March 10, 2007 Ducati drew first blood in the 2007 version of MotoGP
with 800cc engines at the first round of the 18-race series in Qatar today. Australian 21 year-old rising star Casey Stoner made a perfect start with the Ducati Marlboro Team, riding to a magnificent victory aboard his Desmosedici GP7. Stoner rode a perfectly judged race, leading the first lap and then battling with former World Champion Valentino Rossi throughout. The pair swapped positions several times, separated by just a few tenths for most of the 22 laps, Stoner crossing the finish line 2.8 seconds ahead after setting a new track record on the final lap. One of the highlights of the race was the speed of the four Ducati-engined machines in the field, sometimes with a margin of 20 km/h over the fastest of the others at the end of the kilometre-long Qatar front straight. Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha M1 was a clear second and Dani Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda RC212V was a narrow third ahead of the Rizla Suzuki of John Hopkins, indicating at least four different makes of machinery will be capable of winning a race this season. Stoner's odds dropped from 0/1 to 5/1 overnight on world betting markets
February 26, 2007 It’s ironic indeed that the premier motorcycle roadracing class MotoGP decided to cut its engine capacities to 800cc from 1000cc for safety reasons. The need to develop new machinery for the 2007 season has seen manufacturers dig deep into their technological bag of tricks, and culminated yesterday when the first shots were fired under the new 800cc engine format. Each year the riders finish testing and are given one 40 minute session to post the fastest time, with the fastest walking away with the BMW M award, in this case in the form of vehicle. This year testing finale was held yesterday at the Spanish circuit of Jerez. In the closing stages of the session Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi lapped in 1’38.394, almost seven-tenths of a second faster than Capirossi’s 2006 pole time on the Ducati 1000cc Desmosedici with both Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Rossi’s Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards bettering Caprirossi’s time too. Lap records can only be set in a race, not in practice, but the lap record on a 1000cc MotoGP bike was set in 2005 when Rossi lapped in 1’40.596 – yesterday, 15 riders on six different makes of 800cc machines lapped faster than the 1000cc lap record.
December 7, 2006 Having wrestled the World MotoGP Riders and Manufacturers Championships away from Valentino Rossi and Yamaha, Honda’s next big challenge is to keep them and next year with the rules changing to an 800cc limit, suddenly everything is up for grabs again and in post-season testing of the new 800 machines Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki have all shown they will have competitive machinery next year . We’ve already done a complete technical rundown
) of the RC211V 1000cc MotoGP bike which Honda is leaving behind – herewith is the official Honda unveiling of its 800cc, V4 replacement with a stunning all-new chassis built with mass centralization and ultimate handling in mind. Welcome to the future…
October 20, 2006 The goal was quite simply to finish the race for the first-time MotoGP team Ilmor SRT, but the Sultan of Slide, Garry McCoy, went one better putting in a consistent performance to bring the team its first Championship point. Given that it was the first 800cc capacity bike (built for 2007 regs), it suggests the 800cc MotoGP series next year might be even closer again. It’s a long way from challenging for the win, but such an impressive first up showing suggests the fledgling team will be a lot further up the field by the time the 2007 championship begins next year.
October 11, 2006 A completely new MotoGP machine is set to be unveiled tomorrow and although it doesn’t have the name of a well known motorcycle manufacturer behind it, there’s some quiet money being wagered that the new team will make a significant mark. MotoGP’s newest team, Ilmor
, will unveil the X3 at the Estoril circuit in Portugal prior to the Portuguese MotoGP round at which the bike will compete for the first time. Though it is not expected to be competitive in its first race, the 800cc V4 with air valve springs is designed for the 2007 MotoGP rules, where it is expected to be highly competitive. The project is the brain child of the Swiss engineer Mario Illien (Ilmor) and Eskil Suter
. Illien is better known for his many four-wheeled achievements in Formula One and Indy racing, his engine designs have won two F1 championship titles with McLaren-Mercedes plus the Indy 500 race 11 times.
October 3, 2006 With five riders on three different brands of machinery still capable of winning the World MotoGP riders championship, it has gone almost unnoticed that Honda has taken its 17th Constructors’ Championship and eclipsed MV Agusta’s 16 Constructors’ titles. With 203 premier class victories since it first competed at the highest level in 1966, Honda now dominates the history of MotoGP by almost any measure. Astoundingly, at the Japanese GP, it called a press conference and in an unprecedented move it revealed the complete engine internals
of its RC211V, the bike which had won 47 (58.75%) of the 80 races since the 1000cc formula was introduced. Our image gallery for this story
contains imagery of many of the famous riders who have tasted World Championship success with Honda such as Hailwood
, plus the bikes they rode from the RC181 of the sixties
to the NSR500 V4 and high res imagery of the internals of the RC211V – clearly Honda feels that the internals of the V4 800 of next year with its hydraulically operated valves are so far removed from the V5 1000 that it has nothing to fear. But if you’re a lover of fine engineering, feast your eyeballs on the Honda’s internals
September 26, 2006 Images of next year’s MotoGP bikes and reports on the new bikes began to filter in yesterday as the major factories returned to action at the Motegi circuit for an afternoon of testing the next generation of machinery following Sunday’s Grand Prix of Japan. Repsol Honda team riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa were present with Hayden testing newly developed parts for his ‘New Generation’ RC211V while Pedrosa gave the newly announced V4 800cc MotoGP machine its first public viewing. At the same time Suzuki tested its 2007 V4 800cc machine with domestic test riders and Ducati rolled out the 800cc Desmosedici for both Capirossi and Gibernau to try. Pneumatic valves are likely to be run by all the machinery with realistic chances next year. The image agllery is a ripper, with detail pics of the Suzuki, Honda and Ducati machinery.
August 23, 2006 With the World MotoGP championship at its most exciting for more than a decade, progress is continuing behind the scenes for the radical restructuring of the class next year to an 800cc capacity limit. The day after his superb win at Brno on the weekend, Loris Capirossi made his track debut with the new 800cc Ducati Desmosedici and the Italian was immediately impressed right from the start. “The first impression was positive,” said Capirossi. “The bike's handling has improved a lot and that's important. This bike has to be ridden in a different way to the GP6, it's actually very enjoyable, a bit like a 250 machine and testing it now was interesting and useful so we can immediately start to work on it. The engine is different, obviously less powerful but it makes a great noise!”
June 10, 2006 In an extraordinary move, Ducati has released one of its 2005 MotoGP-winning race bikes for sale by public auction. The Desmosedici GP5 with which Loris Capirossi won the Grand Prix of Malaysia last September will go to auction in Monterey during the weekend of the US GP at Laguna Seca. One wonders just exactly who might roll up with a chequebook on the day given that the Ducati was the horsepower king of MotoGP in 2005 and both Honda and Yamaha would no doubt love the chance to have a look inside the 190kW (255 bhp) Desmosedici which redlined at 16,550 rpm and regularly topped the best they could build by several km/h at the speedtraps. We are unaware of any precedent for the auction. See the image gallery
for images of the actual bike to be auctioned.