Thursday, March 01, 2012
With the 2012 MotoGP season scheduled to kick off in Qatar in five weeks from now, teams are now putting final touches to their racebikes. Valentino Rossi and his crew are, of course, working on the Ducati GP12, hoping to improve on last year’s results if nothing else.
‘One small positive note to the day is that we reduced the gap to the front a little bit. It was 1.2 seconds and now it’s 1 second. It’s also nice that the new electronics work well, but it hurts being down on the timesheets compared to all the others. We tried a bunch of things in order to take a step forward from the first test, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it and were actually worse,’ said Rossi, after the last test at Sepang. ‘It was harder for me to ride well compared to three weeks ago – especially my corner speed. It’s true that this test was more difficult in terms of weather and track conditions, but it seemed to affect us more than the others. Honestly, I expected to do better than tenth,’ he added.
In this day and age of high-tech marvels like the Panigale, we still love the Ducati 916. With its timeless beauty and world championship-winning performance, the 916 remains in a league of its own. So it’s interesting to see what former Ducati rider and four-time (1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999) world superbikes champion, Carl Fogarty has to say about the 916:
“I’d seen it a bit at the factory at the end of ’93 and didn’t think too much of it, because it didn’t have its bodywork on. I saw the single-sided swingarm and remember thinking the tyre was close to the exhaust and it might cause problems. Then when they wheeled it out for me to race at Donington, I just thought I’d never seen anything as beautiful in my life. I’ll never forget it. It was almost too nice to ride. It was stunning. It still is. So ahead of its time.
The Honda TT Legends team has signed an agreement with French company, Motul, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of motorcycle lubricants. Motul will support the Honda TT Legends team in the World Endurance Championship, Isle of Man TT and Northwest 200 races, and the team’s 20th Anniversary Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade will carry Motul branding.
Motul claim that their 300V Racing Kit Oil, which the TT Legends team will use, has been specifically developed for the Fireblade in collaboration with Honda Racing Corporation. The oil uses new Ester technology for maximum power output and engine performance, say Motul. All we can say is the Motul Honda Fireblade looks pretty good and we hope the Legends team does well this year.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Honda have confirmed that their new dual-purpose bike, the CRF250L, will go on sale in Europe later this year. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 2011, the CRF250L is, according to Honda, “A true dual purpose motorcycle offering both ease of use in everyday life and the fun of off-road riding. As such, it continues a long tradition of Honda machines, dating back to the XL250S of the late 1970s, and the entire XL range that followed.”
The CRF250l is fitted with a liquid-cooled DOHC single cylinder 249cc engine, a twin-tube oval-pipe steel chassis, inverted front forks, ProLink rear suspension and aluminium swing arm. Honda will release the detailed tech specs sheet in April this year.
Stunt rider Bill Dixon shows us the correct way to ride around Willow Springs... :-D
Who doesn’t love a bit of gratuitous high-speed motorcycle drifting? Yes, exactly. Which is why Graves Motorsports teamed up with stunt rider Bill Dixon to create a one-off Yamaha R1 – the one you see in the video above – that’s built for drifting. ‘When Chuck Graves told me there were no limits to what Graves Motorsports could do, I had no idea he meant it literally. The bike is the epitome of badass,’ says Dixon, who seems to have had a fair bit of fun drifting the R1 around Willow Springs Raceway. ‘Bill had so much fun drifting the Yamaha, I was jealous. Projects like this are the driving force at Graves,’ adds Chuck.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
In the world of high speeds, Yves 'The Jetman' Rossy can certainly keep up with Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi. The man seems to have accomplished the impossible...!
Valentino ‘The Doctor’ Rossi is pretty much the fastest Rossi around, right? Weighing in at 155 kilos dry and with about 250 horsepower from its 1000cc four-cylinder engine, The Doctor’s 2012 Ducati Desmosedici GP12 MotoGP racebike can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 2.6 seconds and hit a top speed of more than 360km/h. So that pretty much settles it – Valentino is the fastest Rossi in the world. Or maybe not. Why? Because there’s also one Yves ‘The Jetman’ Rossy, and he goes very, very fast as well.
Born in Switzerland, the 53-year-old Yves Rossy used to be a fighter pilot with the Swiss Air Force and flew fighter jets like the Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs and Dassault Mirage III among others. He still flies a jet, just not one that he sits in. No, now he is the jet. Rossy has developed a carbonfibre wing that spans about two metres and which is fitted with four JetCat P200 jet engines. Strapped to his back, this wing lets Rossy fly. No, really, it does – just look at the videos on this page!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Top: Hans Georg Kasten (left), the Katana's designer, with Prof. Ehn (right), Head of a motorcycle museum in Austria. Pic taken in 2006, the year of the Katana's 25th Anniversary. In the background, you can also see a prototype MV Agusta sportsbike which Target Design were working on, but the bike never made it to production
Below: Original design sketches and some early prototypes from the late-1970s, which ultimately led to the birth of the iconic Suzuki Katana GSX1100S
We’ve said this often in the past and we’ll say it again – we absolutely love the 1980-81 Suzuki Katana 1100. Based on the Suzuki GSX1100 of the late-1970s and first shown as a prototype at Intermot, Cologne, in 1980, the ED-2 Katana looked radically different from other sportsbikes of that era. At the behest of Suzuki Germany, the bike had been designed by German design house, Target Design, where Hans-Georg Kasten, Hans Muth and Jan Fellstrom were the three men who designed the Katana.
Production of the Suzuki Katana GSX1100S started in 1981 and continued till 1984, when the bike was replaced with the GSX1100EFE. However, Suzuki built another batch of 200 units of the 1981-spec Katana in 1990, as part of the 70th Anniversary celebrations, and then released another batch of 200 units in 1991. (As far as we are concerned, these are the only ‘real’ Katanas that Suzuki ever produced. The company also used the Katana moniker later on fully-faired 600s (more pics here and here) and 750s, but we’ll ignore those machines. Those bikes have nothing to do with the Katana we love…)
So, coming back to the 1980-81 Suzuki Katana 1100, we’ve always wanted to meet the people responsible for creating the bike. Now, while that hasn’t happened yet, we did write to Hans-Georg Kasten, who owns Target Design and who was one of the three men responsible for designing the original Katana 1100. We asked him a whole lot of questions about the bike and about motorcycle design in general, and he was kind enough to talk at length about these. Here is what Hans-Georg had to say: