Indianapolis GP Named Best Grand Prix by MotoGP

At the conclusion of each GP season, an awards ceremony is held to celebrate the year’s champions, crowning the top riders in each category, the top manufacturers, and even the top venue for the season. This year, the honors of the latter went to familiar locale, as the Red Bull Indianapolis GP round was named the “Best Grand Prix” of the 2014 season, making it the first North American round to receive such an honor. Selection criteria for the award included consideration of the venue, promotion, and overall facility operations. For the 2014 race, Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again repaved its infield section, making alterations to several turns in order to facilitate passing and adding to the track’s overall consistency.

Up-Close with the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200

If there’s a motorcycle that launched at EICMA that I wish we had given more coverage to, it would be the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200. The new adventure-sport machine from Ducati is all-new for the next model year, though it would be hard to tell it from the photos. Even our modest collection of “up-close” photos here don’t do justice to the venerable Multistrada. The face of the Multistrada 1200 has been reworked, with the “beak” softened a bit from its falcon-like profile. The intake inlets are larger in appearance, and the headlight housing is noticeably different with its six LED projectors for the Ducati Corner Lights system (on the “S” model). This perhaps makes for an interesting “face” on the motorcycle, and like its predecessor, you will either love it or hate it.

Marco Melandri Returns to MotoGP, with Aprilia

After finishing fifth in the 2014 World Superbike Championship with Aprilia, Marco Melandri will continue with the Italian manufacturer, but switch to the MotoGP paddock for next season. Melandri will join Alvaro Bautista in the Aprilia Racing garage, where they will compete on an updated version of the ART machine, which was originally built to compete under the CRT bike rules. The team, now operated by Gresini Racing, will come up to speed during the 2015 season, and in 2016 they will race with a brand new race bike, which will use the compulsory “open” spec-electronics from Magneti Marelli. For Melandri, the move to MotoGP is a bit of gamble, with Aprilia’s program uncertain.

Up-Close with the Honda RC213V-S Prototype

I can’t decide whether to be elated or disappointed over the Honda RC213V-S prototype, which was debuted this week at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. On the one hand, the RC213V-S lived up to the hype…literally a MotoGP race bike with lights, mirrors, turn signals, and a license plate. On the other hand, for all the waiting and consternation from Honda, what they brought to Milan was a fairly derivative and obvious design. Rumors of a true MotoGP-derived sport bike from Honda have been circling for several years now (closer to a decade, if you’re a reader of MCN), and the project borrows the ethos found in the Ducati Desmosedici RR project, another exclusive GP-bike-for-the-street motorcycle.

The Ducati Streetfighter 848 Is Spared the Axe for 2015

The Ducati Streetfighter lives for another year, as Ducat is showing off the Ducati Streetfighter 848 as a 2015 model year machine at the EICMA show in Milan. There had been doubts about the Streetfighter 848 continuing to be a part of the Ducati lineup going forth, especially as the Italian company has moved away from the 849cc v-twin platform, favoring the 821cc engine variations for the Hypermotard the Monster lines, and the 899cc Superquadro for the Panigale. The Streetfighter was never a big hit in the world market, becoming more of a cult classic machine amongst riders. Combined sales with the Hypermotard account for roughly 20% of Ducati’s annual sales, with the Hypermotard doing the majority of the heavy-lifting in that regard.

Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Prototype

Cruisers really aren’t our cup of tea here at Asphalt & Rubber, which might explain the lack of coverage for America’s gift to the two-wheeled world on our website. That being said, it’s hard to pass on the lurid Moto Guzzi MGX-21 prototype that is on display at this year’s EICMA show. A reworked Moto Guzzi California 1400, the MGX-21 is clad in carbon fiber, matte black paint, and red highlights. The carbon fiber disc wheels are a nice touch too (that’s a 21″ wheel up front, by the way), as are the sweeping lines from the front cowl and fenders. We’re finding ourselves a bit smitten with this Moto Guzzi, as true to the brand, it strays from the cruiser norm. We think you’ll like it too, check out the photos after the jump.

Up-Close with the Honda “True Adventure” Prototype

One of the more anticipated motorcycles at the 2014 EICMA show, off-roaders were expecting to see the new Honda Africa Twin in Milan this week. Instead, Honda trotted out what they’re calling the “True Adventure” prototype. Despite not being a production model, the True Adventure prototype looks ready for prime time, and we got a series of “up-close” photos of the machine. Most obvious is the bike’s parallel twin engine, which is rumored to be 1,000cc in displacement. That sizing/weight class seems to jive with the dual front brake discs, which also sports an ABS tone ring. We can expect Honda to have traction control operating off the front and rear wheel speeds as well, and other electronic packages as well.

Money: Motorcycle Racing’s Biggest Problem

What is the biggest problem in motorcycle racing today? Is it the predominant role electronics are playing, ruining the racing? Is it the ever more restrictive rules imposed, killing bike development and the spirit of Grand Prix racing? Is it the lack of competitive machinery, making it impossible for anyone but a factory rider to win a race? Or is it the dominance of the two top manufacturers, driving costs up and discouraging wider manufacturer participation? You can point to all of those and more as being an issue, but they pale in comparison to the real problem the sport of motorcycle racing faces at the moment: Money. Specifically, the lack of it, and the inability of almost everyone involved in the sport to find ways of raising any. All of the ills of both MotoGP and World Superbikes can be traced back to this single failure.

Investcorp Buys 80% of Dainese for €130 Million

A story we have been chasing for some time now, Lino Dainese has finally found a buyer for his namesake company, Dainese. The purchaser is the aptly named private equity firm Investcorp, which is headquartered in Bahrain, and has additional offices in New York, London, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi. Buying 80% of the company’s stock for a reported €130 million, Investcorp’s valuation of Dainese would therefore be set at €162.5 million. The other 20% of the company is retained by Lino Dainese, himself. Dainese’s future goals rest heavily on its airbag technology, as Dainese plans on bringing D-Air to markets outside of motorsport and sport in general. The company also has an aggressive plan to grow outside of Italy, making a bigger push into North America and developing markets.

Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen Concept

The second of Husqvarna’s street concepts, the Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen is a scrambler styled machine that uses the same 373cc single-cylinder engine as the Vitpilen concept. Swedish for “Black Arrow”, the Svartpilen continues the idea that less is more, and applies the concept to a more off-road motif. Not all the dissimilar to the Moab and Baja concepts the Husqvarna showed before its acquisition by KTM, clearly the Swedish brand is keen to tap into its lost history of Steve McQueen and the scrambler motif. Perhaps Ducati’s foray into this space is added motivation, but the Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen concept is a bike unique to itself. That might be because the concept machine is based off the KTM 390 Duke, which is an unlikely though budget-friendly donor machine.

Krisfox’s Ducati Hypermotard 1098S

01/06/2010 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Krisfoxs Ducati Hypermotard 1098S Hypermotard 1098 S 560x420

In the hands of one Frenchman, what began life as a mild-mannered Ducati 1098S Superbike, has turned into a water-cooled Hypermotard that would do the engineers in Bologna proud. Known to us only as “Krisfox”, this builder was looking for more than the standard streetbike experience. Wishing to see the more powerful water-cooled 1098 motor in a motard format, he set out to make one of his own, dubbed the Hypermotard 1098S. Pictures and more after the jump.

Video: Nissan GT-R vs. Ducati 1098S

01/04/2010 @ 5:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Video: Nissan GT R vs. Ducati 1098S Nissan Skyline GT R 560x336

Which is faster, bike or car? The debate has gone on for ages and the folks at Autocar have revisited the issue with this comparison video. Taking one of our favorite sports cars, the Nissan Skyline GT-R, and pitting it against the Bologna Bullet better known as the Ducati 1098S, we get to see some impressive results from both vehicles. Make your pick now, and see who won the track battle after the jump.

Martini Racing Ducati 1098: Something New, Something Old

07/06/2009 @ 8:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Martini Racing Ducati 1098: Something New, Something Old Martini Racing Ducati 1098 560x373

We love the old 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s race cars here at A&R, and when we saw this Ducati 1098S done up in the Martini Racing livery, we were just smitten with the result. This particular bike was made right here in northern California, by a local dealership, Hattar Motorsports. Be sure to stop by there when you place an order for your new NCR Corse Millona.

Getting both shiny and go-fast parts, the Martini 1098 would be all the rage at your local track day…if you could part with it from your living room…you know, where’d you’d have it as a conversation piece.

Recall: Ducati 1098 and 848 Superbikes

12/10/2008 @ 12:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Recall: Ducati 1098 and 848 Superbikes ducati 1098 560x420

7,130 Ducati Superbikes are being recalled because of voltage regulators that could be damaged from the mighty v-twins radiant heat. Ducati 1098 and 848 owners will have to take their bike into the dealer to have the regulator replaced, a heat shield installed between the voltage regulator and the exhaust pipping, and have a new battery support installed. 

This recall specifically affects:

2007-2008 Ducati 1098
2007-2008 Ducati 1098S
2007-2008 Ducati 1098 R
2007-2008 Ducati 1098 Tricolore
2008-2009 Ducati 848

Owners can contact Ducati North America at 1-800-231-6696, with recall reference number: RCL-08-005. As always, you can contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or visit safecar.gov.

Ducati 1098 Streetfighter Unveiled

11/03/2008 @ 1:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Ducati 1098 Streetfighter Unveiled left3quarter

Well it is in the wild now, Ducati has finally cast a light on the dark corner of their factory in Bologna where they have taken the prized Ducati 1098 Superbike, and made it anew in streetfighter form. The result? A 1099cc 155hp v-twin motorcycle capable of urban doom. There will be two models, a standard Streetfighter and the Streetfighter S. Sharing the same motor, the Streetfighter S will boast Marchesini 5-spoke rims, traction control (as seen on the 1098R Superbike), a data acquisition unit, and Öhlins rear shock and forks. More after the jump.