Bigfoot. Nessie. Roswell…these are the great myths of our time. In the motorcycle industry, we can add another one to the list: a scooter from Ducati. It has been often talked about in enthusiast and media circles, and it has often been denied by Ducati’s higher-ups.
Today we get some news from Ducati that a scooter is on the way, and more, as Edouard Lotthé (Managing Director of Ducati Western Europe) confirmed not only a Ducati scooter project, but also Ducati’s electric future, in an interview with France’s Moto-Station.
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.
The Motorsport 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, 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.
The moment the bikes fell silent at Valencia, at 5pm on Wednesday, officially marked the end of the beginning. The 2018 season is now well underway, the initial outlines of next year’s bikes being revealed.
There is still a long way to go to Qatar, but the first step has been taken, the first few hundred terabytes of data downloaded to laptops and uploaded to factory servers for analysis.
The new season began in much the same vein as the old season ended: with Marc Márquez fastest, and on a tear.
The Repsol Honda rider was fastest on the second day of the test, and fastest overall, four tenths quicker than his teammate on Wednesday, and a tenth quicker than Maverick Viñales, who had topped the timesheets on Tuesday.
The timesheets had a familiar look to them. The top five overall consisted of the two Repsol Hondas and three Yamahas – the two Movistar factory bikes and Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 machine – followed by a couple of Ducatis, Jorge Lorenzo on the factory bike and Jack Miller on the Pramac machine.
Whether the timesheets will stay like that when Qatar rolls around is another question entirely.
Episode 63 of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees Steve English, David Emmett and Neil Morrison on the mics in Spain, as they cover the final race of the MotoGP Championship season – the Valencia GP.
Of course, a big portion of the show is about the race between Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso to win the championship. Both riders put in a masterclass season of racing, though only one could be crowned World Champion at the end of it.
It also goes without saying that the show covers the very obvious team orders that Ducati Corse issued to Jorge Lorenzo, both at Valencia but also at Sepang. Would that change the course of the championship? The guys seem to think not.
Conversation is also made about the rise of Johann Zarco, Yamaha’s troubles within its factory teams, some rumors for KTM’s future, and the progress made at Aprilia and Suzuki.
Naturally, the show ends with our hosts’ biggest winners and losers for the Valencia round. Another great show from the Paddock Pass Podcast crew, so you won’t want to miss it.
As always, be sure to follow the Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to the show on iTunes and SoundCloud – we even have an RSS feed for you. If you like the show, we would really appreciate you giving it a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!
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.
Norton is getting closer to releasing its next motorcycle, this one being a 650cc twin-cylinder street bike. As you can see above in the photo, courtesy of our friends at MotoFire, the Norton 650 will take a roadster form, with a positively vintage vibe.
The bike will serve as a platform though, for several 650cc motorcycles, one of which will be the basis for an Isle of Man TT race bike.
Said to make around 100hp, the Norton 650 would be a potent weapon in the Lightweight TT race class. It would also serve as a good counterpoint to Norton’s 1200cc superbike project.
One of the less-publicized motorcycles on display at this year’s EICMA show was this Suzuki Katana concept, which has since been making the rounds on social media.
Rightfully so, we would say, as the “Katana 3.0” is a very intriguing idea into how Suzuki can revitalize one of its most iconic names.
A creation by the folks at Motociclismo, with the help of designer Rodolfo Frascoli and Engines Engineering, the Katana 3.0 concept isn’t the “official” concept that many had hoped for from Suzuki.
However, the fact that Suzuki hosted the concept inside its EICMA display is a sign that the Japanese manufacturer is certainly listening to the feeback the bike generates.
The first day of 2018 raised more questions than answers. Two days after not featuring at all in the race, the Movistar Yamaha riders finished first and fourth.
A satellite Ducati – Jack Miller, on his first outing on the bike – was quicker than the factory riders. The only constants were Marc Márquez and Johann Zarco, who finished in exactly the same positions as they did on Sunday.
Confusion reigns at Yamaha, as they search for the cure to the problems which plagued them all through 2017. There were four bikes in Maverick Viñales’ garage, three in Valentino Rossi’s garage, and two different ones in Johann Zarco’s pit box.
They were testing all sorts of combinations of machinery: a 2016 bike with 2017 engine, and a full 2017 bike for Maverick Viñales; a 2016 bike with 2017 engine, a full 2017 bike, and a 2017 bike with a 2018 engine for Valentino Rossi; and a 2016 bike and a full 2017 bike for Johann Zarco.
The results? Pretty much identical, no matter what bike the riders were on. Viñales and Rossi were fastest on the 2016 bike, Zarco was fastest on the 2017 bike, and Rossi managed to throw the 2018-engined bike up the road after just two laps. The crash looked huge, but Rossi came away relatively unscathed.
The problem was entering a fast right corner with a new cold tire. “Turn ten,” Rossi explained. “Maybe a cold tire. I was already with two and a half laps so I push. I lost the front. I don’t know if I was a little bit off the line or it was cold.” Rossi may have been okay, but the bike was completely totaled.
The KTM 790 Duke launches a new platform for the Austrian brand, based around an 800cc parallel-twin engine.
As such, we already know that we can expect the twin-cylinder platform to spawn an adventure version of the bike, with the KTM 790 Adventure R prototype debuting at EICMA as well.
We can also expect other “790” models in the coming years, both from KTM and likely from Husqvarna as well. That is a good thing, because the KTM 790 Duke is a potent bike, rich with features.
A class-leader in electronics, the KTM 790 Duke comes with IMU-powered traction control, cornering ABS, launch control, ride-by-wire throttle modes, and an up-and-down quickshifter – all as standard equipment.
Throw in niceties like a color TFT dash, slipper clutch, and an LED headlight, and the KTM 790 Duke is easily the new standard in the category when it comes to features, but that is only part of the equation.
The real kicker though – if early indications about the pricing can be believed – is the KTM 790 Duke’s price tag, as KTM has been quoted as pricing the 790 Duke at below €10,000. This would put US pricing around the $11,000 mark, if not cheaper.
Color us intrigued by ARCH Motorcycle’s third installment to its lineup, the very exclusive ARCH Method143.
Powered by an air-cooled 143ci (2,343cc) v-twin engine, the Method143 varies from ARCH’s usual fare of power cruisers, as it is more of an upright roadster in format.
Of course, it has only the best components, including Öhlins suspension (FGRT series front forks and TTX rear shock) and carbon fiber BST wheels. Also, the chassis is made from a carbon fiber MonoCell frame, with other parts made from CNC’d aluminum.
Only 23 units will be made of the ARCH Method143, and as you can see from these detail photos, those will be a lucky 23 individuals.