MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Hero MotoCorp Eyes Purchasing Ducati? Erik Buell Racing?

03/05/2012 @ 3:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Hero MotoCorp Eyes Purchasing Ducati? Erik Buell Racing? hero motocorp logo 635x423

Two weeks and two separate rumors about Hero MotoCorp’s acquisition warpath. Last week the Indian motorcycle manufacturer was said to be eyeing a minority equity stake in Erik Buell Racing. Having already hired the American sport bike maker to help innovate on some of Hero’s upcoming small displacement machines, the two companies sweetened the deal with Hero becoming the title sponsor to EBR’s AMA Pro Superbike racing effort.

This week the spotlight shines on Ducati Motor Holding, which has quietly been for sale for almost a year now. Originally wooing an acquisition from Mercedes-Benz, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has been linked to a variety of other companies, as well as a public offering on an Asian stock index. With our sources telling us that Ducati has been trimming the fat from its books in order to make its earnings more attractive, Hero MotoCorp is the latest potential buyer to enter the fray and to talk to bankers about a Ducati acquisition.

The important thing to remember about the this set of Hero/Ducati rumors is that the speculation is stemming from investment bankers themselves seeking out Hero MotoCorp as a potential buyer, which is substantially different from Hero courting the Italian firm with its wallet out. With over $1 billion in cash reserves, Hero MotoCorp is one of the few motorcycle manufacturers that could even consider an acquisition of Ducati, and still have the purchase make some sort of sense with the company’s business direction.

“Lots of people have been coming to us with Ducati: Not one banker but many bankers,” Hero MotoCorp Managing Director Pawan Munjal said to Bloomberg News. “We’re talking to a lot of people. Not just Ducati, whoever comes to us, we talk to them.”

Despite the fact that “professionals” of the moto-journalism world have already labeled Hero MotoCorp as having thrown its hat in Ducati’s ring, it’s far to early to say that Hero has more than a passing interest in Ducati. As any good businessman will tell you, one has to remain open to all possibilities. Hero MotoCorp’s involvement with bankers regarding Ducati should merely be seen as the Indian manufacturer assessing the state of the market, and the options available to it. With Investindustrial reportedly hoping for a €1 billion valuation of Ducati Motor Holding, Hero MotoCorp would be roughly a quarter billion euros short of the acquisition price at today’s market rate (again, “professional” motorcycle journalists can’t seem to keep their dollars, euros, and pounds sterling straight…sigh), creating the issue of how the largest Indian motorcycle brand would fully-fund such a transaction.

Slightly more credible than the Hero/Ducati rumors is the one pertaining to Hero MotoCorp acquiring a minority stake in Erik Buell Racing. One of the companies I’ve tipped as ripe for purchase in 2012, EBR has a serious growth problem if it doesn’t get outside of investment. One of the more peculiar things from EBR’s partnership with Hero is the seemingly one-sided nature of the deal, which traditionally would see some sort of investment take place by one of the parties.

It makes sense then that Pawan Munjal would tip the company’s interest in acquiring a portion of EBR in the future. “We have a flexible free-flowing pact with EBR, which would be developed into a equity partnership,” said Hero MotoCorp’s Munjal. From that statement, the deal reached between Erik Buell Racing and Hero MotoCorp would appear to be more involved and complex than originally thought, and I am sure that Buell is gauging the response to the idea of an Indian company investing in a manufacturer whose brand has centered around being “American” in every possible horrible way.

Source: Bloomberg & The Economic Times

Comment:

  1. Cpt.Slow says:

    Yup

  2. kyle says:

    Thx for the straight story. Best place on the web for moto news! More content please!

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    This whole thing is getting very complex. Here’s to hoping EBR gets a fair shake from Hero, and eventually “mass” produce some bikes!

  4. motogpdr says:

    The idea of an Indian company buying, or at least taking a significant stake in Erik’s “american motorcycle” company is ironic. Just another sign of the economic shift of the world from west to east.

  5. Westward says:

    The Buell dichotomy, American motorcycles, Indian owned. There is irony in that situation. But hey, if the shoe fits, and it’s the only one around, you may as well race in it..

    However, Hero buying Ducati, that is just wrong on so many levels, that means the diluting of the brand. It would be like Audi becoming Pontiac…

  6. WetMan says:

    Well I am no investment banker, but I don’t believe for a second that Ducati is worth 1 billion. I know that money is almost free for bankers nowadays, but even so it should make some sense to spend it.

    If I understand correctly the bosses of BMW and Volkswagen want to buy Ducati because they love the brand and own some Ducati’s themselves. I guess the stock holders of these companies should be happy that they don’t love their Gulfstreams more…

    If Hero wants to buy a classy Italian bike firm with a lot of technicial expertise they should have bought MV Augusta. A year ago it was for sale for 3 dollars… I am sure the Castiglioni’s would consider selling for 100 million or so now.

  7. conchop says:

    Buell, Ducati, Hero – all in one basket – depends on the price. IMHO all these bikes are just widgets in the eyes of money. In the eyes of bikers, it takes on a completely different complexion. Buell is the Bill Boeing of motorcycles. Ducati is the Ferrari of motorcycles. Hero is the basic transportation of the Indians. Bikers are generally loyal to their brands as my ancestors formed a bond with their horse.

    How do the captains of industry mix all this together for a sustainable, profitable, yet emotional business? Very carefully.

    What we have here are positive potentials on all levels. Brought together, this could bring about a new generation and mix of technically advanced motorcycles that can carve into all segments of the motor world. However, if squeezed the wrong way by steely eyed accountants, we could end up with overpriced junk.

    You have my blessings – but continue ever so carefully. If any of you step out of line, you will be burnt. If you get it right, then we will all sing your praises. If you choose to walk away, the world will go on without you. The tales of Ulysses should inspire!