Month: July 2016

WSBK – Marco Melandri in, Davide Giugliano out at Ducati for 2017

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The Ducati Factory WSBK outfit has announced Marco Melandri will be riding its Panigale R in 2017, the 34-year-old replacing Davide Giugliano.

Melandri will partner Chaz Davies, the Welshman who is spearheading the Italian’s current campaign, and a move which will see the former BMW team-mates reunited.

Davies, 29, is currently in the middle of his third season with Ducati and, thus far, has secured nine wins and 32 podiums overall on the Panigale R,while Melandri return to the series which has seen him claim 19 wins and 49 overall podiums in 100 races.

The Italian said: “I’m really excited to come back to racing, it’s a dream come true. I always said I was only interested in a top bike and top team, and I could not have asked for more. I kept following WSBK closely, and I’m confident the Panigale R can perfectly suit my riding style.

“We’ll just have to take one step at a time, but the potential is surely high. I know it won’t be easy to get back up to speed, but I have all the time to step on the bike, do laps and make sure I’m ready for the first test: to this end, I will skip the holidays to train on a street version of the Panigale R.”

The move means Davide Giugliano will be looking for a new ride after three seasons with the team.

The Roman said: “I had a great time with Ducati. I learnt a lot and was given a wealth of experience to draw upon, which is really important for a young rider. We also faced some difficult times, especially last year when I was badly injured, but we’ve always stayed close.

“We have decided to take different paths, but our relationship remains strong: I’m still young, so we may rejoin forces in the future. I sincerely wish Melandri the best and would like to thank everyone in Ducati, especially Paolo Ciabatti, and Aruba.it for all their support. It’s been a great journey, which has yielded great results despite the fact that we would have liked to do more, but I’ll give my best until the end of the season to achieve bigger goals.”

give him all our support until the last race to help him achieve the results he deserves.”

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Tested – Drift Innovation’s rugged Stealth 2 Action Camera

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Action cameras are gaining in popularity, especially with the rise in ‘Crash for Cash’ cases, as well as being used to record your rides and trackdays for prosperity. They’re great for checking your riding – lines, position and technique, and are invaluable for allowing you to critique and improve your own riding.

This is the Drift Stealth 2, and it’s right up there with the best – it’s a great entry-level action camera and a worthy alternative to the ubiquitous Go Pro. This very unit has just survived a spectacular off at 90mph (my fault entirely for not securing it properly in the housing), and when I eventually retraced my step I saw it lying on the tarmac still recording.

Yes, it’s battered, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. The footage shows the camera barrel rolling down the tarmac as it made its flight for freedom. The rear facing camera (A Drift Ghost) caught it even better – the Stealth must’ve launched seven feet in the air, and impacted the ground a good 10 times before it came a rest. When I eventually found it some 56 minutes later, it was still recording. I dusted it down, gave it a clean and reattached it to the bike and shot some more footage. This thing is tough, built to last and is as good as bulletproof. Impressive.

So what else have do I know? The unit itself is very compact – it measures just 80mm x 42mm x 27mm and weighs 97g, some 40 per cent lighter than the original Stealth. These measurements make it very aerodynamic and sleek; ideal properties when mounting on helmets or bike fairings – far more suited to bikes than the square design of its rivals.

As I’ve already stated, the rubber housing feels sturdy enough, and while it doesn’t claim to be waterproof, I think it would survive a nuclear attack.An industry standards screw hole sits at the bottom of the unit for mounting to tripods and other useful features include chunky, easy-to- operate buttons and a dial opening/closing mechanism to access the microSD and the HDMI and USB ports – perfect for keeping out dirt and grit.

On the side of the camera is a 1.3in screen that shows the menu options, and it’s backlit so you can see it in the dark.But the really clever part of this camera is that it comes equipped witha lens that rotates through 300 degrees, which means the camerais always capable of shooting landscape while allowing you all sortsof versatility when it comes to mounting the camera. However, this camera’s field of view is restricted to 135 degrees, compared to the 170 degrees offered by the Go Pro, but Drift claims this makes objects appear closer and sharper – and they’re right, the footage itself is superb – colours are crisp and it captures loads of detail, and there’s no ‘fish-eye’ effect at the edge of the frame

Despite the Stealth 2’s small size it still packs a powerful punch andthe battery life is an impressive three hours when shooting 1080p at 30fps. It’s also capable of shooting 720p/60fps all the way down to 120fps in WGVA quality slow motion footage. The camera also has Wi–Fi connectivity – which enables it to be paired to a smartphone or a Drift remote control unit, both of which are very useful when it comes to setting up shooting angles – a time-lapse function photo burst and video tagging.

Mounting couldn’t be easier and each kit comes with a selection of curved and flat mounts to suit all surfaces, and there’s even a handy goggle mount.Note to self – always check you’ve inserted it properly in the mount!

The Drift works equally well on trackdays and the daily commute – I’ve used it for instructing on track and it’s small enough to not be an issue while it has enough battery to make a decent commuter companion, recording every detail in the case of an incident. And it’s very competitively priced too. Highly recommended.

£149.99 store.driftinnovation.com/uk/

MotoGP – KTM gets wings at Red Bull Ring test

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The MotoGP field will be bolstered for the final race of the season after KTM announced its stunning RC16 will be making its competitive debut at the Spanish track.

The bike was tested again at the Red Bull Ring in Austria earlier this week, with both test riders Mika Kallio and Thomas Luthi posting impressive times.

The bike is due to be launched to the public during the Austrian GP, with a parade lap and display, but the Austrian giants will also be wildcarding at the Valencia GP before participating in the post-season testing that follows the final round on the calendar.

The bike’s development programme seems to be going well – Kallio and Luthi were just two seconds behind the factory Ducatis, which stopped the timesheets – and many insiders believe they’ll be competitive from the off next season.

New metal – Aprilia RSV4 RF

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Ten things I’ve learnt about the Aprilia RSV4 RF:

01) The bike is a technophile’s wet dream – launch and wheelie control, quickshifter, three riding modes, optional datalogger
02) I NEED a quickshifter…the noise as you bang through the box is addictive
03) It may look small but it’s perfectly formed. Narrow, light but roomy. Soooooooo comfortable 
04) That lightness means it’s supremely nimble
05) The back brake is fierce
06) The front brakes are phenomenal
07) Superpole graphics look great from a distance…not so sharp up close
08) The stock can is hideous
09) And the screen’s not great for anyone over 5’10.
10) The niggles are just that….niggles. I WANT/ NEED one

MotoGP – marvellous Marquez dominates in tricky conditions at German GP

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A mix of pure talent, tactics, teamwork and a cool head earned Marc Marquez one of the best wins of his career in one of the most difficult and mixed-conditions races so far this season.

With heavy rain intermittently hitting the Sachsenring throughout raceday, the MotoGP race was declared wet and teams prepared for another flag-to-flag GP.

Poleman Marquez opted for the Michelin rain super soft front, the same tyre chosen by almost the entire grid, but it didn’t prove to be the two-time world champion, who progressively lost ground from the front in the first phase of the race, eventually dropping back to ninth position after an excursion in the gravel in Turn 8.

However, with the track drying, Marquez was the first to blink and switched to slick tyres as soon as conditions were safe enough to allow it, entering pitlane and changing bikes on Lap 18.

As the Sachsenring continued to dry out, Marquez quickly began to carve his way through the field, and the young Spaniard was already sixth and chasing the front riders when they pitted to swap bikes.

The reshuffle meant that Marquez was now second, and he began closing down Jack Miller, making his move on Lap 24, before  finally crossing the line with almost a 10 second advantage on runner-up Crutchlow.

Marquez said: “At a certain point today, I thought my run at this circuit was going to come to an end, but in the end we succeeded and earned a very good result, especially considering how Rossi and Lorenzo finished the race.

“I’m very happy with how we worked with the team today: they did a great job preparing my bike after my crash in the warm-up, and then in the race our strategy proved to be perfect. It was a very difficult race, with it being flag-to-flag and the track conditions so delicate. In the first part of the race, in the wet, I found things a little difficult. I had picked the wrong front tyre for my riding style, but I was able to switch to slicks. I was very careful in the opening laps after changing bikes, because the dry line was very narrow and there was still a lot of water on the surface.

“It’s always very difficult to decide when to change bikes, and perhaps we made our switch very early—I think I was the second rider to do so—but I decided to take a chance and it went well. We end the first half of the season with our homework done and off the back of a good race, but we must not forget to prepare well for the second half of the year.”

The win sees Marquez extends his championship lead to 48 points over Jorge Lorenzo and 59 over Rossi.

WSBK – Sykes dominates Race Two at Laguna Seca

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Race Two from Laguna Seca saw an intense battle for honours with the Kawasaki and Ducati factory riders putting on a scintillating display of racecraft, with Tom Sykes eventually emerging victorious.

The initially race began well for Italian Davide Giugliano who, during the third lap, aggressively overtook Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes to move into the lead. The Roman looked bullish and fast and managed to pull away, leaving the group of Sykes, Rea and Davies a half second behind him. However, the lead was short-lived as the race was redflagged during the sixth lap due to Pawel Szkopek’s crash.

At the second start, Tom Sykes got off the line well, but again Giugliano managed to bustle his way past and claim the lead. Behind them local boy Nicky Hayden was looking strong on his Honda, but Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea looked menacing and moved into third place after overtaking the “Kentucky Kid”.

The race sprung into life on Lap Four, with both Kawasaki riders making a spectacular move on the Corkscrew to overtake Giugliano – Sykes was now the new race leader, but Rea was extremely close and in the fifth lap he made his move for the lead.

The Ulsterman’s joy was premature however and Rea made a mistake and ended up in the sand. It was to prove a costly error – although he managed to get back on the track in tenth place, he stopped shortly afterwards and retired, his body language indicating a problem with his bike’s chain.

The second half of the race saw an intense battle between the second pack, and race one podium man Nicky Hayden was first overtaken first by flying Chaz Davies and then by Xavi Forés.

In the final laps, Giugliano began to hunt down Sykes in earnest, with Davies rapidly closing in on the pair, all three circulating within just seven tenths of each other.

At the start of the eighteenth lap, Davies upped the ante and managed to overtake Giugliano temporarily, but at the Corkscrew the Italian took the place back. In the nineteenth lap, the three riders were within a gap of four tenths and it was a heart-stopping finale with the Ducatis battling it out down to the last corner and Giugliano keeping Sykes in his sights right down to the end.

Race 2 standings:

1) Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)

2) Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

3) Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

4) Xavi Forés (Barni Racing Team)

5) Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team)

6) Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)

7) Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team)

8) Niccolò Canepa (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

9) Anthony West (Pedercini Racing)

10) Román Ramos (Team GoEleven)

 

WSBK – Rea wins Race One at Laguna Seca

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The first 25-lap WSBK race of the Laguna Seca weekend was dominated by the Kawasaki factory riders, with Jonathan Rea eventually claiming the win from team-mate Tom Sykes.

Each had led the race on two occasions, with Rea upping his pace enough at the end to finish 0.819 seconds ahead Sykes. This was Rea’s first race win at the 3.610km long American venue.

From the start of the battle at the intense Laguna Seca circuit the action was close and combative. Overtakes were put in between the leading trio of Rea, Sykes and Ducati factory rider Chaz Davies at the largely one-line circuit but on lap five Davies fell and was unable to restart.

When the shadowing figure of Ducati’s Davide Giugliano also fell from third place, the fight was on between Rea and Sykes,  and Rea eased out his lead after re-passing Sykes with five laps to go. Pushing on in the dry but windy conditions, Rea recorded his eighth win of the season and the 37th of his career – his latest victory kept his 100 per cent podium finishing record intact in the best possible way.

With Sykes close behind him at the flag Rea still extended his championship lead over his team-mate to 71 points – 368 to 297 – with one more race to come on Sunday at Laguna, before the start of the long summer break.

Earlier on Saturday Sykes had won Superpole to earn his seventh pole position starting place of the year, and the 37th of his career. Rea had qualified only 0.055 seconds behind and was second on the grid.

Jonathan Rea, said: “I am super happy to have won here and now that we have had 25 laps on the bike in race conditions we have good information for tomorrow, to try and improve again. I am happy with the result but it was, honestly, not my most beautiful race because I made quite a lot of mistakes. I am sure when I watch it back I will be quite upset with myself but the most important thing is the 25 points for winning. That is good for everything – for the morale of the team and the championship. We have one more race tomorrow and it will be important to do a good job then before the start of the eight week summer break.”

Supersports – Honda to kill off the CBR600RR

MY 2010 Honda Motorcycles

2013; 2013 Honda CBR600RR; Action Shot; Honda; Honda CBR600RR; mountain; Photo: Fran Kuhn; Sport Bike; White; Red; Blue

Honda has signalled the first death knoll for the supersport class after announcing that it is set to discontinue the Honda CBR600RR.

The main reason behind Honda’s decision seems to be the fact that the bike doesn’t meet the strict Euro 4 emission standards, and that demand for the pocket rocket is now so low it doesn’t justify the investment and updates required to make it Euro 4 compliant.

It’s worth pointing out here that Euro 4 emissions only apply to bikes sold in the European Union, but dwindling sales worldwide in the 600cc supersport class means Honda sees no point in releasing an all-new model.

The move reflects Honda’s lack of investment in its sportsbike range in recent times – the Fireblade was last updated in 2008 and has only received minor tweaks since then, while the CBR600RR was last updated in 2007.

It’s a shame – the CBR600RR is a criminally underrated bike. I did 24,000 miles in six months on a CBR600RR-ABS long-term test bike in 2010, and I enjoyed every mile…right up until the bike dropped a valve. I have many positive memories and can pretty much remember every single mile. It takes a lot for a bike to have that effect on me….RIP baby Blade.

Bellissimo – Ducati mark 90 years with stunning limited edition Panigale

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Ducati celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, and the Italian manufacturer used World Ducati Week to debut a limited edition machine – the Ducati 1299 Panigale S Anniversario.

This stunning bike is more than just a cosmetic exercise; there are only 500 motorcycles being produced and each will receive the special paint, gold-colored metal and technical upgrades.

The stand out features are the bike’s enhanced rider aids – this S Anniversario is equipped with an EVO version of the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) – the first Ducati to receive these systems. The enhanced traction control system bolsters the current Bosch IMU-powered lean-angle sensitive system by allowing the rider to slide the rear wheel through a corner – the system allows the wheel to slip beyond the normal level of traction intervention, while still actively working to prevent a loss grip. The fact that Ducati used Casey Stoner to unveil the bike makes a lot of sense now…

Other trinkets include gold-colored forged aluminum Marchesini wheels, a neatly finished gold-colored titanium Akrapovic exhaust, limited edition laser-etched engraving, a lithium ion battery and lashings of carbon fibre – heel guards, rear hugger and the shock absorber cover all receive the weight saving treatment.

The attention to detail and the craftsmanship is superb – the top triple clamp and steering head inserts are machined-from-solid aluminium alloy, and these allow riders to shift the front wheel forward by 5mm, effectively giving the Panigale S Anniversario the same geometry as the Panigale R.

Bellissimo Ducati, you’ve just taken desire to a whole new level…