Friday, 31 August 2012

Track - MotoGP Brno

This race was always going to be missing something with Nicky Hayden out and Casey Stoner having to fly back to Australia to get his broken ankle operated on.  Having said that, this ended up being a predicatable battle of the Spaniards, with the lesser favoured rider taking a great race win after an epic battle.

After binning his bike during qualifying, Pedrosa made a strong start from third and tried to open an early lead over Lorenzo.  Lorenzo tailgated Pedrosa for most of the race, testing Pedrosa's weak points and plotting an attack.  The attack came with a surprise inside dive with 3 corners to go.  Pedrosa, who was faster over the faster parts fo the circuits used this power to pass and outbrake Lorenzo, holding the lead to the finish line for what he called 'one of my best ever races'. 

In a theme for the weekend across WSBK and MotoGP, Cal Crutchlow celebrated his contract extension with Tech 3 with his first podium. 

With Stoner in recovery, the championship battle is a two horse race with Lorenzo 245 points leading Pedrosa's 232 points. 

Track - WSBK Moscow Race 2

In contrast to Race 1, Race 2 was held in dry conditions which saw all runners start on slicks.  The ducati's decided to run the softer compound, which ended up being a mistake and compounded a miserable weekend for the Italian marque.

Tom Sykes seemed to check out the front very early, with a chase group of Melandri, Haslam, Biaggi, Rea and Laverty following.  That was until Biaggi, using the his Aprilia missile to good effect to get pass Rea on the back straight but the manouvre compromised his corner entry and he punted into the back of a helpless Haslam.

With Biaggi and Haslam off to the medical centre to get checked out, Melandri set about closing down Sykes, closing up on him quickly and taking the lead. 

The battle for second went down to the wire, with the fading Sykes trying to hold of Rea and the charging Laverty.  The drama continued to the end, with Laverty high siding on the last lap on turn 14, taking out Rea.  Checa had to take evasive action, promoting Davies to the podium wth Checa finishing behind in fourth.

Melandri's win promotes him to the head of the champions with 308.5 points to Biaggi 290 and Sykes 267.5  

Track - WSBK Moscow Race 1

Tom Sykes repaid Kawasaki's new contractr extension with his second win of the season at the new Moscow Circuit.   Challenging weather conditions after a morning shower lead to consternation around tyre choice, but the front runners all chose to start on slicks, which turned out to be the right move.  Pole man Checa crashed out on lap 3 in an incident with Jonny Rea.  Crashes continued as Rea followed Checa for an early trip back to the pits and Giugliano making it 0/2 for Althea Ducati.  The race for the podium behind Sykes ended up being between Davies, Haslam and Melandri, culminating with contact between Davies and Haslam, punting Haslam off his bike and Davies off the track.  This left Melandri in second and Biaggi in a very unexpected third. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Track - Cal Crutchlow re signs with Tech 3 Yamaha

Unsurprisingly following the move of Dovi to Ducati, Cal Crutchlow has re signed with Tech 3 Yamaha where he has spent the last 2 years.  His one year deal is apparently on better terms, with speculation of seven figures.  While Cal still clearly covets a factory ride at some stage, if you have to be in a satellite team, Tech 3 is the place to be.  Certainly, you would not expect as much competition from Bradley Smith as he is currently getting from Dovi. 

Road - all NEW Yamaha XS 750/850 triple in 2014?

Moto Revue out of France reported that Yamaha is developing a new triple road bike citing an internal document. Yamaha produced one of my favorite bikes of the seventies, the XS750 from 1976-1979 before replacing it with the XS850 in 1980.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Track - It's official, Ducati and Yamaha swap Italians

So the silly season for factory bikes is over.  Ducati announced that Andrea Dovisioso would take Valentino Rossi's seat next year, having signed a contract until 2014.  The likely candidate for this ride has changed from Rossi staying, to Dovi's team mate Crutchlow, and finally to Dovi.  The irony of the situation is that Dovi had moved to Yamaha Tech 3 with the hopes to move up to Spies' seat in the Factory team.  With Spies quitting Yamaha, it seemed that the plan was falling into place, however Rossi's desire to get on a competitive bike asap blocked this path for Dovi.  Crutchlow 'The Honey Badger' has been speaking publically about the verbal offer he had from Ducati for a long time and will be dismayed by the way he has been strung along and ultimately dumped in favour of his team mate.

So Dovi is now back in a factory team, but the underperforming one.  The Ducati has been a career killer for all but Stoner so it is a brave move, however Dovi will be hoping that new Audi money and technology will fast track the development of the bike.

So confirmed riders for 2013 prototype bikes are now:

Factory Yamaha Racing: Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi
Repsol Honda: Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez
Ducati Team: Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovisioso
LCR Honda: Stefan Bradl
Tech 3 Yamaha: Bradley Smith
Cardion Ducati: Karel Abraham

The key riders looking for a ride are now Cal Crutchlow (who you would think would stay with Tech 3), Ben Spies (Could return with Suzuki to MotoGP or go to WSBK with BMW), Hector Barbera (who is currently injured) and Alvaro Bautista (talk is that his ride at Gresini is at risk).

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Track - Indy MotoGP

I'm going to start this review by ranting a bit about the existence of the Indy GP weekend.  Firstly, it has to be acknowledged that in general, the fans, media and mechanics love the facilities and the history of the track.  However, the riders have consistently rated it as one of the tracks that they truly could care less for and the reasons are multiple.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Road - Ducati 1199 Panigale Recall

Ducati America has just announced it is recalling 375 1199 Panigale superbikes, for some reason almost 2 weeks after the Aussie authorities. MY 2012 and MY 2013 Motorcycles are affected in Australia.

The issues...

Friday, 10 August 2012

Track - Rossi confirms Yamaha return. Bye Bye Ducati...

As expected, Rossi has confirmed that he will be going back to Yamaha next season to partner Jorge Lorenzo.  While some held out hope that Audi coming on board would keep Rossi with Ducati, it seems that he has chosen to go back to a bike he knows can win races immediately rather than potentially develop into a winner.  It is expected that Rossi's crew will also move back to Yamaha with him.

So where does this leave us in the game of musical chairs?

-Repsol Honda - Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez
-Factory Yamaha - Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi
-Tech 3 Yamaha - Bradley Smith
-Ducati Corse - Nicky Hayden
-LCR Honda - Stefan Bradl

Yet to be confirmed
-Cal Crutchlow
-Andrea Dovisioso
-Alvaro Bautista
-Ben Spies

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago I would have said that under the Rossi to Yamaha scenario, Cal Crutchlow was the firm favourite to go to Ducati.  Crutchlow has been very public about a verbal offer made by the Italian factory but also the lack of paperwork that has come with it.  There is increasing chatter that his Tech 3 team mate Dovisioso has jumped ahead of him in Ducati's preferences.  Indeed, on twitter Cal, has responded to questions about what is going on with the comment that 'passports are getting guys jobs'.  This may suggest that Dovi has leapfrogged him at Ducati and his best option bay be to stay at Tech 3.  To be honest, the satellite Yamaha package is faster than the current factory Ducati package, so it's not necessarily a bad thing.  However, Cal's belief that he needs a factory bike to win a championship is well founded, it's just that a factory Ducati is unlikely to be that bike.

Ben Spies is the other wildcard, with rumours of a move to BMW or Suzuki.  Spies recently got a new tattoo, do you think it's a suzuki or BMW tattoo?

Silly season continues...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Track - race meeting

For those intimidated by the thought of racing a motorcycle, don't think it's the seriousness of MotoGP on a lower budget.  There are plenty of clubs and competitions that allow you to dip your toe into motorcycle racing on everything from a social level to something more serious.  One such club in Sydney is the St George Motorcycle Club.  Two friends competed in a club meet last weekend, consisting of a sprint round on Saturday and a 4hr enduro on Sunday.  I had the pleasure of being part of the pit crew and took a few videos from the weekend.
PS. Don't let the small fire put you off...

Road - 2013 ZX6R??

hmm, apparently the 2013 zx6r will have a more aggressive look, not dissimilar to its current big brother. But having waited 4 years for a new model, i hope there a few more changes than just the front fairings and lights.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Track - Gazetta dello Sport says date set for Rossi Yamaha switch

Well, the 'sighting' of Rossi at the Yamaha factory may have been a hoax but Gazetta dello Sport is reporting that Rossi has decided to go back to Yamaha and will announce as soon as next week's Indy round.  It is silly season so take everything reported with a grain of salt, but there seems to be a crescendo of Rossi/Yamaha speculation building. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Road - Amazing Vilner Ducati Monster Evo 1100

Bulgarian tuner/customer Vilner has created this amazing Ducati Monster.  Apart from a small power increase to 80kw, this special build has a smaller headlight, skimpy side panels, a shortened sub frame and customised paint/rims.  VIlner plans to produce 100 kits to allow Ducati Monster Evo 1100 owners to recreate this bike.  Sadly, the model in the photos does not come as standard or an option.

Track - Pit Babes WSBK Silverstone

Despite terrible weather, the girls did their best to brighten the riders' weekend

Competition - Win a Bridgestone cap signed by Stefan Bradl

Bridgestone is running a competition to win a cap signed by MotoGP rising star Stefan Bradl.  Follow the link and answer the question (to save you time the answer is Assen).  Good luck!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Track - WSBK Silverstone Race 1 - Baz takes first win

After a rain drenched superpole session, Loris Baz (Factory Kawasaki) took his first win in WSBK, becoming the second youngest winner ever.  Drafted in hastily after Joan Lacorz's terrible accident at the beginning of the eyar, Baz showed his wet weather prowess on a drying track to beat the BMW Italia bikes of Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini.  Badovini and Jonathan Rea (fourth) took the battle right up to the line and came together at the chequered flag, leaving their bikes on the track for other finishers to dodge. 

Reigning champion Carlos Checa was fifth, and championship leader Max Biaggi was a late faller.

Track - WSBK Silverstone Race 2 - Red flag sees Guintoli revenge

As if there wasn't enough drama during race 1, the start of race 2 was delayed as the officials changed the race status to wet, which should have given us an indicatino of what was to come.  Massively trecherous conditions rewarded those willing to risk the limits of grip, with many falling victim to the heavy showers and aquaplaning through multiple sections of the track.  The race belonged to Sylvain Guintoli, who was dumped from the Effenbert Ducati squad just 2 weeks ago for 'poor performance'.  How a race win earlier this year qualifies as 'poor performance' is beyond me.  Anyway, now riding for PATA Ducati, Guintoli, a wet weather master stayed upright and won when the red flag was brought out with a few laps to go.  Sweet revenge for the rider, particulary given he beat former Effenbert team-mate Jakub Smrz in 3rd.  Following up a great race 1 victory, Loris Baz one again proved his wet weather mastery to take second and 45 points for the round.

Important to note however, that the final results were taken from before when the red flag was put out, with Carlos Checa, Tom Sykes, David Guigliano etc. all falling to prompt the red flag.

Track - retraction, Rossi NOT seen at Yamaha HQ

It seeems the rumous yesterday that Rossi was seen by Niall Mackenzie at Yamaha were false.  Mackenzie's twitter account had been hacked.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Update - registered!

Track - Rossi spotted at Yamaha HQ

Just to add more fuel to the 'Rossi to Yamaha' fire, former racer Niall Mackenzie (who was at the factory to negotiate a deal for his son to race next season) tweeted that he saw a 'well known Italian' wearing 'a big smile on his face'. Mackenzie then tweeted 'Done deal! A well known Italian will definitely be on a blue bike next year, woo hoo!'

So let's look at the scenarios:

1. Rossi stays at Ducati.  Dovi and Cal fight it out to move up to the Factory Yamaha squad.

2. Rossi goes to Yamaha.  Cal goes to Factory Ducati, Dovi stays with Tech 3

We'll know soon...

Friday, 3 August 2012

ICE? - yes, ice......

Not sure if the terms R1 and Ice occur naturally in the same sentence, but they do apparently...yep there's Porsche in there for you too Shav. all that's left for us to do is to find some ice and some tires??


Road - love free stuff, especially when it's this cool.


I came across this e-mag on one of my favorite cafe racer blogs. Stay True is a free photography magazine, and i think there's a little something for everyone who enjoy Road, Track or Dirt riding. Just like what we are trying to do here, Stay True is trying to capture the The True Biker Spirit

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Road - Pure Joy?

A perfect way to cure a sleepless night? I think so. The three of us started riding on the roads until we soon released some things were better done off them. Nevertheless, road riding is the most accessible way for most of us to enjoy the pure excitement of riding. The feeling of speed, freedom, zen or just the ascetics. This SR500 by Lossa engineering of long beach, in my view, captures all the key elements of what we love about riding. It may look just like a painted up 40yo yama, but check out the specs...