It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Racing' started by Will Hartung, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. Will Hartung

    Will Hartung Guest

    Pre-season! Prognostication!

    The testing is mostly done, the first WSBK race is in a week, and then the
    whole shebang starts all over again for Yet Another year. Once more in to
    the breech! Those amazing yound men and their flying machines.

    No real technical changes this year compared to the past couple of years in
    any of the major series. Still running spec tires in WSBK, still running
    990's in GP, and we've already had our first FX 200 in the AMA.

    Next year we get the new smaller GP bikes, and the possible departure of
    Rossi, but modulo the annual musical chairs, it's pretty much same as the
    old boss this year.

    From a spectator point of view, the most significant thing we'll see over
    here in the US is a new announcer for the AMA on Speed as they struggle to
    squeeze us motocycle folks among beer bars and 24 hr NASCAR reruns. Dunno if
    we'll get the same team for WSBK or not, but I'm supposing we'll get the
    same team in GP as we've had for quite some time.

    Are there any real track changes for GP or WSBK this year? I don't recall
    any, but I don't know. AMA gets a brand new track at Miller in the middle of
    Utah, the loss of Pikes Peak, and 2 rounds at a, probably, very different
    Mid-Ohio, as it's supposed to be completely resurfaced thus removing its
    ....umm... character as well as rumored new scoring for the final round to be
    held there.

    Lots of shuffling about in the GP paddock. Max is GONE! All GONE! Pons got
    stuffed (boy did that just suck). I still don't know under which shell the
    pea is. Obviously the 3 to watch are the 3 we were watching at the end of
    last year: Rossi, Melandri, and Hayden. Rossi as he rides his "Never say
    Never to Tobacco" CAMEL Yamaha, Hayden on Repsol, and Melandri at Fortuna.
    Over on Soup, Dean Adams had an interesting article the other day about
    Nicky, reiterating somewhat Marks continuing lament about American riders in
    GP. It's going to be a hard year for Nicky I think.

    They managed to steal Vermeulen away from SBK, he'll get some decent
    experience, but I don't know if we'll see much of him this year unless the
    Suzuki has suddenly become that much better.

    WSBK is, well, WSBK. Chili is still there, there was rumors he may have
    retired. Corser is still there, and much the same crowd as last year. From a
    "TV Show" point of view, WSBK puts on the best show. I love their
    announcers, and the racing is usually quite close. The downside is that it's
    not quite on the technical edge of the AMA, and simply the fact that the
    older riders do well there just tells me there's something just basically
    wrong in the series. I like watching Corser and Chili and, of course, Haga,
    as well as the rest as much as any, and we're getting fitter with better
    workouts and nutrition etc., but motorcycle racing really is a young mans
    game, and when the young men aren't quite there, it just says...I
    dunno..something. I'll still watch it though, just the best show so far.

    AMA this year is going to be ... interesting I think.

    I do hope to see a solid showing this year by the Hondas, that's what I
    really want to see this year. I understand why they weren't up to speed last
    year, but they've had their year, and they've got a new bike, and they've
    got the riders. Both Jake and Miguel save for Daytona are focused on the
    series, and I have high hopes for them.

    Meanwhile we'll be watching to see if Spies has managed to find the 1-2
    seconds to keep up with Mat while Aaron runs blocker, and also whether
    Hodgson can take what he learned last year and do anything with the Ducati.
    But last year the Ducatis didn't do too spectacular in WSBK, Eric did "not
    bad" last year with it, but was only rarely in the hunt save for Laguna (no,
    I'm not forgetting Pikes Peak), and progressed more through Suzukis
    misfortune. I really think it's up to the Hondas to rein in the Suzukis. The
    sub plot will be if Ben Bostrom can do better than Neil, and frankly I will
    be surprised if he does. We'll see if the Bostrom freestyle form can do
    better then Neils more methodical technique.

    I will be surprised if the Haydens break the top 5 by the end of the year.
    The bikes doing allright, they're (well, Tommy notably) good racers, but
    they have to deal with a LOT more set up flexibility that they simply don't
    have the experience with, so raw talent will have to see them through as
    they figure it out. Problem is that the others have raw talent as well as
    setup, and that puts the Haydens in to a learning season this year.

    I do expect to see the Yamaha's with their new "specials" leveraging that
    extra bit coming out on top this year, both in SSport and SStock, and I
    think a lot of pressure is going to be put on Jason DiSalvo. I never cared
    much for him, but the kid does perform. I don't know how healthy Hacking is,
    and Eric is on Yet Another good bike. Jason has been taking names in
    testing, and his FX bike is just stupid fast if the Fontana times mean
    anything for the season.

    I don't know if Jason is racing 3 series, or two. I can't imagine he's
    racing three, but I don't know who else will be racing SSport with Hacking,
    as Eric is in SStock and FX. Maybe Jason isn't in SStock, and that's just
    Eric and Jamie. Does Graves have a fourth this year?

    I can easily see it being the Jason and Eric show in FX, and I do think that
    the 200 will be particularly good this year if the Hondas are up to speed
    with the Yamahas, and the Yamaha's don't implode. We'll have Miguel, Jake,
    Jason and Eric in Daytona on factory hardware. Hopefully the new Buell can
    survive the 200 as well, it will be interesting to see. Yessir, should be a
    really good race I think.

    It would not surprise me to see Jason take FX or SSport this year. I doubt
    that Eric can take SStock, simply because he won't have the tuning options
    available on the bike that he's used to and may not come to grips with it
    until later. His best chance is in FX, but it's on a brand new bike, both
    for him and the teams. The Yamaha teams haven't had that much flexibility in
    quite a while.

    I am looking forward to Miller this year, I'm really interested to see that
    track. It looks like they made a track that we can actually run Superbikes
    on flat out, unlike Barber. It probably won't be as pretty to look at as
    Barber, but save for Laguna, none of the Western tracks are particularly
    nice that way anyway.

    Also, it's good to yet a 4th factory effort in AMA with Kawasaki coming
    back, so the field should be a bit deeper this year, but in truth the I
    don't see anything slowing Mat down and everyone else is simply going to
    have to catch him.

    So, no lists from me placing people. I would be just giddy if Nicky brings
    the cup home, but I dunno if it will happen -- I'm skeptical. I don't care
    who wins in WSBK, but it will be a great show to watch, and while I doubt
    we'll see anything as good as the final FX race last year, I hope to see
    Miguel and Mat screaming and swearing at each other all season this year.

    And, of course, the best part is sitting here and BS'ing with y'all on
    r.m.r. You think there are rivalries on the track, they're nothing compared
    to the bench racing action we have here!

    Mark? You want to fill in the blanks?


    Will Hartung
    Will Hartung, Feb 17, 2006
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  2. Will Hartung

    Bummers Guest

    and.....................Gibernau (reborn!)?

    I think you forgot one little Aussie on a Duc.
    Bummers, Feb 17, 2006
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