Jensen Beeler


Saturday’s WorldSBK race saw only 12 riders on the grid, as six riders (Chaz Davies, Sandro Cortese, Marco Melandri, Leon Camier, Ryuichi Kiyonari, and Eugene Laverty) sat out the race in protest over the conditions.

Just 20 minutes before the start of Race 1 though, as many as 14 riders seemed set to sit out the day’s events, citing issues with the track’s surface, which had just been recently laid, and was still seeping oil to the surface, and was also dusty from lack of use.

However, with pressure being exerted on the riders to race, reportedly by their teams and Dorna, a number of riders lined up on the grid, despite their agreements with their colleagues. 

It has always surprised me that while Dunlop is a huge player in the US motorcycle tire market, the American brand hasn’t really latched onto one of its domestic market’s biggest trends on two wheels: adventure-touring.

I am sure that if you asked the tire gurus at Dunlop if they had an ADV tire in their arsenal, they would reply with several models to choose from. The graphic near the bottom of this story seems to support this notion.

But, diving deeper into Dunlop’s lineup shows really a strong showing of DOT-legal dirt bikes tire, but with plenty of white space on the board when it comes to the sizes and expectations common with today’s big ADV bikes.

Well, that needle is moving a bit today, with Dunlop’s latest news in the adventure-touring space. This is because Dunlop has two big announcement for its ADV tire offerings.

Confirming the news we already reported on, Alex Lowes will leave the Pata Yamaha team at the end of the 2019 WorldSBK, and move into green colors for next year, as the teammate to Jonathan Rea in the Kawasaki Racing Team.

Lowes replaces Leon Haslam in the factory Kawasaki team, and brings with him a great deal of knowledge on Team Green’s fastest rising competitor: Yamaha.

The new bike season is starting to heat up, and the zenith is only a few weeks away. I am of course talking about the EICMA show in Milan.

As such, the Germans are gearing up for a big show in Italy this year, with an all-new booth design, and more importantly, four new motorcycles to showcase.

We know this, because BMW Motorrad told us so in a press release, but the real information we are craving is which bikes we will see in Milan, and for that, we have some strong guesses.

With a couple caveats, I would describe the track day business model as heavily commoditized. That is to say, there is little to differentiate the track day of one organization from the next, which leaves most riders buying track time based on location, schedule, and price.

If you don’t give it too much thought, this concept shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, what riders are really buying is time on the race track, the conditions of which are relatively outside the purview of the organization hosting the event. This makes a brutal business landscape, and it is not surprising to see the space making a race to the bottom.

Now to be fair, some organizations run a tighter ship than others; some track day groups offer more instruction than others (especially for novice riders); and there are track days that offer more perks (lunch, photos, celebrity riders, etc) than others, but all-in-all the product is the same: a few hours of cumulative time on a race track.

In my 15 years of track riding, the biggest differentiation I have found between track day groups is the culture (or lack thereof) an organization has been able to infuse into its program. But, this only moves the needle a minuscule amount, and it shows in the ever-increasingly competitive marketplace that is motorcycle track riding.

For the past month, Kawasaki has been teasing a new addition to its supercharged motorcycle lineup. We didn’t know too much about the machine as the time, other than it would fall into the company’s “Z” lineup of naked sport bikes.

Most educated guesses then pegged the bike as a 1,000cc supercharged streetfighter, and we have been eagerly waiting for the bike’s October 23rd arrival to see if our assumptions were correct.

Now today, we get our first glimpse of the machine, as well as its name, as Team Green continues its teaser campaign of the 2020 Kawasaki ZH2.

We know it is coming, a new KTM 1290 Super Duke R for the 2020 model year, but just in case there was any doubt, the Austrians have begun teasing their new “Beast” ahead of its EICMA show debut.

The news comes from a short teaser video, which shows a number of KTM technicians building a motorcycle. With the title and hashtag “#GETDUKED” being shown, the possibilities for the model are quite small.

And, if we scrub through the frames, we can see numerous hints that the bike in question is a high-spec motorcycle, with a single-sided swingarm. The steel trellis frame looks exactly like the one spotted in spy photos of the new Super Duker R.

Episode 118 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one is a WorldSBK show, as the production championship comes to us from Magny-Cours, France.

As such, this means that we see Steve English joined by Gordon Ritchie on the mics, as they are our World Superbike reporting duo for the 2019 season.

Recording straight from trackside at the French track, the guys give some conversation about the on-track action at Magny-Cours, as well as what is happening off the track.