the hoff’ rides with aprilia for ’09

June 27, 2008

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.

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achtung! bmw signs xaus for ’09 wsbk season

June 27, 2008

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.


bmw unveil superbike

April 17, 2008

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!!!


double down (under) – wsbk/wss phillip island roundup

March 5, 2008

wsbk-r21-bayliss-wheelie.jpg

maybe nori haga was right when he prognosticated that world superbike racing will rival motogp. if the first two rounds are an indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a great season!!!

(superb)ike

troy bayliss (xerox ducati) went out in style in the last world superbike at his home round of phillip island. he pretty much dominated the weekend. he qualified at pole with a record lap and then pretty much walked away from the field in both races.

but in no way were the races a snoozefest.

wsbk-r21-fabrizio-crash.jpg

race 1 started with bang!!! literally for michel fabrizio (xerox ducati). he stalled his 1098rs on the line and mayhem ensued. fabrizio almost got away with it when an unlucky vittorio iannuzzo (pedercini kawasaki) smashed into the rear of the ducati. the collision was powerful enough to break the forged rear wheel yet gentle enough to remove fabrizio’s boot and not the entire foot.

the race was quickly red flagged which caused another incident at lukey heights between carlos checa (ten kate honda) and russell holland (df racing honda). apparently, as the field was slowing for the red flag holland made contact with carlos checa sending him and his bike tumbling. amazingly, 3 out of the 4 ill-fated riders (fabrizio, checa, and holland) made it back onto the grid for the restart. however, iannuzzo suffered a severe, career-threatening wrist injury.

phew! all that in less than one lap of racing.

imo, race direction should be blamed for the starting line debacle. riders were held for an unusually long time before the starting lights went out. i didn’t get a chance to count but it felt longer than the 5 seconds specified in the fim rulebook.

the restart went off without any drama and bayliss shot to the front and didn’t look back. the rest of the pack scrapped it out for 22 laps.

again like qatar, the alstare suzukis were blisteringly fast down the straight. max neukirchner was battling at the front throughout the race and finished in 5th position.

the ten honda’s also appeared much improved with checa and ryu kiyonari both in the top 10. since the honda’s are are still early in development i expect to see major improvement as the season progresses.

the sterilgarda ducatis showed that the factory boys a thing or two with ruben xaus pestering fabrizio for third (i know. amazing!). in the end, xaus managed a very respectable 4th place. in addition, max biaggi was running a wicked quick pace reeling in the distant bayliss until he overzealously binned it with 6 laps to go.

the “weakest” front-running team looked to be the yamahas. the r1’s still seem to be struggling for grip during the waning laps. even though troy corser snatched 2nd, he was riding on the ragged edge. furthermore, haga fell back to 8th after catching the front group. corser summed it up saying that “the bike wasn’t perfect and we were moving around a bit too much. we were going as fast as we could sideways!”

race 2 was a little less dramatic. as in the previous race, bayliss was untouchable.

corser didn’t do himself any favors by, first, false-starting and, second, crashing on the 5th lap.

checa impressed with his second place showing the true potential of the ten kate honda. they will be the team to watch. 

the battle for the remaining of the podium position was fast and furious. biaggi, neukirchner, xaus, and nieto had a helluva time with one another. biaggi got the worst of it crashing hard at turn 1. he lifted the rear while braking and when it came down it was all over. xaus and nieto squabbled over 3rd as neukirchner couldn’t maintain the pace. there was no quarter given between the two spaniards as they banged fairings midcorner. courageous or stupid??? u decide… xaus was victorious and claimed the position in the last couple laps. 

from what i’ve seen, the ducati’s are the bike to beat but they aren’t dominating. it wasn’t a runaway like i was expecting. while phillip island has been kind to ducati in the past, we saw that yamaha or honda not so far behind taking second spot while suzuki also showed its mettle. i don’t see fgsport or fim penalizing the 1200cc 1098rs… yet…

supersport 

[it’s getting late so i’ll have that recap tomorrow. sorry :( ] 

if u haven’t tuned in yet u’ve got a month to catch up… wsbk returns to the old continent in valencia, spain april 6th.


wsbk/wss qatar roundup

February 25, 2008

wsbk-r12.jpg

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

superbike
 
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.


 
supersport
 
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!!

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.

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.