Yamaha Tech 3 team have erected a wall dividing the garages of Colin Edwards from that of James Toseland. As we reported earlier in the year (), the two riders had a falling out after swap in crew chiefs occurred. Following the conclusion of the 2008 MotoGP season, James Toseland was granted Colin Edwards’ crew chief Gary Reynders, an incident that Edwards was opposed to and has stopped the teammates from working together.
The New York Times ran a great article this week about the challenges facing Harley-Davidson, both from the current economic depression, and more generally as the quintessential Harley rider gets older in age.
In summation, Harley-Davidson dealers around the US and overseas are seeing sales drop dramatically as people scale back their expensive purchases, and as the access to credit becomes increasingly difficult.
There’s no real surprise there, and any hardcore fan will be quick to tell you that Harley will be back on top once this financial turmoil is over. However, looking farther down the road at Harley-Davidson’s long-term business position, there is additional trouble brewing as well.
Baby boomers account for the majority of Harley sales, and they are getting older. The NY times ends there with its commentary, but we think there’s more to the story on Harley-Davidson and the American bike market in general.
KTM has put the Venom naked superbike project on hold to focus solely on bringing the RC8 to market successfully. In 2004, the Venom concept was shown as a variant to the RC8 Superbike that would debut one year after the RC8 (which would have been this year). Clearly that is not the case, and KTM’s Thomas Kuttruf explained to MCN the reason for the delay:
For the tests in Jerez, Ducati will be providing Nicky Hayden with a new set of foot pegs for his GP9. After studying track data, Borgo Panigale has revealed that the 2006 World Champion touches the rear-brake of the GP9 with his foot without noticing it. At Honda, Nicky’s propensity to hit the rear-brake had also been discovered, and was attributed to his past in dirt track riding. With these new foot pegs, we’ll see if the Kentucky Kid can gain a few tenths of a second without even trying.
The Ducati Streetfighter is being launched to motorcycle magazines in Italy this week, luckily pictures and video have already made it to the internet for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, we’ll stay have to wait a few more months for the traction control, Marchesini wheeled, and Öhlins suspended Ducati Streetfighter S to go on sale in the US sometime in May. MSRP for the Streetfighter S will be $18,995. The cheaper non-S Streetfighter will hit showrooms sometime latter this summer with an MSRP of $14,995. More Details and pictures after the jump.
Place your bets for this year’s MotoGP winner, and if Vegas is any indication, the smart money is on Valentino Rossi to win the 2009 MotoGP Championship series. Bookies have marked Valentino Rossi as the clear favorite to win this year’s MotoGP Championship, with many betting houses only offering ‘odds-on’ (e.g. 4:5) or ‘evens’ (1:1) prices on the Italian. Don’t be completely deterred from betting on Rossi though, has still got the Italian at close to 2:1 for the title win. Continue reading to see the spread on your favorite riders.
Here’s a Sunday afternoon rumor for you. Lucio Cecchinello, owner and manager of LCR Honda, has been looking for sponsorship in some atypical places. Italian magazine Motocorse is reporting that the Playboy bunny head will be gracing Randy de Puniet’s MotoGP race bike soon as LCR Honda’s newest sponsor.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is beefing-up its website of state laws by using interactive maps of the United States that illustrate , with additional state law maps becoming available in the future. The maps provide geographic representations of the laws to illustrate the extent to which US states are addressing highway safety concerns.
Source: IIHS via Autoblog
The Piaggio Group Americas is opening a new national technical center in Costa Mesa, CA. The 12,000 square foot facility houses the company’s product testing and technical training operations, including factory product training and classroom instruction for service technicians from all U.S. and Canadian dealerships, as well as Latin American importers. Piaggio, which had all-time record-setting U.S. sales in 2008, continues to expand both its model line and dealer network with over 500 dealers serving customers in North America. The company also anticipates ongoing strong demand for its diverse range of scooters and motorcycles as consumers shift focus to more economical personal transportation.
UPDATE: Roberto Rolfo announced on his website that he would be leaving Stiggy Racing, due to “reasons beyond his control.” Those reasons beyond his control would seem to be: John Hopkins joining Stiggy Honda, having sponsorship coming with him, and generally not performing that well last season.
According to Roadracing World, John Hopkins is officially racing with Stiggy Honda’s World Superbike team. John Hopkins’ agent Bob Moore confirmed the news that that Hopper will be riding a Stiggy Honda CBR1000RR in the World Superbike Championship series, starting with the next round at Valencia, which starts April 3rd.
In an unlikely venue you may soon find one of the first mass-produced electric motorcycles. Starting in May, five Best Buy locations near the West Coast will begin stocking the Brammo Enertia, a $12,000, carbon fiber-intensive electric motorcycle that stores its power in large format, lithium-phosphate battery packs from made by Valence.