Has Ducati’s Success Flat-Lined?

The saying goes that one time is a fluke, two times is a coincidence, but three times…three times is a trend. Looking at Ducati’s last three years of sales (2012-2014), which spans only a 2% margin of growth, by definition one has to conclude that the Italian company is experiencing sales stagnation. Granted each of the last three years have been record years for the Italian motorcycle company’s sales figures, but each year has been a nudging over the last. Is all of this a sign that Ducati has lost its magic, seemingly during the leadership transition from Gabriele del Torchio to Claudio Domenicali? Or is there growth to be had from the Italian brand, now that it is owned by Audi AG? We examine that thought in more detail, after the jump.

Analyzing the MotoGP Michelin Tire Test

The departure of Bridgestone and the arrival of Michelin as the official tire supplier to MotoGP is an extremely delicate operation, in terms of marketing, tire development, and motorcycle set up. This posed problems for the Michelin test, held on the fourth day of the Sepang MotoGP test. After the factory test riders had tried the Michelins at the first Sepang test, it was the turn of the MotoGP regulars. With major money on the line, the PR gag-order was enforced rigidly, and observed religiously. No official times were released, nor made unofficially available by the teams. A range of times have seeped out from journalists present, but given that only a few laps were timed by a few people out of practice with using a stopwatch, those times can be taken as guidelines only.

Colin Edwards Part of MotoAmerica’s TV Team

MotoAmerica has announced its lineup of TV announcers for the series’ telecast on CBS Sports Network, and the trio is a mix of familiar faces. Motorcycle racing veteran Jonanthan Green will be calling the races from the booth (many World Superbike fans will recognize his voice), and the man helping Green analyze the race should sound familiar as well, as it will be MotoGP star and two-time WSBK Champion Colin Edwards. While the boys are in the booth, Crisy Lee will continue her role as pit lane reporter, something she did with AMA Pro Road Racing under the DMG administration. While CBS may have to hold its hand over the censor button on Colin’s microphone, we think that fans will be pleased with the Texas Tornado’s addition, and the insight he will bring as a veteran racer.

Ride Review: 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 & R1M

The original R1 design focus was primarily for the street, however that has all changed for 2015, with Yamaha’s Engineer’s instructed to design a bike mainly for the track.
Thus, the 4.5km Brabham circuit provided a world-class test track for the 100 journos who descended from all over the globe to experience the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M for the first time. The diverse range of 18 corners, including one of the fastest turns in Australia, approached at nearly 300kmh, was perfect to test all the attributes of a new motorcycle. Our test group had some quick guys including Josh Brookes, Steve Martin, and Cam Donald, so there was no hanging about.

2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000 ABS Comes to America for $14,399

A late announcement to the Suzuki motorcycle lineup, the 2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000 comes with the banner headline of adding anti-locking brake system (ABS) and a bold new “Suzuki Racing Blue” graphics package (BNG) to the venerable superbike. The added safety of ABS is at least a welcomed change to the now seven-year-old model version of the Suzuki GSX-R1000. Meanwhile, the graphics package is designed to make a link between the GSX-R1000 and Suzuki’s MotoGP race bike, the Suzuki GSX-RR — even though the street bike pre-dates its racing counterpart all the way back to when Suzuki was last entered in the premier class.

Would You Buy This $280,000 Motorcycle?

We have seen a lot of limited-run motorcycles here at Asphalt & Rubber — some have been intriguing, and some have been…well, not. With exclusivity of course comes a price tag of sizable proportions, but it is rare that we see a motorcycle break into six-figures, let alone pass the quarter-million dollar mark. But here we are with the Yacouba Feline. We have featured the work of Yacouba Galle before, as the French designer has done a bit of work in the industry, including a bolt-on design kit for the MV Agusta Brutale, which he calls the Bestiale (a name that might make Anglophones cringe a little). Unlike the Bestiale though, the Feline is a full-on motorcycle, not just a kit…and if you like what you see, it is going to cost you a mint.

XXX: The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 World Endurance Race Bike is Pure Sex…with a Headlight

The long-winded “Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Racing” team is ready for FIM Endurance World Championship action this year, especially with the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle. The new R1 offers state-of-the-art electronics, as well as near-200hp from its crossplane four-cylinder engine, and the French team is looking to capitalize on those improvements in the EWC for 2015. Yamaha France took the 2014 title in a convincing fashion, so it will be interesting to see what riders David Checa, Kenny Foray, and Mathieu Gines can accomplish with their new toy. We’ve got a bevy of high-resolution photos for you, after the jump.

Not-A-Review: 2015 MV Agusta Motorcycles

As promised, here is the second part of our trip down to Fontana, California to meet with MV Agusta USA, go over the company’s new business plan for not only America, but also worldwide, and to ride the current crop of their 2015 machinery. I should preface right out of the gate that this is not a review in regards as to what you’ve come to expect from Asphalt & Rubber. I am not-so-cleverly calling this a “not-a-review” assessment of MV Agusta’s 2015 models. I say this because we had a very limited amount of time on each bike, as there was roughly 10 machines to divide our attention amongst. Think of this article as not far from someone test riding a bunch of motorcycles at a dealership, with similar duration and limits put in place…except that this someone rides motorcycles for a living.

Analyzing The Ducati Desmosedici GP15

Anyone watching the presentation of Ducati’s 2015 MotoGP bike will have learned two Italian phrases: “Emozionante” and “tanto lavoro”. Both were extremely apt. Getting from where Ducati was to where it is now with the Desmosedici GP15 had needed “tanto lavoro”, a lot of hard work, and they still have “tanto lavoro” ahead of them. The results were “emozionante”, a fantastic word nearer to exciting than emotional. But both exciting and emotional were apt phrases. The sense of eagerness was palpable among Ducati staff at Bologna on Monday. For good reason, the GP15 presented in a long, loud, and rather meandering show is radically different from what came before.

Some Thoughts on MV Agusta & A Story About Two Letters

MV Agusta USA recently invited a slew of journalists down to Fontana, California in order to talk about the company’s new business plan, and to ride its current lineup of motorcycles on the infield course. This article is “Part 1″ of that experience, as I wanted to separate my thoughts on MV Agusta, MV Agusta USA, and the general motorcycling climate into one story, and then have my “not-a-review” of the machines for another article. Got it? Ok, let’s go. It is probably easiest to start with where MV Agusta is as a company. MV Agusta has a started a new three-year business plan, which sees the company pushing into a full-range of motorcycles, pushing outside of its Italian boundaries, and pushing out of the “luxury” brand segment.

Rumor: It’s Multistrada 1200, Not Stradaperta

10/18/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

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UPDATE 2: Get the latest news on the 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 here.

UPDATE: Ducati has officially announced the Multistrada 1200 name, no word on model variations.

The usually accurate folks at SoloMoto have broken an interesting plot twist to the ever unfolding drama of the soon to be released Stradaperta, and that is the bike is to be called instead the Multistrada 1200. Taking the nomenclature of the machine it replaces, Ducati is allegedly hoping to build of the reputation and brand that the Multistrada motorcycle has made in the industry. With this break, also comes news that four variations of the motorcycle will be offered. More on that after the jump.

Spy Shots: Ducati Stradaperta Gets Dirty

10/14/2009 @ 3:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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The 2010 Ducati Stradaperta adventure bike continues is world spy shot tour. Taking to the dirt for the first time, the Stradaperta looks to be testing its off-road capability. Luckily, the folks at MCN had an undercover agent around to snag some shots of the BMW GS killer taking some jumps, and getting some air. More photos after the jump.

2010 Ducati Stradaperta Unmasked

10/10/2009 @ 9:08 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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Finally it has happened, photos of the Ducati Stradaperta have been leaked, and they show the bike’s true form. With the bevy of camofloged photos that we’ve seen already, there aren’t too many surprises here, but we do get to see a clear view of the “beak” of the new adventure-tourer, as well as the front fairings. Photos after the jump.

Ducati Stradaperta Up-Close and Personal

10/04/2009 @ 9:30 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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These have to be some of the best shots to day that we have seen of the soon-to-be released Ducati Stradaperta (or is it Strada Aperta?). With official comment on the motorcycle scarce from Bologna, we must still make our own conjectures. Clearly from these photos though, we can see in detail what the head light assembly, and dash will look like. Photos after the jump.

Ducati Strada Aperta – Now with Luggage Bags

09/03/2009 @ 10:59 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Ducati-Strada-Aperta-again

Dear Ducati,

Just release this bike already. We’re tired of seeing it all wrapped up in duct tape, and on people’s camera phones.

Sincerely,
Everybody.

Photo: MotoBlog

Ducati Strada Aperta Renamed to ‘Cayenne’?

08/21/2009 @ 10:13 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ducati-Cayenne-Strada-Aperta

Visordown is reporting today that Ducati has named their road-going, enduro-ish, BMW GS killer, the Ducati Cayenne…yes, as in the spicy hot pepper. One thing is for sure about the name: we’re finding it a little hard to swallow.

First off, it just doesn’t sound very “Ducati”. With bikes named “Superbike”, “Sport Classic”, and “Streetfigher” we’ve become accustomed to Ducati naming its motorcycles with very obvious and descriptive names. Even, the Multistrada, which the new bike is to replace, had a fairly intuitive name for its purpose (we’re ignoring the Monster on purpose here).

Our other eyebrow is raised because we just can’t see why the Bologna brand would name a vehicle after a German SUV. The last thing we need in this world is to be sitting in our favorite yuppie coffee shop and overhear someone talking about their brand new Cayenne, leaving us to wonder if they’re talking about their overpriced kid-hauler, or their over-priced dirt bike.

Our doubt about this report is a shame, because Visordown goes on to report some tech specs on the bike we haven’t heard before.

UPDATE: According to MCN sources inside Ducati have denied that the Strada Aperta will be renamed Cayenne

Strada Aperta: But Wait, There’s More!

07/31/2009 @ 3:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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As we inch closer to EICMA, and the rumored unveiling of the BMW GS killer from Ducati, the rumors and spy shots of the Strada Aperta continue to roll in. This latest batch features once again, our favorite gaffer taped bike out on the town, doing its thing. This time, a few more details about the front fendor can be seen despite the masking. Check it out after the jump.

Picture: Ducati Strada Aperta Head-On

07/29/2009 @ 9:18 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

More Spy Shots of the Ducati Strada Aperta

07/20/2009 @ 10:30 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Ducati-Strada-Aperta-spy-shots-1

As we get closer to the unveiling of Ducait’s Multistrada replacement in Novemeber, the spy shots of the “GS killer” are becoming more apparent. After trolling the interwebernet, we’ve found two more shots that reveal some more detail about what the Strada Aperta (no word if that’s the official name, but it does seem to keep coming up) will look like from the side and front.

Ducati Enduro Spotted Road Testing in Italy

07/08/2009 @ 8:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Nuova Ducati Multistrada tagliata

Ducati certainly has been taking its time in releasing details on its alleged BMW GS killer enduro bike. So until we get official reports, we’ll have to suffice with spy shots from Italy that seem to keep pouring in. This time around a pair of bikes was spotted in Costa of Rovigo, in between Padova (near Venice) and Bologna, by Andrea Böhm.

While far-away, this photo does reveal more about the bike than we have previously seen. For starters the front is more exposed, with less tape hiding the lines of the front fairings and fender. The effect is an almost sinister view from the side, with the headlights just coming above the bulge that is supposedly a part of the ram-air tubing