Friday, February 23, 2007

Max Biaggi is still very fast

Today Max Biaggi just missed a pole position for his first WSBK race in Losail, Qatar, by 0’322 thousand of sec. The pole was won by another veteran, Troy Corser. After Biaggi, in order we have Toseland, Haga and Lanzi. Bayliss only sixth … but with him anything can happen.
At this point can I speculate/hope a podium for our Roman Emperor? After two difficult years he deserves a bit of luck and reward for not giving up in his career.

Forza Biaggi!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Luca Scassa: an Italian Champion in AMA

A month ago when with the PMP guys I was in Jennings, I was in the race track facilities when I noticed, among others, a picture of an aggressive rider stating "Luca Scassa, 1:14.81 new track record". This morning I went to read again the post about our winter trip to Florida, and in the picture of the race track lay out I noticed that at that time the record belonged to the canadian Pascal Picotte with a time of 1:15.4 ……
The difference is substantial, so out of curiosity a made a quick research on line to discover that Luca Scassa is the 2006 Italian Superstock Champion that has signed a contrat with Claudio Castiglioni , President of the MV Augusta, to race the AMA Superbike in USA under the colors of the Ferracci Team.
Luca is only 23 year old: a tall, slim guy from Arezzo, Toscany, with undisputed technical skills that are going to be tested and sharpened in the difficult American tracks.
For more info and pictures of Luca, check his website

Good luck Luca!

Picture source

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Max Biaggi 's bet in WSBK

We can call it a bet, the bet of someone who wants to show to himself, his competitors and to the whole world that he is still able to go fast and win. His last victory goes back to 2004 in Germany in frontof Barros when he was still racing with the yellow Honda Camel of the Pramac Pons Team. In 2005 with the official factory Honda Repsol Team led by the legendary technical director Erv Kanemoto, Biaggi
thought that he could be one of the contenders to the World Championship but lack of results brought Biaggi and Honda to a bitter divorce that, indeed, marked the end of his career in MotoGp and the beginning of another one in WSBK. Yes, Biaggi was supposed to start racing with the Corona team last year, but the limited amount of time to create another two bikes for the Roman rider and Troy Corser’s dissent to share the team with another prima donna, it convinced Batta, Suzuki Corona Team Manager, to wait another year to bring Biaggi in Superbike.

The last 12 months have been extremely busy for Max Biaggi: training with the bicycle, in the gym, on the soccer fields, with the supermotard bike and with his new tool, the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K6 and then K7. He has always been almost maniacal in getting mentally and phisically ready to the racing season, but at his age of 35 and after such a long career the effort and the passion infused in the last 12 month of training measures the size of his bet: new championship, new competitors, new team, new technicians, new bike, new brakes, new tires ….a lot of variables in an equation that can be solved only with winning in WSBK. Indeed the expectations are so high among fans, media and sponsors, that any results that should fall short of the victory would raise tons of criticism. Last Monday Biaggi finished the tests in the Losail circuit at 3/10 of a sec behind the new Yamaha rider Troy Corser, riding as much as 80 laps to include a race simulation with the 2006 Pirelli.
I believe that this one was his last test before the first race of the season on February 24th, when he will have to compete again with the fastest riders in the world.

Do not forget to periodically check Jim’s blog, Armchairbikefan, for overseas insides on the WSBK.

In the first video (source) Kagayama and Biaggi training in Phillip Island
In the second one (source) he is in California where he often goes during the winter to train with other supermotards riders

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ice road racing: a specialty for the boldest bikers.

After a couple of months of unusual mild temperatures, the North East winter has shifted its gears with blasting cold winds pushing our thermometers down in the low teens. Regardless in NYC the wintry weather is never long enough to make people overcoming their natural tendency to cocoon in their homes and other indoor places during the coldest time of the year. If anything, we challenge ourselves with winter sports, and in my case, along with others PMP guys, I go skiing to Vermont. Very often during these weekend trips I have seen people riding their snowmobiles in polar temperatures to get to the local restaurants and bars for a “hot date” or to meet their friends. They looked like the Michelin man with their huge specialized outfits that contain infinite layers of Gore-Tex garments to guarantee enjoyable time at high speed in the farm fields or iced rivers and lakes. I have always looked at them with some sort of admiration, but they suddenly became normal people once I stumbled on this video of roadracers challenging themselves on icy tracks. They are Swedish, people that have a long tradition of speedway (flat track) on ice, but I have never heard about iceroadracing …. These guys have some guts: it looks that they are wearing “normal” leather suits and also it seems that they are constantly on the verge of a huge high-side: I wonder how they would ride under ordinary conditions on a race track after training in “cold blood” temperatures and extremely dicey conditions.

Video Source

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Valentino Rossi: a real artist in road racing

Video Source

Friday, February 02, 2007

Valentino Rossi from Camel to Fiat?

A rumor becomes truth in the moment everybody starts believing in that! Well, it has been more than a week that the media claim FIAT to be the new sponsor for Valentino. Several fans, including myself were not happy when Camel abandoned Biaggi for Rossi: it was not fair for the Roman rider and even from a marketing point of view it was questionable to see two declared enemies to end up with the same colors. Also it could be just a coincidence, and it’s the feeling of a slightly superstitious person, but Biaggi, Barros and Rossi had “difficult” seasons under the Camel sponsorship. Luckily last fall we had the opportunity to change the cards on the table and after a few months of speculations and poultry producers displayed on the # 46 bike it seems that we have an Italian sponsor!!!! It seems that the Italian automobile manufacturer will sponsor him for …another two years in Yamaha (read Jim's article in Armchair Bike Fan) .
FIAT owns Ferrari and it has been very successful over the years in WRC, a sport that Rossi has been taking in consideration as new profession once he will leave MotoGp. The Italian company has been searching a good testimonial for his cars and in particular for the new 500, and who could be better than Valentino?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The NYC Motorcycle Show 2007

Recently I was at the Motorcycle show held at the Javits Center in NYC with the purpose to promote the Lombardi Road Racing School. By going there I have really broke an old promise to pass over a show that it has been totally unappealing to me especially when compared to the Motorcycle Exhibition in Milan or the Motorshow in Bologna, Italy: countless pavillons organized by type of vehicles and brands, race tracks with competitions all day long, stunning exhibits, breathtaking models, tons of fashion all around you and a very good chance to obtain your favorite champion’s autograph. Yes ... Rossi, Melandri, Capirossi and Biaggi among the most famous Italians and others from different countries attending the shows to promote their sponsors and build or consolidate the relationships with their admirers flocking to the events from all around Italy and the rest of Europe.

Unfortunately I have never been able to experience those emotions at the NYC Motorcycle Show. The place is small, with no scenography, but only a bare jumble of stands set up around the middle space taken by the biggest players of the sector. Then, when you look at the content, it really looks like a “low-ride bikes show”. If a husky visitor in leather pants and jacket or a young wheelie stuntman is the target for the NYC event, the absence of amusing displays about road racing, motocross and supermotard bikes would be justified.
New York city doesn’t reflect customs and trends more typical in New Jersey, Connecticut or Pensylvania, but in the recent years the growth of road racing clubs, scooters and supermotard bikes, has become frantic. And if the European markets could be an indication of where we are heading, why didn't we have the opportunity in the NYC Motorcycle Show to see and enjoy the presence of professional riders along with their winning machines?
It’s understandable that the organizers could not have over the Italians, the Spaniards, the English, the Australians or the Japanese riders but what about the Americans? Where was the MotoGp World Champion Nicky Hayden or the Texas Tornado Colin Edwards? Where was the AMA 2006 champion Ben Spies or Jamie Hacking? How come their sponsors didn’t force them to attend such a stage where to promote products and services? How it is possible that the rich Honda’s budget and its sophisticated marketing resources could not provide us with one of the 2006 Kentucky Kid's bikes? If Honda doesn’t support his top rider here in the United States, where does it want to do it, in France?
At the Javit center I saw Rossi’s bike in between two blue AMA bikes: unfortunately it was deprived of all his personal decals to the point that most of us wondered if the Tavullia’s champion had ever ridden it. I also recall Ben Spies’s bike, but no one of these winning machines were presented with any sort of videos or special merchandising, or even models or better “umbrella girls”: nothing that it could really generate some sort of excitement.

Once again the NYC Motor show had disappointed me, so, between a conversation with a friend and an explanation of the Lombardi Road Racing School program to potential “customers”, I wondered around to take a few pictures of the young models working at the event: I have put together a short slide show that I am comparing to a video portraying something “similar” on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean: some time a picture is worth thousand words.