motogp’s night light

February 27, 2008


motogp will be kicking off this season in a rather unique way. qatar will be the first track to hold a premier class motorsports event under the lights (nascar has been doing this for years but they are far from premier let alone class). teams will have a chance to acclimate to the new conditions this thurs during an official two day test. 

motogp-r1pre2.jpglosail international circuit teamed up with american lighting specialists musco sports lighting to accomplish this enormous challenge. they basically had to light the whole facility but without causing shadows. this required 3700 lighting sources and enough electricity to power 3000 homes or 5.4 megawatts. that’s a shit ton of energy!!! only in qatar… 

last year, several riders have already had a crack at the circuit albeit under partial lighting conditions and they seemed to be happy with it. teams will have to adjust to the change in time, lower track temps, and the lights. the race will be held around midnight, ten hours later than usual. and since the track is in the middle of a desert, the temps will be lower with higher humidity than a day race which means grip could be an issue. hopefully, riders will be able to adapt to the lights and all will be well.
to me motogp under the lights is a gimmick. it cheapens the sport making it more of a spectacle. the unique conditions will either influence or worse overshadow the racing. and why spend all this money and energy to hold a race at night? at a time when global warming and recession are on everyone’s minds, qatar rubs their frivolity and extravagance in our face.
(man, this turned into a depressing post…)
all things aside, i’m just happy to see motogp racing is only 12 days away!!! hit the switch, carmelo!!!

wsbk/wss qatar roundup

February 25, 2008


what a fantastic day of racing in the desert!!! so many things to cover…

ducati’s 1098rs faired fairly well in its debut. no engines self-destructed and they somewhere between more-than-competitive and dominant. 
former wsbk champ troy bayliss on the factory ducati took race 1 (on the last lap no less) with max biaggi and troy corser rounding out the podium. this was a great result since this is the only track that ducati hasn’t won at. in race 2, alstare suzuki rider fonsi nieto captured his first wsbk win followed by a trio of ducati’s (ruben xaus, biaggi, and bayliss, respectively). 
3 out of the top 4 bikes were italian in both races. will these results give officials a reason to penalize the duc’s? probably not. but if we see them dominate phillip island next week we could see the bologna bullets get a pack on some pounds.
i was surprised to see the suzukis battling at the sharp end. in both races, an alstare suzukis was was leading the race at one point. they looked incredibly fast down the 1200m main straight besting both the ducati’s and yamaha’s.
the yamaha’s got off to great starts in both races but faded at the midpoint. corser managed a disappointing 3rd in race 1 but couldn’t muster anything in the second. haga, in race 1, uncharacteristically overreacted to biaggi’s hard pass and duffed it as a result. just get on with it. he was an also-run in race 2.
speaking of also-runs… honda and kawasaki made no impression on me this weekend. they looked to be struggling with setup as soon as they took the bikes off the trailer. i guess i shouldn’t be surprised. for some reason both manufactures delivered bikes late which impeded testing.
best moment: bayliss staring down biaggi’s desperate counterattack in the last corner. priceless.

what can i say, supersport is unpredictable. there’s always plenty of action!!!
the factory r6’s were 1-2 for the most of the race with a hodgepodge of bikes behind. fabien foret had a commanding lead until he ran out of petrol on final lap. talk about frustrating. then it was a dash to the finish between foret’s teammate broc parkes and honda rider joan lascroz. parkes narrowly took the win with an incredible draft pass down the main straight. craig jones took the final podium position.
an incredible crash on the 2nd lap between hannspree ten kate teammates jonathon rea and andrew pitt. rea’s rear tire stepped out as he was exiting turn 3 (i think) and consequently viscously flicked him off. pitt was closely following and there was no way to avoid the carnage. he was punted over the bars and looked in bad shape.
it wouldn’t be a proper moto-vation article if there was no mention of the 675. briefly, triumph scored their first wss points with be1 racing’s ivan clementi’s 12th place finish. garry mccoy on the factory bike looked impressive climbing his way up to a best 5th position but subsequently suffered engine failure (overheating???). in addition, mark aitchison was doing well until he crashed out. all in all, the 675 is race-worthy but it’s still in the early stages of development.
best moment: parkes pipping lascroz on the last lap.

next week is phillip island. can’t wait. the motorcycling season hath begun which means spring is right around the corner!!

aprilia reveal next gen superbike

February 23, 2008

aprilia has been on hard times lately but the italian bike maker is slowly making a comeback. scooter giant piaggio acquired the struggling company several years ago and the investment appears to be paying off…
big time.
aprilia is revamping its product line. they just released the much anticipated shiver 750 streetfighter and today they unveiled the successor to the flagship rsv 1000 – the rsv 4.
the rsv 4 is bad ass. 
bold statement, i know. but it’s a bold looking bike. like a cross between a stealth fighter and motocycle.
developed in aprilia’s skunk works, the 1000cc v-4 engine is a technological powerhouse. u know what other bike has this same type of engine? the ultra-exotic ducati desmosedici rr motogp repli-racer (oh and the honda vfr1000, but that’s besides the point). aprilia claim it’ll be making at least 200hp and employ ride-by-wire, aka traction control. hope the engine management is better than their failed rs^cube motogp machine. it’ll make it’s debut late this season in wsbk and be ready for the street in ’09. homologation rulz!!!
click here to watch the video! 

triumph-sc unveil livery

February 23, 2008

it’s not that big of a deal for most of u but it is for me so deal with it.
the factory boys finally unveiled their paint scheme in qatar during fri practice. gone is the monotone silver of preseason testing. triumph-sc are sporting a classy blue-silver-black paint job. triumph stickers must’ve been on sale because there are about a bajillion of them all over the bike. “lookin’ good, billy ray!”
furthermore, franco farne went with tried and trued temignoni for the exhaust. amazing the influence this guy has. the whole community couldn’t get akra to develop a can… franco gets what franco wants. but i want one too!
in related news, garry mccoy lead the triumph charge in qualifying setting the 7th fastest time of the day. he was closely followed by fellow triumph and be-1 racing rider ivan clementi who was a tenth behind. atcho brought up the rear in 11th ahead of some reasonable talent. amazing that all triumph bikes qualified ahead of suzuki and kawasaki. booyah suckas!!! the race will be held sat instead of the normal sunday (crazy muslims) and hopefully we’ll see a little of this from mr mccoy:

zx-10r cleans up good too!

February 22, 2008

so a few days ago i posted on how much better the race version of the honda cbr1000rr looks compared to the street. to say the least, the stock exhaust was horrendous.
the same goes for the kawasaki zx-10r. a humungous unwieldy exhaust scarred the bike’s aesthetics. factory wsbk team psg-1 racing fixed this by installing a custom akrapovic exhaust (no ’08 zx10r  product on the site yet) and it looks good. zx-10r owners will be clamoring for this exhaust as soon as it’s released.
too bad looks don’t count in racing. kawasaki is struggling to find a setup for this weekend’s race in qatar. not a good way to start the season.

stoner again making it look easy – official irta test

February 18, 2008

current world champ, casey stoner, started off this season like he ended the last one – on top of the podium and winning a bmw.
the motogp season officially kicked off this weekend with the jerez irta test that extends until monday. stuck in the middle is the bmw m award, a mini-competition to set the fastest lap during the sunday afternoon session. the winner gets the keys to a brand new z4 m roadster and bragging rights for the rest of season.
heading into the weekend, michelin looked extremely competitive locking in the top 5 spots in the saturday session. nicky hayden, randy de puniet, and james toseland impressed me the most setting a quick pace on less than ideal equipment. remember, all these riders are using last year’s spring-valve engines while the likes of rossi and stoner are riding the latest kit. rossi and stoner were down in 8th and 9th, respectively, which was perplexing.
conditions deteriorated over night and rains soaked the track for sundays’ test sessions. the wet track made for a rather boring m award competition. riders were tip-toeing the bikes around trying to avoid an off and injury. stoner set the fastest lap of the day with a 1’49.263 on his 5th lap (of only 9) with 26 mins left in the session. it was then a matter of the field playing catch up. rossi managed a 1’50.580 in the tricky conditions as a dry line was slowly developing. it boggles my mind (and probably the rest of the field’s) that stoner can run so few laps yet be so fast. as rossi and melandri said earlier this week, stoner is the master of traction control and it showed sunday afternoon.
even though there’s still a day left in the test, my faith in randy de puniet was restored saturday with a stupendously fast time on qualifiers that was almost 2 sec quicker than last year’s pole. furthermore, his pace on race tires wasn’t too shabby either. i’m calling it right now that the “crash king” will be the most improved rider for ’08 and will be at the sharp end of the grid. lucio cecchinello may have another ace in his hand like he did 2 two years ago.
[UPDATE] randy continued his quick pace on race and qualifying tires on mon. he had the fastest 5 lap stint and the 4th fastest single lap time.

cbr1000rr: from bland to bitchin’

February 17, 2008

don’t get me wrong, honda’s cbr1000rr aka fireblade is some serious kit. it has been given a major update this year and journo’s have given it stellar reviews despite the stiff competition. great engine, great suspension, great controls, great styl… fuck no!!! the styling is atrocious!!! it makes cream-of-wheat seem interesting. the bike lost all the aggressiveness and sportiness of the previous generation. gone is the underseat exaust and cat-like mug. now we have a bike with a bulbous erect prick for an exhaust, featureless side fairings, and droopy-eyed headlights. totally disappointed.
that is until i peeped the race-prepped version…
the short motogp-inspired exhaust looks great and clearing off the license plate assembly cleans up the tail.
below is a video from mcn that show a little more detail of the ten kate bikes. looks like they’re sporting an arrow exhaust that will hopefully trickle down to the consumer. sexy. sexy.