Mmm…Check This Suzuki GSX1100SD Katana Race Bike

I am young enough that most of what I can remember of the 1980s is skewed by the forming mind of a child, thankfully. New Coke, ponytails to the side, Cabbage Patch Kids…Alf – it is all a bad dream as far as I am concerned. The 1980s were a pretty good decade for motorcycles though. Two-strokes still reigned supreme in grand prix racing, and some of America’s best two-wheeled heroes were riding them. The only rider-aids that were available were things like handlebars and footpegs. Even then, racing a motorcycle was a pursuit full of perils. Mirroring this notion on the production side of things, the superbike was just starting to be born in earnest, with consumers able to buy fire-breathing monsters that tested the limits of chassis and tire design. A healthy dose of male bravado was involved in riding a motorcycle like a Katana.

Mega Gallery: 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans

Not only does the FIM EWC showcase several manufacturers, with strong race-winning potential each of the championship’s multiple iconic events, but it the series is the last great venue for a proper battle between the different tire brands. Add to that the fact that the Endurance World Championship is comprised not only of endurance specialists, but also with some of the top names from motorcycle racing, both in factory and satellite teams, and it’s easy to find a reason to cheer for a particular entry. The best part though might be the photography that comes from motorcycle racing, which often spans from daylight and into the darkness of night. This year’s 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans event was no different, and we have a bevy of photos to share with you from France.

At the AMA Supermoto Season-Opener in Bakersfield

It all started with the Superbikers. As a young man growing up in the late 70s, there were only three network TV stations for me to watch, and unlike today, motorsports programs were few and far between. Other than the Indy 500 and the occasional airing of stock car racing, motorsports just weren’t on the air very often. During one serendipitous Saturday, I happened upon ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And on that particular day, they were airing the Superbikers. Looking back, the influence that program had on the rest of my motorcycling life is immeasurable. An unusual combination of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, the Superbikers showcased racers I had only read about in the motorcycle magazines.

The WorldSBK Season So Far: Yamaha & Honda

While it has hardly been surprising to see Ducati and Kawasaki maintain their position as the dominant forces at play in WorldSBK, the battle for best-of-the-rest has been an interesting subplot for 2017. Over the course of the opening three rounds of the campaign, the form of Honda and Yamaha has been marked by their stark contrast in fortunes. Last year, Honda had been a podium and front-row regular as the season moved into the European swing, and Yamaha looked to be clutching at straws and looking for any positives they could find on their return to the series. This year has seen their roles have reversed, with Yamaha consistently the best-of-the-rest and in position to fight for a rostrum finish. Honda on the other hand have had a disastrous start to the campaign with an all-new Fireblade.

Investors Leveraging MotoGP for Sizable Payout

According to several reports in the financial sector, the investors behind Dorna Sports S.L. are readying themselves for another sizable payout from the media rights holder for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships. Using a bit of financial finesse, the move would see Bridgepoint Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – the two major investors in Dorna Sports – taking roughly €889 million off the books of the Spanish media company, according to Reuters. As such, today’s news would make this the third time that Bridgepoint and the CPPIB have raided the piggy bank for motorcycling’s premier racing series, having done similar deals in 2011 (€420 million) and 2014 (€715 million).

Norton Gets £3 Million to Increase V4 Production

If you have had your eye on a Norton V4 superbike recently, you might not have to wait as long for it to arrive, as the British marque has secured £3 million from the Santander Corporate & Commercial bank. The debt investment will allow Norton to triple its production rate on the V4 SS and V4 RR models, and also allow for the company to hire 40 new employees for the job. Additionally, according to Norton this will allow the company to increase its production volume to 1,500 motorcycles per year. “Having developed and pre-sold a huge number of bikes, we needed the funding to be readily available to pay for tooling, stock and people to allow production to move from 40 bikes per month to in excess of 130 bikes with effect from summer 2017,” said Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles.

Is The 2018 BMW HP4 Race About to Debut in China?

After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today. Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad. The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.

Vyrus 986 M2 Street Bike Now Priced at €38,000

It is apparently more difficult to sell a kidney than I had previously thought (type o- / non-smoker / non-drinker…if you happen to be in the market), which isn’t good news when you are trying to get together some scratch for a Vyrus 986 M2 – the hottest supersport we have ever seen. Making matters worse is that Vyrus got in touch with A&R, updating us with their latest pricing structure for their Honda-powered hub-center steering masterpiece, which now comes with a price tag of €37,940 for the street bike, and €27,930 for the street bike kit. That is quite the change from the originally quoted €25,000 street bike model and €16,000 kit, and there is good reason for that, say the folks at Vyrus.

You Didn’t Know You Missed It, But the Honda NM4 Is Back

You probably didn’t even realize that the Honda NM4 was missing from Honda America’s model list for 2017, but the polarizing motorcycle is back for the 2018 model year. The first 2018 motorcycle to be announced so far this year from Honda, it probably helps that the Honda NM4 is featured in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson. Laugh if you want, but the NM4 is a surprisingly pleasant to ride, even if you aren’t dressed like the Caped Crusader. As such, the Honda NM4 represents a tradition of motorcycles from Big Red that have pushed that boundaries of not only what we visually accept a motorcycle to look like, but it also blurs the distinctions we make between different motorcycle segments.

US Senate Establishes Motorcycle Caucus

The motorcycle industry has found more allies on Capital Hill this week, with the creation of the first “motorcycle caucus” in the United States Senate. Established so motorcycle manufacturers and motorcyclists would have a greater voice in the upper chamber of the American legislature, the Senate Motorcycle Caucus is the work of Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan). Motorcyclists typically aren’t single-issue voter – not for issues pertaining to motorcycles, at least – but with several important political issues currently affecting the motorcycle industry, the formation of the Senate Motorcycle Caucus comes at an advantageous time.

Hayate Themed Kawasaki ZX-10R Keeps the MotoGP Dream Alive – Marco Melandri Not Included

09/29/2009 @ 6:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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German tuning house Holey has done the once over to this Kawasaki ZX-10R, and given it the race replica look of Marco Melandri’s Hayate race bike. We’ve been short-fused with race replicas lately, but there’s something about the Hayate replica that we really enjoy. Maybe its the dark color scheme, or maybe its just the inspiring story behind the little MotoGP that could. More photos after the jump.

Source: Moto Special via MotoBlog.it

Marco Melandri to Gresini Honda for 2010

08/18/2009 @ 8:33 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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Well it’s official, Marco Melandri will join Marco Simoncelli at Team Marco Gresini Honda for the 2010 season. With Kawasaki out of MotoGP for 2010, the fact that Melandri would find roots elsewhere was assured. Melandri is no stranger to the Gresini team, during the 2005 season Marco joined Gresini on the Honda Telefonico Moviestar team, riding alongside Spaniard Sete Gibernau.

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No Kawasaki in 2010 MotoGP?

07/04/2009 @ 6:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Marco-Melandri-Hayate-Assen

Rumors are flying as to whether Kawasaki will be on the MotoGP grid come 2010. If the Italian press is to be believed, Hayate Team Manager Andrea Dosoli has already declared that Hayate will be a no-show for next season.

However, an interview with Marco Melandri at Laguna Seca, by reliable MotoGP Matters, suggests that Kawasaki has yet to make a decision on MotoGP, and could be holding judgment until after the next round at the Sachensring .

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MotoGP: Weather Changes Leaves Riders Out to Dry in Le Mans

05/17/2009 @ 1:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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As we mentioned yesterday, Le Mans is known for its rapidly changing weather patterns, and a mixture of both rain and sunshine is not uncommon for the French track. The weather gods being unappeased, they decided to bring both the rain and the sun for MotoGP fans in France today. From the very beginning of the French GP things were interesting: with the GP run on a dry track, but riders leaving the grid on rain tires. With teams having to make the call on whether to stay out on rains, or sacrifice time and pit in, there were some interesting results from the choices being made. Continue reading for the spoilers.

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Kawasaki to Drop Support for Hayate After Jerez Test

03/17/2009 @ 9:26 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Kawasaki to Drop Support for Hayate After Jerez Test

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When Marco Melandri signed with Hayate, he knew that Kawasaki would only be doing limited development on the ZX-RR in 2009. According to MCN that limited development will be quite limited after all, with Kawasaki ceasing to update the ZX-RR at the end of March, shortly after the Jerez tests. From then on, the factory will provide a maintenance service only, with no more upgrades, leaving Hayate to update the bike if they wish.

 

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Melandri Officially Signs with Hayate

03/12/2009 @ 6:41 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Melandri Officially Signs with Hayate

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Today Marco Melandri confirmed that he has signed a one-year contract with Hayate Racing to race in this year’s MotoGP championship that will replace his previous two-year contract with Kawasaki.

The deal is a costly one for Melandri, both financially and in terms of his ability to compete. “I had to make a big financial sacrifice, but the most important thing that I wanted was to find trust,” he told MotoGP. Throughout the last test at Qatar, Melandri complained of issues with rear grip, a similar complaint he had with the Kawasaki, and he expressed his hope that these problems could be fixed quickly.

“I have nothing to lose. One month ago I had one foot outside the World Championship, and now I have a team that is working solely for me. My motivation is this, and to show Kawasaki that they made a mistake in choosing to pull out their factory support.”

In another month’s time, at the season opener at Qatar, we shall see whether Melandri’s hope as justified.

Source: MotoGP Matters

John Hopkins Speaks Out About Kawasaki/Hayate

03/12/2009 @ 2:12 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on John Hopkins Speaks Out About Kawasaki/Hayate

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It seems that the Kawasaki drama is finally about to come to a close. Marco Melandri has announced that he has decided to sign with the new Hayate Racing Team (the official name of the 1 bike Kawasaki MotoGP bid). Not wanting to be left out, John Hopkins has also made a statement about his situation and plans for the 2009 season.

 

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