by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 196
MOTOGP >>> nEWs MOTO3 NAME gAME AS FACTORIES RACE OFF The return to road-racing of the long-forgotten name of Husqvarna has tactical overtones, as the manufacturers square up to one another in the smallest class, with big factory budgets making a mockery of the supposedly controlled-cost class. The Swedish manufacturer was prominent in road-racing in the mid-1930s, but after the war turned its attentions to motocross, where the Huskys became dominant in the 1960s and 1970s. The road-racing return has nothing to do with legacy, however. The brand has changed hands several times, owned by Cagiva and MV Agusta, then by BMW, and since the start of this year the Austrian KTM factory. The 2014 Moto3 Husqvarnas are rebadged KTMs, to be ridden by Danny Kent in the factory-backed Red Bull Ajo team, and in the associated Avant Tecno team by Niklas Ajo. Kent’s Red Bull team-mate Jack Miller’s bike will however be badged KTM. One implication is a way of circumventing rules that require each manufacturer to be prepared to supply up to 15 riders with identical machinery. Husqvarna could be used in an experimental role, with different engine parts and no obligation to supply them to KTM teams. Honda, returning with a full-scale factory effort of its own, has threatened to rebrand “satellite” bikes as FTR-Hondas, to concentrate its efforts on its new super-team of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez. The other significant note from last week’s entry list is the shift in machine loyalty. KTM is the most numerous with nine bikes (not counting the Huskies), but the number of Mahindras has doubled to eight, matching the number of Kalex-KTMs. There are six Hondas, four in satellite teams, plus the star Estrella-Galicia pairing. Costs of engines, kits and a number of parts are prescribed, but there is no way of preventing factory race departments from selling components at a loss and absorbing the cost. Marc Marquez is the first premier- class rookie to win the championship since Kenny Roberts in 1978. This we know; also that Roberts was more of a rookie, since it was his first grand prix season. But was there one before Roberts? The flippant say that Les Graham, first World Champion in 1949, must by definition also have been a rookie, but this is disingenuous. The series followed on from the pre-war European championship, and Graham had been a successful rider in that series. In between, he was a bomber pilot, decorated for bravery. His successor, however, may have a more legitimate claim. Umberto Masetti, dashing Italian, took the title in 1950 and 1952, riding a factory Gilera. A Rookie, in the modern context, is a rider in his first full season. Younger brother Alex Marquez, for example, was one such in Moto3 in 2013, although in fact he came with 11 starts (out of 17 races) from the previous year. If he is a rookie, then so too was Masetti. He did start two 500cc races the previous season, on a single-cylinder Gilera Saturno, while also racing in the 125 and 230 classes. But two out of six races is a much smaller proportion than Marquez Jr. Even when you consider that only the best four results counted for the title, two of four is still only half. The next year Masetti was a full- time rider on the dominant four-cylinder Gilera. He won his second race, and the third. Again, only the best four results counted; a pair of seconds saw him easily defeat fellow-rookie Geoff Duke’s single-cylinder Norton. Masetti, who enjoyed a glamorous lifestyle and a reputation as a playboy racer, won the title again in 1952, and from 1955 to 1958 switched to MV Agusta. He went to race in Chile, and stayed there – eventually returning to Italy in 1972 in reduced circumstances, to be found pumping gas at a Modena ser vice station owned by a friend – a salutary story. Masetti, first Rookie World Champion, died in 2006, aged 80. 'Low-cost' rules trampled as Husqvarna returns Re-branded: KTM becomes Husqvarna for 2014 ... THE FORGOTTEN ROOKIE CHAMP 15 GPWEEK.com // 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: