Saturday, August 28, 2010
For us, here at Faster and Faster, Wayne Rainey is one of our Gods. With three 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world championships (1990, 91 and 92) to his credit, Rainey is up there with the best of the best, in the same league as men like Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan. His career-ending crash in 1993, which left him paralyzed from the chest down, was one of the saddest things ever to happen in motorcycle GP racing.
Motorcycle-USA recently carried an exclusive interview with Wayne Rainey, which is a must-read for fans of 500cc GP racing. It provides a tantalizing glimpse of how things used to be back in the 1980s, the one decade we miss most. Here are a few excerpts from Rainey has to say about motorcycle racing and about his Yamaha YZR500:
On motorcycle racing
‘We didn’t have to have our sunglasses on. We didn’t have to have our hats put on sideways, or wear baggy pants. We were just raw bred racers. That’s what we wanted to do. We were only concerned about beating each other – not what we looked like. My whole life was about racing. The easiest part of my job was the actual race. It was everything else – preparing for that race – where all the work was.’
‘We were like warriors out there. We didn’t like to get beat and if somebody was a tenth of a second quicker than the other guys didn’t sleep very well. That’s just the way it was. We all wanted something that only one guy in the end could have – and that was the world championship. If you were second or third, it didn’t matter, it didn’t count. It wasn’t in the vocabulary. It was all about winning.’
On his Yamaha YZR500 GP racebike
‘When I raced bikes, we had 500cc V-Four two-strokes and nothing whatsoever from the computer to help us. The computers we had onboard back then were very crude compared to what they have now. Basically all they did was measure suspension travel and things of that nature. Power wise, the bikes we rode then had 190 horsepower but the powerband was from 9,000 to 12,000rpm. So you had about 3,000rpm that you were riding that beast in.’
‘When you come to a turn and started to accelerate, you’d have a sudden rush of 130 horsepower on a tire contact patch the size of your fist. The only thing keeping you from wheeling over backwards or high-siding is your right wrist – there was nothing else controlling that. It was just the seat of your pants, your brain, and your right wrist and how you dealt with that. They were bad-ass bikes back then and that’s what made those things so exciting and sometimes scary to ride – they could be very scary at times. But that was the excitement of it. That’s what I always looked forward to. Every Grand Prix that I won, I knew that there was nobody in the world that could have ridden that bike better than me at that particular time. It’s not the same anymore.’
For the full interview, please visit Motorcycle-USA
The Ducati 851, 888, 916, 999 and 1098 have all been such an integral part of the World Superbikes championship. The factory Ducati team not being there next year in WSBK would be a downer...
Ducati issued a press release yesterday, announcing that they are pulling out of World Superbikes at the end of this year. ‘Ducati, having participated with a factory team in every edition of the World Superbike Championship since it began in 1988, winning 16 Manufacturers’ world titles and 13 Riders’ world titles along the way, has decided to limit its participation to the supply of machines and support to private teams,’ says the press release.
‘This decision is part of a specific strategy made by Ducati, the aim being to further increase technological content in production models that will arrive on the market in the coming years. In order to achieve this objective, the company’s technical resources, until now engaged with the management of the factory Superbike team, will instead be dedicated to the development of the new generation of hypersport bikes, in both their homologated and Superbike race versions,’ says Gabriele Del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati.
With this, it seems Ducati’s primary focus will now be on trying to win the MotoGP world championship next year, with Valentino ‘The Doctor’ Rossi. With his legendary skills, The Doctor will also be helping Ducati with development work on the 1198’s replacement, which is due to come out in 2012.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
SuperBike magazine recently carried out a survey to find out what percentage of riders want electronics on their motorcycles and the results, at least for us, are quite surprising. While we can understand that a mere 7% of all riders who participated in the survey wanted switchable fuel maps and only 14% wanted a quickshifter, what surprise us is that just 11% said yes to adjustable traction control and a miniscule 22% said they’d want anti-lock brakes. More encouraging is the fact that while 16% said they wanted no electronics at all, 30% said they’d want all of it.
While we definitely don’t like technologies that take significant amounts of control away from the rider (linked brakes and automatic transmissions, for example…), we’re all for ABS and, on 180bhp litre-class sportsbikes, adjustable traction control. Faster and safer? Hey, why not…