Carlos Checa picked up on the first day at Miller where he left off after last year's race: running at the front but plagued by technical problems. The Spaniard dominated here last year, but was forced to pull out of both races when his Althea Ducati packed up. So it was a little bit worrying for Checa when, after blitzing straight to the top of the timesheets in FP1, Checa's 1198R packed up on him, with what was apparently diagnosed as an electrical problem. Going out on the second bike, Checa continued to dominate, until his bike packed up a second time in the same session, this time reportedly with gearbox problems.
Despite the painful echoes of 2010, Checa was back out in the afternoon, this time ending the first session of qualifying without any technical dramas, but with an advantage of nearly eight-tenths of a second over the nearest competition. The Spaniard was merciless from the start: his first flying lap during qualifying was faster than any other rider had managed during FP2, and he got quicker from there, eventually getting to within a couple of tenths of the race lap record. If the bike stays in one piece, it's going to be hard to beat Checa at Miller - if the weather stays dry, of course.
1. Josh Hayes Yamaha 1:38.228
2. Tommy Hayden Suzuki 1:38.322
3. Roger Hayden Suzuki 1:38.614
4. Blake Young Suzuki 1:38.767
5. Ben Bostrom Suzuki 1:38.955
6. Martin Cardenas Suzuki 1:38.980
7. Chris Peris BMW 1:39.023
If the Sepang tests mark the season kickoff for MotoGP, the Daytona tire tests are the unofficial start for the American motorcycle roadracing season. The top riders of the AMA American Superbike and Daytona Sportbike classes gather at Daytona International Raceway, and prepare for the start of the coming season.
Spanning the globe, bringing you the constant variety of 2 wheel motorsports, Motomatters comes to you live from Road America, located in the lush, verdant, rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine. Road America is a 4+ mile, 14 turn, circuit on a 525 acre plot of land located between the small towns of Elkhart Lake and Plymouth, WI; about an hour north of Milwaukee.
With 3 very long straights, fast sweeping corners and numerous elevation changes, including a staggering 10 storey climb from the last turn to the Start/Finish Line, Road America has the reputation as a "horsepower track", where a bike needs plenty of ponies to be competitive.
In this moring's qualifying session, Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes continued the dominating form he showed at the last round at Sears Point where he took both races. Hayes reckons that his R1 has an advantage due to it's stability on the brakes and tire wear. Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Tommy Hayden and Blake Young, a Wisconsin native, slotted into the front row behind Hayes. Fourth place qualifier Larry Pegram said that he wasn't going for ultimate top speed but was looking at tire durablity.
For our non-American readers, the AMA format sees a race on Saturday and a race on Sunday. More updates as they occur.
Eugene Laverty continued to top the timesheets in the World Supersport class at Monza, the Parkalgar Honda rider finishing the first session of qualifying on top of the pile. But instead of the usual suspects alongside him, ParkinGO Triumph's David Salom took 2nd spot, putting in a fast lap late in the session to end just over two tenths behind Laverty. With two Kawasakis beside Salom - Motocard.com's Joan Lascorz and Lorenzini by Leoni's Fabien Foret - all three brands contesting the World Supersport class are represented on the provisional front row for Sunday's World Supersport race. Surprisingly, neither of the Ten Kate bikes made it onto the provisional front row, Kenan Sofuoglu finishing 5th just over six tenths behind Laverty, while his teammate Michele Pirro ended 6th, well over a second off the Irishman's pace.
The guys over at OnTheThrottle have another video up in their series of conversations with former 500GP star Kevin Schwantz. The Suzuki legend was at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana last weekend, attending the second round of the AMA championship held there. OTT's Dave Williams talked to Schwantz about riding in windy conditions, about the final MotoGP test at Qatar, about Ben Spies' expectations for the first year of MotoGP, about the difference between Grand Prix bikes and production bikes, and about how the differences between tires can affect your riding. Here's what Revvin' Kevin had to say:
The enormous success of MotoMatters.com has seen our traffic grow tenfold over the past three years, and we are starting to become the victims of our own success. We have completely outgrown our current hosting situation, and after DNS problems made MotoMatters.com unreachable for a small part of our readers earlier this year, it was clear we had to act.
The time has now come for us to switch to a bigger, better and faster server. Unfortunately, this means some inconvenience for our readers for the next week or so, as the internet gets used to the idea that http://www.motomatters.com is located on a different server. Consequently, the website could become unreachable for a short length of time, and mail may not be delivered correctly.
Fortunately, this situation should not last too long. We're hoping everything should be back to normal by next Monday at the very latest, though the inconvenience should only last for a couple of days.
The classic conundrum asks:"If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?" Without settling too deeply into the mire of philosophical speculation, this axiom relates to the idea of objects ceasing to exist when there's nobody around to perceive them. That's the situation that the AMA found themselves in at the running of the Daytona 200 on Friday night. A poor economy, fan indifference and the coldest weather that this reporter has ever seen in northern Florida during bike week conspired to make this year's race the most sparsely attended in, well, maybe ever.
The audience wasn't the only group missing in action. The field was, by some estimates, one of the smallest to take the grid. Eventual winner Josh Herrin said that he didn't have much trouble overtaking backmarkers because the the field was about half of what it was in 2009, the first night running of the 200. Some non-American readers are probably wondering just who the heck Josh Herrin is. This points to another group that was conspicuous by it's absence -- the top riders in America. The greatest rider in the history of the series, Mat Mladin, retired at the end of last season to his Australian home, emerging only to toss barbed tweets into the Twittersphere and the other "name" riders are confining themselves to the Superbike series.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Always something of an oddball race, even by American standards, the 200 is the sole endurance type race on the AMA calendar and requires special tactics and equipment not used during the rest of the schedule. In bygone days, that wouldn't stop the best of the best from appearing at the spring kick-off. The 200 was one of the premiere spectacles in motorcycle racing and world champions would make special pains to appear. People who knew nothing about motorcycle road-racing knew that the Daytona 200 was something special.