If Jack Miller is parachuted into Aspar, the second seat in the team is up for grabs. Though Dorna are keen to have an American in MotoGP, it is widely believed that Nicky Hayden’s days are numbered.
Despite his denials, there are question marks over Hayden’s wrist, and he has not been as competitive on the Open Honda as he had hoped. Hayden was at the last round of World Superbikes at Laguna Seca a couple of weeks ago, where he was seen talking to a lot of teams.
There is a lot of speculation Hayden could end up on an Aprilia in World Superbikes next season, the American already having visited the factory’s Noale HQ in 2013, before he left Ducati to sign for Aspar.
Could Hayden take the second Aprilia seat in MotoGP? This seems extremely unlikely. The factory already has an experienced development rider in Alvaro Bautista, and is really looking for someone faster and younger to lead the challenge.
2015 has not been kind to Davide Giugliano. The factory Ducati rider was already forced to miss the first four rounds of the season after fracturing two lumbar vertebrae in testing crash at Phillip Island, a week before the season began.
Now he will be forced to miss the remainder of the season, after scans revealed a fracture of the thoracic vertebra T3, sustained in a crash at Laguna Seca.
Superbike fans should rejoice to the news that Kawasaki has an all-new ZX-10R in the works for the upcoming model year. The news comes from Germany’s reliable Speedweek publication, which interviewed Guim Roda, the Team Manager of Kawasaki’s World Superbike racing effort.
Talking to Speedwekk, Roda said “we will have a new Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2016. The concept will be the same but, with some details and changes, it will be even more competitive.”
“Given that the current rules are very restricted, the motorbikes have to be developed with an eye on the sport. We are heading on a path that Aprilia, Ducati and BMW have already taken for this year by bringing out new bikes,” he added.
A race is more than just a race. This past weekend, both the World Superbike and MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series came to one of the most fabled tracks in America, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The racing was exciting, yet the crowd was not nearly as big as you would think. Maybe it was the threat of rain. Maybe it was the lack of TV coverage. Or maybe it was the fact that a lot of American riders have never been exposed to motorcycle racing and don’t know what a race weekend is all about.
Do folks think a race weekend is just sitting in the hot sun watching bikes droning around the track in endless, boring circles? Of course it’s not! Sure, there’s lots of racing, and as in any outdoor event, Mother Nature can be a factor, but there is so much more to a race weekend.
Many riders who didn’t grow up as race fans may not realize that a motorcycle race is more than just a race; it’s an event – a gathering of the motorcycling community. It doesn’t matter if you ride a cruiser, a tourer, or a sportbike. A race weekend offers something for everyone.
Under normal circumstances, I would say that if you missed the World Superbike / MotoAmerica round at Laguna Seca this weekend, then you missed a great weekend of motorcycle racing.
Of course, the deaths of Daniel Rivas and Bernat Martinez have written a tragic ending to an otherwise great story, and their passing is still being felt around the industry, both here and in Spain.
Before that tragic race started though, Dorna released the attendance figures for American round, quoting 52,704 people in attendance over the race weekend. Breaking things down by day, that’s 12,436 fans on Friday, 18,559 fans on Saturday, and 21,709 fans on Sunday.
This accordingly means that World Superbike fan attendance for 2015 is up 6.7% over last year’s total attendance, which was 49,408. It should be noted that attendance in 2014 was up 20% over 2013, the first year of WSBK’s return to Laguna Seca.
The weather is often a large part of the story at Laguna Seca. Usually it’s either heat, like the dangerously hot 2006 MotoGP weekend, or morning fog that delays the start of a day’s sessions, like nearly every time an event is held at this circuit.
But today the weather was a sudden thunderstorm that started just before sunrise. As the paddock came awake, lightning was flashing to the south and rain was drenching the circuit, washing the rubber off the asphalt and soaking the Media Center, to name only a couple of moisture-related casualties.
Out came the rain tires for the morning warm-up, and away they went on a track that was drying but still wet. But by the time Race 1 arrived, it was back to slicks for two dry races.
It’s great to be back on Asphalt & Rubber again, sitting next to Jensen in a media center at a race track, preparing photos for the A&R readers.
It’s great to be back at a World Superbike race as well, where the atmosphere is more relaxed than MotoGP. The bikes are just as shiny, and apparently you can just mosey down to your local dealer and buy one!
The bike above rolled right off the show room floor, I’m told. It would look great in my garage.
There’s also a jovial family atmosphere. Here two generations of Haslam watch Superpole 1, which is more amusing to some than to others.
Chaz Davies took the honors in Superpole 2 on a day that featured two Ducatis at the top of the time sheet.
Alex Lowes, twin brother to Sam Lowes, was perhaps the quickest learner of The Corkscrew today…some other riders are going to have a think on it.
Chaz Davies was looking fast out there on the Ducati Panigale R. The red bike and red leathers really pop on the track too.
Rizmayer saved this off-road excursion. I believe the on-track announcers called it an “agricultural endevour” — I just liked the way he made the pebbles go fly. The Corkscrew crowd applauded his efforts, as well.
We doubt that we have to remind you that World Superbike is coming to the USA this week, but just in case…well…it is. Hosted by one of America’s best race tracks, WSBK riders will once again enjoy the undulating design of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Those in attendance last year know that WSBK isn’t drawing the crowd that MotoGP once did for Laguna Seca, and the officials at SCRAMP want to change that.
Accordingly, the pre-event press conference this year will be held in San Francisco, and will double as an opportunity for fans to meet the top WSBK and MotoAmerica riders. This should be good news for just about every motorcycle racing superfan in The Bay Area.