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Jensen Beeler

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For the 2020 FIM Endurance World Championship, a new factory effort will join the paddock, as BMW Motorrad has announced its intentions to bring a Munich-backed BMW S1000RR to the competition.

BMW Motorrad has already been in the FIM EWC, of course, but the German brand was participating by supplying technical support to any endurance team that could afford the bill.

Now with a full-fledged factory team, BMW Motorrad joins the ranks of Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha at the big kids’ table in the series. More importantly though, the chance to compete in the FIM EWC gives the Bavarians a relatively low-cost racing opportunity to showcase their new superbike.

Episode 19 of the Brap Talk podcast is finally out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and apologies for its nearly three-week delay. One of the topics we cover, Carlin Dunne’s death at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, hit close to home for us.

Quite frankly, I think I put off editing this show for a while, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the personal emotions that arise when talking about his untimely departure from us.

The motorcycle industry in the United States needs to attract new riders. This is a well-established fact, and we have already begun to see manufacturers catching on to this idea – most notably, Harley-Davidson with its “More Roads” business plan.

Now, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) is rallying the troops to the cause, announcing a new long-term initiative to bring in new riders.

The Triumph Rocket III was already an absurd motorcycle, with its 2,294cc three-cylinder engine – the largest of any production motorcycle.

Well, the Brits are aiming for next-level insanity now with the Rocket name, debuting today the Triumph Rocket 3 R and Triumph Rocket 3 GT, which feature a 2,500cc triple that makes 165hp and 163 lbs•ft of torque.

That’s an 11% power increase over the previous generation, though just shy of the performance figures boasted on the Triumph Rocket 3 TFC that we saw earlier this year.

For a brief moment, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team was a five-time winner (in a row, I might add) at the Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race.

That reality was eventually snatched away by the FIM Endurance World Championship race direction officials, who this weekend learned something new about their rulebook, but the race run by the factory-backed Yamaha team was no less impressive.

For nearly eight hours, the team’s three riders (Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark, and Katsuyuki Nakasuga) kept in check the best efforts by the Kawasaki Racing Team and Red Bull Honda squads, and it wasn’t until the final stint that Alex Lowes lost track of a raging Jonathan Rea.

It seems we will see Ducati’s 2020 model year lineup a bit sooner than we expected, as the Italian brand will host a special unveiling event in Rimini, on October 23rd of this year.

At the special event, we expect Ducati to unveil more than a few motorcycles, the crown jewel likely being the Ducati Streetfighter V4.

Another bike we expect to see is the revamped Ducati Panigale 959, which will get a restyling to look like the Panigale V4, along with other features (and possibly a displacement increase) as the Euro5 regulations may necessitate.

The Ducati Multistrada V4 could make its debut in October as well, though early indications is that it will be a 2021 model, however we would expect another Scrambler model to be in the lineup this October, with revisions coming to some of Ducati’s other machines.

Episode 111 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one is another special edition from the Suzuka 8-Hours. This means that we see Steve English joined by Jensen Beeler on the mics, as they are our Suzuka specialists.

Of course, the show has to start with a discussion about who actually won this year’s edition of the Suzuka 8-Hours, as the race’s conclusion, and the few hours after the checkered flag, were anything but straight-forward.

We know that Ducati plans on bringing its Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine to segments outside of the superbike realm, but only those segments where the high-power, high-revving engine makes sense in that application (and where the cost associated with the machine justifies the pricy engine’s use).

So, it doesn’t surprise us then that the first model to get the V4 treatment is a new Streetfighter from Ducati, the prototype of which was used for that fateful campaign up the Pikes Peak mountain.

Rumors have been rife though that Ducati would put its V4 engine into the Multistrada lineup as well, and today we get our first real proof of that notion, with the Ducati Multistrada V4 test mule caught on the road in Italy, both in photo and video.

As expected, the result of the 2019 Suzuka 8-Hours was decided well after the podium ceremony for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, with the factory Kawasaki team protesting Race Direction’s interpretation of the rulebook.

Agreeing with the Kawasaki Racing Team’s reading, the FIM concluded that because the race ended on a red flag, the results should be counted from the first full lap before the incident, which had KRT leading by a comfortable margin. 

This overrules Race Direction’s opinion that KRT failed to return to the pits five minutes after the race ended, which saw the Kawasaki team declared a non-finisher, and thus off the podium box.

UPDATE: The FIM has reversed the results of the 2019 Suzuka 8-Hours, and declared Kawasaki now the winner of the race.

In what will surely go down in history as the most frantic and confusing conclusion to the Suzuka 8-Hours ever recorded, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team won its fifth straight victory at the iconic Japanese endurance race.

The result, which wasn’t clear until moments before the podium ceremony, sees the Red Bull Honda team on the second step, followed by the F.C.C. TSR Honda squad, which also finished second in the FIM EWC standings.