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.

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 – Traction Control Cometh

09/14/2011 @ 10:20 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

2012 Yamaha YZF R1   Traction Control Cometh 2012 Yamaha YZF R1 NA 10 635x423

The 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 has broken cover, and the biggest feature the lightly tweaked liter-class bike boasts is a new seven-level traction control system (for our brothers in arms across the pond, a six-level traction system is being used…consider that punishment for your European ways). Other material changes include a revised engine map for smoother power delivery in the lower and middle rpms, while the footrests, triple clamps, headlight marker lamps, front cowl, and exhaust guards & end caps have also been revamped for 2012. More after the jump.

Three New Colors for the Aprilia Dorsoduro 750

01/20/2011 @ 6:03 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Three New Colors for the Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro white 635x476

For 2011 Aprilia is gracing the Dorsoduro 750 with three new colors: white, black, and what’s passing as green these days. For now the colors seem to be only coming to the European market, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of them ended up bound for the shores of North America (especially the white and black models, yum). The new colors for the Dorso 750 will join Aprilia’s larger displacement model, the newly debuted 2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 (which will also come in white and black color schemes). No news yet on the a 1,200cc version of the Aprilia Shiver, the Dorsoduro’s sister bike.

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 Suzuki Bandit 1250 Coming to America?

09/12/2009 @ 10:21 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

2010 Suzuki Bandit 1250 Coming to America? 2010 Suzuki Bandit 1250 3 560x399

Looks like our tip about Suzuki is coming to fruition sooner than we expected (although, we’re still holding our breath on the GSX1000R part of that tip). Suzuki has launched a new European Bandit at the Bol D’or 24 hour endurance race, in Magny-Cours, France, and it looks like they have given the Bandit a bit of a make-over. Pictures and more after the jump.

The Honda CB1000R You Won’t See in America

09/07/2009 @ 10:09 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

The Honda CB1000R You Wont See in America 2010 Honda CB1000R 23 560x373

Take a good look at the Honda CB1000R, because you won’t see it here stateside. That’s right, its de-tuned CBR1000RR motor, single-side swingarm, and streetfighter looks will be staying on the other side of the pond, and we think we’re the lesser for it.

Honda might be the lesser for it as well. With no fairing-less sportbike in its arsenal, we have to wonder what the folks in Japan were thinking on not making the CB available in the US. The only conclusion we can come to is that they just don’t like being competitve in the largest motorcycle market in the world worried that the CB would cannibalize on VFR sales.

But, seeing as how we all know the Interceptor as we know it won’t exist in 2010 (and is slated to fill a different hole in Honda’s line-up), we still have a hard time wrapping our heads around this strategy. Apparently at Honda, sportbikes must still have fairings in order to his US soil. We guess us American riders will have to somehow manage with the Tuono, Streetfighter, Z1000, FZ1, & B-King’s available to us…or move to Europe.

BMW Releases S1000RR European Pricing

06/26/2009 @ 5:45 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

BMW Releases S1000RR European Pricing bmw s1000rr street bike monza green 22 560x420

BMW Motorrad released today that the base MSRP of the S1000RR will cost €15,800, expect the US pricing to be below that (we’re guessing $14,500-ish).

In typical BMW fashion the real fun features will cost more. The BMW Race ABS system will cost €950, while the Race ABS with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) will cost a combined €1,250. BMW is also offering an electric shifter for €370, and an alarm system for €220.