California Formalizes Lane-Splitting Law

It finally happened, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 51 into law, making California the first state to put lane-splitting on its books. Lane-splitting has always been legal of course (despite what other headlines might suggest), though was legal only by a technical loophole in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). The passage of AB 51 now formally adds lane-splitting as a condoned practice by the CVC; and more importantly, it expressly allows government agencies, like the California Highway Patrol, to create and teach best-practice guidelines. AB 51 still creates some basic jurisprudence issues, like granting legislative powers to the executive branch, but many in the pro-lane-splitting movement seem to look past that issue, instead focusing on what it brings to motorcyclists.

EPA Slaps Harley-Davidson with $12 Million Fine

The EPA DOJ have just come to a settlement agreement with Harley-Davidson, which sees the American motorcycle manufacturer agreeing to pay a $12 million fine for its Screamin Eagle “super tuner” devices. Also in the agreement, Harley-Davidson agrees to spend $3 million to mitigate air pollution (through a project to replace conventional woodstoves with cleaner-burning stoves in local communities), as well as to stop selling, buy back, or destroy any illegal devices that increase air pollution from the company’s motorcycles. While not quite the Dieselgate scandal that caught Volkswagen circumventing EPA emission standards, Harley-Davidson’s “super tuners” do provide an aftermarket solution for motorcyclists to circumvent the emission devices on their motorcycles.

Moto3: Sky VR46 Fires Romano Fenati

As expected, Romano Fenati has been formally released from his contract with the Sky VR46 team. The Italian was suspended from the team after an incident at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. That was a temporary measure, but it has now been made permanent. Fenati was released for behavioral issues. The Italian had been abusive towards members of the team, and had not behaved in a professional manner. The incident in Austria was just the latest in a long line of breaches of behavioral conduct, which included confirmed reports of verbal abuse and unconfirmed and unsubstantiated reports of physical conflict. The Sky VR46 team have announced that they will be bringing Lorenzo Dalla Porta in to join Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega in the Moto3 team.

Two New BMW R nineT Models Coming

Filings with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) suggest that BMW Motorrad has two more variations of its retro-styled motorcycle line coming to the USA: the BMW R nineT Pure and the BMW R nineT Racer. These two bikes would join the other two air-cooled models we have already seen from the Germans, the base model BMW R nineT and the recently released BMW R nineT Scrambler, which debuted at EICMA last year. Our friends at Motorcycle.com spotted the CARB filings, and believe one of the machines will be based off the BMW Lac Rose concept – an ADV throw-back to when the Dakar Rally actually raced to Dakar. The other model though, could be anyone’s guess, as BMW hasn’t dropped any other concepts or hints in the past months.

Q&A: KTM On-Road Technical Director Sebastian Risse – The Development of the KTM RC16 MotoGP Bike

Sebastian Risse is the man behind the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike which was presented on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring. An automotive engineer by training, Risse has been with KTM since 2008. He started out as a crew chief and chassis analyst on KTM’s now defunct RC8 Superbike project, but when KTM returned to Grand Prix racing in 2012, Risse took charge of the Moto3 project, which has gone on to be the benchmark in the class. Risse is currently head of all of KTM’s roadracing activities, and has overseen and led development of the RC16 MotoGP bike. After the KTM RC16 was presented, we spoke to Sebastian Risse about the differences and design choices which went into the bike.

Here’s a Custom Ducati XDiavel by Roland Sands Design

In the event’s 76-year history, this year marks the first time that Ducati has ever participated at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – the Italian company hoping to showcase its Harley-Davidson alternative, the Ducati XDiavel. Helping fuel that fire was a collaboration between Roland Sands Design and Ducati, which has given way to the creation of a one-off XDiavel with the usual RSD touches. This means a flowing single-piece body, the addition of a 19″ front wheel, and shotgun-style exhaust are added to the already stylish XDiavel. The RSD Ducati XDiavel is then finished off with metallic flake paint job, along with the usual bits and bobs from the RSD catalog. There is a lot of “Southern California” transmitted through RSD’s design into the Italian-born XDiavel.

2017 KTM RC16 Officially Debuts

The Austrian GP might be tomorrow, but today the news is all about MotoGP’s newest entrant, KTM Racing. The Austrian team used its home to debut officially its MotoGP program, showing the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike in its officially Red Bull livery for next year. The livery itself is what you would expect between at KTM/Red Bull collaboration, with the same blue and orange paint scheme as can be found on the Red Bull KTM Moto3 squad. The big difference of course is the rumored fire-breathing, 270hp, V4, engine, which Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will attempt to tame. The bike’s next outing will be at Valencia, where Thomas Lüthi and Mika Kallio will ride with the MotoGP-regulars once again, competing as wild card entries.

MotoGP Considering Team Communication via Dashboards

Dorna is considering allowing communication between teams and riders via the dashboard. At a meeting today between Dorna and the teams, initial discussions took place over a system to allow teams to pass very brief messages to the dashboard of the bikes. The ability to pass messages between team and bike has been made possible thanks to the transponders currently being used in MotoGP. Those allow for a very limited and very short burst of communication as the bikes pass the timing loops at the track. Race Direction is currently using the system to pass signals to the dash in the case of a red flag, black flag or ride through penalty, but the system would also allow teams a limited ability to pass messages to the riders.

Norton Announces V4 Superbike, Again

A year ago, to the day, Norton announced that it was working on a street-going superbike that featured a 200hp, 1,200cc, V4 engine. Now, Norton confirms that news, saying that we will see the limited-production (200 units) machine later this fall. Yay. On the bright side, Norton posted a concept drawing of the new bike to its Facebook page, giving us at least something new to whet our appetites on the new motorcycle. The concept looks very similar to the sketch we saw last year, making today’s new a little bit about nothing. But, our friends at MotoFire report that Norton is still working on a 650cc project, which will debut later this year as well.

Is This the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6?…Nope

Someone is trying to pass off the above photo as the eagerly awaited 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 – unfortunately, it’s a fake. I’m actually surprised this piece of photoshop has some legs, and is making its way around the internet, considering how obvious the forgery. To verify its authenticity, all one would have to do is to compare the above photo with photos of the current generation Yamaha YZF-R1. Contrasting the two, it’s clear that the chassis and exposed parts of the engine are right off the Yamaha YZF-R1 (it’s easiest to see on the swingarm). The real smoking gun though is that the forger used a Yamaha press photo as their base. I was able to find the base photo, which clearly shows that the five-spoke wheels on the alleged R6 are in the exact same ones from a R1 press photo.

How Much Does it Cost to Race in MotoGP?

01/13/2009 @ 2:30 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on How Much Does it Cost to Race in MotoGP?

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MotoGP is a special animal. Like how Formula 1 is for automobiles, MotoGP is supposed to embody what the cutting edge of technology can bring to the sport of motorcycling. The talent is the pinnacle of its field, and the bikes are rolling R&D platforms.

This also means of course that the costs are exuberant, and instead of an instant applicable payoffs, the value of racing instead comes down the road many years later as the technology trickles down to the production-level bikes.

This makes MotoGP unlike the racing other series, whereas in World Superbike for instance, teams are working with a bike that is actually sold en masse to the consumer, costs for product line development can be absorbed, and the fabled “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” marketing buzz phrase has some bearing on reality.

Because of the intangible returns on investments, and escalating environment of prototype racing, it is not surprising to see the semi-departure of Kawasaki for 2009. So how much money are teams really losing by racing at the top of the sport?

FIM Worries About MotoGP Grid for 2010 and Long-term Sustainability in the Racing Series

01/12/2009 @ 8:58 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on FIM Worries About MotoGP Grid for 2010 and Long-term Sustainability in the Racing Series

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The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) started MotoGP in 1949 with the idea to establish a premiere prototype racing series. In 1992, FIM transfered the commercial rights to Dorna Sports, who have since been the business end of the racing series. This however, does not mean that the FIM is content to standby idly while the economic brouhaha plays havoc with MotoGP’s championship status. Continue reading to see FIM President Vito Ippolito response, and outlook on the future of MotoGP.

 

Honda Says No to Melandri, Dorna Holds Kawasaki to Contract

01/08/2009 @ 9:22 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Honda Says No to Melandri, Dorna Holds Kawasaki to Contract

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Avenues to ride in MotoGP for the 2009 season are becoming dead-ends for Marco Melandri. In case you haven’t read A&R the last few weeks, Kawasaki’s pull-out from MotoGP has sent the young Italian scrambling for a ride this coming season, with his latest stop being in the Honda camp.

Lucio Cecchinello, manager for LCR Honda, admits to having been approached by friends of Melandri to see if the team would be interested in sponsoring a second bike alongside Randy de Puniet.

Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.

Employing the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” line, the LCR boss issued the statement: “I was asked by the manager of Melandri to run in 2009, but this will not happen for the following reasons,” said Lucio. “First, we can not afford to include a second driver. The current economic situation does not allow us to consider an investor can pay Melandri, especially given his last season. ” 

“Secondly, even if I talked to Honda, I am almost certain they would be against the idea of providing a new motorcycle. This would HRC to new engines, to invest in new parts and another crew. We are in a period where Honda wants to save rather than spend even more money. Finally, it is too late to hire staff and new mechanics. There is therefore no chance to see Melandri join my team. ” 

There is still some speculation that a white knight might step in to take over the Factory Kawasaki effort, this possibility earned further credence today as Carmelo Ezpeleta from Dorna released the fact that Kawasaki has a signed contract to run in MotoGP until 2011. 

Ezpeleta stated that “Once they [Kawasaki] informed me of their desire to stop, I began negotiations with them, arguing the contract they had signed and I asked them to reconsider their best decision, or at worst of postponing…The possibility of two Kawasaki on the grid in 2009, in one form or another, can not be ruled out. They signed a contract and a contract can not be ignored in a day.”

Get the popcorn folks, its only going to get more interesting from here on out.

Source: Moto Caradisiac and Again

Rumor: Kawasaki Pulls Out of MotoGP

12/30/2008 @ 9:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Rumor: Kawasaki Pulls Out of MotoGP

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Rumors are shooting across the web that Kawasaki is retiring from MotoGP for the 2009 season. Allegedly, Kawasaki has notified Dorna Sports that it will be pulling out of the series, with a public announcement to come Monday next week. More on the announcement after the jump.

 

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.

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