With the “works” Kawasaki team already set for this year’s WSBK Championship, the “will he, won’t he? ” charade being played out at the Pedercini Kawasaki team looks comical by comparison. Long ago the team announced Robby Rolfo as their sole rider for 2011. Then some more funding came along and they announced an expansion to a 2-rider team. At the private test at Sepang, therefore, they tried out 3 potential candidates for the 2nd seat, Gabor Talmacsi, Bryan Staring and Lukas Pesek.
While no times were announced, everyone seemed pretty sure that the Hungarian would get the gig, but, on his web site, Talmacsi seemed to hint that he was grateful for the opportunity but still hadn’t decided what to do. This close to the start of the season, such indecisiveness is sure to be fatal. It is now looking likely that he will “pass”, probably a good move as I have always felt that Gabor, though a World Champion, is better suited to the smaller bikes.
Attention now switches to the young Aussie superstar, Bryan Staring. This kid is truly a champion in the making and already has an Australian Supersport championship (2009 with Yamaha) and an Australian Superbike championship (2010 with Honda) to his name. He also recently won at the Kings of Wanneroo, two races in British Superstock 1000, and finished 4th overall at Brands Hatch as replacement for Steve Plater.
Bryan already had a seat for 2011 at Pedrecini in their Superstock 1000 team, but has been promoted to a Superbike “wildcard” for his home round at Phillip Island, a sure sign that the bosses want to give him a chance to shine. What better chance than in front of his home crowd?
Given Talmasci’s ambivalent attitude and previous history of Aussie wildcards at PI (anyone remember a certain Troy Bayliss on an underpowered Suzuki or Anthony Gobert’s double win all those years ago?) Staring has the best chance ever to grab a plum seat on a new bike and continue his meteoric rise. While the Pedrecini camp insist that they are still considering Lukas Pesek as well, I think we can consider that a bargaining ploy rather than a serious consideration.
And, on that subject, the FIM has released the provisional entry list for 2011.
#2 Leon Camier GBR (Aprilia RSV4 Factory) Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
#3 Max Biaggi ITA (Aprilia RSV4 Factory) Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
#4 Jonathan Rea GBR (Honda CBR1000RR) Castrol Honda
#7 Carlos Checa ESP (Ducati 1098R) Althea Racing
#11 Troy Corser AUS (BMW S1000 RR) BMW Motorrad Motorsport
#17 Joan Lascorz ESP (Kawasaki ZX-10R) Kawasaki Racing Team
#33 Marco Melandri ITA (Yamaha YZF R1) Yamaha World Superbike Team
#41 Noriyuki Haga JPN (Aprilia RSV4 Factory) PATA Racing Team Aprilia
#44 Roberto Rolfo ITA (Kawasaki ZX-10R) Team Pedercini
#50 Sylvain Guintoli FRA (Ducati 1098R) Team Effenbert – Liberty Racing
#52 James Toseland GBR (BMW S1000 RR) BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
#58 Eugene Laverty IRL (Yamaha YZF R1) Yamaha World Superbike Team
#66 Tom Sykes GBR (Kawasaki ZX-10R) Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike
#77 Chris Vermeulen AUS (Kawasaki ZX-10R) Kawasaki Racing Team
#84 Michel Fabrizio ITA (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Team Suzuki Alstare
#86 Ayrton Badovini ITA (BMW S1000 RR) BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
#91 Leon Haslam GBR (BMW S1000 RR) BMW Motorrad Motorsport
#96 Jakub Smrz CZE (Ducati 1098R) Team Effenbert – Liberty Racing
#111 Ruben Xaus ESP (Honda CBR1000RR) Castrol Honda
#121 Maxime Berger FRA (Ducati 1098R) Supersonic Racing Team
#TBA TBA (Kawasaki ZX-10R) Team Pedercini
Note that World Champion, Max Biaggi, will not use the #1 number, retaining his “lucky” #3.