CycleOnline.com.au highlights some of the hot topics in motorcycling over the past week.
Welcome to our second Friday edition of the Cycle Insider column, which is our 15th posting of the year overall. You’ll see a constant evolution in the way this site is run over the coming months, with possibly the biggest indication yet being that we have a street bike on the homepage for this week’s Insider (a feature which was once called the Racing Insider!). That’s right, we’re going for a wider spread column as it stands, so here goes…
- As you would have read in our next story on Monday, Suzuki launched its 2011 model GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin on Monday. Launches at race tracks are always the best fun, so keep an eye out for the 600 Launch Test on Wednesday, with the 750 test a week or so later. We’ll also have a film posted on Monday highlighting the launch.
- One of the most spectacular parts of the Suzuki launch was the lunch time demonstration put forward by Team Suzuki riders Josh Waters, Troy Herfoss, Brodie Waters and recently retired Shawn Giles. Their sideways antics had the moto-journos in awe, Herfoss showing exactly why he is one of the best Supermoto riders in the world.
- CycleOnline.com.au has also just taken delivery of the stunning new Yamaha YZF-R15 yesterday, possibly the perfect test bike to have in our workshop considering the double demerits over the Easter long weekend. After missing the national launch earlier this year (or was it late last year?), we’re looking forward to putting the R15 to the test.
- Speaking of small-bore motorcycles, Kawasaki has dropped the price on its top-selling Ninja 250R, essentially in response to Honda’s pricing of its $5490 (plus an extra $500 for the ABS model) CBR250R. The Ninja was $7499, now just $5999. While it’s good for new customers, those who had recently purchased the model aren’t so thrilled.
- BMW sent out an interesting press release earlier this week dismissing claims that have apparently been made by a rival manufacturer. The word is that a rival manufacturer has been spreading false information that BMW has been tweeking its S 1000 RR for press tests (and/or customers) to make additional horsepower and advancements. BMW has addressed the claims, confirming they’re entirely untrue.
- Horror crashes in the Assen round of the Superbike World Championship marred the event, namely the World Supersport race where two red flags were thrown. The crash of English rookie Sam Lowes was a scary one, knocking him unconscious. Later, the crash from Marko Jerman and Alexander Lundh was also a massive one.
- You have to hand it to Aussie Mark Aitchison for breaking through to take his first top 10 result in race one of the Superbikes. On the under-developed Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R, Atcho showed he has what it takes to run with the big boys and will only get stronger as his bike continues to improve.
- Victorian Jed Metcher’s third place result in the Superstock 600 FIM Cup race at Assen continued his 100 percent podium strike rate in the category, capped off by a superb pole position to commence the weekend. Fingers crossed he can race to the title and continue to score solid rides in the years to come!
- We have found out why Suzuki is yet to announce a stand-in rider for Alvaro Bautista when it comes to the third round of the MotoGP World Championship… despite recovering from a broken femur that required emergency surgery, sources indicate he wants to return for next weekend’s Portuguese round in Estoril. Wow! Hwoever, if he doesn’t pass the fitness test on Thursday, we understand that Nobu Aoki will be on hand to take his place.
- Valentino Rossi has admitted in the European press that the Yamaha is the best bike in corners, albeit lacking straight line speed against the Honda. With Rossi and Ducati working hard to make inroads on the leaders in 2011, he’s denying that he’s asked Ducati to make the Desmosedici more like Yamaha’s M1.
- With Ducati debuting its 2012 model Desmosedici GP12 recently in Spain, questions are beginning to point toward its tyre-sliding capabilities. Unfortunately for fans, Nicky Hayden recently admitted to the U.S. press that he doesn’t expect too many extra black lines coming off rear tyres on corner exits next season despite the extra CCs. It seems TC can overpower even the trickest of 1000cc engines…
- With Darwin’s ASBK round attracting 8676 fans over three days in 2010 compared to the recent 2011 event shrinking to 5717 despite huge support from the government and unmatched pre-event media coverage, it’s easy to see the event failed to meet expectations as far as spectator numbers go. The question is, where to from here? Many, including both competitors and industry representatives, were left scratching their heads on Sunday evening.
- You have to commend Suzuki Australia for essentially giving up its hopes of an ASBK title in 2011 to let Josh Waters chase his international dreams. That’s not to say rookie wonder Troy Herfoss doesn’t stand a chance, but Suzuki’s chances dropped at least 50 percent by only running one Superbike rider full time this year. Fingers crossed Josh can make the most of his U.S. endevours next month!
- We were pretty vocal about what a shame it was to see Waters’ GSX-R1000 sit idle at round one of the ASBK while he raced for Yoshimura Suzuki in WSBK, but it seems Suzuki has realised the matter too. CycleOnline.com.au broke the news this week that Scott Charlton will be filling in for Waters while he’s on AMA testing duties in the U.S. as the Perth round takes place, and good on him. After taking fourth in the ASBK series last year aboard a privateer Suzuki, there’s no better man for the job.
- The interesting thing for me at Hidden Valley was that you could clearly see Josh Waters was pretty much back at his best. With his overseas excursion starting next month, his return to form couldn’t have come at a better time. We’ll be at Miller to give an inside perspective on his travels.
- It’s no surprise to see Triumph at the front of the Aussie Supersport pack since we’re used to seeing Christan Casella run up front over the past 12 months. However, now that Mitchell Carr is also on a 675, the two are running 1-2 in the series with Carr on top. The only problem is, Carr is on the standard version and Casella is on the all-new up-spec R model! In race trim there probably isn’t as much of an advantage from the R than what you could expect in the real world, but you can bet Triumph would love to market an R title.
That’s all for this week, thank you as always for reading and stay tuned for further changes to come.