On Tuesday, Dorna issued a press release together with the Indonesian Tourism Development Company, or ITDC, that brought an Indonesian round of MotoGP one step closer to reality.
If the plans come to fruition, MotoGP could be racing on a specially-adapted street circuit on the island of Lombok as early as 2021.
Carmelo Ezpeleta and his son (and MotoGP Sporting Director) Carlos visited Nusa Dua, in the south of Bali, one of Indonesia’s favorite destinations for tourists, as guest of the ITDC. While he was there, they hopped across to Lombok, the next island east of Bali, to visit the Mandalika tourist resort on the south coast of Lombok, which is currently under development.
The plan is for a race to be organized on a circuit using the public roads inside the resort. This is the ‘street race’ which was rumored much earlier in the year, but about which few details had emerged.
The new design brings the R3 closer into the rest of Yamaha’s supersport family, particularly with an intake shape that looks inspired by the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.
There is a split on rumors as to whether the rest of the machine will get an update as well, specifically the frame and engine, though we can expect some some minor refinements to the overall package, no matter what the case may be on that front.
LED headlights and lighting all around have been tipped, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see an updated dash as well.
What you see here is the very unassuming 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15, a 155cc single-cylinder sport bike that was designed with the Asian market in mind – as such, the bike will debut in Indonesia in April 2017, and the rest of the ASEAN market later this year.
Hold on before you click through though, as while the R15 might be too small by our Western market standards, the new Yamaha YZF-R15 packs some interesting technology, namely Yamaha’s variable valve actuation (VVA).
Because of this technology, Yamaha says that the 2017 model of the YZF-R15 achieves a 18% increase in power output (19hp in total), and a 4.7% increase in fuel efficiency, all from its 3% engine displacement increase and with the VVA technology.
It is looking increasingly like the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand will be added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season.
I understand from sources that there was a significant hurdle to be overcome: circuit title sponsor Chang is a major beer brand in Thailand, and a rival to the Official MotoGP Beer Singha, also a major beer brand in Thailand and further abroad. The race can only happen if a compromise has been found to accommodate this conflict.
This is good news for Thailand, and good news for fans in Asia. The World Superbike round at the circuit is always packed, and MotoGP should be even more popular. It is hard to overstate just how massive MotoGP is in that part of the world.
From India, through Southeast Asia, motorcycle racing in general and MotoGP in particular has a huge following. But the only country in the region that has a race is Malaysia, hosting its Grand Prix at Sepang.
So expanding the calendar to include Thailand is a welcome addition for fans in the region. If the financial and logistical problems with organizing a race in Indonesia ever get sorted, then there might even be a third race in the region, at the Palembang circuit in South Sumatra.
Given the massive interest in MotoGP from that country, it is a racing certainty that any race there will be a complete sell out.
The first week of 2017 has come and gone, and we are a week closer to the MotoGP bikes hitting the track again at Sepang for the first test of the year.
Though little of consequence is happening publicly in the midst of the winter break, there are the first few signs of activity.
So, after the jump is a round-up of the news from last week: most of the things that matter, all in one place.
Getting our first glimpse of the machine today, the Honda CBR250RR is finally breaking cover, and we can bring you the first images and technical specs of the quarter-liter sport bike.
As we already knew, the Honda CBR250RR will use a 250cc twin-cylinder, DOHC, eight-valve, liquid-cooled engine that revs to a 14,000 rpm redline. There’s no word yet on power, but we would expect it to surpass the other 250cc offerings from the Japanese manufacturers.
We also expect a 350cc version for markets like North America and Europe, though there’s no official word on that, just yet.
The reliable Indonesian news source TMC Blog is reporting that the 2017 Honda CBR250RR could debut next Monday. The news stems from Astra Honda Motor, the importer for Honda motorcycles in Indonesia, which sent out a press invite for a new Honda model that is to debut.
While an announcement like that could mean almost anything, the fact that Astra Honda Motor posted a teaser video of the Honda CBR250RR last week though gives us a pretty good hint as what to expect next week from Big Red.
TMC Blog reports that the Honda CBR250RR will sell for 60 million Indonesian rupiah, which at the current exchange rate is roughly $4,500 USD.
The Honda CBR250RR is getting closer to breaking cover, with a teaser video of the quarter-liter sport bike coming to us this week from Honda’s Indonesian importer.
The video doesn’t give away too much on its face, but it does confirm the “RR” status of the new bike, and shows that many of the details that we have seen already on the Honda “Light Weight Super Sport” concept have made it into the production machine.
This bodes well for small-displacement motorcycle fans, with the upcoming Honda CBR250RR likely being the bike that many hoped Honda had initially produced, instead of the Honda CBR250R and Honda CBR300R combo.
The 2016 Honda RC213V has officially debuted in Indonesia today, giving us our “first” glimpse at the machine that Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez will be riding in the upcoming MotoGP season.
Much has been said about the development of the Honda RC213V, especially after Honda’s disastrous season in 2015. Early indications show that the 2016 model will be tamer than the 2015 model, but not by much.
Honda’s 90° V4 engine still produces a brutal amount of power, which is only going to be more difficult to contend with in 2016 because of the move to the unified electronics package, which HRC has also struggled to come to terms with.
MotoGP fans will remember that the 2015 Honda RC213V was so unrideable, Marc Marquez switched back to the 2014 chassis mid-season, and instantly started seeing better results with that hybrid bike.
Despite all this, Honda has the temerity to say that its 1,000cc engine has been made to be “lighter, more power and [have] rider-friendly characteristics.” The proof will be in the pudding of course, but we are not expecting to see the Repsol Honda machine as dominant on the race track as it once was.