Team Monster Energy Honda’s Dakar bike stolen
The 40th edition of the infamous Dakar Rally is just a month away and almost 150 rally motorcycles will land in Peru, South America, to have a go on some of the most gruesome terrains stretching 5,500 miles in a span of 14 days.
While all teams and bikes have already begun their journey from home, team Monster Energy Honda may have faced a setback as one of their Honda CRF 450 Rally was stolen from Le Havre docs ahead of its scheduled shipment.
2016 - 2018 Honda RC213V-S
The “S” is based on Honda’s RC213V factory [racebike-mot2345] currently competing in the MotoGP circuit, and it is important to mention here that this is the bike that carried Honda to the Riders,’ Constructors,’ and Team Championships in both ’13 and ’14. While this isn’t quite a straight-up racebike with turn signals, it’s a fairly faithful reproduction and is as close as you will find among the production bikes on the road today. Let’s face it, to unleash a 100-percent genuine racebike on the public would be irresponsible at best, and criminal at worst, so the factory had to nerf it just a little bit. These bikes are hand built by specially trained mechanics using model-specific tools at a rate of one unit per day, so the exclusivity is undeniable.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa may be out of the title picture, but the man I’ve been calling the best rider never to win a MotoGP title showed his true worth by taking the checkered flag at the Motegi Grand Prix in Japan. Pedrosa claimed his 50th MotoGP in dramatic style, overcoming his starting position (he started sixth from the grid) and a wet racetrack to deny Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo a chance to win Yamaha’s 11th race win of the season.
Pedrosa even admitted to having some tire issues at the start of the race, but as the race wore on, he was able to find his form and pick up his pace, eventually sweeping past Rossi and Lorenzo to finish first, 8.573 seconds ahead of Rossi. It’s also his first win in what has been a turbulent season by his own standards, including missing three races at the start of the season after getting arm pump surgery.
Lost in the attention of Pedrosa’s impressive victory is the title picture between Rossi and Lorenzo. Rossi’s second place finish gave him four extra points in the overall standings over Lorenzo. As it stands now with just three races remaining, the Italian rider leads his Spanish teammate, 283 points to 265. Lorenzo is by all means still in the title picture, but he’s going to need to post top finishes in the last three races and hope that Rossi stumbles in at least one of them to have a shot at overtaking his teammate and preventing him from winning a record 10th MotoGP title.
The MotoGP calendar now moves to the Australian Grand Prix in Philips Island on
Continue reading to read more about the dramatic title showdown between the two Yamaha riders.
Honda Racing has taken the unprecedented step of publicly apologizing to two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner after the rider’s crash at the Suzuka 8 Hours led to him sustaining a broken right scapula and a fractured left tibia.
In a statement, HRC addressed the controversy surrounding Stoner’s crash, admitting that a stuck throttle on the team’s factory racing bike led to the high-speed crash that sent Stoner straight to the hospital. It was an ignominious end to Stoner’s highly anticipated return to motor racing since his retirement in 2012. The team also admitted that the problem had never “arisen before” and is now in the process of installing a new throttle design that will be used for future endurance races.
Stoner was actually leading the endurance race for HARC-Pro Honda, which was looking to win its third straight Suzuka 8 Hours race, at the time of the crash. Unfortunately for both the rider and the team, the damage sustained by the bike squashed the team’s bid for a three-peat. The Yamaha factory squad ended up taking the chequered flag on the back of sterling rides from Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, winning the iconic endurance race for the first time since 1996.
The nature of Stoner’s crash was horrific to say the least and while a broken right scapula and a fractured left tibia are nothing to sneeze at, the rider was fortunate to have escaped with more serious injuries.
I wish Casey Stoner all the best in his recovery and I hope that we’ll see him ride again in the future. It would be a shame if his crash at the 8 Hours of Suzuka ends up being the last time we see him in a racing bike.
Continue reading to read more about Honda’s public apology to Casey Stoner.
Repsol Honda roared back to life with a dominant one-two finish at the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, putting any rest to whispers that the team was in decline.
Defending world champion Marc Marquez completely owned the weekend, topping every session he participated in on his way to winning the actual race by +2.226 seconds over teammate Dani Pedrosa.
It was the kind of performance we’ve come to expect from the two-time MotoGP champion. He hasn’t showed as much this season, thanks in large part to a heavy mix of injuries and inconsistent riding. But just when it seemed like Yamaha was running away with the title, Marquez and Honda had their best performance of the season, keeping the door open to a potential late-season rush to catch the Yamaha and Valentino Rossi. The team still has a lot of work to do but the team proved that it would be foolish to count them out with so many races left in the calendar.
Honda would’ve had an even better weekend had Rossi and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo finished third and fourth, respectively. But Yamaha kept pace and continued with its consistent excellence throughout the season. Rossi still leads Lorenzo by 13 points, 179 to 166, but Ducati rider Andrea Iannone and Marquez are slowly making some headway with 118 and 114 points, respectively. If Marquez still wants to win his third straight MotoGP title, he’s going to have to win the remaining races in the calendar and hope that Rossi finishes third every time. A bunch of other computations are possible, including races where Rossi and/or Lorenzo struggle to place points with Marquez getting the lion’s share. It’s improbable, but not impossible, which is why Marquez’s victory in Germany was a huge boost in his championship aspirations.
There are still eight races (I’m still counting Brno unless its cancellation is made official) left in the season and we all know that anything can still happen in MotoGP. For the sake of drama and excitement, here’s to hoping we see flashbacks from the 2006 MotoGP season this year.
Continue reading to read more about Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda’s dominant performance at the 2015 GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
Dani Pedrosa has brought some semblance of good fortune to Repsol Honda when he set the fastest ever lap by a motorcycle around the TT Circuit Assen with a blistering time of 1:33.450 during the second free practice ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix this weekend.
Pedrosa’s time was .012 seconds faster than what is now the previous record, which was set by his teammate, Marc Marquez in 2014. Marquez himself wasn’t too far behind, posting a personal best lap time of 1:33.589 in what’s shaping up to a dominant race for the team.
Lord knows that Repsol Honda needs as much good fortune as it can get. To say that it’s been a trying season for the team in MotoGP would be an understatement. As Yamaha continues to spring towards the world title, the reigning champions have had to deal with one misfortune after another.
So even if it’s just a practice round, it’s important for the team to take any victory it can get, anyway it can get it. At the very least, Pedrosa’s lap record could provide renewed confidence for the team as it tries to jump start its 2015 MotoGP campaign.
It might be too late considering how far ahead Yamaha and its riders, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, are in the standings. But if this practice round is any indication of what we can expect out of the race, I wouldn’t put it past Honda to finally get its act together and return to its winning ways.
One thing I do know: the Assen Grand Prix has always been a high point of any MotoGP season. This year’s race is shaping up to be no different.
Continue reading to read more about Dani Pedrosa’s record-breaking lap time around the Assen GP.
Honda Ties Up With The American Motorcycle Association To Improve Safety At The 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Honda has partnered with the American Motorcyclist Association to once again buffer up the safety features at the coming 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The long-standing partnership between the two entities will now include providing soft barriers at the 12.42-mile race course, specifically areas and sections that are considered the most dangerous for drivers and riders racing up the mountain.
These barriers, called Airfences, are described as air-filled cushions that have been designed to protect ATV and motorcycle riders in the event an accident occurs during one of the time trial runs in the Race to the Clouds. This isn’t the first time Honda and the AMA have come together to provide these Airfences to Pikes Peak. Just last year, the two firms partnered with the Roadracing World Action Fund to improve the event’s overall safety of the race that’s considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Last year’s soft barriers came in pretty handy with eventual class champion Jeremy Toye crediting the Airfences for saving him from further injuries after a fall during practice.
Now, Honda and the AMA are coming back for seconds and i couldn’t be a more beautiful thing. We all know how dangerous Pikes Peak can be. There’s no shortage of unavoidable accidents that happen in that mountain race track so any kind of safety equipment that can help minimize the number of injuries that might happen during the race is more than welcome to be part of it.
With these soft barriers in place, organizers, teams, and riders can be comforted knowing that the racing event is making these safety measures its top priority. Lord knows that if there’s one racing event that needs as many safety features as it can get, it’s the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Continue reading to read more about Honda’s partnership with the American Motorcycle Association to provide Airfences to the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Repsol Honda team manager Livio Suppo has denied rumors suggesting tension between defending world champion Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda racing team.
These rumors have yet to be substantiated but there has been some whispers around the MotoGPpaddock are suggesting that not everything is peaches within the team right now. Marquez’s performance in the 2015 season hasn’t fallen off a cliff just yet, but everybody is of the belief that he and the team have under-performed for the majority of the season.
The team’s underwhelming performance has caused alarm bells to ring, which is why Suppo decided to douse any thought of internal dissent within the team, telling Spanish newspaper Marca that internal support for Marquez and Pedrosa for that matter has not wavered.
Instead, any perceived thoughts of the team’s struggles can be traced to its rivals actually performing better than it has in the past seasons. Yamaha, in particular, has been the class of the season with riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo occupying the top two spots of the championship standings. Even Ducatihas been better than expected this year, specifically Andrea Dovizioso, who currently sits in third place in the standings, just ahead of Marquez.
Suppo also admitted that Repsol Honda still has a lot of work to do to improve on its performance relative to the strengths of its competitors. That’s the biggest issue the team is dealing with right now in addition to the spate of injuries to both Marquez and Pedrosa.
But now that both riders are healthy and ready to go, there’s renewed optimism within the team that both Marquez and Pedrosa are on the precipice of mounting a challenge to the Yamaha and Ducati riders.
Hopefully, that’s the case because judging by the things Repsol Honda has dealt with this season, it doesn’t need any more distractions.
Continue reading to read more about the rumored tension between Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda.
Say what you want about Honda Racing, but when it comes to open road racing, there aren’t a lot of motorcycle teams that can boast the kind of success Honda has had in recent years. The team wants to remind us of that, which is probably why it released this promo video previewing the soon-to-begin 2015 road racing season.
The video is what you’d expect from Honda. Preparations ahead of the road racing season are always pressure-packed, especially for a team that has a lot to live up to like Honda. The benefits of riding around tracks are taken away in this environment since most of the racing will be done in open roads. Even then, there’s still a lot that goes into actually building bikes that can not only compete in these races, but actually win them.
But if there’s a team that understands all of these nuisances and knows how to prepare for them, it would be Honda Racing. This video is a pretty interesting look on the preparations the team goes through before the start of the road racing season.
This is the non-glamorous part of motorcycle racing, but this is also the time of the season where teams can plan around what they anticipate is going to happen during these races so they can be prepared to handle any situation that happens.
It’s a fascinating look at how one of the best road racing teams handles its preparation ahead of the 2015 season.
Honda’s racing division has had a lot of work to do these season, but apparently, that hasn’t stopped them from creating a promotional video of Repsol Honda’s performance during the 2015 MotoGP season.
Ok, to be fair about it, it hasn’t been the smoothest season for the defending champions. Dani Pedrosa has been out for the majority of the year. He’s replacement rider, Hiroshi Aoyama, failed to register a single point in any of the three races he filled in for Pedrosa. And to make things worse, defending champion Marc Marquez has had to deal with his own set of injury issues.
Suffice to say, Repsol Honda hasn’t had a good year and yet, things are looking up now that Marquez and Pedrosa are back on the saddle. Let me tell you, it’s no coincidence that this promotional video was released days before the team’s star riders participate in the same race for the first time since the season-opening tilt in Qatar.
I believe this is an intentional attempt at getting fans of the team and the itself pumped up for the remaining rounds of the current MotoGP season. Honda’s got a lot of catching up to do if it hopes to overtake current points leader Yamaha.
This promotional video won’t do anything to directly help in that regard, but you better believe how important something like this can be to help boost team’s morale as it enters the most crucial stage of its 2015 MotoGP campaign.
After being forced to the sidelines in the last three rounds of the MotoGP season following surgery to alleviate an injury to his right arm, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa has confirmed his return to the saddle and will race at the Le Mans round on May 17, 2015.
The saga surrounding his mysterious injury and the subsequent surgery to fix it threw off Repsol Honda’s early season form, forcing the team to use replacement rider Hiroshi Aoyama to fill in for Pedrosa’s seat while he was gone. That decision couldn’t have gone worse for the team as Aoyama struggled in all three races, finishing outside of the top 10 - and out of the points - in all three rounds.
Pedrosa’s return is a huge boost for Repsol Honda as it begins the slow and steady process of clawing its way back into the title picture. Defending champion Marc Marquez has had his work cut out for him in Pedrosa’s absence so having his ride mate by his side again should make it a little easier for the whole team to generate more points from these races.
As far as Pedrosa’s concerned, being back in the saddle comes as a relief for the rider who actually considered retiring from the sport completely because of the aforementioned arm surgery. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed in those discussions and now, we’re going to see Repsol Honda back at full strength for the first time this season.
What this means for the rest of the field will only be decided on the track, but make no mistake, Pedrosa’s return to the team could be the shot in the arm Repsol Honda needed to turn its own season around.
Continue reading to read more about Dani Pedrosa’s return to racing at the Le Mans round of the 2015 MotoGP season.
Valentino Rossi scored his second MotoGP win of the young season in remarkable fashion, taking home the win after a dramatic chase of the race leaders, culminating in a showdown with defending champion Marc Marquez, who promptly crashed out of the race in the dying stages after clipping the back wheel of Rossi’s Yamaha YZF-R1M in an attempt to regain the lead.
Rossi’s comeback was made more impressive after making up five seconds in the last 13 laps of the race, taking advantage of Marquez’s tire struggles as the race closed to a conclusion.
The reigning world champion actually led for most of the race, but Rossi’s decision to use a harder rear tire ended up being the ultimate trump card as it helped him gain precious time to ultimately challenge the race leaders. The Doctor caught up to Marquez with two laps remaining, culminating in a scintillating back-and-forth that pretty much had everybody on the edge of their seats.
Then came the crash.
The two actually made contact twice with the second proving to be Marquez’s undoing. In his rush to regain the lead, Marquez made contact with the back wheel of Rossi’s bike, sending the Honda crashing onto the tarmac, prematurely ending the Spaniard’s race.
The win now gives Rossi a nice lead on top of the standings with 66 points. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso continued his stellar campaign this season, finishing second for the third straight race to stay in pace of Rossi at 60 points. Meanwhile, Marquez’s crash sent him tumbling down the standings as Dovizioso’s teammate, Andrea Iannone, and Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, vaulted ahead of the champ with 40 and 37 points, respectively.
Continue reading to read more about the results from the 2015 MotoGP race in Argentina.
Back-to-back MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has earned the right to talk a little smack. That’s the kind of cache you earn for winning the last two MotoGP titles. But the 22-year old is also not afraid of calling his own number when he’s wrong. Such was the case in the run-up to the Argentina Grand Prix when the reigning champion admitted that Ducati would be a title threat this season.
His take on the championship picture is a surprising reversal from previous comments he made in March 2014 when he basically called Ducati a “non-threat” to the championship.
But after two races that saw Ducati consistently challenge at the front of the pack, the world champ has changed his tune.
Marquez singled out Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso as a serious threat to his crown, noting that Dovizioso’s pace in the first two races of the season was something Repsol Honda needed to take seriously.
Speaking of Repsol Honda, Marquez’s concerns about Ducati also extends to the three-time constructor’s champion, which now has to deal with both Ducati and Yamaha if it hopes to make it four titles in a row.
It might not be an ideal place to be in for Marquez and Repsol Honda, but Ducati’s reemergence as a threat this season is a fantastic thing for the sport.
At the very least, we’re going to have a pretty exciting season ahead of us with Marquez, Dovizioso, and the two Yamaha riders - Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo - all primed to have big seasons.
Continue reading to read more about what lies ahead for the 2015 MotoGP season.
Repsol Honda MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa has successfully undergone arm surgery to repair a nagging injury he has had since last season. The 29-year old who many regard as one of the best riders in the MotoGP grid underwent surgery last week and will be on the shelf for the next four to six weeks.
Honda Racing issued a statement on behalf of Pedrosa, saying that the operation was performed by renowned orthopaedic surgeon Angel Villamor. According to Honda Racing, Dr. Villamor was able to repair Pedrosa’s problematic arm pump by removing the layer of fascia – the casing around the muscle that gives it form and shape – that has been causing Pedrosa those arm issues in the past.
With the surgery deemed a success, Pedrosa is required to keep tabs with Dr. Villager in the coming weeks for check ups and a custom rehab program designed specifically to bring strength back to the repaired arm. Despite being given a recovery time of four to six weeks, it’s still unclear if Pedrosa will be able to resume his racing career. That’s up to Dr. Villamor, who will access the success of the surgery before giving the proverbial green light to the Spaniard on a return to MotoGP.
In the meantime, Repsol Honda is pushing ahead with its preparations for the US GP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. With Pedrosa sidelined, the team has announced that test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will take Pedrosa’s place for the next two races in Texas and Argentina.
Given the circumstances behind Pedrosa’s injury, it’s good to know that he went ahead and did the surgery at the soonest possible time. I’m not going to bloviate any kind of medicinal wisdom in this instance, but I do know that with the surgery done, Pedrosa can now look forward to getting his arm back to full strength so that, hopefully, he can return to MotoGP where he belongs.
Continue reading to read more about Dani Pedrosa’s status after his successful arm surgery.
Team Mugen is no stranger to the Isle of Man TT, having taken its talents to the annual race for the past three years. This year, the racing team returns to Snaefell Mountain with a brand new iteration of its Shinden electric motorcycle. The new bike, called the Shinden Yon, is all-set to compete at the event’s one-lap TT Zero Challenge and follow up the success of its predecessor, the Shinden San, which took the top two spots in last year’s event.
It’s a task far easier said than done, but Team Mugen seems to up to the challenge with a bike it says is more powerful, albeit a little heavier, than the previous version. Don’t confuse that “heavy” part with a bike that will run slower because the increased output - from 134 horsepower on the San to 147 horsepower on the Yon - will likely offset whatever added weight the bike has.
Besides, the Yon’s torque numbers remained the same at 162 pound-feet and the increased weight is due to the addition of a 370V laminate-type Lithium-ion battery that will help the Yon power through the course. Team Mugen is also expected to use generous helpings of carbon fiber to help compensate for the added weight of the battery pack. As a whole, the Yon tips the scales at 550 pounds, 22 pounds more than the San.
The Shinden Yon also retains the distinctive livery of the San. From the eagle eyes on the front cowl to the muscular arm holding a thunderbolt on the fairing, the Shinden San looks more than ready to lay the smackdown on Snaefell Mountain when the TT Zero Challenge starts on June 10, 2015. Just like last year, John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey will be piloting the electric bike up the mountain, determined to improve their respective times from last year’s event.
Continue reading to read more about the Shindon Yon and the one-lap Zero TT Challenge.
Dani Pedrosa’s mysterious arm injury has everyone baffled and the worst part is, nobody knows exactly what’s going on. It’s come to the point that his racing career could be in trouble.
Pedrosa indicated as much after the season-opening Qatar GP, admitting that the problem has actually plagued him since last season. He said he tried racing through it and even went through an operation to try to address the problem, but none of the treatments and procedures have worked. So Pedrosa was stuck with two options: continue racing through it or shut it down completely until the problem the injury heals, if it does at all.
Pedrosa’s injury has cast another dark cloud on Repsol Honda, which was vying to win its fourth straight MotoGP constructor’s title. Obviously, the team’s championship aspirations are now nowhere near as important as Pedrosa’s long-term health. But it’s still a problem for the team that needs to be addressed as soon as possible so that it can get back to the thick of the championship race. It’s already behind the proverbial eight ball against rivals Yamaha and Ducati and it doesn’t have a whole lot of turnaround before the US Grand Prix arrives in the middle of April.
You can call it a crisis or an unfortunate development, but it’s looking more and more like Repsol Honda will have to contend this season without the services of one of its riders. It’s a tough blow for the team, but nothing compared to what Pedrosa is going through.
Hopefully, his arm injury heals in due time and this is one race that everybody will be rooting for him to win. It would be a shame if he can’t race again because of this issue.
Continue reading to read more about Dani Pedrosa’s mysterious arm injury.