Up-Close with the Kawasaki Ninja H2

With the track-only Kawasaki Ninja H2R putting out 300hp from its supercharged 998cc displacement, the 200hp Kawasaki Nina H2 street bike seems positively demure, by comparison. Of course, any 200hp machine is more than a handful, and we doubt many H2 owners will keep their machines street legal for very long — it’s been explained to A&R that it doesn’t take much work to uncork the H2…we’re just not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though. Ostentatious might be the best way to describe the new H2. Bringing back forced induction to the sport bike scene is a pretty bold move from Kawasaki, and something we will likely see more of from the Japanese manufacturers.

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.

Max Biaggi Breaks World Superbike Record with 203.1 mph Top Speed at Monza

05/07/2010 @ 3:25 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Max Biaggi Breaks World Superbike Record with 203.1 mph Top Speed at Monza Max Biaggi Monza top speed 560x367

It was Suzuki who drew first blood, breaking the 200mph barrier at Monza, but it was Max Biaggi who set the bar the highest today during World Superbike FP1 practice. Clocking 203.21 mph (nearly 327 kph) down the straight, Biaggi broke the WSBK top speed record, but still fell short of the all-time superbike record, which was also set at Monza, and also by an Aprilia.

Last week, Fabrizio Pellizzon clocked 203.4 mph on his CIV spec’d Aprilia RSV4. Either way you look at it, the Alitalia Aprilia team is sure to be a force in Italy this week.

Loris Capirossi to Start 300th Race at Qatar

04/06/2010 @ 6:15 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Loris Capirossi to Start 300th Race at Qatar Loris Capirossi 250GP Ducati 560x420

Veteran MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi is set to start his 300th GP at Qatar this weekend, a record for the most GP starts by any rider. The 37 year old Capirossi easily out paces his nearest rival in this regard, Alex Barros, who started 276 races during his GP career. Likely to be one of the few riders to make it to 300 race starts, Capirex would have hit the benchmark in 2009 had the Hungarian GP at the Balatonring not been cancelled. Known for being injury free (knock on wood), Capirossi will likely add another 17 starts to this number, with it being anyone’s guess when the Italian hangs up his leathers for good.

BUB: Norton Racing NRV588 Hits 173 MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats During Bub Week

09/08/2009 @ 1:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

BUB: Norton Racing NRV588 Hits 173 MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats During Bub Week Norton NRV588 Bonneville 635x424

Norton Racing let it all hang out that last few days of Bub Week’s motorcycle speed trials at Bonneville this past week, and we know this for two reasons: One, check out the lad on the far left of the above photo, he’s not sucking in that gut, that’s just pure British sexiness at its finest. Secondly, the Norton Racing team is coming back from the salt flats with a recorded speed of 173 mph.

BUB: Norton Prepares for Bonneville Land Speed Record in 2010 with Rotary Powered NRV588

09/01/2009 @ 7:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

BUB: Norton Prepares for Bonneville Land Speed Record in 2010 with Rotary Powered NRV588 Norton NRV588 salt flats Bonneville 635x476

In contrast to Confederate Motorcycles’s forth year on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Norton Racing is also present at Bub Week with their rotary-powered NRV588, trying their luck for the first time out on the salt. With no FIM sanctioned class to race in, Norton isn’t going for a land speed record per se, but instead hopes that their efforts this year will provide the adequate momentum to have a sanctioned LSR class for rotary motorcycles in 2010.

BUB: Confederate P120 Fighter Heads to Bonneville Looking for Another Land Speed Record

09/01/2009 @ 5:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

BUB: Confederate P120 Fighter Heads to Bonneville Looking for Another Land Speed Record 2009 Confederate P120 Fighter Bonneville Salt Flats 2 560x420

Confederate Motorcycles is back on the Salt Flats of Bonneville, looking to for another land speed record in the A-PF 2000cc push-rod and unfaired class.

In 2008, Confederate broke the previous 141 mph record with their B120 Wraith motorcycle, clocking 166.459 on the dried salt. This year, Confederate hopes to smash their own record with their new P120 Fighter.

IoM Superbike is in the Bag with a New Course Record

06/09/2009 @ 1:33 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

IoM Superbike is in the Bag with a New Course Record ttjpg bigger 560x373

The Dainese Superbike race of the Isle of Man TT is in the bag after being rained out this weekend, and with it a new record lap on the Mountain Course. Spoiler to follow if you dare make the jump.

Dani Pedrosa – Fastest Man in MotoGP

06/03/2009 @ 2:14 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Dani Pedrosa   Fastest Man in MotoGP dani pedrosa motogp fastest man 560x400

Although Dani Pedrosa didn’t have the best weekend in Mugello, he did win the title of the fastest man to ever ride a MotoGP bike. The Jockey sized Spainard was clocked in the speed trap at a phenomenal 217.03mph, shattering the previous record set by Makoto Tamada by 4mph.

WSBK: While Rossi Looks for the Ocho at Mugello, Spies Looks for the Septo at Miller

05/30/2009 @ 11:20 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: While Rossi Looks for the Ocho at Mugello, Spies Looks for the Septo at Miller ben spies wsbk miller motorsports park

World Superbike has landed on American soil with its first stop in the States: Miller Motorsports Park. The track based in Salt Lake City is playing host to WSBK for the second time in its history, and because of injuries a special contingency of American riders participated in the today’s events. With the AMA series sharing a stop at Miller, it should come as no surprise that one of “dem good old boys” was at the top of the Superpole podium.

Ducati North America Posts Record Sales

05/26/2009 @ 1:11 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Ducati North America Posts Record Sales img 1150 560x420

Ducati North America boosted its market share across the United States in the first quarter of 2009, with record sales fueled by the Monster and Superbike line of motorcycles.

Ducati now boasts more than 10% of the sport and street bike sales in 20 key U.S. metropolitan markets, with the brand capturing 6% sales across the country. 

Trillium Muir: The Fastest Woman on Two Wheels

01/18/2009 @ 1:50 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Trillium Muir: The Fastest Woman on Two Wheels trillium muir

You might remember that last month Texan Leslie Porterfield was named AMA Female Rider of the Year after she broke multiple landspeed at the International Speed Trials. That fact is no more as Canadian Trillium Muir and team Nickel City Racing have regained the title of the World’s Fastest Woman. Here’s the kicker, Trillium has only be riding motorcycles for 4 years.

Muir, a 28 year-old corrections officer, broke the land speed record by running a ECTA certified top speed of 239.36 mph on her purpose-built Hayabusa. The record breaking run was at Maxton Mile race track in North Carolina, USA. She rode a tuned 2003 Hayabusa featuring a GT35R turbo from RCC turbos, Aims data logger, JE Pistons, Crower rods, MTC lock-up clutch, Elka shock, custom-built swingarm, RCC back cut transmission.

What’s next for the Canadian? The 400kph barrier, which for us Americans works out to be around 248.54 mph.