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.

Concept: Ducati’s Answer to the KTM X-Bow?

05/25/2010 @ 6:06 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Concept: Ducatis Answer to the KTM X Bow? Anthony Collard Ducati Sports Car Concept 560x395

We’ll be the first to admit that we don’t fully understand why KTM made the X-Box, better known as the go-kart on steroids…but we sure do want one nonetheless. Along that same vein, we’re not sure why a company like Ducati, known for its two-wheeled pieces of art and performance, would want to try its hand in the four-wheeled realm, but if this is the result, we could probably get over that sentiment.

Only 8 Ducati Desmosedicis Left in the US

04/12/2010 @ 5:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Only 8 Ducati Desmosedicis Left in the US Ducati Desmosedici RR 1 560x420

Finishing the end of a limited-production run of 1,500 motorcycles, only eight Ducati Desmosedici RR motorcycles remain in the United States as Pro Italia of Glendale, CA just took delivery of the last Desmo that will hit US shores from Bologna. The venerable GP replica that a common man can own made quite a stir when it was announced, and speculation has already begun about a successor for the RR. Will the next incarnation (if there is one) be an 800cc version? Or well Corsa Rosa wait for MotoGP’s switch back to 1000cc’s?

Hector Barbera Rides the Short Bus In MotoGP

03/11/2010 @ 1:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Hector Barbera Rides the Short Bus In MotoGP Aspar Ducati Desmosedici 3 560x368

Paginas Amarillas Aspar Team, the MotoGP team headed by Jorge “Aspar” Martinez, has just released it’s livery for the 2010 season. Now we’ve seen Ducati’s in yellow racing trim before, and it was no big deal. But for some reason, this goldenrod Ducati Desmosedici just doesn’t look quite right, and unfortunately for Aspar’s rider Hector Barbera, we’re starting the short bus jokes as of right now. Leave your own in the comments section.

Ducati Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP Race Bike Unveiled at Wrooom – The Big Bang V4 is Back!

01/13/2010 @ 12:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Ducati Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP Race Bike Unveiled at Wrooom   The Big Bang V4 is Back! Ducati Desmosedici GP10 tail section 560x373

Ducati has officially launched its 2010 MotoGP race bike, the Desmosedici GP10, at its yearly press launch with Ferrari in the Italian Dolomite mountains. The Wrooom event launch comes just two weeks after Nicky Hayden accidently leaked photos of the GP10 from his camera phone, much to the chagrin of Ducati Corse. Click past the jump for more details on the GP10, launch photos and studio shots of the new Desmosedici, and also for Hayden and Stoner’s views on the new bike in a video.

Nicky Hayden Leaks Ducati GP10 Photo

12/23/2009 @ 8:40 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Nicky Hayden Leaks Ducati GP10 Photo Ducati GP10 Nicky Hayden leak1

In a slightly bizzare manner, Nicky Hayden is responsible for the latest bit of news and photo leak from the MotoGP paddock. Making a stop in Bologna to celebrate the holidays with the Ducati Corse crew, in route to India to help open a Ducati store, Hayden got a chance to see the new Ducati GP10 race bike up-close. Armed with a cell phone, and a little indiscretion, the American rider snapped a photo of the new bike, posted the photo to his personal website, and there you have it.

Desmosedici RR Tail-Guard Recall

09/30/2009 @ 4:44 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Desmosedici RR Tail Guard Recall Ducati Desmosedici RR recall 560x420

Desmosedici RR owners will be happy to hear that their GP replica bikes are being recalled yet again. This time at fault is the spacing between the tail-guard and exhaust system. Because of their close proximity, the tail-guard could possibly overheat, and become a fire hazard.

MotoGP: Hayden Renews Contract with Ducati

09/03/2009 @ 4:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Hayden Renews Contract with Ducati Nicky Hayden contract Ducati MotoGP 560x401

A few days later than expected, Nicky Hayden has decided to stay with Ducati for the 2010 season, as the Marlboro Ducati team exercised their option on the American rider today. We had originally expected this announcement at Indianapolis last weekend, after earlier news suggested we’d here about the contract, one way or another, before the month of September. But, better late than never, and the news helps sure up the paddock for the 2010 season.

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 5

06/10/2009 @ 5:52 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 5 ducati desmosedici rr11 560x420

In the fifth installment of Ducati’s documentary on the Desmosedici, we now turn our attention to how the Desmosedici went from MotoGP race bike, to slightly more well-mannered street bike. If you’re late to the DesmoDoco series, you can find Part 1Part 2Part 3, & Part 4, right here at A&R.

In Mugello, Hayden Struggles Again

05/29/2009 @ 4:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

In Mugello, Hayden Struggles Again nicky hayden mugello motogp 560x401

This weekend looks to be another tough one for Nicky Hayden, who seems to be struggling again with his Ducati Desmosedici GP9 in today’s Free Practice Session. The American currently sits 15th on the grid, the very last position held by a factory rider. Contrast that with the 5th place Colin Edwards is currently holding on his satellite Tech3 Yamaha, which runs on a budget almost 1/10th of Ducati’s.

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 4

05/28/2009 @ 12:38 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Ducati Desmosedici Documentary Video, Part 4 ducati desmosedici rr11 560x420

In this fourth installment of Ducati’s documentary on the Desmosedici, we focus on the the RR’s special Bridgeston BT-01 tires, which were specifically built with the Desmosedici in mind. The BT-01’s are the stickiest OEM tire Bridgestone has ever made, and is basically a MotoGP slick with tread to meet DOT standards. If you’re late to the DesmoDoco series, you can find Part 1Part 2, & Part 3, right here at A&R.