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.

IOMTT: First-Time Winner in Supersport Race 2

06/09/2011 @ 3:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

IOMTT: First Time Winner in Supersport Race 2 Gary Johnson IOMTT Supersport Race 2 635x444

After getting rained out on Wednesday, the Isle of Man TT took advantage of one of its contingency days, and set to racing on a cold but fairly sunny Thursday. Keith Amor surely was enjoying the better weather, as he found himself sliding down the tarmac before the first running of the second Supersport race was red flagged yesterday.

A handful of riders were favored for the top step on the podium in the 600cc class, and they would have four laps to sort out who it would be: King of the Mountain John McGuinness, win-less Guy Martin, or Race 1’s winner Bruce Anstey, just to name a few.

IOMTT: Rain Washes Out Races for Wednesday

06/08/2011 @ 3:15 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

IOMTT: Rain Washes Out Races for Wednesday iomtt rain flags 635x425

There was nearly a riders’ mutiny this morning at the Isle of Man TT, as the Supersport 2 race was about to get underway with cloudy skies and a damp track. With the forecast showing strong rain storms coming in the afternoon, race control was eager to get racing underway.

With most of the top riders saying they would not ride a few minutes from the race (except Michael Dunlop who would likely race through Armageddon), one Ketih Amor strolled up to the starting line and wondered where everyone was. He wouldn’t have to wait long though, as John McGuinness, Guy Martin, and other soon arrived, ready to brave the conditions.

IOMTT: Supersport Race 1 Finishes Despite Red Flag

06/06/2011 @ 7:33 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

IOMTT: Supersport Race 1 Finishes Despite Red Flag Bruce Anstey Supersport Isle of Man TT 2011 635x444

Despite raining last night, Monday’s Isle of Man TT Monster Energy Supersport race started under promising skies, as the sun was mostly out through the cloudy skies. Though John McGuinness won the weekend’s Dainese Superbike TT, the Padgetts Motorcycles’ rider was not a favorite to win this year’s Supersport races, though still considered a strong competitor. Instead eyes were on Michael Dunlop, Cameron Donald, and Gary Johnson, with Guy Martin always a crowd favorite.

With racing starting well enough, it sadly did not last long as the race was red flagged as the race leaders entered into Ramsey. Though several competitors had crashed in the first lap, news soon spread that Derek Brien had crashed and died on the extremely fast Gorse Lea section of the course, where speeds are in excess of 140 mph.

With the Isle of Man TT officials giving riders a chance to restart the race, several crashers were given a second opportunity to tackle the Mountain Course with their 600cc machinery, one of whom was local hero Guy Martin. Though off to a rocky start, find out how the restarted Monster Energy Supersport Race unfolded after the jump.

AMA: Minimum Weights Changed to Rein in Fast Ducati(s)

05/25/2011 @ 8:10 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

AMA: Minimum Weights Changed to Rein in Fast Ducati(s) AMA pro racing Logo 635x435

AMA Pro Racing has  announced a change in  the minimum weight requirements for both the Daytona SportBike and SuperSport classes, biasing the weights to be more of a disadvantage for two-cylinder machines, i.e. Ducati 848 Superbikes. Decreasing both the four and three-cylinder minimum weights by 5 lbs (to 355 lbs & 365 lbs respectively), two-cylinder machines conversely get a 5 lbs increase (to 385 lbs), thus making the spread from four to two cylinders now a total of 30 lbs (it was a 20 lbs difference before this rule change).

The move is presumably to reel in the Ducati 848 race bikes that shocked the paddock with their speed early-on in the season at the Dunlop Test, though in terms of race results, the change in rules seems to be due more because of the domination by Jason DiSalvo, than anything else. The Team Latus Motors Racing racer has won every race thus far this season, with a close finish at the Daytona 200, and a blow-out double at Infineon Raceway.

Confounding though, Ducati’s results in the SuperSport class have been less impressive, with the 8th and 13th being the finishes for the Italian brand at Infineon.

More Photos and Details about the MV Agusta F3

11/01/2010 @ 8:38 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

More Photos and Details about the MV Agusta F3 MV Agusta F3 official photos 64 635x423

The new MV Agusta F3 is supposed to be unveiled until tomorrow, but you wouldn’t know it by the rate at which information is leaking from the Varese-based company. With more photos showing off the lines of the F3, will also get details on its design and mechanics. We already know the MV Agusta F3 will use a compact three-cylinder design for its supersport inspired 675cc motor. Helping achieve that compact design though is a counter-rotating crankshaft, which when combined with the elongated swingarm, should help keep the front wheel down when on the gas.

MV Agusta is also including a variety of electronics for the F3, with ride-by-wire, traction control, and multiple rider-selectable engine maps being available. The chassis is comprised of steel tubing mated to aluminum side panels, while suspension comes from Marzocchi Forks and Sachs shocks. Photos after the jump.

MV Agusta F3 Unwrapped

10/31/2010 @ 6:07 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

MV Agusta F3 Unwrapped MV Agusta F3 635x417

UPDATE: Photos of the MV Agusta F3 have been posted to Asphalt & Rubber.

After teasing us relentlessly with spy photos of the MV Agusta F3, the Italian company’s three-cylinder supersport finally bares all in this photo. The recently repurchased MV Agusta is pinning high-hopes on the middleweight machine, hoping to attract wouldbe buyers with a low price-point that Claudio Castiglioni said could start as low as €9,000.

While it remains to be seen if Castiglioni can achieve that goal, a higher-spec F3 is also expected to hit the market in the €10,000-€11,000 range, which should have a direct 1:1 price conversion to US dollars if MV Agusta keeps its pricing scheme in place.

MV Agusta is also expected to come out with a smalled Brutale-esque machine that also uses the F3’s three-cylinder power plant. While The MV Agusta F3 is expected to official debut this Tuesday in Milan during the EICMA show, it’s not clear if the “Brutalina” will also debut at the event, or will make an appearance later next year. Click on the photo above and after the jump for 4,000 pixels of F3 goodness, and check out the gallery after the jump.

Supersport Motorcycle Racer Caught Doping [Updated]

08/31/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Supersport Motorcycle Racer Caught Doping [Updated] Angel Rodríguez CEV Spanish Supersport1 560x420

First it was baseball, then the witch-hunt progressed through the other professional sports, going as far as NASCAR and Formula1. So, it makes logic sense to say that it was only a matter of time before the issues of athletic doping entered into the motorcycle racing world.

While the issue of doping in motorsports seems almost absurd, considering the benefits of athletic doping are deminimus when machinery takes center-stage, it would seem our beloved sport is not immune from athletes looking for that extra edge during competition.

UPDATE: David Emmett of MotoGP Matters has revealed in the comments below that Rodríguez, while testing positive during a doping screening, in fact had recreation drugs in his system, not performance enhancing drugs as we had thought earlier. Thanks for the tip David.

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.

 

Last Tests Before the World Superbike and Supersport Season Starts

02/17/2009 @ 9:31 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Last Tests Before the World Superbike and Supersport Season Starts troy bayliss at qatar test 560x350

This week will be the last chance for teams to get some testing in before the World Superbike and Supersport Championship begins on March 1st. Accordingly, teams are flocking to Phillip Island for 4 days of testing, which will hold separate sessions for the two racing series.

 

Anthony West We Hardly Knew Thee

10/25/2008 @ 10:57 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Anthony West We Hardly Knew Thee 0 anthony west gives it all

In 2007 Anthony West replace Jaques Olivier on the Factory Kawasaki MotoGP team. After this Sunday at Valencia, Anthony’s year and a half will end. West has had a lackluster season this year, currently sitting 18th in the point standings with 50 points, which has caused many to call for his replacement. Italian Marco Melandri will join John Hopkins on the Kawasaki team for the 2009 season as West’s replacement.

 

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