With the uncertainty of the status of motorcycle roadracing here in the U.S for next season, what are racers going to do? Where are they going to be racing? It seems like no one knows. As we were preparing to go to Laquna Seca for AMA Superbike Finale a couple of weeks ago, we contacted the PR people for the Big4 to line up interview time and as I mentioned before three said interviews are fine but don’t bring up politics and one, Suzuki, said no interviews at all. As a matter of fact the PR gal completely ignored us at the track. Oh well.
Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda have always been helpful and fun to deal with and the PR people and riders have become good friends. When the subject of the current situation of roadracing came up, we were told that the guys are just tired of hearing about it and the truth is no one knows whats going on. In our interview with Honda’s Neil Hodgson, we were talking about the off-season, he brought up next year and his quote ” God only knows what is going to happen” my response was “and he’s not telling”..we both got a chuckle out of that.
re are a couple of things we do know and a couple of rumors and speculations. We do know that Ben Spies is going to World Superbike. He wanted MotoGP but maybe in reality, WSBK is a perfect stepping stone for him. He has a good deal with Yamaha and Valentino’s contract runs out in a couple of years, who knows what Ben’s next step could be, but I think Ben will be a major force in World Superbike. We do know that Troy Corser is going to BMW and Max Biaggi is going back to Aprilia. We know that Ben Spies is taking Troys seat at Yamaha, but who is taking Max’s seat at Sterilgarda Ducati. AND…who is taking Troy Bayliss’s ride at Xerox Ducati???
Now, onto rumors and speculations…back in July, we here at The MotoWorld www.themotoworld.com interviewed Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke and he came right out and said that he is looking to Europe for a ride next year, and besides that, his wife loves Italy. Josh Hayes has a ride for the end of this year in World SuperSport and finished ninth this past weekend..good for you Josh. That is both Erion Honda riders looking eastward. What is Kevin Erion doing for next year?
Did you watch this last weekend’s World Superbike race from Magny Cours, France? More importantly, did you listen? During the broadcast, one of the announcers made a couple of cryptic comments. First was a hint that Noriyuki Haga may be leaving Yamaha to Ducati, could be a good match, could be the one that finally gets the ‘perenial bridesmaid’ a World Championship that he so richly deserves. That would fill Troy Bayliss’s seat, and, I think ‘Nitro Nori’ is probably only one of a couple that could fill Troy’s seat. So, who steps in to fill Hagasan’s ride? Well, another comment was made by the Speed TV commentator that there was a possibility that Ben Bostrom may be heading back to the continent. Let’s see, he has had a good bit of success in World Superbike, and he is the AMA SuperSport Champion on a Yamaha..a very good fit in my view. But..and this is a very BIG but..Ben Bostrom and Ben Spies as teammates?? Uh…BBoz could be a good teacher helping BSpies get used to the World Tracks, but would he want to? BBoz is highly energized and back in a big way in his racing. He likes winning. Helping out someone else…not so much.
And then there is Jake Zemke. AMA Formula Extreme Champion. He wants to go back to Europe. Jake would be a perfect fit on just about any team. There may be a couple GP teams??? John Hopkins at Kawasaki might be needing a new teammate
The top racers here are still wondering where they are going to race this next season. A few have a pretty good future overseas but at the same time, the World Teams are on a budget like everyone else. You simply can’t bring every AMA ex-patriot to Europe.
An interesting time in roadracing here in America. I feel it’s almost like a game of chicken