Ride in Peace, Nicky Hayden

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Nicky Hayden today, the American motorcycle racer finally succumbing to the injuries he sustained on Wednesday, at 7:09 PM CEST. The former-MotoGP Champion was struck by a car, while he was training on his bicycle near the Rimini coast. After the incident, Hayden was ultimately treated at the trauma center at the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, where he later passed away. While motorcycle fans around the world have been hoping for good news throughout this past weekend, and looking for signs that Nicky’s condition would improve, today Nicky’s race ended, with his family and friends at his side.

Americas Top Öhlins Dealer Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

Daniel Laine Kyle of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California – known best for his speed shop, Kyle Racing – pleaded guilty to defrauding the US government earlier this week, after it was found that Kyle had been hiding cash-based purchases made at this business. Dan Kyle Racing is known best for being the largest Öhlins suspension dealership in the United States (if not the world), as the company offered aggressive pricing on the Swedish-born suspension, and was one of the first Öhlins dealers with an online presence in the early days of the internet. According to the plea agreement made between Kyle and the US Attorney’s Office, Kyle pleaded guilty to tax fraud and structuring currency transactions in order to avoid the reporting requirements in the US Tax Code.

The 2017 Saroléa SP7 Is Ready for the Isle of Man TT

The focus for electric motorcycles at the Isle of Man TT may center around Team Mugen’s dual entry with John McGuinness and Guy Martin, but one should not overlook this very attractive entry from Belgium. Saroléa is back for the 2017 Isle of Man TT, continuing with its state-of-the-art carbon fiber chassis goodness and retro fairing design. On board will once again be Dean Harrison, who will be gunning for a podium-finish on the 2017 Saroléa SP7. If looks alone could get you across the finish line, then Saroléa would have our vote. The Belgians have always been in the running for a strong result though, finishing 4th in 2014 and 5th in 2015. Maybe this year will be “their year” at the TT.

India Is Now the World’s Biggest Motorcycle Market

Did you just feel that? That movement was a tectonic shift in the motorcycle landscape, as India just surpassed China as the world’s largest market for two-wheel vehicles. Just how big is the Indian motorcycle market? Last year, over 17.7 million motorcycles were sold in India. That is over 48,000 motorcycles sold…each day. Compared to China, that is a margin of roughly one million motorcycles per year (16.8 million units sold last year). India has seen a sharp rise in the sales of two-wheelers within its borders over the seven years, growing over 32% during that timeframe. Transportation in general has been growing in India, but that growth has been fueled by the country’s two-wheeler market.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly About Motorcycle Patents

I am really excited about the Suzuki brand right now. Out of the four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, the recession affected Suzuki the most, probably more than many people realize, but the Hamamatsu brand is poised to bring out some exciting machines in the coming few years. Could we finally see a turbocharged Suzuki this year though? The rumor mill is pointing to yes…but just pointing, and the reason is because of patents. Much of this internet rumors stems from a flood of patents that have been found, where Suzuki is patenting technology related to turbo-powered engines in motorcycles, or because of other patents that make reference or inference to being part of a turbocharged motorcycle.

No, Royal Enfield Isn’t Buying Ducati

I woke up this morning to a message from a colleague, with a link to a story that linked Royal Enfield to buying Ducati Motor Holding. The story was from a fairly reliable news publication, but the headline read “Royal Enfield Might Consider Buying Ducati Pretty Soon” – the grammarist in me cringed.* “Might consider” is the most nebulous phrase in the English language. Let’s think about that phrase for a moment, as it literally means that you are considering the possibility of considering something. Don’t get me started on the timeliness of “Pretty Soon” in the news realm, as well. Metaphysics and meaningless headlines aside, for our purposes this narrative devolves further in that this story offers nothing new, beyond the story that Reuters published two weeks ago, which set off alarms in the motorcycle industry around the world.

KTM Caught Testing an Electric Street Bike

Spy photos from Austria have caught KTM testing a rather interesting motorcycle – one that does not run on a petroleum-based fuel, but rather it has an electric drivetrain at its core. This isn’t the first time that KTM has experimented with an electric motorcycle, of course, with the KTM Freeride E being available in select markets. However, the machine seen here is a pretty big step forward for the Austrian brand, from its modest electric dirt bike. Using the chassis of a KTM 390 Duke to house the battery, inverter, and motor, KTM’s electric street bike (we’ll call it the KTM E-Duke for now) looks like a rolling mess, but is what you would expect from a project in its early stages of development.

For the Geeks, Your Luke Skywalker HJC Helmet Is Here

I am a solid Star Wars geek, but not in the dress-up and go to a convention sort of way – if you know what I mean. But, this new lid from HJC might have me singing a different tune, as it mimics Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing “Red 5” fighter helmet, in a DOT legal ¾ helmet format. That’s just cool…in a really un-cool sort of way. Based off the budget-friendly HJC IS-5 helmet, this Luke Skywalker replica will cost roughly $180 when it comes out (at a date still to be determined). Additionally, 10 versions of the lid will be signed by Mark Hamill, and auctioned for charity (UNICEF and the Starlight Children’s Foundation), if your geekdom takes you in such a direction (and you have a four-figure wallet).

Hayden: “It’s Clear That There Is A Problem”

Assen had been earmarked as a key round for Honda in its search for competitiveness in WorldSBK. It passed with more confirmation that the team’s struggles will continue. Nine points were all that Nicky Hayden had to show for himself at the end of a trying weekend at the TT Circuit of Assen. The Honda rider was able to show some signs of improved competitiveness at times during the weekend, but overall the same flaws of the Honda Fireblade have been exposed once again. Reliability and inability to bring competitive upgrades to the table cost Hayden dearly at Assen. The week before the Dutch round, the team tested a new engine specification in Portimao and the American came away disappointed with a lack of progress.

The Rise and Fall of Danny Kent

“Danny is probably the most talented rider I have ever worked with,” Peter Bom, Danny Kent’s former crew chief at Kiefer told me several times last year. Bom has seen plenty of talent in his time: he also worked with Stefan Bradl at Kiefer, Chris Vermeulen in World Supersport and World Superbikes, Cal Crutchlow in World Supersport. World champions all, and to this tally he added Danny Kent. Less than a year after helping him win the Moto3 world championship, Danny Kent asked the Kiefer team for a new crew chief, abandoning his collaboration with Peter Bom. Kent felt that Bom had been slow to pick up on the changes in the Moto2 class during Bom’s three years in Moto3. Stefan Kiefer obliged, and Kent started the season with a new crew chief and a Suter Moto2 chassis.

Pirelli Debuts New Qualifying Tires for SBK Superpole

05/08/2009 @ 5:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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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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Spies Wins Dutch Superpole at Assen – 4th WSBK Superpole Win in a Row

04/25/2009 @ 10:49 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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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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Hopkins Dislocates Hip in Crash at Assen, Racing Sunday Looks Doubtful

04/24/2009 @ 3:45 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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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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John Hopkins Officially Racing in WSBK with Stiggy Honda

03/19/2009 @ 8:49 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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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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