Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 MotoGP: Pedrosa beats Biaggi’s top speed record on the Losail circuit in Qatar

It's taken five years, but Dani Pedrosa's 800cc Honda has finally beaten the Losail top speed record set by Max Biaggi's 990cc Camel Honda in 2004

Back in 2004, Max Biaggi clocked a top speed of 334.4km/h on his 990cc Camel Honda, during the inaugural MotoGP event at the Losail circuit in Qatar. That top speed record then remained unbroken during the 990cc era and in 2007, the first year when 800cc bikes replaced the 990s.

In 2008, Marco Melandri’s Ducati matched Biaggi’s top speed, hitting exactly 334.4km/h during the race in Qatar. This year, however, Biaggi’s record was finally broken, with Dani Pedrosa hitting a top speed of 338.6km/h at the Losail circuit, while qualifying for the Qatar MotoGP and then again hitting that speed during the race.

The Pedrobot’s Repsol Honda wasn’t the only bike that broke Max’s Qatar speed record though. In qualifying, Mika Kallio's Pramac Ducati hit 338.0km/h, Casey Stoner’s Marlboro Ducati did 337.2km/h and Jorge Lorenzo's Fiat Yamaha did 337.0km/h.

The main reason behind implementing fuel restrictions and reducing engine size from 990cc to 800cc in MotoGP was to reduce top speeds. So what’s next? Will MotoGP see engine size being reduced to 600cc in the next 2-3 years…? But, oh no, that's Moto2 already... :-)

Qatar Top Speed 2004-2009:

2004: Max Biaggi Camel Honda 334.4km/h (990cc)
2005: Carlos Checa Ducati Marlboro 328.7km/h (990cc)
2006: Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 330.2km/h (990cc)
2007: Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro 324.7km/h (800cc)
2008: Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro 334.4 km/h (800cc)
2009: Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 338.6km/h (800cc)


Friday, April 17, 2009

Yamaha may launch T-Max 750 in 2010

Yamaha T-Max 750? Yes, bring in on!

According to a report on Motociclismo, Yamaha are working on brand-new three-cylinder, 750cc engine and the first recipient of this new engine may be a 750cc version of the T-Max 500 scooter. A mad, pumped-up super-scooter sounds good to us. While they’re at it, we hope Yamaha equip the new 750cc inline-triple with some R1-style electro-trickery. Sticky rubber, fully adjustable Ohlins fork and shock and ABS should then complete the package… :-)

A hotter T-Max? Yes, please!

BMW ConnectedRide: Motorcycle rider safety project

Look at the picture on the left, then the one on the right. That's the kind of accident which BMW's ConnectedRide system may be able to prevent...
Pics: Motoblog

BMW Motorrad are working on boosting motorcycle rider safety with their ‘ConnectedRide’ research project, which aims to utilise vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology to lessen the possibility of collisions, especially on traffic intersections.

According to some European studies, right-of-way violations on busy intersections and traffic junctions are the biggest cause of accidents where motorcycles are involved. Many car and SUV drivers simply assume that bikers have to give way because in a car-motorcycle collision, it’s always the biker who ends up getting severely injured.

BMW’s ConnectedRide system essentially works as a well networked safety assistant. Via a WiFi connection, this system process inputs from a GPS navigation system and from other similarly equipped cars and motorcycles. Then, it matches vehicle speed with traffic intersections on the way and constantly computes the probability of a collision with other vehicles in the vicinity.

When the ConnectedRide system foresees a collision happening, it issues audio-visual warnings to the motorcyclist(s) (and/or driver(s) with ConnectDrive equipped cars). The system also automatically increases headlamp intensity, activates additional LED warning lights and even activates the horn. The system sounds promising – at least for certain types of riders and drivers, who usually aren’t attentive enough on the road. However, the ConnectedRide system is still in the testing phase and may not be ready for use on production motorcycles and cars for another year or two.

This video shows what BMW's ConnectedRide system is meant to accomplish. The talky bits are all in German but still, you get a fair idea of how the system might work...

BMW S1000RR to be priced competitively, will take on the Japanese Big Four

With the S1000RR, BMW want to take on the R1, GSX-R1000, ZX-10R and CBR1000RR and the German company will price their bike accordingly...

According to a report on Dealernews, BMW Motorrad USA plans to show the S1000RR superbike in the United States for the first time on Memorial Day weekend at the Miller Motorsports Park World Superbike round. The bike will hit US dealerships by January next year.

Pieter de Waal, Vice President, BMW Motorrad USA, tells Dealernews that BMW intends to position the S1000RR against litre-class superbikes from Japan. ‘We intend to take the four Japanese head-on. We did not intend to build a motorcycle like Ducati does or KTM does. We wanted to build a mainstream motorcycle,’ says de Waal.

‘It’s going to be very different than what people might expect from BMW. It won’t be a 1098 or RC8 kind of price, but much, much closer to where the Japanese are. We’re going right for the fat part of the market with this, and I think it’s going to change a lot of people’s opinions about the brand,’ adds Todd Anderson, head of marketing at BMW Motorrad.

‘For BMW worldwide, we see the USA as the country where our future growth will come from, since Europe is largely saturated. So this is where we think things will happen, and this is where our worldwide focus is at the moment,’ says de Waal, speaking to Guido Ebert of Dealernews.

BMW is also targeting younger buyers with its new lot of bikes. ‘It is critically important for us to get younger people on BMWs. It’s not the fact that the average BMW rider is old – because old people are affluent, and there’s nothing wrong with that – but it is that they are getting older. So you have to bring new blood in. We’ve addressed it with the sport enduro, the new 650 and 800 twin series, and we feel the Superbike must do that in a big way,’ says de Waal.

For the full report, visit the Dealernews website here

Parajet Skycar: Yamaha R1-engined flying car to be production-ready by 2010!

The Parajet Skycar is powered by an engine from the Yamaha R1

Via AutoblogGreen

Yeah, okay, we know this sounds a bit fanciful. Only crackpots and the severely eccentric talk about ‘flying cars,’ right? Maybe. However, the Skycar – Parajet’s flying car – can actually transform from a ground-bound ‘car’ into a small aircraft in just three minutes. And yes, it really does fly – the Skycar is undergoing extensive testing and is slated to fly from London to Timbuktu later this year, in the so-called Parajet Skycar Expedition.

The Skycar’s creators, Parajet International Ltd. have reportedly tied up with Rage Motorsport Ltd. to put the Skycar in limited production in 2010. This two-seater flying car will be fitted with the Yamaha R1’s inline-four, modified to run on biofuel. The Skycar will be able to take off from a field or airstrip, requiring less than 200 metres of ‘runway,’ and according to its creators, it will be quite safe and reasonably easy to fly.

The R1-engined Parajet Skycar will have a top speed of 110km/h in the air and a range of 300km. It will be able to fly at a maximum altitude of 15,000ft though it will normally cruise at 2,000-3,000ft. In ‘road mode,’ the Skycar will be able to hit speeds of up to 180km/h and will have a range of up to 400km.

For more details, visit the Parajet website here
A video of the Parajet Skycar in action...!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Riding Impression: MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR

It was first seen a decade ago and the Brutale still manages to look fresh and contemporary today

Pics: Flickr, Motomag

Before the Ducati Streetfighter came along and knocked the MV off its perch, the Brutale 1078RR was pretty much the hottest Italian naked around. Even now, with its 1078cc inline-four, which produces 154 horsepower and 117Nm of torque, the Brutale 1078RR is a force to reckon with. The guys are Motociclismo recently tested the bike and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about this very beautiful machine:

The Brutale 1078RR is the fourth iteration of a bike that was launched in the year 2000. Engine has grown – from the original 750 to the 910 to the 989 and now the 1078 – but in terms of the styling, the Brutale remains unchanged. Then again, the Tamburini magic still works and the bike quite retains its appeal. In fact, the Brutale’s design is often imitated by other manufacturers for their naked sportsbikes…

Coming to its dimensions, the Brutale 1078RR is very compact and features robust, high-spec components. The 1078cc engine is simply marvellous – it produces enough power to propel this bike to a top speed of 252km/h, which is not bad at all for a naked. The acceleration feels incredible and it’s virtually impossible to avoid pulling big wheelies in first and second gear. Also, the mid-range if very strong. To give you an idea of how strong, the Brutale 1078RR accelerates from 60km/h to 160km/h in 7.6 seconds, which a Yamaha R1 does in 9.2 seconds.

Yes, the MV’s throttle can be a bit hard to modulate – you need to be careful while accelerating hard in the first two gears and/or while exiting fast corners. However, the gearbox is outstandingly accurate and works very well with the bike’s slipper clutch.

The Brutale feels extremely rigid – there isn’t a hint of flex on this bike. The 50mm Marzocchi fork and steel tube trellis frame impart a rock-solid feeling to the 1078RR. The steering is very quick – the front wheel moves in accordance with the slightest movement of the handlebars, so you need to be careful with your steering inputs.

Strong, rigid, compact and very well equipped, the MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR is a terrific naked sportsbike. It certainly isn’t for beginners and can be a bit hard to master, but its beauty, performance and unique character make it worthwhile. At 20,000 euros (US$26,500), it’s not cheap, but then there is no other bike that’s quite like the 1078RR.

Hot Italian naked, loves being ridden hard...

MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR: Tech Specs
Engine: 1078cc, DOHC, 16-valve inline-four
Power: 154bhp@10,700rpm
Torque: 117Nm@8,100rpm
Chassis: Tubular steel trellis-type, with single-side aluminium swingarm
Front suspension: 50mm USD Marzocchi fork, adjustable for preload and compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Sachs monoshock, adjustable for preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Brakes: Brembo, twin 320mm discs (front) with four-piston radial-mount callipers, single 210mm disc (rear)
Gearbox: Six-speed
Fuel tank capacity: 19 litres
Dry weight: 195kg
Wheels and tyres: 17-inch wheels, 120/70 (front) and 190/50 Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa tyres

Zero to 100km/h: 3.9 seconds
Standing kilometre: 20.9 seconds
Average fuel consumption: 9.0 litres/100km

MCN's riding impression of the Brutale 1078RR

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 Qatar MotoGP picture gallery

Pics from the Qatar MotoGP. Race results here

2009 Qatar MotoGP: Race results from Losail

Casey Stoner steamrolled the opposition on his way to winning the season-opener in Qatar. Rossi ended up in second place, with teammate Lorenzo in third

2009 MotoGP: Race results from Qatar

1. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 42min 53.984 sec
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 43min 1.755 sec
3. Jorge Lorenzo SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 43min 10.228 sec
4. Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 43min 18.394 sec
5. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 43min 21.247 sec
6. Alex de Angelis RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 43min 23.867 sec
7. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 43min 27.611 sec
8. Mika Kallio FIN Pramac Racing 43min 28.739 sec
9. Toni Elias SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 43min 33.465 sec
10. Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 43min 36.268 sec
11. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 43min 42.510 sec
12. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 43min 42.867 sec
13. Sete Gibernau SPA Grupo Francisco Hernando 43min 46.199 sec
14. Marco Melandri ITA Hayate Racing Team 43min 50.363 sec
15. Yuki Takahashi JPN Scot Racing Team MotoGP 43min 54.270 sec
16. James Toseland GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 44min 8.962 sec
17. Niccolo Canepa ITA Pramac Racing 44min 9.012 sec

Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

Qatar MotoGP picture gallery here and detailed race report here