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.

WSBK: Race 1 at Nürburgring a Fight for the Championship Rekindled

09/06/2009 @ 8:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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With the long summer break, everyone in World Superbike was waiting to see what would happen to the Championship Standings while at Germany. With two races on each race day, Ben Spies would have two chances to chip away at Noriyuki Haga’s 7 point lead, and finally take control of the series. With Haga still on the mend, the Nürburgring seemed like it would be hostile ground for the Xerox Ducati rider, but any thoughts of Haga being a push-over were quickly dispelled by his lightning Superpole performance.

WSBK: Strong Superpole Results in Germany Show the Season Ain’t Over Yet

09/05/2009 @ 5:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Noriyuki-Haga-Nurburgring-WBSK-Superpole

World Superbike action returns from its summer hiatus, and comes to you this weekend from the Nürburgring in Germany. With Ben Spies only 7 points behind the injured Noriyuki Haga, it appeared the American would take the Championship lead this weekend with little effort, as Haga would not be able to push himself to compete with the Texan. Nitro Nori would appear to have some gas still in his reserves, and has proven thus far that he won’t give up his lead without a fight.

Spies to Yamaha, WSBK for 2010, MotoGP for 2011

09/04/2009 @ 3:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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It’s official, Yamaha announced today that Ben Spies will remain in World Superbike with the Yamaha factory team for the 2010 season. However in 2011, Spies will move up to MotoGP series, where he’ll join a Yamaha satellite team (likely Tech3 Yamaha).

WSBK: Something to Prove in Race 2 at Brno

07/26/2009 @ 8:07 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Something to Prove in Race 2 at Brno

Biagii-Race-2-Brno-WSBKjpg

Continuing on our Eastern European tour, Race 2 had a number of riders with something to prove on two wheels. With teams on a more level playing field after the recent test at the Brno venue, Race 2 proved to be an opportunity for the diamonds in the rough to shine, and for old rivals to get some payback.

WSBK: Race 1 at Brno – The Crash That Could Cost the Championship

07/26/2009 @ 7:32 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Race 1 at Brno – The Crash That Could Cost the Championship

Spies-Biaggi-Brno-Race-1-WSBK

Brno has a variety of meanings to different people. To the Old Czech, the words means muddy, to the Slavs it means to fortify, to men aged 16-55 it means rail thin supermodels, but to motorcycle race fanatics, the city should take on the meaning of unpredictable racing action. You’ll have to continue after the jump to see why Race 1 proves this theory.

WSBK: Superpole from Brno, with Love

07/25/2009 @ 4:30 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Superpole from Brno, with Love

Max-Biaggi-Aprilia-RSV4-Brno-WSBK

World Superbike action this weekend comes from Brno, where riders are hot off a recent testing session at the former Soviet Block track. The Superpole results clearly speak to who did their homework, with fresh faces entering into the upper ranks. This Sunday should be set to have some good production motorcycle racing, and hey…if we’re wrong about that, there’s still eastern European umbrella girls, and that always makes people happy.

Aprilia Focusing on WSBK for 2010

07/14/2009 @ 8:54 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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If you have any hopes of seeing Aprilia in the upcoming Moto2 series, you may have to be get over them if early reports are to be believed. While official word is expected later this August, it would appear that Aprilia will not develop a custom chassis and compete in the Moto2 series, which is scheduled to replace the 250GP next year.

Jorge “Aspar” Martinez had been linked to the team earlier as possibly being on board with the Italian company to continue his involvement in the middle-tier GP series. This rumor now seems to be denied, as there has been no movement in the Aprilia camp towards developing a chassis around the Honda CBR 600cc powerplant the new series is slated to use.

WSBK: Race 2 at Donington Park Ends with a Nearly Fractured Vertebrae

06/28/2009 @ 6:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Ben-Spies-WSBK-Race-2-Donington-Park

If the close racing of Race 1 wasn’t enough drama for the fans at Donington Park, Race 2 provided it in full. Another breakaway start, and a couple key crashes, lead to a shake up in the finishing results, and one rider was rushed off to the hospital for a suspected fractured vertabrae that might change the course of the season. Continue reading for spoilers.

WSBK: Race 1 at Donington Park Decided by Fuel

06/28/2009 @ 5:55 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Spies-Biaggi-WSBK-Donington-Park

World Superbike came to Donington Park this weekend, and in Race 1 three riders broke away from the pack at blistering speed. With only two riders capable of pushing further, it looked like the race victory would be decided on the very last lap. Coming into the last few corners, a fuel issue upset what could have been a great finish. Continue reading for the spoilers.

WSBK: Superpole Come Back at Donington Park

06/28/2009 @ 1:46 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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Don’t call it a come back, but Ben Spies resumes his Superpole dominance with his 8th Superpole victory out of 9 races so far this season. Showing himself to be a master of timing, Spies finished his final run right before a light rain began to fall on the track, which prevented the other riders from answer back on his time.