I took the liberty of penning some of my own colourful
) in reply to your most interesting questions;
Originally Posted by doyle
How about some speculation on the motorbikes to be used in next years Dakar (wherever it may be). As far as the rules state (at least for today
), Elite listed riders will be restricted to 450cc's, non-elite riders will still be able to use a bike over 450cc's, but anything over that capacity must use the ASO provided restrictor for 2011 with the over 450 machines gone for good after 2011. There seems to be a grey area in the rules whereby the upper limit for the singles is not defined which is why the top KTM boys were speculated to have 730cc engines. Is the ASO/FIM max capacity not 700cc's? I never really figured out where the 730cc rumour came from... I think it was here somewhere... kinda like the semi-regular unicorn reports about the 690 Adventure that crop up repeatedly...
All that being said, I expect a lot of the non-elite 2011 riders will be scooping up this years restricted KTM 690 Rallys. yes
How about the factory guys? Hopefully we will see Casteu and his squad back on 450 Sherco's. yes
Of course, Fretigne will pilot the venerable 450 Yamaha. probably
What's left for a top ride? Will KTM utilize the chassis of the 690 and scale down, take a current 450 and scale the chassis up, or create a new rally bike around the 450 limit? Certainly KTM will be keen to hang on to Despres and Coma at the very least, if they play nice together at post-race "band camp"
so they must come up with some sort of competitive machinery, right?
KTM could do the "simple thing" and put a 450cc cyl. on the 690 Rallye (light?) kit, right? (like they did for DeGavardo and Azevado with the older LC4 Rallye a few years back). But would'nt that bike be at a disadvantage power/weight/agility wise to the other 450 enduro based machines like Yamaha, Sherco, (Honda, Beta etc.)
The alternative is for KTM build up an entire new bike... from scratch; I can hear Kinnigadner and co. now; "oh goody" they attempt to convince the bean counters at Mattighoffen... "another four year R&D program to lay at the mercy of the rulebook scribes down the track!"
or do KTM base it on the 450 EXC enduro machine, and produce a rally kit a' la' Meca System etc? (like Yamaha and Honda have?)
Either way, the 690 Rallye will become a sought after privateer weapon and/or collectors item... but as far as the factory is concerned it is "shelved". (for Dakar at least... it is - for the time being - still able to be raced in the FIM rally events... no?)
Other than Sherco, there really wasn't any major push from any other manufacturer to take advantage of the 450 rules, but with the top guys now forced to the smaller displacement and the certainly improving economic climate, might others jump in with a more serious effort since most already have a 450 bike? What else did we see...? some Honda's, a good dose of Yamaha's, one Husaberg, a Husqvarna...? What about Suzuki, Kawasaki?
base certainly looks promising if not slightly temperamental. With a stage win (lost to a technicality), certainly there is momentum there, but has BMW already squashed that momentum with their recent announcement not to promote the racing program of the G450X and instead, some muddled, mixed program with Husqvarna? That is a real confusing one... all the work that Verhoeven and co did to spec. build and develop that bike in record time... just to drive into a "dead end" back at Buenos Aires?
Aprilia is off to a great start over the past few years so with increasing reliability and rider dedication, perhaps a more concentrated effort from the factory is in order?
Aprilia definately is in the box seat as far as the "on paper" formula goes... twin cyl. 450... they learnt a lot more (technically) this year, with another season under their belt and recruit maybe some "defectors" to join Lopez on a (say three man) top team... they would be the favouite ride (technically on paper) for 2011 at the moment in my opinion.
So there it is, let loose your wild speculation.
On the wild loose and speculative end of the scale;
I would like to put forward a simpler: formula 1200cc (+/- 10%) moto category
for ALL 2011 participants... based on the "shenanigans" we saw at Dakar
450cc singles allowed 3 motors (sealed), one chassis, two set of wheels (marked) for the entire event... marathon spec.
450cc twins allowed two motors, two chassis (
) and two sets of wheels (marked) for the entire event... marathon spec.
690 cc singles allowed (still); two motors (sealed), one chassis, three sets of wheels (marc'ed
) for the entire event... marathon spec.
950cc twins allowed (again); one motor (sealed), one chassis, one set of wheels (marked) for the entire event... marathon spec.
(yeah... like THAT's gonna happen... you did say "wild speculation" though didn't you doyle? )