Our Magnificent sevenWed, 16 Feb 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Remember to dust your Union Jacks down if you happen to be visiting any Grand Prix this year as we have no less than seven youngsters to cheer on in the junior Moto GP classes. I don’t think we’ve ever had this many ‘yoofs’ in the GP paddock so let’s hope they can do the business and bring an end to our long drought of Grand Prix titles.
And that could be soon as Scott Redding is already a hot favourite for the 2011 Moto 2 championship on his Marc VDS Suter machine. He has already been at the top of the time sheets during pre season testing at Valencia and Estoril but more importantly, looking relaxed and having fun. Bradley Smith has also been going well on his French built Tech 3 mount and, as I’ve been watching trackside, I can see he is working hard adapting his riding style to a much heavier bike than the 125 machine he's been riding over the past five seasons. Scot Kev Coghlan is also in Moto 2 aboard the British built FTR, and like Bradley is working on his riding and set up. Last year he raced at the front of the Spanish Moto 2 championship but on Michelin tyres. This year he is on Dunlop’s and reckons they require a more weight on the front, point and squirt set up. The most experienced of our 125 GP lads is Danny Webb. He finished 10th in last year’s championship on an RSA Aprilia but is now on the brand new Indian built Mahindra. This bike has a similar engine to the Derbi and looks superb but I suspect will need more time for development. Next up we have three seventeen year olds full of teenage testosterone and truly excited about travelling the world. They have all come from the Red Bull Rookie Cup and are on the slightly less powerful but more user friendly RSW Aprilias. That said, Tomoyoshi Koyama finished 7th in the 2010 championship on an RSW so they are well capable of points scoring positions. Danny Kent is the quickest of the trio and is already flying in testing. Harry Stafford, riding for the CBC Corse team is also a big talent that jumped onto the Rookie Cup rostrum on more than one occasion last year. And last but not least is the one I made earlier, Taylor Mackenzie, riding for the World Wide Race Team that took Andrea Iannone to 3rd in the 2009 Championship.
Like most, I’ll be supporting Cal Crutchlow on his M1 Yamaha in Moto GP but if we all shout loud enough maybe one of our seven young hopefuls can line up alongside C.C. in the not too distant future.
By Niall Mackenzie
See also: Paris Hilton’s Race Team Might Actually Be Good, Hipsters: How not to live your life, Ultimate Trackbike 4: Hizzy's 2003 BSB R1.