It was hardly ideal circumstances to make a return to the toughest class in motorcycle racing after more than eight months without riding a bike. Overnight rain left the track covered in damp patches, making the surface treacherous and unpredictable.
But that didn’t deter Marc Márquez: though he wasn’t the first out of the pits in FP1, he was on track soon enough. And he was fast soon enough too, ending the morning session as third quickest, just a quarter of a second slower than Maverick Viñales.
Drawing conclusions from times which are 2.5 seconds off the race lap record and 3.5 seconds off the best pole time is a little premature. But Márquez was fast again in FP2, in much drier and consistent conditions.
We could probably save a lot of pixels, and a lot of headlines, if we just wrote one story saying that updates have come to MV Agusta’s 800cc three-cylinder lineup…but where’s the fun in that?
Continuing the trickle of reveals, we have on the offer today the MV Agusta Brutale line, which includes the base model Brutale Rosso, the up-spec Brutale RR, and the auto-clutched Brutale RR SCS.
After a month in the desert, MotoGP returns to something more resembling normality. The Grand Prix paddock has left Qatar behind to fly to Europe, gathering at the Circuito do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal.
The change is all-encompassing: from the wild temperature swings from day to night of Qatar to the temperate climes of Portugal’s Algarve coast in balmy springtime; from dust and wind to mist and sunshine. From the bright artificial spotlights to being bathed in natural sunlight.
Above all, though, the change is from having a narrow window where everything resembled race conditions, that golden hour from 7pm to 8pm, to having usable conditions both morning and afternoon.
From a track where Michelin couldn’t bring a selection of tires which would allow a choice for the race at night, to a track where the teams should be able to find a tire that works for their bike, instead of having to bend their bikes to suit the only tire that will withstand the the weird conditions that prevail in the Qatari night.
Not that tires won’t be an issue at Portimão. Last year’s allocation has been tweaked, based on data collected at the track when MotoGP visited for the first time.
And because we go there now in mid-April, rather than late November, when the sun is higher in the sky and radiating more heat into the ribbon of asphalt the riders have to traverse.
American Honda has begun a recall on the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP for the faulty installation of the rear cushion and its connecting plates.
The recall affects only 2021 model year Fireblades, which means that a total of 89 units may be affected by this announcement.
MotoGP is to get a head start on the implementation of LED flag panels for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season, starting with this weekend’s Portuguese GP at Portimão.
The panels, which will be made compulsory by both the FIM and FIA from 2022, are to be transported from track to track by LED panel manufacturer EM Motorsport, and used for each race.
Last year was a difficult year for the motorcycle industry, due primarily to the regional lockdowns, production stoppages, and disrupted supply chains.
The effect has been a loss in motorcycle sales across the board, and KTM is no different from the bulk of the two-wheeled brands.
Reporting a drop of 3.4% in motorcycle units sales, KTM ended last year selling 270,047 motorcycles worldwide (compared to 280,099 units in 2019).
Four months after getting off the Ducati, with no contracts signed for 2021, Andrea Dovizioso is riding again.
The Italian has spent the past three days testing the Aprilia RS-GP at a private test at Jerez, sharing the track with Yamaha, KTM, and Honda, in between the sessions for the MotoE class.
On Wednesday afternoon, the final day of Dovizioso’s test with Aprilia, the Italian spoke to the media about the test, his motivation for testing the RS-GP, his plans for the immediate future, and what he thought of the test so far.
He was very cagey in his responses, not wanting to give away too much, but reading between the lines he still had plenty to say.
He did not want to enter into detail about how the bike felt, insisting that the first thing he had to do was to find the right riding position before he could be comfortable trying to push the bike to its limit.
Episode 198 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this show takes a look at what we can expect from the MotoGP Championship, as it heads into its first European round.
On the mics, we have our usual crew of Steve English, David Emmett, Neil Morrison, and Adam Wheeler, who discuss the upcoming round at Portimão.
Were you one of the lucky 500 people who plans to put a KTM 1290 Super Duke RR in their garage this year?
If you weren’t quick to act, then the answer is probably no (the same answer should be given for those of us living in the North American market as well – sad trombone), as the Super Duke RR sold out in a mere 48 minutes when it became available for pre-order.
Can Marc Márquez win the championship this year? Has he left his return too late to catch up? How fast will he be on his return to MotoGP at Portimão?
The answer to all of these burning questions is “we don’t know”, but that doesn’t stop us from asking them. And from trying to make our best guess at what might have happened by the end of the year.
Harley-Davidson is recalling 31,346 motorcycles for a faulty headlight bulb, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The recall affects mostly bikes from the Sportster family of bikes, but the headlight assembly (with the faulty bulbs inside) were also sold as replacement headlights (roughly 800 unites) for bikes in the Softail, Dyna, and V-Rod families.