Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malaysian MotoGP: Casey Stoner takes tenth win of the season at Sepang

Of course he won. What do you think...

Marco Melandri took second place, Dani Pedrosa was third and de Puniet took fourth spot

The Malaysian MotoGP at the sweltering hot and humid Sepang circuit was probably one of the most boring races of the season. It was like watching a procession of fast, very fast, motorcycles riding in strict formation. 2007 MotoGP world champ, Stoner led the race from start to finish, taking his tenth win of the season! He was followed by Honda Gresini rider, Marco Melandri (who’s joining Stoner at Ducati in 2008…) in second place, and Dani Pedrosa in third.

Kawasaki rider Randy de Puniet, who’ll move to the LCR Honda team next year, put in a strong performance, taking fourth place, while Valentino Rossi, who ultimately finished in fifth spot, was unable to make any impression on him. In sixth was Toni Elias, seventh and eighth places were taken by the Suzuki duo of Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins, ex-world champ Nicky Hayden was down in ninth place, and Colin Edwards completed the top ten.

At the end of the day, this was a supremely dull race. We just hope the last MotoGP of the season at Valencia, on the 4th of November, is more interesting to watch. Hey, at least let’s wrap up the season in style!

Hi-res MotoGP images for you, so the action can continue on your desktop...

2007 MotoGP news, race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper here

Also see:
The BIGGEST collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper on the Internet!
Suzuki MotoGP bikes: The evolution...
A Honda that's more expensive than the RC212V!!
The hottest Aussie motorcyclist (no, it's not Casey Stoner!)...
Chris Vermeulen pays homage to Barry Sheene
Who's to blame for the current state of affairs in MotoGP?
Rizla Suzuki: The hottest pit girls in MotoGP!

That's Marco 'Crazy Horse' Lucchinelli, 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ. Read about him here

Saturday, October 20, 2007

2008 Yamaha YZF R6: Can it win this time around?

The 2008 Yamaha R6. The hottest supersport machine around? You bet!

With its sharp styling, track-oriented performance and high-tech bits like fly-by-wire throttle, the 2006-07 Yamaha R6 was generally seen as the most ‘cutting edge’ 600cc supersports machine around. And yet, in terms of both real-world usability and the ability to put in fast laps on the track, the Yamaha took a proper beating from the Honda CBR600RR and the Triumph 675 Daytona.

So of course, Yamaha have given a comprehensive makeover to their middleweight challenger. While we had posted the first pics of the 2008 Yamaha R6 last month, more details are available now and it seems that while the ‘new’ R6 looks pretty much the same as the old one, a lot may have changed under the skin.

To begin with, the 2008 R6 gets an electronically controlled variable-length air-intake system (YCC-I), which Yamaha first implemented on the 2007 R1. The Yamaha Chip-Controlled Intake system uses a set of ‘extension funnels’ which vary the length of the air intake tracts according to the engine rpm, for better throttle response and optimized power delivery throughout the rev range.

The R6’s fly-by-wire computer-controlled throttle system has also been reworked, and it now works in tandem with the YCC-I system to deliver better, more crisp throttle response. The four-cylinder engine runs a compression ratio of 13.1:1, which is the highest Yamaha have ever used on a streetbike. This does make the use of high-octane fuel an absolute must, but you get a robust 135bhp in return. And yes, the R6 gets a slipper clutch to deal with back-torque / wheel hopping issues under hard braking.

The R6’s aluminium ‘Deltabox’ chassis has been revised and by reducing the thickness of the main spars, a bit more flex has been built into it for better feedback. The rear sub-frame is now made of magnesium, the redesigned swingarm is a bit longer, and the suspension at both ends is independently adjustable for high- and low-speed compression damping. Brake discs are slightly thicker (by 0.5mm) on the new bike, for better heat dissipation and more braking consistency.

Ergonomics are even more race-oriented on the 2008 model. Aching wrists...

One change which will certainly elicit mixed response is the ergonomics, which are now even more extreme, more track-oriented than before. The bars and lower and further forward, so be prepared for aching wrists while commuting at low speeds through heavy traffic. Of course, if you live for Sunday morning blasts through the local twisties, or if you’re buying your bike primarily as a track-day tool, we’re sure you wouldn’t be disappointed!

How will the 2008 Yamaha R6 fare against competition from Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph? We’ll certainly find out over the next few weeks…!

Also see:
MotoGP: 600cc four-strokes to replace 250cc two-strokes by 2010?
Fast past: Suzuki GSX-R1100 vs Bimota SB6!
Face off: 1989 Yamaha OW-01 vs 2008 Yamaha R1...
Rizla Suzuki: The BEST pit girls in MotoGP!!!
Future ready: High-tech Yamaha, Honda and Ducati racers...
First pics and details: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600
2008 KTM 690 sportsbike range...
First pics and details: 2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R!

External links:
Can Harley-Davidsons be really sexy? Jesus Christ, yes, yes, yes!!!
Strange four-wheeled scooter from Taiwan...

Memorable: The 1999 Yamaha YZR500! More pics of the YZR500 here

Faster and Faster! Huge collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper here
Face off: Audi S1 Quattro (one of the most awesome rally cars ever made) vs Hayabusa-powered buggy
Video: Motoblog

Thursday, October 18, 2007

KTM RC8 in final stages of development

The KTM RC8 is coming. Get ready for the ride of your life!

The much-awaited KTM RC8 superbike is now getting closer to production, with KTM engineers being in the final stages of fettling and fine-tuning the bike before it hits the streets. The first RC8 prototype was shown back in 2003, so with more than four years of development time, it should sure be one hell of a machine when it finally comes out!

The RC8 project is important for KTM – so much so, that it’s said they put their MotoGP ambitions on hold for this bike. While the RC8 was originally designed around the lightweight, high-performance, 950cc LC8 v-twin, the engine capacity has now been upped to 1190cc. This, of course, is in keeping with 2008 WSBK regulations, which allow twins of up to 1200cc to compete in the series.

In 2008, KTM are likely to go racing in World Superbikes with the racing version of the RC8 – the RC8-R – which will take on the likes of the Ducati 1098R, the BMW HP2 Sport, the new V4-powered Aprilia and of course the entire Japanese contingent.

Like with other KTM bikes, the RC8 will be fitted with a lattice-type tubular steel chassis, aluminium swingarm, WP suspension components, Brembo brakes with radially-mounted calipers and a low-slung exhaust system. For more pics and details, just wait till the EICMA show kicks off in Milan on the 6th of November…!

Also see:
Aprilia working on 200bhp, V4-powered superbike for 2008...!
Ageless: The MV Agusta 750 Sport...
Motorcycling has a HOT new ambassadress!
Ducati getting ready with 1098 F08 WSBK racer...
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper!
KTM 125cc GP racer vs Suzuki GSX-R1000...
2008 KTM 690 sportsbike range revealed!

World Superbikes: Suzuki are not renewing their contract with Max Biaggi for 2008. The erstwhile 'Roman Emperor' may move back to MotoGP instead, with the Gresini Honda team!

The Doctor, meanwhile, is all set to move from Michelin to Bridgestone for the 2008 MotoGP season. More MotoGP news, features, racer interviews and hi-res wallpaper here!

Honda to start selling the HondaJet by 2010...

The 2010 HondaJet, yours for a mere US$3.65 million

Not happy with the 2008 Fireblade? Wait till 2010 then, and Honda will have something that’s faster and better looking. Of course, at US$3.65 million apiece, the HondaJet – an ‘advanced, compact, business jet’ – will also be a bit more expensive.

Two years ago, Honda had announced they would be entering the field of aviation via the newly formed GE-Honda Aero. Last year, Takeo Fukui, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd., made an announcement saying that Honda will soon start selling the HondaJet – their first personal aircraft, which is powered by the HF120 jet engine made by GE-Honda Aero.

Honda engineers have been studying turbine / jet engines for the last four decades and the company has, for a long time, wanted to make light aircraft. Said Fukui, ‘As a mobility company, we always kept one eye on the sky. This personal passion for aviation started with the founder of Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda. And it continued with every former CEO of our company. They all helped keep the dream alive.’

Okay, so we'll never be able to buy the HondaJet, but we'd be more than happy with any of these Honda jets, especially the RC45... :-)

The Honda Aircraft Company, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the US, will oversee further development, marketing, production, sales and service of the HondaJet. Top speed of the HondaJet is 775km/h, and Honda say that their aircraft’s range, fuel efficiency, cabin space and luggage capacity is significantly better than that of most other similar-sized jet aircraft. Visit the official website here, for more information. Or, if you don't think you can afford a HondaJet just yet, look at other options here and here!

Also see:
The awesome KTM RC8 is final stages of development...
Raging Buell: Supercharged Lazareth XB12S!
Casey Stoner gets a Ducati Hypermotard...
Dual-purpose duel: 2008 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere vs Honda Transalp XL700V!
From Finland: Turbocharged Honda CBR1100XX...
Barry Sheene livery for Chris Vermeulen's bike...
Oil rig: The Neander Turbodiesel rides!

External links:
What's the next best sport after MotoGP? Umm..., probably this!
World Superbikes: Suzuki will not renew contract with Max Biaggi for 2008

Ducati 999 vs 1098? Pierre Terblanche, the man who designed the 999, has his say here and two-time WSBK champ, Doug Polen chooses his favourite here. In the meanwhile, we'd still take the endlessly fascinating MV Agusta F4 CC!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Valentino Rossi to race on Bridgestones in 2008, Ducati are not worried

Rossi wants to make sure he can give some real competition to Stoner in 2008!

The pit ladies are all revved up and ready for 2008...

While the one-make tyre rule is now highly unlikely to be implemented in MotoGP (and rightly so…), Valentino Rossi, who had earlier made it clear that he wasn’t happy with Michelin tyres, now looks all set to race on Bridgestone rubber in 2008. Rossi and his Michelin-shod Yamaha have taken a proper beating from the Stoner/Ducati/Bridgestone combo, and The Doctor is in no mood to relent and give Michelin a chance to make a comeback next year.

Although Rossi’s new teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, and Yamaha Tech 3 riders Colin Edwards and James Toseland will continue to use Michelin tyres, Rossi himself will be the only Yamaha rider to use Bridgestone tyres in 2008. While Michelin did try to convince Rossi to stay with them, the five-time MotoGP world champ remains unconvinced, hence the move.

Bridgestone boss, Hiroshi Yamada has not confirmed anything about having received a formal request from Yamaha about supplying tyres to Rossi, but he has otherwise said that it would indeed be possible for Bridgestone to supply tyres to ‘one more rider, especially given that the rider is Valentino Rossi.’

Moving to Bridgestones for 2008 could be the biggest gamble ever, for Rossi

More hi-res MotoGP wallpaper here!

Ducati, in the meanwhile, aren’t bothered with what tyres Rossi will or won’t use in 2008. Flush with Casey Stoner’s massive success this year, Ducati boss Livio Suppo says the Aussie ‘has nothing to fear from Rossi,’ regardless of what tyres the Italian uses. Stoner himself says that it would 'at least take away the excuses' if he continued to dominate again, despite Rossi being on similar tyres.

Speaking to MCN, Suppo said, ‘I believe if you look at this world championship with a realistic view, there was not Bridgestone domination, but a Casey, Ducati and Bridgestone domination. I understand Casey from a rider point of view because everybody said that he was winning because he had the speed at the start of the season. After that he was only winning because of the tyres and it looks like nobody wants to admit that the best rider at the moment is Casey!’

Well, whether or not Mr Stoner is ‘the best rider in MotoGP,’ we’ll certainly find out next year. If Rossi does indeed move to Bridgestone and still ends up being beaten in the world championship by Stoner, Suppo would’ve been proved right. But if The Doctor, who we still think is the most talented rider in MotoGP, makes a comeback, Ducati and Suppo might just end up eating a big, thick slice of some good old humble pie...

Also see:
Raging Buell: The supercharged Lazareth XB12S!
Chris Vermeulen pays homage to Barry Sheene...
MotoGP mess: Who's to blame?
Carl Fogarty not coming back to WSBK after all...
TWO magazine: In conversation with Jeremy Burgess
The fearsome 1975 Yamaha TZ750 dirt-tracker!
Awesome: The 2009 Suzuki Stratosphere 1100...
Who's the fastest motorcycle racer in the world?
Who's the HOTTEST motorcyclist in the world?!

External links:
Loris Capirossi supports The Doctor...
...and Jeremy Burgess also joins in!

Random Ramblings