At the AMA Supermoto Season-Opener in Bakersfield

It all started with the Superbikers. As a young man growing up in the late 70s, there were only three network TV stations for me to watch, and unlike today, motorsports programs were few and far between. Other than the Indy 500 and the occasional airing of stock car racing, motorsports just weren’t on the air very often. During one serendipitous Saturday, I happened upon ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And on that particular day, they were airing the Superbikers. Looking back, the influence that program had on the rest of my motorcycling life is immeasurable. An unusual combination of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, the Superbikers showcased racers I had only read about in the motorcycle magazines.

The WorldSBK Season So Far: Yamaha & Honda

While it has hardly been surprising to see Ducati and Kawasaki maintain their position as the dominant forces at play in WorldSBK, the battle for best-of-the-rest has been an interesting subplot for 2017. Over the course of the opening three rounds of the campaign, the form of Honda and Yamaha has been marked by their stark contrast in fortunes. Last year, Honda had been a podium and front-row regular as the season moved into the European swing, and Yamaha looked to be clutching at straws and looking for any positives they could find on their return to the series. This year has seen their roles have reversed, with Yamaha consistently the best-of-the-rest and in position to fight for a rostrum finish. Honda on the other hand have had a disastrous start to the campaign with an all-new Fireblade.

Investors Leveraging MotoGP for Sizable Payout

According to several reports in the financial sector, the investors behind Dorna Sports S.L. are readying themselves for another sizable payout from the media rights holder for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships. Using a bit of financial finesse, the move would see Bridgepoint Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – the two major investors in Dorna Sports – taking roughly €889 million off the books of the Spanish media company, according to Reuters. As such, today’s news would make this the third time that Bridgepoint and the CPPIB have raided the piggy bank for motorcycling’s premier racing series, having done similar deals in 2011 (€420 million) and 2014 (€715 million).

Norton Gets £3 Million to Increase V4 Production

If you have had your eye on a Norton V4 superbike recently, you might not have to wait as long for it to arrive, as the British marque has secured £3 million from the Santander Corporate & Commercial bank. The debt investment will allow Norton to triple its production rate on the V4 SS and V4 RR models, and also allow for the company to hire 40 new employees for the job. Additionally, according to Norton this will allow the company to increase its production volume to 1,500 motorcycles per year. “Having developed and pre-sold a huge number of bikes, we needed the funding to be readily available to pay for tooling, stock and people to allow production to move from 40 bikes per month to in excess of 130 bikes with effect from summer 2017,” said Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles.

Is The 2018 BMW HP4 Race About to Debut in China?

After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today. Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad. The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.

Vyrus 986 M2 Street Bike Now Priced at €38,000

It is apparently more difficult to sell a kidney than I had previously thought (type o- / non-smoker / non-drinker…if you happen to be in the market), which isn’t good news when you are trying to get together some scratch for a Vyrus 986 M2 – the hottest supersport we have ever seen. Making matters worse is that Vyrus got in touch with A&R, updating us with their latest pricing structure for their Honda-powered hub-center steering masterpiece, which now comes with a price tag of €37,940 for the street bike, and €27,930 for the street bike kit. That is quite the change from the originally quoted €25,000 street bike model and €16,000 kit, and there is good reason for that, say the folks at Vyrus.

You Didn’t Know You Missed It, But the Honda NM4 Is Back

You probably didn’t even realize that the Honda NM4 was missing from Honda America’s model list for 2017, but the polarizing motorcycle is back for the 2018 model year. The first 2018 motorcycle to be announced so far this year from Honda, it probably helps that the Honda NM4 is featured in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson. Laugh if you want, but the NM4 is a surprisingly pleasant to ride, even if you aren’t dressed like the Caped Crusader. As such, the Honda NM4 represents a tradition of motorcycles from Big Red that have pushed that boundaries of not only what we visually accept a motorcycle to look like, but it also blurs the distinctions we make between different motorcycle segments.

US Senate Establishes Motorcycle Caucus

The motorcycle industry has found more allies on Capital Hill this week, with the creation of the first “motorcycle caucus” in the United States Senate. Established so motorcycle manufacturers and motorcyclists would have a greater voice in the upper chamber of the American legislature, the Senate Motorcycle Caucus is the work of Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan). Motorcyclists typically aren’t single-issue voter – not for issues pertaining to motorcycles, at least – but with several important political issues currently affecting the motorcycle industry, the formation of the Senate Motorcycle Caucus comes at an advantageous time.

Husqvarna Two-Strokes Get Fuel-Injection Too

We shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Husqvarna will be following suit with its Austrian sibling, and adding fuel-injection to several of its two-strokes enduro motorcycle for the 2018 model year. After a long history of rumors and development, KTM finally debuted fuel injection for a production two-stroke model just a few weeks ago, using the technology on two of its upcoming enduro models, the KTM 250 EXC TPI and KTM 300 EXC TPI. Husqvarna will use the same technology for its own motorcycles in the same segments, announcing today the the all-new 2018 Husqvarna TE 250i and 2018 Husqvarna TE 300i enduro models with transfer port injection.

Opinion: The Danger of Expanding the MotoGP Calendar

It is looking increasingly like the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand will be added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season. I understand from sources that there was a significant hurdle to be overcome: circuit title sponsor Chang is a major beer brand in Thailand, and a rival to the Official MotoGP Beer Singha, also a major beer brand in Thailand and further abroad. The race can only happen if a compromise has been found to accommodate this conflict. This is good news for Thailand, and good news for fans in Asia. The World Superbike round at the circuit is always packed, and MotoGP should be even more popular. It is hard to overstate just how massive MotoGP is in that part of the world.

Bits & Bobs: Motorcycle Racing News Thus Far in 2017

01/09/2017 @ 5:33 pm, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

The first week of 2017 has come and gone, and we are a week closer to the MotoGP bikes hitting the track again at Sepang for the first test of the year.

Though little of consequence is happening publicly in the midst of the winter break, there are the first few signs of activity.

So, after the jump is a round-up of the news from last week: most of the things that matter, all in one place.

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Hungarian GP Officially Cancelled – MotoGP Adds 4th Spanish GP to 2010 Schedule

03/18/2010 @ 10:44 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

For those following the construction of the Balatonring in Hungary, the news that the Hungarian GP has been officially cancelled by Dorna and the FIM should be of little surprise. After having a myriad of problems, especially finding funding, the Hungarian track was a dealt a death blow this Monday when the Hungarian Development Bank declined to underwrite a loan for the track. With no money in sight, Dorna and the FIM had no choice but to officially cancel the venue, and implement Plan B, which sees MotoGP stopping at four, yes four tracks in Spain for 2010. Read more after the jump.

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Hungarian GP in Limbo After Bank Pulls Funds

03/15/2010 @ 6:03 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Loris Capirossi seemed destined to owe Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta a steak dinner after the Balatonring supposedly secured funding from the Hungarian Development Bank. That bad fortune (for Hungarian MotoGP fans, not for Capirex) seems to have changed however as the loan has now been refused by the Hungarian bank, which leaves the Hungarian circuit a big question mark for the 2010 MotoGP calendar as it struggles to raise the needed $80 million. Story gets worse after the jump.

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Capirossi on His Way to Losing a Bet with Ezpeleta

01/27/2010 @ 4:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

For over a year the Balatonring has struggled to get to completion and be included in the MotoGP racing schedule. With the economic collapse last year, the Hungarian track failed to be completed on time to make its 2009 debut; and with the collapse in the real estate market, there was some doubt if the track would be completed at all.

Yet despite this Dorna remained faithful and thought it fit to place the track on the 2010 calendar. Upon its inspection in October 2009 by the MotoGP Rider’s Safety Commission, Loris Capirossi bet Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta that the track wouldn’t be ready in time for the 2010 season. With a steak dinner on the line, Capirex should be seriously considering a stop by the butchery with the latest news.

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MotoGP Riders Bet Dorna the That Balatonring Won’t Be Ready for 2010 MotoGP Season

10/31/2009 @ 4:01 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Balatonring-Hungary-MotoGP-logo

Dorna and the MotoGP rider’s Safety Commission met in Sepang this past Friday before the Malaysian GP to talk about the upcoming 2010 season, and in particular the addition of the Hungarian Balatonring to the schedule. While Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta believes the track will be completed on-time for its MotoGP debute, Satefy Comission Founding Member, Loris Capirossi, disagrees. Putting his money where his mouth is, Capirossi has bet Ezpeleta on the Hungarian tracks completion.

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Provisional MotoGP Calendar – 4 GP’s in Spain?

07/29/2009 @ 12:39 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

2010-MotoGP-provisional-schedule

The provisional MotoGP schedule is out. New to the line-up (well sort of), is the stop in Hungary at the Balatonring (yet to be built). And also, the British GP will be held at Silverstone instead of Donington Park. Donington will host Formula1 instead for the foreseeable future.That shouldn’t be a surprise to you if you’re a A&R regular, but for you newcomers…umm, gee…well, SURPRISE!

Dorna doesn’t seem convinced that the Balatonring will be completed in time. So they’ve hedged their bets with a “reserve circuit” in Spain, the Motorland Aragon Circuit. Motorland is a brand new facility that is just outside of Alcañiz, about a hundred miles inland from Barcelona. If the reserve circuit is used, it will mean 4 Grand Prix’s in Spain for 2010.

That might be good news for the rabid motorcycle racing fans of Espana, but it’s even better news for Motorland, which has been trying to establish itself as a premiere venue, by courting Formula1 and MotoGP. Full listing of the schedule after the jump.

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Hungarian GP Back on For 2010

07/09/2009 @ 3:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Budapest-Hungary

After being cancelled as a stop for this year’s World Championship, the Hungarian GP is back on for 2010 at the Balatonring. The new track has been plagued with development problems in acquiring the land and necessary permits for its construction, leaving its planned September debut to be scrapped.

Hungary will be MotoGP’s second stop in Eastern Europe once the Balatonring is finished. When completed the new course will be 2.8 miles long, have 16 turns, and a straightaway where riders can expect speeds of 195 mph.

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Hungarian MotoGP Officially Cancelled

03/12/2009 @ 10:14 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

0723bring

Well it looks like the rumors were true, and it has finally been made official: The Hungarian MotoGP at the Balatonring is cancelled for 2009. Hungarian Development Minister Tamás Suchman yesterday told Hungarian press agency that because the Spanish investors had missed the deadline by which they should have submitted a credit application required to help finance the circuit, the Hungarian GP will not take place at Sávoly, where the Balatonring is to be built, in 2009, but may be offered in the Spring of 2010.

 

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Hungary GP Might Be Cancelled

02/17/2009 @ 1:05 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Hungary GP Might Be Cancelled

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Motorcycle News is reporting that the Hungarian round of MotoGP could be canceled, after funding problems have struck construction of the brand new Balatonring circuit. Rumors of the tracks financial problems have been circulating since the end of last year, but MCN is now claiming to have received information from “senior MotoGP officials”. MCN is also reporting that a move to the brand new Portimao circuit in Portugal was mooted, as a replacement for the Balatonring round, but that this was discounted because it would be too close to the official Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril in early October. Given the current calls for cost-cutting in MotoGP, the more popular choice might be for the round to be canceled altogether. Skipping a whole weekend would cut down on expenditure significantly.

 

Source: MotoGP Matters

Breaking Ground at the Balatonring for the Hungarian GP

11/13/2008 @ 11:45 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

 

As you may remember, we brought you the story that MotoGP will be hosted in Hungary for the 2009 season and on. Well, the symbolic first stone of Hungary’s new $64 million Balatonring circuit was laid into place at its new home near Savoly in Western Hungary today.

The full event consisted of laying the first stone for the track’s construction, and burying a “time capsule” containing mementos, as well as the Hungarian and Spanish flags. Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, was on hand for the ground breaking ceremony as well to mark the event.

The Balatonring will host MotoGP racing for the next five years starting from 2009.

We have no idea why the Spanish flag was put in the time capusle either. Take that Spain.