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.

Silly Season: Ducati Offers Rossi €15 Million & Benefits – Yamaha Reduces Salary to €9 Million

06/24/2010 @ 2:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Silly Season: Ducati Offers Rossi €15 Million & Benefits   Yamaha Reduces Salary to €9 Million ducati desmosedici gp10 studio 7 560x373

The Italian press is buzzing about the latest silly season info regarding Valentino Rossi, and where he will be racing next year. According to Corriere dello Sport, Ducati has upped their offer to Rossi to €15 million and has included provisions that would allow the Italian to race later with either Ferrari F1 or Fiat Rally teams once he’s finished with motorcycle racing.

Now…you’d expect Yamaha to up its ante on the nine-time World Champion, right? Not quite. Instead Yamaha has reduced Valentino’s Rossi contract price from the €14 million they current pay him each year to €9 million. More on the reasoning behind that after the jump.

Official: Yamaha Test Rider Wataru Yoshikawa Will Replace Valentino Rossi at Fiat-Yamaha

06/23/2010 @ 6:07 am, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Official: Yamaha Test Rider Wataru Yoshikawa Will Replace Valentino Rossi at Fiat Yamaha Fiat Yamaha Italian GP Mugello 560x372

Yamaha has officially announced that factory test rider Wataru Yoshikawa will be replacing Valentino Rossi at the next rounds of the MotoGP series, starting at the Catalan GP in Barcelona. The move comes after much speculation was created about whom would take the place of the Italian GP Champion, after his crash at Mugello. Yoshikawa is a former Japanese SBK Champion (1994 & 1999), and his ridden as a GP wild card numerous times for Yamaha.

Caption This Photo: Stop, Drop, & Roll

06/21/2010 @ 6:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler31 COMMENTS

Boom Goes the Dynamite! – First Podium For…

06/20/2010 @ 11:53 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Boom Goes the Dynamite!   First Podium For... MotoGP Silverstone GP podium2 560x371

If you haven’t seen today’s British GP at Silverstone, stop reading this article, and go watch your Tivo right now. We can hardly contain ourselves after watching the race, so we’ll keep this intro short. While the race winner is not going to surprise too many GP race fans, it’s the rest of the finishes that had us jumping up and down on our chairs. Spoilers after the jump.

Rossi Crash “Worth” Over $8 Million

06/18/2010 @ 5:51 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Rossi Crash Worth Over $8 Million Jorge Lorenzo VR46 Mugello MotoGP 560x373

There’s no doubt that Valentino Rossi’s injury at Mugello not only left a hole at Fiat-Yamaha garage, but also created a noticeable void for MotoGP racing as a whole. Perhaps one of the greatest GP racers of all-time, Rossi rarely crashes, and has never been injured so extensively before in his career. And for all the parties involved this incident, it is an untimely disaster that has financial repercussions.

But as the old marketing maxim goes, any press is good press, and with all the coverage that’s surrounded Rossi’s crash, a sizeable amount of “buzz” and media attention has been garnered for the associated parties. What is all that media attention worth? According to internet market research firm eXtrapola, just over 8 million in US dollars (over €6.5 million).

Q&A with Valentino Rossi and Fiat-Yamaha

06/10/2010 @ 1:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Q&A with Valentino Rossi and Fiat Yamaha Valentino Rossi Mugello Italian GP practice 560x371

With an overabundance of interest stemming from Valentino Rossi’s injury at the Italian GP, Fiat-Yamaha setup a Q&A with the team’s staff and Valentino Rossi himself that cover life in MotoGP post-Mugello. Find after the jump the responses from the team and Rossi, which should clarify a number of questions and concerns centered around the Italian rider’s injury, when he will return, and what caused the accident in the first place.

Send Your Well Wishes to Valentino – Yamaha Adds “Support Rossi” Tab to Facebook Page

06/08/2010 @ 10:07 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Send Your Well Wishes to Valentino   Yamaha Adds Support Rossi Tab to Facebook Page Valentino Rossi Facebook 560x373

Yamaha Racing has added a tab on their Facebook fan page that allows fans to send Valentino Rossi their support while the Italian GP rider recovers this week in the hospital.

Clearly Valentino Rossi is a huge part of the current MotoGP racing landscape, and has fans all around the world who wish to see the Champion return to MotoGP as soon as possible.

Yamaha is also one of the most media savvy manufacturers in the paddock, so it’s no surprise they’re using social media like this to connect Rossi to his fans while he’s in the hospital.

Follow this link if you wish to send Valentino Rossi a “get well” message on Facebook.

Fiat-Yamaha Won’t Replace Rossi For Another Two Races Out of Sign of Respect

06/08/2010 @ 5:55 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Fiat Yamaha Wont Replace Rossi For Another Two Races Out of Sign of Respect Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha YZR M1 560x373

It didn’t take long after Valentino Rossi’s highside for the speculation to begin as to whom will replace the Italian rider at Fiat-Yamaha, but as MotoMatters is reporting, the MotoGP team is in no rush to replace Rossi on their roster. For the next two races, Fiat-Yamaha will campaign only one bike on the MotoGP grid, leaving Rossi’s bike untouched as a sign of respect to the Champion rider.

Sports Psychology 101: Get in Your Opponents Head

06/02/2010 @ 9:10 am, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Sports Psychology 101: Get in Your Opponents Head Jorge Lorenzo lawn chair Le Mans 560x401

Marco Melandri has an interesting post on his blog this weekend about Jorge Lorenzo’s Le Mans victory celebration. In case you missed it, after the race Lorenzo seated himself in a lawn chair with a bag of popcorn and soda right smack in front of one of the giant televisions that broadcast the race to the crowd. Considering the last race Lorenzo won, he jumped into a pond, this celebration was a bit more demur, but as Melandri points out there may be more than meets the eye on this celebration.

Get Your Face on a Fiat-Yamaha

05/28/2010 @ 5:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Get Your Face on a Fiat Yamaha 2010 fiat yamaha valentino rossi 3 560x373

As a special promotion for MotoGP’s stop at Laguna Seca, the Fiat-Yamaha team will plant a lucky race fan’s face on the Yamaha YZR-M1’s of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. The “Get on the Bike” program officially starts June 1st, and will require fans to upload a picture of their face to the Fiat-Yamaha website.

Mike Werner at Bikes in the Fast Lane got a look at the prospective placement on the YZR-M1 while he was at the French GP as a guest of Fiat-Yamaha, and he reports that the placement is an “ideal spot”.

The winner of the Get on the Bike contest will be announced July 25th, good luck to everyone.

Source: Bikes in the Fast Lane