Unions End Partnership Agreement with Harley-Davidson

Two labor unions have ended a partnership agreement with Harley-Davidson, citing differences with how the Bar & Shield brand handles staffing issues at its factories (Harley has been accused of replacing hourly union workers with temporary seasonal workers). The move comes after a meeting on Monday, which saw leaders from the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW), and Harley-Davidson President & CEO Matt Levatich unable to agree on how to handle staffing issues going forward. While the disagreement ends an accord that has existed between the unions and Harley-Davidson for the past two decades, it does not affect the collective bargaining agreement that the unions have with Harley-Davidson, which has been incorrectly reported elsewhere.

US House of Representatives Passes Self-Driving Car Bill

Say what you will about American politics, but the US House of Representatives has passed the “SELF-DRIVE Act” (H.R. 3388) – a bipartisan bill that would open up autonomous vehicle regulation for manufacturers. The big advantage of the SELF-DRIVE Act is that it would supersede the varying and ad hoc state rules that manufacturers must currently adhere to while developing their autonomous platforms. The bill would also do away with some safety standards put in place for vehicles with drivers, such as where the steering wheel and foot pedals must be located. Lastly, the SELF-DRIVE Act would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to research and develop a way of conveying to consumers the level of automation a vehicle possesses.

Is the MV Agusta Brutale 800 the Best Bike on the Market?

In early 2016, I was fortunate enough to ride the revamped and Euro4 version of the MV Agusta Brutale 800. On paper, the Brutale 800 lost power and gained weight, but the reality is that MV Agusta improved upon already one of its best-selling machines, in subtle and clever ways. Now a year-and-a-half later, the 2017 MV Agusta Brutale 800 is finally available in the United States, and I have been reunited with one of the best street bikes on the market. Spending almost all of last month with this motorcycle again, it is clear that not much has changed from a rider’s perspective, though internally improvements have been made to some of the weaker elements of the design, like the sprag clutch and valve train. While not much has changed with this year’s edition of the MV Agusta Brutale 800, I am mostly fine with that.

Lin Jarvis Talks Rossi’s Injury, Replacement, & Training

What happened when Valentino Rossi crashed? How serious is his injury? When will he be back? Who will replace Rossi, if he doesn’t return at Aragon? And what does Yamaha think of Rossi’s training methods? Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis spoke to a small group of journalists at Misano on Saturday morning, to answer these questions and much more. Jarvis knew about the accident very shortly after it had happened. “I knew before he got to the hospital,” Jarvis told us. “Albi [Tebaldi] called Maio Meregalli as soon as he got the news that Vale was on the way to the hospital. Maio called me straight away.” The good news was that Rossi’s injury was not as bad as the last time he broke his leg, at Mugello in 2010. “It’s much less serious,” Jarvis told us, “but probably just as irritating.

Aprilia Debuts Augmented Reality Helmet for MotoGP

While the launch of the Ducati’s Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine and leaked photos of the Ducati Panigale V4 dominated the news on Thursday, Aprilia Racing was quietly changing the sport of motorcycle racing, as it debuted an augmented reality helmet that its mechanics will wear in MotoGP. Aprilia has partnered with DAQRI and Realmore to make the augmented reality helmet come to fruition – DARQI is making the hardware, while Realmore is responsible for the software. As followers of augmented reality (AR) tech may already have guessed, Aprilia Racing’s AR helmet will allow its mechanics to visualize and share information, overlaid on what is occurring in the pit box. Aprilia Racing sees two major scenarios where using augmented reality could be of benefit.

More Leaked Photos of the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4

Apparently today is Ducati Day, as news continues to come from Italy about the Ducati Panigale V4 and its Desmosedici Stradale engine. Ducati has already spilled the beans on the new 210hp V4 engine it has been developing for its next superbike, but now we also get more spy photos of the Panigale V4 that will carry it. These latest spy photos show quite clearly the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 that will debut later this November, at the EICMA show in Milan. Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali confirmed the Panigale V4 name today, and for our A&R Pro members, we have gone into a lengthy analysis as to why Ducati is choosing to keep the styling and name of this machine so similar to the previous model.

Ducati Reveals the 210hp Desmosedici Stradale Engine

Hello and welcome to a new era of Ducati motorcycles, which is starting with a very special engine. Named the Desmosedici Stradale, this road-going version of the company’s MotoGP power plant is what is going to power Ducati’s next superbike, the Ducati Panigale V4. Debuting today in Misano, at a special event ahead of the San Marino GP, the mystery around the Desmosedici Stradale engine has finally be revealed, to the tune of 210hp (@ 13,000 rpm) and 88.5 lbs•ft of torque (@ 12,250 rpm). Dropping details on the 90° V4 engine with desmodromic valves, we now know that Ducati will continue to play the displacement game with its superbike, as the street version of the Panigale V4 coming with a 1,103cc displacement.

Verdict Reached in Alpinestars/Dainese Airbag Patent Case

A verdict has finally been reach in the German patent law dispute between Alpinestars and Dainese, concerning their respective airbag suit technologies. In the ruling, the “Landgericht” court in Munich found that Alpinestars violated two Dainese patents concerning its D-Air technology, and thus issued a verdict that sees Alpinestars forbidden from selling its Tech-Air products in Germany. Alpinestars will also have to pay Dainese restitution for damages incurred from Alpinestars selling Tech-Air products in Germany. The monetary amount of the damages will depend on how much Tech-Air product the Italian firm sold in Germany, which has yet to be determined. After the verdict, both companies issued press releases touting their side of the patent dispute story, with clearly no love lost between the two parties.

Ducati Divestiture Seemingly Stalls Out

For the past few months, talk of Ducati’s divestiture from the Volkswagen Group has grabbed the attention from news outlets and Ducatisti alike, as the future of the Italian motorcycle company seemed uncertain. Internally, a power struggle was a play, with Audi keen to unload Ducati from its books, but lacking the support from upper management in the Volkswagen Group. Talks reportedly hit the skids once it was realized that the Volkswagen labor unions, which control half of the seats on the Volkswagen Group management board, weren’t onboard with divesting Ducati from the holding group. This is probably information that investors would have liked to know, before they spent the time and resources putting together purchase proposals for Audi’s consideration.

Ducati Panigale V4 Spotted in Photo

Later this week, Ducati will debut its Desmosedici Stradale engine, the new 90° V4 engine that will power Ducati’s next superbike (amongst other models). To see Ducati’s next superbike though, we’ll have to wait until November’s EICMA show in Milan, Italy…or will we? This photo is going around the internet, purporting to show the new “Panigale V4” superbike. The photo looks legit, and looks very similar to the spy photos that we have seen of the Ducati’s new superbike machine. The bodywork on the Ducati Panigale V4 mimics very closely the previous generation Panigale (the v-twin model), though there are some obvious changes. It looks like the headlight recesses also channel air around the body, likely to aid in cooling the V4 engine.

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At Monza this week, Pirelli will be debuting a new qualifying tire solution for the World Superbike Championship. Taking a page from what Bridgestone is doing in MotoGP, the 200mm qualifying tire will include markers that will help indicate what tires are being selected during the Superpole competition. Pirelli tires will sport non-permanent white “long P” markings and yellow lines, which have been imprinted on to the tire’s surface. These markings will offer spectators and presenters a way of identifying what is happening during the Superpole in regards to tire choices.

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WSBK: Jake Zemke to Replace John Hopkins at Monza

05/05/2009 @ 2:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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Stiggy Racing Honda has confirmed that Jake Zemke will replace injured rider John Hopkins for the Monza round of the World Superbike Championship. Hopper had a big off at WSBK’s stop in Assen which left the American with a dislocated hip and fractured femur. Hopper hopes to be back on the bike by WSBK’s stop at Miller Motorsport Park, although that goal seems lofty. In the interim, Zemke will have to fill his shoes.

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WSBK: Assen Race 2 Results

04/26/2009 @ 5:42 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Assen Race 2 Results

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It was Ben Spies again who took the holeshot of Race 2. Building off of his performance in Race 1, the American again began building a lead early on in the race. But wait! There’s more, continue reading for the full report from Race 2 of World Superbike at Assen.

 

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WSBK: Assen Race 1 Results

04/26/2009 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Assen Race 1 Results

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In Assen, Holland, it was Ben Spies who took the holeshot in Race 1, launching off the line from pole position and into turn 1 of the Dutch course.  Spies was followed by Max Neukirchner and Noriyuki Haga, neither of whom could touch the American’s lead position after turning just one lap around the course. As Haga closed in on Neukirchner it seemed there would be a good battle for second brewing, but the German made a mistake in the GT chicane and tossed his bike. He would finish 13th for the day. However, Race 1 at Assen wasn’t about to disappoint. Continue reading for a woefully inadequate description of one heck of a Superbike race that was WSBK Race 1 at Assen.

 

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In Assen, Ben Spies took his fourth Superpole win in a row by besting the existing pole record by 7/10ths of a second, with back-to-back 1’36.6 laps. Nipping at the heels of Spies, and the only other man to break into the 1’37’s, was Jakub Smrz and his Guandalini Ducati. Continue reading for the rest of the front row, and the Superpole results.

 

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If you were to ask John Hopkins what his least favorite track is right now, we’d bet good money the American would say the Dutch track Assen. The last time Hopper was in Assen, he smash his leg in a huge crash, which left him sitting out of two races, and struggling in pain for the rest of the season. Now, after only four laps around the course this year, Assen has shown its teeth again for Hopper. During the free practice today Hopkins dislocated his hip in another big crash, and there is doubt surrounding his return to riding by Sunday.

 

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WSBK: Valencia Race 2 Results

04/06/2009 @ 2:39 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Valencia Race 2 Results

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After his poor start in the first race, further pressure was put on Spies who now stood 35 points behind Noriyuki Haga because of his crash out in Race 2. Surely Haga felt the pressure too, knowing that the American wouldn’t make the same mistakes a second time. With the Championship already playing out in the third stop of the WSBK tour, Race 2 already had more than just a purpose. Continue reading for spoilers from Race 2 of the Valencia World Superbike Races, and to see how Race 2 sorted itself out.

 

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WSBK: Valencia Race 1 Results

04/06/2009 @ 2:11 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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The World Superbike Championship visited Valencia this weekend. With three poles and three wins in a row, all eyes were on Ben Spies at the start of the first Superbike race, wondering if the American could close the 10 point lead that Noriyuki Haga had over him. A sweep of the weekend’s races, could mean that Spies could be leading the series, or at the very least tied with Haga, depending on how the Japanese rider fared. Conversely, Haga with a strong showing could lengthen his early lead over the field. With Spies showing almost a full second on Haga at the Superpole, this would be no easy feat. Continue reading for spoilers from Race 1 of the Valencia World Superbike Races, and to see how Race 1 sorted itself out.

 

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Spies Wins Valencia Superpole, Third Pole for 2009

04/04/2009 @ 5:11 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Spies Wins Valencia Superpole, Third Pole for 2009

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Ben Spies lead 19 other riders to Superpole victory in Valencia today. While tactics were mixed, Max Biaggi and Tom Sykes were left behind after the first session, and will have to start from the 5th row tomorrow. Joining them will be Ruben Xaus, who crashed out on a fast lap before he had the chance to set a time good enough to qualify.

 

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UPDATE: Roberto Rolfo announced on his website that he would be leaving Stiggy Racing, due to “reasons beyond his control.” Those reasons beyond his control would seem to be: John Hopkins joining Stiggy Honda, having sponsorship coming with him, and generally not performing that well last season.

It seems the rumors were true. According to Roadracing World, John Hopkins is officially racing with Stiggy Honda’s World Superbike team. John Hopkins’ agent Bob Moore confirmed the news that that Hopper will be riding a Stiggy Honda CBR1000RR in the World Superbike Championship series, starting with the next round at Valencia, which starts April 3rd. 

 

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