Penrite Honda Racing ace cleared to ride this weekend’s MX Nationals.
Image: Foremost Media.
Brett Metcalfe has revealed he’ll line-up for this weekend’s Pirelli MX Nationals season-opener at Appin in New South Wales despite suffering a number of vertebrae fractures in his lower back six weeks ago.
The Penrite Honda Racing talent sustained the injury while testing, and after recently receiving a doctor’s clearance, he’s set to pilot his CRF450R for the first time since the incident tomorrow in a training session.
While grateful to be in an adequate state to line-up this weekend, the extended period on the sidelines comes as a hinderance to the beginning of his campaign, where he’s considered as a title favourite in the highly-competitive MX1 category.
“I’ve had an injury and it will be six weeks since it happened this Sunday,” Metcalfe revealed to MotoOnline.com.au. “I had a bit of a crash during our pre-season testing and fractured the wings on the four vertebrae in the lumbar spot.
“The plan is to line-up for the race – I’ll probably have one test ride tomorrow, and then that’ll be it. The first goal was to make it with a doctor’s clearance, and then the next goal is to line-up for the race and complete the day’s racing with as many points as we can get.”
Alongside a switch to KYB suspension confirmed in January, the Victorian-based Honda squad will transition to Bridgestone tyres – marking the re-entry of the brand in motocross with a factory operation – as well utilising FMF exhaust systems.
“We’ve made a few switches this year, Bridgestone tyres being one of them,” Metcalfe added. “It’s pretty cool for the sport to have another tyre manufacturer in the game – it hasn’t been done in a long time in motocross. It’s pretty exciting, and the feeling I had with them prior to the injury was great.
“We’re also using FMF exhaust systems – it’s cool because I was always fairly close with the FMF guys in the States. And then there’s the switch to KYB suspension, which has been really good. Once I get healthy, we’re pretty excited with how we stand and hopefully we see the results on the track.”
It was determined today that the MX Nationals will introduce a new Sprint format for 2019 consisting of two short, back-to-back outings, followed by a traditional moto. The format will alternate between the MX1 and MX2 categories – the premier class set to debut the structure this weekend.
First Sprint race to feature in the premier class this weekend at Appin.
Image: Foremost Media.
A new Sprint format will be introduced to the Pirelli MX Nationals at select rounds this season, with the first to be rolled out in the premier class this weekend at Appin’s season-opener in New South Wales.
The Sprint format will be applicable to the MX1 and MX2 and will alternate at each round, where two eight-lap back-to-back motos will take place alongside one 16-lap moto in MX1, as the quarter-litre division will also utilise two eight-lap races back-to-back, followed by an 11-lap outing to complete the day.
Sprint format races will be scored as two separate races, then added together to create a traditional single-race score – the highest points score will then be granted normal race points, with first receiving 35 points.
The traditional two-moto format will continue to take place, the MX1 division using a 16-lap structure for both motos, while MX2 will feature a 16-lap encounter followed by an 11-lap moto. Race distances are subject to change following qualifying, where lap-times will ultimately determine the length of each race, while wet conditions could also see the Sprint format reverted.
“The Sprint format rotates – round one it’s MX1, round two is MX2,” MX Nationals promoter Kevin Williams told MotoOnline.com.au. “It’s only MX1 and MX2 – MXD doesn’t change. They basically have two eight-lap races with five minutes in between – the collective points of them equal one moto, which will be followed by a traditional moto in the afternoon.
“We didn’t want to do it every round, the way we’re doing it, it allows the spectators to see a short-course race at every round, and it reduces the work load for teams that have MX1 and MX2 riders.”
“There would be general contractual obligation to repair defects but I would be surprised if anyone would agree to a guarantee for five years,” Steve says.
It should be noted that any extension to the defects liability period would be likely to result in a higher cost for roadworks contracts.
However, a short warranty and low contract price may be false economics as it would possibly cost a higher rate to get contractors to return to fix faulty roadworks after the warranty period.
Warranty periods in states
We contacted roads departments in all states and territories to ask about their roadworks contract warranty periods.
A NSW Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson says they require all road works to be delivered “defect free, fit for purpose and in accordance with contract requirements and specifications”.
“As per industry practice, contracts also specify a defects liability period during which contractors warrant the works and return to remedy any defects identified.”
They did not specify the warranty period.
“Warranty periods vary across contracts and from maintenance to construction projects,” the spokesperson said.
“The duration and terms of warranty periods are confidential under the respective agreements entered into with Roads and Maritime Services contractors.”
VicRoads Director of Procurement Services, Felicity Roberts, says all their contracts include a defect liability period, which requires any issues arising shortly after a project is complete to be repaired.
“For current contracts, the DLP is between one and two years, depending on the size and scale of the project delivered,” she says.
It is believed there are no current plans to change this time period.
A Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokesperson says most of their construction contracts have a defects liability period of just three months.
“However some major projects may have longer defect periods,” the spokesperson said.
“With any project involving the use of asphalt, the supplier provides an additional warranty of up to two years.
“If additional infrastructure such as service utilities are installed, we generally require these works to be carried out without disturbing the road surface.
“When this isn’t possible we require the installer to warrant the integrity of the site for two years.”
WA Main Roads says their contracts include provisions for the correction of defects caused by poor construction processes.
“The length of the defects liability or corrections period will vary depending on the form of contract, but typically ranges from one year to seven years,” they say.
“In addition to these contractual requirements, Main Roads has resources in place to provide a timely response to maintenance issues on its network, including repairing potholes.”
None of the roads departments was able to provide details of the number of call backs for warranty works “as this information is subject to confidential obligations under relevant contracts”.
In other words, the taxpayer never finds out!
Other states and territories have not yet replied to our request for information.
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says their proposed specifications on highway roadworks would demand the contractor returns to bring the road surface back to normal in five years.
“Potholes are the biggest enemy for road users and this government is looking at all options to keep our roads in the best condition,” he says.
“Road surfaces can be made worse by utility companies, so imposing higher standards on repairs will help keep roads pothole-free for longer.”
Spaniard finishes seventh after starting from pole in Qatar.
Maverick Vinales declares his Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 has to improve after finishing seventh in Sunday’s opening round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar.
Vinales was tipped as a favourite to win the season-opener, lighting up the timesheets during pre-season testing and even landing on pole at Losail International Circuit.
Overcoming a poor start from P1, the Spaniard struggled to maintain his position within the lead group, admitting he lacked grip when behind a rider, preventing him from attacking and overtaking.
“At the start I got a lot of wheelie, I couldn’t keep the gas fully open and I missed the inside a little bit, so I couldn’t keep a good line,” Vinales explained. “Obviously, we have to improve the bike. When I’m alone I can do really good lap times, even in the middle of the race I could ride 1m55s-lows on my own.
“But as soon as I’m behind another rider I suffer this lack of grip on the rear, and I couldn’t attack and overtake. We have to improve, and so do I. We need to keep working. The positive point is that we now know where we have to improve, and this is very important.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati Team) narrowly edged reigning champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) for victory in Qatar, just 0.023s separating them across the line.
Victorian earns double-victory in E3 class at Toowoomba AORC.
Image: Foremost Media.
Daniel Sanders is targeting increased strength following his first outing aboard the big-bore Husqvarna FE 501 last weekend at Toowoomba’s opening rounds of the Yamaha bLU cRU Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC).
Sanders, who transitioned from the E2 category to E3 for this season, captured victory in both rounds one and two, while winding up second in the unofficial outright times behind Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team).
With the demanding stop now behind him, the Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team talent is hopeful of building strength to capitalise on the additional power underneath him in hopes of topping long-time rival Milner.
“To win both days in E3 was good, especially battling up front with [Daniel] Milner for the overall, so it was a strong weekend,” Sanders explained.
“The Husqvarna FE 501 was definitely competitive for me and I will keep working to gain strength so I can throw it around more to make the most of it in the coming rounds. It’s been a positive start to the season and now we will look ahead from this stage in the season.”
The 2019 AORC series will resume on 6-7 April when rounds three and four are hosted in Dungog, New South Wales.
He says their women’s range was greater than 20% of their stock, but they pulled back.
However, James says they are now expanding their women’s range again.
“It’s a small part of the market but there are many more women’s groups emerging,” he says.
“They don’t all want to wear pink. They don’t want traditional riding gear but something that is a bit fashionable.
“Our feedback is that most brands just do dumbed-down versions of men’s gear.
“We recognise that women’s fit is different, even in women’s boots.”
Merlin employs fashion industry expert Melanie Field to help with women’s sizing so “it’s not just a small version of men’s gear”.
“She also has an eye on what colours and styles are currently fashionable,” James says.
Riders are now seeking sustainable, organic materials directly sourced from reputable manufacturers, Steve says.
“The speed of development in organic materials is really gathering pace,” he says.
James points out that 76% of the materials they use is bought directly from “the experts in the field”.
“This ensures we have control of the quality,” he says.
Merlin also employs local inspectors in each of the countries where their products are manufactured to guarantee integrity and quality control.
They produce 60% of their gear in Pakistan and the rest in Portugal, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India.
“We don’t manufacture anywhere that we don’t don’t have someone on site to make regular inspections,” Steve says.
He and his sons also spend 16 weeks a year doing inspection tours of manufacturing sites.
They say 75% of profits are turned back into the company to improve quality.
Steve says rigid European CE approval standards are “both a curse and a blessing”.
“The cost of gaining CE approval is onerous at $10,000-$15,000 per product,” he says.
“We have to test the smallest and largest sizes and one in the middle, plus each different colour.”
Link International Merlin brand manager Ron Grant also points out that Merlin doesn’t just use high-quality safety materials in the impact areas specified for CE testing, but throughout their garments.
However, James says CE is also a blessing by making it “really difficult to get into this industry”, so it is “flushing out the bad quality and those operating in the black market”.
He says gaining CE approval was easy for them because they were exceeding the full testing process before CE became mandatory last year for manufacturers operating in Europe.
Merlin was registered in 2011 and started trading in 2012.
The name and logo come from “merle” which is French for blackbird.
It is 100% owned by the company’s 200 full-time staff who become shareholders after six months.
Steve’s background was in turning around ailing businesses.
“I just wanted to start a business then get someone to take it over,” he says.
“But once my sons entered the business, we found we had a passion for making good products and not just for business,” he says.
“We don’t cut corners. We wanted to make the best quality product we could with the technology and materials available.
“We’re always improving the product so it is relevant and exceeds customer expectations.”
Five-day adventure ride takes place in New South Wales.
The annual Tenere Tragics event has celebrated the legendary Yamaha adventure model with its 2019 edition, hosting five-day adventure ride last week in Bathurst, Goulburn, Tumut and Cooma before winding up in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains resort of Thredbo.
Participants were treated to a Yamaha bLU cRU ADV Skills Session with Yamaha legend Stephen Gall staged near Cessnock the day before the run started, where 23 Tragics gained riding instruction that was put to good use over the next five days riding a range of Tenere models, from original 600s right through to new XTZ1200 Super Tenere.
CDR Yamaha Monster Energy chief technician and long-time Tenere adventure rider Gary Benn rode up from Victoria to his first event with a special XTZ750 twin fitted with many original Dakar Rally bike parts.
Factor Yamaha Dakar contender Rodney Faggotter made a special guest appearance to ride with the Tragics on the final two days, as Stephen Gall hosted an exclusive Q&A session with Rod at the end of day four at Cooma that offered a unique insight into his recent experience in the 2019 Dakar Rally.
Five first model 1983 XT600ZL Teneres joined the run this year – Dave Bottomley, Neil Asplin, Matt Parker-Charlton, Shane Johnston and organiser Andrew Clubb were the riders of the coveted original model large-tanked singles.
“It’s been another huge week filled with so much Tenere spirit,” said Andrew Club. “The run this year included stacks of the best Tenere riding in central and southern New South Wales, and while conditions were mostly dry, storms late on day two near Crookwell and overnight rain before the start of the final day from Cooma made for ground conditions that were absolutely perfect.
“The Tragics are an awesome pack brought together by the legendary Tenere brand that we celebrate all week long on the Tenere Tragics Run. The planning starts now for next year’s 10th anniversary Tragics run, and you bet the Tragics are pumped that the new Tenere 700 is coming in December!”
Official reception for MotoGP takes place in Indonesia
Earlier this week Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta met with the Indonesian President Ir. H. Joko Widodo in Jakarta at an official reception for MotoGP
Late last month MCNews reported the announced plans to hold a future MotoGP event in Indonesia in 2021, with a circuit to be built as part of incredible new tourism development the “Mandalika” in Lombok. This week’s official reception was held to further examine the project.
At the reception, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta met the President, Joko Widodo, as well as Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) President Director, Abdulbar M Mansoer, at Bogor Palace in West Java to celebrate the new partnership between MotoGP and Indonesia.
President Widodo confirmed his country’s readiness to host the Indonesian MotoGP, especially with Indonesia having some of the most committed and enthusiastic fans for MotoGP, as discussed in an earlier MCNews piece highlighting that the Southeast Asian region, and Indonesia in-particular being such an important market for Dorna.
Sporting Director Carlos Ezpeleta and Indonesian Moto2 World Championship rider Dimas Ekky Pratama were also present at the event, with attendees getting a glimpse of incredible plans of the venue that’s to be built as part of the spectacular new “Mandalika” Complex.
Excitement for the inclusion of the Indonesian GP on the future MotoGP calendar only continues to build, with this official reception consolidating the project in another important step towards making the dream a reality.
Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) President Director had the below to say.
Abdulbar M Mansoer
“I want to thank Mr. Carmelo Ezpeleta for coming here and meeting with our president, and directly stating to the president that we are going to have a MotoGP in 2021. In return, our president extends his credit that Mandalika will host MotoGP and, most importantly, the last statement the president said to Mr Carmelo is that the country will support this; the infrastructure will be supported. We, as a state owned company, own the land and are building the infrastructure, but around the area there will be support for the airport, a longer runway, and also a terminal for ferries, high speed boats, that will bring people from Bali to Lombok. Bali is our most visited destination and it’s only half an hour by plane, 2 hours by speedboat. We will rely on Bali for the supply of rooms and hotels, so from day one we don’t have to build tens of hotels, we will use part of Bali. That was promised by our president.
“MotoGP will bring a lot of benefit to the area. Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and I’ve heard Vietnam will have F1, so now Indonesia – as the biggest country in southeast Asia, the biggest economy – will finally have one, so this will bring a lot of attention to the area. Lombok has just been hit by earthquakes, so this will be important in the turn around and recovery of Lombok and will benefit everyone in Lombok and also in Indonesia because we’ll have our own world class circuit.
“When we signed on January 28th, we didn’t expect such positive outlook and comments. Everybody’s saying ‘finally! We will save our money because we want to see this in two years!’ There’s a large population of youth here, we have a bonus demographic. This is a good place to build the fanbase of Mandalika, and everyone is telling me they can’t wait. MotoGP is the most exciting motorsport in the opinion of Indonesia because they have the biggest fanbase. There’s over 100 million motorcycles around Indonesia and the races are so exciting.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO:
“As we announced last Saturday with the ITDC in Qatar, there has been an agreement to host an Indonesia Grand Prix in Lombok, Mandelika, for 2021. We thought that it was important to be here to present that to the president and the minister of sport. We’ve had a meeting with them. They’re committed to do things as best they can. We talked about the project, about the facilities and, for us, it’s very important that MotoGP is received in a country like Indonesia, which is one of the most important countries following MotoGP and the industry of motorcycles. It’s an important step today to start a new era of MotoGP.
“Asia is the most important region for the motorcycle industry in the world and, of course, Indonesia, with their big population and their interest in motorsport, this is very important.
“After the success of Malaysia and then Thailand, we think that this area, for the population, for the interest in motorcycles, is very important. For us it’s always important to do it in a safe way and and in a very nice place. In this project we fulfil both things. On one side we serve a new area for tourism and economic impact, on the other we will make an absolutely safe circuit in a very nice place. The circuit is a proper, permanent circuit.”
Dimas Ekky Pratama, rider
“It will be amazing for me and for the Indonesian fans because, in Indonesia it’s crazy, a lot of people like MotoGP and Lombok is my mother island, so it’s nice if I can race there in MotoGP.
“Many Indonesian people come to see me, they bring the Indonesian flags, posters of me and there’s a crazy amount of support. If we have the Indonesian GP in Lombok, for sure many people will come to support the GP. It will be amazing. I can’t wait. When I race in Sepang, it feels like home because many Indonesian people come there. When we race in Lombok, my family, friends and supporters will definitely come and it will be even more like home.”
Spanish event to host round four of World Enduro Super Series.
The World Enduro Super Series (WESS) has announced the addition of Spain’s Hixpania Hard Enduro to the 2019 calendar as round four of the series, replacing the provisionally proposed Classic Enduro in Italy.
Now entering its fourth edition, the Hixpania Hard Enduro has quickly become one of Spain’s most prestigious races, and one of Europe’s most visible Enduro races. Annually attracting many of the world’s best enduro riders, it also welcomes a wealth of eager amateur competitors.
For 2019, the race moves from its original autumn date to become a summer event scheduled on 21-21 June, while the format of the race itself will remain unchanged.
Staged over three days, the opening day of competition will feature a Superenduro-style prologue in the heart of the Aguilar de Campoo’s medieval town. The second day’s ‘Campoo Extreme’ will take riders out on a challenging, 50-kilometre Cross-Country loop around the nearby lake, which competitors will complete three times.
Bringing proceedings to a close, the third and final day of competition – known as ‘Lost Roads’ – will feature a multi-lap Hard Enduro race located in the infamous nearby quarry.
2019 World Enduro Super Series updated calendar:
Rd1 – 10-12 May – Extreme XL Lagares, Portugal
Rd2 – 17-19 May – Trefle Lozerien AMV, France
Rd3 – 30 May-2 June – Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, Austria
Rd4 – 21-23 June – Hixpania Hard Enduro, Spain
Rd5 – 30 July-4 August – Red Bull Romaniacs, Romania
Rd6 – 21-21 September – Hawkstone Park Cross Country, United Kingdom
Rd7 – 5-6 October – Solsona Enduro, Spain
Rd8 – 2-3 November – GetzenRodeo, Germany
Join KTM Australia for the ultimate orange experience at the 2019 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix between 25-27 October, as the MotoGP World Championship descends on Victoria’s scenic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Registrations are now open for this year’s exclusive three-day KTM VIP Package, where you can show your support of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Red Bull KTM Tech3 and Red Bull KTM Ajo teams across the race weekend. A special KTM VIP Gift Pack will also be provided on arrival!
KTM’s Champions Club Private Suite will be the place to be as you take in all of the fast-paced action at Phillip Island, featuring indoor seating and an outdoor viewing area that will enable KTM street enthusiasts to witness all of the world-class competition in pure comfort from trackside.
A hot buffet lunch will be served to guests daily in addition to morning and afternoon tea for your enjoyment, while an assorted beverage package is inclusive of beer, wine, cider, sparkling wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee.
Go behind the scenes with a three-day Paddock Pass included within the KTM VIP Package that will allow you to view team riders and garages from up-close and personal, providing unlimited access to this exclusive area of the event. Guided pit lane walks will be a must on Saturday and Sunday, also included as part of this extraordinary opportunity.
KTM boasts its largest presence ever in MotoGP’s premier category for 2019, led by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Pol Espargaro and high-profile new signing Johann Zarco, plus the newly-introduced Red Bull KTM Tech3 squad of Hafizh Syahrin and rookie talent Miguel Oliveira. Each will be equipped with factory-specification RC16 machinery this season.
Red Bull KTM Tech3 will also field Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl in the Moto2 division, while Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Moto2 team has secured Brad Binder and reigning Moto3 World Champion Jorge Martin as he steps up a class. In Moto3, Red Bull KTM Ajo is competing with 15-year-old phenom Can Öncü, the youngest-ever grand prix race winner.
Limited tickets for the three-day KTM VIP Package priced at $1490 are available now. Get ‘Ready to Race’ and secure your position by visiting the www.ridektm.com.au website to form a part of the ultimate orange experience throughout the 2019 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, held at Phillip Island, Victoria, from 25-27 October.