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2016 Honda RC213V-S

2016 Honda RC213V-S

Interest in race-replica models is beginning to wane in favor of the more public road-oriented naked bikes and streetfighters, but you’d never know it looking at the work Honda put into the RC213V-S.

The “S” is based on Honda’s RC213V factory racebike 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, part of the reason for the limited-edition run. Join me while I see how close to that line the Red Riders dance with this awe-inspiring machine.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda RC213V-S.

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Dani Pedrosa Wins At Motegi, Title Race Still Open

Dani Pedrosa Wins At Motegi, Title Race Still Open

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.

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Jorge Lorenzo Suffers Sprained Shoulder Ahead Of Motegi Grand Prix

Jorge Lorenzo Suffers Sprained Shoulder Ahead Of Motegi Grand Prix

Jorge Lorenzo’s quest to catch teammate Valentino Rossi in the race to the MotoGP rider’s title experienced a small setback when he sprained his left shoulder in a training accident ahead of the Motegi Grand Prix in Japan. According to multiple reports, Lorenzo was in the middle of a training run on a minibike with other riders when he took a spill and landed on his left shoulder. He was then taken to a medical center in Barcelona where doctors diagnosed him with a grade 1 left shoulder sprain.

The injury isn’t serious enough for Lorenzo to miss the race so we can still expect him to be in the starting grid in Motegi this weekend. But it does already put him at a disadvantage to Rossi, who still has precarious 14-point lead in the championship standings. It won’t help Lorenzo’s cause that he’ll be racing in a track that’s known for having a lot of heavy braking. It helps that this brake points are mostly for right-hand corners. That doesn’t mean that Lorenzo’s not going to be in pain during the race, but these right-hand corners should keep the pain from that left shoulder down to a minimum.

As if riding trying to catch Lorenzo isn’t already hard enough on its own, the Movistar Yamaha rider must now do it with a bum shoulder. It’s going to be interesting to see how the shoulder plays a part in his ability to race, but expect it to be good news for Rossi’s title chances.

Continuer reading to read more about Jorge Lorenzo’s new injury.

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2015 MotoGP Aragon: Jorge Lorenzo Opens Title Chase Wide Open

2015 MotoGP Aragon: Jorge Lorenzo Opens Title Chase Wide Open

Just when you thought the the Aragon Grand Prix was going to be the site of Valentino Rossi’s coronation, Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo crashed the party, winning the race in spectacular fashion and blowing the championship picture wide open.

Rossi still leads Lorenzo by 14 points with just four rounds remaining, but the latter’s dominant performance over the weekend served notice to everyone in MotoGP that this year’s rider’s championship is far from finished.

Rossi still leads the standings with 263 points, but Lorenzo’s win at Aragon (his sixth of the season) moved him up to 249 points. The two Yamaha riders are the only ones left vying for the title. Defending champion Marc Marquez suffered his fifth did-not-finish (DNF) of the season, keeping his points total stuck at 184, 79 points behind Rossi.
So a new champion is expected to be crowned this season now that Marquez’s two-year dominance in the sport has come to an end. Rossi and Lorenzo are former champions themselves. The former is regarded as one of the greatest motorcycle riders in history with nine GP titles to his name. The latter doesn’t have that much, but he does have two under his own belt.

The season now moves on to the Twin Ring Motegi on October 12 in Japan. Lorenzo won last year’s race so if he can hold form on make-it-back, he can really put a real scare in Rossi’s quest for the other thumb.

Continue reading to learn more about the dramatic conclusion to the 2015 MotoGP season.

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Suzuki Strikes MotoGP Partnership With Akrapovic

Suzuki Strikes MotoGP Partnership With Akrapovic

Suzuki Ecstar has announced a new partnership with noted exhaust company Akrapovic in a bid to improve the performance of the team’s race bikes in the current and succeeding MotoGP seasons. The tie-up between the two companies will take effect immediately so be on the look out for Akrapovic’s MotoGP exhausts on the two Suzuki GSX-RR bikes that will line up on the grid at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The collaboration between Suzuki and Akrapovic doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know the shared history the two companies have. Even though it hasn’t reached the levels of MotoGP until now, both Suzuki and Akrapovic have worked together in the past and his familiarity could breed for another long-standing relationship moving forward.

For now, Akravpovic’s main objective is to help Suzuki Ecstar close out its first season in MotoGP since 2011 on a positive note. Given the circumstances of this season being its first in four years, the team has already yielded impressive results, scrapping up a good chunk of points thanks largely to the efforts of riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.

Having the Slovenian exhaust specialist in the fold could give Suzuki Ecstar the advantage it needs to string together a number of quality performances to close out the season with a bang. It’s not that hard to imagine such a scenario given how good Espargaro and Vinales have been. Who knows, maybe a podium finish might even be in the cards? Vinales, in particular, has already come close once, finishing sixth at the Catalunya Grand Prix back in June 14, 2015.

Akrapovic could be the missing piece that puts Suzuki over the hump and create a lot of momentum as the team slowly marches its way back into the upper echelon of MotoGP.

Continue reading to read more about Suzuki’s new MotoGP partnership with Akrapovic.

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Forward Racing Confirms Participation At Brno Grand Prix

Forward Racing Confirms Participation At Brno Grand Prix

Finally, some good news has arrived fromForward Racing’s garage. Yamaha’s embattled MotoGP satellite team has reportedly secured enough funds to make the trip to the Czech Republic for the Brno Grand Prix. Yep, manna has fallen from the skies and Forward Racing will be at the starting grid of the MotoGP race.

Team manager Marco Curioni confirmed the news on Twitter, followed shortly by an announcement saying that Loris Baz and Claudio Corti will take the two MotoGP seats for the team. Corti, in particular, seems to have taken the place of Stefan Bradl after the latter secured his release from the team to join the Aprilia Gresini Racing team. Having Forward Racing back in MotoGP sooner than most people expected is great news. Now we get the added drama of watching Bradl race against his former team against the man - Corti - who is essentially taking his seat in Forward Racing. Expect some fireworks in a potential head-to-head battle between the two riders.

Meanwhile, team boss remains locked up in Switzerland after he and tax inspector Libero Galli were arrested in the middle of July 2015 on allegations of bribery, money laundering, and tax evasion. The team’s confirmed attendance at the Brno Grand Prix doesn’t appear to have any connection to the team boss legal woes so it looks like the team’s bank accounts will remain frozen until a resolution to the case is reached.

That puts more uncertainty on Forward Racing’s chances to compete in the other GP races after Brno. But for now, I think the team’s just relieved that it can return to the grid for at least another race, especially in an extraordinary time like this when any semblance of normalcy is more than welcome to the team.

Continue reading to read more about Forward Racing’s participation at the Brno MotoGP Grand Prix.

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Stefan Bradl Gets Release From Forward Racing, Joins Aprilia Gresini

Stefan Bradl Gets Release From Forward Racing, Joins Aprilia Gresini

MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl has finally found a seat to race in after agreeing to a deal with Aprilia Racing Gresini to race for the factory outfit for the remainder of the 2015 MotoGP season. The agreement between Bradl and Aprilia Gresini comes after days of contentious discussions with the rider’s former team, Forward Racing Yamaha.

The Yamaha satellite team withdrew from the Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 9, 2015 after team boss was arrested on charges of corruption and money laundering. All of the team’s accounts were frozen as a result of the team boss arrest, forcing Forward Racing Yamaha into a tenuous position of literally not having any money at its disposal. The team’s dire situation opened the door for Bradl to search for another seat, which he found in Aprilia Racing Gresini.

What seemed to be a seamless transition at the beginning became complicated when reports surfaced that Forward Racing was insisting on receiving compensation from Aprilia Gresini for Bradl’s services. And so, after days of tense negotiations between the two teams, Bradl was finally given his release by Forward Racing.

The German rider is now eligible to race for Aprilia Gresini at the Indianapolis Grand Prix where he will compete for Aprilia’s factory team alongside new teammate Alvaro Bautista. Aprilia is under no illusions on what it expects from Bradl for the remainder of the season.

Since the team is using the 2015 season to basically prepare for its 2016 MotoGP campaign, Bradl will play a key role in the development of the Aprilia’s 2016 race bike. His experience as a factory rider for factory-supported satellite teams like Forward Racing Yamaha will be crucial for Aprilia as it continues to build on the steady gains it has achieved this season.

Stefan Bradl will play a huge role in that regard, and if his performance in the second half of the season trends up for Aprilia, the two sides can negotiate to make Bradl an Aprilia rider in 2016 and, quite possibly, the years after that.

Continue reading to read more about Stefan Bradl’s move to Aprilia Racing Gresini in the second half of the 2015 MotoGP season.

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Forward Racing Reportedly Wants Compensation For Stefan Bradl

Forward Racing Reportedly Wants Compensation For Stefan Bradl

Forward Racing Yamaha rider Stefan Bradl isn’t free to ride for any MotoGP team as many of us initially thought. Turns out, his current team isn’t letting him go without any financial compensation.

Two days after the young 25-year old rider was reportedly free to hitch a ride with any MotoGP team after Forward Racing’s withdrawal from the Indianapolis Grand Prix, new reports have come out saying that Forward Racing team manager Marco Curioni isn’t letting his rider go without getting anything in return.

This development is a big hiccup with Bradl’s expected move to the Aprilia Gresini racing team, even though in hindsight, it really was the best move for the cash-strapped team. Simply letting Bradl go to another team meant that Forward Racing would be letting its most important racing asset go at no cost to the team getting him.

That’s bad business, especially when a rider of Bradl’s talent would’ve probably commanded a good price for a team that desparately needs money to stay afloat, at least until the criminal charges filed against team boss are resolved.

Brandl could still find a seat in time for the Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 9, 2015, but for that to happen, Aprilia Gresini would have to acquiesce to the demands of Forward Racing, something the team is unlikely to do on such short notice.

Curioni reportedly held discussions with Aprilia Gresini boss Fausto Gresini about loaning Bradl for the Indianapolis GP and then having the rider switch back to Forward Racing for the Brno Grand Prix. Such an agreement would allow Forward Racing to get its finances in order before the August 16, 2015 race and while it does sound good on paper, it’s doubtful that Aprilia Gresini would agree to a one-race rental for a rider it wants to sign on a long-term contract.

It’s become a messy situation for all parties concerned. Hopefully, a resolution happens in time for the Indy GP on August 8, 2015. Otherwise this thing could turn into a huge distraction for all parties concerned.

Continue reading to read more about the messy situation Stefan Bradl has found himself in.

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Stefan Bradl Leaves MotoGP's Forward Racing Yamaha

Stefan Bradl Leaves MotoGP’s Forward Racing Yamaha

The fallout surrounding Forward Racing Yamaha’s issues in MotoGP has hit another bump after rider Stefan Bradl terminated his contract with the team, essentially making him a free agent looking for a ride at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The 25-year old German hasn’t raced since breaking his scaphoid bone at the Assen Grand Prix but the current crisis engulfing his team has put his entire season in question. So with no team and a looming clean bill of health ahead, Bradl’s now in the market for a new team.

The question now is which team would be willing to take the German in right smack in the middle of the current season. Most of the top teams already have a full roster of riders at their disposal so they’re out of the question. Same with satellite teams who are probably more interested in nurturing their own riders rather than take somebody in.

If there’s a team that’s worth looking into, Aprilia Racing Gresini might be that team. One of its two seats is currently occupied by Alvaro Bautista, but the other seat is temporarily being filled in by British Superbike rider Michael Laverty, who himself is filling in for the sacked Marco Melandri. Laverty won’t be able to race for the team full-time since some of the upcoming MotoGP rounds will be in conflict with BSB rounds. That could potentially allow the team to sign Bradl for the second half of the season, assuring some kind of stability for its riders.

For his part, Bradl seems to be done with Forward Racing, even if the team somehow manages to move past its current financial issues. A quick turnaround to a new team ensures him of a seat to end the current season. More importantly, Bradl could play an important role in the development of Aprilia’s 2016 prototype.

It feels like a win-win proposition for all parties concerned. Bradl gets a new team and Aprilia Racing Gresini gets a new rider. All that’s left is to try to make it work.

Continue reading to read more about Stefan Bradl’s exit from Forward Racing Yamaha.

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Forward Racing To Miss Indy Grand Prix, MotoGP Future Unclear

Forward Racing To Miss Indy Grand Prix, MotoGP Future Unclear

MotoGP team Forward Racing Yamaha has officially announced that it would be missing the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, citing on-going financial struggles in the wake of team boss arrest on charges of money laundering and corruption.

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been following this case. Team Boss and tax inspector Libero Galli were arrested in the middle of July 2015 by the Swiss police and since the team’s frozen financial accounts are all under team boss’ name, money has become a problem to cover day-to-day expenses.

Turns out, the financial well has since dried up, leaving Forward Racing Yamaha with no choice but to wait out the investigation surrounding its boss’ alleged wrongdoing.
That’s already put its participation at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 9, 2015 in the can. The team is still hoping to make it to the bwin Grand Prix České republiky in Brno on August 16, 2015, although that would still be contingent on whether the case involving team boss would be resolved by then.

Team manager Marco Curioni has already asked Dorna and the team’s sponsors for a little latitude and while Dorna and the IRTA seems to understand the predicament of the team, title sponsor Athina has been a less forgiving. Since word of Curari’s arrest made the news, the eyewear company announced the cancellation of its existing contracts with the team, leaving Forward Racing in yet another bind to find another source of income for the team.

The team is still hoping to return to the MotoGP grid this year, but its fate is still largely dependent on how boss case is resolved. I’m hoping for the best, but with a serious issue like this, it’s probably best to let the course of the investigation play out before finding out what the next move for all parties concerned is going to be.

Continue reading to read about Forward Racing’s future in MotoGP.

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Riders For Health Offering Two-Seater Ducati Ride At Silverstone

Riders For Health Offering Two-Seater Ducati Ride At Silverstone

Have any of you ever fancied the thought of riding a MotoGP bike as it goes all-out on a legitimate racing circuit? If you answered yes, you’re in luck because MotoGP’s Riders for Health charity organization is offering interested participants a just to experience just that.

The caveat, of course, is that you actually won’t be riding the MotoGP bike, in this case the Ducati Desmosedici, by yourself. You’re going to have be accompanied by a professional rider in a two-seater version of Ducati’s MotoGP-prepped racing horse.

The ride-along will take place during the Silverstone leg of the MotoGP calendar on the weekend of August 30, 2015. More importantly, MotoGP racer Randy Mamola and Ducati test rider Franco Battaini will both be in attendance, ready to offer a rider to anybody willing enough to experience the frenetic feeling of riding a real MotoGP race bike.

The rides will make use of a specially modified version of the Desmosedici, complete with a reinforced suspension system and rear subframe, stronger spring with improved compression braking, and higher preload to accommodate the extra weight of another full-sized adult riding shotgun on the bike.

There’s still no word on how much the ride-along is going to cost, but with the involvement of Riders for Health, you can be sure that whatever that amount is will go to the charity organization to help with its mission of supplying motorcycles and maintenance for health workers in African countries.

Continue reading to read more about Riders For Health’s Ducati Two-Seater Ride promotion.

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2015 MotoGP Deutschland: Marquez, Honda Strike Back

2015 MotoGP Deutschland: Marquez, Honda Strike Back

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.

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