We were getting a bit panicky about the size of WSB's grid a few weeks ago as it looked to lose an Important advantage over its rival series, MotoGP, for the first time in years. Actually, there would have still been more bikes on the grid, but not as many as we'd been used to. Recent news has changed this, with further hope for more additions before the season kicks at the end of February.
Makoto Tamada and Luca Scassa have both had dole-queue reprieves and will be racing. Tamada is a strange one. He's still one of the only people to tell Rossi (to his face, and In front of a crowd no-less) that he's going to beat him in the following day's race - and back it up. Twice. But he quickly dropped down the factory bike pecking order until he found himself back in the series that boosted him to GP status in the first place.
His time with the Kawasaki squad could have been better and, despite the machinery disadvantage, everybody expected more of the experienced superbike pilot. None more so than Kawasaki's WSB team -boss Paul Bird, who couldn't understand where Tamada's widely respected talent had disappeared to.
It wasn't a surprise Birdy dropped him in favour of Tom Sykes, but now he's back.
Makoto will ride for the Pro Ride Honda team. That's right, the same one Gregorio Lavilla started the season with. We say started; they didn't even make it past testing. Here's to hoping they get a bit further this time round,
Scassa, meanwhile, will ride for Team Supersonic Ducati, which should give the young gun the goods to improve further, and also bumps the grid up to twenty-six full-time riders.
Garry McCoy has been ousted for the factory Triumph WSS squad, replaced by American, Jason di Salvo. This is bitter-sweet news. Firstly, Chaz Davies, kept on by Parkingo and is one of the favourites for 2010. Next is the fact Triumph will field four official riders, including David Salom and ex-champ Seb Charpentier.
What's great is that Triumph are using the class as it should be, by having riders from several important markets %
on their bikes. Racing sells bikes, it's a no brainer, and they're to be applauded for this commitment.
With McCoy though, it's a real shame as we love a bit of the sideways king's style. The team say they couldn't afford him any longer, Garry claims to have 110 idea what the hell's gone on and is reportedly devastated. It's a tough outcome, but with his talent he should find another ride no bother.
As things stand, WSS has just IS entrants for 2010. This is a huge hit to the class, one of the cheapest and most competitive in racing. Infront Motorsports have been quiet on the Moto2 'CBft Cup' debacle, but one look at the bumper entry list there could change that.
Politics aside, the fact is some WSS teams have quietly switched sides, hoping to raise enough budget to compete. Moto2 was a kick in some manufacturer's teeth, but few actually cared about the 250 class anyway. Now Honda's running the show, they care even less, but the scant support for WSS is surprising. Supersport bikes are a staple part of sales, one of the most popular categories and a direct fink to the consumer, why they aren't supporting it fully is confusing, especially as it's way cheaper than running in GP's. we only hope things change in the interim.
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