former motogp rider alex hoffman will be back on a bike in ’09 riding aprilia’s rsv-4. he’s currently testing the new bike in spain getting it in shape for its debut at one of the last rounds of this season. that’s all. move along.
in april, bmw motorrad unveiled their wsbk entry to the public and one of the big questions that went unanswered was who was going to be piloting its teutonic terror. several riders were linked to the german marque but all has been quiet on the homefront… until this week. bmw motorrad announced that ruben xaus will be leading its first foray into world superbike championship next season. the second seat is unknown at the moment, however, troy corser is rumored to be on the short list.
currently, xaus is a mediocre 7th in the championship halfway through the season. he’s been inconsistent and prone to kiss the tarmac which makes bmw’s choice a little baffling. i pity the logistics coordinator.
apparently xaus has been very interested in the project since its inception:
“When I met the BMW guys, I was very impressed by their commitment, their passion for racing and their ideas about the future. We discussed how the WSBK project was going and I realised that I wanted to be a part of it straightaway. It is not often that you get the chance to start a completely new project, but I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
the switch to bmw ends xaus’ 7 yr relationship with ducati in which he was rumored to be a top candidate for troy bayliss’ seat in the factory team as he was the 2nd ducati in the championship.
bmw along with xaus are looking to surprise the wsbk paddock with top 10 finishes in its first year of competition. with the deep pockets and deep talent i won’t be betting against them.
well, bmw motorrad’s superbike is no longer a rumor. today, they took the wraps off their 2009 world superbike entry, the s1000rr.
details of the bike are sparse. here’s what we know:
- engine is an 1000cc inline-4 allegedly with some special features, esp in the cylinder head (pneumatic valves?)
- suspension is handled by a conventional inverted fork (for compact packaging – uhhh, britten and motoczysz?); no mention of rear suspension layout
- expect a trick traction control system
sounds very japanese. as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…
the styling of the bike is reminiscent of aprilia rsv 1000r with the gaping central intake up front. it looks good but nothing special. i’m kind of disappointed that the rear subframe isn’t supportless, which as everyone knows adds 5hp :D
the “s” designation, which stands for supersports, marks a new category in bmw motorrad’s model line (will we see a 600 next? i hope so!). the s1000rr will be competing in the 2009 season of wsbk with help from alpha-technik developing the bike. bmw motorrad’s goals are very ambitious; they’ll be looking for top 10 finishes in the first year and challenge for podiums the next.
with the capital and engineering backing of one of the largest automakers in the world, the wsbk paddock will have to take the s1000rr very serious. along with the german marque’s entry, aprilia will also be competing with their rsv4. the more the merrier!!!
two weeks ago, motogp made history by running under the floodlights of losail international circuit.
at first, i thought that it was an cheap (?!?!) gimmick but i’m sold after watching the race. the lights added a whole new dimension that i didn’t expect.
the weekend was a complete success with only one minor quibble – the cool track temperature. several teams expressed their concern about this issue asking for the race to be run later in the year (originally qatar was run in sept). qatar officials would like to retain the opening race slot which will likely delay the start of the season to april and we wouldn’t have a month long break to the second race.
qatar was run at night for several reasons, one of them being the sweltering heat during midday. however, temperatures plummeted once the sun set. in fact, it was actually too cold. the tarmac cooled to a frigid 13 deg c (55 deg f) whereas typical summer day track temps are around 35-40 deg c (95-104 deg f).
i’d rather see the qatar race return to its sept date and the season kick off with jerez or another european round. the atmosphere at qatar is subdued and fan unfriendly. it seems very sterile since the only grandstand is on the main straight and the track is located in the middle of the desert. unless u’re an emirate prince u have no place being there.
maybe the qatar round should just be removed from the calendar altogether. but it looks like we’ll have to wait until 2016 for that to happen. by then their oil reserves will have run out…