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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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A few days ago, we sat down with Peter Hickman to figure out what it takes to find the limit at the Isle of Man TT. Now today, we get up-close and personal on the machine he is campaigning in the Superbike and Senior TT races.

A 2020 BMW S1000RR, the race bike is put together by Smiths Racing BMW, with the hope that the German superbike’s supremacy on the Mountain Course continues with this next generation of the machine, and thus add to Hickman’s two-win tally at the Isle of Man TT.

As we can see from Steve’s photos though, this is not your ordinary BMW S1000RR…in fact, it is not your ordinary superbike.

It is hard to believe that the RSV4 superbike from Aprilia is 10 years old now…but then again, maybe it isn’t so hard to believe. The bike hasn’t change that much physically when you look at it (though, changes abound internally), and even the new latest-and-greatest version of the bike can only be really identified by its new aerodynamic aids.

That being said though, the RSV4 is still at the top of the heap, and with the RSV4 1100 Factory, Aprilia is looking to keep its crown in the superbike category. I won’t bore you with riding details now, but feel free to read our exhaustive riding review of this machine.

Getting a chance to snap some photos of the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory after riding it at Mugello, we spent some one-on-one time with this 214hp superbike, winglets and all.

I wasn’t going to double-dip on stories for the Aprilia RS 660 concept this week, but well…these photos were too good not to share ASAP. If you haven’t read our report that the Aprilia RS 660 will be showing up for the 2020 model year, well then…started getting excited party-people.

Ahead of our ride time on the new Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, the folks from Noale invited us to their “Aprilia All Stars” event at the Mugello circuit last week, which is where we spotted the RS 660 on display.

The bike hasn’t changed from its debut in Milan late last year, which is fine by us, as it looks like it could roll right onto the showroom floor already…and apparently from yesterday’s news, that is the point.

Still, spending some time up-close with the Aprilia RS 660 concept provides us with some interesting insights to this machine.

In a few minutes, I will be getting back on a plane to the United States, after having spent some time with the folks at Energica in Modena, Italy. There is a lot to say about this electric motorcycle company from Italy, so keep an eye out for those stories, but I wanted to whet your appetites with this machine, the Energica Ego Corsa.

The racing version of the company’s electric superbike, the Energica Ego Corsa is the consumer model to what the Grand Prix paddock will be racing in the new MotoE World Cup, which will see 18 riders from 11 teams battling it out in sprint races at 5 venues on the MotoGP calendar.

With some big names on the bikes (Sete Gibernau, Randy de Puniet, Bradley Smith, and more) the spec-series should have some close and hard-fought races. I think the electric series is going to surprise some race fans, and start making some petrol heads into EV freaks…but that is a different story.

During the offseason for the WorldSBK series, I sent our man Steve English on a photo-finding mission. He came back victorious from his endeavor, bringing us our first look at the WorldSBK-spec BMW S1000RR superbike that Tom Sykes will campaign this season.

Today, we have another treasure trove of photos from that outing, as we bring you an “up-close” gallery of Eugene Laverty’s Ducati Panigale V4 RS19 race bike, which was back-to-back testing components at Portimão, ahead of this weekend’s season-opener.

A motorcycle that we have covered extensively here at Asphalt & Rubber, you might be wondering why another Panigale V4 is gracing our pages. For that, let me explain.

The Ducati Hypermotard 950 is the third generation of this street-sized supermoto, and in its design, Ducati borrowed heavily from the previous iterations.

As you can see, the mechanics of the 950 machine don’t wander far from the 939 that came before it, and the styling is a modern homage to the lines found on the original 1100 model.

As such, consider the 950 like a greatest hits album from the Hypermotard lineup.

One of the more intriguing story lines we are following in the coming WorldSBK season is the arrival of BMW Motorrad in the superbike paddock. For the 2019 season, BMW has partnered with the Shaun Muir Racing team, with riders Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger.

With an all new superbike platform to develop and work with, our attention is on what this machine can do, especially with such a high-level team and duo of riders.

With SMR officially unveiling the team at their preseason test in Portugal, we sent our man Steve English into the pit box to get some up-close photos of the WorldSBK-spec BMW S1000RR for the 2019 season.

As you would expect, the details on this bike are very interesting.

I had to check our coverage of the Moto Guzzi V85 TT, to see how many words we managed to use when talking about this new adventure-tourer – 398 words, if you wanted to know – which is pretty astonishing considering the complete lack of actual information coming from Piaggio on this new motorcycle.

Little more was revealed at INTERMOT as well, beyond what we could see physically on the machine. We know that the V85 TT will make 80hp from its 850cc v-twin engine. We know that it will have ABS, cruise control, LED lights, and a TFT dash (which looks great, by the way). Beyond that…well…it’s a very bright motorcycle.

One of the few surprises at the INTERMOT trade show in Germany, was Team Green’s release of two 125cc motorcycle models: the Kawasaki Ninja 125 and the Kawasaki Z125. The bikes are basic in their concept, and will be headed only to the European market.

Kawasaki hopes that the Ninja 125 and Z125 will be the ideal option for those with A1 or A2 licenses in Europe’s tiered motorcycle licensing program, though the Japanese company didn’t discount some interest from older riders who are looking for something smaller in their garage.

That is a fair goal from Kawasaki, because despite the budget-focus of these 125cc machines, the quality of the bikes is quite high, and we were most impressed with the fit and finish found on the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 125.

The belle of the INTERMOT ball, the Indian FTR1200 made its debut in Germany this week to much fanfare. We should all make note that the American brand has released its first non-cruiser motorcycle…and it did so on foreign soil. This is not an accident.

The FTR1200 marks an important moment in the Indian Motorcycle Company’s history, as it is the first of several machines to come from this historic marque that will take it into the future.

As I have said before, we should all pay attention, because Indian doesn’t want to be the next Harley-Davidson…it wants to be the next Honda, and that means worldwide domination.