike for the 2005 season.”
third Ducati 999 will also be raced in World Superbike
by the talented Italian youngster Lorenzo Lanzi. The
23-year-old from Cesena earned his promotion with a
string of positive results in World Supersport, where
he finished fifth overall, and he will campaign a 999RS
for the satellite SC team run by Stefano Caracchi. The
Bologna-based team will also continue with the Supersport
race programme of the Ducati 749R that Lanzi took to
its debut this year.
am really pleased to have this new challenge, above
all because I will have the same Supersport team of
mechanics with me,” declared Lanzi. “Once
again I move up a category after a year, and for this
reason it’s not going to be easy, but I will be
riding the 999RS, which is a very competitive bike,
and we hope to get some good results.”
final piece in the jigsaw for Ducati Corse’s Superbike
plans comes with the announcement that Toseland’s
fellow Brit and 2003 WSBK champion, Neil Hodgson, will
line up alongside Eric Bostrom in the Parts Unlimited
Ducati Austin AMA Superbike team for next season. After
a difficult year in MotoGP on a Desmosedici GP3, the
31-year-old from Burnley is happy to return to the 999
bike that took him to the 2003 WSBK title and is also
relishing this tough new challenge.
had a disappointing experience in MotoGP, it’s
such a relief to be back where I belong with Ducati
Corse,” declared Hodgson. “The AMA Championship
poses a great challenge both to me personally and to
Ducati as they haven’t won it for many years.
I would like to make history and be the first rider
ever to have won the British and World Superbike Championships
and the AMA Championship. Being back with the 999 is
going to be so natural for me and I can’t wait
to start testing. The main thing that I have discovered
this year is that I cannot race just to make up the
numbers. I need to win!”
Laconi and Lanzi will be in action next week on November
16-18 in three days of testing at Valencia, whereas
Neil Hodgson’s first appearance for the AMA Superbike
team is scheduled for January 3-5, 2005 in testing at
the legendary Daytona circuit in Florida.
GSE Team Returns to British Superbike
8th - After a single season away from competitive
track action GSE Racing will make a welcome and eagerly
anticipated return to the circuits of the UK, having
confirmed their intention to compete at the top level
in the prestigious 2005 British Superbike Championship.
Running high specification Ducati 999F04 V-twin machinery
the GSE squad will be a two-rider team, with the riding
line up to be released in due course. GSE Racing will
also renew a partnership with Dunlop tyres, a co-operation
which has previously netted British Championships and
World Superbike race wins.
2005 version of GSE Racing will feature largely the
same backroom staff as in previous years, headed up
by owner and Team Principal Darrell Healey. Team Manager
Colin Wright will once more control the racing operations
of the double British Championship winning team. GSE
will return to the 13-round British Series with the
full blessing and support of Ducati Corse.
Having secured two previous crowns in the British Championship,
with Troy Bayliss in 1999 and Neil Hodgson in 2000,
the credentials of the GSE Racing operation are unquestioned.
A return to active duty for GSE will be a momentous
occasion for British racing as a whole, thanks to their
successes in World Championship competition.
always run Ducati V-twin machinery, with strong support
from the Borgo Panigale-based Ducati Corse concern,
the GSE team has won four World Championship races in
its own right. Moreover, the ability to spot, support
and develop talent has seen three former GSE Racing
riders promoted to full factory status in Ducati’s
World Superbike team. Of even more significance, Troy
Bayliss, Neil Hodgson and now James Toseland have all
gone on to ultimate World Superbike success, with Hodgson
and Toseland taking their crowns only one season after
their move from GSE to the factory team.
Principal Healey stated, “After one year out of
racing our hunger to return is evident in the attitude
of the staff and our new riders. Ducati has once more
supplied us with high-level machinery, for what looks
like it will be an even more competitive season than
last year. We are a British team, so racing at home,
in one of the most prestigious race series on earth,
is an exciting prospect for us all.”
Corse Superbike Program Director, Paolo Ciabatti, added,
“We are really glad to be able to work again with
GSE Racing. Our relationship, which began in 1998, has
been growing stronger and stronger over the years and
has brought to Ducati many successes, thanks to the
team’s very professional management and to their
ability to select and motivate their riders. After one
year of absence from the racetracks, we are happy that
GSE have confirmed their loyalty to Ducati for their
first round of British Championship competition is scheduled
for March 26 – 28, at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit,
a short hop from the GSE Group Headquarters, at Ashford
PETRONAS Signs McCoy and Martin for World Superbike
Nov 9th -
Carl Fogarty has signed Australian pair Garry McCoy
and Steve Martin for his Foggy PETRONAS Racing team's
2005 Superbike World Championship campaign. The two
riders will have their first taste of action on the
PETRONAS FP1 at a three-day test in Valencia, Spain,
said: "I am very pleased to have been able to replace
our riders from last year, who finished 9th and 11th
in the championship, with two guys who finished 6th
and 7th. We were very impressed by the standard of riders
that were interested in joining us next year, which
provided a few headaches. But, out of all of them, I
felt Garry and Steve were the hungriest for success
- and with points still to prove.
is a very exciting rider, with a proven pedigree, who
I think will adapt well to our bike. He has a radical
style and he has won GPs on a high revving two-stroke
machine. The FP1's power characteristics are probably
closer to that type of machine than the Ducati he rode
is probably the most under-rated rider on the world
scene. He wants to be noticed and now it's up to him
to make people sit up and take notice. He is a gutsy
competitor, with good set-up abilities, who suffered
with reliability problems last year so he was the name
that nobody mentioned - but they will now!"
32, completed his first season in World Superbikes last
year, finishing sixth in the championship and winning
his home race at Phillip Island. Brought up in speedway,
McCoy is known for his exhilarating riding style, sliding
the back wheel into corners. During his career in Grand
Prix racing he won three 500cc GPs in 2000, when he
finished fifth in the championship. Before switching
to superbikes he achieved a total of 17 GP podiums,
including five victories.
said: "I am really looking forward to it. It is
still only early days for the FP1 but, from the results
the team has been achieving lately, it's clear it has
potential. I never set myself targets, I just go out
to win. But I am really hoping to do better than last
year as I now know a lot of the tracks that I didn't
know in my first season, which made it really tough.
I am also really pleased to have Steve as a team-mate
and the chance to share information in trying to get
the bike up there challenging for podiums."
35, is a former Australian Superbike champion, who spent
three years in World Superbikes with a Pirelli development
team before the single-manufacturer tyre rule came into
force last season. Despite a series of agonising technical
failures during races he finished seventh in the championship
standings, including five podium finishes. His natural
talent was also underlined with three pole positions
said: "I am really excited by this opportunity
and I am going to give it everything I have got. I know
the team has a great bunch of guys and a great bunch
of technicians who will be right behind me and I am
sure that we can challenge consistently for podiums
and better my seventh place in last year's standings.
I have seen the FP1 out on track and it clearly handles
really well and had good pace for only its second year
of racing. It improved a lot during last season and
I am sure that the improvement will continue and that
we will be on the pace for 2005."
and Garry replace Troy Corser and Chris Walker, who
were 9th and 11th in the championship respectively.
(But Martin and McCoy were riding much more competitive
Ducati 999RS04 Superbikes this year, and will have a
much more difficult row to hoe in 2005 on the underpowered
Foggy 900cc 3-cylinder Superbike. - Ed).