Friday, February 29, 2008

MotoGP: Stoner fastest in Qatar night test, Rossi in ninth place

Can Rossi really beat Stoner this year? Right now, it doesn't look that way at all...

The 2008 MotoGP season saw a spectacular inauguration ceremony yesterday, at the Losail circuit, where the Qatar Grand Prix will be held on the 9th of March. This will be the first MotoGP race ever to be held at night, on a floodlit track. A thousand poles have been erected around the 5.38km long circuit, and lighting specialists have been trying to ensure that the five and a half million watt lighting arrangement is such that shadows are minimized during the race.

During yesterday’s official test session at night, reigning MotoGP world champ Casey Stoner was the fastest, putting in a lap time of 1:55.330. ‘The first impression is like playing the Need for Speed videogame! It's definitely a lot different to what we're used to. It's not better or worse, just different. The most interesting thing is that with lower visibility, at least with regard to the imperfections on the track, you have to have more confidence than your instinct tells you to have. It's not a bad start though,’ said Stoner.

Five-time MotoGP world champ, Valentino Rossi went 1.4 seconds slower than Stoner, ending up in ninth place. At 1:56.749, The Doctor was slower than MotoGP newbies James Toseland, who was in fifth place, and Jorge Lorenzo, who was second-quickest overall! ‘I have to say that I am quite satisfied. I think they have made a great job with the lights and you can ride quite normally. The visibility is quite good so there is no danger for us – it’s really no more difficult than riding in the day,’ said Rossi.

‘Maybe it would be better to move this night race to a period when the temperature is a little bit higher however, because at the moment it's very cold here. We have worked a lot on the bike setup, but we were not so fast and we are still missing some grip in acceleration. We tested several different tyres and settings, but I am still sliding a bit when I open the throttle and the front is going a bit wide. We know that this track doesn't have the best grip, but other riders are going faster, so we must do better,’ admitted Rossi, who must indeed ‘improve’ in double-quick time if wants to take on Stoner this year.

The third serious contender for the 2008 MotoGP world title, Dani Pedrosa was a smidge quicker than Rossi. With a best lap time of 1:56.621, Pedrosa was in eight place, but apparently not very happy with the night race. ‘The track seems to be well lit, but there are a lot of shadows and it's very tiring on the eyes. I rode on my own throughout most of this evening's session, so I don't yet know how the floodlights will be in a race situation,’ said Pedrosa.

‘Compared to the last test session in Jerez, my physical condition has improved. I still feel pain when I'm braking and the hand has swollen a bit, but it's better than it was at Jerez. It's been quite a difficult evening, we are struggling with the bike, and we haven't found the right set-up, so tomorrow we will continue working to prepare a base set-up for the race weekend here, which is next week,’ concluded Pedrosa, who, according to Stoner, will be the biggest threat this year.

Catch all the action here on Faster and Faster on the 9th of March, when the 2008 MotoGP season kicks off in Qatar!

Also see:
Not just MotoGP, Ducati also on top in WSBK!
KTM 1190 RC8 riding impression...
Stoner wins new BMW Z4 M Roadster!
Valentino Rossi stars in new Dainese advertisement...
Sheene-tribute, Chris Vermeulen-replica GSX-R1000 now available...
MASSIVE collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper here and here

External links:
Kevin Ash's KTM 1190 RC8 riding impression
Victory Vision riding impression and image gallery
Britten V1000 image gallery...

Marco Lucchinelli won the 1981 500cc world championship aboard a Suzuki. Can Loris Capirossi or Chris Vermeulen pull it off again this year, aboard their 2008 Suzuki GSV-R XRG1s...?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ducati get off to a flying start in WSBK, 1098R-based 1098 F08 is the bike to beat this season!

With the 1098R-based 1098 F08 WSBK racer, Ducati are back to their winning ways...

In the very first World Superbikes race of the season – at the Losail circuit in Qatar – the 2008 Ducati 1098 F08 WSBK racebike has sent a clear warning signal to the Japanese factories. The 1098 F08 took the first two places (Troy Bayliss, Max Biaggi) in the first race, and second and third places (Ruben Xaus, Max Biaggi) in the second race. What a way to start the season for Ducati!

Based on the US$47,000 homologation-special Ducati 1098R, the 1098 F08 racer is fitted with an 8-stage traction control system, and suspension, brakes, wheels, and slipper clutch from Ducati’s GP7 MotoGP machine. Controlled by sophisticated electronics, the 180-horsepower L-Twin Testastretta Evoluzione engine is mated to Ducati’s trellis frame, and as is apparent from the results, the 165kg package works very well indeed.

Ducati claim that the 1098R is the ‘most advanced, most powerful twin-cylinder motorcycle ever built, with the highest torque-to-weight ratio in the sportsbike category,’ and that is probably true. In 2009, we’ll perhaps be ready to see what the KTM RC8 can do, but till then (and maybe even after that…), the 1098R is certainly the king of twin-cylinder sportsbikes.

Couldn't get your hands on the Desmosedici RR? The 1098R is your best bet now

Like its even more expensive cousin – the US$100,000 Desmosedici RR – the 1098R also gets a healthy dose of MotoGP-tech. Apart from the advanced, race-spec traction control system, there’s the MotoGP-inspired digital instrumentation, the Ducati Data Analyser (DDA) system, the Brembo Monobloc brakes, and the best, most tunable suspension that Ohlins can make.

With the Ducati-supplied race kit (carbonfibre Termignoni exhaust, different ECU) fitted, the 1098R makes 186bhp – which should be just about enough for running down to the shops for a six-pack of beer. And on weekends, for winning a WSBK championship or two. Yeah, well, this is one Ducati you’ve got to love…

Also see:
KTM RC8 riding impression...
MotoGP: Casey Stoner wins BMW Z4 M Roadster!
The next step, after you've bought your MV Agusta F4 or Ducati 1098...
Memorable: The Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850!
New Moto Morini 1200 Sport and Scrambler shown...
Kawasaki to gun for the MotoGP world title in 2009!
Michael Scott: An interview with The Doctor

External links:
2008 Daytona Bike Week preview
Cycle World: An interview with Nicky Hayden
Gemma Atkinson - Official Calendar 2008!

From left: Wayne Rainey and Eddie Lawson, two of the greatest racers ever in the 500cc GP era. Read about their bikes here: the Yamaha YZR500 and the Honda NSR500
Eddie Lawson pic: PB mag forum

Ready to race: Harley-Davidson XR1200 Trophy

The best-looking Harley ever is now all set to go racing in Europe...

Pics: MotoInsight

Harley-Davidson have unveiled a racing version of the very beautiful XR1200 – the XR1200 Trophy. Fitted with Harley’s 90bhp air-cooled v-twin, the single-seat XR1200 Trophy also features racing slicks, a Termignoni exhaust system, Öhlins rear suspension, and bigger, petal-shaped brake discs.

And just in case you thought the number boards were there for show, get this – Harley-Davidson Italy are organizing a four-round, one-make race series for the XR1200 Trophy this year. This, they say, is in tribute to the glorious dirt-track races of the 1970s, when Harley-Davidson XR750s ruled the tracks. Very, very cool. But hey, also check out these Jay Springsteen-replica XR750s, which are being made by SHR Enterprises!

Also see:
Aprilia RSV 4 'Race Machine' unveiled!
Mille Percento's Moto Guzzi Griso BB1...
2008 KTM RC8 riding impression
First pics: Roland Sands’ Ducati Ultramotard!
An interview with Claudio Castiglioni...
Can Honda work the CB1100R magic once more?
2008 Buell Ulysses XB12XT launched...
Racy custom: The Buell XBRR Chronos!

External links:
Hot Rod: Harley-Davidson image gallery... (NSFW)
Bimota DB7 image gallery

The rather strange looking creation you see here is the KMP Bob’R. The engine is from a Suzuki Bandit 1200, the chassis is off a 1980s GSX-R, and everything else is bespoke. There’s a single-sided swingarm not only at the back, but also at the front! The handlebars have no levers – braking is via a foot-operated lever, and the clutch is operated by a joystick-like device. Amazing, eh?
Pics: Moto Caradisiac

More three-wheeler weirdness: The Sidam XNovo

The XNovo features tilting wheels at the rear. So you can topple right over in the bends, especially if you are carrying a lot of luggage at the back...

Pics: The Biker Gene

If the Piaggio MP3, Gilera Fuoco, Carver One and Brudeli 625L weren’t eccentric enough already, we have a new addition to the Tilting Trike team – the Sidam XNovo. Like the Carver One, the XNovo has two wheels at the rear, but instead of the tilt mechanism being at the front (which is the case with the Carver), the XNovo’s tilting system is at the rear!

The Sidam XNovo will supposedly be fitted with a 500cc Piaggio engine, though hybrid and fully-electric versions may also be available. The trike’s rear wheels are independently sprung, and will be able to tilt during cornering maneouvers. This rather strange (stupid?) arrangement will, in our opinion, offer zero dynamic benefits – expect ride and handling to be utter rubbish. This is in complete contrast to the other trikes mentioned above, all of which utilize their third wheel to offer very significant handling benefits over regular two-wheelers.

It may be able to carry more luggage than a regular scooter, and even offer some weather protection, but the Sidam XNovo seems to be an ill-conceived, poorly thought-out vehicle. According to some reports on the Internet, this thing is expected to go into production later this year, and will be priced at around US$11,000. We'd much rather take a Gilera Fuoco really...

Also see:
Some interesting trikes on Faster and Faster
Running rich: The US$270,000 Ecosse Heretic Titanium!
Iceman II: A hardcore chopper for an F1 ace...
Wild ride: A Peugeot V6-powered motorcycle!
The Pi X Bonneville racer edition: 30bhp for US$39,000
Future watch: Will motorcycle safety result in deathly-dull motorcycles?
The Fireblade-powered Rage R180RT!
WheelSurf Monowheel: Join the singles club…

External links:
Freddie Spencer and his 1985 250/500 double world championship...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Giordano Loi’s Ducati Desmo Infinito

Not happy with his Ducati 999's styling, Mr Loi decided to do something about it...

Pics: Motoblog

This Ducati 999-based special – the Desmo Infinito – has been created by one Giordano Loi, an artist, sculptor and motorcycle enthusiast. Loi is a fan of the Pierre Terblanche-designed 999, and says that technically, if not aesthetically, it’s the best Ducati so far.

For the Infinito, Loi worked on fine-tuning the Ducati 999’s proportions. The aim was to make sure that the bodywork fitted the mechanicals like a glove – Loi wanted the bike to be as lean and feline as possible. The engine, chassis and suspension have been kept stock, though an aftermarket exhaust system has been fitted.

Our opinion? Ummm… Loi’s Desmo Infinito doesn’t really look as hot as the Ducati 1098, but its carefully shaped and sculpted bodywork looks all right. Is it better looking than a regular 999? Perhaps.

More Ducatis:
The US$80,000 NCR Ducati Millona...
Ducati 999 vs 1098: Doug Polen decides!
Back to the future: Ducati racebikes circa 2017...
Ducati 999-powered Fiat 500
Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again!
1948 Vintage: The Ducati Cucciolo...
1952 Cruiser: When Ducati made scooters!
Face-off: Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo...
Face-off: Ducati 1098 vs 848!
RAD 01: Ducati 749R-based forerunner to the Ducati 848
Radical Ducati unveil the RAD 02 Corsa...
Steffano Motorcycles’ Ducati 999-based Café9
First pics: Roland Sands’ Ducati Ultramotard!

External links:
First into the future: 1978 Honda CX500

We know it isn't possible, but we so wish Yamaha could make this RD500R today. Stiff aluminium beam frame, high-spec adjustable suspension, and racy, revvy, 500cc two-stroke V4 engine. Ooohhhhhh!!! In the meanwhile, here is the best two-stroke racer-replica we've ever seen
Pic: PB mag forum

Kawasaki KLR650-based diesel motorcycles for the US Army

The KLR650-based, diesel-powered HDT M103M1 does 100mpg...

Diesel-powered motorcycles? On one end of the spectrum, you have the high-tech Neander 1400, which is fitted with a 1340cc, common-rail, turbocharged, intercooled, parallel-twin diesel engine. The 95bhp Neander can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds, and hit a top speed of 225km/h. It also costs a mind-boggling US$140,000.

Now, not everyone who wants a diesel motorcycle – and that includes the US Army – is likely to shell out 140,000 dollars for one. Enter the California-based Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDT), who convert Kawasaki KLR650s into rugged, diesel-powered machines for the Army. According to the company, their M103M1 JP-8 military motorcycle ‘is designed to operate reliably and efficiently on kerosene-based fuels, including diesel and aviation kerosene.’

The HDT M103M1 uses the KLR650’s chassis and transmission parts, but is fitted with a four-stroke, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled 611cc IDI diesel engine, which makes about 30 horsepower at 5700rpm. The bike weighs 166 kilos, accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 9.7 seconds, and will do a top speed of about 150km/h.

One Dexter Ford, who recently tested the HDT diesel bike for The New York Times, said ‘In contrast to a gasoline engine, which responds instantly to the throttle, a blip of the twist grip resulted in, well, not much. It took a good three seconds for anything significant to happen. On a half-hour test ride, the M103M1, though sluggish at first, gathered speed with dogged insistence. The footpegs and handlebars buzz as the engine revs – the counterbalancer that controls vibration in the stock KLRs has been omitted to save weight and reduce complexity. Shifting through the five-speed gearbox gets the M103M1 past 145km/h, a speed it will hold, apparently, until the end of time.’

Apart from its go-anywhere capabilities, the HDT diesel bike also does close to 100 miles per gallon, so in the future, it just might make a great buy for people who want a very fuel efficient motorcycle that also lets them play Rambo. We’d stick with this Repsol-replica 2008 Fireblade though, thanks very much...

Also see:
Adiva AD250: A cool, convertible scooter!
ShowYo Moto's 'Alien' GSX-R1100...
Design 90: A Lamborghini motorcycle, anyone?
Rotohak: A 325bhp, rotary-engined sidecar rig...
The amazing MV Agusta F4 Veltro Pista!
Face-off: Fastest bike vs fastest man!
Wild Rides: MotoGP vs Bullfighting!!
Yamaha RD500-based GP-replica...
A bunch of very interesting trikes on Faster and Faster...

External links:
Wallpaper: HOT Bikes & Babes on Flickr!

Like 1980s and 1990s GSX-Rs? Read about the first, early-80s Gixxer here, the late-80s 'Slingshot'
here, and the mid-90s GSX-R comeback here!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mille Percento: Moto Guzzi Griso BB1 1420

The big-bore Griso BB1 looks dark and aggressive. We like it!
Pic: Motorcycle USA

Here’s a bit of good news for Moto Guzzi fans – Italian tuning house Mille Percento have launched a bored-out, liquid-cooled, 1420cc version of the air-cooled Griso 1100. With the modified engine making 125bhp at 7500rpm, the Griso BB1’s performance is likely to be significantly better than the stock bike’s.

A large radiator mounted across the front of the crankcases, a water pump, larger fuel-injectors, Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes with radial-mount calipers are also a part of the package.

No word on prices yet, but the Mille Percento Griso BB1 1420 meets Euro III emissions regulations and will be sold in Europe as a limited production model.

Also see:
Fast bikes and babes, on Flickr!
Some delectable Italian bikes on Faster and Faster...
Here's a load of stuff for those who love trikes...!
Aero Deco: Airbrush magic for your bike...
Angelina Jolie: UK bikers' dream pillion passenger!
Yamaha 750s picture gallery: FZR, YZF and R7...
First pics: 2008 Xerox Ducati 1098 F08 racebike

External links:
Classic bikes image gallery. Cool!

Does the Ducati 848 have what it takes to take on its own big brother, the 1098? See what the men at MCN have to say about that, here!

2008 Aprilia RSV 4 ‘Race Machine’ unveiled in Milan

With its 200bhp V4, the RSV 4 should be the bike to watch out for in WSBK 2009

Pics: Motoblog

One of the most eagerly awaited machines this year, the 1000cc, V4-powered Aprilia RSV 4 was recently unveiled at the International Piaggio Group Convention in Milan, Italy. The RSV 4 is powered by Aprilia’s all-new 65-degree V4, which is actually the Italian company’s first four-cylinder engine, and which has specifically been designed to allow Aprilia to go racing in AMA and/or World Superbikes in 2009.

The Aprilia RSV 4 is likely to be a formidable machine. The 1000cc V4, which features advanced electronics and a ride-by-wire system, is supposed to produce 200bhp. And Aprilia, who’ve already been quite successful in 125cc and 250cc GP racing, want the same kind of success in WSBK. With some development work over the next two years, the RSV 4 ‘Race Machine’ is likely to be up to the task.

Yeah, that 200bhp Aprilia V4 is quite stunning indeed...

Also see:
The 2008 Aprilia SMV750 Dorsoduro and FV2 concept bike...
Memorable: The amazing Morbidelli 850 V8
Triple treat: The Benelli 899...
The very beautiful MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR!
RVF750R RC45: The most lust-worthy Honda ever?
Wakan 1640: A racing cruiser!
Steffano Motorcycles’ Ducati 999-based Café9

From the PB mag forum, these are computer-generated mockups of streetbikes based on the high-tech but ill-fated Aprilia RS3 Cube MotoGP machine!

Friday, February 22, 2008

2008 MotoGP bike pics

Can Rossi's talents bring the MotoGP world championship back to Yamaha this year, or will the Ducati-Stoner combo dominate again? We also expect Suzuki and Kawasaki to do better this year, so things should be very interesting indeed!

Also see:
Suzuki's GP racers: Three decades of evolution...
Memorable: The 1950 Moto Guzzi V8 racer!
Aprilia RS3 Cube: F1 tech in MotoGP?
Wild rides: MotoGP vs Bullfighting!
Britten V1000: The greatest racebike ever built...
Performance Bikes: The best two-stroke sportsbikes ever!
Face-off: 1974 MV Agusta 500 GP racer vs 2007 Ducati GP7!
The best Honda NSR500 racer-replica ever!
Legendary: The 1978 Bol d'Or Laverda V6 racer...
NSU 500 Kompressor: 320km/h, back in 1956!

From PB, here's a computer-generated mockup of a Kawasaki GPZ-10R. Looks interesting...

...and here's a very hot looking Repsol-replica 2008 Fireblade, regular 2008 ZX-10R and a Sheene-tribute, Vermeulen-replica GSX-R1000 which looks amazing!



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