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I would start with some grandiose phrase - "this weekend we witnessed history in the making" - but the reality is that there have been several attempts already to achieve what the MotoE World Cup sets to undertake.

Electric motorcycle racing has been in the nexus for almost a decade now, and if we are frank, the progress has been tough.

TTXGP, FIM ePower, TT Zero - there are achievements to each of these efforts, but none have been able to create a product that is on par with their petrol-powered counterparts.

So while we have been here before, with a new series dedicated to racing electric motorcycles, there is a chance that we have seen history in the making, because the MotoE World Cup shows signs of life...and it shows how a new racing series can be launched in the 21st century.

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The 2019 Isle of Man TT once again saw the record lap drop for the electric class, with the new TT Zero record mark set at 121.909 mph by Michael Rutter, on the Mugen Shinden Hachi machine.

The Japanese squad has become a tour de force at the Isle of Man TT, taking now six-straight victories on the Mountain Course. Each year, we have seen the winning TT Zero lap time drop in number, and 2019 was no different...though barely.

Shaving less than a second off his time from 2018, Rutter crossed the line in 18'34.172" - a figure likely attributable to the dismal weather conditions for this year's TT gathering, which meant very little practice time for all the competitors.

Despite that lack of progress, a quick look at the Mugen Shinden Hachi shows that the Japanese outfit has not been resting on its laurels, despite the lacking arrival of a serious competitor in the TT Zero class.

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We sat down with David Johnson before the start of the Isle of Man TT races, and the Australian explained to us the pressures that come with a factory ride.

On Thursday though, Johnson took his factory-backed Honda CBR1000RR to the podium in the Superstock TT race, thus fulfilling a major goal in his road racing career.

It wasn't an easy feat, especially considering the horrid weather that has been hammering the Isle of Man for the past fortnight.

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Lee Johnston claimed the first Isle of Man TT victory of his career in Monday's Supersport TT Race 1. Having won the class at the North West 200, the Northern Irishman was expected to be a contender on his Yamaha YZF-R6, but after finally breaking his duck, it was clear just how special this was for The General.

“I’m so emotional,” said Johnston afterwards. “This place is so weird, and I feel like I haven’t done anything different, but it just clicked. In one way it’s frustrating, but in another it’s amazing. I’m absolutely over the moon."

"I probably haven’t been the easiest person to live with because of all the stress, but this is what we do it for. It’s something I always wanted to do, and there’s one person [my dad] I wish was here to see that. He won’t be, but hopefully he’s looking down.”

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David “Davo” Johnson is back at the TT, and the Australian keeps learning and keeps improving. The Honda rider has spent ten years keeping a lid on expectations, and he’s now keen to put his lessons to good use

The Isle of Man TT is sink or swim. Some riders take to it like a duck to water, and others realize that it is just not for them.

It is the most unique race on the motorcycle calendar. It is you against the track. It is you against the clock. It is you against yourself.

For David Johnson though, this year is different. He is a factory Honda rider for the first time, and the Australian is doing all he can to make sure that he keeps the pressure to a minimum.

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The Isle of Man TT is 37.75 miles of asphalt through small villages and beautiful Manx countryside - the goal is to complete it in under 17 minutes, and at an average speed of over 135mph. Any mistake can be your last.

This is the most spectacular race track in the world. This is the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course.

Learning your way around the Isle of Man TT course is a mammoth task though. There is literally too much going on for your brain to comprehend it.

When riders talk about the course they piece together section by section. Where are the bumps? Where are the traffic lights? Where are the road signs? Where are the painted kerbs?

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The check boxes are getting ticked by the Ducati Panigale V4 R. WorldSBK race winner? Check! British Superbike race winner? Check! Road Racing winner? Not just yet.

The Ducati Panigale V4 R was designed and developed to dominate, and Gigi Dall’igna has said that the goal is to make the bike the most sought after Superbike in every paddock.

Last year the Italian spoke about how important it was to win the North West 200 because this was a race that Ducati had never won. Breaking new ground was important 12 months ago, and it’s even more important now.

The new bike is one that can, in theory, be a contender at the Suzuka 8 Hours, and finally give Ducati a reliable platform to compete at races such as that. The North West 200 is also a potential precursor to once again seeing Ducati on the roads of the Isle of Man.

This bike has the potential to be a real challenger, but it will take success this weekend to really show just how good the Panigale V4 R can become.

To find out what goes into making a bike into a contender on the roads Asphalt & Rubber talked with Paul Bird Motorsport to find out exactly what it takes.

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“I’ve had to pinch myself leaving Imola in the past." That's how Chaz Davies sums up his relationship with the Italian circuit and the Ducatisti in a few short words.

Winning four races in a row at an Italian circuit on an Italian bike will make for some great memories. Unfortunately for the Welshman, he hasn’t looked like adding to those memories this season.

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The Ducati Panigale V4 R is the newest bike on the Superbike block, and as you’d expect it is the most advanced bike on the WorldSBK grid. 

The Italian manufacturer has developed a tremendous package over the winter, to immediately vault to the top of the pile in the production based series, and with Alvaro Bautista having been undefeated in the opening two rounds of the championship, he has laid the foundations of a very strong title challenge.

This is a production based series, and Ducati has developed a so-called ‘homologation special.’ While the rest of the grid comprises of heavily developed machinery, the Ducati was developed as a no holds barred, pure bred racing machine.

This is a throwback to a bygone era when the likes of Honda would develop their Superbike machinery with the sole goal of winning the title.

No compromises are made with a homologation special. Other than costing a maximum of €40,000, there is very little that isn’t maximised on the machinery.

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Are you ready? For the revolution? That is what is happening in Japan right now, at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show. We say this because Honda just debuted an electric dirt bike prototype that looks the business.

The Honda CR Electric prototype was co-developed with Mugen, a company with close ties to Honda. In fact, beyond the fairings, you would have a hard time distinguishing the Honda CR Electric prototype from the Mugen E.Rex that re-debuted this week as well.

Both bikes use an aluminum twin-spar frame, and look very "Honda" in their approach to building a dirt bike. It also doesn't surprise us to see that Nissin supplies the brakes for both efforts, and the same goes for Showa on the suspension side. What would you expect though, considering the close ties these brands have to Honda?

This is a project that is very much still in the family, and in the case of Mugen, that phrase is meant literally, as Mugen was founded by Soichiro Honda's son.

With Mugen spending the last eight years competing in the Isle of Man TT electric race, and racking up five race wins in the process, the tuning brand has built a cache of EV experience. Surely, this is where the Mugen-Honda connection is at its strongest. Together, these two companies are forging a new era of motorcycle design.

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There is no challenge like Buriram on the WorldSBK calendar. It is the hottest round of the year, and it places huge physical and mental demands on riders. With temperatures expected to be in the high 100°F’s, the sun and heat will sap the power from riders.

Leon Camier has described racing in those conditions as “brutal” in the past and he’s not wrong. To get an idea of what the riders will go through this weekend, try sitting in a sauna for 30 minutes and then imagine doing that while your heart is racing and you’re wearing leathers and a helmet.

Before travelling to Thailand, I tried to put myself into a rider’s frame of mind and the results were interesting to say the least. We’ve all heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s a lie. I didn’t die, but I definitely wasn’t strong afterwards!

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