Thursday, October 11, 2007

MotoGP: Barry Sheene livery for Vermeulen’s Suzuki in Australia

Chris Vermeulen will run this special livery on his bike at the Australian MotoGP

(Left) Vermeulen with his one-off Suzuki GSV-R, (centre) Barry Sheene's son, Freddie sitting on the bike and (right) Barry Sheene's original 1977 Suzuki RG500 XR22!

Rizla Suzuki rider, Chris Vermeulen will pay homage to his hero and mentor – Barry Sheene – at the upcoming Australian MotoGP at the Philip Island circuit this Sunday. Vermeulen’s GSV-R will sport a special, one-off paintjob that’s inspired by Barry Sheene’s mid-1970s Suzuki GP racebike. To go with this, Vermeulen will also wear a retro-style riding suit and helmet to match.

Thirty years ago: Sheene (bike no.7) riding his Suzuki RG500

The inimitable Barry Sheene in action...

It was Barry Sheene, 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1976 and 1977, who had encouraged Vermeulen to move from Australia to the UK and to pursue his dream of going motorcycle racing at the top level. Says Vermeulen, 'It’s is a great honour for me to ride the bike in a colour scheme inspired by my hero, Barry Sheene.'

'Barry did a lot to make sure I became a success when I arrived in the UK and I miss him a lot. I rode one of his XR14 Grand Prix bikes at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year and that was certainly a privilege, but to ride my bike in the same livery is just awesome. Thanks to Suzuki and the team for letting this happen. I just hope that we can do credit to it...,' says Vermeulen. Well, we certainly wish you all the very best - hope you win the race mate!

Chris Vermeulen got to ride Barry's original Suzuki RG500 GP bike at the 2006 Goodwood FoS

Also see:
Stephanie McLean: "Barry was a cheeky little sod!"
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper
Mind-blowing hi-res wallpaper from last five seasons of MotoGP!
Rizla pit girls: Hi-res wallpaper...
220bhp Aprilia V4 superbike in 2008?!
Carl Fogarty not coming back to WSBK after all...
Heavy Hitter: 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14!
Scoop! First pics of 2012 MotoGP bikes!

External links:
Rossi to run on Bridgestone rubber in 2008?!
Cycle World: Moto Guzzi Griso V8 first ride
Honda CBX power, Ducati 916 style? Yes!
Supercharged Honda VFR800...

Yamaha will also run a special paint scheme on their bikes at the Australian MotoGP. Their livery pays homage to Abarth, the performance-car division of Fiat. Yamaha earlier ran special paintjobs on their bikes at Assen and Laguna Seca

The Stoner Express rolls on in the meanwhile, as two ex-world champs look on helplessly. The pit chicks couldn't care less though, they're happy as ever...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

1972 MV Agusta 750 Sport wins 2007 Concours d'Elegance event

Peter Calles' 1972 MV Agusta 750 Sport is still winning after all these years...
Pics: Bill Andrews / The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

MV Agusta may not be winning at the world’s racetracks anymore, but their bikes are still up to the task of handling some of the toughest competition anywhere in the world. Take Peter Calles’ 1972 MV Agusta 750 Sport for example, which recently won the Jim Davis Best in Show trophy, the top prize at the 2007 Concours d'Elegance event, held at The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum on the 6th of this month.

The MV Agusta 750 Sport is a rare machine and Calles says, ‘It took me five years negotiating off and on to buy this bike.’ A resident of Bethesda, Maryland (in the US), Calles has kept his precious MV in pristine, original condition – the bike is usually parked inside the house, in his living room! Which is probably also where the Jim Davis trophy will now live, until the 2008 Concours d'Elegance event takes place next year…

For more pics and the complete list of winners at the 2007 Concours d'Elegance, go to The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum website here.

...and this, the F4 CC, is the MV Agusta we really love. More details here

More Italian bikes:
220bhp, V4 Aprilia superbike in 2008?!
The MV Agusta Bestiale Project...
Face off: Ducati 1098 takes on Lambo Gallardo Superleggera!
And the 'coolest' motorcycle brand in the world is...?
Memorable: The Bimota DB2...
The multi-talented Benelli Tre-K 1130...
The amazing 1950s Moto Guzzi V8!
The legendary Laverda V6 racer in action...

Like this Ducati 1000SS? Read more about it on MCN, here...

(Left and centre) The Audi Moto concept. Get more details here, and read about Audi's motorcycle history here. (Right) From Motoblog, a picture of the new electric superbike that Vectrix may show at upcoming EICMA!

New colours, features for 2008 BMWs

The 2008 BMW K1200R. The bike looks smart as ever...

The apple-green metallic colour you see here is one of the new ‘features’ of the 2008 BMW K1200R. But of course, that’s not all – Automatic Stability Control (ASC) will now be available as an option on both the K1200R and the K1200S. These bikes, along with all the F- and R-series machines, will also get a new multi-function digital instrument panel, and optional ABS.

The 2008 BMW K1200GT. One of the best luxo-tourers gets even better...

BMW’s luxury tourer, the K1200GT will be available in Comfort, Touring and Premium Touring editions. Xenon headlamps, cruise control and Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), which lets the rider alter ride height (useful when carrying a passenger and lots of luggage…) will be available on the K1200GT as well as the R1200RT. Central locking, additional lights, an anti-theft alarm and GPS installation will all be on the extras list.

More details on accessories and pricing on the BMW website here.

Our new favourite BMW, the 2008 HP2 Sport. More pics and details here

Also see:
2008 Voxan GTV1200: French competition for BMW?
Get ready for all-new, 2008 Ducati Monster 695...
Awesome as ever: 2008 Triumph Speed Triple!
2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000. The best litre-class superbike in the world?
The alternative path: Neander Turbodiesel...
Heavy Hitters: Honda Evo6 and CB1100R!

Faster and Faster Special: The HOTTEST hi-res MotoGP wallpaper anywhere on the Internet!!!

Get ready for 220bhp Aprilia V4 Superbike!

Er... yeah, well, expect that Aprilia V4 to be stunning!

As reported earlier, Aprilia are likely to go racing in World Superbikes in 2008, with an all-new 1000cc, V4-powered superbike. And the new V4 engine is now in advanced stages of testing and final development for racing, as well as street use. Depending on the state of tune, the new Aprilia V4 would be capable of making anywhere between 180 – 220 horsepower!

Powerful and sophisticated V4 engines seem to be gaining favour with manufacturers. Ducati showed the way ahead with the awesome Desmosedici RR, Honda are expected to launch a V4-powered Fireblade in 2009 and Aprilia, of course, have been working on their V4 – their very first four-cylinder engine – for quite some time now.

The RS Cube was a disaster, but Aprilia may be back in MotoGP by 2010, with an all-new 800cc, V4 machine...

If Aprilia do go racing in WSBK next year, their V4-powered bike should be well up to the task of taking on its Japanese and Italian competition. Of course, if BMW, KTM and MV Agusta also join the fray – and they are expected to do exactly that – things could get really exciting. Aprilia, however, will not stop at WSBK – they also have ambitions of going to MotoGP. As reported earlier, they are expected to develop an 800cc version of their V4 and go MotoGP racing by 2010…!

2008 Ducati Monster 695 to be shown at the EICMA in Milan

This is what the 2008 Monster 695 will look like. Probably
Pic: Motociclismo

According to Motociclismo, this is what the all-new Ducati Monster 695 will look like when it’s unveiled at the EICMA in Milan at the end of this month. All of fifteen years old now, the Monster has been in for a radical makeover for some time, but at the same time, Ducati also want to ‘maintain the spirit of the original model,’ in deference to the wishes of Monster fanatics worldwide.

The 2008 Monster 695 will feature a Desmosedici-style tubular steel chassis, twin underseat exhausts and minimalist styling that’s currently in vogue. The current Monster's single-sided swingarm will make way for a conventional dual-arm unit, but the 695 is expected to be lavished with high-spec components – Brembo brakes with radial-mount calipers, multi-adjustable suspension and Bridgestone tyres. There will be no 800 or 900 Monsters, but the 695 will, within a year, have an 1100cc brother – the range-topping 2009 Monster 1100.

More pics and details soon…

Here's a bit of news for Desmosedici RR fans - instead of the 1,250 units announced earlier, Ducati will now be making 1,500 units of this US$80,000 bike. So if you want one and haven't placed your order yet, go right ahead and do it now...

Also see:
2008 Voxan GTV1200 and Super Naked XV!
Radical new KTM 690 Stunt prototype
Hot and naked! The MV Agusta Bestiale project...
Mindblowing: The 2008 BMW HP2 Sport!
The fearsome 1975 Yamaha TZ750 dirt-tracker
Stunning new Hondas: CB1100R, Evo6...
Face off: Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera!

External link:
2008 Beta Motorcycles off-road range

More 2008 bikes: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, Honda CBR1000RR and BMW HP2 Sport

Monday, October 08, 2007

Norifumi ‘Norick’ Abe passes away in street mishap

Ex-GP racing star, Norick Abe is no more

Today, we start the week on a very sad note. Motorcycle GP racing star, Norifumi Abe died in an accident yesterday, near his home in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in Japan. The 32-year-old Abe was riding a scooter when he collided with a truck making an illegal U-turn. Abe was taken to a hospital immediately, but did not survive.

Norick won the All-Japan 500cc motorcycle GP racing championship in 1993 and made his debut as a wild-card rider for Honda at the 1994 500cc Japanese GP at Suzuka. While Kevin Schwantz ultimately won that race, Abe put in an absolutely brilliant performance and from there on, there was no looking back for him.

Between 1995 and 2002, Norick raced full-time in the 500cc class, taking three wins and 17 podium finishes in 144 Grand Prix races. Sporadically, he continued to race in MotoGP till 2004, moved to World Superbikes for 2005 and 2006, and to the All-Japan Superbikes Championship for 2007.

Here's a video clip from 1994 - Norick's debut race in the 500cc world championship class, at Suzuka, in Japan

The video clip above shows why Abe was a bit special. Watch as he (bike no.56) hangs in there with Doohan, Schwantz and Cadalora. He outbrakes Schwantz repeatedly, rides around him from the outside and passes pretty much everyone, before crashing out of the race. Even Valentino Rossi was amazed by Abe's amazing performance in this race.

In his autobiography, Rossi says, 'I was struck immediately by this wild-card named Norifumi Abe. Abe had long straight hair and even when he was standing still, he looked like a great character. But most of all, he rode like a madman. He was absolutely fearless. His racing style made me think he was an absolute nutter. He took turns with his steering locked, and often had to keep himself up with his knee. His suit was usually smoking, and he overtook in the most outrageous spots. His steering finally gave out and he fell... But to me, Abe was a hero!' (In a tribute to Norifumi Abe, Rossi sometimes even used the name 'Rossifumi' for himself...)

We, at Faster and Faster, offer our condolences to Abe's family and friends - our hearthfelt sympathies are with you. And, Norick, we'll miss you...