Friday, August 21, 2009

In conversation with Kevin ‘Revvin’ Schwantz


Kevin Schwantz, 1993 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ

Kevin Schwantz, 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing world champ in 1993, recently spoke at a teleconference hosted by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the US. Here are some excerpts from what the champ had to say:

On Casey Stoner pulling out of three MotoGP races due to some ‘mystery illness’

As a rider, my gut feeling is Casey needs to be out there competing. This championship, when he made a tyre choice at Donington that seemed to be a little bit off of the norm, had him right at the top of it. I mean, he didn't need to be making a gamble on tyres like that when he was in a championship hunt. For me, that kind of told me that there was something more going on with Casey than just, you know, ‘I don't really feel all that good but I'm finding a way to perform.’

To have signed a contract, whenever it was, you're signing a contract to compete unless something is medically wrong with you. I'm out there doing the best that I can. Whether I can give 100% every weekend or not is kind of the question. But for me it's a real disappointment, and I think, you know, Casey is a great competitor, and I think maybe a little bit more of this has to do with something behind the scenes that maybe none of us quite yet know about. I don't exactly know what it could be. But to just decide you're going to skip three races and see if you feel any better at the end of it, to me, is a little bit out of the norm.

On staying motivated when your heart’s no longer in it

If your heart is not in it, it's somewhat of a high-risk profession. Maybe you're better off going to go get a desk job or at least stepping away from the sport. And that, in my situation, is what I did.

I sure hope that's not the case with Casey Stoner and that, you know, he's just lost interest and focus in this sport at such a young age because he's definitely a huge draw to the series. And I think he's been a world champ, so he obviously can ride one of these two-wheel rockets at the best of his ability, which is world championship-winning level.


Schwantz thinks Ducati's MotoGP bike may be a bit inconsistent...

On what he thinks of Ducati’s MotoGP bike

I don't honestly have an answer as to what I see that bike doing that makes it so difficult to ride. You know, I've talked to Nicky Hayden a bit about riding, Marco Melandri just a touch. It's just a bike that seems to be, from what they say, somewhat inconsistent. Watching Nicky and some of the things he does on the track, it just doesn't look like from lap to lap he's confident that the bike is going to continue to do the same thing in the same exact corner lap to lap to lap.

So as a rider, he can't quite start to compensate or make an adjustment from a rider's perspective to try and be able to do things a little bit better because it's a little bit inconsistent. And I don't know whether that comes from the geometry of the bike, the chassis of the bike, the electronics on the bike, exactly what it is. I'm still a little bit too far away from that to have a really good idea what makes that bike so difficult to ride.

On Rossi’s prospects of winning the MotoGP championship this year

Here at Indy, I'm sure Nicky and Colin are both going to be really strong. But I still think championship-wise number 46 seems to kind of have the measure of everybody. I don't know if it's just a mental edge that the guy has, because I really felt like in watching practice both at Donington and in Czecho, that Lorenzo was fast, and he was smooth, and he was consistently fast. But Rossi has a way of just upping his game a little bit on Sunday afternoon, and it's been devastating to Lorenzo both weekends.

You know, as a racer, one of the most difficult things to do out there is to try and back off and just start thinking championship now. You lose a little bit of that motivation, you lose a bit of that speed. Then when you have to, it seems like it's even more difficult to find it back again. So I'm sure Rossi is going to continue to be Rossi here and going to love to win races just like he always has.


Kevin's Pepsi Suzuki RGV500 racebike from 1989

On James Toseland’s performance in MotoGP

I think James has been as disappointing to us as he has been to himself. I know James probably didn't expect to come here and start winning races immediately, but I'm sure he felt like he was going to be a guy that could contend for the podium. When you've got a veteran such as Colin Edwards alongside you in the team who's managing to put the bike up on the podium or somewhere right near the front somewhat consistently, I think there's probably a lot of doubt running around in James' head right now.

I don't know, maybe a year or two ride some superbikes, get some confidence back. I don't honestly know what the best path might be right now for James. But I know for me I was expecting big things of him and he's done an OK job a couple of weekends. He's had some decent results, but he hasn't ever shown me that spark and that fire that I saw out of him riding a World Superbike.

On what he thinks of Moto2

I think the idea behind Moto2 is good. Once again, it's headed a direction that we've seen should cost a whole lot more money than two-stroke racing but, at the same time, I think four-stroke technology is the direction that most of the manufacturers are headed from a development standpoint.

You know, with one type of engine, everybody gets to build their own chassis to try and come up with some different ideas on what might work best or what might not. You know, I have to go into it with an open mind. I think it could be really good. The fact that there's 40-some-odd teams, more than 40 teams interested in competing in the series, have fielded entries, I think that in itself is pretty exciting for MotoGP.

On Moto2 replacing two-stroke 250s

Hopefully that new class and its structure will lend us some really, close competitive racing because the 250 field has really shrunk quite a bit, too. It's a shame because I got the opportunity a couple of years ago to ride KTM’s 250s. Just over maybe 110 horsepower and 90 kilos a bike, it reminded me a lot of riding my 500, it was just a little bit slower acceleration-wise. But just the precision, the sound, the sharpness of that two-stroke, everything about it was a real pleasure to ride, that's for sure!

GP Motorsports to sell Aprilia-powered, Ilmor-framed streetbike


A Moto2 racebike for the street? That's what this Aprilia-engined, Ilmor-framed bike seems to be. Not bad, if GPM can sell it for less than $25,000

According to a report on MCN, the UK-based GP Motorsports will soon be selling a street legal sportsbike fitted with a tuned Aprilia SXV550 engine. The bike, which is likely to cost about £15,000 (US$24,675) will be fitted with a chassis that’s identical to the one used on Ilmor’s 2007 MotoGP bikes.

Codenamed Project 109, the Aprilia-engined, Ilmor-framed bike will be built in very limited numbers – only 10 will be offered for sale, while GP Motorsports will five of the bikes with them for their own use. The bikes will be fitted with Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes, and the Aprilia v-twin will be tuned for 75bhp, which should make for interesting performance in a package that weighs just 90 kilos dry.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ducati 1098S: Martini Racing replica rocks!

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This Martini Racing-replica Ducati 1098S looks fabulous!

All right, so it’s been replaced with the 1198S but the Ducati 1098S is still a pretty special motorcycle. And this one-off special Martini Racing replica ups the cool factor another few notches. The bike weighs 163kg dry and packs 175 horsepower – numbers which speak for themselves.

The Martini Ducati 1098S is fitted with racing cams and pistons, titanium con-rods, lightweight crank, magnesium alloy wheels, WSBK-spec gearbox, ¼ turn quick-throttle, Ohlins suspension components, Termignoni exhaust with carbon mufflers and lots of carbonfibre bodyparts. And yes, we really do think this is one of the coolest Ducatis we’ve ever seen...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

About clicking on and downloading photos on Faster and Faster

Some of our readers have written in, saying they are unhappy with how photos are being hosted on Faster and Faster. The main concern voiced is having to click something on an external site after clicking on the picture itself on Faster and Faster.

Well, here's a quick explanation. Faster and Faster is hosted on Blogger/Blogspot, which is where our pics also used to be hosted earlier. Some months ago, however, we exhausted our 1GB limit that Blogger enforces for pics.

Hence, we now have to host our images on free image hosting services like Imagevenue and Imageshack. Now, while you may have to endure pop-up advertisements from these sites, these sites are in no way malicious or unsafe. There is no virus, no malicious code and nothing to worry about - just click on the pics and download them as you used to earlier.

While hosting the pics on Blogger/Blogspot may have been ideal, please understand that that is no longer possible. Using services like Imagevenue or Imageshack DOES NOT earn us any extra revenue. We're using these services simply because we don't have any other option.

So, please bear with us and don't worry when clicking on any pics on Faster and Faster since both Imagevenue and Imageshack are TOTALLY SAFE sites, and your computer is NOT AT ANY RISK if you go to these sites and download our pictures from there.

Update (19th Aug., 2009): Since most readers were complaining about inappropriate ads that were being served up by Imagevenue, we've stopped using that service. From now on, we're only using Imageshack, which does not serve up adult ads. We hope this will sort out any problems that you may have had in the past.

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Czech MotoGP: Race pics from Brno

Pics from the 2009 Czech Grand Prix. Race results and more pics here

Even more pics from the 2009 MotoGP season here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ilmor develop turbocharged 700cc five-stroke engine


Ilmor's 700cc five-stroke engine might possibly be used on a production motorcycle in the future!
Via Ilmor

Ilmor Engineering, the British company that came to MotoGP briefly in 2006 and 2007, has now developed a turbocharged, 700cc, three-cylinder, five-stroke petrol engine which might someday be used on a motorcycle.

A five-stroke engine? Yes indeed, Ilmor say this engine will deliver better fuel economy than a comparable diesel and is lighter and has lower emissions than a conventional four-stroke petrol engine of the same capacity.

How, exactly, does it work? Well, we don’t completely understand but we’ll quote from the Ilmor website. ‘The five-stroke concept engine utilises two fired cylinders (High Pressure - HP) operating on a conventional four-stroke cycle, which alternately exhaust into a central expansion cylinder (Low Pressure - LP), whereupon the burnt gases perform further work.’

‘The LP cylinder decouples the expansion and compression processes and enables the optimum expansion ratio to be selected independently of the compression ratio. Running of the concept engine has produced impressive fuel consumption readings over a very wide operating range. This is because at the onset of knock a greater percentage of work can be extracted in the LP cylinder, giving a degree of self compensation.’

All right, that reads like a physics textbook and we don’t understand most of it, but what’s really interesting is that Ilmor’s turbocharged 700cc five-stroke engine produces 130 horsepower at 7,000rpm and 166Nm of torque at 5,000rpm. And the best part is, according to Ilmor, the engine uses conventional technology and requires no new manufacturing techniques. This might allow the engine to be used on a production motorcycle sometime in the near future.

Ilmor claim their five-stroke engine has a power density of 150bhp/l and is 20% lighter than existing production engines of the same capacity. If the benefits really are as significant as the company claims, perhaps a mainstream motorcycle manufacturer will license this technology from Ilmor and use it on a production motorcycle. And wouldn’t that be cool…!

Confederate P120 Fighter Combat unveiled


The Confederate P120 Fighter Combat. Very impressive...
Via Autoblog

Confederate Motors Inc. recently unveiled their latest machine – the P120 Fighter Combat – at the Quail motorsports gathering in Carmel, during the Pebble Beach car week. Why unveil a motorcycle at what’s essentially a car event? ‘Considering the level of discerning motorsport enthusiasts gathered from around the world in one place at one time, we could not think of a better forum at which to unveil our cutting-edge Fighter Combat,’ says Matt Chambers, CEO and founder, Confederate Motors. Oh, well...

The Confederate P120 Fighter Combat – only 120 units of which will be built – is fitted with a 1,966cc twin-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower (measured at the rear wheel) and 182Nm of torque. The bike’s monocoque chassis is made of aircraft-grade aluminium and the P120 weighs 207kg.

The gearbox is a close-ratio five-speed unit and the suspension is comprised of a double wishbone setup at the front and fully adjustable monoshock at the back. Brakes are from Brembo, with carbon-ceramic discs and radial-mount four-piston callipers. The bike rides on 19-inch (front) and 18-inch (rear) wheels, and the top speed... ...probably doesn't matter.

For more details, visit the Confederate Motors website here


The P120's price hasn't been announced yet, but this is one of those bikes where if you have to ask...

A video of the P120 Combat Fighter

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