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Jensen Beeler

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American Suzuki Motor Corporation laid off more than 15 % of its staff at its Brea, California headquarters and regional offices this past Wednesday, according to Automotive News. Suzuki’s the staff in the United States will now number 475, down from the original 570 workers. In addition to the lay-offs, Suzuki also reduced its regional offices from four to three and consolidated some functions. Once separate positions, employees in service, parts, and sales are finding themselves having to handle the tasks of all three areas.

Source: PowerSports Business

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Buell Distribution Company is recalling 3,316 2008 1125R, and 2009 XB12R/ZX12SEG motorcycles. The affected bikes have a front brake line which may be contacting the front tire because of a faulty routing method. If this is the case, the condition could be causing a hole to develop in the front brake line, thus allowing brake fluid to leak. If not seen to, this condition might cause a failure of front brake, leading to a possible crash, injury, and/or death of the rider.

Affected bikes should be taken to their local dealers where the brake line will be re-routed. If damage has occurred to the line, it will be replaced free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on or before April 20, 2009. Owners may contact Buell Distribution Company at 1-414-343-8400.

Source:

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MotoGP’s new “rookie rule” in some circles might be more aptly called the “Ben Spies” rule, since it adds a barrier for the American rider in his plans to join a factory ride in MotoGP. The rule, which comes from the IRTA (the organization that represents the teams of MotoGP), outlines that any rider eligible for the Rookie of the Year award would not be allowed to go straight to a factory team, but instead would have to spend at least a year on a satellite or private team. This gives the satellite teams an opportunity to secure young talented riders for a season before they get swept up into the factory teams who have much larger budgets. It could also make the field more even, by diversifying talent across teams with and without competitive machines.

 

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About half of KTM’s 1,500 full-time employees will be shifting to part-time positions between May and August of this year says the . KTM said the measure would apply to all categories of employees, including white-collar employees as well as manual laborers. The move effectively eliminates two months of production, but retains the company’s workforce and manufacturing capacity in hopes of an economic rebound next year. 

The move comes after KTM’s announcement a few months ago in January, which said the Austrian company would lay off 150 workers in its leasing division, and 150 core employees by April this year. KTM chief Stefan Pierer  added that the company was planning to decrease production by 25 %, but said he expected business to get slightly better next year. On the positive side of the news, Pierer also claimed the motorcycle industry was in better shape to survive the recession than the car industry since more people would opt for motorcycles during a recession.

Source: Austrian Time via Hell for Leather

You may remember the NY Times article that we mentioned a few days ago that was critical of the company’s current status and direction. In response to the NY Times article, Harley-Davidson is running the above ad in an attempt to provide a counter-argument to the criticism that the company is on shaky ground.

It should come with little surprise that Harley-Davidson is again playing on Patriotic themes and rhetoric that shifts the focus from the fact the company has serious issues ahead of it, and to date not clear plan on how they are going to overcome them. In addition to this ad, a message was sent out to all Harley-Davidson employees, read it after the jump.

In a post titled “TTXGP”, Motoczysz, the American MotoGP hopeful, has posted up on the company’s blog what appears to be a message hinting at a shift in the company’s focus to developing an electric motorcycle.

“It became very apparent to me that I was working to catch up in an era coming to an end – maybe I should set off and try to lead in an era arriving” -MC

It seems Motoczysz will be abandoning their efforts for a new electric bike. Now the speculation will be what parts of the C1 prototype will make it into the electric GP contender.

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Results are in from the MotoGP IRTA Test at Jerez this past weekend, and it was Casey Stoner who lead the entire weekend and came out the M Award winner. Despite this, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were closer than these times suggest. Jorge Lorenzo, in particular, made a big step forward, and looks like he could run with Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa this season, though he is still not ready to challenge for the title. At least, that’s what he says. Unsurprisingly, the best times for most people were set during the BMW M Award session, but the lack of qualifying tires this year, combined with the fact that that 45 minute session was disrupted by both the weather and James Toseland’s crash meant  that there was not so much in it. 

 

According to Mark Wells, Senior Partner at Xenophya Design, the goal of the EV-0RR was to create an evocative and exciting concept that would inspire sponsors to buy into the electric sportbike concept.

The electric bike is slated to compete in the Time Trial Extreme Grand Prix being hosted at the Isle of Man on the 12th of June this year. The EV-0 RR features a monocoque chassis, supported by its carbon-fiber fairings, a single-sided front and rear suspension, and twin electric motors.

The engineers behind the EV-0RR claim it will have the power, weight, and speed of a 600cc sportsbike, which makes this a serious electric replacement to the standard gasoline-powered sportbike.