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.

Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen Concept

In addition to debuting the Husqvarna 701 supermoto, the Swedish brand had two street concepts to unveil at the EICMA show. First up is the Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen concept, which is a café racer inspired model. With a 373cc single-cylidner thumper at its core, the Vitpilen (Swedish for White Arrow) sports an attractive and clean design. A modern riff on the 1953 Husqvarna Silverpilen, the idea behind the Husqvarna Vitpilen is that less is more. Making a modest 43hp, the Vitpilen weights a paltry 297 lbs (135kg). Clever details abound on the Vitpilen, and we particularly enjoy the high-tech LED meets retro-scrambler headlight design that sits prominently at the front of the bike.

2015 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto – 690cc of Street Hooligan

We perhaps over-thought Husqvarna’s first proper street bike announcement, as the firm has debuted the Husqvarna 701 supermoto at the EICMA show today. Refining its 701 concept from last year’s show, the 2015 Husqvarna 701 is a 690cc supermoto, that continues to borrow from KTM’s common parts bin. Already with a race-ready 450cc supermoto in its arsenal, the Husqvarna 701 adds another more street-oriented motorcycle to the Swedish brand’s dirt-heavy 2015 lineup. Putting down 67hp through the big four-stroke thumper, the Husqvarna 701 supermoto tips the scales at 320 lbs (145kg), and comes with an APTC slipper clutch, ABS brakes, WP suspension, and ride-by-wire with different riding modes.

2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 Previewed

09/14/2010 @ 3:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 Previewed 2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

The 2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 got an early preview today (no, another service manual was not leaked ahead of schedule), as a model of the bike was on-hand for the Piaggio Group’s grand opening of its new office in Milan. Releasing the first official image of the Dorsoduro 1200, Aprilia hasn’t dropped too many surprises on us. Noticeable in the shot is the optional ABS package, and we get news that the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 will use a different traction control system that will be found on the 2011 Aprilia RSV4 Factory.

Video: Aprilia Marketing Tries to Go Viral

04/16/2010 @ 6:03 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Video: Aprilia Marketing Tries to Go Viral aprilia dorsoduro factory 24 560x373

Next up on our diatribe of motorcycle marketing gone bad, we have Italian manufacturer Aprilia Motorcycles. In an attempt to latch onto this whole “internet” thing they’ve been hearing people talk about outside of the office, the Piaggio Group member has discovered the FaceTubeSpace’s of the .com revolution as a great marketing medium. Hoping for just one killer hit on the interwebs, we have the following video, aptly titled “Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory viral”, which clearly shows the intent behind its production.

Aprilia, here’s a free tip: viral videos historic never include the word “viral” in the title. The video isn’t a bad concept at all (does everyone get the part about how riding the Dorsoduro Factory is like a roller-coaster?), and we love the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory as a bike, but with low production budgeting, and 300 views as of this writing, we’re thinking this advertisement isn’t quite living up to its hype. Check the video out after the jump (and be sure to send it to all your friends).

Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory Euro Pricing – €9,990

03/11/2010 @ 8:59 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory Euro Pricing   €9,990 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory 16 560x373

The fine folks of Noale have finally added the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory to their official line-up and removed any doubts that the good Factory name means less today than it used to in the good ol’days. Tacking on a €900 premium for the “upgraded” Dorsoduro Factory model, riders will see an increase in carbon fiber, but only a limited change to the performance of the street tard. Despite this, the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory makes a strong rival for the Ducati Hypermotard 796. See why after the jump, along with a bevy of photos and a video.

2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory Photos Leaked

11/07/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory Photos Leaked 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory leaked 3 560x426

Well it didn’t take long for the rumors about the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory edition to come true, as we now have photos of the new bike leaked ahead of next week’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. It’s a little disappointing what Aprilia has done to the bike to make it stand-out from its base model, with the obvious differences between the two being just the Factory’s carbon body panels and red trellis frame. Continue on for more details and photos.

2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory Unveiling at Milan?

10/29/2009 @ 11:52 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory Unveiling at Milan? aprilia dorsoduro 750 560x457

The sometimes reliable MCN is reporting that they have information that Aprilia will be launching a Factory version of their Dorsoduro street-tard at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in two weeks time. Also expected at EICMA is a revised version of the Aprilia Shiver.

Europe Starts Hypermoto Racing Series

02/15/2009 @ 1:56 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Europe Starts Hypermoto Racing Series ducati hypermotard web 560x374

Bikes like the Ducati Hypermotard, KTM SuperDuke, and Aprilia Dorsoduro have been gaining in popularity not only in the United States, but also abroad. It is only a logical progression then that there would be some desire to start a formal racing series for these big-bore “hypermotards”, and Europe’s UEM European Supermoto Championship has that answer with a new “Hypermoto” racing class. The Hypermoto class will be open to motorcycles of 600cc and larger, with 1 or 2 cylinders, and can be either 2-strokes or 4-strokes. Races will take place on the same tracks as the Supermoto Championship (S1), minus the dirt sections. All riders will use Dunlop tires (eight tires per weekend), and have to be over the age of 16.

Source: Supermoto CentralMotoblog.it

Aprilia SMV 750 Dorsoduro Comes to the US

01/12/2009 @ 12:37 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Aprilia SMV 750 Dorsoduro Comes to the US aprilia smv 750 dorsoduro 3pg 560x373

Not content to let KTM and Ducati play in the big displacement motard segment by themselves, Aprilia is bringing their Shiver based SMV 750 Dorsoduro motard state-side for 2009. The Dorsoduro’s 90°, 750cc, 8-valve, v-twin makes 92 hp (at 8,750 rpm) and 61 lb•ft of torque (at 4,500 rpm), and with a claimed dry weight of 409lbs, it would seem to be an ideal hooligan machine. Read more for the full details on the Dorsoduro with pictures.

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Aprilia Dorsoduro RR Race Bike

12/12/2008 @ 5:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Aprilia Dorsoduro RR Race Bike aprilia dorsoduro rr racing 1 560x420

X Offroad Forum has managed to get ahold of photos showing Aprilia’s weapon of choice for Hypermoto racing. The Dorsoduro RR race bike will be piloted by Alessandro Tognaccini in the 2009 Hypermoto Series. Weighing just over 300lbs and putting out over 100hp, the RR is a substantial improvement over the stock Dorsoduro. Add-on goodies include Shiver forks, Öhlins rear shock, STM slipper clutch, and a Silmotor exhaust. The wheels are Marchesinis with Galfer Tsunami pads and calipers. Watch out Ducati Hypermotard, we just found something to replace you with in our dreams. 

Source: X Offroad