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.

Piaggio Working on a 600cc Aprilia? Gilera?

07/12/2009 @ 12:45 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Piaggio Working on a 600cc Aprilia? Gilera? aprilia rsv4 usa 1

This week, the Piaggio group, which owns several brands including Aprilia & Gilera released its 2009-2012 strategic plan, where it told investors that the company intends to develop a range of sports bikes with mid-sized engines for the American market.

What that means exactly is fairly vague, as no other details beyond this simple statment were given, “The Group intends to work on the growth of different brand names, also through the development of sport bikes with mid-sized engines.”

Many have speculated that this means that Aprilia will be releasing a 600cc sport bike to go along side its RSV4, and that seems like a fairly logical conclusion.

And then, we remembered this rumor from last year, Gilera 600cc Supersport 2009 Fact or Fiction?

Moriwaki Unveils Third Version of its MD600 Moto2 Racer

05/06/2009 @ 2:53 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Moriwaki Unveils Third Version of its MD600 Moto2 Racer moriwakimd600 1 560x373

The new Moriwaki MD600 bike was presented to the media while gathered at the Polini Grand Prix of Japan, with the Japanese firm announcing plans to participate in the first running of the Moto2 class in 2010. The 600cc 4-stroke bike that was presented is the third evolution of the prototype machine developed by Moriwaki Racing and built by Moriwaki Engineering, and is a part of a larger initiative by Moriwaki to make purpose-built road racing machines.

BQR-Honda Releases First Moto2 Bike

02/04/2009 @ 11:26 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

BQR Honda Releases First Moto2 Bike bqr honda moto2 bike 3 560x420

The Spanish based BQR-Honda is the first team to unveil their Moto2 series bike. The CBR-esque bikewill make its debut this season in the Spanish Roadracing Championship (CEV), before going on to race in the Moto2 series in 2011 when it premieres. The 599cc, 140hp, Honda motor is framed into a prototype aluminum chassis, and tips the scales at 302lbs (137kg). 

Controversy surrounds the sourcing of the motor from Honda. The BQR team has used a modified Honda CBR 600 engine, which is entirely within the rules of the new category, but also goes against the spirit of the new series. Having a road bike take key parts and development from production road bikes is the exact opposite of what prototype racing is about. The purpose of the Moto2 series is to setup an exotic testing ground for the 600cc class of streetbikes. With these bikes based so closely on the production models, one can only think that World Superbike and Supersport are feeling a little infringed on.

SBK has a contract with the FIM that grants them the exclusive rights to organize a world championship for production motorcycles, and Paolo Flammini (owner of IMS, which operates the SBK) has made several public statements saying that they intend to defend those rights aggressively. While the BQR bike will race first in the Spanish national championship, IMS will have no grounds for recourse, but that could all change in 2011 when Moto2 goes live.

Bimota Eyes Return to Racing with Moto2 Entry

02/03/2009 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Bimota Eyes Return to Racing with Moto2 Entry bimota tesi3d chassis 560x375

The addition of the new Moto2 class, which is set to replace the 250cc 2-stroke GP class, has caused a number of interested parties to begin work on their entry into the mini-MotoGP. While we expect the Hondas, Suzukis, etc to be in the new series, some of these companies are outside the list of the usual suspects, such as the possible Triumph entry, and now news comes that Bimota may be working on a Moto2 contender. Bimota is focusing their interest specifically on the chassis development side of the 600cc prototypes, and supposedly the boutique firm is ready to produce key components for the inception of the new class.

A return to the World Championship would see Bimota come full circle in their focus as a company. In the early 1970’s, Bimota was focused solely on producing parts for Grand Prix bikes. Renowned for their work with frames, shock absorbers, and chassis development, Bimota worked in collaboration with most of the top motorcycle producers of their time, sourcing power plants from them. We can’t wait to see what they come up with now, its about time we saw Bimota on the premiere circuits again.

Bimota will be revealing more details on their intended Moto2 involvement on their website, www.bimota.it.

Source: MotoGP

Gilera 600cc Supersport 2009 Fact or Fiction?

11/20/2008 @ 11:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Gilera 600cc Supersport 2009 Fact or Fiction? gilera 600 4 supersport rr 635x427

I’ve sat on this story for a few days now, trying to figure out what exactly is going on? Is Aprilia once again digging up the Gilera brand as a sportbike entry? Is this wishful thinking by an Italian designer known for “concept” sketches? Is this poor reporting by the motorcycle blogsphere? Or all of the above?

Let me start from the beginning, and in the end I’ll let you decide.

2009 Honda CBR600RR Teaser Ad

11/17/2008 @ 9:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Devoid of tacky voiceovers, over-used quick cuts, and general sensationalism, it is good to see every now and then an ad agency that let’s the product do the talking. Thus, in the interest of parody, I will do the same, except for the quick note that this is clearly a European/Japanese advert since such “wreak-less endangerment” of dragging knee pucks on public roads would land Honda in court quicker than a hot cup of coffee.

Source: moto.Caradisiac

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