Three Rider Opinions on MotoGP vs. WorldSBK

As the sun set on the third day of the Jerez Test, Jonathan Rea hogged the limelight with the second fastest time of the day. With MotoGP bikes sharing the track with World Superbike runners, the story of the day was that Rea spent most of the day leading the “faster” GP boys. The question in the aftermath however was how does this reflect on both championships? Rea was a tenth of a second off the fastest time of the day, set by Hector Barbera. The speed and performance of the Kawasaki rider was hugely impressive, but is this a sign that the production bikes can hold their own, or is it a fortuitous confluence of circumstances?

How Kawasaki Plans to Defend Its WSBK Title in 2017

It took Kawasaki until last year to finally win a World Superbike manufacturer’s title. Having retained the crown in 2016, the Japanese factory will have to dig deep in 2017 in order to keep it. Winter testing is a time to take stock of what worked well on your bike in the past, and what now needs now to improve. Kawasaki won over half of the races in the last three years, but despite these successes the team is working hard to find improvements. The final four rounds of the season saw Chaz Davies and Ducati dominate proceedings, making them the early favorite for title success in 2017. New regulations will see split throttle bodies now outlawed, and there are also changes to the battery regulations. While Jonathan Rea has been running his bike in this specification for most of 2016 his teammate, Tom Sykes, has not.

Motorcyclist Magazine Moving to Six-Issue per Year Format, As Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook Leaves the Publication

Changes are afoot at Motorcyclist magazine, as the monthly publication is set to move to a six-issue per year format starting in Spring 2017. That transition will come from the direction of a new leader too, as Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook will be leaving Motorcyclist as well. Cook outlined his departure, and announced the new format for Motorcyclist, citing the many contributions his team of writers have made over the course of his tenure at the magazine. As the opening paragraph to Cook’s goodbye letter coyly suggests, the media landscape in the motorcycle industry is shifting, pushing Motorcyclist magazine in a new direction.

BMW G310R Street Tracker by Wedge Motorcycles

A few months ago, this pocket-sized street tracker caught my attention on Facebook. It was based off the BMW G310R street bike platform, that much I could tell, but I couldn’t find anymore information on the machine. A few more weeks of this lonesome photo sitting in my ‘to do” box, and it finally moved on to the place where all good stories go to die. So, imagine my surprise when our friends at BMW Motorrad Japan sent me the following photos, which depict a new custom bike they commissioned from Takashi Nihira, at Tokyo’s Wedge Motorcycles. It is the same bike I saw months earlier, but now we know who to thank for its creation, as well as a little bit more about its build. Its is quite impressive, for an unassuming “little” street tracker, don’t you think?

From Russia with Love, MV Agusta Finds New Money

Last week, I was ready to start polishing the obituary for MV Agusta – the Italian company seemingly in an impossibly terminal state. Now it seems MV Agusta’s fortunes are changing, with the Italian motorcycle maker signing an agreement with the Black Ocean investment group to recapitalize MV Agusta. Details of the pending transaction haven’t been released, but we can assume that the increase in capital will help ease MV Agusta’s relationship with suppliers, get workers back on the assembly line, and continue the development of new models. The €20 million question though is whether Black Ocean’s investment will mean the departure of AMG, the German auto brand acting now like an albatross around MV Agusta’s neck.

Ducati MHLeggera Concept by Speed Junkies

The Ducati 1299 Superleggera might be the most technically astounding machine ever to come from the Italian brand, but all those exotic materials and fancy electronics are lost on some riders – motorcyclists who prefer more simpler times. So the good folk at Speed Junkies have heard this call, and mashed-up the 1299 Superleggera with Ducati’s perhaps most coveted nod to the past, the Mike Hailwood inspired Ducati MH900e. Both the Superleggera and MH900e are beauties in their own right, though there is something interesting to the design that Speed Junkies proposes with the two bikes together. We thought you would find the concept interesting, and there is a second “race” version waiting for you after the jump as well. We are of the belief that either would look good in our garage.

Introducing A&R Pro Premium Memberships

We are launching something very special today, which is geared towards our most diehard readers. We call it A&R Pro. It is a premium membership that offers more features to the Asphalt & Rubber website, and more of the A&R content that you have grown to love. For the A&R readers who can’t get enough of the site – often coming here multiple times per day to get the latest stories – we wanted to offer you more of the content and community that you thrive on; and in the same breath, give you a way to help support Asphalt & Rubber. That’s where A&R Pro comes in. Asphalt & Rubber has always strived to be an independent voice in the motorcycle industry. By signing up for A&R Pro, you help us to continue that goal, and in fact make us more independent.

Ariel Ace R – More Sexy for the Sexiest VFR1200F

For some, it is a challenge to get excited about a motorcycle like the Honda VFR1200F. The porker of a street bike as strayed far away from its sport bike roots, and yet confusingly isn’t a terribly effective tourer either. The market response reflects this confusion, but I digress. It is however easy to get excited about the Ariel Ace, a motorcycle that features a repackaged VFR1200F motor wedged into a bespoke aluminum trellis frame, with the usual top-shelf drippings offered, along with a very unique streetfighter design. Taking things to the next level now is the beautifully done Ariel Ace R, which comes with carbon fiber fairings, carbon fiber wheels, and a tuned V4 engine that produces 201hp and 105 lbs•ft of peak torque. Only 10 Ariel Ace R will be made.

New Honda Rebel 500 & Rebel 300 Models Debut

It would be hard to count the number of motorcyclists who got their start in the two-wheeled world on a Honda Rebel motorcycle, with the line going back through decades of time. The number is certainly a large one. Now, a new generation of rider can begin their two-wheeled journey on a new generation of Rebel, with Honda debuting the all-new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 (above) and 2017 Honda Rebel 500 (after the jump) ahead of the IMS Long Beach show. The Honda Rebel 500 and Honda Rebel 300 use the same power plants found on the CBR500R (471cc parallel-twin) and CBR300R (286cc single-cylidner), respectively, repackaging those engines into a cruiser platform that is friendly to new and shorter riders, with a 27″ seat height.

Electric Done Right, Enjoy the Aero E-Racer Street Tracker

It has been a while since we have seen an electric motorcycle that caught out fancy – you know, one that looked like it was made by someone who actually understands motorcycles, and isn’t just gunning for a spot at Art Center. There is this notion in the electric world that just because powertrains are evolving, that we need to throw the baby out with the bath water as wellwhen it comes to design. But, when I think about the electric motorcycle builds that have caught my attention the most, it is the ones that understand this concept at their core – good examples being bikes like the Mission R, Alta Motors Redshift SM, or Vespa Elettrica. Add another name to that list now, as the E-Racer from Aero Motorcycles is a truly beautiful two-wheeled machine, and it runs on electrons, not hydrocarbons.

Suzuki Contemplated Pulling Out of MotoGP

02/12/2009 @ 2:04 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Suzuki Contemplated Pulling Out of MotoGP

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Around the time that Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP, rumors persisted that Suzuki could also be on the verge of pulling out of the racing series as well. Indeed at the time, Suzuki had halted further development of the GSV-R, and the company seemed to be either circling the wagons or preparing to depart from the sport all-together. A number of sources inside Japan spoke of Suzuki withdrawing, but the Suzuki MotoGP team consistently denied the rumors. Those rumors now seem to be more than idle chatter around the water-cooler, and were in fact grounded in substantial truth. In an interview with Spanish site GPOne, Shinichi Sahara, head of Suzuki’s MotoGP team, makes it clear how close the team was to throwing in the towel.

 

Kawasaki Officially Pulls out of MotoGP

01/11/2009 @ 12:54 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Kawasaki Officially Pulls out of MotoGP

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Straight from the horses mouth, and about 5 days later than we expected…It’s the rumor everyone already knew was truth…at least they bothered releasing a press release. Kawasaki has officially announced their leaving of MotoGP for the 2009 season.

 

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today that it has decided to suspend its factory MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season.

Amid quickly changing business environment, Kawasaki has been promptly taking countermeasures to cope with the situation. As the world economy is not likely to recover in a short period due to the major impact of the financial crisis, Kawasaki decided to suspend its MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season onward and reallocate management resources more efficiently.

Kawasaki will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race-oriented customers.

Kawasaki would like to thank all the fans and all those who have forwarded us great help.

Source: MotoGP

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The Curious Case of Marco and Hopper

01/06/2009 @ 7:25 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on The Curious Case of Marco and Hopper

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The dust has settled, and the boys in green are officially out of MotoGP. With Kawasaki withdrawing from MotoGP just a few months after the end of the 2008 season, there are few, if any, opportunities for Marco Melandri and John Hopkins in motorcycle racing. Typically by January all teams are well settled on their plans for the coming season, and the addition/replacement of a new rider is almost entirely out of the question. With MotoGP out of the realm of possibilities, what options are there for these two rider? Continue reading after the jump to find out.

 

Rumor: Kawasaki Pulls Out of MotoGP

12/30/2008 @ 9:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Rumor: Kawasaki Pulls Out of MotoGP

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Rumors are shooting across the web that Kawasaki is retiring from MotoGP for the 2009 season. Allegedly, Kawasaki has notified Dorna Sports that it will be pulling out of the series, with a public announcement to come Monday next week. More on the announcement after the jump.

 

Honda Pulls Out of AMA

12/14/2008 @ 2:44 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Honda Pulls Out of AMA

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Last week we speculated whether or not Honda would pull out of MotoGP after it announced that it was ending its Formula1 campaign, Honda has now announced that it will be withdrawing from all of the AMA’s road racing series.

This news really only affects Neil Hodgson, who is currently the only factory signed onto the 2009 season. HRC’s move will not affect Jake Zemke, who won last year’s AMA Formula Xtreme Championship, because all signs point to him riding for the Erion Honda team, which Honda will still be offering support to, as well as the Corona Honda team.

Honda again cites the current economic situation as the reason behind their announcement. We’ll let you discuss if you think factors like Suzuki’s dominance in AMA Superbike, or the new ownership by the Daytona Motorsports Group could be aggravating circumstances.

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Could Honda Pull Out of MotoGP Because of the Economy?

12/12/2008 @ 2:21 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Could Honda Pull Out of MotoGP Because of the Economy?

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With the Senate squashing the Detroit bailout loan last night, tougher economic times are surely ahead for us, not only in the States, but also abroad. Last week Honda announced that it was pulling out of Formula1 racing because of the extraordinary costs and tight fiscal situations. Could the same happen in MotoGP? Find out after the jump.

 

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