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Valentino Rossi testing Ferrari F1 on January 21, 2010

It is interesting to note that the three biggest stories in Formula One right now concern a driver who competed in 2010 but not in 2009 (the Michael Schumacher comeback), a driver who competed in 2009 but not 2010 (Raikkonen loses his drive and goes WRC) and a driver who has never competed in F1 and quite possibly never will – Valentino Rossi. Indeed, Rossi has only ever driven an F1 car six times, but his status as one of motorcycling’s all-time greats and one of the most popular and media-savvy sportspeople of all time make the possibility an incredibly enticing prospect. For Ferrari, Rossi brings a global army of fans and the possibility of a rare Italian driver-car title combination that hasn’t happened since Alberto Ascari in 1953, despite 15 drivers titles and 16 constructors titles for the marque since then. This week Rossi tested in a Ferrari F1 car again, and was so fast that the possibility might now be approaching a probability.  Read More

The Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere twin

The 2009 Tokyo Motor Show last October saw some bizarre non-debuts as there had been an accord between the Japanese manufacturers that all would cut back their expenditure on the show in deference to the retrenchments resultant from the GFC. We mentioned this with our coverage of the Yamaha stand's Super Tenere “Art installation” at Tokyo. Here was a somehow fully formed motorcycle that was not really on show. Well the mystique has been maintained, because no images have been released yet, but we now know a lot more about the bike's fine details – the 1200cc parallel twin will have a 270 degree crank (for a v-twin feel), and will use Yamaha's YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle, have switchable engine-mapping, traction control, three-position anti-lock braking, a Unified Braking System that links the front and rear brakes, …  Read More

The 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

The Ducati team set itself a very ambitious goal when it went about re-imagining its least popular model, the Multistrada adventure bike. The aim was to make the 2010 Multistrada a much more flexible bike than anything before it, offering proper sportsbike performance, true long-range touring abilities, easy commuting and a genuine ability to get offroad and play in the dirt. Starting with the monstrous v-twin from the 1198 superbike, the design team has pulled together and integrated a huge range of cutting-edge technologies to get there. In fact, with its traction control, variable engine maps and electronically adjustable Ohlins suspension, there's a good argument to say that it'll be the most technologically advanced motorcycle in production next year. Oh, and it'll be much, much lighter and much, much more powerful than anything else in the adventure bike world. Forget everything you know about Multistradas, this bike is going to be an absolute animal.  Read More

Official images: Ducati's Hypermotard 796

Ducati's supermotard-on-steroids, the 1100 Hypermotard, has been terrorizing the streets for a couple of years now, a concept bike that became reality after it made a sensational splash at the 2005 EICMA show in Milan. Aimed at marrying some of the soft-suspension, short-wheelbase, low-weight feel of a motard with the grunt of a 100-horsepower L-twin motor and unmistakeable Ducati streetbike style, the Hypermotard is an absolute giggle machine. It's also fairly pricey though, which is why Ducati have just given it a much more affordable little brother. The Hypermotard 796 will sneak in under US$10,000, using a torqued-up version of the 696 Monster engine and boasting both less weight and a lighter clutch than the 1100.  Read More

Troy Bayliss thrashes the 2009 Ducati 1198S

MotoGP fans can argue all they like about whether Casey Stoner's 2007 World Championship was a triumph of Ducati electronics over rider skill - but the fact remains that traction control technology is certainly relevant to us lesser riders, particularly in an age where half the price of a family car can buy you a 180-horsepower, featherlight superbike missile at any dealership. Ducati's 2009 1198S packs a 170-horsepower, 97lb-ft L-twin, top-rate Öhlins suspension front and rear, 7-spoke Marsechini wheels, an upgraded data acquisition and downloading system - and the same 8-stage traction control system you'd find on Stoner's GP8 or Bayliss's 1098R. Oh, and if you paid USD$40K for the 1098R last year, you might be annoyed to find out that this year's 1198S, a virtually identical bike with just 10 less horsepower in stock trim, is going to sell for less than USD$22K. Ouch.  Read More

Ducati 1098 Streetfighter

Ducati has officially taken the wraps off its new super-naked - the Streetfighter - and it's one mouth-watering package. The familiar Ducati trellis-frame houses a water-cooled 1098cc L-Twin putting out 155 horsepower, add an aluminum single sided swingarm, dry clutch, Brembo radial monoblocs, Marella electronic fuel injection, stainless steel 2-1-2 exhaust system and a weight figure of 167 kilos and you have a bike that backs its aggressive stance with performance topping anything the company has ever released without fairings.  Read More

Stoner wins MotoGP, Rossi puts on a display to take second

Last year's world champ Casey Stoner led from pole to clinch victory in the Australian MotoGP today, but most of the excitement lay behind him as Valentino Rossi cut a swathe through the field from his 12th-place grid position, slipping past Nicky Hayden on the final lap to finish second.  Read More

KTM's RC8 superbike contender

March 20, 2008 World Superbike racing is about to get a serious shake-up in 2009, as new heavyweight contenders step into the ring from BMW, Aprilia and KTM. MV Agusta is ramping up its superbike racing in domestic competitions worldwide, and you'd have to suspect Triumph is cooking a three-cylinder litrebike up as well, after the runaway success of the 675 triple. In WSBK 2008, it seems the Ducati 1098S, the fastest Ducati ever with Australia's Troy Bayliss on board, is already standing out the bike to beat - and that's exactly the way KTM have approached the development of their 1148cc v-twin RC8 superbike, which weighs in, on both the scales and the dyno, as an absolute equal to the slippery Ducati.  Read More

Ducati debuts 1098R superbike with historic 1-2 victory

February 26, 2008 Ducati debuted its 1098 R Superbike in Qatar at the first round of the World Superbike Championship on the weekend, heralding the arrival of its truly landmark roadgoing sibling with a 1-2 victory administered by Troy Bayliss and Max Biaggi. The new 1098-based Ducati superbikes are, due to technical regulations, very similar to the US$47,000, roadgoing, 180 bhp,165kg,1098R which is the first bike available with traction control plus it comes with a rash of gear straight from the MotoGP Desmosedici GP8. Regardless of price, the bike is as close to a genuine winning world superbike as you’re ever likely to get.  Read More

Guareschi rides the Desmosedici onto the ice floor

Ducati this week unveiled its 2008 MotoGP machine at its annual Wrooom - MotoGP Press Ski Meeting at Madonna di Campiglio. The new GP8 Desmosedici is understandably based on the GP7 which won the 2007 MotoGP title, with small but important changes in the area of the frame, rear suspension geometry, motor and electronic system. The Desmosedici is equipped with exactly the same traction control system used on the new 1098 R road bike which swept all before it in motorcycle magazine awards around the world. No doubt Ducati’s test rider Vittoriano Guareschi was thankful for the traction control as he rode the new machine before the press for the first time – the ice floor he had to contend with could easily have caught out any rider.  Read More

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