Miller Motorsports Park Presents: Five Questions with Eugene Laverty

eugene_laverty_monzaMiller Motorsports Park will again host the USA Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship on The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, May 28-30. Leading up to the round at Miller, we have been visiting with race winners and other notable riders participating in the championship after each race during the 2011 season to bring you a new chapter in the “Five Questions with” series.

Today’s subject is the second rider from Northern Ireland in as many installments. Eugene Laverty, who rides the factory No. 58 Yamaha YZF R1 for the Yamaha World Superbike Team, hails from Ballymena. One of three motorcycle-racing brothers, along with siblings Michael and John, he came up through the ranks in the British 125cc Championship and British Supersport before moving up to the 250cc GP World Championship in 2007. He split time between the 250GP and World Supersport championships in 2008 before moving to World Supersport full-time in 2009. He finished second in the championship in 2009 and 2010 before ascending to the World Superbike Championship this year. He swept both races at Monza on May 8, garnering worldwide attention and propelling himself to fifth place in the championship standings.

1. Sunday at Monza was a very special day for you. Global recognition of your name increased by a huge margin. How did it feel when you finally went to bed that night?

It really hadn’t sunk in. I know that’s a much overused expression, but it was genuinely the case for me. I sat in my motorhome with my girlfriend, Pippa, and a few friends and watched the races back over a cup of tea. After watching the final lap of race two I was absolutely buzzing, so I put an episode of the Irish sitcom “Father Ted” on TV to try and wind down before bed! The following evening I realized why the whole experience had seemed so bizarre. I remembered that I’d had a dream on Thursday night that I’d won both races at Monza, so in a way I’d already gone through all the emotions.

2. You and your teammate, Marco Melandri, came to the team from very different career paths. How much information do you share, and is having ridden 250s and World Supersport better training for World Superbike than MotoGP?

Both sides of the garage share information; that’s the key to our success this season. We made big steps forward in the first few rounds because Marco and I offered similar feedback, and so the direction was clear. We may have had different career paths, but at the end of the day a great rider will figure out the fastest way around the track on any given bike. I was immediately fast on the R1 the first time I rode it at Magny-Cours, as was Marco on his first outing at Valencia, so this proves that the gap between street bikes and race bikes is much smaller than it’s ever been.

3. Two years ago Ben Spies was a rookie with your current team. He won the World Championship in his first try and immediately went to MotoGP. Last year as a rookie for the team, Cal Crutchlow won several poles and a handful of races and followed Spies to MotoGP. Do you feel any pressure trying to live up the very high standards set by the team’s previous rookies, and do you aspire to make a similarly quick transition to MotoGP?

My situation is rather different to Ben’s and Cal’s. Both riders had ridden superbikes for a few seasons in domestic championships, and so they were expected to be immediately quick. The team has put absolutely no pressure on me to perform, as this season has been cited as a learning year. Naturally that view will shift somewhat after our fantastic double victory at Monza, but there will be times when we’re reminded that this is my first season on a superbike. Just look at Donington, for example; I struggled there due to my lack of superbike experience. Every rider aspires to compete in MotoGP, and so I hope to move there sometime in the future when I feel ready. I’ve only just completed my fourth round in the World Superbike Championship, though, so I’d rather not get ahead of myself!

4. The crowd in Monza was hostile towards the podium finishers because of Max Biaggi’s penalty. What was your feeling about their reaction and do you think the punishment was justified?

This has been talked about a lot following Monza, but it’s as simple as this: Over the past few seasons, the rules have been the same for cutting the chicanes at Monza. The punishment may not fit the crime for such a small mistake, but we’ve all been aware of the severity of this and so we’ve made very sure to obey the rules. Max did not obey the rules, and he paid the price. I overshot one of the chicanes in race two, but I made sure to re-enter the track correctly so as not to suffer this fate. I didn’t feel that the crowd was hostile, to be honest. I’ve no doubt that there was tension in the air between the rival Italian riders’ fans, but they gave me a warm welcome on the podium as well as in the paddock afterwards.

5. Other than the race at Miller Motorsports Park, how much have you seen of the U.S.? What do you like about MillerMotorsports Park, and is it similar to any European tracks?

I’ve been around various parts of America over the last few years. In 2009 I stayed with Josh Hayes in California ahead of the race atMiller Motorsports Park, and last season I visited Las Vegas before traveling to Salt Lake City. Miller Motorsports Park really suits my style, particularly the fast, flowing turns which start the lap. For this reason the track reminds me of Assen, but really Miller Motorsports Park is quite a unique track. There’s no other track on our calendar that boasts a section like The Attitudes! This left-right-left complex is hard work, and it’s important to be pinpoint accurate through here so as not to touch the side of the bike on the high curbs. I couldn’t have hoped for a better track to follow up my double win at Monza. I’m confident of another podium finish in the U.S., and hopefully I can get myself into the title fight over the next few rounds.

The fifth round of the 2011 FIA Superbike World Championship will be The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil at Miller Motorsports Park over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30. Support races from AMA Pro Road Racing will include the National Guard Superbike Championship, the Daytona SportBike Championship, the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Championship and the Vance & Hines XR1200 Championship. There will also be concerts on Saturday and Sunday nights, May 28-29, and a major tribute to our armed forces in recognition of Memorial Day. Max Biaggi swept both World Superbike races at Miller Motorsports Park last year riding for the Aprilia Alitalia Racing team enroute to the World Championship. This year’s World Superbike races will be broadcast on a same-day/tape-delay basis on SPEED Channel at 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm (EDT) on May 30.

To obtain tickets for or information about The BigM Weekend, visit the event-specific website at www.BigMWeekend.com or call 435-277-RACE (7223). For information regarding Miller Motorsports Park, visit the track’s website at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com.

[Press Release Courtesy of Miller Motorsports Park]

Casey Stoner Rides 1000cc Honda 2012 Prototype [Video]

casey_stoner_honda_prototypeCasey Stoner got the chance to ride Honda’s 2012 machine at Jerez yesterday. Dani Pedrosa was also supposed to test, but his recent injury prevented him from taking to the track.

After riding the 2012 Honda prototype, Stoner said:

“Everything has gone very well, very positive. It’s just nice to ride the 1000cc again, to feel the engine and the power. I had a lot of fun.”

Here’s the video of Casey Stoner taking his first laps at Jerez with the new 1000cc Honda MotoGP bike.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

MotoGP Could See 16 New Riders in 2012

motogp_gridThe MotoGP will be expanding in 2012. The FIM originally announced that as many as 13 new teams and 21 new riders could be lining up next year, but after the first round of selection, that number has dropped slightly. The FIM announced today that 11 teams consisting of 16 riders have been invited to the second round of selection.

IRTA and Dorna have given the 16 teams until June 3rd to give a security deposit to the IRTA. The applications will then be reviewed before the selected teams will be given a contract.

The FIM will announce what teams have been accepted to participate in the 2012 MotoGP season after the Catalunya GP.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Jake Holden Biography

Jake Holden has been racing in the AMA for the last decade, and he’s ridden in just about every class. Superbike, Daytona Sportbike, Superstock, XR1200… You name it and Holden’s probably ridden it.

Jake Holden Vital Statistics

  • AMA Daytona Sportbike Team: Jake Holden Racing
  • Bike: Ducati 848 EVO
  • Number: 59
  • DOB: May 5th, 1983
  • Nationality: American
  • Weight: 175 lbs
  • Height: 6 ft
Jake_Holden

Jake Holden Biography

Born in Tacoma, Washington, on May 5th 1983, Jake Holden quickly found a need for speed. Holden turned pro at just 16-years-old, and has been a regular in the AMA ever since.

Holden started his professional career with entries into the AMA Superbike and Supersport series, but it wasn’t until 2003 that he found a truly competitive bike. Holden rode to his first top 10 finish during the 2003 season and earned a 15th place overall result for the season in the Superstock class.

Holden’s performance earned him a spot on the Hypercycle Suzuki team in 2004, where he earned his first top five finish in the Superstock class. Holden stuck with Suzuki in 2005, but now with the Lion Racing Team, and continued to improve. In 2005 he finished 6th in the Superstock series after claiming three top five finishes.

In 2006, Holden got some major support from the Michael Jordan Suzuki Team who had noticed his skill throughout the years. Holden would have another successful season in 2006, but it wasn’t until the following year that he claimed his first AMA win.

The following year was even better as Holden added two more win to his career tally, and finished the 2008 Superstock season in third place.

Holden would see his most successful season in the AMA Superbike series in 2009. With the Holden Racing / Corona Honda team, Holden would score 13 top 10 finishes, 2 top five finishes, and end the season in 10th place.

After nearly a decade of racing in the Superstock and Superbike series, Holden decided to mix things up in 2010. Now backed by Roberson Motorsports, Holden entered into the inaugural XR2100 series. Holden finished in the top 10 at every race he competed at, and ended the season in 3rd. Holden also tried his hand in the Daytona Sportbike series for three races. Holden’s performance in the DSB in 2010 led to the decision to ride full time in the DSB in 2011.

Jake Holden News

Jake Holden Career Stats

  • 2002 – Superstock – 20th
  • 2002 – Superbike – 52nd
  • 2003 – Superstock – 15th
  • 2003 – Superbike – 17th
  • 2004 – Superstock – 9th
  • 2004 – Superbike – 25th
  • 2005 – Superstock – 6th
  • 2005 – Superbike – 19th
  • 2006 – Superstock – 12th
  • 2006 – Superbike – 12th
  • 2007 – superstock – 9th
  • 2007 – Superbike – 13th
  • 2008 – Superstock – 3rd
  • 2008 – Superbike – 32nd
  • 2009 – Superbike – 10th
  • 2010 – XR1200 – 3rd
  • 2010 – Superbike – 14th
  • 2010 – Daytona Sportbike – 29th

Jake Holden’s Bike – Ducati 848 EVO

  • Manufacturer: Ducati
  • Make: 848 EVO
  • Engine: Liquid cooled L-Twin cylinder
  • Power: 140hp (103kw) @ 10,500rpm
  • Torque: 72.3lb-ft (98Nm) @ 9,750rpm
Jake_Holden

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

World War II Harley-Davidson Models

Harley_Davdison_WLA_1942Harley Davdison WLA 1942Being one of only two motorcycle manufacturers in the United States to survive the Great Depression, Harley-Davidson produced bikes in large numbers for the US Army in World War II.

The most popular bike produced during this time was the WLA, part of the Harley-Davidson WL Line. Production of this specific model came to a halt at WWWII’s end, and resumed some production during Harley_Davidson_WLA_1944Harley Davidson WLA 1944the Korean War.

Harley-Davidson WLA Line 1942-1944

  • Flat-head, side-valve engine
  • 737 cm3 displacement
  • Carburetor fuel  system
  • 3-speed
  • Drum brakes
  • 562 lbs
  • 3.3 gallon tank
  • “A” Stands for Army
  • Won Army-Navy “E” Awards in 1943 & 1944

Competition Accessories’ tells us an interesting fact in their blog entry, stating  “The long rumored tale of a warehouse full of unused WWII Harley-Davidsons is demonstrated to be a myth.” Read more about Motorcycling in America – 1990 here.

Harley_Davdison_XA_1941Harley Davidson XA 1941The United States Army also had a need for another bike similar to the features of a BMW R71. In 1942 Harley produced the shaft-driven Harley-Davidson XA which closely replicated the R71’s engine and drive train. This bike was entirely different from any other Harley model, and remains the only shaft-driven Harley ever put into production.

“Born To Ride

There are a variety of biker films produced over the years, but only one that truly showcases the usage of bikes in the World War II era. Take a look at this film, Born To Ride, with John Stamos as a young rebel Harley rider who also happened to ride a WWII Harley-Davidson model.

Harley Davidson XA Line 1941-1942

  • Twin cylinder
  • 729 cm3
  • Carburetor fuel system
  • Shaft-Driven
  • Drum Brakes

Today, Harley is still heavily involved with the United States Military. Besides motorcycle production, you can find a number of ways that Harley honors our troops on their website. Harley’s HeroesHarley_Davidson_XA_1942Harley Davidson XA 1942 supports Disabled American Veterans, providing their Mobile Service Office to those who need help to show their appreciation and support for those that have fought for our country. Stories from the Soldiers is also featured in this section of their website, which allows the reader to connect with troops who are Harley Riders as well as Heroes. There are also sections involving Harley’s tour with Bikes Over Baghdad, an Overseas Military Sales Program, and Harley-Davidson’s history with the military.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com