Oh Yes, The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE Is USA Bound

Good news sport bike fans, Kawasaki USA in its infinite wisdom has decided to bring the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE to the United States for the 2018 model year. Debuted at this year’s EICMA show, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE takes the potent superbike and most notably adds Showa’s new semi-active suspension to the package. Other perks include the seven-spoke forged aluminum Marchesini wheels, found already on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, as well as an up/down quickshifter. Like what you hear? Well brace yourself…If you want a 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE in your garage, you are going to need to shell out $21,899 MSRP for it. That sticker price represents quite the premium over Team Green’s race homologation machine, the ZX-10RR, which goes for $18,899.

PJ Jacobsen Racing in WorldSBK for 2018

Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen will be stepping up to the big show for the 2018 season, with today’s announcement that the American will be riding with the TripleM Honda WSBK Team. Moving off of the World Supersport grid and into the World Superbike Championship, Jacobsen will be riding the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 with the satellite Honda team effort that TripleM has put together. “I’m very excited to be making my World Superbike debut with TripleM Honda WSBK Team,” said PJ. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be finally racing in this class and I want to thank the team and Honda for making this possible. Both the team and I will be rookies in the WorldSBK championship so there’ll surely be a lot to learn, but it’s a challenge that stimulates me and I can’t wait to get started.”

Yamaha Selling Shares in Yamaha Motor to Raise Money

The Yamaha Corporation announced today that it will be selling 8 million shares of its holdings in Yamaha Motor Co., a movement of shares that will see roughly 2.3% of the voting power in the powersports company changing hands. This deal is expected to close on December 4th, and the Yamaha Corporation says that it will be selling its position to various unnamed securities companies, presumably to then be sold on the open market. At the current market price for Yamaha Motor stock, this deal should be worth close to ¥26 billion, and ¥18 billion after tax expenses have been factored. The news means that while the Yamaha Corporation will remain the single largest shareholder in Yamaha Motor Co., its ownership position as a shareholder will drop from 12.22% to 9.93%, as a result of the divestiture.

Valentino Rossi’s Winter Test Helmet Gets Mexican Flair

It is another winter testing period for the MotoGP riders, and that means that Valentino Rossi has another special “Winter Test” AGV helmet design for us. This year, The Doctor takes his inspiration from Huichol bead art, after he visited the region on a recent vacation to Mexico. As such, Rossi’s winter test AGV Pista GP R helmet features a hand-painted bead design that plays on the winter motif, with the Italian’s usual affinity for symbols. “Huichol art immediately intrigued me, because it uses many of my symbols, like the sun and moon or the turtle,” explained Valentino Rossi. “We have tried to recreate the effect of the beads that the Mexicans use to bring color and shape to these objects, but to do so with a Valentino Rossi twist.”

Jonathan Rea Talks About New WorldSBK Rules

Three years of unparalleled success has seen Jonathan Rea notch up 39 victories, 70 podiums, and 3 WorldSBK titles. To put those numbers into context, only Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss, and Noriyuki Haga have won more races in their WorldSBK careers. It truly has been a historic run of form for Rea and Kawasaki. For WorldSBK though the achievements have been outweighed by the reaction of fans to these results. Feeling that significant changes were needed to ensure a more competitive balance for the field, WorldSBK has introduced a wide range of new regulations to curtail the Kawasaki dominance. The goal isn’t to stop Rea and Kawasaki winning but simply to allow other manufacturers to get on an even keel.

The “Smart” Approach to Writing the WorldSBK Rulebook

Scott Smart has been tasked with writing and rewriting the rule book for Superbikes around the planet. The FIM Superbike Technical Director has been instrumental in bringing about the recent regulation changes for WorldSBK, and speaking at the season ending Qatar round he explained the philosophy behind the changes. “There’s a lot of benefits to these changes, but the biggest factor is that we want to find a way to have more exciting racing in WorldSBK,” explained Smart. “With the new regulations each team on the grid has the chance to run the same specification as the factory teams or to develop their own parts. This gives a private team the chance to have a bike with development work already having been completed by simply buying the relevant parts for their bike.”

Ben Spies Returns to Motorcycle Racing…On Dirt Bikes

Ben Spies fans will be happy to hear that the Texan is returning to racing motorcycles, announcing the news while talking to Matthew Miles at Cycle World. However, the news might not be as expected, as Spies isn’t returning to the superbike paddock, but instead will compete in the AMA National Enduro series next season. As such, Spies will take part in several rounds on the Full Gas Sprint Enduro calendar, in the mid-level “Pro2” class; as well as an ISDE qualifier, with an eye on making the squad for Team USA. Certainly not the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship bid that was reported earlier, though Spies confirmed that he had been in talks with Ducati about racing a Panigale, and had also spun some laps on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at a track day in Texas.

Ducati Panigale V4 Pricing Revealed for 2018

Fancy yourself the new Ducati Panigale V4? It’s going to cost you a pretty penny if you do, as pricing for the USA and Europe has been revealed, and the 215hp superbike is not going cheaply into that good night. As such, Ducati lists 2018 pricing for the Panigale V4 as €22,590 in Europe, with pricing in the US set at $21,195 for the base model. For those keeping score, this is a premium of $1,200 over the outgoing Ducati 1299 Panigale. When you get to the Panigale V4 S though, things start getting considerably more expensive. European pricing on the Ducati Panigale V4 S is set at €27,890, while pricing for the USA will be $27,495. For the American market, this is a $1,700 bump on pricing when compared to the 2017 Ducati 1299 Panigale.

MAG Files for Chapter 11

The Motorcycle Aftermarket Group (MAG) is not a name that motorcycle enthusiasts are usually familiar with, but the family of brands that the company owns certainly is: Performance Machine wheels, Roland Sands Design, Renthal handlebars, Vance & Hines exhausts, Tucker Rocky, J&P Cycles, etc. The network of brands has been struggling over the recent years though, and today we learn that many of them will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while the overarching MAG Group business restructures its debt and finds new ownership. While this is not the sexiest news story to happen in the motorcycle industry this year, it is certainly one of the most important and complicated. As such, we will try to break it down in a digestible way for you.

Valentino Rossi’s Special Yamaha XJR1300 Flat Tracker

It is good to be Valentino Rossi. Not only do you have nine world championships to your name, legions of yellow-crazy fans, but you also get pretty nice gifts from your friends. Take “Mya” for example – a special Yamaha XJR1300 custom flat tracker that the folks at VR|46 built for their fearless leader. Now, when you think about bikes that should be the basis for a custom project, the Yamaha XJR1300 doesn’t exactly come to mind. It probably doesn’t help that this decades-old model is only Euro3 compliant, and set to sunset at the end of this year. The XJ1300 certainly doesn’t strike us as the appropriate starting point for a flat track bike either, especially with its 530 lbs weight figure. That all being said, the VR|46 crew have done a pretty good job of spiffing up the old girl.

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According to a study done by Randall Dale Chipkar, author of Motorcycle Cancer?, the vibrations caused by modern motorcycles do not cause impotence, erectile dysfunction disorder, or cancer.

Let’s all breath a collective sigh of relief.

However, Chipkar postulates in his book that while the vibrations and pressure from the seat do not cause these medical problems, the electromagnet fields coming from the bike’s electronics do. Luckily, Chipkar has a solution for us concerned motorcyclists, an electromagnetic shielding motorcycle seat, which he also just so happens to hold the patent on. According to the book, the electrical components a motorcycle generate an electromagnetic field, which in turns causes all sorts of problems in the male baby-making area.

At least now motorcyclists can cite a book when someone accuses them of compensating for something.

Rizla Withdraw Sponsorship From Suzuki?

01/30/2009 @ 11:14 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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The rumor that Rizla would be withdrawing its sponsorship from Suzuki in MotoGP has been rolling around the paddock for some time. The rumors started after Rizla announced that it would be withdrawing its backing from the Crescent Suzuki British Superbike team, which is part of the same program run by Paul Denning and Jack Valentine, who run the Suzuki MotoGP team.

While this speculation has been a common theme for paddock gossip since the latter half of 2008, the news that Rizla will be withdrawing its sponsorship from Suzuki’s MotoGP team is moving rapidly from the realm of speculation to the world of fact. 

Italian magazine Sport Moto is reporting this speculation now as fact. According to them, Rizla will withdraw funding from Suzuki’s MotoGP team, cutting into the teams bottom line to the tune of 3.5 million euros per year.

It is impossible to talk about Rizla pulling out of Suzuki and not in the same breath talk about Suzuki leaving MotoGP. This possibility has been flatly denied both by Team Suzuki and MotoGP. The lost 3.5 million euros is a paltry sum to the factory team, with reports showing that it likely barely covered the salaries of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.

Ironically, the rest of the paddock may be relieved to see Rizla depart as a sponsor. Not because of the blow to Suzuki, but because it was widely felt in MotoGP that Suzuki had given Rizla a title sponsorship role at a rock bottom price. The paltry sum asked by Suzuki has dragged down the price that other teams could demand from sponsors for similar title sponsorship. Now with that sponsors precedent gone, teams in theory should be able to command more money for the title sponsorship advertising package.

Source: Motoblog.it

Yamaha Posts Quarterly Loss as Sales Decline

01/29/2009 @ 12:21 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

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Yamaha is reporting its first quarterly loss in over 4 years, with a fourth-quarter loss of $467 million (compare that to its profit of $41 million in the fourth-quarter of 2007). Since Yamaha gets nearly 90% of its revenue outside of Japan, the strong yen doesn’t help matters much either. The yen gained 17% against the U.S. dollar in the fourth quarter, thus eroding the value of overseas sales from their usually fat margins.

It should shock few people at that is point that in 2008, Yamaha lost customers in North America and Europe as would-be buyers cut recreational toys like motorcycles out of their budgets due to the…you guessed it…credit crisis and falling home values. In response to this, Yamaha is expected to cut the salaries of its executives by as much as 20% from February to December in order to hedge cut-costs and as a sign of unification within the corporation (a common act in Japanese corporations, GM take note).

Despite this litany of bad news, Yamaha’s shares were seemingly unaffected, and closed at 880 yen at the end of trading yesterday. Also, the stock has only dropped 5.6%t so far this year. Investors are either hopefully of Yamaha’s ability to weather the financial storm or saw this coming a mile away. We’re guessing the latter.

Source: Bloomberg

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Suzuki Revamps GSV-R with New Aerodynamics

01/29/2009 @ 8:48 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

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Loris Capirossi is ready and raring for another season in the MotoGP World Championship, one that will see him riding a heavily redesigned Suzuki GSV-R for his second year with the Japanese factory. The 2009 GSV-R will be a different bike all-together from the GSV-R of 2008. Capirossi and teammate Chris Vermeulen have both taken part in wind tunnel testing in Japan in order to redefine the optimal form for the 2009 prototype, with the results used by engineers during the testing embargo.

“The aerodynamics, engine and chassis are all-new, and I am expecting a lot from them because of the hard work that has been going on in Japan. I’ve got high hopes because of this!” says the Capirossi.

Rizla Suzuki had its ups-and-downs last year with only a few podiums last year. Hopefully with all of the time the teams has been spending in the wind-tunnel will payoff and we’ll see the boys in powder blue up-front dicing it up some more.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 Safety Improvement Campaign

01/28/2009 @ 2:44 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

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Suzuki has initiated a safety improvement campaign, which is not a recall…but kinda really is totally a lot like one…sorta. A safety improvement is not conducted under the United States Safety Act,  but is carried out when a manufacturer voluntarily modifies or replaces a vehicle already out on the road. This one is in regards to a potential frame problem with the 2005 and 2006 GSX-R1000, which means it affects over 26,000 motorcycles.

The safety improvement is being conducted because cracking or breakage of the bike’s frame can occur in certain extreme situations where unusually high stress is placed on the frame. Repeated hard landings from hazardous maneuvers such as extreme or extended wheelies or other stunts may generate sufficient stress to cause this problem. If the frame becomes broken during extreme use, a crash could occur.

Gixxer 1000 owners should take their bike down to the local Suzuki dealer for an inspection for cracks. If no cracks are found, a frame reinforcement brace will be attached to the frame using bolts and epoxy adhesive. Should cracks be found during the inspection, the frame will be replaced with a new frame that has the reinforcement brace installed. The campaign began on January 21, 2009. Owners may contact Suzuki at 1-714-572-1490.

There’s a certain irony to this article that we can’t quite place our finger on…

Source: The Kneedragger

Michelin Debutes Power One to Replace Power Race

01/28/2009 @ 11:04 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

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Michelin is set to retire the tried and true track-oriented Power Race with the new Power One tire. Details are still thin, since the tire will be officially released to the world in March, but we do know that the One is the result of three years of work, more than 35,000 track laps, and will come in slick and treaded form. Michelin reports that it uses eight new technical solutions in the manufacturing of the Power one, including a new compound housing.

Expect the tire to come in three different compounds: A (soft), B (medium), and C (endurance). Slicks will be immediately available in 16,5” and in 17″ form in 2010. There is also talk of a rain and supermotard version of the tire.

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UPDATE: Two more full bike shots added to the gallery.

MCN has spotted Ducati’s replacement for the Multistrada in action again. The alleged BMW R1200GS killer shows some pieces from Ducati’s common parts bin, as well of a couple that appear to be unique to this bike only. This bike is expected to be one of the four new models that Ducati will be releasing over the course of this year, in preparation for the 2010 model year. Continue reading to see the rest of the spy shots.

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According to Visordown, the 2009 Kawasaki ZX-RR was showing a serious lack of reliability during tests at Eastern Creek last week. The reliability is such an issue that Kawasaki is waiting until the end of the month, when it tests again at Phillip Island, before making a decision. If there’s any doubt then the bikes won’t find their way onto the grid, whether in factory or privateer trim.

Source: Visordown via MotoGP Matters

Bridgestone has finally signed the agreement with Dorna Sports making it the only tire supplier for MotoGP for the next three seasons. Last season saw for Michelin dwindle as Bridgestone became the favorite shoe in the paddock, so much so that Dani Pedrosa jumped ship mid-season, leaving teammate Nicky Hayden behind who was not given the same option to switch to Bridgestone. The agreement comes about as Dorna tries to further reduce cost and make closer wheel-to-wheel racing. Continue reading for more.

 

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Times from the World Superbike Portimao Test

01/25/2009 @ 2:41 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

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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.

 

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