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Jensen Beeler

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With specs for the road-going 2009 Aprilia RSV4 already out, and details about the WSBK prepped bike still coming, all has been too quiet on the Western Front in regards to if when the Aprilia Tuono will get the same V4 treatment as its more clothed cousin.

If Aprilia follows the previous formula for the Tuono, we can expect a literally naked version of the RSV4, in which case the above “rendered” speculation is likely a pretty close estimate, with maybe only some changes to the headlight, and “chin” fairing.

With already a plethora of naked bikes in its stable (Mana, Shiver, Dorsoduro) the Tuono can only exist if it differentiates itself from these bikes in some way (which would mean it has to adopt the V4 platform to continue on). Still, it would be nice to see Aprilia think a little bit outside of the box with the styling options. 

Instead of just dressing down an RSV4, maybe the Tuono would become more than just a small market bike if it had its own legs to stand on, without looking like the Emperor in new clothes.

Wow us Aprilia. Wow us.

The MotoGP World Championship begins its customary winter testing ban period today. From now until January 21, 2009 there will be a complete embargo of on-track testing. During this period time period, team riders are not permitted to ride their respective bikes in preparation for the upcoming season.

During the seven-week break constructors will continue developmental work, whilst riders will use the free time for training, recuperation, surgical procedures, and stealing each other’s crew chiefs. The first test for MotoGP after the ban is lifted is set for February 5th through 7th, at the MotoGP Official Test in Sepang.

Source: MotoGP

Aprilia’s Mana X was released to the public during the EICMA bike show in Milan a little over a month ago. Since then, Aprilia has finally seen it fit to get the street-meets-flat-tracking motorcycle into a studio for a proper photo shoot.

The Mana X concept is based off of Aprilia’s Mana 850, and shares the basic parts like the motor, and trellis frame. However, the resemblance ends there with a new two lens projector headlight setup, a full MX seat, low slung muffles, and a swingarm with exposed bracing taking the bike into a completely new direction of styling.

From the looks of the photo’s it looks like Aprilia has done away with the foot shifter in lieu of a hands-only choice of automatic shifting, or sequential touch shifting (via finger controls). This has allowed Aprilia to move the rear-brake lever t to the handlebar where a traditional clutch lever would be, leaving the dirt bike inspired foot pegs to dangle all by themselves.

While the bike is still a concept, it would only take a few minor changes and a little raiding of the common parts bin to make this dream become a reality.

DynoJet has come out with a new version of their Power Commander fuel injection computer, the Power Commander V. The new unit is smaller than the prior models, and more importantly it boasts some impressive features. The Power Commander V will only be available for 2009 model year motorcycles, so you’re pretty much out of luck if you actually own a bike right now, but if you’re in the market click to read all of the juicy details. Oh, did I mention this will be an auto-tuning device that dynamically changes your fuel based on sensors throughout the bike? Yeah, now you want to click for more.

 

It was only a few months ago that Norton Motorcycles had the spark of life breathed back into it. A UK businesman named Stuart Garner bought the rights to the Norton brand, and set up a factory and officespace for the company near the famous Donington race track.

Rumors place Norton as currently developing a streetbike called the Commando for the 2009 model year. Likely as a part of that product launch, Norton has announced that they will be entering into the Isle of Man TT in 2009 as well with 20-year-old Michael Dunlop taking the helm. More on this and the NRV588 with pictures after the jump.

Kawasaki concluded their testing at Phillip Island before the winter break today, after which John Hopkins headed almost immediately to the hospital to have surgery performed on his leg.

Hopper had been experiencing pain ever since the surgery performed after his crash in Assen early in the 2008 season. Toughing it out, Hopkins showed determination to get this last week’s worth of testing in:

“Today was more positive for me. The injuries weren’t such a big problem, although I had to adapt because I still can’t put any pressure on the left footpeg…we found a pretty good setup on the bike, and my lap times were pretty consistent over the long runs we did for Bridgestone, and it’s this consistency that’s important to our development program right now.”

Hopper clocked in 1’32.1 lap today, about a second off his qualifying time at Phillip Island earlier this year.

Even though MotoGP is such a high profile sport, it is understated how often MotoGP riders become injured during the racing season (Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo also had notable injuries during 2008), and how often  they ride on Sunday’s races with aliments and pains that would leave most of us weekend racers sitting on the couch with a cold one in hand, watching the races instead.

Hopkins plans to take it easy after the surgery, make a full-recovery, and then “train [his] butt off ready for the new season”.

Source: MotoGP; Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

James Toseland will be making a quick flight up from the Jerez testing to make a cameo appearance at the NEC Motorcycle Show, Britain’s premiere motorcycle exhibition.

When asked about his band, Crash, playing at the Yamaha booth Toseland replied:

“I’m really looking forward to playing at this year’s NEC Motorcycle Show; it combines my two main passions of motorcycling and music. It’s fantastic to have a sponsor who provides me with a keyboard and asks me to perform with the band as a work commitment!…motorcycling enthusiasts are always our most supportive and vocal crowds, so we should hopefully generate a fantastic atmosphere on the Yamaha stand.”

Fans will be able to buy CD’s, get their bras signed, and generally lose their minds to the acoustic wonderment. Unfortunately, the jokes about Yamaha motorcycles and pianos just got that much worse.

Source: MotoGP