Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Ducati will be powered by a 95 horsepower, 79.5 lb-ft torque, 1100cc, air-cooled, two-valve, twin cylinder as already seen in the Hypermotard model. It be available in a basic version and higher end, Ohlins-equipped "S" version.
Where the Ducati will be a classic bigger brother to the jack-of-most-trades Monster 696, the Suzuki will be aimed purely at entry-level riders looking for something a bit more stylish than the usual 'beginner bike' options. Yes, that equates to another really poorly disguised Japanese ripoff of Italian Ducati styling, but it still probably has a marketing niche. It will be offered with optional ABS and based on the SV650.
Breaking World Superbike news: Troy Corser has struck a deal with the Germans to join current Ducatista, Ruben Xaus, and ride the BMW S1000RR superbike for the 2009 season.
With Troy's excellent levels of experience and success developing new bikes and his uncanny ability to make them serious threats on the track, many desperately wanted this to happen in order to bring BMW into the competitive fold immediately. Let us hope that the new BMW can compliment the skill of both Corser and Xaus!
From World Superbike's Website Release:
"BMW are happy to announce that Australian Troy Corser has signed to ride the all new BMW S1000RR in next year's Superbike World Championship. The former double Superbike World Champion has agreed terms for two years and ends months of speculation as to who will join Spaniard Ruben Xaus in BMW's debut in the Superbike World Championship next season.
Troy won the Superbike World Championship in 1996, becoming the youngest rider ever to do so in the process, and then again in 2005. He has been runner-up in the WSBK championship once and third place on three occasions. To date he has taken part in over 300 races, been on the podium 126 times, and his 42 pole positions have earned him the nickname of "Mr Superpole".
Troy is married to Sam and they have two children, Kalani Gray (5) and Kelissa Illiana-Rose (3). Troy was born in Wollongong, Australia, but he and the family are now Monaco residents."
Peter Mueller (Executive Vice President Development and Model Lines)
"With Troy and Ruben, I feel confident we will have the best riders possible for our start in the Superbike World Championship. Troy has unrivalled experience in the series and that, together with Ruben's exuberance, is our ‘dream team' and the combination we wanted, right from the start of this project. I feel sure that their knowledge of the series will definitely help us become competitive very quickly."
Berti Hauser (Director of BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
"I am delighted that Troy is joining our team and that our jigsaw is now complete. He was in our minds from the start and I am very happy because I believe he and Ruben are the best combination of riders for our new challenge. Troy has told me that is excited about helping us develop the bike and be part of the project from the start. He also said that he would like to be the first rider in WSBK history to win the title with three different manufacturers and that he is physically and mentally ready make that his target."
Our leaked pre-release photos turned out to be the real deal and enabled us to break the new GSX-R1000 days before larger moto blogs, thanks to a certain fellow at the Gixxer forum.
The release is now official and photos from Paris and Suzuki PR and specs are surfacing online:
|Engine Type||4-stroke, 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC|
|Bore x Stroke||74.5 mm x 57.3 mm|
|Engine Displacement||999 cm3 (cc)|
|Compression Ratio||12.8 : 1|
|Oil Capacity (overhaul)||3.6L (1.0 US gal.)|
|Ignition||Electronic ignition (Transistorized)|
|Lubrication System||Wet sump|
|Transmission||6-speed constant mesh|
|Primary Drive Ratio||1.617 (76 / 47)|
|Final Drive Ratio||2.471 (42 / 17)|
|Frame Type||Twin-spar (aluminum alloy)|
|Rake/Trail||23.8 degrees / 98.3 mm (3.9 in.)|
|Suspension||Front||Inverted telescopic, coil spring, spring preload fully adjustable, rebound and compression damping force fully adjustable|
Link type, oil damped, coil spring, spring preload fully adjustable, rebound and compression damping force 2-way fully adjustable
|Wheels||Front||17 M/C x MT3.50, cast aluminum-alloy|
|Rear||17 M/C x MT6.00, cast aluminum-alloy|
|Brakes||Front||Radial mount, 4-piston calipers 310 mm disc, twin|
|Rear||1-piston caliper, 220 mm disc|
|Tires||Front||120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless|
|Rear||190/50ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless|
|Fuel Tank ||17.5 L (4.6 US gal.)|
|Overall Length ||2,045 mm (80.5 in.)|
|Overall Width||710 mm (28.0 in.)|
|Overall Height ||1,130 mm (44.5 in.)|
|Wheelbase ||1,405 mm (55.3 in.)|
|Ground Clearance||130mm (5.1 in.)|
|Seat Height||810 mm (31.9 in.)|
|Curb Mass ||203kg (448 lbs.)|
In other colors:
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Just like with the new R1 and RSV4 earlier, pre-official pics are leaking out of the new 2009 Suzuki GSX-r1000.
This is only an early online leak and the source may or may not be reliable! I'll keep this space updated as further details follow.
Update (9/24/08): It is looking more and more likely that this is indeed the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Since posting this, the image has surfaced on several motorcycle forums. That alone is nothing special, however there are also several reports that Suzuki North America has requested the forums remove the images until the official release. Either an elaborate inside joke or this is the real bike.
Still not a sure thing, but if it is, remember that you saw it on Sportbikeblog first!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
1 41 Haga N. (JPN) Yamaha YZF-R1 39'25.030 (150,148 kph)
2 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Ducati 1098 RS 08 0.129
3 11 Corser T. (AUS) Yamaha YZF-R1 0.535
4 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R1000 5.188
5 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 6.693
6 21 Bayliss T. (AUS) Ducati 1098 F08 7.993
7 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098 F08 16.976
8 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 18.359
9 34 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R1000 19.214
10 38 Nakatomi S. (JPN) Yamaha YZF-R1 19.386
11 57 Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098 RS 08 21.230
12 10 Nieto F. (ESP) Suzuki GSX-R1000 24.956
13 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098 RS 08 25.186
14 36 Lavilla G. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 31.799
15 86 Badovini A. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 33.949
16 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 34.050
17 94 Checa D. (ESP) Yamaha YZF-R1 34.665
18 9 Walker C. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 52.420
19 88 Aoyama S. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1'02.555
20 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'06.475
21 122 Smrz M. (CZE) Honda CBR1000RR 1'16.985
22 50 Lynn M. (USA) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 194 Gimbert S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF-R1
RET 13 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R
RET 111 Xaus R. (ESP) Ducati 1098 RS 08
RET 73 Zaiser C. (AUT) Yamaha YZF-R1
RET 23 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 54 Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Honda CBR1000RR
In race 1 it was Bayliss looking strong early on, but not for long, as Haga swept past and dominated for the vast majority of the race. Biaggi rode flawlessly, rarely spanning more than 0.5 seconds behind Haga throughout the ordeal and finishing 2nd to the roar of the Italian crowd, with Corser chasing in third. Neukirchner came home in 4th and Bayliss slipped back to finish in 6th just behind Checa.
1 41 Haga N. (JPN) Yamaha YZF-R1 39'10.265 (151,091 kph)
2 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098 F08 1.507
3 11 Corser T. (AUS) Yamaha YZF-R1 2.268
4 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R1000 11.813
5 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 17.922
6 10 Nieto F. (ESP) Suzuki GSX-R1000 18.281
7 34 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R1000 19.368
8 38 Nakatomi S. (JPN) Yamaha YZF-R1 19.717
9 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 23.868
10 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 24.198
11 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098 RS 08 25.426
12 111 Xaus R. (ESP) Ducati 1098 RS 08 28.384
13 23 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 30.436
14 194 Gimbert S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF-R1 36.490
15 9 Walker C. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 42.903
16 21 Bayliss T. (AUS) Ducati 1098 F08 43.758
17 88 Aoyama S. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 44.993
18 57 Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098 RS 08 48.469
19 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-10R 58.868
20 94 Checa D. (ESP) Yamaha YZF-R1 1'18.547
21 122 Smrz M. (CZE) Honda CBR1000RR 1'42.272
22 50 Lynn M. (USA) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 86 Badovini A. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R
RET 13 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R
RET 36 Lavilla G. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 73 Zaiser C. (AUT) Yamaha YZF-R1
RET 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 54 Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Ducati 1098 RS 08
Race 2 was where it all boiled over. At the start, a horrific crash between Biaggi and Sofuoglu sent both flying at well over 100 miles per hour. The crash must have looked a bit more brutal than it was, and both men got up under their own power.
Here it is:
Lets sincerely hope that we have a healthy Biaggi for the rest of the season and for his big move to the new Aprilia team. Sofuoglu has had some of the worst repetitive bad luck I can remember of any rider in recent years. Wrapped up in seemingly every mishap on the WSBK calender, as well as having lost his brother to a motorcycle accident only months ago, Sofu also came in with a DNF in race 1. Good luck to him as far as picking up the pieces for a strong comeback next season.
That was not where the drama ended in race 2, however.
Early on, Bayliss once again took the lead but this time stayed glued to the front, and we can only assume changed something drastic about his setup. Some of the closest side-by-side racing of the year took place between Bayliss and Haga for the lead, reminiscent of Rossi and Stoner at the Laguna Seca MotoGP race.
How reminiscent? A scary-aggressive underdog Yamaha slipping past the rider on pole position with elbows touching, trading the lead back and forth throughout the race with spectators on their feet, until the Ducati loses it in a heart-pounding chase and goes off of the track. Only unlike Stoner's run off the track, Bayliss crashed on the very final lap and could not recover on the podium, ultimately finishing in a disappointing 16th.
Had Bayliss dominated the weekend, he could have decided the championship in his favor with multiple races remaining. Fabrizio piloted his Ducati 1098 F08 to a strong second after passing Corser late in the race, and then passing his ill-fated yet championship-bound teammate, Troy Bayliss.
Superbike Season Points:
1. Bayliss (Ducati) 369 punti; 2. Corser (Yamaha) 290; 3. Haga (Yamaha) 280; 4. Neukirchner (Suzuki) 280; 5. Checa (Honda) 262; 6. Biaggi (Ducati) 212; 7. Nieto (Suzuki) 206; 8. Fabrizio (Ducati) 201; 9. Kiyonari (Honda) 193; 10. Xaus (Ducati) 160; etc. Manufacturers - 1. Ducati 479; 2. Yamaha 416; 3. Honda 357; 4. Suzuki 355; 5. Kawasaki 77.
1 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 36'48.656 (147,38 kph)
2 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Yamaha YZF-R6 2.971
3 50 Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF-R6 6.461
4 26 Lascorz J. (ESP) Honda CBR600RR 7.135
5 77 Veneman B. (NED) Suzuki GSX-R600 10.945
6 127 Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 14.412
7 69 Nannelli G. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 14.557
8 83 Van Keymeulen D. (BEL) Suzuki GSX-R600 19.286
9 8 Aitchison M. (AUS) Triumph 675 23.854
10 41 Hayes J. (USA) Honda CBR600RR 31.193
11 47 Clementi I. (ITA) Triumph 675 31.327
12 25 Brookes J. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 39.771
13 17 Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 40.957
14 123 Toti T. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R600 41.196
15 105 Vizziello G. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 41.337
16 11 Holland R. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 43.421
17 55 Roccoli M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF-R6 44.790
18 21 Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 45.564
19 44 Salom D. (ESP) Yamaha YZF-R6 54.098
20 126 Martin C. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 58.063
21 81 Gowland G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'01.773
22 7 Vostárek P. (CZE) Honda CBR600RR 1'16.595
23 10 Perret D. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'16.917
24 124 Crowe J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF-R6 1'17.279
25 34 Nemeth B. (HUN) Honda CBR600RR 1'17.539
26 117 Sacchetti D. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'28.143
27 42 Cudlin A. (AUS) Triumph 675 1'29.485
RET 88 Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR
RET 30 Günther J. (GER) Honda CBR600RR
RET 14 Lagrive M. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR
RET 35 Barone G. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR
RET 45 Zappa A. (ITA) Triumph 675
RET 199 Dell'Omo D. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR
RET 4 Alfonsi L. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR
Supersport Season Points:
1. Pitt (Honda) 169; 2. Rea (Honda) 158; 3. Brookes (Honda) 141; 4. Parkes (Yamaha) 139; 5. Lascorz (Honda) 105; 6. Jones (Honda) 100; 7. Foret (Yamaha) 97; 8. Veneman (Suzuki) 72; etc.
As promised, we have the new RSV-4 photos today. This looks to be the final production version, and any changes will most likely be minor. 180 horsepower in street trim and 220 in race form from the all-new 999cc 65-degree V4 are the numbers currently floating around. As for price, there is still no definitive answer. All we can expect is that it will be well above the pricing of Japanese literbikes, and all we can hope is that it remains below that of the Ducati 1098R.
According to Aprilia, the RSV4's 190kg wet weight with a full gas tank will make it 9kg lighter than a current featherweight Honda CBR1000RR weighs with an empty gas tank. Wow!
There are also, courtesy of the bikes styling designer, Miguel Galluzzi (what's with headlights, Miguel?!), rumors that a naked/streetfighter version of the RSV4 may possibly follow.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
"Biaggi was our number one choice, I'm delighted to have him back with us" declared Leo Francesco Mercanti, Director of Product Development and Sporting Activities of the Piaggio Group. "Max is a rider who has written a number of important chapters in Aprilia's racing history: he was involved in the company's first major triumphs, and the seasons of Aprilia domination, all of which enabled this young company to join the ‘greats' of motorcycle racing. Today, with Biaggi and the Aprilia RSV4 we begin a new challenge. We are convinced that with him, we will be able to put to the best possible use all of our passion, our expertise and desire to win".
Kawasaki Press Release:
"Precise control and abundant mid-range torque provide maximum excitement
To truly push the envelope, a rider needs a calm yet responsive sportbike with precision control feel and confidence-inspiring manners. That machine is perfectly embodied by the new 2009 Ninja® ZX™-6R. Thanks to an extensive overhaul by the Kawasaki engineers; weight shaving, improving mass centralization, refining engine and chassis behavior, adding a revolutionary front fork design; the new leaner, more precise Ninja ZX-6R delivers the elusive calm and confident handling that top racers need.
Fine-tuning the chassis and tightening its mass centralization resulted in lighter handling to make it even easier to tip this ZX-6R into a corner. To optimize front-rear rigidity balance, the engineers revised frame stiffness around the swingarm pivot and the rear engine mounts. The engine was rotated around the output shaft to offer a steeper cylinder bank angle and raise its CG by 16mm. A new exhaust layout with a short side muffler lowers the weight previously located under the seat and an exhaust pre-chamber further contributes to the new ZX-6R’s mass centralization
The new Ninja ZX-6R’s leaner physique is fundamental to its lighter handling. Both the engine and chassis were evaluated to reduce weight. The intake resonator box and supports for the instrument panel and mirrors are now unitized with the enlarged –to optimize intake volume – Ram Air duct, contributing to weight savings and improving rigidity. New camshafts are now made of lighter SCM, and lightweight magnesium replaces aluminum for the engine covers. Revised internal gears – transmission, oil pump and starter – are lighter without compromising strength. Adjusting several mounting plates and the coolant reservoir locations helped shave additional weight.
Handling wasn’t the only area of improvement on the new Ninja ZX-6R; its lighter engine received a host of changes focused on delivering precise throttle control and increased performance, particularly in the mid-range. A smoother power delivery was achieved through better combustion efficiency. The changes include; adding cylindrical guides to the top of the airbox to better guide the fuel charge into the intake funnels, increasing the distance between the main and sub-throttles by 10mm to reduce inlet turbulence, revised cylinder porting to improve cylinder filling and increasing secondary coil current in the ignition coils.
In addition to healthier bottom-end torque and smoother throttle response, the engine’s mid-range performance was increased via a similar number of refinements, including; new double-bore velocity stacks with inlets at two different heights, pistons with new profiles and improved crown finishing, and reduced mechanical loss by decreasing piston ring tension and revising the cam chain guides to better stabilize the motion of the chain. A new exhaust collector layout rounds out the major changes.
The stronger mid-range torque provides greater drive out of corners and is harmonized with the engine’s silky smooth high-rpm performance. This linear throttle torque delivery results in improved controllability and offers the rider more precise throttle control at all rpm. This predictability pays dividends when making mid-corner power adjustments. When combined with the reduced need to downshift provided by its healthy mid-range performance, the predictable throttle response makes it easier for riders to maintain their rhythm when stringing corners together.
In keeping with its racing heritage, the ZX-6R employs a cassette-type transmission that simplifies gearing changes at the track, reducing set-up time and allowing more time for riding. A slipper clutch allows quick downshifts without upsetting the rest of the chassis when reducing speed on corner entry.
Corner-entry controllability receives a major performance boost, thanks to the first production-use of Showa’s revolutionary new BPF (Big Piston Front fork). The BPF utilizes a large-diameter internal piston, which permits a reduction in damping pressure, for smoother action and better front end feedback – especially under braking and initial corner turn-in. Additionally, the BPF eliminates many of the internal components used in a cartridge-type fork, simplifying construction and resulting in a lighter overall fork weight.
Having already designed a lighter and more rigid swingarm for the Ninja ZX-10R sportbike, the Kawasaki engineers utilized many of the same design components for the new ZX-6R’s swingarm. Shared swingarm parts include both left and right inner plates, the left outer plate, rear stand bosses, brake caliper stopper, chain guard and swingarm pivot shaft.
The response from Kawasaki’s acclaimed triple petal disc brake package with radial calipers was improved as well. The 220mm rear petal disc is now 10mm larger and features a revised brake lever that’s now coaxially mounted with the footpeg for increased mid-stroke braking efficiency and improved feeling. Its master cylinder reservoir was relocated forward of the swingarm – freeing up space around the footpeg, reducing parts and contributing to weight savings. Trackside maintenance is easier too, thanks to the revised front brake hose routing with a three-way joint at the lower triple-clamp to simplify bleeding the brake lines.
All of these revisions give the Ninja ZX-6R unflappable composure under braking and help provide the precise control and feel that allows Supersport racers to enter corners harder. To better capitalize on this lighter machine and its precise control response, the rider interface was appropriately fine-tuned to enhance feedback from the bike to the rider.
The relationship of the seat-to-pegs-to-bar “rider triangle” was adjusted slightly, with the handlebars moved closer to the rider and turned in slightly for a more intuitive riding position. The fuel tank cover is more flared around its top edge, providing a larger contact patch and contributing to improved rider feedback – similar to the ZX-10R. A new narrower rear sub-frame and seat leading edge, plus a 10mm lower seat height provide a slimmer riding position and a shorter reach to the pavement.
A new fairing and a less-complex one-piece front fender – previously a three-piece unit – offer improved aerodynamics and airflow to the radiator, better wind protection and help minimize the effect of crosswinds. The new inner rear fender, mounted above the swingarm, reduces turbulence and helps keep the tail clean. Like its bigger ZX-10R sibling, the ZX-6R received a new instrument panel that provides information at-a-glance and a race-quality adjustable Öhlins steering damper with relief valve and twin-tube design.
Highly confidence inspiring, the engine and chassis control precision offered by the new Ninja ZX-6R enables riders to push harder and maximize the excitement that comes from actively controlling such a high-performance track-focused machine. "
Aside from the new ZX-6R, the 2009 ZX-10R seems to be similar to last year's model, and Kawasaki has also unveiled the new ER-6n and updates the Ninja 650r.
More can be found here.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
After a ton of speculation, it has finally been officially confirmed. Nicky Hayden has signed with Ducati to ride as teammate of Casey Stoner in MotoGP:
"We are really happy to have Nicky join us," "We are certain that his never-say-die attitude, riding style and character will be great additions to our team in 2009."
Ducati Corse CEO/Ducati Motor Holding Product Director
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wet conditions at the new Indy track. A great comeback for Hayden and great performance by Dovizioso, who both battled for the lead with Rossi, the ultimate victor of a race which was red-flagged for the difficult weather conditions. Stoner finished in 4th and it looks as though Rossi has the title wrapped up this year.
800cc Race Results:
|1||V. ROSSI||ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||37'20.095|
|2||N. HAYDEN||USA||Repsol Honda Team||+ 5.972|
|3||J. LORENZO||SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||+ 7.858|
|4||C. STONER||AUS||Ducati Team||+ 28.162|
|5||A. DOVIZIOSO||ITA||JiR Team Scot MotoGP||+ 28.824|
|6||B. SPIES||USA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+ 29.645|
|7||S. GUINTOLI||FRA||Alice Team||+ 36.223|
|8||D. PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||+ 37.258|
|9||C. VERMEULEN||AUS||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+ 38.442|
|10||A. DE ANGELIS||RSM||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+ 42.437|
|11||A. WEST||AUS||Kawasaki Racing Team||+ 47.179|
|12||T. ELIAS||SPA||Alice Team||+ 55.962|
|13||R. DE PUNIET||FRA||LCR Honda MotoGP||+ 57.366|
|14||J. HOPKINS||USA||Kawasaki Racing Team||+ 58.353|
|15||C. EDWARDS||USA||Tech 3 Yamaha||+ 1'00.613|
|16||L. CAPIROSSI||ITA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+ 1'05.620|
|17||S. NAKANO||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+ 1'05.854|
|18||J. TOSELAND||GBR||Tech 3 Yamaha||+ 1'07.968|
|19||M. MELANDRI||ITA||Ducati Team||+ 1'21.023|
800cc Championship Standings:
|1||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||287|
|2||Casey STONER||AUS||Ducati Team||200|
|3||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||193|
|4||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||156|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||JiR Team Scot MotoGP||129|
|6||Chris VERMEULEN||AUS||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||117|
|7||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Tech 3 Yamaha||109|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Repsol Honda Team||104|
|9||Shinya NAKANO||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||87|
|10||Toni ELIAS||SPA||Alice Team||86|
|11||Loris CAPIROSSI||ITA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||86|
|12||James TOSELAND||GBR||Tech 3 Yamaha||85|
|13||Sylvain GUINTOLI||FRA||Alice Team||56|
|14||Alex DE ANGELIS||RSM||San Carlo Honda Gresini||55|
|15||Marco MELANDRI||ITA||Ducati Team||48|
|16||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||LCR Honda MotoGP||43|
|17||John HOPKINS||USA||Kawasaki Racing Team||41|
|18||Anthony WEST||AUS||Kawasaki Racing Team||41|
|19||Ben SPIES||USA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||20|
|20||Jamie HACKING||USA||Kawasaki Racing Team||5|
|21||Tadayuki OKADA||JPN||Repsol Honda Team||2|
250cc Race Results:
|1||H. BARBERA||SPA||Team Toth Aprilia||1'45.951|
|2||H. AOYAMA||JPN||Red Bull KTM 250||+ 0.206|
|3||A. DEBON||SPA||Lotus Aprilia||+ 0.469|
|4||A. BAUTISTA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team||+ 0.499|
|5||Y. TAKAHASHI||JPN||JiR Team Scot 250||+ 0.594|
|6||A. ESPARGARO||SPA||Lotus Aprilia||+ 0.963|
|7||M. SIMONCELLI||ITA||Metis Gilera||+ 0.980|
|8||J. SIMON||SPA||Repsol KTM 250cc||+ 1.012|
|9||H. FAUBEL||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team||+ 1.496|
|10||R. WILAIROT||THA||Thai Honda PTT SAG||+ 1.498|
|11||M. PASINI||ITA||Polaris World||+ 1.520|
|12||L. PESEK||CZE||Auto Kelly - CP||+ 1.578|
|13||R. LOCATELLI||ITA||Metis Gilera||+ 1.918|
|14||M. KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM 250||+ 2.204|
|15||K. ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||+ 2.215|
|16||S. BIANCO||ITA||Campetella Racing||+ 2.358|
|17||A. BALDOLINI||ITA||Matteoni Racing||+ 3.047|
|18||D. PRADITA||INA||Yamaha Pertamina Indonesia||+ 3.638|
|19||M. HERNANDEZ||SPA||Blusens Aprilia||+ 3.762|
|20||S. GROTZKYJ||ITA||Campetella Racing||+ 4.197|
|21||I. TOTH||HUN||Team Toth Aprilia||+ 4.913|
|22||B. LONG||USA||Longevity Racing||+ 8.900|
250cc Championship Standings:
|1||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||Metis Gilera||190|
|2||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM 250||164|
|3||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team||163|
|4||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Team Toth Aprilia||142|
|5||Alex DEBON||SPA||Lotus Aprilia||139|
|6||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Polaris World||117|
|7||Yuki TAKAHASHI||JPN||JiR Team Scot 250||115|
|8||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Red Bull KTM 250||101|
|9||Thomas LUTHI||SWI||Emmi - Caffe Latte||95|
|10||Julian SIMON||SPA||Repsol KTM 250cc||83|
|11||Roberto LOCATELLI||ITA||Metis Gilera||72|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Lotus Aprilia||55|
|13||Hector FAUBEL||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team||49|
|14||Ratthapark WILAIROT||THA||Thai Honda PTT SAG||47|
|15||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||31|
|16||Lukas PESEK||CZE||Auto Kelly - CP||31|
|17||Alex BALDOLINI||ITA||Matteoni Racing||24|
|18||Fabrizio LAI||ITA||Campetella Racing||21|
|19||Manuel POGGIALI||RSM||Campetella Racing||16|
|20||Eugene LAVERTY||IRL||Blusens Aprilia||8|
|21||Federico SANDI||ITA||Matteoni Racing||6|
|22||Manuel HERNANDEZ||SPA||Blusens Aprilia||5|
|23||Toni WIRSING||GER||Racing Team Germany||2|
|24||Imre TOTH||HUN||Team Toth Aprilia||2|
|25||Simone GROTZKYJ||ITA||Campetella Racing||1|
|26||Doni Tata PRADITA||INA||Yamaha Pertamina Indonesia||1|
125cc Race Results:
|1||N. TEROL||SPA||Jack & Jones WRB||29'51.350|
|2||P. ESPARGARO||SPA||Belson Derbi||+ 1.708|
|3||S. BRADL||GER||Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing||+ 3.984|
|4||S. REDDING||GBR||Blusens Aprilia Junior||+ 4.277|
|5||S. CORTESE||GER||Emmi - Caffe Latte||+ 4.413|
|6||M. MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol KTM 125cc||+ 4.454|
|7||S. CORSI||ITA||Jack & Jones WRB||+ 6.261|
|8||B. SMITH||GBR||Polaris World||+ 7.782|
|9||S. BONSEY||USA||Degraaf Grand Prix||+ 12.035|
|10||M. DI MEGLIO||FRA||Ajo Motorsport||+ 12.251|
|11||D. AEGERTER||SWI||Ajo Motorsport||+ 15.465|
|12||J. OLIVE||SPA||Belson Derbi||+ 18.312|
|13||R. DE ROSA||ITA||Onde 2000 KTM||+ 20.137|
|14||G. TALMACSI||HUN||Bancaja Aspar Team||+ 24.651|
|15||D. WEBB||GBR||Degraaf Grand Prix||+ 27.592|
|16||J. CLUZEL||FRA||Loncin Racing||+ 35.432|
|17||R. LASSER||GER||Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing||+ 37.082|
|18||S. GADEA||SPA||Bancaja Aspar Team||+ 38.549|
|19||T. KOYAMA||JPN||ISPA KTM Aran||+ 38.571|
|20||E. VAZQUEZ||SPA||Blusens Aprilia Junior||+ 40.991|
|21||H. VAN DEN BERG||NED||Degraaf Grand Prix||+ 1'06.197|
|22||P. JACOBSEN||USA||Bancaja Aspar Team||+ 1'06.327|
|23||B. CHESAUX||SWI||WTR San Marino Team||+ 1'07.067|
|24||J. FOLGER||GER||Red Bull KTM 125||+ 1'14.709|
|25||R. MURESAN||ROU||Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing||+ 1'20.413|
|26||A. MASBOU||FRA||Loncin Racing||+ 1'21.880|
|27||D. STIRPE||ITA||ISPA KTM Aran||+ 1'22.026|
|28||C. CARRILLO||FRA||FFM Honda GP 125||+ 1'22.159|
|29||K. TURNER||USA||Veloce Racing||+ 2'11.524|
125cc Championship Standings:
|1||Mike DI MEGLIO||FRA||Ajo Motorsport||192|
|2||Simone CORSI||ITA||Jack & Jones WRB||167|
|3||Gabor TALMACSI||HUN||Bancaja Aspar Team||149|
|4||Stefan BRADL||GER||Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing||142|
|5||Nicolas TEROL||SPA||Jack & Jones WRB||138|
|6||Joan OLIVE||SPA||Belson Derbi||118|
|7||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Polaris World||117|
|8||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Belson Derbi||103|
|9||Sandro CORTESE||GER||Emmi - Caffe Latte||97|
|10||Scott REDDING||GBR||Blusens Aprilia Junior||83|
|11||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||I.C. Team||77|
|12||Sergio GADEA||SPA||Bancaja Aspar Team||72|
|13||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol KTM 125cc||56|
|14||Stevie BONSEY||USA||Degraaf Grand Prix||46|
|15||Dominique AEGERTER||SWI||Ajo Motorsport||37|
|16||Esteve RABAT||SPA||Repsol KTM 125cc||34|
|17||Raffaele DE ROSA||ITA||Onde 2000 KTM||33|
|18||Danny WEBB||GBR||Degraaf Grand Prix||29|
|19||Tomoyoshi KOYAMA||JPN||ISPA KTM Aran||22|
|20||Michael RANSEDER||AUT||I.C. Team||22|
|21||Efren VAZQUEZ||SPA||Blusens Aprilia Junior||20|
|22||Pablo NIETO||SPA||Onde 2000 KTM||13|
|23||Lorenzo ZANETTI||ITA||ISPA KTM Aran||10|
|24||Randy KRUMMENACHER||SWI||Red Bull KTM 125||10|
|25||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||I.C. Team||9|
|26||Pere TUTUSAUS||SPA||Bancaja Aspar Team||9|
|27||Stefano BIANCO||ITA||WTR San Marino Team||8|
|28||Marcel SCHROTTER||GER||Toni Mang Team||3|
|29||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Red Bull MotoGP Academy||1|
|30||Robin LASSER||GER||Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing||1|
|31||Hugo VAN DEN BERG||NED||Degraaf Grand Prix||1|
|32||Alexis MASBOU||FRA||Loncin Racing||1|
Saturday, September 13, 2008
For some, deciding between a 600 and a 1000 is already a tough decision. 600s weigh less... but not much less. 600s cost less... but not a whole lot less. 1000s have more power, but will that power be more of a financial and psychological burden than a real help to anyone who isn't laying down qualifying laps at Monza on a monthly basis?
In essence; what would the market niche of an 800 be?
That is indeed a question. Is that a good question to ask?
The problem is that this question is being asked by consumers from the perspective of the manufacturer. You are the consumer. If you would buy it, there would instantly be a niche for it. As it is, manufacturers attempt to see things from the consumer's eyes rather than from their own eyes. As the consumer, the idea of a best-of-both-worlds option stealing sales from 1000s and 600s to your benefit should prompt enthusiasm, not skepticism, and given the current climate, bikes like the ZX8R are feasible.
Here is why.
In racing, it's a love triangle between the series, the manufacturers, and the fans/consumers when the bikes on the track have the same "identity" (brand name, model series name, engine size, color scheme, etc) as bikes on the street and in the showroom.
For the racing series itself, the ability of the fan to more easily relate the bike on the track to their own bike via one of those memorable key identity factors means more loyalty and deeper fan interest. Without ZX this, R that, Desmo this, etc., motorcycle racing would be like a ball-sports league in which teams lack hometowns. Of course hardcore fans watch for the athletes themselves, but the majority need names and representation to generate interest.
MotoGP has chosen 800cc four-strokes (formerly 500cc two-strokes, then 990cc four-strokes) for the premier class as a matter of increased relevance to street-legal machines (two-strokes just didn't cut it), without sacrificing what the series is about (technologically advanced prototypes).
So, I'm not making sense here, right? 800cc or not, those bikes will still be prototypes sharing virtually zero parts with consumer sportbikes.
The thing is, whilst most riders won't be overly concerned with the weird honeycomb thing in their exhaust pipe a MotoGP bike doesn't have, or a polished whatever the heck shaft and ECU algorithm their bike doesn't come with, most bikers will know what cubic centimeters are. Most bikers will like the idea of the dimensions of their 800cc being determined by what works in MotoGP and possibly other series which follow.
MotoGP and the factories recognized that with two-strokes dying on the streets due to politicians sticking their fingers in motorcyclists' pie, the relevance of the series to sportbike riders (and research benefits to the involved factories) would eventually begin to rot.
Just like a Denver-dwelling fan of the Denver Broncos is aware that most of the team is not actually from Denver, MotoGP fans and consumers are aware that the bike they're seeing on TV mostly consists of parts not inside of their own bike by the same brand. Still, however, a key identifying factor such as engine displacement, and model series name (ZX, YZF, etc.) functions as a fan's "hometown". When you ask what somebody in a cafe up by Angeles Crest has parked outside, they don't tell you "carbon fiber fairing and soft-compound Bridgestone qualifiers", they tell you "a 600" or "a 1000".
In summary, 800cc sportbike=MotoGP bike, at least to the average consumer's mind. The marketing value open to manufacturers would be enormous.
In World Superbike, we have a very different problem from MotoGP but with a similar solution (at least to me). The literbikes are going open. That is, open-class. Ducati's latest weapon wields 1200ccs of twin cylinder torque. In an era where debate rages on in regards to whether 1000cc is already too large, 1200cc Superbikes, whether 2 cylinder or not, racing as the main attraction in such a major series confused a lot of people. Not to mention the Japanese manufacturers don't like it (I've even seen rumors that there was a push for 1100cc inline fours with the usual walk-out threats just to show WSBK and Ducati who's boss).
I'm all for giving the twins the ability to compete head to head with fours with competitive power output, but I also know I'm not the only one who was wondering the following:
"So... Ducati wants a 200cc advantage, huh?
"Japanese manufacturers have invested massively in 800cc four cylinders over in GP, huh?"
"Ducati has the most experience with 1000cc bikes, huh?"
"Rumors of Japan pushing for 1100ccs now just to stick it to Ducati, thus spinning the whole thing out of control into a competition for who is allowed more cc, huh?"...
Do I really need to elaborate on my conclusion? No, but I will anyway. Convert WSBK rules to 800cc 4 cylinders versus 900cc 3 cyclinders versus 1000cc 2 cylinders.
In AMA (or whatever it is now) Superbike, the situation is a mix of what WSBK and MotoGP have already gone through, but even more mixed up. Simply put: auto racing is a whole lot bigger in the US than motorcycle road-racing is. Many tracks aren't willing to invest in making themselves motorcycle-friendly, and it's gotten to the point that AMA riders are threatening to refuse to ride if certain safety demands aren't met. At the same time, year after year 1000s are becoming faster and faster.
An early solution upon the series changing ownership was regulating 1000s to a semi-superstock form and elevating the 600 supersport class with some modified rules to superbike/premier status. Needless to say, there was public outcry as well as fury from the factories and riders.
600s aren't THAT much slower than 1000s, and in fact, on tight tracks we see 600s with as fast/faster cornering speeds vs the 1000s and the lead 600 times falling ahead of the back of the 1000 pack's times. There was just the whole "oh... 600s..." aura. In macho circles, 600s are seen as bikes upcoming racers screw around with before going to a 1000. The factories would also be screwed to a degree, having invested so much in impractically powerful bikes which revolve around being "the best", no longer being the best.
Mladin/Spies and Suzuki's domination of the Superbike class (to the point I often don't even bother posting the race results because it was a Spies/Mladin or Mladin/Spies 1-2 finish) is also an obvious factor in the series wanting to shake the rules up.
To make a long story short, it seems like the idea of making 600s into the main attraction was shot down brutally, but still debate continues over what to do with the Superbike class. It's gotten so messy that nobody is quite sure what the disagreement is at this point. It seems 1000s are back as the main attraction, but goes back and forth from the manufacturers united against DMG/AMA, to the manufacturers fighting each other, to the latest breaking news: the manufacturers simply creating their own rival series (rules yet to be specifically clarified).
Basically, you can be sure that with all the chaos going on within the AMA, the manufacturers releasing 800cc bikes, and MotoGP running 800cc, they would be glad to have a third party "wave" of standardized 800cc racing determine what to race rather than continue destroying the face of American motorcycle racing by splitting into factions seemingly over disagreements so obscure that the media and public can't even figure out what the disagreement is.
It just so happens that new from scratch 800ccs would also be an exact half-way point between the originally suggested 600cc solution and the maze of confusing new 1000cc rules requests.
Well... the bikes. They don't exactly exist yet. Other than the ZX8R rumor, 800cc MotoGP bikes, sporadic sub1000cc replicas of MotoGP bikes, the GSX-R750, the Ducati 848, and not-quite-sportbikes like the Honda VFR800.
There is, however, history. Not all that long ago World Superbikes were 750s. The R7. The legendary Ninja 750. Just like with the GSX-R, those who rode them often painted them to be the perfect balance of an athletic-feeling 600 and a steroidal 1000. Occasionally a tiny, itsy-bitsy bit more punch was requested (something an extra 50ccs and being catapulted to the forefront of research may cure), and that was about it. They ate up tires and flung riders off at a lesser rate than 1000s, and had just enough "scary" and unnecessary power to please psychos who think a modern 600 isn't fast enough.
Then we have modern 600s and 1000s. Even as they become harder to tell apart on spec sheets, they grow apart in subtle ways and make us lust for something in the middle.
Until recently, the hot design element for a 600 was to make it smaller. Well, 600s are smaller now. Maybe too small for some riders. The engines easily fit into the chassis and 600s could be made even smaller if need be. With 800s, we could perhaps LET 600s keep getting smaller. Let 600s evolve into an option for smaller, yet skilled and experienced riders.
1000s. As stated above, the line seems to be blurring between literbikes and open bikes. The sacred liter mark has been blown out of the water with the arrival of 1200cc twins and the Hayabusa/ZX14/etc crowd are stuck in limbo between being laid back muscle-sport tourers or just superbikes with more power and longer wheelbases. The question of "What should I get, a 600, a 1000, or a Hayabusa?" is officially gone now, and there is pretty much a serious bike at every cc interval. The industry is just asking to average it out like MotoGP did and make that class the pillar of technology.
1000cc+ horsepower levels are also becoming, quite frankly, pointless. Several 180-200+ HP models are on the horizon for 2009-2011. The rising power of motorcycles has prompted France to slap a moronic/communistic enforced 100 max horsepower limit on engine output. Do I agree with governments limiting how much horsepower our bikes can have and clueless hands neutering them against our wishes? Hell NO.
Yet, when you need 200 horsepower in a 360 pound bike just to "keep up" and be cool on the street, isn't that pushing it a bit and feeding the flames? Chopping 200ccs off the "gotta have" superbikes to the benefit of racing, consumers, and performance rather than prompting totalitarian moms to slap horsepower limits on bikers around the world seems like a rational option.
So what do you think?
No single factor seems to really scream "Make us 800s for the street!" or "Unify premier rules to 800cc! 800cc prototypes for MotoGP and 800cc road bikes for Superbike", but a multitude of smaller factors and plain old logic seem to say that they would be a hit if produced. I know I would buy one.
I say bring on the:
Yamaha R8 (catchy, huh?
Suzuki GSX-R800 (GSX-R750+50cc)
Ducati Desmosedici 800 (and separate the 1098 twin cylinder model into 1000cc and 1200cc versions, with the 1000cc version able to race 800cc 4 cylinders)
MV Agusta F8
KTM RC8 (they'd have to change the current twin cylinder RC8's name... maybe to RC1 or RC10 and lower it to 1000cc to race 4 cylinder 800ccs!),
Aprilia RSV8 (and return of an updated RSV 1000 2 cylinder...)
Triumph Daytona 900 (Triple cylinder, of course. Mmm!)
Buell 800R (and a 1000cc version of the current 2 cylinder 1125R to race the 800cc
Ok... you probably get the point.