Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2R Pricing Revealed

Even though the Kawasaki Ninja H2R debuted in October at the INTERMOT show, and the Kawasaki Ninja H2 debuted a few weeks ago at the EICMA show, Kawasaki was a bit slow to release the pricing and availability details of its two supercharged machines. Releasing now details for the US market, we can quote pricing for the H2 and H2R throughout the world. In the United States, the Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R will cost $25,000 and $50,000 respectively. Interested parties will have to special order the bikes, before December 19th, from their local Kawasaki dealership, and buyers should note that the H2R comes with certain restrictions.

Up-Close with the Kawasaki Ninja H2

With the track-only Kawasaki Ninja H2R putting out 300hp from its supercharged 998cc displacement, the 200hp Kawasaki Nina H2 street bike seems positively demure, by comparison. Of course, any 200hp machine is more than a handful, and we doubt many H2 owners will keep their machines street legal for very long — it’s been explained to A&R that it doesn’t take much work to uncork the H2…we’re just not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though. Ostentatious might be the best way to describe the new H2. Bringing back forced induction to the sport bike scene is a pretty bold move from Kawasaki, and something we will likely see more of from the Japanese manufacturers.

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.

WSBK: Race 2 at Kyalami, South Africa

05/18/2009 @ 3:36 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Race 2 at Kyalami, South Africa honda ten kate hanspree johnny rea 560x373

With Race 1 full of cliff-hanger moments, South African fans at the Kyalami circuit eagerly awaited the second race of World Superbike south of the Equator. Enough with the Hyperbole, continue reading to see a full race report from Race 2, complete with spoilers.

WSBK: Race 1 at Kyalami, South Africa

05/18/2009 @ 2:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Race 1 at Kyalami, South Africa xerox ducati wsbk kyalmai 2009 560x371

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

MotoGP: Spanish GP at Jerez Race Results jorge lorenzo crash jerez motogp 560x382

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

Hayden Hopes for A Better Weekend in Jerez hayden takahashi motegi crash 560x401

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

Valentino Rossi To Do an Exhibition Lap at the 2009 Isle of Man TT valentino rossi fiat yamaha rain motegi 560x375

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

MotoGP: Motegi Race Results lorenzo motegi japan gp 560x401

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

WSBK: Assen Race 2 Results haga assen wsbk race2 560x372

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

WSBK: Assen Race 1 Results spies assen wsbk race1 560x373

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

Spies Wins Dutch Superpole at Assen   4th WSBK Superpole Win in a Row jakub smrz assen wsbk superpole 560x371

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

Rain at Motegi Forces Japanese GP Qualifying to be Cancelled n470373 214192 valentinorossiinthefiatyamahagarage 1280x960 apr11 originaloriginal 560x420

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.