Of course Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri haven’t launched an LP, although the album cover pic above could suggest otherwise. No, today was the turn of the Aruba.it Racing Team to unveil its 2017 colours and rider line-up in front of media, sponsors, industry bigwigs and fans worldwide.
In what seems like a must-do for every team across all classes this season, Ducati was the latest to host a grand shindig to showcase its factory squad (presented by Mr Domenicali), even if it’s just a few new stickers to please sponsors. I could sit here and gaze at the detailing for hours; the Corse components, the feast of carbon fibre, the factory trinkets…
Quite possibly the sexiest silhouette out there, and by far the hottest arse in the WorldSBK paddock, the Panigale R could well be the only bike that’ll prevent another Kawasaki whitewash in 2017 in the capable hands of Chaz Davies. When Chaz is on it, he’s on it, finding something in the latter half of last year to halt the fact that he was often off it when he was on it. I’ll bet my left bollock on Chaz beating Marco Melandri anyway.
Aprilia’s MotoGP refugee, Eugene Laverty, is the other standout rider who could upset the running order. Norge has unfinished business in SBK and has genuine proven pace aboard the RSV4. Likewise, his team-mate, Lorenzo Savadori looks rapid.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Hondas go with Nicky Hayden and Steffi Bradl onboard. The not-so-new bike has been hampered by tech gremlins in testing (apparently), and beating the Kawis and Chaz seems like an optimistic target at the moment. But this is racing, and anything goes.
Paul Denning reckoned that his Crescent Yamaha squad underestimated the challenge last year. With Alex Lowes gagging for it and new boy, Mickey Van Der Mark, let’s hope the R1 can show its potential in World SBK guise this season.
In the latest bizarre twist to Josh Brookes’s career, the 2015 British Superbike champion has setup a gofundme page to raise finances for his WorldSBK wildcard at Phillip Island later this month. Brookes has managed to freight his title-winning R1 over to his homeland, spunking the budget in the process, so is attempting to crowdfund another $30,000.
Anyway, have enjoy this gallery of jizz…