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March 2009

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Results are in from the MotoGP IRTA Test at Jerez this past weekend, and it was Casey Stoner who lead the entire weekend and came out the M Award winner. Despite this, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were closer than these times suggest. Jorge Lorenzo, in particular, made a big step forward, and looks like he could run with Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa this season, though he is still not ready to challenge for the title. At least, that’s what he says. Unsurprisingly, the best times for most people were set during the BMW M Award session, but the lack of qualifying tires this year, combined with the fact that that 45 minute session was disrupted by both the weather and James Toseland’s crash meant  that there was not so much in it. 

 













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Hachette Filipacchi has put a number of publications up for sale, and depending on who you believe, CycleWorld magazine, may be one of the magazines up on the chopping block. While Media Daily News is reporting that is the case, AdWeek says Car and Driver, Road & Track and Cycle World will be spared from the wraith of Filipacchi.

 













According to Mark Wells, Senior Partner at Xenophya Design, the goal of the EV-0RR was to create an evocative and exciting concept that would inspire sponsors to buy into the electric sportbike concept.

The electric bike is slated to compete in the Time Trial Extreme Grand Prix being hosted at the Isle of Man on the 12th of June this year. The EV-0 RR features a monocoque chassis, supported by its carbon-fiber fairings, a single-sided front and rear suspension, and twin electric motors.

The engineers behind the EV-0RR claim it will have the power, weight, and speed of a 600cc sportsbike, which makes this a serious electric replacement to the standard gasoline-powered sportbike.













Could Ducati be building a street cruiser to compete against the likes of Harley-Davidson? That’s the rumor behind the so-called Ducati Vyper, which was started by a statement made by Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali, who revealed that Ducati is looking to branch out into a wider market. The 1400cc 170hp prototype is said to be already in running form, and has started preliminary tests at the Bologna factory.

The Vyper will feature a stroked version of the company’s Testastretta engine, and house it in Ducati’s signature steel-trellis frame. A 240 rear tire mounted onto a beefy hollow-section swing-arm is also believed to be on the new machine. Luca from Bar-Design has made some exclusive renders of the Ducati Vyper for Asphalt & Rubber, and if the original looks anything like this, we might just be believers in the Italian chopper concept.







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Yamaha Tech 3 team have erected a wall dividing the garages of Colin Edwards from that of James Toseland. As we reported earlier in the year (), the two riders had a falling out after swap in crew chiefs occurred. Following the conclusion of the 2008 MotoGP season, James Toseland was granted Colin Edwards’ crew chief Gary Reynders, an incident that Edwards was opposed to and has stopped the teammates from working together.

 













The New York Times ran a great article this week about the challenges facing Harley-Davidson, both from the current economic depression, and more generally as the quintessential Harley rider gets older in age.

In summation, Harley-Davidson dealers around the US and overseas are seeing sales drop dramatically as people scale back their expensive purchases, and as the access to credit becomes increasingly difficult.

There’s no real surprise there, and any hardcore fan will be quick to tell you that Harley will be back on top once this financial turmoil is over. However, looking farther down the road at Harley-Davidson’s long-term business position, there is additional trouble brewing as well.







Baby boomers account for the majority of Harley sales, and they are getting older. The NY times ends there with its commentary, but we think there’s more to the story on Harley-Davidson and the American bike market in general. 







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KTM has put the Venom naked superbike project on hold to focus solely on bringing the RC8 to market successfully. In 2004, the Venom concept was shown as a variant to the RC8 Superbike that would debut one year after the RC8 (which would have been this year). Clearly that is not the case, and KTM’s Thomas Kuttruf explained to MCN the reason for the delay:







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For the tests in Jerez, Ducati will be providing Nicky Hayden with a new set of foot pegs for his GP9. After studying track data, Borgo Panigale has revealed that the 2006 World Champion touches the rear-brake of the GP9 with his foot without noticing it. At Honda, Nicky’s propensity to hit the rear-brake had also been discovered, and was attributed to his past in dirt track riding. With these new foot pegs, we’ll see if the Kentucky Kid can gain a few tenths of a second without even trying.

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The Ducati Streetfighter is being launched to motorcycle magazines in Italy this week, luckily pictures and video have already made it to the internet for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, we’ll stay have to wait a few more months for the traction control, Marchesini wheeled, and Öhlins suspended Ducati Streetfighter S to go on sale in the US sometime in May. MSRP for the Streetfighter S will be $18,995. The cheaper non-S Streetfighter will hit showrooms sometime latter this summer with an MSRP of $14,995. More Details and pictures after the jump.

 













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Place your bets for this year’s MotoGP winner, and if Vegas is any indication, the smart money is on Valentino Rossi to win the 2009 MotoGP Championship series. Bookies have marked Valentino Rossi as the clear favorite to win this year’s MotoGP Championship, with many betting houses only offering ‘odds-on’ (e.g. 4:5) or ‘evens’ (1:1) prices on the Italian. Don’t be completely deterred from betting on Rossi though, has still got the Italian at close to 2:1 for the title win. Continue reading to see the spread on your favorite riders.

 













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Here’s a Sunday afternoon rumor for you. Lucio Cecchinello, owner and manager of LCR Honda, has been looking for sponsorship in some atypical places. Italian magazine Motocorse is reporting that the Playboy bunny head will be gracing Randy de Puniet’s MotoGP race bike soon as LCR Honda’s newest sponsor.