Laguna Seca


The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has voted 4-1 to adopt a resolution that will bring some key facility and track upgrades to the Laguna Seca race track, including a resurfacing of the track’s 11-turn course.

The news marks the first time the track has been resurfaced since 2007, and the investment also includes a new start/finish bridge, which will be larger and included the ability for golf carts to go across it.

The Turn 3 Paddock Pavilion will also be getting a bevy of changes and enhancements.

What do you say about the Aprilia RSV4? The past 13 years have seen a number of changes come to the RSV4 (and seen a number of letters come and go, as well), as Aprilia has been consistent in its effort to keep the RSV4 at the pointy end of the liter-bike spectrum.

The 65° V4 engine has grown from 999cc from its debut in 2009, now to 1,099cc in 2021. Similarly, the electronics package has gotten smarter and faster. And of course, the design has (debatably) improved with the latest trend of aerodynamic aids.

This constant unyielding iteration is unseen elsewhere in the motorcycle industry, which instead prefers to succumb to the ebbs and flows of more clearly defined model generations.

This unique approach has allowed Aprilia to constantly keep the RSV4 at the pointy end of the liter-bike segment, but has it paid off for the 2021 model year RSV4 and RSV4 Factory machines, though? That is the topic of today’s story.

To find the answer to whether the Aprilia RSV4 has gotten better with age, and remains at the top of the superbike pile, we took this motorcycle to one of the most iconic tracks in the United States: Laguna Seca. 

We were not disappointed in the result. Let me explain.

For the 2021 model year, the venerable Aprilia RSV4 gets another update to its 13-year-old platform.

The RSV4 has evolved considerably in that timeframe, and over that period, this production motorcycle lays claim to being the first with an IMU, the first with ride-by-wire, and the first with winglets.

While the differences between the model years of the RSV4 can be subtle at times, the 2021 model sees a revamp of the superbike’s aesthetic, especially in terms of how it handles aerodynamics.

With only 500 being made worldwide (and maybe 100 or so of them coming to the USA), the chances of getting to swing a leg over the Ducati Superleggera V4 are pretty slim. Riding one around Laguna Seca in anger? Even slimmer.

So naturally when Ducati North America called and asked if we wanted to do exactly that, the answer was an obvious yes.

That brings us to this moment, where on Thursday Asphalt & Rubber will get a chance to ride a $100,000 carbon-fiber-everything superbike around one of the most iconic race tracks in America. Sometimes, this job is really, really tough.

Funny enough, this is a rare case of the coronavirus actually causing some positive changes in the motorcycle industry, as normally the US would only get to send one publication to the press launch for a bike like this.

But instead, Ducati North America has the ability to host its own event, while the European magazines were forced to slum it at Mugello for a day. Hence, here we are.

Ok universe, you win… For the 2020 season, MotoAmerica will be adding a seventh class to its playlist for the Laguna Seca round, and that class will be comprised of highly modified baggers. Yup, baggers.

While many racing fans will be scratching their heads wondering why MotoAmerica is trying to pull an April Fools joke on us in February (Julian calendar, perhaps?), the American professional racing series seems quite excited about the money entertainment that the event will generate.

The 2020 WorldSBK Championship calendar has just been released by the FIM, and the 13-round series has some interesting changes for next year.

For American fans, the most obvious and notable change is the lack of a race in the United States, as Laguna Seca has been dropped from the schedule.

Other big changes include moving the Qatar round from the last race of the season, to the second race of the season, which means that it will take place just one week after the MotoGP season-opener at Losail.

Episode 109 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one is another WorldSBK show. As such, this means that we see Steve English joined by Gordon Ritchie on the mics, as they are now our World Superbike reporting duo for the 2019 season.

Recording straight from the United States, the guys talk about the on-track action at Laguna Seca, where we saw an unbelievable turn of events in the championship standings, mostly in the form of Alvaro Bautista’s complete meltdown on the track.

Photos: © 2019 Andrew Kohn / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved

One of the highlights from the WorldSBK round at Laguna Seca was the unveiling of Bologna’s latest limited edition motorcycle, the Ducati Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916.

An homage to the Ducati 919 Superbike that helped dominate the production-based series, the 1,103cc superbike was unveiled by Carl Fogarty himself, the man who took Ducati to four WorldSBK Championship titles.