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Jensen Beeler

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It is news that has long been coming, ever since the Suzuka 8-Hours, but now it is official. Toprak Razgatlioglu will be leaving Puccetti Racing at the end of the season to race with the factory Pata Yamaha WorldSBK team in 2020.

Toprak Razgatlioglu will replace Alex Lowes in the Pata Yamaha squad, racing alongside Michael van der Mark, who will start his fourth season with the factory Yamaha team.

Episode 21 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and it is packed with some interesting motorcycle discussions.

The show starts with some catching up on Jensen’s racing season, which ended with a five-hour endurance race in Minnesota with Kramer Motorcycles and colleagues Rennie Scaysbrook (Cycle News) and Troy Siahaan (Motorcycle.com). Joined by local fast guy Kris Skellenger, the foursome won the GP2 class in the CRA endurance race, and finished 5th overall.

There is this misnomer in motorcycle design that because a machine is powered by electricity, it has to provoke some sort of design aesthetic from the far future – like there is some notion that this next-generation powertrain can only exist if it looks like it fell out of some sort of science-fiction novel.

I suppose, that trap is easy enough to fall into when you consider the great hope that is being placed into electric motorcycles for our industry’s future, but it surprises me that so few electric motorcycle designs are capable of transcending the tastes of several generations of motorcyclists at once.

A rare machine that did this well was the Mission R from the now defunct Mission Motors, and Tim Prentice from Motonium Design crafted the Mission R to look like a real motorcycle, not a science-fiction protagonist, but yet we only have to look at the Mission One prototype to see how even skilled designers can misjudge the conservative nature of motorcyclists.

Today, I offer you another design that can be mentioned alongside the Mission R as “electric done right” as Walt Siegl has once again added a chapter to his ongoing book, entitled “two-wheeled perfection.”

A collaboration with Mike Mayberry, the man behind the stunning Ronin 47 project that used leftover Buell 1125R motorcycles, this drool-worthy performance is simply called PACT.

Remember that day when KTM bought a struggling dirt bike brand? No, we’re not talking about Husqvarna again, because today Stefan Pierer and his team acquired 60% of the shares of Spanish dirt bike marque GasGas.

The acquisition is actually an interesting one between KTM and GasGas’s owner, Black Toro Capital, as it sees the Austrian conglomerate “partnering” with its Spanish counterpart, primarily on electric dirt bikes.

A couple weeks ago, we talked about the prospects of seeing Ducati Corse going racing in the Endurance World Championship, and if the Ducati Panigale V4 R could make an appearance at the Suzuka 8-Hours.

It might be a while before we see the Italian manufacturer in the FIM EWC series in an official capacity, but the start of the 2019-2020 season is already giving us a glimpse of what we can expect from Ducati.

This is because the Hertrampf Racing Endurance Team from Germany is using the Ducati Panigale V4 R in the endurance series this season.

Here is one for a bit of nostalgia, as Honda is set to bring a concept motorcycle that riffs on iconic machine from Big Red’s lineup. The motorcycle shown above is the Honda CT125 concept, which is to debut in a month’s time at the Tokyo Motor Show.

For those that know their motorcycle history, the “CT” name should be a familiar one from Honda, as the trail-oriented motorcycles were the off-road counterparts to the popular Super Cub street bikes.

Rumors out of Italy are suggesting that Kawasaki Heavy Industries has bought the Bimota motorcycle brand and its intellectual property.

We first saw the report on this news at the respected GPOne website, though details on the transaction remain virtually non-existent, with a press conference on the news expected in the coming days.

If true, this information is truly interesting, as it will likely set off a firestorm of speculation regarding what Kawasaki could want with the defunct boutique Italian motorcycle brand.

It appears that Triumph has a new sport bike for us to drool over, and no I’m not talking about the recently debuted Triumph Daytona Moto2 765 supersport. 

But, today’s news does concern a 765cc three-cylinder motorcycle: the Triumph Street Triple RS.

We know this is the case because the British brand is hocking the new bike in a not-so-subtle way on social media right now (check the teaser video above).

We also know a few details about this upcoming machine, and that includes the new aesthetic to the iconic dual front headlights, which incorporates a DRL design.

The wait is finally over, as Big Red has finally taken the wraps off its revised version of the Honda Africa Twin for the Euro5 emission standard.

The result is a “CRF1100L” motorcycle, which tips the notion that this adventure-tourer has an 86cc displacement increase, as expected. This accounts for a 7% increase in peak power (101hp / 75 kW), along with a 6% increase in peak torque (77 lbs•ft / 105 Nm).

Despite all this, the 2020 Honda Africa Twin gets a modest weight reduction as well, to the tune of an extra 10 lbs (501 lbs at the curb, non-DCT model). But most importantly, the Japanese brand has brought some significant features to the fray, making the Africa Twin not only potent, but sophisticated.

One of our eagle-eyed readers sent us this image, which shows a fully-faired Zero SR/F electric motorcycle out in the wild, near the headquarters of Zero Motorcycles.

The photo is our first piece of concrete proof that a fully-faired model of the electric sport bike is coming, though there have been rumors of the machine since before the official debut of the SR/F itself.

The Trump administration is about to take on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in a battle for the rights to set emission standards.

The first blows in this showdown have already begun, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sending a letter to the CARB saying that the organization had violated federal law by making an agreement with several automobile manufacturers on higher emission standards

The Trump administration doesn’t seem to end things there though, with the expectation the President will announce plans as early as today to do away with California’s emissions waiver from the Clean Air Act.

While it seems like politics as usual and centered around the auto industry, such a move will have huge implications for motorcycle manufacturers.