How Kawasaki Plans to Defend Its WSBK Title in 2017

It took Kawasaki until last year to finally win a World Superbike manufacturer’s title. Having retained the crown in 2016, the Japanese factory will have to dig deep in 2017 in order to keep it. Winter testing is a time to take stock of what worked well on your bike in the past, and what now needs now to improve. Kawasaki won over half of the races in the last three years, but despite these successes the team is working hard to find improvements. The final four rounds of the season saw Chaz Davies and Ducati dominate proceedings, making them the early favorite for title success in 2017. New regulations will see split throttle bodies now outlawed, and there are also changes to the battery regulations. While Jonathan Rea has been running his bike in this specification for most of 2016 his teammate, Tom Sykes, has not.

Motorcyclist Magazine Moving to Six-Issue per Year Format, As Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook Leaves the Publication

Changes are afoot at Motorcyclist magazine, as the monthly publication is set to move to a six-issue per year format starting in Spring 2017. That transition will come from the direction of a new leader too, as Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook will be leaving Motorcyclist as well. Cook outlined his departure, and announced the new format for Motorcyclist, citing the many contributions his team of writers have made over the course of his tenure at the magazine. As the opening paragraph to Cook’s goodbye letter coyly suggests, the media landscape in the motorcycle industry is shifting, pushing Motorcyclist magazine in a new direction.

BMW G310R Street Tracker by Wedge Motorcycles

A few months ago, this pocket-sized street tracker caught my attention on Facebook. It was based off the BMW G310R street bike platform, that much I could tell, but I couldn’t find anymore information on the machine. A few more weeks of this lonesome photo sitting in my ‘to do” box, and it finally moved on to the place where all good stories go to die. So, imagine my surprise when our friends at BMW Motorrad Japan sent me the following photos, which depict a new custom bike they commissioned from Takashi Nihira, at Tokyo’s Wedge Motorcycles. It is the same bike I saw months earlier, but now we know who to thank for its creation, as well as a little bit more about its build. Its is quite impressive, for an unassuming “little” street tracker, don’t you think?

From Russia with Love, MV Agusta Finds New Money

Last week, I was ready to start polishing the obituary for MV Agusta – the Italian company seemingly in an impossibly terminal state. Now it seems MV Agusta’s fortunes are changing, with the Italian motorcycle maker signing an agreement with the Black Ocean investment group to recapitalize MV Agusta. Details of the pending transaction haven’t been released, but we can assume that the increase in capital will help ease MV Agusta’s relationship with suppliers, get workers back on the assembly line, and continue the development of new models. The €20 million question though is whether Black Ocean’s investment will mean the departure of AMG, the German auto brand acting now like an albatross around MV Agusta’s neck.

Ducati MHLeggera Concept by Speed Junkies

The Ducati 1299 Superleggera might be the most technically astounding machine ever to come from the Italian brand, but all those exotic materials and fancy electronics are lost on some riders – motorcyclists who prefer more simpler times. So the good folk at Speed Junkies have heard this call, and mashed-up the 1299 Superleggera with Ducati’s perhaps most coveted nod to the past, the Mike Hailwood inspired Ducati MH900e. Both the Superleggera and MH900e are beauties in their own right, though there is something interesting to the design that Speed Junkies proposes with the two bikes together. We thought you would find the concept interesting, and there is a second “race” version waiting for you after the jump as well. We are of the belief that either would look good in our garage.

Introducing A&R Pro Premium Memberships

We are launching something very special today, which is geared towards our most diehard readers. We call it A&R Pro. It is a premium membership that offers more features to the Asphalt & Rubber website, and more of the A&R content that you have grown to love. For the A&R readers who can’t get enough of the site – often coming here multiple times per day to get the latest stories – we wanted to offer you more of the content and community that you thrive on; and in the same breath, give you a way to help support Asphalt & Rubber. That’s where A&R Pro comes in. Asphalt & Rubber has always strived to be an independent voice in the motorcycle industry. By signing up for A&R Pro, you help us to continue that goal, and in fact make us more independent.

Ariel Ace R – More Sexy for the Sexiest VFR1200F

For some, it is a challenge to get excited about a motorcycle like the Honda VFR1200F. The porker of a street bike as strayed far away from its sport bike roots, and yet confusingly isn’t a terribly effective tourer either. The market response reflects this confusion, but I digress. It is however easy to get excited about the Ariel Ace, a motorcycle that features a repackaged VFR1200F motor wedged into a bespoke aluminum trellis frame, with the usual top-shelf drippings offered, along with a very unique streetfighter design. Taking things to the next level now is the beautifully done Ariel Ace R, which comes with carbon fiber fairings, carbon fiber wheels, and a tuned V4 engine that produces 201hp and 105 lbs•ft of peak torque. Only 10 Ariel Ace R will be made.

New Honda Rebel 500 & Rebel 300 Models Debut

It would be hard to count the number of motorcyclists who got their start in the two-wheeled world on a Honda Rebel motorcycle, with the line going back through decades of time. The number is certainly a large one. Now, a new generation of rider can begin their two-wheeled journey on a new generation of Rebel, with Honda debuting the all-new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 (above) and 2017 Honda Rebel 500 (after the jump) ahead of the IMS Long Beach show. The Honda Rebel 500 and Honda Rebel 300 use the same power plants found on the CBR500R (471cc parallel-twin) and CBR300R (286cc single-cylidner), respectively, repackaging those engines into a cruiser platform that is friendly to new and shorter riders, with a 27″ seat height.

Electric Done Right, Enjoy the Aero E-Racer Street Tracker

It has been a while since we have seen an electric motorcycle that caught out fancy – you know, one that looked like it was made by someone who actually understands motorcycles, and isn’t just gunning for a spot at Art Center. There is this notion in the electric world that just because powertrains are evolving, that we need to throw the baby out with the bath water as wellwhen it comes to design. But, when I think about the electric motorcycle builds that have caught my attention the most, it is the ones that understand this concept at their core – good examples being bikes like the Mission R, Alta Motors Redshift SM, or Vespa Elettrica. Add another name to that list now, as the E-Racer from Aero Motorcycles is a truly beautiful two-wheeled machine, and it runs on electrons, not hydrocarbons.

Here It Is, The Norton V4 RR Superbike

It has been a long time coming for the Norton V4 RR, but the British firm has finally debuted its 1,200cc, 72° V4-powered, 200hp superbike. The actual machine looks pretty close to its concept sketches, which in turn are based closely to Norton’s TT race bike. Norton has made a pretty stout machine, with the V4 RR coming with a robust electronics package that was developed in-house, which includes traction control, wheelie control, launch control, and cruise control, augmented by a six-axis IMU; a 7″ high-definition display that includes a rear-facing camera; and a up-and-down quickshifter and datalogger. Key chassis components include the twin-tube “shotgun” frame, and a single-sided swingarm with a fully adjustable pivot point (the steering head angle is also adjustable).

WSBK: Race 1 at Kyalami, South Africa

05/18/2009 @ 2:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Race 1 at Kyalami, South Africa

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This weekend, World Superbike Championship racing returned to South Africa at the Kyalami circuit, much to the delight of local motorcycle fans. The Kyalami track, which had been scheduled to be demolished, and then have housing built in its place, features vast elevation changes and sweeping bends, and has been much improved since the removal of the chicane at Turn 12. So interest was high in how the racing would turn out on this tight twisty circuit. Continue reading for a full race report on Race 1 at Kyalami, South Africa.

MotoGP: Spanish GP at Jerez Race Results

05/04/2009 @ 3:13 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Going into Sunday’s race, it seemed for certain that a Spaniard would once again be on the podium at Jerez. Then The Doctor showed up with a lightning fast warm up time, that just eeked out Jorge Lorenzo’s. With the Italian interjecting himself on this previously Spanish only affair, the Spanish GP was shaping up to be a a blood sport exhibition for the 123,000 Spanish fans filling the grandstand. Continue reading on for a full race report from Jerez.

Hayden Hopes for A Better Weekend in Jerez

04/30/2009 @ 9:08 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Hayden Hopes for A Better Weekend in Jerez

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Yes…we just wanted an excuse to post these pictures of the Hayden/Takahashi collision. While Nicky Hayden hasn’t had the best of luck in the first two races of MotoGP, on a positive note though the Kentuckian rider recently stated, “At Motegi I felt as though the communication within the team had improved, the work we’re doing together as a group is becoming more smooth.” Hayden concluded by saying he didn’t “even want to think about the possibility of it raining again.”

Hayden is currently 15th in the MotoGP standings, 37 points behind leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Source: MotoGP

Valentino Rossi To Do an Exhibition Lap at the 2009 Isle of Man TT

04/29/2009 @ 7:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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In what will be his first visit to the Isle of Man, six-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi will do an exhibition lap at the start of this year’s IoM TT. Rossi will ride a 2009 Yamaha R1 alongside multi-time motorcycle GP racing world champion, Giacomo Agostini. Don’t expect any hot laps though. The pair will be parading around the course behind a safety car, and followed by a crew of as many as eight race marshals. A team of PR reps will be on hand to freak out in case Rossi crashes on the world’s most dangerous road course, and unable to compete in the following weekend’s GP race in Barcelona.

 

MotoGP: Motegi Race Results

04/26/2009 @ 11:10 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on MotoGP: Motegi Race Results

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The rain gods smiled down on Motegi, Japan today and provided a timely start to the second GP race of the season, after rainy conditions forced race officials to cancel the GP’s qualifying session on Saturday. The Japanese GP wasn’t without incident however, as several riders failed to finish the race due to various incidents and events. This is of course code for you to read further, and to help us curb spoilers for those who haven’t sat down with their Tivo yet. Needless to say, continue reading to see a full race report on the Polini Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi.

 

WSBK: Assen Race 2 Results

04/26/2009 @ 5:42 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Assen Race 2 Results

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It was Ben Spies again who took the holeshot of Race 2. Building off of his performance in Race 1, the American again began building a lead early on in the race. But wait! There’s more, continue reading for the full report from Race 2 of World Superbike at Assen.

 

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WSBK: Assen Race 1 Results

04/26/2009 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Assen Race 1 Results

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In Assen, Holland, it was Ben Spies who took the holeshot in Race 1, launching off the line from pole position and into turn 1 of the Dutch course.  Spies was followed by Max Neukirchner and Noriyuki Haga, neither of whom could touch the American’s lead position after turning just one lap around the course. As Haga closed in on Neukirchner it seemed there would be a good battle for second brewing, but the German made a mistake in the GT chicane and tossed his bike. He would finish 13th for the day. However, Race 1 at Assen wasn’t about to disappoint. Continue reading for a woefully inadequate description of one heck of a Superbike race that was WSBK Race 1 at Assen.

 

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Spies Wins Dutch Superpole at Assen – 4th WSBK Superpole Win in a Row

04/25/2009 @ 10:49 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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In Assen, Ben Spies took his fourth Superpole win in a row by besting the existing pole record by 7/10ths of a second, with back-to-back 1’36.6 laps. Nipping at the heels of Spies, and the only other man to break into the 1’37’s, was Jakub Smrz and his Guandalini Ducati. Continue reading for the rest of the front row, and the Superpole results.

 

Rain at Motegi Forces Japanese GP Qualifying to be Cancelled

04/25/2009 @ 2:51 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Rain at Motegi Forces Japanese GP Qualifying to be Cancelled

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Heavy lunchtime rain at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit led to the cancellation of all qualifying sessions for the Polini Grand Prix of Japan, leaving grid positions in all three World Championship categories to be decided according to Free Practice positions. Initially, the decision was to wait for an  hour, and then assess if the weather conditions would improve enough for qualifying to be run later in the day. However with the rain being unrelenting, there was nothing left for Race Direction to do but to cancel the qualifying sessions for all three classes. As such, Valentino Rossi will start at the Japanese GP’s pole position for the first time in his career. 

 

Hopkins Dislocates Hip in Crash at Assen, Racing Sunday Looks Doubtful

04/24/2009 @ 3:45 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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If you were to ask John Hopkins what his least favorite track is right now, we’d bet good money the American would say the Dutch track Assen. The last time Hopper was in Assen, he smash his leg in a huge crash, which left him sitting out of two races, and struggling in pain for the rest of the season. Now, after only four laps around the course this year, Assen has shown its teeth again for Hopper. During the free practice today Hopkins dislocated his hip in another big crash, and there is doubt surrounding his return to riding by Sunday.