Wednesday, February 04, 2009

KTM out first with KERS


KTM used KERS on Tommy Koyama's 125cc GP racer, during the 2008 Valencian GP

According to a report on Crash.net, Harald Bartol (who heads the KTM 125/250 GP racing team) has revealed that the Austrian company was the first to use a new, high-tech system on Tommy Koyama's racebike last year. This system – Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) – was fitted to Koyama's bike during the 125cc GP in Valencia last year.

KERS, a system that stores energy during braking and releases it under acceleration, is all set to make its debut in Formula 1 racing this year, but going by Bartol’s revelation, KTM have already beaten the F1 guys to the punch.

Koyama only managed to finish seventh in the 2008 Valencian 125cc GP and his top speed during the race was 219.6km/h, as compared with 226.3km/h for Stefan Bradl’s Aprilia, so it isn’t of course as if KERS is some magic formula for winning races. However, KTM are putting in more development work into this system and it may soon start providing a real competitive edge to KTM’s racing bikes.

Under hard braking, KERS charges some condensers/capacitors, which then release the energy during full-throttle application. For now, the system only provides an additional 3bhp, but could soon be providing more with additional development. We hope it soon starts providing an additional 10-15bhp, so KTM can fit KERS on the 2010 RC8 R…

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Tyre tech, electronics hurt overtaking in MotoGP, but development vital for streetbikes


"I want that seventh MotoGP world title...!!'

According to a report on Crash.net, Valentino ‘The Doctor’ Rossi believes that the evolution of tyre technology is one reason why MotoGP racing in the 800cc age is not as exciting or spectacular as it was in the 990cc era.

According to Rossi, tyre technology has raised cornering speeds and reduced braking distances. ‘I think that this is mostly to do with the evolution of the tyres. Now we're very fast in the corners and so there is less time to try to overtake,’ says Rossi.

‘I think that there will be a better show because everyone will have the same tyre. During the last few laps of the race, the bike will move around a bit more and so you will have to go a little bit slower. This will probably produce closer battles. We hope so!’ says Rossi, speaking about how racing might be in the 2009 MotoGP season.

After tyres, the other thing which may be hurting MotoGP, according to Rossi, is the excessive use of electronics. ‘The huge evolution in electronics has levelled the performance of the riders and therefore this has also led to fewer battles,’ he says.

Rossi’s team manager, Davide Brivio agrees that electronics may have made the racing less spectacular, but he also says that electronics may be vital for the development of newer streetbikes ‘Valentino has ‘suffered’ as a result of the changes that have arisen since technology has progressed, more electronics are used and rider aids have been introduced. However, these aids are very useful for safety reasons and research, especially with regard to production bikes,’ says Brivio.

Valentino has expressed the desire to reduce the rider aids in order to allow the rider's talent and ability to be properly appreciated. This is justifiable from the rider's point of view. From a sporting and sentimental point of view also, I'd like to see less aids and the riders relying exclusively on their talent,’ says Brivio.

‘Thinking about our customers, however, who will ride the bikes on the street, research and aid development are the right things to do. It would be great to be able to find a compromise for the situation, but in any case I believe the races will still be very spectacular, more so than ever next year with many riders fighting for victory. Ultimately it is always the best that are leading,’ he concludes.

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Fiat Yamaha urge FIM to make MotoGP less expensive


Cost cutting, the new mantra for MotoGP...

Daniele Romagnoli and Davide Brivio, team managers at Fiat Yamaha, have urged the FIM to take decisive actions that would bring about a reduction in MotoGP costs.

According to Romagnoli, team manager for Jorge Lorenzo, the FIM should reduce winter testing and/or schedule testing to coincide with the last GP of the season, which would also reduce costs (since bikes and equipment would not have to be ferried from one country to another).

Romagnoli also suggests a drastic reduction in the rev limit for MotoGP engines, which would enhance their longevity. This, according to him, would be crucial in bringing down costs because the engine is the most expensive part of a MotoGP bike in terms of the cost of components as well as research and development costs.

Reducing the rev limit to 16,000rpm would, according to Romagnoli, allow manufacturers to use the same engine in two or perhaps even three races. It would also allow a reduction in manufacturing costs since it would be possible to make these engines with relatively less expensive materials.

The Fiat Yamaha managers recommend the usage of just one ECU per bike and a drastic reduction in the usage of complex, expensive sensors such as inertial platforms and GPS. They recommend going back to simpler, less expensive electronics – the kind that were being used five years ago. And finally, they suggest that steel (rather than carbon) brakes be used on MotoGP bikes, which would help cut costs further.

‘I don't think these changes would make the championship any less spectacular. As a matter of fact, it could lead to even have more surprises,’ says Romagnoli.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

BQR-Honda unveils the first Moto2 bike


Yes indeed, that's what Moto2 bikes will look like. Missing 250 two-strokes already?

Pics: Motociclismo

The Spanish Honda-BQR team has unveiled the very first Moto2 bike, which will make its debut this season in the Spanish Roadracing Championship (CEV) this year. The same bike – with, of course, some engine/chassis developments – will also go on to race in the Moto2 series in 2011, when 250cc two-strokes will make way for 600cc four-stroke machines.

BQR-Honda’s Moto2 bike uses a 599cc, DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled inline-four sourced from Honda. Featuring Honda’s PGM-FI electronic fuel injection, this engine makes 140 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed gearbox. The double beam chassis is made of aluminium, the steering geometry is adjustable and suspension is Show – 43mm USD fork and monoshock, both fully adjustable.

The bike rides on 17-inch forged magnesium wheels, shod with 125/80 (front) and 190/55 (rear) Dunlop slicks. Twin 300mm brake discs with four-piston radial-mount callipers are used at front, and single 220mm disc with twin-piston calliper is fitted at the back wheel. Ready to race, the bike weighs 137kg.

Over the years, the two-stroke 250cc class has witnessed some great racing – fast, furious, all-out action that’s often spectacular to watch. We don’t really know if the Moto2 class will provide the same thrills. It probably won’t. However, with two-stroke engines having faded away into history, there really isn’t, perhaps, any point in manufacturers continuing to spend huge sums of money towards the development of these engines for racing. So, Moto2 it’s going to be and racing fans everywhere will just have to learn to live with that...

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Picture perfect: The BMW S1000RR


Model Ann Kathrin Ruhl, astride the BMW S1000RR



BMW have released new pics of its S1000RR superbike, with model Ann Kathrin Ruhl upping the glam quotient. While bikes like the BMW K1300R, K1300S and HP2 Sport do offer a fair bit of performance, the S1000RR – the machine which BMW will be racing in World Superbikes this year – is in a different league altogether.

With its aluminium beam frame, high-spec USD fork and monoshock (both ends fully adjustable), Brembo brakes, carbonfibre bodywork and high-revving 1,000cc inline-four that makes about 200bhp at the crank, the S1000RR is more in line with Japanese litre-class superbikes. That, and perhaps even more, because the S1000RR is likely to be equipped with advanced traction control, ABS, variable length air-intake tracts and positive valve actuation of some sort, the details of which have not been revealed yet by BMW.

When the road going version of the S1000RR goes on sale – probably towards the end of this year – the bike is expected to cost around US$15,000. If BMW can stick to that kind of pricing, the 1000RR should be a lot of bike for a relatively reasonable amount of money.

With all-new bikes like the Aprilia RSV4 and the 2009 Yamaha R1 and Suzuki GSX-R1000 to beat in World Superbikes this year, BMW riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus are going to face an uphill battle. Still, with BMW prepared to go all out on research and development, the S1000RR’s prospects don’t look too bad at all…

Monday, February 02, 2009

2009 Yamaha YZR M1 and Valentino Rossi unveiled...


2009 Yamaha YZR M1 and The Doctor. We're hoping this will be the most effective combo in the 2009 MotoGP season, making mincemeat out of Casey 'Loudmouth' Stoner...

Yamaha have just released pics and specs of the 2009 YZR M1 and the new, spruced-up-for-2009 Valentino Rossi. We’ll start with the M1, which still packs more than 200bhp from its inline-four and has a top speed in excess of 320km/h. The gearbox is a six-speed cassette-type unit, with quick-swappable ratios, while the chassis is an aluminium twin tube delta box jobbie, with multi-adjustable steering geometry, wheelbase and ride height.

The swingarm is made of aluminium, suspension is Ohlins (front and rear), adjustable for everything that can possibly be adjusted, and then some. The brakes are Brembo – twin 320mm carbon discs with four-piston callipers at front, single 220mm stainless steel disc with twin-piston calliper at the back.

The 2009 M1 weighs 148 kilos (in accordance with FIM regulations) and rides on 16.5-inch Marchesini wheels that are available in a variety of rim widths and which are shod with Bridgestone tyres – slick, intermediate, wet or hand-cut.

‘I had the chance to try the 2009 prototype briefly after Valencia, but more so in Jerez, when I was very fast. The bike seems better and I was faster than I was with the 2008 version. I'm very confident, and anyway we're only at the beginning of our work and now we must use these months before April to improve the 2009 M1 even more,’ says Valentino Rossi, speaking about the 2009 YZR M1. 'We're working a lot on the engine and we're trying to find a way to improve the acceleration a bit, and I think that this is the area in which we will be concentrating,' he adds.

Yamaha have also been working on engine management controls and fuel injection maps, with which they hope to improve acceleration significantly. The aim is to allow Rossi and Lorenzo to open the throttle earlier - and harder - while exiting corners. 'In 2008, when we won everything - the Constructors' title, the Riders' title, the Teams' title - it provoked great motivation and reaction from rival riders and factories, and they must have all started working to produce a bike capable of beating us. We'll do the same,' says Rossi's team manager, Davide Brivio.

Moving on from the M1 and coming to the 2009 Valentino Rossi, The Doctor is in fine fettle as ever. With six MotoGP world championships to his credit, Rossi is now the only man who’s ever won world championships in the two-stroke 500cc as well four-stroke 990cc and 800cc classes.

Now 30 years old, No.46 will be one of the top contenders for winning the 2009 MotoGP world championship. Of course, he doesn’t need the money anymore – he races because he loves it. Rossi earned an estimated US$34 million in 2007 and probably much more in 2008. This year, global recession or not, The Doctor could be raking in as much as US$45 million according to some estimates.

Do we think Rossi will kick Stoner’s arse all over the world again, this year? But of course. Go……!!!!!

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Face-off: Moto Morini Granpasso vs BMW R1200GS


Moto Morini Granpasso vs BMW R1200GS, Italian panache vs German engineering...

In terms of genuine all-around capability as well as that carefully cultivated ‘adventure’ image, the BMW R1200GS is pretty much at the top of its game. Not that it prevents other manufacturers from trying to wrest the big Beemer’s crown though. One of the latest challengers in the arena is the Moto Morini Granpasso. Moto Revue recently had the opportunity pit the two bikes against each, and here are some excerpts from what they had to say:

Starting off on the two bikes, the first thing that strikes you is the height of their saddles – 875mm for the Moto Morini, 850-870mm (adjustable) for the BMW. Both bikes need fairly tall riders, otherwise you have to stand on the tips of your toes to keep your balance when these bikes are at rest. It’s just as well, then, that Moto Morini plan to launch a new version of the Granpasso soon, which will come with an 830mm seat height…

The R1200GS is bigger and heavier than the Granpasso. The BMW is 935mm wide and weighs 244 kilos, while the Moto Morini is only 850mm wide and at 234kg, it is 10 kilos lighter. The Granpasso looks more elegant, like the KTM 990 Adventure, while the R1200GS is bigger and bulkier, like the Moto Guzzi Stelvio.

At 13,450 euros, the BMW is more expensive than the Moto Morini, which comes in at 12,990 euros. Both bikes are fairly high-tech and well equipped. The BMW is fitted with the Bavarian company’s Telelever (front) and Paralever (rear) suspension, with shaft drive. The Moto Morini comes with an adjustable Öhlins shock, hydroformed aluminium swingarm, tubular-steel chassis from Verlicchi, Excel wheels and Brembo brakes.

On the move, both bikes feel quite manageable. The BMW’s riding position is very good and all the controls are quite intuitive. The Moto Morini’s clutch is a bit stiffer and the gearbox isn’t quite as slick and accurate as the BMW’s. The BMW also inches ahead in terms of overall comfort and weather protection, with its big, padded saddle and adjustable windscreen scoring higher than the Moto Morini’s.


The Granpasso is sportier, the R1200GS is more versatile and comfortable...

The Moto Morini seems better suited to smooth tarmac, while the BMW is better at handling the rough stuff. The German bike is slower to respond to rider inputs – it doesn’t change direction very quickly, and can be a bit tricky to manage under hard braking, though things seem to improve a bit with the optional electronically adjustable suspension (ESA). But while the BMW is better off-road, the Moto Morini is better on the tarmac – it feels more responsive and is quicker and faster than the Beemer.

The Granpasso is more focused towards being sporty, while the BMW is more versatile and comfortable. The Moto Morini’s seat, which feels quite comfortable initially, starts feeling a bit too stiff after a while. Also, its adjustable windscreen isn’t as effective as the BMW’s – wind turbulence seems to be a constant problem at almost all speeds – and its brakes aren’t as powerful as those on the German bike. Finally, the Granpasso’s 6.2m turning radius, compared to the BMW’s 4.9m, is a big disadvantage for the Italian machine, especially in the city, on narrow roads and while making U-turns.

The wide open road is where the Moto Morini really belongs – that’s where its 1,187cc v-twin can really breathe. Designed by Franco Lambertini, the Italian engine sounds almost like an American V8 at times and quite encourages you to be generous with the throttle, rewarding you with satisfying bursts of power. Measured on our test bench, the Moto Morini engine produced 120.5bhp, a bit more than the BMW 1,170cc boxer-twin’s 112.5bhp.

In the real world, the Granpasso’s 8bhp advantage isn’t enough to give it a significant performance edge over the R1200GS. If anything, the German engine feels smoother at low revs, while the Italian engine feels more free-revving and delivers its punch in the higher reaches of its rev range. In the end, both engines deliver the goods though the way they do it feels quite different. Both bikes are quite competent – it’s just that they do things in their own unique way…

For the full article, visit the Moto Revue website here

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