Friday, September 15, 2006

Max Biaggi with Alstare Corona Extra in 2007

Max Biaggi will race a GSX-R1000 in world superbikes in 2007

Though Max Biaggi has been ousted from MotoGP, he’s coming back to motorcycle racing in 2007. Max has signed an agreement in Alleur, Belgium, with the Alstare Corona Extra team, to ride a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in next year’s World Superbike Championship. Biaggi is said to be fit and motivated and has already asked to test his new Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7 as soon as possible.

Said Max, “I have known Francis Batta [Alstare Corona Extra team manager] and his family for years and have a lot of respect for him, as he has devoted so much time and attention to promoting the profile of the World Superbike Championship. I am back in competitive sport and I am happy to be riding for an official team. I am as determined as ever and really want to win the Superbike World Championship. This is probably the biggest challenge of my sporting career."

Batta said, "Max Biaggi is definitely a valuable addition to my team and to the world of Superbike. I have enormous trust in his capabilities and know that his desire is to become the first Italian rider to win the World Superbike Championship."

We wonder what Rossi & Co. would have to say about Max’s move to WSB…

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Greatest 11s: Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Suzuki GSX-R1100

The Kawasaki ZZR1100. "It's like riding the blast wave of an endless explosion..." - Cycle World

Sometime in the early-1990s, a road test report of the Kawasaki ZZR1100 (called the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11 in the American market) in the American magazine Cycle World, said that it was like ‘riding the blast wave of an endless explosion.’ And indeed, with a claimed 145 horsepower on tap, the ZZR1100 was capable of doing the quarter mile run in 10.25 seconds (the new ZZR1400 will do it in less than 10.50 seconds…), and would hit top speeds of close to 280km/h. Of course, even that was not enough for some, who'd fit a turbocharger to the bike for even more performance. Turbo ZZR1100s, with NOS kits, were capable of making more than 450 horsepower, and could do top speeds of 350km/h and more. Eeek! But even stock ZZR1100s were superb machines - an awesome blend of power, performance and long distance comfort. Read the diary of an incurable ZZR fanatic here.

Launched in 1990, and with a major update in 1993, the ZZR1100 was being made till 2001, after which the ZZR1200 took over. However, for enthusiasts all over the world, it’s the ZZR1100 that’s the definitive Kawasaki performance machine of all time – the ZZR1200 just could not match the 1100’s manic power delivery and raw sportsbike edge. Today’s super-light, super-fast 1000cc machines may make the ZZR100 look like a sport-tourer, but in the 1990s, the big Kaw was the baddest mutha on the block.

But while the ZZR1100 is an all-time great, there’s also another 1100cc motorcycle from Japan, which deserves to be ranked right up there with the Kawasaki. It’s the Suzuki GSX-R1100, which was launched in 1986. With continuing development, the GSX-R1100 had really become a force to reckon with by the mid-1990s.

With its extruded aluminum perimeter chassis, USD forks, six-piston brakes, distinctive styling and GSX-R street-cred, the mid-1990s Suzuki GSX-R1100 was one hell of a machine that was equally at home on the road and on the track. The GSX-R1100’s liquid-cooled DOHC inline-four made about 125 horsepower, and the bike could do the quarter mile in about 10.4 seconds. Top speed was in the region of 260km/h. Suzuki continued making the GSX-R1100 till 1998, after which the GSX-R1000 took over. But even though the 1100 isn’t with us today, it’ll be remembered as one of the greatest sportsbikes of all time!

Suzuki GSX-R1100

Light, fast and for the inexperienced, scary - the Suzuki GSX-R1100

Monday, September 11, 2006

2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100 announced

The Multistrada gets an additional 100cc of engine capacity

Rumors regarding Ducati’s new-for-2007 Multistrada 1100 have been doing the rounds for some time, and now they’ve been confirmed – the new bike has been officially announced. The chassis remains unchanged, but the air-cooled V-twin has grown to 1078cc (up from 992cc of the Multistrada 1000), and power is up from 92bhp to 95bhp.

Since other models in the Ducati lineup, including the Monster, also used the earlier 992cc engine, they should also be getting the 1078cc engine sometime soon. The company anyway seems to be on a new model spree, with the new Monster S4R Testastretta having been announced very recently, and rumours of a new 1200cc V-twin superbike still doing the rounds.

In an unrelated bit of news, Ducati also plan to build 150 road-going replicas of the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team AMA Superbikes. If Neil Hodgson's AMA Superbike is what you always wanted, the replica should be just the thing for you, but note that these bikes will only be sold in the US. These bikes are pegged at US$19,999 so you also need to be rich to buy one of these, but not as rich as you’d need to be to buy a Desmosedici RR

Update (22.12.2006): Ducati are now also working on updating the Multistrada's styling to try and make it more appealing to a wider range of motorcycle owners and riders.

The Parts Unlimited Team Ducati AMA superbike replica can now be yours for US$20,000
Here's a very interesting Ducati promo video!

Also see:
Ducati 999-powered Fiat 500
2007 Ducati Hypermotard
Special Moto Corse Ducati 999
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 Ducati Sport Classic range