This year's racing is so heated it's tough to tell who's going to do what anymore. I'm not talking about the Matt Mladin show with AMA either, I'm talking about the big kids from World Super Bike and Moto GP. This is one amazing year with Yamaha making out like a bandit in the showings. Good for them, too, because they are actually re-engineering their bikes to get more out of them, compared to most of the others that are sticking with the old-school engines that have worked well in the past.
Kicking it off with WSB, the last races I saw were from Nürburgring in Germany. It was some tough racing and Ben Spies' closest competitor in the points standing is Noriyuki Haga. These two are having a very competitive year and I believe they will run it down to the last race, or so it seems. As I type, Spies has an 18-point advantage, and he might not have gotten that if Haga didn't wreck out in the German race. As I've said before, I think many of the riders are unhappy with how Spies has climbed the ranks as fast as he has, but he's got game whereas others just don't cut it. They call Spies "Elbows" and if you've seen him ride, you will know why. It's as if he's permanently riding a motard the way he sticks them out there, but in reality I think it has a lot to do with how tall he is compared to how small the bike is. Either way, I think there are some great races left in the lineup and they will all be nail-biters, to say the least. Rumors still abound as to whether Spies will be moving over to GP, but as it stands right now it looks like he will still run WSB for the 2010 season.
Even with all the pit chatter, it's easy to see that Spies will run Moto GP in the coming years. Spies has been rumored to be taking over James Tosland's spot on the Remote Yamaha Team along with Colin Edwards, but as of right now, it's confirmed that he will in fact run the 2010 season in WSB. While I'm sure he could jump in and swim with the big kids right now, I'm also sure we all look at it the same way, that Spies should climb the ladder one rung at a time. What better way to make a world champion than to fight all the way to the top. Go Ben Spies!
Then you have the Moto GP saga continuing to unfold. Currently, Valentino Rossi is holding the young guns off with a 30-point lead—and with only a handful of races to go, it's going to be an uphill battle for the Prince of motorcycle racing. First off, you have Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who is a stout competitor. Jorge really wants to show the world what he has, and he does offer some great riding, though I wonder if he really has it when it's needed most: under severe pressure. He hasn't impressed me just yet, especially with the win at Indy and his "Captain America" imitation. I do believe he and a few others are the future of the sport, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Then you have Danni Pedrosa who, for all intents and purposes, is a fantastic rider, but I find it really hard to get behind the Factory Honda rider and support him. At the end of the day, I think most people cheer for the rider that they feel closest to and appreciate most, and here in the U.S., I've yet to meet anyone that really likes him other than my buddy MG, though MG just likes him cause he's not Rossi.
The next GP will see Casey Stoner back in the seat after his mystery illness. Admittedly, I'm not exactly sure what's happening with Stoner, and there is much talk about what it could be. Casey was given the last three races—and the summer break—off to get fit again. From all I understand, Casey had a virus on one of his races and he never did shake it off. Last I heard, he flew home to Australia to deal with his own doctors, and I've not heard anything since.
With Stoner back in the game, along with Pedrosa and Lorenzo looking for the win, I do think the last few races will be way too close to call. This season has been some of the closest racing we've seen yet. Make sure not to miss a single event, even if it's going to be shown on Fox instead of Speed.
Ben Steinberg hails from Canada and is an experienced racer, with many years racing everything from two-strokes to superbikes and even F-1 sidecars. Currently, Ben is employed as the general manager of the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, just over the state line in North Carolina.