Jensen Beeler


Episode 122 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one is a MotoGP show, as we catch back up with the premier class on its flyaway rounds at Japan, Malaysia, and Australia.

As such, this means that we see Neil Morrison and David Emmett on the mics, as they are our MotoGP Championship reporting duo for the 2019 season.

As you can imagine, there is no shortage of things for them to talk about, especially as we head into the final round of the season, at Valencia.

If you have never visited North Italy, especially along the Swiss and Austrian borders, then you haven’t really lived a complete life yet. One of the most picturesque places on Earth, and some damn fine riding, the Dolomites and the larger Alps ranges should be on every motorcyclist’s bucket lists.

Don’t take my word for it though, let the above video from MV Agusta do some of the talking, as CIV Supersport Champion Davide Stirpe flogs the MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro around some of Italy’s most famous passes and locales.

When it was announced that Jorge Lorenzo would be holding a special press conference at 3pm, the Thursday before the start of the Valencia round for MotoGP, and that Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta would be talking at the media event as well, the news could only mean one thing: Jorge Lorenzo was about to announce his retirement from the MotoGP Championship.

It is true what they say about smoke and fire, and today the smoke cleared for an announcement from the man himself, telling a packed press conference room that “this will be my last race in MotoGP” and his last race-weekend as a professional rider.

One of the most anticipated superbikes of the 2020 model year, the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade (say that three times fast) is a true all-new motorcycle from the Japanese brand.

With 215hp on tap from its 999cc inline-four engine, the new Fireblade is posting big numbers, from a small (443 lbs) package.

Though we won’t see the base model in the United States (the current generation CBR1000RR will remain for the price-sensitive), we will see the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP in June 2020, as a 2021 model year machine.

That is a long time to wait, for what promises to be a class-leading machine in the liter-bike space.

It was teased at the EICMA show in Milan, with the Japanese brand saying nary a word about the electric motorcycle chassis it had on display near the back of its booth.

Just one of the many surprises that were quietly shown to the public, this electric motorcycle showed a green steel tube frame, a modest battery pack, and what appeared to be mock engine cases.

Beyond those details, and the fact that this bike existed, there was not much else to say about the prototype, until now.

If you had asked me before the 2019 EICMA show what bike I was most-certain to see debuting for production from BMW Motorrad, the answer surely would have been the BMW R18 cruiser. 

The German brand has been teasing this new machine for an inordinate amount of time (since well before the last EICMA show), bringing a bevy of concept bikes to realization in the process to help ease us into the idea of a big air-cooled, pushrod, boxer engine design with an eye on the cruiser scene.

Surely at Milan, we would see the R18 make its debut, and surely were we disappointed when BMW showed us yet another concept for the motorcycle. It is as if no one learned from Yamaha's mistake with the Ténéré 700.

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One of BMW Motorrad’s big reveals for the 2019 EICMA show in Milan, the BMW F900XR brings two big announcements with it.

First, there is the obvious middleweight addition to the XR “adventure-sport” lineup, and second that the German’s 270° parallel-twin will see a 895cc displacement for the Euro5 homologation.

Riffing on the BMW 9cento concept that we saw a year-and-a-half ago, the 2020 BMW F900XR keeps many of the concept’s lines, while infusing more of its bigger sibling into the design as well.

Do not adjust your computer monitors, you are not seeing things incorrectly. This KTM Moto3 bike is having a bit of an identity crisis, as it is now known as the Husqvarna FR 250 GP. Yes, the Swedish brand is making its re-entry in the grand prix racing next year.

Set to be campaigned by Max Racing, which is the team name of former world champion Max Biaggi, Husqvarna’s push back into the Moto3 series is sure to make waves, and that’s before we tell you that the named riders are Romano Fenati and Alonso Lopez.

As you can imagine then, the news made waves when it was announced at the EICMA show in Milan, though perhaps there is some hope that Biaggi’s veteran status can ease the rough edges found on Fenati.

As expected before the EICMA show, electric motorcycle maker Energica will bring a significant boost to its 2020 model year lineup, starting with larger capacity battery packs.

Now with 18.9 kWh (nominal) of energy onboard (the most of any production electric motorcycle on the market), the Italian brand has nearly doubled its battery capacity, without adversely affecting its models’ weight and cost.

Energica says that this battery increase is a direct result of its participation in the MotoE World Cup.