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Jensen Beeler

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The world markets may be down, and stores may dropping out of business like it’s third period French class, but Ducati is finding the economic downturn to have an upside on its balance sheet.

Ducati’s sales revenue for the first three quarters of 2008 grew by 25% compared to last year’s figures. This means to close to $417MM in revenue for the Bologna Bandits, with their bottom line looking 87% better than before, totaling in at $41MM.

Why now brown cow? Well shipments from Desmo-central to dealer floor rooms has been up by 19% for the year so far, with sales up 8% worldwide. In the meantime, worldwide industry sales are down 6%. Evidently, those cars that people aren’t buying, is not equating into motorcycle purchases (you know…for the mileage advantage) 

The Bologna Boys say they are still on track to achieve a forecast 20% growth in worldwide sales for full fiscal year, up from a predicted 15% sales growth.

How are the other European manufacturers doing? 

KTM has had a 50% drop in operating profit for the full 12 months of its fiscal year, closing the books at $21MM. The House of Orange (not Oranj) is blaming this decline on a bad Dollar to Euro exchange rate, and plans to cut motorcycle production for the 2009 season by 10%.

Piaggio (owner of Aprilia, and most of Europe’s scooters) is also cutting back on production across all its motorcycle and scooter brands after depressing results for the first 3 quarters of 2008. Overall sales were down by almost 6%, falling 10% in Europe, which accounts for about 80% of its bike and scooter sales.

BMW, while slightly more insulated, is feeling the pain too, with global motorcycle sales down by 2.5% in the same period, and profit from bikes falling by nearly 16%.

Source: visordown

In other financial news, the trade-deficit for sportbike hotness in the United States has increased another 300%. Sorry Buell.

I know this is a motorcycle blog, but who wouldn’t want to take a KTM X-Bow out for a spin on a wet track (Vienna Drift?)?? In a pinch we’d take the Supermoto 990 instead. It’s too bad the weather wasn’t better so we could see a proper shoot-out between the two. Leave in the comments who you think would win.

Source: I can’t believe I made a Tokyo Drift reference in this post. *sigh*

Michael Schumacher, Formula 1 Demi-God Michael Schumacher, is rumored to have been offered an open invitation to race a factory backed Honda CBR1000RR in the World Superbike Championship. Schumie has been testing bikes a lot lately. Taking corners for both Honda and Ducati, and while he has adimantly denied any interest of taking on motorcycle racing (all evidence to the contrary), he does seem to be skilled on the -2 wheels machines.

Despite the shooting down of racing speculation, Schumacher is still set on racing in the German Championship. HRC’s Carlo Fiorani was quoted as saying, “For the moment he has not asked us to race in the 2009 world championship…but if he wants to, there is a way for him (to do it). All he has to do is ask us.”

Source: AutoSport via AutoBlog

Time will tell on this one folks.

We don’t care if it’s because of changing tastes and trends, or if the naked/standard motorcycle is the industry’s attempt to tempt drivers away from their 4-wheeled cages, but these are the hot bikes of 2009. While this Abarth Assetto Corse FZ1 is merely just a show bike to help commemorate 100 years of Fiat sport-tuning, it’s choosing comes days after the release of the Ducati Streetfighter debut (and new Monster style launch), as well as KTM’s Super Duke R recoloring, just to name a few. Pictures and more after the jump.

 

There were 876 crashes this past GP season. That’s a lot.

Between free practices, qualifying, and races, the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP series racked up 30% more crashes than last year, with an average of 48 crashes for each race weekend. It should be noted that this was the wettest season in the history of the series, with 16 out of 18 race weekends having at least one day of rain in the official three days of racing. While the rain certainly is a factor, it should also be noted that Randy de Puniet crashed 22 times this season, and only took his shirt off twice.

The crash numbers for the past seasons for the quant-jocks in the room:

1999 – 565
2000 – 633
2001 – 634
2002 – 646
2003 – 705
2004 – 706
2005 – 737
2006 – 647
2007 – 672
2008 – 876

Source: GPone

At least Randy looks really, really, really ridiculously good looking when he crashes.

Jorge Lorenzo really does have the hard life. It must be hard to go into your second season of MotoGP racing, and have people expect you to win the Championship. It must be hard being that good.

With only a limited number of tests scheduled on the new 2009 Yamaha M1, Lorenzon will have to spend the extra free-time figuring out what number to run in next year’s GP. High on the to-do list is retiring his “48” number plate for a new one. Lorenzo still has some time to decide between “23” and “99” before the start of the season in Qatar.

“We’ve done some tests to see how the two would be aesthetically, but the decision will be made further down the line. We will definitely make the choice in January.”

This officially makes MotoGP racing the worst job ever. With all the one-off ultimate performance bikes, tall leggy umbrella girls, and tough decisions like these, I don’t know why anyone would want to be a professional motorcycle racer. I guess it’s just for the money.

Source: MotoGP

Don’t work too hard Jorge, we wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.

Artist conceptual drawings for the soon upon us Terminator 4: Salvation are out, and there’s a motorcycle. A motorcycle with twin Gatling cannons, red eyes, and a hearty thirst for human blood. Apparently from the drawing, the cannons will be on a self-leveling rig, making the manslaughter that much more easy.

I don’t want to give anything away plot wise…but Christian Bale is in fact both Batman and John Connor. *Gasp*