Not-A-Review: 2015 MV Agusta Motorcycles

As promised, here is the second part of our trip down to Fontana, California to meet with MV Agusta USA, go over the company’s new business plan for not only America, but also worldwide, and to ride the current crop of their 2015 machinery. I should preface right out of the gate that this is not a review in regards as to what you’ve come to expect from Asphalt & Rubber. I am not-so-cleverly calling this a “not-a-review” assessment of MV Agusta’s 2015 models. I say this because we had a very limited amount of time on each bike, as there was roughly 10 machines to divide our attention amongst. Think of this article as not far from someone test riding a bunch of motorcycles at a dealership, with similar duration and limits put in place…except that this someone rides motorcycles for a living.

Analyzing The Ducati Desmosedici GP15

Anyone watching the presentation of Ducati’s 2015 MotoGP bike will have learned two Italian phrases: “Emozionante” and “tanto lavoro”. Both were extremely apt. Getting from where Ducati was to where it is now with the Desmosedici GP15 had needed “tanto lavoro”, a lot of hard work, and they still have “tanto lavoro” ahead of them. The results were “emozionante”, a fantastic word nearer to exciting than emotional. But both exciting and emotional were apt phrases. The sense of eagerness was palpable among Ducati staff at Bologna on Monday. For good reason, the GP15 presented in a long, loud, and rather meandering show is radically different from what came before.

Some Thoughts on MV Agusta & A Story About Two Letters

MV Agusta USA recently invited a slew of journalists down to Fontana, California in order to talk about the company’s new business plan, and to ride its current lineup of motorcycles on the infield course. This article is “Part 1″ of that experience, as I wanted to separate my thoughts on MV Agusta, MV Agusta USA, and the general motorcycling climate into one story, and then have my “not-a-review” of the machines for another article. Got it? Ok, let’s go. It is probably easiest to start with where MV Agusta is as a company. MV Agusta has a started a new three-year business plan, which sees the company pushing into a full-range of motorcycles, pushing outside of its Italian boundaries, and pushing out of the “luxury” brand segment.

Photos: Ducati Desmosedici GP15

The Ducati Desmosedici GP15 is a machine that has been long in the making. It represents Gigi Dall’Igna’s next step forward for the wayward Ducati Corse MotoGP team, and it is the dubious honor of holding the hopes of Ducati fans around the world, who see the machine as the silver bullet that will return Ducati to the forefront of racing prowess — no pressure. The most obvious change that can be seen on the GP15 is the re-routing of the exhaust, with the undertail pipes collecting on the right-hand side of the machine, rather than coming in from both sides and meeting in the middle. Can you spot any other changes in the high-resolution photos after the jump? Let us know in the comments.

Politics & Corruption: Why There Isn’t a Race in Indonesia

If anyone needed any further proof that Indonesia is important to the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, the fact the Repsol Honda team chose Bali as the location to launch their 2015 MotoGP project should remove any doubt. But if Indonesia is so important to the manufacturers, and to MotoGP, why is there not a race there? Over the course of the MotoGP test at Sepang, I had a few conversations with people on the subject. On the record, the story was always the same: we need a suitable track, and as soon as one exists we will be happy to go there. Off the record, however, they were much less optimistic.

A Requiem for Kenji Ekuan & The Kando of GK Design

Industrial design is not a commonly known, much less well understood, profession. To some it suggests arranging equipment inside factories, to others it means some kind of product engineering. In reality it is the search for, and expression of, human satisfaction in inanimate objects that are mass produced. That’s quite a mouthful, and to the average person it may sound like jiberish written for some pretentious coffee table book, but it is the truth. At least, it is one version of the truth as seen by the GK Design Group of Tokyo, Japan. If you ride motorcycles, then you are intimately familiar with the work of this large and internationally respected studio. Since only its second production bike, the indigenously designed YA-1, every Yamaha motorcycle since 1958 has been crafted by GK.

Are You The MV Agusta F4 RC?

What look to be official photos of the MV Agusta F4 RC have leaked out onto the internet, along with a slide from MV Agusta’s media presentation on the machine. The photos give us our first glimpse into Varese’s homologation special, complete with a special two-can exhaust by Termignoni. The leaked slide confirms some of the numbers being thrown around about the F4 RC, namely that it will have 212hp, 81.86 lbs•ft of torque, weigh 175kg dry, and cost €36,900 (we already know that the MV Agusta F4 RC will cost $46,000 in the USA). Information from a leaked slide last year has already told us that MV Agusta has radically overhauled the F4 RC’s engine, designing a new cylinder heard, new crankshaft, new camshaft, as well as adding bigger fuel injectors, lighter pistons, and titanium connecting rods.

Kenji Ekuan, Designer of the Yamaha VMAX Has Died

Mainstream news is mourning the death of Kenji Ekuan today, as the 85-year-old Japanese industrial designer is one of the most influential artists in Japan’s modern era, and is most well-known for his designing of the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. Ekuan’s lesser-known works though include a number of motorcycle designs for Yamaha, including the now 30-year-old Yamaha VMAX motorcycle, which makes his passing even more meaningful to motorcyclists around the world. Kenji Ekuan founded GK Industrial Design after WWII, and his company helped shape the way Japan rebuilt itself after the world war.

Ride Review: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Despite its huge dimensions, not to mention a 30 liter fuel tank, the 2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure never looks big or bulky. In fact, it is only when you mount the hard luggage that you can tell this bike can really cover long distances. Apart from a dorky little exposed wire from the heated grips near the throttle, the fit and finish is very high-end, especially the integrated curved lighting in the tank — it is quite a sight. At first glance the Super Adventure doesn’t have the massive personality and stance of its German rival, the BMW R1200GS Adventure, but that is in part due to the white color scheme and the absence of the typical beak as a front mudguard. KTM is going about things differently, and that is something that appeals to many riders…including us.

Yamaha VMAX Carbon – Celebrating 30 Years of VMAX

It is hard to believe that the venerable Yamaha VMAX has been around for 30 years (it is even harder to believe that the VMAX has only seen one design revision in that timeframe as well), and so Yamaha is bringing out a special edition model to celebrate this special motorcycle. The 2015 Yamaha VMAX Carbon is exactly as the name implies: a VMAX drag bike laden with lightweight carbon fiber. In total, the VMAX Carbon’s tank cover, front and rear fenders, and side covers are all made from carbon fiber. Yamaha has teamed up with Akrapovic as well, and as such the Slovenian company’s slip-on mufflers complete the exhaust system and the changes to this beastly drag bike.

Norton Rotary a No Show at IoM TT – Parades Instead

06/13/2009 @ 10:08 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

The 2009 Isle of Man TT was to be the return of Norton motorcycles to the island and its Mountain Course. It has been 16 years since the British manufacturer raced the city streets of the Isle, and we eagerly awaited their return to the TT, and the showing of their rotary motor powered NRV 588 race bike. We, like many others, were disappointed then to see the Norton only shuffle around on a parade lap, and not tearing down the asphalt in the quest for absolute speed.

MotoCzysz Pulls the Old Switcheroo on Race Day?

06/13/2009 @ 2:24 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

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We should begin this article with a preface. The following information is comprised of facts, and in some cases, where noted ,substantiated rumor. However, the inferences drawn, when looking at all these instances as being correlated events, are purely our own here at A&R, and should therefore be taken as fanciful speculation on our parts, but none-the-less something to mull-over while riding this weekend..

Looking at the facts leading up to the TTXGP, and the occurences at the Isle of Man, is it possible that Michael Czysz orchestrated a game plan at the Isle of Man that included sandbagging the E1pc’s true performance capability on race day? Our analysis after the jump.

Team Agni Wins Inaugural TTXGP

06/12/2009 @ 6:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

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In case you missed it this morning, the first running of the TTXGP, a zero-emission TT held on the Isle of Man, occurred today with Team Agni being the victor. Team Agni has dominated the whole week, setting the fastest times in both practice sessions. Their bike, piloted by Rob “Rocket” Barber, is a modified Suzuki GSXR frame, with Agni’s proprietary electrical motor in place of the standard internal combustion engine. Report and results below.

2009 Yamaha FZ1 Limited Edition

06/10/2009 @ 12:42 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Taking another cue from the R1, FZ1 will be getting the Limited Edition treatment. The Yamaha FZ1 Fazer ABS Limited Edition is painted with a similar scheme as the R1 LE, but this time done up in red and white. Besides the bodywork, the bike will come with a special windscreen, rim stripes, and rear seat cowl.

No word on price. But it does seem sort of anemic for a “limited edition” Fz1; afterall, the R1 LE got Öhlins suspension, Marchesini rims, and a slipper-clutch. We also can’t help but think Yamaha didn’t have to go far for the design inspiration.

Price and availability when we have it, but we suspect the Abarth would look nicer in your garage.

TTXGP Practice Starts At the Isle of Man – Fastest Around the Mountain is…

06/09/2009 @ 4:30 pm, by John Adamo3 COMMENTS

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UPDATED: Pictures and results after the jump.

Team Agni and rider Robert “Bullet” Barber turned the fastest lap beating out favorites MotoCzysz, Mission Motors and Brammo. Barber propelled Agni’s modified Suzuki GSXr 600 to an average speed of 84.8MPH, with a speed of 102.6 recorded at the Sulby Trap. Agni Motors builds electric motors for many applications including electric vehicles, so it is not too much of a surprise they did well.

Hacking To Replace Tamada for Next Two WSBK Races: Misano & Donington Park

06/05/2009 @ 8:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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After his strong showing at Miller Motorsports Park, Jamie Hacking has been tapped to replace Makoto Tamada at the next two rounds of World Superbike racing at Misano and Donington Park. The news is a boon to Hacking who has been hoping to crack into the WSBK circuit since the start of the season. AMA viewers may remember more than a couple disgruntled Hacking moments where the rider has expressed his take on the AMA in his post-race interviews. WSBK racers may enjoy this news less vigor, as the American’s passing style was of some controversy at the Utah circuit.

Rumor: MotoGP to Add Imola to the 2009 Schedule?

06/04/2009 @ 6:00 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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It would seem that the Dorna might be interested in adding Imola to the list of venues MotoGP attends this year. The Italian daily newspaper Il Resto del Carlino has reported that FIM’s Race Director Paul Butler recently visited the Imola race circuit, and seemed to approve of the track, and is considering it as a replacement to the dropped Hungarian GP.

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Now This is How You Save a High-Side

06/04/2009 @ 8:57 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

I don’t know what else to say…

Source: Fast Fever via Autoblog

Ducati Streetfighter Has First Recall

06/03/2009 @ 10:08 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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Ducati has issued a recall for a number of its 2009 1198cc motored models that have the upgraded Öhlins suspension. Specifically the recall affects the 2009 1098R, 1198S, and Streetfighter S. Ducati is issuing the recall because of possible cracking in the lower pinch bolt area of the right fork. This defect affects 732 units sold in the United States.

Bridgestone Releases Findings on Pedrosa Tire Failure at Motegi

05/19/2009 @ 5:07 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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You may remember that a month ago, Dani Pedrosa suffered a tire failure while racing at the Japanese GP at Motegi. While still able to stay in the race, fans watched as the Spainard began slowing down, unable to challenge the Fiat Yamahas any further. Pedrosa would finish 3rd for the day, but some serious questions and concerns were being asked of Bridgestone, the sole tire provider of the series.

Bridgestone has now confirmed that faulty construction of the tire allowed a foreign element to be embedded in the rubber, which later broke out, taking chunks of rubber with it.