Sep 29, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>This news just in from Glenn Le Santo, on-site at Imola for the World Superbike Championship (WSB) season finale:<BR><BR>Eric Bostrom will stay with Kawasaki in 2002 and 2003, riding in the AMA series, and will ride multiple World Superbike rounds in 2003.<BR><BR>Chris Walker will ride in the WSB series for Kawasaki, along with Izutsu. Akira Yanagawa will become a development rider for Kawasaki's new GP1 four-stroke project.<BR><BR>The Grand Prix Series organizer, Dorna, has developed a GP2 formula, based on 600cc production engines with racing frames and slick tires. The new formula will run as a Spanish Championship in 2002, and is likely to replace 250s in 2003 World GPs. With GP1 and GP2 allowing four-strokes, what will become of 125s is unclear, but some speculation is that the class will be reserved for upcoming youth.<BR><BR>WSB officials have made no announcement on rule changes, but insiders say that there will be no significant rule changes for 2002, despite the fact that manufacturers of four-cylinder machines were desperately hoping for some added displacement to help them compete with the 1000cc V-Twins. An announcement is due in December, too late for manufacturers to actually make many capacity changes anyway.<BR><BR>Suzuki's intentions in the light of this news are unclear. Harald Eckl, Kawasaki team boss, and Andrea Merloni of Benelli, both looked crestfallen and very depressed at the news, as a displacement increase would have given both the four-cylinder Kawasaki ZX-7RR and the three-cylinder Benelli Tornado cheap horspower gains.<BR><BR>Alessandro Antonello has signed to ride Ducatis for DFX racing in 2002, running works 2001 Ducati, the effort being bankrolled by Pirelli. Steve Martin, who has been doing development work for Pirelli, will still ride for DFX in 2002.<BR><BR>Aprilia's Superbike program has failed to attract significant sponsorship so will only have one rider in 2002. There is no indication as yet who it will be, but given the souring of the team's relationship with Troy Corser, and the fact that they are unlikely to be able to afford his wage demands, it looks increasingly unlikely he'll return with them in 2002.<BR><BR>Chris Vermeulen has signed to ride a CBR600F4i in World Supersport with Werner Daemen, in Daemen's own team, from Belgium, which will be under the umbrella of Ten Kate Honda. Ten Kate will of<BR>course run Pere Riba and Fabien Foret. All four bikes will feature Ten Kate engines and<BR>logos, but the Daemen bikes will have subtle paintwork differences. No other Honda teams will have access to Ten Kate engines in World Supersport.<BR><BR>There will be no Castrol Honda Supersport team, although Honda Britain is considering running a team in World Supersport due to a collapse of confidence in the British series. Honda Britain has withdrawn from the British series in protest, and so an entry onto the world stage is logical, providing the company can find the funding.<BR><BR>James Whitham and Paolo Casoli are returning to the Belgarda Yamaha for WSS in 2002.