Aprilia Will Return to MotoGP in 2015 with Gresini Racing

It is to be a weekend of announcements, most of them already widely expected. The most widely trailed move has now been confirmed officially: from 2015, Aprilia is to return to MotoGP with the Gresini Racing team. Aprilia and Gresini have reached agreement for the next four seasons, with Gresini running the Italian factory’s team through 2018. The partnership benefits both sides: by entering via Gresini, Aprilia will save €3.4 million in their first year in the class, an important saving which will allow them to spend more resources on development. The partnership was important to Gresini, as having lost their sponsorship from Go&Fun, the future of the team’s places in MotoGP was under severe threat. Aprilia’s funding will now keep them in the premier class.

Q&A: Mike Leitner – Pedrosa’s Crew Chief Talks Strategy

Leitner talks about how Pedrosa was the first rider to realize that pushing hard from the earliest laps could be a profitable strategy, and how other riders have now followed his lead. He talks about the potential and the dangers of the Bridgestone tires, and how crucial the starts have become in MotoGP. What Leitner does not talk about is the possibility that Pedrosa could decide to look for a new crew chief for 2015 and beyond. It was a question I would have liked to have asked, but I was told that the topic was officially off limits, including tangential questions (such as how Leitner felt the crew chief change had worked out for Valentino Rossi). Despite not being able to ask directly about that question, the interview with Leitner provided a fascinating insight into MotoGP racing.

Mercedes-AMG to Take a Minority Interest in MV Agusta?

News of Mercedes-AMG eyeing an acquisition of MV Agusta have been circulating for some time now, likely as the deal has continued to evolve between the two parties. Now, Italy’s reliable Motociclismo is reporting that AMG has agreed to purchase a minority position, likely around 20% of the company, the announcement of which will be made at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. The deal shouldn’t see too much involvement from Mercedes-AMG in the affairs of MV Agusta, however the stock purchase will certainly put some much need capital in the Italian motorcycle company’s coffers.

2015 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner – More Than an Update

For the 2015 model year, the Honda VFR800X Crossrunner is getting a massive update from Big Red. As such, the 800cc V4 engine on the Crossrunner sees more horsepower (104.6 peak) and more mid-range torque added, new design aesthetics, longer suspension (+25mm) , and new wheels and brakes also get updates for 2015. Other highlights for the 2015 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner include Honda’s Selectable Torque Control system (HTSC), ABS brakes, full LED lighting, self-cancelling indicators, and heated grips, which Honda hopes will help ADV buyers consider the Japanese brand. With these changes, the 2015 Honda Crossrunner pushes further into the adventure side of the touring equation, making the Crossrunner an attractive sport/ADV model from Honda.

Matchless Model X Reloaded – Blending Old with New

Two years ago we spoke of the rebirth of the Matchless motorcycle brand, and today we see the first fruits of that company’s labor. Debuting three renderings that depict a future model, we get to see our first glimpse of the Matchless Model X Reloaded – a motorcycle that blends both the modern technology of today with the iconic lines of the British marque’s past. Borrowing its name from the Matchless Model X, the Model X Reloaded keeps some of the 1920′s motorcycle’s aesthetic, helping connect the brand of the past to the company of the future. Other details are thin, though we do know that the Matchless Model X Reloaded will have an S&S X-Wedge v-twin motor with 1,916cc of displacement.

Honda Is Recalling 126,000 Goldwings

American Honda has filed a recall with NHTSA, which sees the recall of 126,000 Honda Goldwing motorcycles. The recall comes about because the rear brake of the Honda Goldwing may drag after the brakes have been released. With 533+ bikes already experiencing the problem, Honda’s recall affects GL1800 bikes built between 2001 and 2010, and also affects GL1800A bikes built between 2001 and 2005. Since dragging the rear brake could cause a crash, and because the added heat generation could cause a fire (four instances have already occurred), Honda has recalled the Goldwing, though has not determined a remedy at this time for the situation.

TrakTape – Track Riders, You’ll Want to See This

Straight from the department of “now why didn’t I think of that” we bring you the miracle of TrakTape. Pre-cut model-specific adhesive covers for your headlight, tail light, and signals, TrakTape makes getting your bike onto the track a snap, and looks aces in the process. For now, TrakTape seems to only have a few Ducati models in its arsenal, though it seems logical to see other makes and model hitting their store in the future. At $20/sheet, you might balk at the price, though consider that a roll of good gaffer tape runs close to $30 — so, the four pack at $70 might make more sense for the budget racers. The only thing we’d like to see from TrakTape would be sheets for just headlights, just tail lights, just signals, etc. I can remember taping my bike’s headlight and tail light all the time, but usually removed the signals.

Yamaha MT-09 Triple Cross Over Concept by Oberdan Bezzi

We’re really digging the FZ-07/FZ-09 based concepts from Oberdan Bezzi, if you haven’t noticed. It is probably because the FZ-09 is such an affordable, yet potent package, from Yamaha that it begs to be built-up and modded upon. We’ve already seen street tracker and world crosser concepts from Bezzi, and this “Triple Cross Over” design builds upon the same themes as before. We already know that Yamaha has gotten the hint, and is expected to show a TDM-style version of the FZ-09/MT-09 at this year’s trade shows, but here is another design to whet our appetites and pique our imaginations. The Triple Cross Over fills the gap left by the upcoming TDM model, and is more of a scrambler than an ADV bike.

Mission Motorcycles Becomes Mission Electric, Boats & Cars to Come, Mission R/RS Motos Delayed Until Q2/Q3 2015

Interesting things are afoot in the electric realm. Mission Motorcycles is about to expand beyond the two-wheels, as the company becomes officially called Mission Electric. The change comes about as Mission plans to expand into the automotive and marine segments, though the San Francisco company isn’t saying yet who it is partnering with in those spaces. Mission says it will continue to offer consumer-side products, like its current crop of electric motorcycles, the Mission R and Mission RS. However, its business model will expand to offer business-side electric drivetrain components, which was previously the realm of Mission Motors.

Is US Superbike Racing on the Verge of a Revival?

Motorcycle road racing in the US looks set for a revival after its years in the wilderness. Today, the AMA announced that the rights to road racing in the US have been reacquired from the Daytona Motorsports Group, and handed to a consortium led by Wayne Rainey and Chuck Aksland. The KRAVE Group will run a new series of races in North America from 2015, under the joint auspices of the AMA and the FIM. It has been a long and difficult few years for motorcycle road racing in the US. Since the DMG bought the rights to the AMA Superbike series, at the start of the 2008 season, the series has been in a steady decline.

WSBK: Qatar Race 2 Results

03/15/2009 @ 3:24 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Qatar Race 2 Results 20090312 162636 560x372

More action from Qatar on Saturday (Sunday for us in the US), as World Superbike completes Race 2 at Losail. The second race at Qatar for the year shows that we are in for quite the season, with riders old and new making waves. Continue reading for the races spoilers and results. 

 

WSBK: Qatar Race 1 Results

03/14/2009 @ 4:10 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Qatar Race 1 Results 20090314 163411

It was a three machines with three different types of motors battling it out for the top three spots in World Superbike’s first round of racing this year at Qatar. Continue reading to see the spoilers and race results.

 

Ben Spies Wins Second Superpole in Qatar

03/13/2009 @ 4:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Ben Spies Wins Second Superpole in Qatar 20090312 162242 560x371

Our very own Ben Spies has done it again and won the Superpole for the second time this year at the second round of World Superbike in Qatar, braking the lap record at the Losail circuit. Spies took his Yamaha YZF-R1 to a best time of 1.57.280 ahead of Guandalini Ducati rider Jakub Smrz,the Czech earning his first front-row start of the season. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi also put the RSV4 on the front row for a second successive race.

 

World Superbike Phillip Island Race 2 Results

03/03/2009 @ 4:58 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

World Superbike Phillip Island Race 2 Results haga phillip island 560x373

There’s a lot of talk this year about how WSBK will be more entertaining than MotoGP, and while we here at A&R do love us some MotoGP, one thing that WSBK will always have that’s better is TWO races on Sunday. Just like Race 1, Race 2 was action packed, and saw some familiar names taking shots at each other on the tarmac. Click ahead for spoilers and a full breakdown of Race 2 at Phillip Island.

 

World Superbike Phillip Island Race 1 Results

03/03/2009 @ 4:32 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

World Superbike Phillip Island Race 1 Results haga neukirchner phillip island 560x371

The first stop of the World Superbike tour occurred this past Sunday, and the results are in. This season marks the return of Aprilia to WSBK racing, and welcomed newcomer BMW to the paddock as well. With seven manufacturers on the grid, racing was expected to be heated, close, and exciting, and Phillip Island delivered. Click ahead for spoilers and a full breakdown of Race 1 at Phillip Island.

 

Results From Phillip Island for World Superbike and World Supersport

02/18/2009 @ 2:13 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Results From Phillip Island for World Superbike and World Supersport troy bayliss phillip island 2008 560x373

With the Aprilia riders having an extra day of tests at Phillip Island, it should be no surprise that they sit on the top of the leader board for testing lap times. This extra day has cause some ire from other team managers who state that Aprilia’s actions are pushing up the costs of testing for everyone else. We think that’s a cheap excuse for the fact that Shinya Nakano leads Regis Laconi, who is back with Ducati, and that Aprilia’s Max Biaggi is in a not-so-distant third. Biaggi finished the day on a bit of a low note, having a relatively low-speed fall towards the end of the day. We’ll have to wait for the other teams to start their testing on Saturday before we can see how the grid is stacking up.

 

BMW S1000RR in Race Paint

02/17/2009 @ 4:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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BMW Motorrad has made a timely release of some studio shots of the S1000RR WSBK race bike as they take to Phillip Island for their last round of testing. Upon further inpsection, it does seem as if the S1000RR is a direct decendent of the Yamaha R6, right down to the off-center windscreen. One of these days, BMW will hire a painter who isn’t constricted to colors and designs from the 1970′s. Until then, we’ll have to let the test times from PI speak for themselves.

Relax people, its only Tuesday.

John Hopkins to World Superbike?

02/03/2009 @ 7:51 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

John Hopkins to World Superbike? john hopkins 560x373

Hopper and Melandri still seem to be in MotoGP pergatory, which only gives people more time to speculate on what might become of the two riders. The prevailing rumor right now is that Hopper could end up with a World Superbike ride with Stiggy Honda Motorsports, along-side rider Leon Haslam. This move would mean that Hopkins would replace Roberto Rolfo, who has had problems with a dislocated shoulder.

This appears to be news to Rolfo who recently posted to his site about his recovery and plans for the season without any apparent concern about being replaced by the American.

Hello boys!
In these days I am receiving a lot of mail regard to my injury, I want in the first place say you “thanks” for your support! During the tests of Portimao I completed only a few laps, the lesion was still too much fresh; I knew that it would not have been immediately easy, but it has been however important for me to enter in track, to better know the bike and the new team! I’m happy because the upgrades them is very high!
The days before the next tests in Australia are enough for being able to recover the form with a lot of motivation and training! I am not losing not even a minute of time, therapy, race, bicycle, swim, always with much music: thanks special also to Diabo for the songs of the “El Canto del Loco”! I will take advantage of every day at best, in order to arrive to the top in Australia for the next tests!
By by… and always… Gasss!
Roby44

With the pace that the news has been going about these two, it is really only a matter of time before the Hopkins/Melandri Moto2 rumors start surging; but until then, WSBK might seem like a nice fit for Hopper.

BMW S1000RR SBK Race Bike Photo Shoot Teases

02/03/2009 @ 10:26 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

BMW S1000RR SBK Race Bike Photo Shoot Teases bmw s100rr race 1 560x373

How do you drive motorcycle journalists crazy? Run a feature photo shoot with WSBK race bike, a helicopter, and a hot blonde model. Its not that we don’t like these things, it’s just that we like answers more. BMW seems to have an endless supply of photos that keep us perpetually guessing what the production S1000RR will look like. Sure the carbon fairings and tasty race bits are nice and pleasing, but we want to see some OEM ABS plastic, horrible CAFE compliant exhaust pipes, and maybe a blinker here and there. Lately, it seems like only the race bike seems to be getting love from Mr. Nikon and Mr. Canon…and it keeps us up at night.

Times from the World Superbike Portimao Test

01/25/2009 @ 2:41 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Times from the World Superbike Portimao Test shakey byrne ducati

The weather has been grim around the Portimao race track in  for the past few days. The last day of World Superbike Championship official testing at Portimao was once again affected by adverse weather conditions, and thus the absolute best times of the entire test were largely set on the second day, leaving Shane Byrne as the new track best pace setter on his private Sterilgarda Ducati. American Ben Spies posted the second fastest lap time over all, showing that he has what it takes not only to race in World Superbike, but perhaps MotoGP as well.