It’s hard to take the AMA/DMG seriously sometimes, and today is one of those days. This time it is the latest musing from the bastard-child of road-racing that has use fired up: spec classes for the Harley-Davidson XR1200 and Kawasaki Ninja 250R. While not necessarily bad ideas at first thought, the proposed two new series seem like a step in the wrong direction for AMA road-racing.
Italian manufacturer Moto Morini has entered into voluntary liquidation in an effort to get its business back on track. Voluntary liquidation is an Italian concocted form of quasi-bankruptcy, although we’re sure Italian businesses would be quick to point out the differences; however, the affect is essentially the same though, and the act will shield Moto Morini from the debts it owes its suppliers.
Moto Morini has been denying earlier reports that it hasn’t paid its 65 employees, although it admits it hasn’t paid its suppliers since last June. Despite this, Moto Morini has stated categorically that its own intention is to go straight ahead with all the company activities, and all actions to date have been made with this goal in mind.
In my last year of business school I had to write a business plan in order to officially obtain a concentration in Corporate Innovation & Entrepreneurship. This was before the complete global economic meltdown, and entrepreneurship was still very much a dirty word in the hallowed walls of our MBA program. Many of my classmates were hoping for Wall Street jobs, and the class all-stars were all vying for jobs at the hottest hedge funds, so the idea of starting a company that would likely pay a negative paycheck in its first couple years was very much a foreign concept. It comes as no surprise then that only four or five business plans were submitted for consideration for the course concentration; one of which was mine, entitled Tradition is Not a Business Model – An American Sportbike Business Plan.
In this article, and its subsequent series of articles, I hope to re-examine what it means to start a motorcycle company in the United States. While my original business plan centered around the concept of a traditional motorcycle with an internal combustion engine, this series of articles will instead take the opportunity to look into corporate innovation in the motorcycle industry, through the lens of the newly formed electric motorcycle sector. In what I hope will become a weekly conversation on business in the motorcycle industry, we begin our discussion first with the perspectives of four entrepreneurs, which you’ll see in the coming Sunday Editions of Asphalt & Rubber.
Race 2 promised to have more close racing, as many riders in Race 1 proved they could race near the top (not to mention, many riders in WSBK have contracts up for renewal). With Imola being the home track for the Ducati loyal, a lot of fans we’re waiting to see the red bikes up front.
Many Xerox Ducati fans were also keen to see if Haga could retake the lead in the World Superbike Championship standings with a strong showing at Imola. They would not be disappointed, a full race report after the jump.
Racing went off without a hitch this Sunday, as the Imola circuit seemed devoid of earlier traction problems that almost sidelined the racing earlier this week. With Imola sitting literally in Ducati’s backyard, all eyes were on the Xerox Ducati squad, and Noriyuki Haga.
Haga, who trails Ben Spies for the first time this season coming into Imola, was especially keen on grabbing back some points from the American. Lastly, a new addition to the WSBK paddock took the form of Marco Simoncelli, who was filling in on the factory Aprilia team for the injured Shinya Nakano. A full race report with spoilers after the jump.
With track conditions at the Imola causing a near mutiny during the practice sessions, there was a panic in the WSBK paddock as to whether racing would occur at the Bologna circuit this weekend. After track officials cleaned the Imola tarmac, it became too slippery to ride upon. Whether due to the mixture of oil and water on the track, or the absence of the usual layers of rubber forming on the race line, the conditions caused riders to refuse to take to the track over safety concerns.
Commenting about the conditions, Ben Spies stated the course was slipperier than full wet conditions. Max Biaggi was also heard saying that the course was too slippery for racing, and that Sunday’s races could not take place on the course under these circumstances. Despite this, WSBK Superpole action still occurred, read on for more.
If Aprilia had any idea how popular the RSV4 R launch would be, we think they would have done it sooner. Anyways, you wanted it, and now you got it. More shots of the “base” model RSV4 both in the studio and in action from its premiere at World Superbike’s stop at the Imola circuit.
We particularly like the look the Aprilia is bringing to the RSV4 R, very reserved large single-color paint schemes. There’s something to be said about the minimalist approach when it wraps up an intricate machine like the RSV4. Check out the video after the jump as well.
Sometimes rumors don’t take long to come to fruition. Take the case of the 2010 Ducati Hypermotard. Just last week we reported that Ducati had a 696 DS motor based babytard in the works, and today Ducati has officially announced that motorcycle. As we expected the new bike is named the Hypermotard 796, and it shares almost all of the same core design elements as its larger counter-part, including the bar-end mirrors (as we expected).
The biggest news with this release is that the Hypermotard 796 will live up to its name, boasting a 808cc displacement (88mm x 66mm bore & stroke respectively). Many had said the Hypermotard 796 would still feature the 696cc displacement dispite its nomenclature. Ducati instead stroked out the 696 motor, resulting in a comparable 81hp to the Monster 696, while boosting torque to 55.7lb•ft. More details after the jump.
Husqvarna has opened a new headquarters in Varese, Italy this week. The three-story building will include not only offices for the Husqvarna staff, but also will include a testing cetner, and production center for prototype and racing motorycles.
At home in Varese is Husqvarna’s development team, and the new HQ will include a presentation center and showroom for the team to show off their latest creations. Additionally, there is a small area that has been dedicated to top models and photographs from Husqvarna history, which may interest tourists.
One of the big criticisms of MotoGP is that it is all but impossible for satellite teams to compete against the factory supported squads. Besides having smaller budgets, satellite teams also have to contend with the fact that their machinery is many revisions behind what the lastest spec is, and in some cases they are relegated to using bikes from the previous season.
The end result of this practice is essentially the 2009 season, where the only riders on the top step were from factory teams (not counting the freak outing at Donington Park), and on any given Sunday, the same four riders are the day’s favorites. Honda however is set to change that in 2010, and is structuring its satellite teams on a pay-to-play basis.