Month: July 2015

MotoGP – Bradl out at Forward Racing. In at Aprilia?


Former Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl looks set to fill the vacant Aprilia ride after walking away from the Forward Racing team.

The troubled MotoGP squad, whose boss Giovanni Curari is in custody on tax, fraud and money laundering charges, released the German rider from his contract as they look to regroup ahead of the upcoming US round in Indianapolis.

A statement said: “This difficult decision –– the result of an agreement between the parties – has been taken in front of the concrete possibility for the rider to continue his participation in the World Championship and to ensure and protect his sport activity and his interests.

“Forward Racing agreed to free him from the next race scheduled on August 9 and wishes Stefan all the best in his future endeavors.”

Bradl, who has seen a return to form recently after a sluggish start to the season on board the Forward Yamaha, is expected to make the switch to the Noale team, filling the seat vacated by Marco Melandri. The move would be good for both parties – Bradl is a quick hard charger with a proven pedigree and his experience of Honda Factory machinery and the Yamaha satellite bike would assist Aprilia as they look to develop their race bike.

Competition: Win a Visorvision Premium Care Kit

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Visorvision’s Paul Berryman, a classic bike aficionado, handy club racer and long-term instructor at the Ron Haslam Race School explains why you need to look after your visor.

If you’re reading this, you’ll most certainly ride a motorcycle. Well, we all know the level of vulnerability that is inherent to that choice – to prove it, here’s a question – when was the last time another vehicle sharing your piece of road made a manoeuvre without ever seeing you? Sadly, it probably wasn’t that long ago. They didn’t see you, but you saw them, right?

Well, in that equation you were able to look after yourself because you saw what was happening. That leads me to one of the most important parts of safe motorcycling. Wearing hi-viz to engage the other users by making them see you is a great idea, but there’s a hi-viz answer for the rider too – it’s really simple – look after your visor.

The three big things that get in the way of decent vision can sadly be simpler to acknowledge than to cure:

  • Fogging up on the inside of the visor or the rider’s specs
  • Clinging water droplets from rain and roadspray on the outside of the visor
  • Bugsplats and other road grime caked on the outside of the visor

Think about riding behind any combination of these visor issues and you’ll immediately be aware that your ability to respond to the threats around you are diminished – what this means is that you’ve just handed an element of your future wellbeing back to the other road users. In times when the weather is dark, cold and rainy, it’s also arguable that you actually need heightened vision over normal conditions as both you and the bike will be less able to respond rapidly when needed.

So what to do? There are many answers out there for the motorcyclist keen to take back control of their ability to see, at every moment, on every ride.

Whether you choose Visorvision’s award winning products to do these jobs or someone else’s probably only matters to me, but my advice for you is to have a think about your personal regime for making sure you can see through your visor and eyewear, whatever the weather, wherever you are. If you can’t see a problem in front of you, you can’t avoid it. My suggestion for a basic kit to carry with you at all times is as follows:

  • Carry a pocket sized visor cleaner at all times.
  • Carry or fit, an anti-fog solution that works on visors (and specs if you wear them)
  • Carry a specialist water repellent product that is 100% formulated for plastic (be wary though – car windscreen rain repellents are made for glass and will destroy visor coatings)
  • Designate a couple of microfibre cloths at home solely for use on your helmet and visor – keep them separate and keep them clean. This stops cross-contamination of other household cleaning agents onto your precious kit that can have an affect when in use
  • Don’t use any product not designed for use on a crash helmet or visor. Super strength kitchen cupboard cleaning products may be able to remove limescale, but that does not make them good for the job of visor cleaning, however dirty it is
  • Polycarbonate visors can be delicate. Treat them carefully – they’re your last defence against the outside world when you ride

WIN: #Bikefan has teamed up with Visorvison and to offer you the chance to win a £60 premium Visorvision visor care kit up for grabs. The pack, which comes in a sturdy Kriega Kube 1 padded pouch, features everything you’ll need to keep your visor in tip-top shape. Each pack contains the following:

  • 2 x V2 Sponge visor cleaners (RRP £7.50)
  • 12 x Fogtech DX anti-fog sachets (RRP £15.00)
  • 1 x Raincoat PRO 30ml bottle (RRP £18)
  • 1 x Lidfresh helmet sanitiser 50ml spray (RRP £3)
  • 1 x Shiner helmet polish 50ml spray (RRP £3)
  • 1 x Microfibre cloth (RRP £2)
  • 2 x sets Moldex earplugs – 4 pairs total (RRP £2.50)
  • 1 x Kriega Kube travel bag (RRP £9)

To be in with a chance of winning a Visorvision visor care kit worth £60, simply email with WIN in the subject line.

The competition closes on Tuesday, September 1.

Suzuka 8hr – Yamaha ends 19 year drought


The Yamaha Factory Racing Team went above and beyond all expectations at the Suzuka Circuit, riding the new YZF-R1 to a phenomenal victory at the 38th Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race.

Riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith gave an outstanding performance in the hottest and most challenging conditions of the weekend, earning Yamaha its first victory in this event in 19 years and its fifth in the race’s history.

Losing a couple of positions from pole, first rider Nakasuga was quick to carve his way to the front as he chased down the race leaders. By lap three he had climbed up to sixth and kept the pressure on. He made his move as one by one the competitors went into the pits, showing the incredible potential of the YZF-R1 when he dropped a stunning 2’08.496s on his sixth lap, the fastest laptime of the race. Nakasuga was scheduled to come in after 25 laps but completed an extra two before heading in as the race leader and handing the YZF-R1 to Smith.

The British rider re-entered in third position, but soon moved up when the race leader crashed out of the race. Smith then had to deal with two separate safety car stints before finally taking the front a little more than two hours into the race.

It was then Espargarò’s turn to shine. The Spaniard had been consistently fast all weekend and didn’t disappoint, and both he and Nakasuga created a comfortable margin before it was time for Smith to ride again.

He was only able to complete a few laps before being called in for a 30 second ‘Stop and Go’ penalty for Espargaró having passed under a yellow flag.

The penalty cost them a position but it wasn’t long before Smith was back in first place and building a healthy gap before handing the bike over to Espargaró for a second time.

He and Nakasuga gave their all in their final riding stints before handing over to Smith for the last leg. The Brit’s final ride of the race was far from simple as a third safety car caused some last-minute tension. Smith was again able to manage the situation perfectly and rode his factory Yamaha YZF-R1 through the last corner to the deafening sound of cheering from the many thousand race fans as he took the chequered flag with a 1’17.411s advantage.

Smith was ecstatic to have guided the R1 to the top step of the podium. He said: “Since Tuesday night I went back to my hotel room and felt loaded up with pressure . We stood in front of all the Yamaha staff and mister Kimura and everyone who works inside the factory. We stood on the stage in Iwata and promised that we would come back and give our best and we promised them a first place and we definitely to potentially fail, but we had a great bike and teammates.

“We had only one small mistake during the race, which in the end was no problem at all. With the speed and the pace that my teammates were able to do, we were able to overcome it. It’s very special, the 60th anniversary for Yamaha, they are leading the MotoGP championship, but second to that was a focus to on the Suzuka8H and I’m glad that we were able to show the true potential of this bike and give them that victory after 19 years that they very well deserve.”

Endurance Racing – Casey Stoner injured at Suzuka


Double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has suffered multiple injuries following a vicious high-speed crash in Japan.

Stoner was riding a Musashi Honda Fireblade and was leading the iconic the Suzuka 8-hour endurance race, his first competitive race since 2012, when his throttle stuck open, forcing the 29 year-old to run wide as he approached the hairpin section of the circuit 69 minutes into the race. His bike skidded off the track, sending Stoner flying through a padded barrier and tumbling onto the track, leaving the machine torn apart and laying in the middle of the circuit. On his hands and knees, Stoner tried to crawl to the safety of the barriers before track marshals were able to reach him.

Stoner suffered a broken scapula and fractured tibia in the crash but took to Twitter to show his fans he was OK, sharing a photo of himself with his arm in a sling and his leg bandaged and elevated. ‘A big thanks to my @alpinestars leathers boots and back protector, also @nolan_group Helmet, I would have been much worse off without them!’

The team had to wait until the end of the race for the bike to be returned so they could exam what caused the accident. Together with HRC staff, the team checked the machine, and confirmed from the data that the throttle was 26 degrees open before the crash. It wasn’t clear why this happened and now the bike will be sent to HRC for a full inspection. HRC will communicate the findings to the media when there is more news.

Endurance racing – Yamaha’s dream team claims Suzuka pole


The Yamaha Factory Racing Team blew away the competition at Suzuka with a stunning 2’06.000 lap on the YZF-R1 to claim a superb pole position for the 38th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race.

Hot and sweaty weather and a slippery track set the scene for qualifying at the legendary eight hours endurance race weekend. Riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith looked competitive during the morning Free Practice session, setting the second fastest time with a 2’08.074s, but didn’t take any risks as the real challenge was yet to come.

The chosen riders for the pole position shoot-out, Nakasuga and Espargaró, stunned the Suzuka crowd in the afternoon’s 8H Top10 Trial. During this session two riders per team are allowed to ride one flying lap each around the technically challenging 5807m Suzuka Circuit to fight for pole position.

Espargaró was the first YFRT rider to hit the clear track and set a hot lap. The Spaniard pushed to the absolute limit, using all his MotoGP experience to set a stunning 2’06.000 lap for provisional pole, which at the time was 1.697s faster than anyone so far.

Then it was local Yamaha hero Nakasuga’s turn to step aboard the YZF-R1. The experienced Japanese rider rode smoothly and aggressively through the twisty section, taking full advantage of the performance of Yamaha’s class leading Superbike to finish with an impressive lap just 0.059s off his teammate.

As none of the competitors were able to drop under the 2’06.2 mark, Espargaró’s incredible 2’06.000 becomes the new Endurance fastest lap at Suzuka, more than six-tenths of a second faster than the previous Endurance Pole Record, as Yamaha looks to end a 19-year drought.

Polesetter Espagaro said: “I feel very happy, because this was a challenge for me and I did not expect this result. We did just one test with Bradley and Nakasuga in the preseason on the dry and we didn’t ride a lot on this track. Bradley was also fast this weekend, his pace was very similar and the same with Nakasuga, he was also very fast.

“Tomorrow we have the big show and it will be difficult, because anything can happen, but we are confident. When I saw my lap time I was a bit surprised because I never tested the softer rear tyre during the tests or this weekend and I never rode in Superpole before with only one lap. Here today we had just one shot and in your mind you’re always checking the lap and thinking of where you could improve something. Maybe I could have improved in the last sector, because I relaxed a little bit and was wary of making a mistake in the chicane.

“When I saw the time I said “come on!”, because it would be difficult for someone to beat it, but when I saw the lap time of Nakasuga-san I was a bit scared, he was also very fast, but I was lucky that I was fast in T1 and this gave me a chance, but Nagasuga was very strong in T4 and I was worried again. I’m happy because I did a good lap time, but Nakasuga was also under the record and Bradley showed good potential over the whole weekend. Our pace is really similar and this is more important than the pole.”

WSBK – Guigliano ruled out for the rest of the season


The luckless Davide Guigliano has been ruled out  of racing for the rest of the season after breaking a vertebrae in his crash at Laguna Seca.
The Ducati rider suffered a vicious crash in the second race of the American round at Laguna Seca, and scans have revealed that the Italian has damaged his D3 vertebrae, which doctors estimate will need three months of recovery time.
The fracture, while not visible in the initial examination that took place at the racetrack, was identified after the team decided to undergo further tests – a sensible decision given the nature of the crash and the previous accident at Phillip Island in which the rider suffered fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae, missing the first four rounds of the season as a result.
Giugliano was understandably disappointed to be ruled out for the rest of the season. He said: “I am of course extremely disappointed right now… Clearly 2015 was not my season. There is no point grieving over it anyway, that’s that and the important thing is that once again the trauma will not result in any long-term damage. It will take a bit more time, but I hope to recover quickly and be back riding my Panigale soon.”
The Italian squad will not replace Davide for the upcoming event taking place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on 2 August, but has decided to entrust the second Panigale R to Michele Pirro, already a frontrunner when he participated as a wildcard at the Misano SBK round, for the following round, scheduled to take place at the Spanish track of Jerez de la Frontera on 20 September.

Tested – HJC RPHA10+


This is HJC’s top-of-the-range lid, as worn by Jorge Lorenzo and the recently-retired Ben Spies.

It’s an updated version of the popular RPHA10 and features a new easier-to-use chin vent, a new chin curtain and a new, more comfortable lining. It also comes with a Pinlock Max clear and tinted visor as standard.

The first thing that strikes you about this lid is the weight – it feels ludicrously light and tips the scale at just 1250g. And then there’s the fit – it feels comfortable, snug and secure. I know fit is a personal thing, but HJC seem to have managed a rare trick and built a helmet suitable for all head shapes. A lot of friends tried the RPHA10+ on at Motorcycle Live and every one of them said just how comfortable it is.

I’ve been testing this for some 3000 miles now and I love it. Yes, it’s a sports helmet but noise levels are acceptable, especially when riding with the chin curtain fitted, and the vision is excellent. The lining is supremely comfortable and the visor doesn’t suffer from misting and the vents, while being easy to operate, offer excellent cooling. The only niggle is that when pushing the visor up when paying for fuel it tends to come undone at the left-hand side.

New metal – limited edition Tyco S1000RR


To celebrate the partnership between BMW and Tyco International, BMW is releasing a limited edition Tyco replica of the S1000RR. Production levels are extremely limited and a maximum number of 75 units will arrive in the UK and only five will be available in Ireland. The bike will retail at £21,000 OTR.

Based upon the Sport variation of the S1000RR, the bike is wrapped to match the full livery of the Tyco BMW race team that is currently running in BSB championship with Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell.

The full specifications of the Tyco replica are as follows:

Full Tyco livery with your favourite Tyco rider’s race number

Colour-coded pillion seat cover

HP forged wheels


Electronic suspension

Heated grips

Cruise control

LED Indicators

Traction control

HP Footrests

HP adjustable clutch and brake lever

Custom pit matt

Slip-On Akrapovic exhaust

Paddock stand

Indoor bike cover

Endurance race – Smith targets iconic Suzuka win


This weekend sees the famous Suzuka Circuit take centre stage as its hosts the iconic 8-hr race.

The race has grown in importance in recent years and the Japanese factories are rolling out the big guns in an effort to secure the coveted and prestigious win – Honda have Casey Stoner and Mark van der Mark while Yamaha have their Tech 3 duo of Pol Espagaro and Bradley Smith. Other notable riders include Dominic Aegerter, Jason O’Halloran, Toni Elias, Ryuichi Kiyonari, Yukio Kagayama and Noriyuka Haga.

However, all eyes will be on Yamaha, which is chasing its first victory in 19 years. The factory will be represented by three top teams. Reigning World Champions GMT94 Yamaha, the Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team and a special Factory team consisting of Katsuyuki Nakasuga and MotoGP riders Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith.

Smith, who is making his debut at the event, said: “After having the first test in Suzuka and getting my first try on the new YZF-R1 I’mvery excited. We’ve already seen such a strong performance in the Japanese Superbike race and having ridden the bike in rainy conditions I can say that it’s going to be really competitive.

“That puts a bit more pressure on us, because the bike is really strong and the team is doing great work, so we have to put our objective on winning this race. We know that endurance racing can be tough, so as a minimum we have to be on the podium, but I would very much like to win this race.”

WSBK – Davies takes double at Laguna Seca


Chaz Davies dominated both races at Laguna Seca, leading from the front and giving a riding masterclass in consistency and taking 50 championship points.

In Race One the Welshman got away extremely well from pole position, immediately taking control of the races. He set the fastest lap of the race on lap five (1’23.739), after which he continued to push and build on his advantage over the chasing pack. Putting together the perfect race, the Welshman knew how best to manage each phase of the race, riding his Ducati Panigale R to its second victory of the season and crossing the line almost two seconds ahead of second-placed Sykes.

Race 2 mirrored Race One and once again Davies made a very fast start to take the lead. Despite a rain shower during the early stages of the race, Davies did not slow and again building up a considerable advantage over Sykes, lying in second. In what was almost a replay of the first race, Chaz kept his head, maintaining both his advantage and his concentration right to the line, finishing first and achieving what is a first double win of the season for him and the team.

Davies said: “I’m really, really happy with these results, and we’ve definitely seen the fruits of our labour here. The track here perhaps limits our weak points and plays to our strengths, and we were able to put together two really good races that went almost exactly to plan. I didn’t think we’d be able to lap in 1.23s but I was able to make some really quick first laps in Race 1, pushing hard for the first twelve or so and then it was all about gap management.

“We made a few small tweaks for race 2 and I think those changes were useful. I took a lot of risks with the rain, and was very worried about crashing but luckily the rain stopped and things went smoothly from there to the finish line. I thank my entire team, Ducati and our sponsors – it’s been a really solid weekend, and a lot better than last year’s outcome of course.”

Davies moves into third place in the overall standings, with 263 points.