Benjan Racing Team will participate in World Supersport 300 with Avalon Biddle (Sourz Foods Benjan Racing) and in European Superstock 1000 with Glenn Scott, Wayne Tessels and Toni Finsterbusch (Agro On – Benjan Kawasaki). Rob Vennegoor’s squad is getting ready for 2017 season and in the past seven days its riders hit the track in Almería and then in Jerez de la Frontera.
The Kiwi lady Avalon Biddle made a big step forward and used this opportunity to adapt to her Ninja 300. The team is looking forward to see where she will be in the big group taking part in SSP300.
Like Biddle, Glenn Scott had a first taste of the motorbike he will ride this year and used these tests to ride again after the injury that ruled him out of 2016 season after just two rounds. Now his left leg is OK and the Aussie rode many laps in order to have good sensations back. Still much work to do, but both Glenn and the team are very confident.
Differently from Avalon and Glenn, both Toni Finsterbusch and Wayne Tessels had already tested their ZX-10RR machines. The days spent in Andalucia helped them to better understand the new 1000cc by Kawasaki.
Overall the tests were very positive and the Team Manager Rob Vennegoor is very satisfied with the work done by the riders.
After spending three years on a 1000cc machine, the young Hungarian Péter Sebestyén switches to 600cc as he will participate in 2017 European Supersport Series with the new SSP Hungary by Pedercini Racing Team, result of the partnership between Lucio Pedercini’s squad and Spíler Tv, channel broadcasting WorldSBK in Hungary.
The 22-year-old rider entered the WorldSBK paddock when he contested 2013 European Junior Cup, where he ranked sixth and got a podium finish in Magny Cours, before making a big step to SBK the year after. The difficult 2014 season was then followed by the deal with Pedercini Racing, that allowed “Peti” to participate in 2015 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup season (best result: 13th place). Last year the young Hungarian joined once again Team Tóth and stepped back to Superbike, where he managed to score one point by finishing Race 1 in Jerez 15th.
2017 brings the youngster a new opportunity to collaborate with Lucio Pedercini after 2015 season and the Magyar rider will race against competitive riders like the Estonian Hannes Soomer and the Italian Alessandro Zaccone.
Maxime Cudeville is a rider known for competing in French Superbike and also in some Endurance World Championship races. This year he will debut in European Superstock 1000 with Flembbo Leader Team, one of the best private squads in EWC, and take part in the championship which launched talented riders such as Davide Giugliano, Niccolò Canepa, Leandro Mercado and Raffaele de Rosa.
Last weekend, in order to prepare for the first 2017 round, the 25-year-old Frenchman and the team spent two days in Motorland Aragon and this allowed Maxime to discover the Spanish track. The tests were affected by some technical issues with electronics and gearbox, but overall they were positive and Cudeville and Laurent Engel’s team made good progress especially with the chassis.
Now there is a three-week break before the start of the season and Cudeville will use it to keep training and also to participate in another important test. The rider from Colombes will indeed participate in Endurance World Championship with the Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers and on 27th and 28th March he will be on Le Mans’ Circuit Bugatti to get ready for the 24 Heures du Mans, important EWC round taking place on 15th and 16th April.
Breaking news about SSP300 as yesterday the former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup competitor Marc Garcia announced his participation in the brand new championship with the Spanish Halcourier MS Racing Team. The young Catalan will ride a Yamaha YZF-R3 and join the already announced Dani Valle and Borja Sánchez.
Marc competed in RBRC from 2014 to last year and got ten podium finishes whose four victories (Race 1 in Aragon in 2015 and Race 1 in Austria and both races in Brno last year), three 2nd places and three 3rd ones. He finished 2016 season in fourth place by scoring a total of 170 points. Moreover, in the past two years Marc took part in some Moto3 Junior World Championship races with a machine built by the students of Monlau Repsol Technical School.
By signing García, the team owned by Félix Garrido adds one more talented rider to the SSP300 entry list and with no shade of doubt the Catalan contributes to further rising the level of a championship expected to be very exciting.
Anastassia Kovalenko has announced on her Facebook page that she will participate in some World Supersport 300 races as a wildcard entry. There is no certain news about which rounds the 24-year-old Baltic rider will take part in, but she should join the field in Misano, Lausitzring and Magny Cours.
In the past two years, spent in European Junior Cup, Anastassia showed good racing and this allowed her to be runner-up in 2015 Women’s European Cup and then to improve her results in the five races she contested last year.
About 2017 season, Anastassia will compete in Italian Yamaha R3 Cup. This will allow the Estonian to experience her first full season in the “Bel Paese”.
Eric Vionnet is getting ready for his third season in Superstock 1000 and started his testing program in Jerez de la Frontera, where he spent four days riding a BMW S1000RR similar to the one he will ride in the ex-FIM Cup.
During the first three days Eric enjoyed the good weather and experimented new settings. The 22-year-old Swiss spent a lot of time on the track and managed to ride half a second faster compared to last year’s race weekend.
The final day saw the rain falling on the Andalusian circuit, but Eric didn’t stay in the pits and took advantage of the particular conditions to get more experience on wet track and spent some more time on his motorcycle.
The final balance of these tests is pretty positive and the rider is ready for the next ones, which will take place next week in Aragon and in two weeks in Valencia.
Last Monday and Tuesday saw some testing in Phillip Island and these practises allowed every WSS team to prepare for the season opener which will take place this weekend.
Some of the riders who hit the track were the 5-time World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu, who will miss the first two rounds due to the injury suffered one month ago, and also other great riders like Jules Cluzel and Patrick Jacobsen.
But amongst them we also saw some interesting youngsters who will live their first (or second) season in WSS and they could improve constantly:
Niki Tuuli. Last year the 21-year-old Finn broke through WSS by showing great racing in Lausitzring, Magny Cours and Jerez. Niki finished 2nd on all these tracks as a wildcard for Kallio Racing and could fight with many experienced riders like Sofuoglu and Cluzel. In the tests he was fast and managed to be in top 10 in spite of riding for the first time on such a complicated track like Phillip Island. What can he do on Sunday? Hard to predict, but Niki has what he needs to get a great result.
Michael Canducci. The 19-year-old debuted in WSS as a wildcard in Imola and then he replaced Aiden Wagner for GRT Racing Team. Last year he also competed in Italian Supersport Championship and finished fourth also thanks to two wins got in Misano and Mugello. Last Tuesday he constantly improved and in FP4 he cut off one second from the time set during FP3. A point finish would be already good for him, but let’s see what happens.
Kyle Ryde. After a difficult year which saw him switching motorcycle twice, Kyle has been signed by Puccetti Racing and has a great opportunity to show his talent. The Brit was 2011 British 125cc and 2014 British Superstock 600 Champion and proved his skills also when he got a podium finish as a wildcard in Donington in 2015. Jonathan Rea supports him and Sofuoglu said nice words about him. For sure they’re right.
Stefan Hill. The guy from Coventry has just turned 19 (Happy birthday!!) and is ready to face his second season in WSS after a tough rookie one on a Honda machine. This year he rides a Triumph Daytona 675R for Profile Racing and the tests saw him improving his time of one second compared to last year’s Superpole. Will he get his first WC points? We’ll see
Lachlan Epis. Last year the young Aussie experienced a constant improvement during his rookie season and this growth culminated in a great point finish in Losail. “Lachie” has already tested a lot in Phillip Island to get ready for the season opener and his best lap set last Tuesday is even two second and a half faster than the one set during last year’s Superpole. Is the youngster going to start from where he finished 2016 season?
Davide Pizzoli. After some seasons in Moto3 Junior World Championship, the young Italian debuts in World Supersport with Alex Baldolini’s team. It’s always very difficult to shift from Moto3 to a 600cc machine, but “Dadda” constantly improved his laptimes two days ago and he went from 1’40”633 set in FP3 to 1’38”991 in FP4. He can just keep improving during the race weekend and the race could see him fighting for the points.
I think we can expect good things from these young riders. Bring on the first race of the season!