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.

Ducati Corse Adds Diesel to Partnership List

01/10/2011 @ 8:41 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Ducati Corse Adds Diesel to Partnership List DIESEL LOGO 635x348

Ducati Corse is slowly becoming the Lord of the Rings in MotoGP — bringing together some of the largest brands outside of the industry into the pinnacle of motorcycle racing. Already announcing Mercedes Benz’s tuning house AMG as its official car sponsor to the Marlboro Ducati MotoGP team, Ducati announced ahead of today’s start to the Wrooom event that apparel company Diesel would be added to the team’s rostrum of sponsors.

The maker of tight skinny jeans and other fashionable items, Diesel will be adding its “Made in Italy” brand to Ducati’s Italian bikes, and will also supply the Ducati Corse team with apparel for the 2011 season, which we can also only imagine will be made available to the public as well with a modest mark up on the not so modest base prices. Still say what you will about Italians and their fashion, one thing remains impressively true: Ducati is crushing it right now when it comes to finding dollars to go race in MotoGP.

Yamaha’s MotoGP Team Still Without A Title Sponsor

12/28/2010 @ 7:46 am, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

Yamahas MotoGP Team Still Without A Title Sponsor Jorge Lorenzo number 1 plate 635x423

After winning the MotoGP Triple Crown: The Rider, Team, and Manufacturer Championships, the factory Yamaha team finds itself in a difficult position looking for a title sponsor for next year. After Valentino Rossi’s departure to Ducati Corse for the 2011 season, Fiat, the team’s sponsor from 2007 until recently, dropped the Yamaha squad after its loss of the Italian rider (Fiat had long been associated with Yamaha because of the company’s desire to woo Rossi into the Ferrari Formula 1 team…that and the Italian helps sell the Italian made cars).

Perhaps under-appreciating the value of having Rossi on board a Yamaha bike in 2011, the tuning fork brand has now been left scrambling for a marquis name to help foot the bills for the next season. Despite having the reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and Rookie of the Year Ben Spies, deals with Petronas, Telefonica, and AirAsia have failed to materialize, despite lengthy rumor, meaning Yamaha’s corporate Blue/White livery might be spotted in Qatar (something reserved usually for non-sponsored wild card riders).

Antonio Banderas Says Adios to Racing in Moto2 – Kenny Noyes Sent Looking for a Job

12/06/2010 @ 3:14 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Antonio Banderas Says Adios to Racing in Moto2   Kenny Noyes Sent Looking for a Job Kenny Noyes Indy GP Moto2 635x395

The masked crusader has left Moto2, as Antonio Banderas’ Jack&Jones team has lost its marquee sponsorship. With no way to fund the team, this move by Jack&Jones leaves Kenny Noyes and Gabor Talmacsi high and dry for a ride in the 2011 season. Unless Noyes can find another ride in the four months leading up to the start of next season, Moto2 will be out its only American rider. Noyes had mediocre results during the 2010 season, finishing 24th in the Moto2 World Championship, with some Moto2 commentators attributing that result to his Harris chassis, which wasn’t on par with the FTR, Moriwaki, and Suter packages.

AMG Sponsoring Ducati MotoGP Team

11/17/2010 @ 8:09 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

AMG Sponsoring Ducati MotoGP Team Ducati AMG partnership MotoGP 3 635x426

Announced last night at the L.A. Auto Show, Ducati and AMG (Mercedes-Benz’s tuning house) have formed a partnership between the two brands the will first manifest itself by having the German car tuner sponsoring the Italian company’s MotoGP team. Rumored for over a month now, this announcement finally puts to bed the speculation that Fiat would sponsor Ducati now that Valentino Rossi has joined the Rosso Corse team, and is also the first official sponsorship announcement for Ducati Corse’s 2011 season.

With Rossi healing his wounds back in Italy, Nicky Hayden was on hand for the event with a Ducati Diavel and Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG on stage with him. Asked what he thought about the partnership, Hayden replied, “Well, if this is my company bike and this is my company car, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.” We’d tend to agree.

Honda Confirms Three-Rider Team and Repsol Sponsorship

11/08/2010 @ 2:21 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Honda Confirms Three Rider Team and Repsol Sponsorship Andrea Dovizioso MotoGP Laguna Seca 635x440

After declaring its intention to field a three-man team in the 2011 MotoGP season with riders Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, and Casey Stoner, HRC went immediately into circles about how it would pull-off such an arrangement when the money to finance a larger factory squad did not materialize. Exploring avenues that would see a second, single-bike, factory team (rumored to be sponsored by Red Bull) centered around Andrea Dovizioso, Honda also tried to stick the Italian rider inside the Gresini Honda satellite squad (with the promise of factory support), but both efforts came to no avail.

With Dovizioso holding his ground, and Honda bound by a contract, questions regarding how the Japanese manufacture would handle its predicament were a common source of conjecture in the MotoGP paddock. This speculation has finally come to a conclusion though, as HRC has announced it has secured Andrea Dovizioso in the factory team for 2011, which will will continue to be sponsored by Repsol Honda.

Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Ready for World Superbike Duty

02/10/2010 @ 3:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Ready for World Superbike Duty Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 World Superbike studio 3 560x420

For the 2010 World Superbike season, Aprilia is looking to build upon their successful 2009 season, which saw Max Biaggi finishing 4th despite the RSV4’s first outing in WSBK racing. While the 2009 factory Aprilia team ran no title sponsorhip, that’s all set to change in 2010 with the announcement that Italian airline Alitalia will be headlining on the teams livery.

Red Bull to Enter MotoGP with Honda? Repsol to Sponsor Yamaha?

06/17/2009 @ 6:11 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Red Bull to Enter MotoGP with Honda? Repsol to Sponsor Yamaha? Red Bull motogp

If that title didn’t illicit a “huh?” from you, then let us be the first to say the MotoGP rumormill has kicked it up a notch now that we’re about a third of the way through the 2009 season. The first rumor up to bat is the talk that Red Bull, the maker of the energy drink with wings, is looking to sponsor a MotoGP team. Early speculation places Red Bull flying into premiere motorcycle racing with the factory Honda team, which is currently Repsol Honda.

That brings us to our next rumor in this double-header, Repsol is rumored to be considering a move to Yamaha next year. Displeased with the performance Honda has given them in bringing a Spanish MotoGP Champion into fruition, the Spanish Oil company is looking for new tune at the Piano making company. More bizzaro after the jump.

Brammo Enertia TTR Electric Motorcycle – Sponsored by Best Buy

06/02/2009 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Brammo Enertia TTR Electric Motorcycle   Sponsored by Best Buy brammo enertia ttr 1 560x373

Today is a double Brammo day. Earlier this morning we teased you with a picture of the Brammo TTR in race trim. You may have noticed two things. 1) The bike is green…kind of like the Hungry Hunter, and 2) Best Buy is sponsoring it. We don’t mess with giant men that have brussels sprouts growing on them, so this article will solely focus on the latter of the two observations. More pictures after the jump.

Petronas Sponsorship Worth $24 Million to Fiat Yamaha

04/20/2009 @ 12:04 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Petronas Sponsorship Worth $24 Million to Fiat Yamaha pensive valentino rossi 560x373

You may remember that Petronas inked a three year deal with Fiat Yamaha, sponsoring the Rossi/Lorenzo duo in MotoGP. While Petronas has worked with Yamaha for eight years in a variety of fields, this marks their first collaboration with them in MotoGP, and it is costing them a pretty penny: $24 million for three years, or $8 million a year. For this sum, Petronas branding will appear on the Fiat Yamaha team’s bikes, equipment, and uniforms. Looking closer at the deal we see how large of a deal this is when compared to other similar sponsorships in MotoGP, while also at the same time, how the actual sum paid might be much less than $24 million.

 

Petronas to Sponsor Fiat Yamaha

04/11/2009 @ 4:57 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Petronas to Sponsor Fiat Yamaha monster fiat yamaha petronas sponsorhip 560x420

The Fiat Yamaha Team has signed a three-year agreement with Petronas, the Malaysian national oil and gas corporation, who will become a new official sponsor to the MotoGP team. Under the new partnership, the Fiat Yamaha Team will carry the Petronas logo on both Rossi’s and Lorenzo’s bike’s as well as the team equipment and material.