Archive for March, 2011

Coach’s Viewpoint by Can Akkaya

March 31st, 2011 No comments

Coach’s viewpoint

Column by Can Akkaya, ex-professional racer, author of the book Racers-Story, and founder of the Superbike-Coach Corp. (

Honestly, I was shocked as I came over the big pond to make my dream come true. You ask why? Well, at first, I used a motorcycle to commute to San Francisco. Although I was required to obtain a California drivers license, I was confronted with the laws and rules of my new country. Furthermore with lane sharing, city chaos and finally the Oakland Bay Bridge. Retrospectively, I also had a hard time with the DMV circle test, and the written exam did not prepare me for a scenario like that. After a while, though, I had enough experience, but I still had to prevent some crashes. So that was me, a European Championship professional and racer coach who had to get used to riding on the street. But, here is my point: What’s gonna happen with a rookie, who’s just dropped off in this scenario, even though he learned to ride in a racing institute instead of going through the DMV circle test?! He might haven’t enough time to give his butt a kiss goodbye.

Then, I couldn’t wait to hit the road in California’s canyons. Ready to let the R1 horses gallop on my first Sunday ride. To my own surprise, all the Car drivers were very gentle and attentive; which is a different story on Germany’s roads, believe me.  But here, I was confronted with fallen trees, deer,  gravel , bumps, and holes in the pavement so big you could park a Chinese car in there. Don’t get me wrong on that, ‘cuz I love this country and its differences. But after I almost lost the front wheel on debris a couple of times, I began to consider. So that was me, a guy who bent some rims by going through gravel traps on my way to a lap record on the Zolder Circuit in Belgium. I am use to that, but here is my point… what’s gonna happen with a rider, who doesn’t have the proper skills? He might crash on a lonely road and slide down the scarp where he may have broken his leg. He might get guzzled by a bear, because his cell phone has no reception in the damn canyon.

Later, as my circle of friends has become bigger, we had some great rides on US Highway One, Skaggs, Redwood Rd, and Lake Berryessa. I love the atmosphere, enthusiasm and the mentality in America, but here I was confronted with group riding where risk is buried. Jeans instead of protectors, cell phones and music during riding, wheelie try-outs, and ego-embossed races. Well, that day I figured that this is a global problem, and let’s get this straight… I am ego driven too. And after a couple of law bending actions, seeing the guys trying to keep up, and some “Uh, that was close!”, I began to consider. So that was me, a racer who feels at home riding in a clump- but experienced enough to know when it is enough. So I’m hanging in there, but here is my point… what’s with the riders who don’t know their personal and technical limits? They might crash, and the other guys will then be busy picking up their friend’s junk. Finally, the day ends with mutual recriminations and broken friendships.

Weird, huh? But that’s the reality. Summarized, it comes down to missing experience- knowledge- and skills. Two of these attributes can be taught, but experience will come with the time. So make sure you don’t waste this time in a hospital, instead of enjoying the summer.

By Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp.

About Coach Akkaya
After 11 years of professional racing in the German IDM, Dutch and Spanish Open, European Championship, and a MotoGP Wild Card, he retired with a victory. 8 years later he published his ‘Racers-Story’, which is since 5 years still on bestseller list. With his book, Can have come back on track as a test editor, Ducati Racing test rider, and Chief instructor for Europe’s top-notch Racing School. A dream has come true as he get a US-Green Card in 2008. Can Akkaya found the Superbike-Coach Corp in 2009. Coach Can teaches all rider levels and ages with a wide band of experience, on the street and track.


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FTR Moto calling on Spanish experience

March 31st, 2011 No comments

FTR Moto heads into Sunday’s second round of the Moto2 World Championship in Spain looking to capitalize on the Jerez circuit experience of much its 12-strong rider line-up.

Non-Spanish riders Kev Coghlan (Team Aeroport de Castello), Kenny Noyes (FOGI/GP Tech Team), Yonny Hernandez (Blusens-STX) and brother Santiago Hernandez (Stop and Go Team) are all graduates of the CEV Buckler Spanish Championship classes.

Esteve Rabat

Additionally, Spanish riders Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) and Pol Espargaro (HP Tuenti Speed Up Team) will both be keen to impress on their FTR M211 debuts in their home Grand Prix.

The IODA Racing Project’s Simone Corsi arrives in Spain after a sixth place finish in the opening round in Qatar two weeks ago, improving from 11th on the grid to take 10 World Championship points on his M211.

His luckless team-mate Mattia Pasini was one of eight riders to crash out of the opening round and the determined Italian will be keen to impress at Jerez – the circuit where, in 2006, he recorded the first of 11 pole positions in the 125cc World Championship. Pasini also climbed the podium at Jerez in 2008 after taking a runner-up finish in the 250cc race.

“We got the 2011 World Championship under way with four of our riders in the points but, as is always the case with racing and development, you always feel you can do better and hopefully that will be the case in Jerez this weekend,” said FTR’s Steve Bones.

He continued: “We began our Moto2 story as a constructor in Spain at the end of 2009 and with four Grands Prix there last year plus our Spanish Championship commitments it really does feel like home. Last year we felt like we had a possible race win on the cards at Jerez after Alex Debon showed tremendous pace in the practice sessions – all until a first lap crash.

“This year we are looking to the strong Spanish presence and Spanish Championship experience that we have on the M211s. We’re also keen to continue our technical development after spending time testing at Jerez in the winter months so this weekend also offers us a comparison test for development of the new machine.”

Great start for AMA Pro SuperSport series

March 31st, 2011 No comments

The new alliance between AMA Pro Road Racing and kicked off in spectacular fashion at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month, comprising a pair of unbelievably exciting SuperSport races that saw two riders take their first career AMA Pro wins in the newly sponsored class.

LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha teammates Tomas Puerta and David Gaviria took dramatic victories in two of the best races of the season’s opening weekend. For Puerta, the victory was particularly sweet, as he’d turned in ten top-four finishes the year before (including four third-place finishes and a pair of seconds) but was unable to reach the top step. Race-watchers knew it was only a matter of time for the talented Puerta, and at Daytona, the young Colombian rider made good.

In contrast to the ever-present Puerta, David Gaviria ran a limited number of 2010 events, and despite decent results stayed mostly under the radar, turning in his best finish (a sixth) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Daytona, however, was an entirely different story for Gaviria.

With former LTD Racing star Huntley Nash having moved up to the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class for 2011, Puerta – now the leader of the young-gun squad – quickly took hold of the mantle by dominating the first Daytona SuperSport race of the era. In a class that has already produced a number of rising-star graduates, Puerta led every lap on the way to his very first win in AMA Pro. Second-place finisher Stefano Mesa (Rata Racing Ducati) crossed the line just .008 seconds ahead of Gaviria, who was new to both the LTD team and to Daytona itself.

Saturday morning’s SuperSport Race 2 was an even closer affair, as Gaviria – in contest with Puerta, Mesa, James Rispoli (ANT Racing/Star School), and others – came out on top of a drafting battle that saw him take his first career AMA Pro win by a margin of just .048 seconds. Second-place Puerta was disappointed not to have swept the weekend, but still pleased for his LTD Racing teammate.

These two very fast, very personable young Colombian riders have thus staked their claims on the $25,000 Year End Points Fund, which is split between East and West Coast Division Championships and additionally recognizes the class’ Overall Championship and Young Gun recipient.

With just one round in 2011′s rear view, the AMA Pro SuperSport series is already off to a phenomenally exciting start. Round 2 of the AMA Pro Road Racing series runs May 13-15 at Sonoma, California’s, beautiful Infineon Raceway. To be part of the action, please visit for ticket and event information.

Pramac Racing Team MotoGP preview: Jerez

March 30th, 2011 No comments

The Pramac Racing Team wants to make a comeback after a disappointing first round of the MotoGP Championship in Qatar. That opportunity, for Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet, will come this weekend in Jerez, in the Andalusia province of Spain. Spain will host the largest number of GP events – four – of any country this season: Jerez, Catalunya in June, Aragon in mid-September that was selected after the further defection of the Hungarian GP and the de la Comunitat Valenciana, which will close the season.

MotoGP veteran Loris Capirossi hopes for success as he returns to Ducati for 2011

The Pramac Racing Team has a fairly good relationship with the track, having first scored a podium in 2003, courtesy of Max Biaggi for what was then Camel Pramac Pons Honda team. Following that season, there have been mixed results on the circuit, with several withdrawals and disappointing finishes. MotoGP veteran Loris Capirossi has had a good relationship with the track, having scored a victory in the premier class in 2006 and in the 250cc class in 1998. Randy De Puniet scored a 250cc podium in 2003 and a fourth-place MotoGP finish in 2009.

Fabiano Sterlacchini – Pramac Racing Technical Director
“We regret the departure of Qatar, but now we think future, then at Jerez. We have the opportunity to redeem after the unfortunate start to the Losail, I’m sure the results will come because the team is working well”.

Loris Capirossi – Pramac Racing Team
“The disappointment has passed, now I just think the next race. For Jerez I hope that luck is on our side, as far we had so many problems. I’m fine, I have no problem, apart from the blow to the hand in Qatar and the control of right arm, I should be 100%. Jerez is a track I’ve enjoyed in the past, and I definitely enjoy racing there. The bike is very better than the beginning, as always, I remain confident”.

Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Team
“It was not easy starting in a manner so unlucky. But Qatar is now
gone; now we look for redemption in Jerez, a circuit I know well. I do not lose sight of my goals; I think only to work hard to improve the feeling with the bike. The progress we have been since the early day test at Losail, then the race went bad. I have to keep up this path”.

Yamaha Factory Racing riders prepare for Jerez MotoGP

March 30th, 2011 No comments

Jorge Lorenzo

This weekend will see the first European round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship as the paddock sets up at Jerez for the second race of the season. Huge crowds are expected to fill the natural amphitheater to witness the premier class riders do battle on a 4.423km circuit whose signature includes numerous quick direction changes and few hard braking points. So far all MotoGP testing and action in 2011 has been overseas; winter testing in Malaysia was followed by a test and subsequent season opening race under the floodlights of the Losail International circuit in Qatar two weeks ago. Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo kick started his title challenge with a stunning performance, taking both himself and his M1 to the limit to score a hard won second place finish on the podium and slot into second place in the championship standings ahead of the first of his home races this weekend.

The Mallorcan’s relationship with the Andalucian track in Jerez is a special one, providing him with race wins in both 2006 and 2007 on his way to two successive 250cc GP titles. His last visit in 2010 was no less spectacular; having caught and dispatched then teammate Valentino Rossi after a less than perfect start Lorenzo closed a 1.5 second gap to Dani Pedrosa in the last five laps to take the race lead and victory from the last corner.

Yamaha Factory Racing newcomer Ben Spies arrives in Jerez looking to take his first MotoGP points from the Spanish track. In 2010 the Texan performed well in qualifying at his first visit, learning the circuit quickly to qualify in eighth position for his second race in the championship. Unfortunately he was forced to retire after 20 laps so will be keen to build on his sixth position finish in Qatar two weeks ago with further points here.

Jorge Lorenzo
“I am ready to come back to Jerez. We started the Championship so well in Qatar and I believe it is a great moment to ride for my people and my Fan Club here in Spain. Last year the situation was quite similar and perhaps I got the best victory of my career, closing a big gap in the last few laps. We can’t make predictions for Sunday, but my crew and I will work as much as possible to be in front. Jerez is a special place for me, maybe the best track in the world. When I was only 15, the day right after my birthday, I raced for the first time in front of 100.000 people here.”

Ben Spies
“I have unfinished business here at Jerez. I really enjoyed riding here last year and was disappointed not to be able to take some points from the race. Now I’m back with a full factory machine so I believe the outcome should be a little different! We have track knowledge from last year so we can focus straight away on getting the 2011 M1 set up and we’ll see what we can do. It’s my team mate’s home race so I’m expecting a great atmosphere.”

Wilco Zeelenberg’ Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“After a great first race we are actually quite keen to get to Jerez because we know Jorge has good speed here, especially compared to Casey. He won his first ever Spanish MotoGP race here last year so we can’t wait to see if we can fight like we did in Qatar, maybe even a little better! The results from the first race give us extra confidence, we know we can be fast and Jorge has the talent to fight with the best for the podium.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I think Jerez can be a good circuit for Yamaha, after seeing what we achieved in Qatar we are going there with good optimism. It’s the home race for Jorge and a great victory for him here last year, when you ride in front of your fans it can give you an additional boost. Last year was unfortunate for Ben during the race but during the practice and qualifying the times weren’t so bad. For sure he knows the circuit so he can be immediately focused on finding the right set up and concentrating on a decent tire choice. The fast corners of Jerez are good for us, our bike works well and we have always had good results here with the M1.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Age: 24
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 35 (15 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 147 (52 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 42 (15 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)

Ben Spies
Age: 26
Lives: Longview Texas / Lake Como Italy
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories:
First GP victory:
First GP:
GP starts: 22
Pole positions: 1

Grand Prix Results: Jerez 2010
1.    J. Lorenzo    Yamaha 45’17.538
2.    D. Pedrosa    Honda +0.543
3.    V. Rossi    Yamaha    +0.890
-.    Ben Spies    Yamaha Tech 3    nc

Jerez Record Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2009, 1’39.818

Jerez Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1’38.189

Barbera thinks Jerez will suit his Ducati

March 30th, 2011 No comments

“At Jerez we always give more, thanks to the support of the fans.” The traditional war cry of the armada of Spanish riders set to descend on their home circuit this weekend is sure to be heard on several occasions and in all corners of the MotoGP World Championship paddock over the next few days. The Jerez Circuit is known as ‘The Cathedral’ of Spanish motorcycling and this weekend it will play host to the second round of a new season that got underway just two weeks ago. The weekend schedule reverts to a more traditional structure this weekend after the alterations in Qatar, where Casey Stoner confirmed his preseason form with a dominant win. The home riders will need all their strength to defend their territory on Sunday.

Enthusiastic, confident, motivated and full of energy, MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá makes the trip south from his native Valencia to Jerez this week looking to build on the excellent form he showed during practice in Qatar. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to carry it through to the race but this is a circuit close to Héctor’s heart and he knows his Ducati will be well suited to the fast corners here, so he will be fully focused on the job at hand when practice begins on Friday as he looks to seal a positive result on Sunday.

Héctor Barberá:
“The Spanish Grand Prix always has a special flavor to it and with this being our first race in Spain this year I am extra motivated. I want to put Qatar behind us. Practice there went perfectly but the race didn’t. We have a lot of experience behind us now and I think we can carry it through to the race this time. We know our potential has improved drastically from last year and that we can perform at a high level. As far as I am concerned I will keep giving my all every time to close the gap to the lead riders. Jerez is a circuit that I think will suit our bike, especially in terms of its acceleration. It also has a lot of fast corners and that is what I love, as well as being one of the strong points of the Ducati.”

Suzuki ready to defend World Endurance title

March 30th, 2011 No comments

World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will defend its title in 2011 with a permanent team in the six-round FIM World Endurance Championship that gets underway next month at Magny Cours in France.

The French squad, who won the 2010 title despite not competing in all rounds, will comprise long-standing member Vincent Philippe, Freddy Foray, Japanese regular Daisaku Sakai and newcomer Anthony Delhalle on the new Suzuki GSX-R1000.

For Team Manager Dominique Meliand, this will be his 31st season in WEC and a passionate career that has seen him and SERT collect 10 World Endurance titles.

The Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship opener takes place on April 16-17th with the 24-hour Bol d’Or at Magny Cours; the normal 24 Hours of Le Mans season-opener is now moved to September 24-25th.

A total of 53 teams are entered for the opening round – the 75th running of the Bol d’Or – and SERT’s main rivals will be the 2009 World Champions, the Monster Yamaha (YART) team of Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Gwen Giabbani, plus 2004 Champions Yamaha Racing France riders David Checa, Kenny Foray and former SERT rider Matthew Lagrive.

Suzuki will also be in contention for Superstock glory as the Qatar Endurance Racing Team – FIM World Cup winners for the past three years – aim to put their GSX-R1000 on the top of the podium.

April 16- 17: Magny Cours (24 Hours) – Bol d’Or, France.
May 21 (Saturday): Albacete (8 Hours) – Albacete, Spain.
July 31: (only Formula EWC) Suzuka (8 Hours) – Japan.
August 21: Donington (8 Hours) – Great Britain.
September 24- 25: Le Mans (24 Hours) – France.
November 12 (Saturday): Losail (8 Hours) – Qatar.

2010: World Endurance Champions
2008: World Endurance Champions
2007: World Endurance Champions
2006: World Endurance Champions
2005: World Endurance Champions
1999: World Endurance Champions
1997: World Endurance Champions
1988: World Endurance Champions
1987: World Endurance Champions
1983: World Endurance Champions

Canadian TDN Observed Trials announces team, seeks funding

March 30th, 2011 No comments

Defending Canadian Observed Trials and Superbike champion Jordan Szoke

Organized by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), the Trial des Nations is the most important international motorcycle trials competition. It has been held annually since 1984 at different countries.  Each team is composed of four riders in the male category, and since 2000, three riders in the female category.  The team with fewest total penalties is awarded the title.

It is a true honor to represent your country in the Trials Des Nations, which could be described as the Olympics of Observed Trials. The Canadian Team is made up of the top Canadian riders who work hard throughout the season to ready themselves to compete against other countries in Tolmezzo, Italy on Sept  18, 2011.

2011 Team Canada:
Jordan Szoke – Ontario
Jonathan English – Ontario
Will Duggan – British Columbia
Devon D’Argis – British Columbia
Jon Nelson – Ontario (Minder)

The current major obstacle with sending a Canadian Trials Team to Europe is funding. Without funding and support we simply would not be able to represent our country abroad.  Donations are accepted directly to the CMA and your sponsorship will be acknowledged on the CMA TDN Web Page.

For more information on how you can help the Canadian TDN Team Contact Bob Billyard at

What will be the result of John Hopkins’ return to MotoGP this coming weekend?

March 28th, 2011 No comments

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Hopkins ready for Rizla Suzuki return

March 28th, 2011 No comments

John Hopkins will be rolling back the years as he makes a return to MotoGP with the Rizla Suzuki team at this weekend’s Gran Premio bwin de Espana in Jerez.

Hopkins will be back with the team that he last rode for in 2007, when he took a podium position in his final race in Rizla Suzuki colors to secure fourth place in that season’s world championship. The Californian’s inclusion in the Suzuki squad is due to the enforced absence of regular rider Álvaro Bautista, who is recovering in Spain following surgery on the broken left femur that he suffered during the first event of the season in Qatar. Hopkins has now fully recovered from a wrist injury that almost ended his career last season and is currently in the middle of pre-season testing for the British Superbike Championship with the Samsung Crescent Racing team, where he is looking to re-build his form and make a full-time return to the world stage.

Jerez is one of the best attended Grands Prix on the calendar – nearly quarter-of-a-million people visited the 4,423-meter (2.748-mile) circuit throughout the three days of last year’s event. The fans that pack the grandstands serve up one of the most intense atmospheres experienced anywhere on the MotoGP calendar, and the track produces some great racing due to its undulating layout, hard-braking corners and endless camber changes, all adding to a colorful and exciting event.

Hopkins will take to the track on Friday for two free practice sessions, followed by another free practice session on Saturday morning and then the hour-long qualifying session in the afternoon to determine grid positions for Sunday 27-lap race, which gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
Rizla Suzuki also hopes to welcome Bautista to Jerez as he plans to visit the race – unfortunately as a spectator – while he continues on his road to recovery. The Spanish star is making rapid improvements from the operation to repair his broken thigh bone and is hoping to make a return the racing action at the earliest possible opportunity.

John Hopkins:
“I was shocked by what happened to Álvaro, especially after such good winter testing, and I really wish him a speedy and full recovery – I wanted the opportunity to get back on a MotoGP bike, but not under these circumstances. I’m under no illusions that this will be tough weekend for me, as I’ve not been on a GP machine for a couple of years or ridden the new control tires – except for the filming I did in Qatar a couple of weeks ago – so I realize this will be a step up from what I have been riding recently. The bikes have moved on in the last three years, but when I rode the GSV-R at Losail it seemed so familiar and I immediately had a good feeling, but that was at filming pace, so it’s going to be a lot different at race pace! I know the Jerez track well, so it’s not like I need to learn a new circuit and I also know the team well so that that will help a lot. I will certainly be trying as hard as I can to get a good result and make sure that I don’t disappoint anybody – myself included. I want to say a big thank-you to Suzuki and Rizla for giving me this opportunity and I intend to pay back their faith with a good performance on my return to MotoGP.”