Chinese motorcycle manufacturer Qianjiang Motor, which in 2005 acquired the Pesaro Benelli, is now investing an additional $26 million into Benelli to help revitalize the Italian brand. Talking at a press conference two days ago, Qianjang General Manager Haimei Yan stated that “[although] we have not yet turned a profit in the budget, we are here to stay, and believe in the company.”
When Marco Melandri signed with Hayate, he knew that Kawasaki would only be doing limited development on the ZX-RR in 2009. According to MCN that limited development will be quite limited after all, with Kawasaki ceasing to update the ZX-RR at the end of March, shortly after the Jerez tests. From then on, the factory will provide a maintenance service only, with no more upgrades, leaving Hayate to update the bike if they wish.
The FIM has released the official roster for the 2009 season. Notably absent is John Hopkins, who has yet to declare where he will be racing this season.
More action from Qatar on Saturday (Sunday for us in the US), as World Superbike completes Race 2 at Losail. The second race at Qatar for the year shows that we are in for quite the season, with riders old and new making waves. Continue reading for the races spoilers and results.
It was a three machines with three different types of motors battling it out for the top three spots in World Superbike’s first round of racing this year at Qatar. Continue reading to see the spoilers and race results.
Spain’s BeOn Automotive has developed a kit capable of converting popular 450cc motocross bikes into single-cylinder road racers for little effort and cost. The concept isn’t new, Roland Sands Designs has been making single-cylinder racers for some time now, and the racing class is alive and well in Southern California, but having a bolt-on kit like this is much needed first. Like the RSD SuperSingles, the Project 450GP kit utilizes the stock frame frame and engine, and only swaps components like the suspension, bodywork and wheels.
It looks like manufacturer, Roehr Motorcycles, has recently announced the opening of their new Santa Monica, California sales office. The new office is located on the beach in Santa Monica, CA in the heart of the Southern California motorcycle scene, making this the first business decision Roehr has gotten right since borrowing heavily from Italian motorcycle designs and a GM/Ford business model. Well done boys.
The Roehr 1250sc will be available in Santa Monica for private demo’s beginning in April.
Our very own Ben Spies has done it again and won the Superpole for the second time this year at the second round of World Superbike in Qatar, braking the lap record at the Losail circuit. Spies took his Yamaha YZF-R1 to a best time of 1.57.280 ahead of Guandalini Ducati rider Jakub Smrz,the Czech earning his first front-row start of the season. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi also put the RSV4 on the front row for a second successive race.
Husqvarna (which BMW bought in 2007) will be moving to its new headquarters in Italy by the end of May this year. The move is part of BMW’s plan to have all the Husqvarna business units in one facility. This means that all the engine, testing, development, styling, and racing divisions of Husqvarna will exist under one roof at the Cassinetta di Biandronno facility, in the Varese district of Italy.
Part of BMW’s motivation behind the move is to reduce costs and to sort out Husqvarna’s problems with quality control and supplies of spare parts. While Husqvarna only sold 12,000 bikes in 2007, BMW hopes to increase sales by over three times the current levels over the next 2 to 3 years. In fact, the new manufacturing facility will have the capacity to produce up to 40,000 Husqvarna motorcycles every year.
BMW intends to keep Husqvarna as an off-road specialist brand and use R&D inputs from the company to improve/develop its own dual-purpose and off-road machines.
Today Marco Melandri confirmed that he has signed a one-year contract with Hayate Racing to race in this year’s MotoGP championship that will replace his previous two-year contract with Kawasaki.
The deal is a costly one for Melandri, both financially and in terms of his ability to compete. “I had to make a big financial sacrifice, but the most important thing that I wanted was to find trust,” he told MotoGP. Throughout the last test at Qatar, Melandri complained of issues with rear grip, a similar complaint he had with the Kawasaki, and he expressed his hope that these problems could be fixed quickly.
“I have nothing to lose. One month ago I had one foot outside the World Championship, and now I have a team that is working solely for me. My motivation is this, and to show Kawasaki that they made a mistake in choosing to pull out their factory support.”
In another month’s time, at the season opener at Qatar, we shall see whether Melandri’s hope as justified.
There’s lot’s of news surrounding the Aprilia RSV4 this week. Those wishing to reserve an RSV4 in the UK can login to and register to take first delivery of the V4 monster, but must then pay a deposit at their local Aprilia dealer. Also Piaggio Group USA President and CEO Paolo Timoni has revealed that future RSV4 owners can expect to see the bike go officially on sale in the US in the last quarter of 2009.
If that wasn’t enough to wet your appetite, spy shots have found the RSV4 on the streets in production trim around Italy’s Lake Garda.