The Fruits of Carmelo Ezpeleta’s Grand Plan for MotoGP

Sometimes decisions are a long time in the making. Tech3’s decision to leave Yamaha and sign with KTM may have been made in the space of a few months, but the genesis of that choice, the process that made it all possible is ten years in the making. If MotoGP hadn’t switched from 990cc to 800cc at the start of the 2007 season, if the ban on tobacco sponsorship in sports hadn’t been enforced from 2005, if the financial system hadn’t collapsed under the weight of tranches of “ninja” loans, Tech3 would be a Yamaha satellite team for the foreseeable future. Whether they wanted to be or not. How did MotoGP get to a place where Tech3 could switch to KTM? To make complete sense of the story, we have to go back to the end of the last century.

Here’s How to Race a $20,000 KTM RC390 R in the USA

In case you haven’t noticed, the Supersport 300 class is heating up, and perhaps most interestingly with virtually zero machines with a 300cc displacement…but that is a subject for another time. This has put pressure on KTM to remain at the pointy end of business in the small-displacement category, which has lead the Austrian company to the release of a homologation special for the 300cc class. As such, say hello to the 2018 KTM RC390 R sport bike. A street legal motorcycle, the KTM RC390 R aims to sharpen the points where the entry-level KTM RC390 is a bit dull, namely by using better suspension and new intake trumpets that widen the powerband, but also with a new triple clamp, clip-ons, and levers.

The Future of Fast, A Review of the Alta Redshift MXR

I always joke with industry folk that “it’s called Asphalt & Rubber for a reason,” as I am a dyed in the wool street bike guy. So when Alta Motors invited A&R to ride the new Alta Redshift MXR, I knew there were better people for the job than I. This is where heterosexual life partner Carlin Dunne comes into the mix. On top of being one of the fastest men ever up Pikes Peak on two wheels, as well as the fastest electric motorcycle to compete in The Race to the Clouds, Carlin is an accomplished off-road racer – both with and without a motor between his legs. So, we sent Carlin down to Southern California to ride Alta’s newest machines, and with already a bevy of time in the saddle on electric motorcycles, I can’t think of a better person’s opinion for these electron-powered off-road racers.

What A Trade War Means for Motorcycles

Strangely enough, we have talked about trade wars several times before, here on Asphalt & Rubber, as the Trump administration has been keen to use this tool in its toolbox, often with effects that reach into the motorcycle industry. The first time around, we talked about how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) affected the motorcycle industry, namely Harley-Davidson, and how the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement would likely be a negative effect for US motorcyclists. We have also had to talk about how fighting over beef imports could lead to possible tariffs on small-displacement European motorcycles in the United States, a tariff that would seriously hurt Piaggio/Vespa scooter sales and KTM dirt bike sales.

KTM and Tech3 Team Up in MotoGP for the 2019 Season

It was a shock to hear that the venerable Tech3 team would be leaving the Yamaha family, come the 2019 MotoGP season, after all Tech3 boss Hervé Poncharal cut his teeth with Yamaha. But, once the news of his move sunk in, we are not surprised to hear that he is headed to KTM for the 2019 season, as was officially announced today (and rumored for well over a week). That is right, for the 2019 MotoGP Championship, the Tech3 team – one of the most regarded satellite teams in the GP Paddock – will be racing the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike, with full-factory machines from Austria. That last caveat is likely the tipping point and main reason for Poncharal’s switch, with Tech3 long having to put-up with having the leftovers from the Yamaha Racing factory squad.

What If Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors Had a Baby?

With the news that Harley-Davidson has invested an undisclosed sum in electric motorcycle manufacturer Alta Motors, the following concept might seem like a no-brainer. That is because the folks at Carbon Projects invisions the partnership between the two American brands as lending itself to the creation of an electric street-tracker model. Taking the heritage-focused roots of Harley-Davidson, and applying them to Alta’s Redshift platform, the resulting model is quite a looker, if we do say so. Of course, we should remember that Alta has already shown a street tracker concept of its own, displaying the Alta Motors Redshift ST concept at last year’s One Moto Show, in Portland, Oregon.

This Week’s Suzuki Hayabusa Rumor, Redux

In this installment of “This Week’s Suzuki Hayabusa Rumor,” we again take a look at the motor of this venerable sport bike. The rumor going around the interwebs right now is that the 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa will feature a “semi-automatic” gearbox. Side-stepping the part where saying a gearbox is semi-automatic is  a lot like saying someone is “semi-pregnant” (you either are, or aren’t), the rumor stems from a patent filed by Suzuki that shows a gear-shifting mechanism with the foot-shifter that doesn’t require a clutch. If this sounds a lot like an up/down quickshifter system, then you score extra bonus points today for being a rational human being, but you would be very wrong about what this whole rumor should actually be about.

Harley-Davidson Invests in Alta Motors

Harley-Davidson has announced its strategic investment in Alta Motors, which will see the two American companies co-developing two new electric motorcycle models. As one can imagine, the news has big ramifications for both brands. For Harley-Davidson, it means having access to cutting-edge electric vehicle technology, and a technical partner that can help them navigate the coming shift to electric drivetrains. And for Alta Motors the news is perhaps even more impactful, as Harley-Davidson brings not only a key monetary investment into the San Francisco startup, but the deal likely provides access to a variety of assets for Alta, namely purchasing power with parts supplier, access to a worldwide dealer network, and instant credibility with other future investors.

Here Comes a New Complaint About Californian Drivers…

If you are riding in California anytime soon, you might want to think twice before blaming the state’s fleet of drivers, as The Golden State just made it legal for self-driving cars to operate without a human behind the wheel. While similar actions have stalled in the US Congress (the SELF DRIVE ACT is stuck in a Senate committee), states have begun to take matters into their own hands, like they did in Arizona. That is right, the dawn of truly autonomous vehicles has just arrived, and it is primed to change the driving landscape as we know it, which by correlation means changes for the motorcycle community as well. Announced on Monday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) approved rules that would make it legal for automated vehicles to operate without a human behind the wheel. 

BMW S675RR Concept by Nicolas Petit

I really like the idea of BMW making a supersport model, to compliment the already potent BMW S1000RR. The category is a tough one though, and it is dominated by the Japanese brands. Maybe, this is why BMW Motorrad is the perfect brand to disrupt the supersport segment. The S1000RR made a killing in the liter-bike space, because it brought European features and performance, at a Japanese price-point. Because of the success that resulted from that formula, maybe the Germans can do the same in the 600cc segment. Putting some pen and paper to this thought, Nicolas Petit has inked together a render of a proposed BMW supersport machine, which he dubs the BMW S675RR.

Canada Outs New MV Agusta Brutale Model & Pricing

12/20/2010 @ 4:16 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

After recently announcing the return of MV Agusta to the Canadian market, MV Agusta’s Canadian distributor Motovan has outed the Italian company’s new Brutale model. While it doe not seem that this model is the 675cc “Brutalina” that Castiglioni hinted at earlier this year, this Brutale instead appears to be an F4 derived street-naked, and is expected to hit the North American markets in mid-summer 2011. With pricing starting at $15,595 CAD, we expect pricing here in the United States to be closer to $14,595.

Likely based off the revised MV Agusta F4, which debuted at EICMA back in 2009, the new Brutale should see a style update to keep the street-naked inline with MV’s current take on the F4. Noticebale from Motovan’s pricing is the new Brutale’s lower price tag amount, which should help move some more units. We expect the new Brutale to have a 920cc displacement, and borrow heavily from the F4’s chassis design and aesthetic.

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Ducati Corse Gets a New Logo

11/11/2009 @ 9:47 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS


After updating their company logo last year at EICMA, Ducati felt it was time to get the Ducati Corse logo in-line with the new company branding. As such, at Milan this week the company announced a new racing logo, which has already begun to show up in the United States, and will work its way into Europe and other markets as they deplete current usage of the old mark.

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Rumors are circulating that Suzuki is about unveil its 2010 motorcycle line-up, which will reportedly feature an all new 1,250cc Bandit, new GSX-F, and an updated GSX1000R. With the Gixxer 1000 being completely revamped just last year, we’re not sure if that means just new colors for 2010, or if Suzuki will be making modest performance enhancements, like we saw with the 2010 Honda CBR1000RR and 2010 Yamaha YZF-R6.

Those are all the details we know now, more as it comes to us. Remember to always tip your waiter, and your daily motorcycle blog.

Hungarian GP Back on For 2010

07/09/2009 @ 3:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS


After being cancelled as a stop for this year’s World Championship, the Hungarian GP is back on for 2010 at the Balatonring. The new track has been plagued with development problems in acquiring the land and necessary permits for its construction, leaving its planned September debut to be scrapped.

Hungary will be MotoGP’s second stop in Eastern Europe once the Balatonring is finished. When completed the new course will be 2.8 miles long, have 16 turns, and a straightaway where riders can expect speeds of 195 mph.

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Mac Motorcycles Enters British Streetbike Scene

05/29/2009 @ 11:56 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS


Mac Motorcycles is entering into the fray as Britain’s latest motorcycle manufacturer. With a cafe-racer/chopper design, Mac is planning to have 4 models: the Spud, Ruby, Peashooter, and Roarer. All four bikes will be lightweight street cruisers, with no plastic, and nothing you don’t need except to just ride for the hell of riding.

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Asphalt & Rubber is pleased to announce that John Boyed will now be a regular contributing author to our daily news mix. John will cover general motorcycle news with a focus on the rising electric motorcycle scene. John has been a long time motorcycle enthusiast, and spends “far too much time digging around on the internet.” He has followed the electric motorcycle scene closely, and has a particular interest in the niche markets that occur in our sport. Our kind of guy for sure.

John owns and operates The Electric Motorcycle Forum, Hyosung Riders Forum, and the Other Makes Motorcycle blog. You can follow him on twitter @ skadamo.

Bimota Eyes Return to Racing with Moto2 Entry

02/03/2009 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS


The addition of the new Moto2 class, which is set to replace the 250cc 2-stroke GP class, has caused a number of interested parties to begin work on their entry into the mini-MotoGP. While we expect the Hondas, Suzukis, etc to be in the new series, some of these companies are outside the list of the usual suspects, such as the possible Triumph entry, and now news comes that Bimota may be working on a Moto2 contender. Bimota is focusing their interest specifically on the chassis development side of the 600cc prototypes, and supposedly the boutique firm is ready to produce key components for the inception of the new class.

A return to the World Championship would see Bimota come full circle in their focus as a company. In the early 1970’s, Bimota was focused solely on producing parts for Grand Prix bikes. Renowned for their work with frames, shock absorbers, and chassis development, Bimota worked in collaboration with most of the top motorcycle producers of their time, sourcing power plants from them. We can’t wait to see what they come up with now, its about time we saw Bimota on the premiere circuits again.

Bimota will be revealing more details on their intended Moto2 involvement on their website,

Source: MotoGP

Ducati: New Bikes, New Logo

11/03/2008 @ 6:22 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

Along with the line of 2009 motorcycles presented at EICMA, Ducati CEO, Gabriele Del Torchio gave the world a glimpse of the new company logo.

It is an evolution of the historic brand name, which now includes a new red shield featuring a graphic symbol alongside the classic Ducati script, making this motorcycling logo even more eye-catching and unique and communicating passion, competition and performance.

To accompany the launch of this new logo, Ducati has produced a video to highlight its distinguishing features – including the fun and passion that have always been part of the Ducati spirit.

Source: Ducati

What’s Italian for “Holy Crap! It looks like we know what we’re doing!”?

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Ducati Streetfighter (1098?) Coming Monday

10/28/2008 @ 11:42 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

Ducati has added a flash intro to their site telling of a “Streetfighter” to be released this Monday, November 3rd. We can only speculate on what this bike could be, considering the wraps on the new Monster 1100 is already out. Could this be the rumored 1098 streetfighter to help stave off the likes of the Aprilia Tuono, Benelli TnT, and other naked sportbikes?

UPDATED: Only time will tell what the real bike looks like, but read more to see some artistic “opinions” of what the naked livery could look like.


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