Quickly looking back through ‘My Documents’ on the MacBook I can see the last time I put some thoughts down from Europe was in January this year. That’s seven months ago so I think I may just have to put things down in point form or this might just end up an Andrew Pitt short story.
There are some things that have certainly changed in the bike world in that time, while some things have remained exactly the same. Ducati are leading the MotoGP World Championship and Jorge Lorenzo hasn’t won a race yet. His teammate has won four though and that’s why he is leading the title race after 12 rounds.
Still over at Ducati they have decided that the much loved Ducati V-twin Superbike has come to the end of its life as a race bike by 2019, before it becomes a 1500 or 1600. Maybe the pistons are just getting too physically big.
Jokes aside the V4 Superbike is going to be pretty amazing from what I am hearing. Maybe something my mate Jonny Rea could win a couple more world titles on before he settles into the easy life in Cowes and the early morning bunch rides around the Island.
The new Fireblade hasn’t quite been the world-beater that everyone was hoping it would be or were patiently waiting for, for the past nine years. Kind of a big let down to put it politely. I guess the only solution there is to go the V4 Superbike route as the boys from Bologna have done.
Only when Honda feels the desire to of course, but sadly that may never happen. Although while Yamaha keep winning the 8-hour at Suzuka there will always remain a glimmer of hope.
Suzuki’s MotoGP effort has just about come to a standstill in terms of results and more particularly Andrea Iannone has simply been ordinary. The excuses have been endless since he challenged for the win at the opening round in Qatar and the private jets and the cosmetic upgrades seem to be the priority at the moment. Then he can come out in warm-up at Silverstone and top the session.
He has always been great at jumping on the back of Marquez for a tow but this year just hasn’t been good enough. In Barcelona the stand-in rider Sylvain Guintoli passed him in the race and now his rookie teammate Alex Rins (who certainly isn’t the next Marc Marquez) is regularly outperforming him. Stick Jonny Rea on it for a couple of seasons and see what he can do with it is my wish.
What remains unchanged in our world of bike racing though is that the same guy on the ZX-10R looks like winning World Title number three on the trot, and Valentino has won another race at the ripe old age of 38 and still is in with a sniff of the MotoGP title.
Closer to home for me though, over at Team Kawasaki Puccetti and our new venture into the World -Superbike paddock let me just say it has been a learning experience on many fronts. Very enjoyable technically but frustrating on the rider front, apart from one fine Saturday afternoon in Donnington Park when Leon Haslam made a wildcard appearance on our second bike and stood on the podium.
Our full time rider Randy Krummenacher started the year off so well at Phillip Island finishing in the top 10 and only 12 seconds off the winner. But he’s now struggling to finish in the points if no one crashes and also struggling to finish within a minute of the race winner. He is still struggling to stop the bike and be really aggressive on the brakes and brake all the way into the apex of the corner. We can’t get him out of that brake earlier, brake less and fly into the corner with too much corner speed 600-style.
Plus I’m not sure if he really even wants to be there as the focus and desire is simply not there. Tough for the team, who work so hard and put a lot into building the best bike we could. Hence the expense by the team owner to build a second bike for Leon to showcase our real level of competitiveness.
The program for next year is a little more exciting though, with two bikes and the young Turkish kid Toprak Razgatlioglu stepping up after performing miracles this year for Kawasaki in the Superstock 1000 class. For the other bike we are very close to getting a deal done with Leon Haslam. That is our dream team and with mostly official material from Kawasaki and the rules being wound in slightly, we will have a bike that can fight for the podium every weekend.
Kenan Sofuoglu will remain on the team’s 600 and despite missing the first three rounds this year still stands a very good chance of claiming another title against a swag of the new Yamaha R6s.
Let’s see if we can catch up again in September, providing a certain editor can stay off dirt bikes and keep himself in one piece. I’m heading over to Silverstone BSB in a couple of weeks time which is the final round to qualify for the showdown, with three races spread over two days. Brookesy and particularly the O’Show look like they will make the shortlist.