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.

BMW HP2 Megamoto: Pikes Peak Edition for Japan

05/08/2009 @ 10:58 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

BMW HP2 Megamoto: Pikes Peak Edition for Japan bmw hp2 megamoto pikes peak 560x373

BMW is making a limited edition version of the HP2 Megamoto that was raced at last year’s Pikes Peak hill climb event. Unfortunatly, the Pikes Peak edition HP2 Megamoto will only be available in the Japanese market, and while a considered a “replica” of the Megamoto which BMW Motorrad / BMW USA Sierra raced at the Pikes Peak, it will mimic the race bike in form only. Read: the replica will will feature a race-replica paintjob and stickers, but will remain stock mechanically. Cue hisses and booos.

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 2

04/27/2009 @ 9:31 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 2 ducati desmosedici rr1 560x420

Ducati has released the second part of a multipart documentary on the design and development of the Desmosedici RR. While the first video was a little content light, this next installment should delight the engineering inclined. Those with a social sciences degree we suggest noding, as if you understand what the hell is going on. We sure did. Watch the video (broken into 3 smaller parts) after the jump.

 

Old And Busted Made Into New Hotness

04/26/2009 @ 9:56 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Old And Busted Made Into New Hotness roguemoto cbr custom 560x420

We don’t usually post about project bikes, but this one stood out and grabbed us. What do you do with an old and busted CBR600F that’s more than 20 years old? Why, you turn it into new hotness that’s what, and that is exactly what  rider Roguemoto did to this CBR rat bike.

Here are a few shots of the transformation, but Roguemoto has put a full-accounting of the metamorphisis up on Flickr. It’s worth the time flipping through the shots to see the craftsmanship that went into this old relic.

Source: PNW Riders

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 1

04/04/2009 @ 7:55 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 1 ducati desmosedici rr 560x420

Ducati has released the first part of a multipart documentary on the design and development of the Desmosedici RR. This first episode is light on content, but heavy on quick edits, and video effects. The start of this video series seems to be timed well with Aprilia’s release of further information on the RSV4. Coincidence? Perhaps. The less than usual spit and polish on the series so far would seem to suggest time, not quality, was the issue at stake here. Watch the video after the jump.

 

BMW S1000RR in Race Paint

02/17/2009 @ 4:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

BMW S1000RR in Race Paint bmw motorrad wsbk photoshoot 1 560x376

BMW Motorrad has made a timely release of some studio shots of the S1000RR WSBK race bike as they take to Phillip Island for their last round of testing. Upon further inpsection, it does seem as if the S1000RR is a direct decendent of the Yamaha R6, right down to the off-center windscreen. One of these days, BMW will hire a painter who isn’t constricted to colors and designs from the 1970’s. Until then, we’ll have to let the test times from PI speak for themselves.

Relax people, its only Tuesday.

BMW S1000RR Street Version Unveiled

02/03/2009 @ 1:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

BMW S1000RR Street Version Unveiled 2009 bmw s1000rr 1 560x375

Ask and yee shall recieve. Finally, pictures of the 2009 BMW S1000RR have made their way outside the walls of BMW HQ and onto the internet. Without a formal press release the details are a bit sketchy right now, but the Street-going S1000RR is expected to tip the scales at 403lbs (dry), have a 999cc inline four motor, and cost €15,150 ($19,438) when it goes on sales in Germany this summer. Also present are ABS brakes and traction control. More news as we get it.

 

BMW S1000RR SBK Race Bike Photo Shoot Teases

02/03/2009 @ 10:26 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

BMW S1000RR SBK Race Bike Photo Shoot Teases bmw s100rr race 1 560x373

How do you drive motorcycle journalists crazy? Run a feature photo shoot with WSBK race bike, a helicopter, and a hot blonde model. Its not that we don’t like these things, it’s just that we like answers more. BMW seems to have an endless supply of photos that keep us perpetually guessing what the production S1000RR will look like. Sure the carbon fairings and tasty race bits are nice and pleasing, but we want to see some OEM ABS plastic, horrible CAFE compliant exhaust pipes, and maybe a blinker here and there. Lately, it seems like only the race bike seems to be getting love from Mr. Nikon and Mr. Canon…and it keeps us up at night.

250 MPH Drag Bike Barrier Broken

10/30/2008 @ 10:03 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

250 MPH Drag Bike Barrier Broken korry hogan

Going 250 miles per hour, I can only imagine, must feel like an eternity. But for Korry Hogan, it is only 5.95 seconds and a quarter mile long. Hogan just passed the 245.36 mph record speed set by Larry McBride, while racing AMA Dragbike Fall Nationals in Denver two weeks ago. While the speed for The Guiness Book of World Records it shows not only the state-of-art currently being done at the Top Fuel drag bike level, and that rainbows are better than unicorns. Ok, well at least the first part is true. A belated but well deserved congratulations Korry.

Source: Drag Race Central via Visordown

We apologize to any unicorns in the blogsphere for tarnishing your good name.

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