Yamaha Caught Improperly Testing Emissions in Japan

The Japanese automotive industry is being rocked by an emissions and fuel efficiency scandal right now, and it involves the Yamaha Motor Company motorcycle division as well. All told, five of the eight automotive companies in Japan have been found incorrectly testing and reporting the emissions and fuel mileage of their vehicles. The scandal started in 2016 with Mitsubishi, which lead to findings last year where Nissan and Subaru were found manipulating the results of their emission results. These findings then caused the Japanese government to require other automotive companies in Japan to check their testing operations. Upon this internal review, Mazda and Suzuki found and reported that their cars had been improperly tested, with Yamaha finding similar results with its motorcycle standards testing.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 Gets Updates & More Power for 2019

The Kawasaki Ninja H2 is already a beast of a motorcycle, and for the next model year, this supercharged hypersport is getting a bevy of updates. The biggest change will be the power output, with Kawasaki bumping the H2 from 200hp to 228hp, all of which while keeping the bike’s Euro4 compliance rating and current fuel efficiency rating. The power increase comes from technology developed for the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX sport-tourer. Namely, the H2 gets a new air filter, intake chamber, spark plugs, and ECU. The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 does not get the SX’s balanced supercharger, however. Other changes include the use of Bridgestone RS11 tires, as well as Brembo’s new Stylema calipers, which first debuted on the Ducati Panigale V4 superbike, and offer superior cooling to the outgoing Brembo M50 calipers.

MondialMoto Working on a V5 Superbike

Remember when the Honda RC211V was the fire-breathing of the MotoGP Championship? One of the more intriguing attributes of HRC’s creation was its unique V5 engine. Despite press speculating that a V5-powered Honda superbike was coming, such a machine never made it to production. This irked the folks at MondialMoto (no relation to FB-Mondial, though the choice in names is eyebrow raising), which now wants to bring a V5 superbike to market. Announcing their V5 superbike project, this thought by MondialMoto is an interesting proposition, though we suggest curbing the enthusiasm that is surely to come. First, the good. At the core of the concept is a 1,000cc V5 engine with a 75.5° cylinder head angle.

Ducati Sales Down 7.4% Worldwide So Far In 2018

More doom and gloom for the motorcycle industry, as Ducati Motor Holdings sales are slumping for the 2018 model year. Selling 32,250 motorcycles so far this year, the Italian brand is short 7.4% the volume it sold this time last year. To translate unit sales into fiat currency, the 32,250 motorcycles sold equals €448 million in revenue going into Audi’s coffers. Of note, Ducati’s revenue contribution to Audi AG accounts for 1.4% of the automaker’s total revenue. For the second quarter of this year, Ducati sales were down 8.9% compared to Q2 2017. This means that 20,319 Ducati motorcycles were sold in Q2 2018, compared to the 22,300 sold in Q2 2017. All segments for Ducati are down, except for its “Sport” category (SuperSport and Superbike models), which is up 29%.

The High Fives Heard in Milwaukee

There were high fives heard all over Milwaukee last week. Reading the headlines and stories that came from Harley-Davidson’s Mega Monday announcement, one could only conclude that the American icon was back. They did it. They were showing signs of life again. Boomshackalacka. No one saw an adventure-touring bike with knobby tires coming from the Bar & Shield brand, and the idea of a sport bike from Harley-Davidson seemed inconceivable just over a week ago as well. Milwaukee even impressed with its more “core” offerings, with the Harley-Davidson Custom being perhaps the first cruiser we would want sitting in our garage. It looks gorgeous, and is just sporty and modern enough to be “a real motorcycle” in our eyes…we think.

Ducati’s Project 1309 Reveals a New Diavel Coming

We didn’t hear too much about “Project 1309” from World Ducati Week 2018, which is surprising considering what the past has shown us about Ducati’s secret reveals, but the Bologna brand was once again giving a teaser to fans in Misano. In the past, World Ducati Week has been the place where Ducati showed us the first Scrambler model, and last year the event debuted the return of the Ducati SuperSport. This year, it is another new bike. A new Diavel, to be precise. Set to compliment the current XDiavel model, the new Diavel features the same 1,262cc DVT engine with variable valve timing, but puts it into the more sport Diavel riding platform. This means tucked in feet on rearsets, rather than the XDiavel’s foot-forward controls.

VW CEO Outlines Two Possible Futures for Ducati

The Clash’s hit song “Should I Stay, Or Should I Go” might perhaps perfectly fit the business situation for Ducati, within its parent company, Volkswagen AG. The Italian motorcycle brand’s status in the German conglomerate has for the past few years been held on a tenuous string. Rumor about its divestiture, its selling to another company, are constantly dogging the iconic brand. Talking to Bloomberg TV after Volkswagen’s quarterly earnings report, VW CEO Herbert Diess explained that there are two paths forward for Ducati, and one of them includes selling Ducati to the highest bidder. “We have to look which is the best ownership for Ducati,” said Diess to Bloomberg.

KTM’s Counter-Rotating MotoGP Engine Debuts at Brno

Ever since Jerez, when the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team debuted a new engine with a counter-rotating crankshaft, fans and journalists have been asking when factory riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith would be able to use the new engine on a race weekend. KTM test rider Mika Kallio had been very positive about the engine during the Jerez weekend, and Smith and Espargaro had spoken in glowing terms about it after the Jerez test. KTM’s response was always that it would not be ready until at least after the summer break. Reversing the direction of crankshaft rotation is not as simple as sticking an intermediate gear between the crank and the clutch, to allow the crank to spin in the opposite direction while maintaining forward thrust.

Retro Livery Pops on the Suzuki GSX-R1000R Superbike

We are big fans of the creations that Team Classic Suzuki has been churning out. Stop what you’re doing right now, look at this Katana race bike, and try to disagree with our enthusiasm. It cannot be done. Taking their touch to the current Suzuki GSX-R1000R superbike, we see what this tire-shredder would look like in a retro-mod livery that is inspired by the bodywork found on the original GSX-R750. So far it sounds like the bike is a one-off, done by our friends across the pond, but we think Suzuki should seriously consider some throwback paint schemes in its lineup. Until then, items of note include a number of tasty Giles-made bits, straight from the Suzuki performance catalog, otherwise the bike shown here is pretty much stock.

BMW Plans To Launch Nine New Motorcycles

It might be still be summer, but our eyes are looking ahead to the new bike season in the fall and winter, where the major motorcycle manufacturers will debut their new motorcycles for the future. The big trade shows to watch are INTERMOT and EICMA, as these have traditionally been the venues of choice for new model unveils, prototype teasers, and concept debuts. One brand that is certainly going to be showing us some new motorcycles is BMW Motorrad, with the German company saying that it plans to launch nine new models in 2018. What those nine models will be is up for conjecture, though we have some good ideas, and some bad ideas, on what they could be. Let’s take a look.

Friday’s Isle of Man TT Race Preview

06/07/2018 @ 7:38 pm, by Steve EnglishADD COMMENTS

Senior Day dawns on the Isle of Man, and this national holiday is far from a day-off for the riders.

With six laps of the fearsome Mountain Course, the top riders will have just over 100 minutes to etch their names in the history books. The list of past winners is a who’s who of road racing, and brings to a close two weeks of helter skelter action at the road racing capital of the world.

Mike Hailwood and John McGuiness are the most successful riders in the history of the Senior, with seven wins apiece, but with only two active riders, Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson, having claimed a win in the blue ribbon race, we could see a new victor added to the 45 names on the winners list.

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IOMTT: Lightweight TT Race Results

06/06/2018 @ 8:01 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

The Lightweight TT each year proves itself to be one of the most popular classes at the Isle of Man TT. Originally conceived as a three-lap race, where pit stop strategy added to the intrigue, the “junior” class is now a four-lap affair.

Designed to be a proving ground for younger riders, now we see the big names in the class as well, with Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman and others testing their mettle on the 650cc twin-cylinder bikes.

The final race on Wednesday, TT fans were treated to a strong race, which had several lead changes, and plenty of lap records.

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IOMTT: Supersport TT Race 2 Results

06/06/2018 @ 4:24 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

The sign at the starting line said “conditions excellent” as the Isle of Man provided another perfect arena for motorcycle racing, as Race 2 of the Supersport TT got underway.

With Michael Dunlop setting a 129 mph lap during Race 1, conversations already started about whether we would see a 130 mph lap from the supersport machines, an almost crazy average lap speed to consider from the 600cc machines.

While we wouldn’t see the record books change that entry today, we did see an eventful Supersport TT Race 2 at the Isle of Man TT.

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Wednesday’s Isle of Man TT Race Preview

06/06/2018 @ 12:06 am, by Steve EnglishADD COMMENTS

After a thrilling start to race week, today’s action has a lot to live up to. Wednesday’s lineup will offer nine laps of racing across the Supersport, Lightweight, and TT Zero classes.

The trio of Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman, and Dean Harrison have dominated the week so far, and it’s almost certain that they will once again be the men to beat in the Superport class.

But in the Lightweight class, the likes of Ivan Lintin and a host of others will feel they can contend.

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IOMTT: Supersport TT Race 1 Results

06/04/2018 @ 11:21 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

It is a trite thing to talk about the weather, but when you are racing on an island where the weather can drastically change from day-to-day, the weatherman is one of the most popular people (or unpopular, depending on the prediction) during the TT fortnight.

Warm weather during the practice week is key too, as it allows riders to hone their setup, and unsurprisingly the more sunny days we have at the Isle of Man TT, the more records we see fall. 

Monday has been another sunny and warm day for the Isle of Man, and so we shouldn’t be too surprised to then see more records written in the history books – this time in Race 1 of the Supersport TT event.

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IOMTT: RL360 Superstock TT Race Results

06/04/2018 @ 8:42 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

With the sun shining at the Isle of Man TT, the Superstock TT go underway with the fire-breathing superbikes that feature treaded tires and near-showroom specs. That’s right, it’s the RL360 Superstock TT race.

The Superstock TT has been treading on Superbike TT territory for several seasons now, with not very much separating the two bike categories on the course. Chalk this up to the level that production superbikes have achieved, especially with electronics, and the diminish returns that come with horsepower.

With a Saturday’s Superbike TT race showing three big names – Dean Harrison, Peter Hickman, and Michael Dunlop – Monday’s Superstock TT race promised to be a good scrap. As it turned out, TT fans were not disappointed.

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Monday’s Isle of Man TT Race Preview

06/04/2018 @ 12:38 am, by Steve EnglishADD COMMENTS

Having claimed his 16th Isle of Man TT victory on Saturday, Michael Dunlop will start as the firm favorite when the second day of solo racing begins on Monday.

The Northern Irishman led the way in Supersport and Superstock practice during practice week, and his confidence will be high when he takes to the start line on Glencrutchery Road for the Supersport race.

Riding a self prepared Honda CBR600RR, he comfortably led the way in practice with a 127mph-lap, but he’ll know that winning on Monday will be a much tougher task than his Superbike victory proved to be.

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IOMTT: RST Superbike TT Race Results

06/02/2018 @ 7:05 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

It had been talked about all through the Isle of Man TT practice week. Would we see a 134 mph lap during this TT fortnight?

It didn’t take long to get the answer, with Dean Harrison breaking the 134 mph barrier with his opening lap of the Superbike TT race…from a standing start.

With Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman in tow, it seemed that the podium positions were a lock from the early sector times, but the six laps of the Superbike TT race proved to be a trial of miles for these road-racing gladiators.

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IOMTT: Superbike TT Race Preview

06/02/2018 @ 2:46 am, by Steve EnglishADD COMMENTS

There is no greater challenge in motorcycling racing than a superbike race at the Isle of Man TT. Wrestling over 165kg of hulking, brooding machinery around this legendary circuit is a challenge unlike any other.

For today’s RST Superbike race has the potential to be a six lap classic. With stunning weather throughout the week, there’s been plenty of time to get bikes setup, and complete lots of laps on the course, so plenty of riders have already set their fastest ever laps during practice week.

As a result, a group of riders are primed to bring the challenge to Michael Dunlop. The Northern Irishman may be the prohibitive favorite with the bookmakers, but he’s had a difficult practice week.

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Preview of the 2018 Isle of Man TT

05/30/2018 @ 7:12 pm, by Steve EnglishADD COMMENTS

The 2018 Isle of Man TT is underway and Asphalt & Rubber has you covered to get up to date with some of the biggest names at the Isle of Man TT.

The road racing capital of the world is rarely called a paradise, but it is hard to look past that word when the sun shines on this 200 square miles of rock in the Irish Sea.

This week the sun is certainly shining, and practice week has already been one to remember. Lap records look set to be shattered as this past winter is banished from memory by the burning sun.

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