Things we think of while riding down the road

So much news…so little time

I have been writing personal blog posts of late and have let news features fall by the wayside. Well, today is different, lets talk about what is going on in roadracing. Those of you that know me, have listened to the podcast (www.themotoworld.com) and / or read this blog, know I have been a roadracer since 1981 and that is where my heart is. I occasionally delve into the off-road world but as my old friend and racing adversary Danny Farnsworth of the Willow Springs Motorcycle Club used to say…”pavement is racing, dirt is for growing potatoes” thats why today is all about roadracing

One of the most popular podcasts at www.themotoworld,com we have done of late is titled “All news, All the time…Well kinda”. It was fun to do because there is so much happening in the roadracing world right now. A new organization with new rules, some manufacturers not wanting to play, new riders on new bikes, a spec tyre program in both AMA Pro Racing and MotoGP, a potential for International rules for National series.

Let’s start with AMA Pro Racing vs. the ‘Big 4’, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki. The final rule changes for the 2009 racing season were announced last week and three out of the big four were not happy. In the past, only one has been annoyed. The details of the rules can be found at other websites such as www.roadracingworld.com so I won’t get into them here, but the gist of it is that it all started with a change of tire sizes and fuel tank alterations that Kawasaki was not happy with. Honda decided to follow suit and the Yoshimura Suzuki joined in. Yamaha said “we’re going racing”! Well, this coming weekend is the Daytona Tire Test. Usually a big event. I wonder who’s going to be there?

And still more from the soap opera we lovingly call AMA Pro Racing. President Roger Edmondson has made a big deal about the fact the rule changes coming forth are designed to make the racing better by leveling the playing field, or race course as it were. Spec tyre’s, horsepower limitations ala Moto-ST, which he also runs and is doing quite well and new homologation rules for aftermarket parts. There has been and is still a lot of unhappiness about all the various changes. Mr Edmondson is trying to get more motorcycles from more manufacturers on the grid. Good for him. I think we all agree that we would like to see the likes of Ducati, Aprillia, KTM, Buell and Triumph alongside the Big Four. Here is where it gets a bit interesting.

In the “Middle Weight” classes, AMA Sportbike and AMA Supersport, we could see a VERY wide range of machinery on the track. For the 2009 racing season we will see the 600CC bikes from Honda, Kawasaki,Suzuki and Yamaha but…also the Triumph Daytona 675, Buell 1125R, KTM Superduke, BMW1200ccHP2 and the Ducati 848. Would make a very interesting and exciting field don’t you think? I do. But wait, what’s wrong with this picture??? 1100 and 1200 CC motorcycles against little’ol 600’s? It’s been done before. But that was back in the day of two big heavy, two valve aircooled cylinder motors, not lightweight, high performance, liquid cooled four valve motors. And,why is Ducati limited to 848CC?? I must be missing something here. Let’s get a small picture of how this looks. Based on press releases available to all; the Buell 1125R comes from the factory with 146HP and 82 Ft lbs of torque, ok, cool. The Honda CBR600RR comes to the party with a paltry 105HP and a meager 46 ft lbs of torque, poor little Honda.

So, the question is now, how is this a level playing field? I’m not sure, but it might make for some very interesting racing.

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