Friday, January 16, 2009

Kevin Schwantz on what he teaches, MotoGP, and whether Rossi can be beaten…


Schwantz says Rossi will win if there's a Rossi-vs-Bayliss match-up!

Crash.net recently did an interview with Kevin Schwantz, 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1993 and also one of our all-time favourite GP racers. Here are some excerpts from Schwantz had to say in the interview:

On what he teaches at the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School, which recently moved from Road Atlanta to Barber Motorsports Park

The school has always been based around riding. It is not a racing school and although we hold it at a racing circuit, it is so we can control that 2.5 miles of race track. What I teach is what I learnt during my racing career, but mostly it is about basic handling skills, visual awareness, body position, braking technique… the things that can be applied to the race track or on the street.

On how his riding school tries to mould rider skills

The first and most difficult thing we have to overcome is visual awareness – we have to be out in front of that motorcycle, so we are not reacting to situations but anticipating what is going to happen. If someone gets into a corner too deep, they typically get on the brakes, startle themselves and look at what is on the outside of the track. Our instinct tells us we want to see what is out there, but nine times out of ten, where you look is where you go. So, you have to continue to look where you want to go, rather than the outside of the track where the trouble is.

On why he’s not back in MotoGP this year, as a team manager

It is a sign of the times, with the economy. I was recently in Japan and everyone is preparing for the worst. To build another bike and to get it out on the grid at extra expense is not financially viable, so Suzuki didn't think it was the time to be spending money. It might still happen, though.

On what Suzuki need to do to start winning in MotoGP

I wish I knew the answer. Having to watch from a distance, and not being there every weekend or seeing the progress made by the team and their rivals, makes it hard to comment on that. I think Chris and Loris are doing a good job. I think Loris has helped, especially in terms of direction and development, and Chris still has that fire inside him. We see when it is equal out there that the Suzuki is as capable as anything else out there in the wet, but the guys have to find a little bit more performance. There are lots of little things that need to happen, but to pin-point one thing is hard.

On the proposed Rossi vs Bayliss match-up

I have all the respect in the world for Troy Bayliss as a racer, a person, as a competitor – he is obviously a very smart person. I don't think that a man who has money to put on the line, though, can bet against Rossi. I have seen Valentino do some amazing things, like Bayliss, but I think Valentino would come out on top. It would be a very ferocious battle but Valentino would have the upper hand.

On whether Rossi can be beaten in 2009

I definitely think Rossi can be beaten – we have seen on certain occasions that he has beaten himself! Valentino is getting to the age where he is a really smart, savvy rider – he knows what he can do and what he cannot get away with. Stoner will be his biggest challenger, but I like to think Nicky Hayden on a Ducati will be able to step up and find that world championship winning form he had a couple of years ago. Pedrosa, as always, Dovizioso... There are a lot of guys out there that, with a little improvement, could challenge Rossi.

On Kawasaki's withdrawal from MotoGP

It is one of those things that, no doubt, has a big effect on the image of MotoGP. I don't think it is a sign of the demise of MotoGP, but more that it is a sign of how bad things are in the current economic state.

For the full interview, see the Crash.net website here

Also see:
In conversation with Alex Criville, 1999 500cc world champ...
Leslie Porterfield, the fastest female motorcyclist in America...
Memorable: Graeme Crosby and his bikes...
Duell in hell: BMW HP2 Sport vs KTM RC8...
The man even Valentino Rossi can never beat...
Back to the begining: Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen replica...
One-off 1992 Kawasaki ZX-7R special...

Elsewhere today:
The silliest three-wheeler concept we've ever seen...
Picture gallery: Bikes, and those Italian ladies...

MotoGP: Vittoriano Guareschi is impressed with the 2009 Ducati GP9 racebike


Vittoriano Guareschi says the Ducati GP9 is more predictable and easier to ride than the GP8. Finally, Ducati may have built a machine which riders other than Stoner can win races on!

Story via Motoblog

Kawasaki have left MotoGP (or have they?) and Suzuki are rumoured to be considering the possibility of either leaving MotoGP or drastically scaling down their investment in the sport. But one company that’s certainly steaming ahead is Ducati. The Italians are ready with their 2009 MotoGP bike – the GP9 – with which the big news seems to be its all-new carbonfibre chassis.

2009 will be the first year when Ducati abandon their traditional steel tube trellis type chassis and move to a carbonfibre unit. And Apart from the new chassis, other changes on the GP9 include a new airbox and revised fuel injection mapping for a flatter power curve and improved rideability. With an estimated 230 horsepower from its 799cc, liquid-cooled, 90-degree, DOHC, 16-valve V4, the Ducati GP9 is a formidable machine that can hit a top speed of about 330km/h.

The bike is fitted with a six-speed cassette-type gearbox and dry multi-plate slipper clutch. The engine is fed by an indirect Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection system, with four throttle bodies and injectors above butterfly valves. The exhaust is a custom-built unit from Termignoni and fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension components are used at both ends.

Riding on 16.5-inch wheels shod with Bridgestone rubber, the GP9 is stopped by Brembo brakes – twin 320mm carbon front discs with four-piston callipers and single stainless steel rear disc with two-piston callipers. The bike weighs 148 kilos.

Vittoriano Guareschi, who’s been instrumental in developing Ducati’s MotoGP bikes from 2002 onwards, has also tested the GP extensively. ‘When they told me about the switch from the earlier steel tube trellis frame to carbonfibre, I was surprised. But now I’m impressed. The GP9 is the first racebike ever to have a chassis made entirely of carbonfibre,’ says Guareschi.

‘The carbon frame is definitely a step forward – the bike is now a little more predictable and is more intuitive to ride. It will be easier for more riders to take the GP9 to the limit,’ says Guareschi. ‘And the new bike has more torque and is more rideable, without losing any of its top-end power,’ he adds.

Hmmm… so does this mean the Stoner-Hayden duo will be challenging Rossi and Pedrosa for the 2009 MotoGP world championship? Stranger things have happened…

Also see:
HUGE collection of MotoGP wallpaper from 2008 and 2007
Desmosedici RR: For the love of Ducati...
1952: When Ducati made scooters...
Face-off: Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo...
Classic: The Ducati Supermono...
Here's why you need the DTC system on the new Ducati 1198S...
1960s Berliner Apollo: The maddest Ducati ever...?
Riding impression: Troy Bayliss' 1098R...

Elsewhere today:
Classic: The 1985 Honda VF1000R...
Smoking hot KTM RC8...!
No GSX-R? Take this train. But only in Spain...


Like this one? See here for another dozen of the coolest Monsters in the world!
Pics: PNW Riders

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trillium Muir, the fastest woman in the world…


Trillium Muir, the lady who hit 239.36mph (382.98km/h) on her Turbo Hayabusa...

Pics: Trillium Muir

Last year, we spoke to Leslie Porterfield, who hit an impressive top speed of 234.197mph (374.72km/h) on her Hayabusa, at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials in the US. And while that’s a commendable achievement, it isn’t apparently enough for ‘The World’s Fastest Woman on a Motorcycle’ title. That’s because a Canadian rider – Trillium Muir – has gone even faster.

Twenty-eight years old and based in Sudbury, Ontario, Trillium has done an ECTA-certified 239.36mph (382.98km/h) on her Hayabusa, at Maxton, and that makes her the fastest woman in the world on two wheels. We wanted to know more about her, so we sent her a list of questions and here’s what she had to say:

On how she got into motorcycling

I have been riding for only four years. The first bike I rode was a 1977 Honda 500, around the yard. My brother John ran beside me yelling instructions on how to shift and stop…

On how she got into the motorcycle land speed racing scene

In September 2006, I went to watch a land speed event at Maxton NC. And at that meet I went from a being a spectator to becoming the first woman ever to go 200mph at that particular venue. Not bad for a girl, eh?!

On her 239mph Hayabusa

I rode our 2003 Suzuki Hayabusa that has a GT35R turbo from RCC turbos. The bike is also fitted with an Aims data logger, JE Pistons, Crower rods, MTC lock-up clutch, Elka shock, custom-built swingarm, RCC back cut transmission and much more. The motor and the turbocharger were built by RCC. I do most of our clutch work and have the patience for wiring. Anything that needs to be done, I can do it, and have.

On her favourite riders

I follow drag racing and some of my favourite riders are Angelle Sampey and the Gadsons.

On riding on the street

I ride my 2008 Blue/Gold Suzuki Hayabusa on the street. We have some really strict laws in Canada, so I try not to get too carried away. And the potholes are so big, I could get lost in them…

On how she prepares for the race

Everything a person does is 80% mental. I have a 20 hour drive to Maxton from Canada, so by the time I get to the track my mind is made up that I am going fast. There is no time to get scared when riding that fast, just hang on!

On how people react to her being the fastest woman in the world

Most men are really impressed and are very encouraging. I usually get, ‘Wow a little woman like you can handle a bike with that much horsepower!’ Most women are also very supportive and proud. But I do notice the odd bit of jealously from other female riders. My mother had the best reaction ever – ‘You go girl!’

On future plans

I have so many plans for next year – finish building my house, and go 250+mph. And I want to get really good at drag racing.

On some of her all-time favourites

Bike: Suzuki Hayabusa (of course…)
Car: Any older corvette
Book: Long Way Round
Racing heroine/hero: Danica Patrick, Bill Warner
Food: Greek
Drink: Anything fruity
Music: Nickelback, Rob Zombie
Movie: Tombstone
Holiday destination: Cayo Coco, Cuba


We wish Trillium all the very best for the future and hope she just keeps going faster and faster...!
Pic: Cliff

Also see:
Classic: The Bimota SB2...
Make it snappy: The Gurney Alligator Instigator...
Riding impression: Regis Laconi's WSBK Kawasaki ZX-10R...
MTT Turbine Streetfighter: The fastest street jet in the world...
Safety: APC's airbag helmet for motorcyclists...
Here's why you should ride a big, powerful, noisy motorcycle...
DTC: You can also ride the Ducati 1198S like Stoner. Well, almost. Probably...

Elsewhere today:
Desmo coffee: The Ducati Cafe...
Ducati 750SS: 'Old Blue' rides again...

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