Monday, May 18, 2009

Lumeneo Smera goes on sale in France

Lumeneo Smera, an incredibly cool tilting car/scooter/motorcycle from France...
Pics: Lumeneo, via AutoblogGreen

Built in France, the Lumeneo Smera is one of those electric four-wheeled thingies that tilt like a motorcycle but also offer the weather protection of a car. First shown at the Geneva Motor Show last year, this incredibly cool four-wheeled scooter (car? motorcycle?) is now on sale in France for 24,500 euros (about US$33,000).

Daniel Moulene and Thierry Moulene started work on this four-wheeled car-scooter hybrid back in 2003 and were ready with the first prototypes in 2004. Their company, Lumeneo, was formed in 2006 and the Smera has been undergoing testing since 2007.

The Smera is powered by twin 15Kw electric motors that are fed by a Lithium-ion battery pack. According to information available on the Lumeneo website, these electric motors produce 1,000Nm of torque (!), which is channeled to the rear wheels via belt drive. The vehicle, which weighs 350 kilos, has a range of 150km on one full charge, will accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 8 seconds and has a top speed of 130km/h.

More than the performance figures, the most interesting about the Lumeneo Smera is its electronically-controlled tilting mechanism. While cornering, the Smera’s on-board computers automatically figure out the optimum lean angle and electric motors handle the actual tilting, without the driver having to worry about maintaining balance. The Smera does it all by itself…

It’s certainly not inexpensive but the Smera certainly looks like it should be a lot of fun to ride/drive. More information on the Lumeneo website here

A video of the Lumeneo Smera in action

Saturday, May 16, 2009

2009 French MotoGP: Race results from Le Mans

Jorge Lorenzo won the French MotoGP at Le Mans, followed my Team Hayate's Marco Melandri in second place and Dani Pedrosa in third

1. Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 47min 52.678 sec
2. Marco Melandri Hayate Racing Team 48min 10.388 sec
3. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 48min 12.571 sec
4. Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 48min 13.133 sec
5. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 48min 23.217 sec
6. Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 48min 30.140 sec
7. Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 48min 32.869 sec
8. Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 48min 38.099 sec
9. James Toseland Monster Yamaha Tech 3 48min 42.985 sec
10. Toni Elias San Carlo Honda Gresini 48min 45.896 sec
11. Alex de Angelis San Carlo Honda Gresini 48min 46.228 sec
12. Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 48min 49.325 sec
13. Yuki Takahashi Scot Racing Team MotoGP 48min 49.366 sec
14. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda MotoGP 49min 3.977 sec
15. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Racing 49min 8.063 sec
16. Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 47min 49.916 sec

Mika Kallio Pramac Racing

Pics from the 2009 French MotoGP and other races of the 2009 season...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Troy Bayliss: ‘I have no intention of returning to racing!’

Testing, yes. Racing, no. Stoner and Hayden can breathe easy, Bayliss isn't coming back

Troy Bayliss, who completed a three-day test session on the Ducati Desmosedici GP9 at Mugello today, registered a best time of 1m51.2s. This was slightly better than the 1m51.4s logged by regular Ducati test rider Vittoriano Guareschi, who was also testing alongside Bayliss.

‘It didn't take long to get back into it but before anyone gets any ideas, I will also say that I'm happy to be heading back to the airport and towards Australia and home this evening. I have no intention of returning to racing,’ said Bayliss. ‘I will probably test the bike again [during June or July] and I am very happy to play a part in this project,’ he added.

‘Working with Troy has been useful because he has a very different riding style to Vittoriano. It's been interesting and beneficial to hear his impressions of the GP9. We worked on chassis set-ups that are pretty different from those which we usually use and the results were promising although we need to look at this further. We can count on Troy's great experience to continue to improve our bike,’ said Filippo Preziosi.

Rossi rides through Paris, Tech3 celebrates 20th Birthday

There can be no better way of 'doing' Paris...

With the French MotoGP at Le Mans just three days away, Valentino Rossi has been having a bit of fun riding around the streets of Paris. The Doctor rode a Monster-liveried Yamaha R1 down the Champs-√Člysees and did a few burnouts near the Eiffel Tower. ‘It was quite dangerous and slippery due to the rain but I managed to do a little burnout by the Eiffel Tower. I did try a wheelie too but I was out on the roads with the police, so I couldn't be too naughty,’ said the six-time MotoGP world champion.

Team Tech3 is celebrating its 20th birthday this year...!

In the meanwhile, the other Yamaha Team, Tech3 is celebrating its 20th birthday. Based in France, Tech3 was set up in 1989, by Herve Poncharal and Guy Coulon. One of the team’s high points was French rider Olivier Jacque winning the 250cc world championship in the year 2000.

‘It's appropriate that Tech3 celebrates its 20th birthday in our home race in Le Mans this weekend. We could never have imagined when we started back in 1989 that we would be a leading team in the premier motorcycle racing world championship class. What seemed a distant dream then is now reality, thanks to the hard work and commitment of many people who have shown unbelievable dedication to make the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team what it is today,’ said Poncharal.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Franco Uncini to sell his Suzuki XR40

From left: Franco Uncini aboard the 1982 Suzuki XR40 500cc grand prix racer, the XR40 that's coming up for sale and a more recent shot of Uncini

Franco Uncini, 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing world champion in 1982, will soon be auctioning off his championship winning Suzuki XR40 racebike. The bike will be put up for sale via COYS, an international auction house and the auction is scheduled for the 18th of this month, in Monaco. Other racebikes that will also be auctioned off alongside the XR40 are Jean-Michel Bayle’s 1992 Aprilia 250 and Angel Nieto’s 1973 Morbidelli 125.

COYS expects Uncini’s Suzuki to sell for around €350,000 (US$475,000), so if you’ve always wanted a two-stroke 500cc grand prix racebike… :-)

Troy Bayliss tests Ducati Desmosedici GP9 at Mugello

From left: The Ducati Desmosedici GP9, Bayliss himself and Bayliss on his way to winning the last MotoGP race of the 2006 season, at Valencia, aboard the GP6

There seems to be some debate on whether the GP9 Ducati Desmosedici is the best, or worst, machine right now in the MotoGP paddock. On one hand, Australian Casey Stoner seems to be able to win races rather effortlessly, while on the other hand, no other Ducati rider seems to get anywhere close to the kind of results that Stoner does.

Ducati are, of course, eager to build a machine on which riders other than Stoner can also win races. And hence, another Aussie – ex-World Superbikes champ Troy Bayliss – has been roped in to help with testing and development duties, alongside Ducati’s regular test rider Vittoriano Guareschi.

Bayliss, won the last MotoGP race of the 2006 season at Valencia, aboard the Ducati GP6, recently tested the GP9 at Mugello, in Italy. ‘This is the first time I've ridden a motorcycle since we unveiled the 1198 after the end of last season at Portimao. It was nice to shake off a bit of rust and with Mugello being such a physical circuit it was a good workout,’ says the Aussie, who’s probably one of the toughest, hardest and most talented men to ever race a motorcycle.

‘The last time I rode a GP machine was at Valencia, which was the 990cc, but the 800cc isn't exactly lacking power and I just spent today getting a feel for it. I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow and on Thursday and hopefully by the end of the session I'll be able to give some useful feedback to Filippo,’ says Bayliss.

Of course, nobody expects Bayliss to be able to provide a magic solution that would suddenly allow other Ducati riders to start winning races right away. However, with his vast racing experience, Troy may be able to provide some insight into why Stoner is the only man who can win races on the Desmosedici, and what Ducati need to do in order to build a machine on which others can also win.

Stay tuned for more updates on this one…

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First pics and specs: BMW S1000RR streetbike

The BMW S1000RR - 193bhp, 183kg dry weight...

Pics: Motoblog

BMW officially revealed the S1000RR streetbike yesterday, before the World Superbikes race at Monza, in Italy. The bike isn’t really as good looking as the RSV4 or 1198S but the spec is pretty impressive – 183kg dry weight (204kg wet), 193 horsepower at 13,000rpm, 112Nm of torque at 9,750rpm, four-stage ABS and race-derived traction control means that this is one BMW that won’t be scared of any Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Ducati, KTM or Aprilia.

The S1000RR’s other features include a slipper clutch, six-speed gearbox, fully adjustable 46mm USD fork, fully adjustable monoshock, ride height adjustment at the rear, Brembo brakes (with radial-mount callipers at the front) and an aluminium chassis that uses the engine as a load-bearing member.

'I think they’ve done a great job. Me and Ruben had a test ride on the production bike this week and to be honest, it’s very nice. It’s very comfortable to ride, there’s a lot of power and it’s very easy to wheelie the bike,' said Troy Corser, speaking to MCN. 'Road riders will really like it. The seating position and the reach to the handlebars and the footpeg position is all very neutral and very comfortable. It’s the kind of bike that you can ride for a long distance and yet it’s a sports bike. So I think that this is what they’ll be impressed with most,' he added.

The BMW S1000RR will actually go on sale in Europe and in the US only by early-2010. Pricing and more details coming soon…

The BMW S1000RR in action. It's intense... :-))

Here's a riding impression of the S1000RR...



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