Friday, October 9


Two-times Superbike World Champion Max Biaggi is testing in Qatar this week ahead of the October 18 season finale.  The Aprilia Racing Team rider is conducting a four-day test at the Losail circuit on the outskirts of Doha, which started on Monday.
After collecting his 71st podium finish with third place in the first race at Sepang on September 20, Biaggi is looking to go even further, although he claims things could be tough.
“Riding at night absolutely fascinates me,” says the title winner of 2010 and 2012.  “The eyes need to get accustomed to these enormously bright floodlights, which are really powerful.  It seems like it's daytime!”
Following his first day of testing, Biaggi spoke to by telephone.
“Today (Tuesday) is the second day of testing.  So far we can say that the weather conditions we’ve found here are not the best.  It is hot, with temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius during the day; even at night, around 10 or 11 o’clock, we’ve got 35 degrees and 80 per cent humidity.  These are extreme conditions and, of course, my bike is the only one out there on the track, so the surface is not very clean and it will be difficult to improve over the coming days. That said, the test is important to recover some feeling with the track to be fully prepared for this new challenge.”
Biaggi last rode the Aprilia RSV4 last September, coinciding with a day of MotoGP tyre testing at the Italian circuit.  That test was specifically scheduled in order for Biaggi to assess the condition of his shoulder, which was injured in a training accident ahead of the Malaysian Superbike World Championship round.
“I’m happy with how the shoulder is,” he adds.  “It’s not as strong as before but at least it is no longer hurting.”


Nicky Hayden (right) will join Michael van der Mark (left) in the Ten Kate Honda team on a CBR1000RR SP in 2016.
Honda has confirmed the team that will spearhead its campaign in the 2016 Superbike World Championship on the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.  Current rider Michael van der Mark will be joined in the team by 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden.

Hayden has been riding in MotoGP since 2003 when he joined the Repsol Honda team and the 34-year-old American has since gone on to start more than 200 Grands Prix, scoring 28 podiums and taking three wins. He won the MotoGP title with Honda in 2006.

His strong flat-track racing pedigree, which began at the age of three, eventually led him into road-racing and the young Hayden turned professional on his 16th birthday, halfway through the 1997 season.  He won the AMA Supersport series with Honda two years later before turning to AMA Superbike in 2000. He became the youngest ever AMA Superbike champion, taking Honda’s VTR1000SP (RC51) to victory in 2002 at the age of 21.

Hayden is relishing a return to his Superbike roots in 2016 and to continuing his racing career with Honda in the production-based World Superbike championship.  Ultimate success in the series would make him the first rider to win both MotoGP and SWC titles.

He will team up for 2016 with Michael van der Mark, the 22-year-old Dutchman who has followed Honda’s rider development programme in winning both the 2012 European Superstock 600 series and last year’s World Supersport championship on Honda’s CBR600RR.

Van der Mark won back-to-back Suzuka 8-Hour races in Japan in 2013 and 2014 and has scored three podiums to date in his rookie World Superbike season on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP with the final round coming up in Qatar on October 18.

The team will begin testing for the 2016 World Superbike championship season in November with two scheduled tests in Spain which will be Hayden’s first opportunity to familiarise himself with his new Honda CBR Fireblade.

Nicky Hayden
Well, my next stop is Superbike with Honda!  I’m very excited, obviously, to stick with Honda; it’s where I’ve had the most success in my career.  World Superbikes is a championship that I followed closely as a kid when a lot of American riders were fighting at the front.  It just seems like the right time and the right team to go with.  I know I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s going to be a big challenge, but also I’m very motivated to start and learn what I can.  I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has supported me through my MotoGP career. We had a good run but now it’s time to move on and try something different.

Michael van der Mark

I’m really looking forward to 2016 already! This season we have made a lot of progress with the CBR and I think that taking my experience on the bike from every track will be a very good base to start from. We’ve really improved the bike even more over the last couple of rounds and that has put us close to the front, which is what we’ve been aiming for throughout the year. The next target of course is a victory but I think that in my second season on the CBR I can be confident that we can make some more podiums and fight for wins. I’m happy to hear that Nicky will be my team-mate next year and I think we’ll be able to learn a lot from each other during the season.

Marco Chini – WSBK Operations Manager, Honda

We are of course delighted to announce that Nicky Hayden will be Michael’s team-mate on Honda’s CBR Fireblade machine in the 2016 World Superbike championship.  The team has worked really hard this season, continuing the development of the bike together with Cosworth’s electronics and we are really happy that this endeavor has translated into strong performances from both riders, particularly in the last few races. These results have demonstrated the great potential that remains in the CBR and I’m happy that they may have influenced Nicky’s decision to join our programme. We are confident that the wide experience he has gained at the highest level of our sport can help the squad to continue the development, the momentum and the team-work that has been established this season and translate that into further positive results.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

It’s well known that, at Ten Kate, we always have been and always will be Honda. There is only be one person in the world who could possibly be more Honda than us, and that’s Nicky Hayden! That’s why I’m absolutely delighted that he’ll be joining us for next season. He was AMA Superbike champion with Honda and we’re really looking forward to bringing him back to his superbike roots. By working together and using all our combined resources, I hope that in the future we can make him the first world champion in MotoGP and World Superbike. We are also looking forward to combining Nicky’s experience with young Michael, who has shown really good pace and huge potential on the CBR in his first season. I think you can safely say that I’m more than happy with the line-up we have for 2016!

Thursday, October 8


In an exciting new development this season, international and home-grown talent combines to boost the Suzuki strike force on all motorcycling fronts, off the road and on it.
Argentine rider Joaquin Fernandez arrives in New Zealand to add an international flavour to the new Suzuki-backed MC2 Racing Team and with Suzuki stalwart and long-time team rider Brad Groombridge, of Taupo, also returning to the line-up, the likeable visitor is sure to quickly find his feet and adapt to the Kiwi motocross race scene.

Former racer now Tauranga Suzuki dealer Andrew Hardisty (left) with Joaquin Fernandez, the Argentine rider set to contest the New Zealand Motocross Nationals for the MC2 Racing Team.

And, in addition to delivering these two 450cc motocross class title contenders to the major stand-alone events, as well as the national motocross championships series races this season, the MC2 Racing Team will also front up with Wellington-based former bay of Plenty rider Sloan Frost to race the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and represent the outfit on the superbike road-race scene.

Frost will contest the popular annual Suzuki Series just before Christmas and the superbike nationals in the New Year.

Managed by former national motocross and supercross champion Andrew Hardisty, the owner of Mount Maunganui's Moto City Suzuki dealership, the MC2 Racing Team is bulging with both talent and experience and the crew head into the 2015-16 season in a confident mood.

"Having personally competed in both motocross and road-racing, I am excited to have an involvement in both codes again, especially with strong title contenders in both motorcycle racing sports," said Hardisty.

"I am looking forward for the season ahead, not only because of the potential we show in both motocross and superbike racing, but also by Brad's credentials as an enduro and cross-country exponent as well. We have all the bases covered."

Groombridge has been a leading contender on the national motocross and cross-country scene for a number of years – he banked several high-profile wins last season and also finished the 2015 national championship series ranked No.5 in the MX1 class, while new team-mate Fernandez is, for the moment at least, a dark horse on the New Zealand scene.

Born in Achiras, Cordoba, in Argentina, the 28-year-old Fernandez has an impressive CV.

He was national 125cc motocross champion in Argentina in 2003, national 125cc supercross champion in Chile in 2004, national 250cc two-stroke motocross champion in Argentina in 2005, was Motocross International Race Champion "Abierto de la Republica Argentina" in the MX2 (250cc) class in 2006 and was national MX2 champion in Argentina in 2007.

He also raced the MXGP world championship round in Argentina earlier this year.

On the tarmac side of things, Frost is currently ranked No.3 in the superbike class, finishing the four-round 2015 series close behind fellow Kiwi Suzuki stars Jaden Hassan and Dennis Charlett.

With Hassan and Charlett not contesting the superbike class this coming season, Frost heads into this campaign as one of the title favourites.

Meanwhile, Hardisty said a new team web site – – would also be in operation within the next 30 days.