According to both Tuttosport and Sportmediaset (both members of the overly-excitable and sometime unreliable Italian press), Marco Melandri will be riding a privately run Kawasaki for 2009. In a deal brockered by Carmelo Ezpeleta, the team will be led by Michael Bartholemy. Details are somewhere between sketchy and nonexistent, but it seems that Kawasaki will make all of the 2009-spec bikes available to Bartholemy, who will field a single rider, Marco Melandri.
Shortly after the news broke that Kawasaki would be withdrawing from MotoGP, the factory said that it had enough bikes and parts to last approximately a quarter of a season, and so presumably, this would be enough to run a single rider for at least half the season, or perhaps a little longer if the practice restrictions are pushed through as expected.
Finance for the project will most likely come from Dorna who want to avoid breaching their own contract with the FIM to field at least 18 riders for a world championship, with Kawasaki possibly kicking in some seed money since they don’t want to breach their contract with Dorna. Melandri would presumably be riding the 2009-spec bikes tested by Olivier Jacque in Australia during January, despite reports of poor reliability.
By now you are well aware of the cost cutting measures that are on the table for MotoGP next season. It looks increasingly likely that practice and testing days will be reduced this year, along with more drastic measures, which include engines that must last for at least two races, and allow riders to have only one race bike instead of two.
Around the time that Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP, rumors persisted that Suzuki could also be on the verge of pulling out of the racing series as well. Indeed at the time, , and the company seemed to be either circling the wagons or preparing to depart from the sport all-together. A number of sources inside Japan spoke of Suzuki withdrawing, but the Suzuki MotoGP team consistently denied the rumors. Those rumors now seem to be more than idle chatter around the water-cooler, and were in fact grounded in substantial truth. In an interview with Spanish site GPOne, Shinichi Sahara, head of Suzuki’s MotoGP team, makes it clear how close the team was to throwing in the towel.
The Suzuki Gladius is not a glamourous motorcycle. Destined to fill the market below the SV650 (we didn’t know there was a market below the SV650), the Gladius is a no thrills starter bike that you’ve probably already forgot existed. Luckily L-R-G, the makers of the see-through wheeled Hayabusa (seen in the background), have given the Gladius the supermoto treatment with stunning affect.
It’s the Mission One. It’s the electric motorcycle the blogsphere is buzzing about. It’s green (in energy, not color…although there are a lot of earth tones going on in its design).
It’s electric. It will hit 150mph, go 150 miles, make 100 ft lbs of torque, and take 8hrs to charge on a standard home outlet. Oh, and it’s also going to cost $68,995. That’s the bike in a nutshell, but digging deeper finds there is much more to it.
Harley-Davidson has announced that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group will invest $300 million in the motorcycle maker through a purchasee of senior unsecured notes that will mature in 2014. These funds match a similar investment by Davis Selected Advisers, L.P., which is already the largest shareholder of the company’s stock. Harley-Davidson will use the money to bolster its lending services, hopefully making it easier for the troubled motorcycle maker to lend cash to consumers. In exchange, Berkshire Hathaway will reportedly receive a lucrative 15% annual interest rate on the cash infusion.
The markets have responded to the news rather favorably, with Harley shares hitting $13.56 in trading yesterday afternoon – a 14% increase from where they started yesterday. Just about a week ago, Harley-Davidson announced a plan to shed 10% of its workforce. This move marks the first time that Buffett has ever invested in the company.
The Spanish based BQR-Honda is the first team to unveil their Moto2 series bike. The CBR-esque bikewill make its debut this season in the Spanish Roadracing Championship (CEV), before going on to race in the Moto2 series in 2011 when it premieres. The 599cc, 140hp, Honda motor is framed into a prototype aluminum chassis, and tips the scales at 302lbs (137kg).
Controversy surrounds the sourcing of the motor from Honda. The BQR team has used a modified Honda CBR 600 engine, which is entirely within the rules of the new category, but also goes against the spirit of the new series. Having a road bike take key parts and development from production road bikes is the exact opposite of what prototype racing is about. The purpose of the Moto2 series is to setup an exotic testing ground for the 600cc class of streetbikes. With these bikes based so closely on the production models, one can only think that World Superbike and Supersport are feeling a little infringed on.
SBK has a contract with the FIM that grants them the exclusive rights to organize a world championship for production motorcycles, and Paolo Flammini (owner of IMS, which operates the SBK) has made several public statements saying that they intend to defend those rights aggressively. While the BQR bike will race first in the Spanish national championship, IMS will have no grounds for recourse, but that could all change in 2011 when Moto2 goes live.
Hopper and Melandri still seem to be in MotoGP pergatory, which only gives people more time to speculate on what might become of the two riders. The prevailing rumor right now is that Hopper could end up with a World Superbike ride with Stiggy Honda Motorsports, along-side rider Leon Haslam. This move would mean that Hopkins would replace Roberto Rolfo, who has had problems with a dislocated shoulder.
This appears to be news to Rolfo who recently posted to his site about his recovery and plans for the season without any apparent concern about being replaced by the American.
In these days I am receiving a lot of mail regard to my injury, I want in the first place say you “thanks” for your support! During the tests of Portimao I completed only a few laps, the lesion was still too much fresh; I knew that it would not have been immediately easy, but it has been however important for me to enter in track, to better know the bike and the new team! I’m happy because the upgrades them is very high!
The days before the next tests in Australia are enough for being able to recover the form with a lot of motivation and training! I am not losing not even a minute of time, therapy, race, bicycle, swim, always with much music: thanks special also to Diabo for the songs of the “El Canto del Loco”! I will take advantage of every day at best, in order to arrive to the top in Australia for the next tests!
By by… and always… Gasss!
With the pace that the news has been going about these two, it is really only a matter of time before the Hopkins/Melandri Moto2 rumors start surging; but until then, WSBK might seem like a nice fit for Hopper.
The proof is in, Valentino Rossi is a tall lanky bastard. The Italian two-wheeled dynamo has reportedly tripped and fallen while attempting to operate window blinds, possibly Levelors. Really, we couldn’t make this up if we tried.
Rossi will need stitches to in his hand and foot for the cuts that resulted from his landing on a glass table. Yamaha expects Rossi to be able to ride in Malaysia. Unfortunately, nothing could be done for the table.
. Finally, pictures of the 2009 BMW S1000RR have made their way outside the walls of BMW HQ and onto the internet. Without a formal press release the details are a bit sketchy right now, but the Street-going S1000RR is expected to tip the scales at 403lbs (dry), have a 999cc inline four motor, and cost €15,150 ($19,438) when it goes on sales in Germany this summer. Also present are ABS brakes and traction control. More news as we get it.
The addition of the new Moto2 class, which is set to replace the 250cc 2-stroke GP class, has caused a number of interested parties to begin work on their entry into the mini-MotoGP. While we expect the Hondas, Suzukis, etc to be in the new series, some of these companies are outside the list of the usual suspects, such as the possible Triumph entry, and now news comes that Bimota may be working on a Moto2 contender. Bimota is focusing their interest specifically on the chassis development side of the 600cc prototypes, and supposedly the boutique firm is ready to produce key components for the inception of the new class.
A return to the World Championship would see Bimota come full circle in their focus as a company. In the early 1970’s, Bimota was focused solely on producing parts for Grand Prix bikes. Renowned for their work with frames, shock absorbers, and chassis development, Bimota worked in collaboration with most of the top motorcycle producers of their time, sourcing power plants from them. We can’t wait to see what they come up with now, its about time we saw Bimota on the premiere circuits again.
Bimota will be revealing more details on their intended Moto2 involvement on their website, .