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.

Ducati Stradaperta Up-Close and Personal

10/04/2009 @ 9:30 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Ducati Stradaperta Up Close and Personal Ducati Stradaperta close up 2 560x420

These have to be some of the best shots to day that we have seen of the soon-to-be released Ducati Stradaperta (or is it Strada Aperta?). With official comment on the motorcycle scarce from Bologna, we must still make our own conjectures. Clearly from these photos though, we can see in detail what the head light assembly, and dash will look like. Photos after the jump.

Ducati Strada Aperta – Now with Luggage Bags

09/03/2009 @ 10:59 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Ducati Strada Aperta   Now with Luggage Bags Ducati Strada Aperta again

Dear Ducati,

Just release this bike already. We’re tired of seeing it all wrapped up in duct tape, and on people’s camera phones.

Sincerely,
Everybody.

Photo: MotoBlog

Ducati Strada Aperta Renamed to ‘Cayenne’?

08/21/2009 @ 10:13 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ducati Strada Aperta Renamed to Cayenne? Ducati Cayenne Strada Aperta 560x420

Visordown is reporting today that Ducati has named their road-going, enduro-ish, BMW GS killer, the Ducati Cayenne…yes, as in the spicy hot pepper. One thing is for sure about the name: we’re finding it a little hard to swallow.

First off, it just doesn’t sound very “Ducati”. With bikes named “Superbike”, “Sport Classic”, and “Streetfigher” we’ve become accustomed to Ducati naming its motorcycles with very obvious and descriptive names. Even, the Multistrada, which the new bike is to replace, had a fairly intuitive name for its purpose (we’re ignoring the Monster on purpose here).

Our other eyebrow is raised because we just can’t see why the Bologna brand would name a vehicle after a German SUV. The last thing we need in this world is to be sitting in our favorite yuppie coffee shop and overhear someone talking about their brand new Cayenne, leaving us to wonder if they’re talking about their overpriced kid-hauler, or their over-priced dirt bike.

Our doubt about this report is a shame, because Visordown goes on to report some tech specs on the bike we haven’t heard before.

UPDATE: According to MCN sources inside Ducati have denied that the Strada Aperta will be renamed Cayenne

Strada Aperta: But Wait, There’s More!

07/31/2009 @ 3:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Strada Aperta: But Wait, Theres More! Ducati Strada Aperta driveway 2 560x420

As we inch closer to EICMA, and the rumored unveiling of the BMW GS killer from Ducati, the rumors and spy shots of the Strada Aperta continue to roll in. This latest batch features once again, our favorite gaffer taped bike out on the town, doing its thing. This time, a few more details about the front fendor can be seen despite the masking. Check it out after the jump.

Picture: Ducati Strada Aperta Head-On

07/29/2009 @ 9:18 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

More Spy Shots of the Ducati Strada Aperta

07/20/2009 @ 10:30 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

More Spy Shots of the Ducati Strada Aperta  Ducati Strada Aperta spy shots 1 560x257

As we get closer to the unveiling of Ducait’s Multistrada replacement in Novemeber, the spy shots of the “GS killer” are becoming more apparent. After trolling the interwebernet, we’ve found two more shots that reveal some more detail about what the Strada Aperta (no word if that’s the official name, but it does seem to keep coming up) will look like from the side and front.

Ducati Enduro Spotted Road Testing in Italy

07/08/2009 @ 8:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Ducati Enduro Spotted Road Testing in Italy Nuova Ducati Multistrada tagliata

Ducati certainly has been taking its time in releasing details on its alleged BMW GS killer enduro bike. So until we get official reports, we’ll have to suffice with spy shots from Italy that seem to keep pouring in. This time around a pair of bikes was spotted in Costa of Rovigo, in between Padova (near Venice) and Bologna, by Andrea Böhm.

While far-away, this photo does reveal more about the bike than we have previously seen. For starters the front is more exposed, with less tape hiding the lines of the front fairings and fender. The effect is an almost sinister view from the side, with the headlights just coming above the bulge that is supposedly a part of the ram-air tubing

More Spy Shots of Ducati’s Multistrada Replacement and GS Killer

01/27/2009 @ 11:24 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

More Spy Shots of Ducatis Multistrada Replacement and GS Killer multistrada main 560x350

UPDATE: Two more full bike shots added to the gallery.

MCN has spotted Ducati’s replacement for the Multistrada in action again. The alleged BMW R1200GS killer shows some pieces from Ducati’s common parts bin, as well of a couple that appear to be unique to this bike only. This bike is expected to be one of the four new models that Ducati will be releasing over the course of this year, in preparation for the 2010 model year. Continue reading to see the rest of the spy shots.

Ducati Enduro Spotted in the Wild

01/06/2009 @ 10:00 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ducati Enduro Spotted in the Wild ducati enduro

While not exactly the most revealing photo we’ve seen, the much rumored Ducati R1200GS killer has been spotted in the wild. Rumors have been flying here and here, about Ducati’s lastest creation, which will replace the Multistrada and serve as Ducati’s entrance into the Enduro market.

Sources close to the production of the bike have stated that it will be powered by the liquid-cooled 1098cc superbike motor (and not the 1200cc air-cooled motor rumored before). This will likely mean the same motor as found in the Ducati Streetfighter, which makes around 150hp. It is also reportedly to be very similar in design to the Moto Morini Granpasso, and features a single-sided swingarm, with an upright sitting position. In other news, engineers in Bavaria were put on notice today.

More Rumors: Ducati Stradaperta 1200

12/15/2008 @ 5:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

More Rumors: Ducati Stradaperta 1200 stradaperta 560x387

More rumors abound about Ducati’s replacement bike for the Multistrada. We can stop calling is the”R1200GS killer”, as it seems the first iteration will not include a 19″ front wheel. That’s not to say higher-ups in the Ducati management aren’t considering the possibility of a line extension or optional dirt-ready package.

Additionally, the Stradaperta 1200 (no definite news if that is to be the production name) will showcase a 1200cc air-cooled motor that is the latest revision on Ducati’s air-cooled and currently Monster based power plant. Output is said to exceed the 100HP mark, while maintaining strong low and midrange torque.

We’re still sometime away from any sort of official launch or reliable leaked specs and pictures, so take what is here as perhaps “educated” day dreaming.