Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2003 02 19

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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o CJ o n Adam Raga (G-G) won round six of the FIM World Indoor Trials Championship, in Torino, Italy, on February 8. Current points leader Dougie Lampkin (Mon) finished second. Marc Freixa (Mon) finished third. The fmal day of the '03 Qatar MX Cup was blessed with plenty of exciting racing, with Joel Smets, Marc De Reuver and Javier Garcia Vico serving as the primary protagonists. In the end, it was the fourtime World Champion Smets who earned the overall victory. The first moto saw Smets grab a huge holeshot and ride a strong race to win with apparent ease over 250cc rider De Reuver, with Vico following in third, The second moto featured some real battling. Smets once again grabbed the early lead, followed by Vico, but about three laps in, the Belgian lost his front wheel in the sand, giving up the lead to the Spaniard, Smets remounted in sixth and began working his way forward, being careful not to make any serious mistakes and risk losing his points lead, De Reuver was extremely impressive, overtaking the big four-stroke of Vico and taking his first win of the event, while Smets made it as high as second by the checkered flag, Vico finished third, The final hoJeshot of the day went to Vico, but Smets eventually passed him for the lead. Not long after, however, Smets began to hear a noise from his motor, and when De Reuver caught him, Smets didn't put up much of a fight, The young two-stroke rider pulled away to a very impressive victory, while Smets cruised at a moderate pace, trying to conserve his motor and take the overall win. Only Vico was able to pass him, and the defending champ finished third, easily good enough to retain his crown, In the team category, KTM Boonen - comprised of Johan Boonen and Peter Iven - took the victory with ] 79 points. According to the team, Fortuna Yama- ~ ha's Carlos Checa crashed out of -=< the Fortuna Yamaha Team test in Barcelona, Spain, on February 10, not long after he took to the track. The Spaniard fell at the second turn and landed heavily on his bottom, He was taken to the hospital as a precaution but released soon afterward without needing any treatment, He had completed 21 laps before the fall and took no further part in the day's action but is expected to ride at his home circuit again tomorrow. Teammate Marco Melandri, meanwhile, made a significant breakthrough with the minor braking problems he experienced at the team's previous test in Valencia. The Italian had found difficulties with his front braking and spent today trying to rectify this. This was his first test with the YZR-M 1 at the Catalunyan circuit, and he adapted well to the longer and faster straights, ending the day with a best time of 1:46.2, having completed a total of 52 laps. Team Director Davide Brivio was philosophical about the day. "We have had good weather conditions, considering it is only February," Brivio said. "We can only have about four or five hours a day of testing, as the track temperature is too low the rest of the day, but we knew this before we came here. It's a great shame that Carlos fell again; we hope that he will be back out tomorrow. He is seeing his physiotherapist tonight so hopefully that will help him, Marco has been working very hard on his front-end braking problem with the support of Brembo. His lap times today were not too bad. We are basically finding a way to adjust the braking system to his riding style and will continue to do so tomorrow." Times from the test were as follows: Alex Barros, Gauloises Yamaha Team - 1:44.8 (52 laps); Shinya Nakano, D'Antin Yamaha - 1:46. 1 (56 laps); Marco Melandri, Fortuna Yamaha Team - 1:46.2 (52 laps) ; Carlos Checa, Fortuna Yamaha Team - 1:46.6 (21 laps); Olivier Jacque, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1:49.1 (41 laps) . o j o o o CJ J CJ J ~ J n u Mario Marini motorcycle against the roughest, steepest hills possible, seeing who can claim the title" King of the Hill." "We are thrilled to be bringing back this legendary event," said event marketing director Ron Dillon. "The Widowmaker was a real mainstay of Utah sports history, and the new hill, located just off of 1-84 above Morgan, Utah, is even steeper and nastier than the original Widowmaker. Morgan County officials have been extremely professional to work with, and we are working hard to insure that everyone enjoys a great weekend at the hill. Hillclimbing is a terrific family sport, and we are not going to sell alcohol at the event." Featuring a $30,000 cash purse, the Widowmaker is expected to draw over 500 entries from across the United States and Canada and 20,000 spectators. The new hill is 1000 feet long, with a vertical rise of 560 feet; certain sections of the hill tilt at a c1ifflike 59 degrees. For more information, an event website is forthcoming at or you can e-mail o o ~ o o o o o o o o o High winds wreaked havoc on the first day of a two-day test session at California Speedway in Fontana, California, February 5-6. None of the teams, which included the Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Ducati factory squads, was accomplishing much as high winds whipped through the area. "You can't even stay on the racing line because there are cones all over the place," Eric Bostrom said after getting off his Kawasaki in the morning sessions. The teams fared much better on day two, when three-time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin turned in the fastest unofficial time, a 1:25.7, on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-Rl 000. The world-famous Widowmaker Hillclimb is returning to Utah on June 2122, 2003, after an absence of 15 years. This off-road motorcycle event was originally held near Draper, Utah, from 1965 to 1988, and in its heyday drew over 20,000 spectators. It was featured in Bruce Brown's 1971 motion picture On Any Sunday and is still shown in the opening segment of ABC's Wide World of Sports. Motorcycle hillclimbs are the oldest form of motorcycle competition, dating back to the early 1900s. Always a crowd favorite, the event pits man and J J o J o o o n 2 FEBRUARY 19, 2003' lCl U lCl Yoshimura's Don Sakakura said that the Fontana test was very productive for the team, especially with regard to the new 1000cc Superbike that Mat Mladin, I e n e _ os Aaron Yates and Ben Spies rode. "It's always a challenge with a new machine, Sakakura said, "but the bike was very responsive. The test was very positive for us. " When asked about how the bike was in terms of tire wear and if he thought the new bike presented any tire-wear issues, he had thiS to say: "So far on the tracks that we've tested on, we haven't had any tire issues at all. As a matter of fact, the tire wear seems to be better than on the 750 Superbike. The torque delivery is far more linear and smooth than on the 750." Sakakura said he also felt that tires might not be a huge issue at Daytona and even that the 1000 may be an advantage over their previous 750. According to Sakakura, Mat Mladin adapted to new bike very qUickly and was quite happy with its performance. Anthony Gobert put the superfast Ducati 998RS03 to the test at California Speedway, bringing in some results that certainly pleased his fellow Ducati Austin team members, according to a release by OMS limited. "Anthony was real upbeat, real positive with the changes we were making. He felt everything was going in the right direction," said Ducati Austin crew chief Vic Fasola. "And if he feels confident about things, I feel confident about things." Though no electronic timing was in place, Fasola said that Gobert's lap times were roughly second to third fastest out of the test group. "There were no transponders, so 90 percent of what you hear from the other teams is an out-and-out lie," chuckled Fasola. "On my stopwatch we were in the mid-26s (1 :26), and only one guy was in the 25s. The first day was a bit slower because of the wind. But overall it was a good test session." Fresh off a trip to the Ducati factory in Italy, Fasola came back with some new goodies for Gobert's bike, including a new set of Ohlins forks for the back-up bike, along with, according to Fasola, "Some better understanding of how the bikes work and the best ways to set them up." Fasola added that most of the work at Fontana went into chassis setup and getting the bike balanced properly for Gobert. Fontana likely concludes the preseason testing for the Ducati Austin program, although they may consider bringing Gobert into Texas for some secret testing in the Dallas area prior to Daytona. "We've got a lot of work to do now, changing everything over to the qUick-change stuff for Daytona," said Fasola. "The three engines need work, along with minor adjustments on the rest of the bike. Then we'll be racing here in a month!" AMA Pro Racing has sent out notification to all competitors and credential holders, regarding a 2004 AMA Superbike rules proposal. According to the memo, AMA Pro Racing is considering the elimination of the 750cc800cc four-cylinder and 900cc threecylinder categories from the Superbike class, beginning in 2004. The result would be as follows: (a) One allowable engine displacement category of 901 cc1000cc regardless of cylinders; (b) Common technical specifications regardless of the number of cylinders. A comment period for AMA Pro Racing competitors and credential holders has been opened, and will end on February 24. According to Team Suzuki its riders, Kenny Roberts Jr. and John Hopkins, concluded a week of testing at Australia's Phillip Island GP circuit on February 7, with their all-new GSV-R racer easily going faster than the previous version. These were the second tests for the 2003 machine, which made a surprise appearance in January at tests in Sepang in Malaysia. The huge improvements wrought by the Suzuki factory race department over the winter infused the whole team with enthusiasm at Sepang. In Australia, the faster and friendlier new Suzuki showed its mettle again, confirming the promise of competitive potential at the fast and sweep-

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