Sunday, October 26, 2008

Michelin: Goodbye, MotoGP!

It's time to say goodbye. Next year, Michelin will not be in MotoGP. We don't know if Honda will miss Hayden, but we'll certainly miss the tubby old Michelin Man...

Today’s race in Valencia, the last round of the 2008 MotoGP world championship, was also the last time we’ll be seeing Michelin in action in MotoGP. With the single-tyre-supplier rule coming into effect from 2009, Michelin chose not to try and stay on in MotoGP, and next year, all riders will be racing on Bridgestone rubber.

Michelin has been an iconic brand in the world of motorcycle racing, and to mark its departure from MotoGP, the French company released the following statement: ‘The spirit of competition has always been at the heart of Michelin. Racing has been a part of the company history, and the company has been a part of racing history. MotoGP now becomes a one-make tyre championship, and Michelin is leaving MotoGP because there is no longer competition in the area of tyres.’

‘After 36 years of MotoGP World Championship racing, Michelin would like to thank all the teams and pilots who put their trust in the Group during this period. Prior to the last MotoGP event in Valencia this coming weekend, 42 pilots won at least one race riding on Michelin tyres, giving the brand 360 victories in premier class racing.’

‘In 1973, Jack Findlay became the first pilot to lead Michelin to a premier class Grand Prix victory during the Isle of Man TT races. He was also the first to test Michelin's slick technology. It was then on Michelin slick tires that Barry Sheene won his first Grand Prix 500 title in 1976.’

‘In 1984, Randy Mamola brought Michelin's radial technology, mounted on both front and rear tyres, home to victory. “I am happy to have contributed to making this new radial technology a reality as all motorbike riders today can benefit from it,’ says Mamola.”’

‘Michelin’s silica technology was developed and registered its first success with Mick Doohan on a rainy March 29th in 1992 at the Suzuka event in Japan. Throughout the 1994 season, our dual-rubber technology triumphed thanks to Mick Doohan, Kevin Schwantz, Luca Cadalora and John Kocinski.’

‘Starting in 2002, Michelin's chemists introduced new synthetic rubber compounds, enabling Valentino Rossi to climb to the highest step of the podium. As a matter of fact, all 2002 victories were won on tyres incorporating these revolutionary synthetic components.’

‘Over the past 36 years, the Michelin brand was World Champion 26 times. Michelin wants to express its warmest thanks to all those who contributed to this success.’

‘As Michelin's competitive spirit is ingrained into its DNA and racing is a better way forward in the service of customers, the brand calls its motorbike supporters to forge ahead and meet up once again for new motor sports adventures in 2009 and beyond…’

Hmmm… Michelin having to leave MotoGP is indeed a sad thing. And yes, they might have a point there about the competition bit. We’re sure that competition between Bridgestone, Michelin and Dunlop, on the racing circuit, would have ultimately resulted in better tyres for streetbikes. Well, all we can do is hope someday Michelin can make a comeback to MotoGP. In the meanwhile, here’s wishing Michelin all the best for everything…

The Michelin man rides with Rossi...

Also see:
2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R: Specs, pics and video...
2009 Aprilia RSV4: Specs, pics and video...
Riding impression: 2009 Triumph Street Triple R
Face-off: Honda vs Zonda!
Brudeli 654L Leanster: Lean on this!
Diesel power: Clatter and roll...
2009 BMW K1300R: Specs, pics and video...
Brad Pitt wants to be like Valentino Rossi!
Face-off: Ducati 1098R vs Bimota DB7 vs MV Agusta F4 1078RR 312

Casey Stoner ends the 2008 MotoGP season on a high note in Valencia

Stoner won the last race of the season by a big margin, ahead of Pedrosa and Rossi. It was almost like one of those races in 2007 all over again. More of the same next year...?

Race results from Valencia, the last round of the 2008 MotoGP world championship:

1. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 46min 46.114 sec
2. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (B) 46min 49.504 sec
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team (B) 46min 58.308 sec
4. Andrea Dovizioso ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP (M) 47min 10.273 sec
5. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 47min 12.346 sec
6. Colin Edwards USA Tech 3 Yamaha (M) 47min 18.323 sec
7. Shinya Nakano JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini (B) 47min 20.685 sec
8. Jorge Lorenzo SPA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 47min 21.775 sec
9. Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 47min 24.342 sec
10. Alex de Angelis RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini (B) 47min 33.697 sec
11. James Toseland GBR Tech 3 Yamaha (M) 47min 38.221 sec
12. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Alice Team (B) 47min 38.464 sec
13. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 47min 38.947 sec
14. John Hopkins USA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 47min 39.341 sec
15. Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda MotoGP (M) 47min 39.525 sec
16. Marco Melandri ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 47min 54.501 sec
17. Anthony West AUS Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 47min 57.295 sec
18. Toni Elias SPA Alice Team (B) 48min 23.169 sec

Full race report here

More pics from various races in the 2008 MotoGP season...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The world’s first supercharged KTM RC8: Part II

Aku Lantto, of Lantto Racing, with his supercharged KTM RC8 drag-racer

Pics: Lantto Racing

Earlier this month, we did this post on the world’s first supercharged KTM RC8, though we then did not have any details or tech specs. Well, now we do have more details and more pics, so here we go again…

Built by the Finland-based Lantto Racing, the supercharged RC8 drag-racer has been prepared in accordance with the FHRA’s Pro Street Bike class rules. The swingarm has been lengthened, the suspension has been lowered and a Rotrex C30-94 supercharger has been bolted on.

The engine’s compression ratio has been lowered to allow running more boost, and the engine management system has been custom-built by TaTech. Fully loaded, the bike weighs 188 kilos.

With around 250bhp, the bike does the quarter-mile in 9.815 seconds...

According to Aku Lantto, of Lantto Racing, the stock RC8 made 141.5bhp and 121Nm of torque, and did the quarter-mile (400m) in 10.17 seconds, hitting 219km/h. With the mods, the supercharged RC8 makes about 250 horsepower and 220Nm of torque, (running only 0.5 bar boost), and does the quarter-mile in 9.815 seconds, at 230km/h.

Aku says that with so much power, setting up the suspension is getting tougher and the clutch also takes a beating every time the bike is launched. Still, Lantto Racing plan to increase the boost to 1.5-2 bar, at which point the RC8’s engine should be pumping out more than 300bhp…

This supercharged KTM RC8 sure looks like one hell of an interesting project. Wish you all the best, Lantto. Go for it!

Also see:
NitroDuke: The world's fastest KTM...
Top Fuel drag-racers: A lesson in acceleration...
Larry McBride: "GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
Ducati SuperSport Turbo drag-racer...
150bhp, supercharged Honda VFR800...
Supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200...
Riding impression: 180bhp, supercharged Roehr 1250SC...

Friday, October 24, 2008

First pics: 2009 Suzuki GSX-R750

Colours and graphics are the main things that have changed on the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R750. And that, probably, is all that the bike really needed anyway...
Pics: Top Speed

The machine that’s widely considered to be the best sportsbike in the world – the Suzuki GSX-R750 – enters 2009 with new paint schemes and revised graphics. And that’s probably just as well – why mess with something that just works…

The 2009 GSX-R750 gets bits like titanium valves, ultra-light aluminum pistons, a redesigned radiator for better cooling, 41mm Showa USD fork, adjustable footpegs and a full range of electronics, but we won’t get into the technical mumbo-jumbo. That’s because with this bike, we don’t need to. What really matters is that the 2009 GSX-R750’s inline-four makes 150bhp at 13,200rpm and the bike weighs 167 kilos dry. ’Nuff said.

Well, if you really do want the full list of features and tech specs, you can get those on the Top Speed website here

Also see:
Suzuki GSX-R1100 vs Bimota SB6
Heron Suzuki GB Replica GSX-R1100...
Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7. Awesome!
Fonsi Nieto WSB Alstare replica GSX-R1000...
Specs and first pics: 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Kevin Schwantz talks about the GSX-R...

Elsewhere today:
Baja, by motorcycle...
Electric GPR-S: Is this the future of motorcycling?
Classic: The 1956 AJS 18CS...

Suzuki GSX-R750. More than two decades of evolution...



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