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Motorcycles

The 2006 Kawasaki ZX-10R

September 22, 2005 Kawasaki built the first 1000cc sports motorcycle of the modern era when it introduced the Z1 900cc revelation in 1972 and it has a proud heritage of building big road bikes – the Z1, Z1R, GPZ900 and a long lineage since. But along the way, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki got very good at building them too, and nowadays with the World Superbike and European SuperStock Championships becoming so important, the competition between the manufacturers in the 1000cc supersport category has never been this strong – indeed, it’s downright carnivorous. Last year all the manufacturers completely redesigned their machines, and this year, all but one will be doing the same again. This is an insight into the Kawasaki ZX1000D6F- next year’s Kawasaki 1000. The Yamaha and Honda machines have been covered here, and Suzuki has elected to continue with the same machine which will win the 2006 world and US superbike championship, albeit with a new coat of paint. The Kawasaki will be a completely new machine, with a brand new engine, chassis and aerodynamic makeover, a repositioned CG, revised stiffness, balance, new motor mounts, more centralised mass, and relocated swingarm pivot. Read on for the full story  Read More

Yamaha 700 Raptor snags world record crossing

September 19, 2005 Yamaha launched its 700cc fuel injected Yamaha YFM700R Raptor two months ago and as part of the promotional activities for the potent new All Terrain Vehicle, it backed two Australian adventurers in a trans-Australian crossing on a pair of new machines. Matt Brown and Ross Ledger left Byron Bay Lighthouse, the eastern-most point of Australia and spent two weeks crossing Australia before arriving in Steep Point, WA earlier this month. The achievement will gain them entry to the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest trip ever completed on an ATV.  Read More

MotoGP Japan: Rossi crashes, Ducati wins

September 18, 2005 Loris Capirossi took the Ducati Desmosedici to its second Grand Prix win at Motegi here today, winning at Honda’s own circuit, and relegating the Honda RC211Vs of Max Biaggi (Repsol) and Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta) into second and third place in front of 68,000 fans. The race was one of massive attrition with nine of the 20 starters failing to finish, among them championship leader Valentino Rossi, and leading contenders Marco Melandri, Alex Barros, Sete Gibernau and Shinya Nakano. For Capirossi, it was a dream weekend – he qualified on pole, half a second faster than anyone else in the field, and a full 1.2 seconds faster than Rossi, prompting the champion elect to pay the ultimate compliment to his friend and countryman when he said after practice, “I think all the riders can only dream about the pace Capirossi had today.” In the race, Capirossi and the Ducati were the best combination on the day and unlike his prior win where he was clearly not as quick as Rossi, this time he would have won the race regardless of Rossi's crash. Congratulations to Loris and Ducati.  Read More

The Supersport 1000cc class of 2006

September 14, 2005 The supersport category is a key category in motorcycle sales in most countries, creating a chicken and egg relationship with Supersport, Superbike and more recently Superstock racing. Since 2003, the emphasis has increasingly been focused on 1,000cc models and in 2004, all four of the big Japanese manufacturers launched new 1000 supersport bikes for the 2005 model year. All have sold well, though the biggest sales went to Suzuki due to the company’s early season dominance of World Superbike Racing and its success in the American Superbike Championships. For 2006, all but Suzuki will again offer completely new machines and this article covers the specifications of the first two to be made public - the Yamaha and Honda. The evolution of the 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade makes an interesting story – it is a lighter, faster and more visually refined machine than the current machine. The surprise though is the Yamaha 2006 R1 SP – this is a special very exclusive, limited edition bike with special Ohlins suspension, lightweight rims and a host of refinements designed to ensure the bike wins on the racetrack. Suzuki's contender will be unveiled in the next few weeks but is essentially a new coat of paint. And Kawasaki's new beastie can be seen in fine detail here.  Read More

German WSBK: Vermeulen wins, Corser falters, Lanzi stars

September 12, 2005 Winston Ten Kate Honda rider Chris Vermeulen won one race and finished second in another at Lausitz in Germany on the weekend, with Troy Corser’s championship point lead being cut to just 60 points with two rounds (four races) of the championship remaining. The race meeting will be remembered though for the birth of a new star in superbike ranks. Although he has featured in cameo appearances at the pointy end of major events a few times, Lorenzo Lanzi completed a sensational weekend for the Ducati Xerox Team as he stormed to the win in race two after being penalized with a ride-through in the first race. The 23-year-old Italian rider, made his debut for the factory team at the weekend in place of the injured Regis Laconi, took superpole in a blaze of glory and might even had a double win today, but for a mistake in the opening corner of the first race. Lanzi becomes the first Italian rider to win on a Ducati factory machine since Pierfrancesco Chili at Assen in 1998.  Read More

Dutch World Superbikes: Honda double reduces Suzuki lead

September 4, 2005 Winston Ten Kate Honda’s Chris Vermeulen achieved his second World Superbike double by winning both races in this afternoon’s ninth round at Assen in Holland. The Australian enjoyed a fierce on-track battle with Japan’s Noriyuki Haga, who finished second in the 16-lap race ahead of British rider James Toseland. Toseland and Haga shared the podium in the first race, and runaway series leader Troy Corser finished fourth in both races having his worst weekend of the season. Now the only rider with a mathematical possibility of stopping Corser from winning the championship, Vermeulen trails Corser by 86 points with three rounds (six races) and 150 points still up for grabs. Vermeulen paid tribute to the team’s effort and his opponents, and refuses to believe that he cannot catch championship leader Troy Corser (Suzuki). “James and Nori made me work for it today, but it's a great weekend for the team, and we took a good double,” said Vermeulen. “From half season onwards we started to get some results and there are six races left. Troy still has a big lead, but I will be trying my best to pull it back.”  Read More

MotoGP Brno: Rossi and Yamaha again

August 29, 2005 Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi became the first rider in the history of the MotoGP World Championship to score nine wins for five consecutive seasons, as he clinched victory in the eleventh round of the 2005 campaign at Brno yesterday. Rossi’s record-breaking ride featured an intense battle with Sete Gibernau (Honda) that again came down to a dramatic finale, with Rossi making his definitive pass at the end of the penultimate lap. Gibernau tried to fight back but as Rossi edged clear through the final series of sweeping corners, the Spaniard’s slim hope of a victorious response disappeared completely as he suffered a “fuel starvation” problem and was forced to retire.  Read More

Team KTM and Team Roberts acrimonious MotoGP split

August 21, 2005 Sadly, black litigious clouds have formed over the MotoGP paddock, specifically directly over the pits of KTM and Team KR, whose interpretations of what their relationship has been until now differ enormously. KTM announced a dissolution of the relationship on August 12, stating it was no longer intending to provide engines for the team’s grand prix effort and was cancelling all its activities with the team. Though it had been no secret that KTM was on the verge of pulling out for some time, Team Roberts has subsequently issued a statement refuting a number of KTM’s claims and claiming that it had been informed of the decision simultaneously with the public announcement. Read both parties' conflicting statements inside. Photo: O.Bergamaschi  Read More

World Superbike Brands Hatch: Corser 1 & 2 and extends lead, Haga & Yamaha 2 & 1

August 7, 2005 Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Troy Corser placed first and second in the two fiercely-contested 25-lap battles at Brands Hatch today, swapping positions with Yamaha’s Noriyuki Haga in the final race to take 45 points away from the weekend and further extend his championship lead to 110 points. Corser and Haga were wheel to wheel from the start to the finish of the races and served up a feast of closely-fought action in front of more than 100,000 spectators.  Read More

MotoGP: Yamaha and Rossi sign for 2006

August 2, 2005 Yamaha Motor and Valentino Rossi signed a contract extension yesterday, ensuring that Valentino will stay with Yamaha for the 2006 MotoGP World Championship. Rossi won the 2004 MotoGP World Championship with Yamaha and is currently competing in his second season with the Japanese manufacturer's factory team. The Italian leads the 2005 MotoGP World Championship by 120 points, following his 8th victory of the season at last weekend's German Grand Prix. Significantly, it was Rossi’s 76th Grand prix victory and moved the 26-year old into equal third place in the all-time victory list alongside the late Mike Hailwood. Rossi rode his victory lap with a flag that read, “Rossi 76, Hailwood 76, I'm sorry Mike,” in deference to Hailwood. Only the greats Angel Nieto (90) and Giacomo Agostini (122) remain for “The Doctor” to conquer should he be able to remain focused for that long given the constant enticements to move to four wheeled motorsport. That said, Rossi’s 76th win last weekend had all the hallmarks of Rossi magic.  Read More

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