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 S1000RR Engine Cutaway from EICMA

12/04/2009 @ 8:31 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

BMW S1000RR Engine Cutaway from EICMA BMW S1000RR cutaway EICMA 560x392

One of the cooler things on display at EICMA this year was BMWs S1000RR engine cutaway. The cutaway showcases everything from airbox to exhaust, and if you look really closely you can spot the unicorns secret responsible for BMW’s 193 claimed crank horsepower. More pictures for the engineering minded after the jump.

Photos: What Does the Most Advanced Motorcycle Engine Look Like?

10/14/2009 @ 9:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Photos: What Does the Most Advanced Motorcycle Engine Look Like? 2010 honda vfr1200f engine motor 1 560x373

The 2010 Honda VFR1200F is the most advanced motorcycle ever to come out of Honda’s factory, and is probably one of the most innovative motorcycles ever. A large portion of the technology that separates the VFR from the rest of the pack is the all new V4 power-plant that Honda engineers say is a trickle down product from their MotoGP racing efforts. Features and photos after the jump.

Ilmor Engineering Builds a Five-Stroke Motor

08/12/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Ilmor Engineering Builds a Five Stroke Motor ilmor 560x420

Motor manufacturer and tuner, Ilmor Engineering, has branched out from its Indy Car, Formula One, NASCAR, and MotoGP duties, and produced what they call a five-stroke motor. With dual camshafts and an asymetrical three-cylinder configuration, the Ilmor is more than intriguing with its design, and promises to bring real benefits both to the race track, and to road-use. Most notably is a 10% increased fuel efficiency, and 20% weight reduction in power-plant weight.

KTM Offers Factory Race Tuning to Regular Joes

06/29/2009 @ 5:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

KTM Offers Factory Race Tuning to Regular Joes KTM XC woods race 560x420

While not exactly “street bike” news, we thought the A&R readership would find this latest press release from KTM interesting nonetheless.

KTM owners of current  SX, XC, XC-W, and EXC model dirt bikes can now have their motorcycles tuned by KTM factory technicians to the exact same specifications as the KTM factory supported race bikes.

Moto2 Spec Motor to be Heavily Modified CBR 600

05/05/2009 @ 9:17 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Moto2 Spec Motor to be Heavily Modified CBR 600 blusens moto2 race bike test 560x350

At Jerez this weekend, the Permanent Bureau (FIM & Dorna) was light on the details when it announced that Honda would be the sole motor provider for the new Moto2 series. However after the announcement, Shuhei Nakamoto, VP of HRC, revealed more information about the engine that will be used in Moto2.

Honda to Power Moto2 – Sole Motor Supplier

05/03/2009 @ 12:20 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Honda to Power Moto2   Sole Motor Supplier fim honda motor moto2 jerez 560x401

A lot of talk has gone on about who will be providing the single spec motor to the new Moto2 series. First, it was rumored that Kawasaki was promised the deal, as a part of their condition to stay on in MotoGP. Then the Grand Prix Commission opened up the contract to bidding from third-parties, which seemed to run-counter to the previous rumor, so there was a new rumor that the announcement was merely a formality. While that seemed a little ludicrous, it didn’t take long for the rumormill to start saying that the winning bid had been chosen, and was from either Honda or Yamaha (read, not Kawasaki). And now, all this talk can finally be put to rest as the GP Commission has announced that Honda will provide the motors for the Moto2 season, which is slated to start in 2010, and replace the 250cc GP class.

Harley-Davidson Working on A Liquid-Cooled V4 Engine?

04/20/2009 @ 10:14 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Working on A Liquid Cooled V4 Engine? harley davidson vrsc night rod special ld 560x373

There’s a rumor going around that Harley-Davidson is working on a water-cooled, four cylinder, v-twin motor with a displacement somewhere between 1,300cc and 1,600cc. The good, the bad, and the ugly after the jump.

 

Moto2 to Debut in 2010, Single Engine Rule Confirmed

04/13/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Moto2 to Debut in 2010, Single Engine Rule Confirmed bimota sb8k track 560x298

It has been confirmed, 2010 will see the debut of the Moto2 racing class, which will replace the 250cc GP. Moto2 comes about in an effort to make racing more affordable by having a second racing class that is more analogous to the bikes being built for the road, namely the middleweight 600cc segment. The Grand Prix Commission in its announcement has also revealed that Moto2 will have a single engine design, meaning all competitors will be running the same spec motor, the manufacturer of which has yet to be appointed. 

 

MotoGP Agrees On New Measures to Reduce Costs

03/01/2009 @ 9:07 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MotoGP Agrees On New Measures to Reduce Costs motogp paddock trailers 560x420

The Grand Prix Commission has announced a slew of new rules for MotoGP, supposedly aimed at cutting costs in MotoGP, and thus allowing the manufacturers and teams to compete despite the world’s economic situation. 

The new measures include the following:

  • Race weekends will be rescheduled with Friday’s practice dropped completely, and Saturday’s sessions shortend.
  • From the Czech GP onward, a maximum of 5 engines can be used in 8 races. No changing of parts will be permitted except daily maintenance.
  • Only 2 post race tests will be allowed at the Catalunya and Czech GP’s for development purposes, and only using test riders will be permitted.
  • Ceramic composite materials are not permitted for brake discs or pads.
  • Electronic controlled suspension is not permitted.
  • Launch control systems are not permitted.

 

New Cost-Cutting Measures in the Future for MotoGP

02/13/2009 @ 11:14 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

New Cost Cutting Measures in the Future for MotoGP honda motor 560x350

By now you are well aware of the cost cutting measures that are on the table for MotoGP next season. It looks increasingly likely that practice and testing days will be reduced this year, along with more drastic measures, which include engines that must last for at least two races, and allow riders to have only one race bike instead of two.

 

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