A meeting takes place tomorrow on the Isle of Man although Triumph have already confirmed that they will not return to the island. Following the death of David Jefferies last year, the TT has been under close scrutiny, Jim Modie, who was following Jefferies at the time, received injuries to his neck, has already vowed not to return. It is simply not cost effective for the major manufacturers to attend unless the event is brought up to date
Valentino Rossi had a sensational debut in Malaysia last weekend, breaking his own lap record whilst on a three day test, proving that he may yet be a contender in MotoGP 2004. He set a best time of 2:02.75s after 183 laps at Sepang, 1.1s inside his lap record, set only 3 months ago and it was 0.3s outside his pole position time on Michelin qualifying tyres.
Honda have improved the already impressive RCV by 10bhp, Tohru Ukawa beats his full 2003 race time by 20 seconds, Max Biaggi beats Rossi's 2003 lap record by 1.2 seconds and the V5 is 6mph quicker than Rossi's old bike. Best times;
- Mac Biaggi - 2:02.5
- Sete Gibernau - 2:02.7
- Valentino Rossi - 2:02.75
- Nicky Hayden - 2:03.2
- Tohru Ukawa - 2:03.2
- Colin Edwards - 2:03.3
- Carlos Checa - 2:03.57
- John Hopkins - 2:03.9
- Kenny Roberts - 2:04.3
- Shinya Nakano - 2:04.3
- Alex Hofmann - 2:04.4
- Marco Melandri - 2:04.9
- Andrew Pitt - 2:05.4
Noriyuka Haga is flying to the UK today to sign his new contract with Renegade Ducati to ride in the World Superbike Championship 2004. Terms have been agreed to ride alongside Leon Haslam, he just neds to put pen to paper. Haga is due to make his debut at Valencia on 2nd-3rd February
James Toseland crashed while testing at Philip Island in Australia and was pinned to the floor as he skidded to safety following a high side after getting on the gas too early. Fortunately, he escaped without any serious injuries.
New regulations mean that track day riders will have to pay for a £20 a year for an ID card, track day prices could increase by 15% and instructors will have to take an ACU training course. In addition, all new novice British bike racers will have to pay an extra £50 to race in 2004. It has come about following a bug rise in insurance claims, which has infuriated some track day orgabisers.
KTM's Nani Roma is the first Spainard to win the Dakar Rally n the event's 26 year history. He finished in 17th place in Sunday's final stage and still finished 12m 39s ahead of fellow KTM rider Richard Sainct in the overall classification.
Honda are determined to rub salt into Rossi's wounds after they confirmed that the 2004 factory RCV engine has been revamped to nearly 250bhp, sources close to HRC also claim to have improced traction.
Rossi is due to test his new factory Yamaha this Saturday for the first time in Malaysia. It is eagerly awaited by everyone interest in bike racing and we will have the news of his first test next week.
Noriyuki Haga is almost certain to ride a Renegard Ducati 999 RS04 in WSB 2004 championship alongside Leon Haslam, as the team step up from BSB. Haga also plans to ride in some rounds of the BSB in his spare time, the deal has been agreed, he just needs to sign the contract. The bike will be one spec down from the Fila Ducati team ridden by James Toseland and Regis Laconi. This will be the first time Haga has ridden a Ducati since 1994, riding an 888 in Japan.
David Blunkett may force speeding motorists to pay a surcharge of £5 to pay for victims of crime. The surcharge would not apply to parking fines and the more serious offences would expect a surcharge of £10, being drunk in public, having a defective light or making a hoax 999 call would also carry the £5 surcharge. The revenue raised would exceed £25 million if everyone paid but it is only expected that 60% would pay in full, raising an estimated £17 million. In 2002-2003 only 55% of all financial penalties were paid. These proposals were released in a consultation paper released yesterday and has already caused outrage from motoring organisations and even victim campaigners. The UK currently has around 5000 speed cameras.
Snetterton, Oulton Park, Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park have been bought for an undisclosed sum after the parent Company of Brands Hatch Circuits Limited, Interpublic, ran into financial difficulties. The nee Company, Motorsport Vision, run by Matthew Palmer has also leased Silverston from the British Racing Drivers' Club