Racing roundup: Welland flat track, World Superbike, MotoGP

Valentino Rossi battles through the rain earlier this season, at the French GP. Photo: MotoGP

A quick mid-week peak at what’s going on in the world of go-fast.

Welland flat track

Let’s start here at home, in Ontario. The province’s motorcycle racers and race organizers are still trying to navigate government regulations to come up with a plan for 2021. At the Welland County Speedway (formerly Niagara Motorcycle Raceway), the plan is to start flat track racing in July.

A write-up in the St. Catharines Standard details the Welland County Motorcycle Club’s plans to race this summer, with five events planned for July and a season finale in September.

At this point, organizers are waiting for the go-ahead from government officials, and they say they might not be able to allow spectators at this summer’s events, or maybe they’ll have to restrict attendance. If that happens, they’ll have to restrict purse payouts to the top three finishers in each class. Alas! For more details, read the write-up in the Standard.

World Superbike

The world’s premier production-based motorcycle racing series gets underway this weekend. Instead of the usual mid-winter season opener at Phillip Island, World Superbike opens the season at Aragon mid-spring. COVID-19 is to blame, of course, and don’t be surprised if there are further changes to the season yet.

Going into the opening weekend, Jonathan Rea once again carries the title for the Kawasaki factory team. Last season, though, the championship standings were closer than they’ve been in recent years, with Scott Redding (Ducati)  bagging 305 points to Rea’s 360. Will this season see Rea dethroned? Hard to say; he’s been absolutely dominant for most of the past decade, and he’s on a new ZX-10RR this season.

MotoGP

For the past five years, one question has popped up ever season in MotoGP: When will Valentino Rossi retire? Now that he’s on the Petronas satellite team, instead of Yamaha’s factory squad, does he see the end in sight?

Rossi hasn’t had a top-10 finish yet this season, five races in. Surely that’s a sign? Maybe, maybe not—here’s what The Doctor himself had to say:

“ … After nine races we have the summer break and I think I will decide for next year in that period, after nine races,” Rossi recently told Indonesian MotoGP broadcaster Trans7.

“I’m happy if I can race also in 2022 and come to Indonesia, but we need to wait for the results and if I can be competitive, so at this moment I cannot promise anything but I will try to be there in 2022.”

There you have it. If Rossi thinks he’s fast enough, he’ll be back next season. Hey, if nobody else will sign him, he can always race for his own team, as it makes the jump to the GP class.

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