03/14/2018 @ 7:58 pm, by Jensen Beeler

While we are happy to report the rebirth of the Cagiva brand, and the pending launch of MV Agusta’s new Brutale 1000, we do have some bad news to report from Italy, as this will be the last year of the MV Agusta F4 superbike, for quite some time.

While the Italian brand plans to debut three new models from its four-cylinder platform over the next three years, the company’s superbike offering will be the last to be revitalized.

As such, the Brutale 1000 will debut this year as a 2019 machine, a “neo-classical” bike will debut next year as a 2020 machine, and a new “F4” will debut a year after that, as a 2021 model year bike.

This news is about to get worse, before it gets better, so let me explain further.

Lower Emissions and Lower Sales

The crux of the situation comes from the mandate for Euro4 homologation, as the current MV Agusta F4 superbike does not meet. Operating on an emissions waiver right now, MV Agusta will have to stop selling the F4 at the end of the year, which creates a difficult situation.

Combine that issue with the decline in superbike sales, coupled with the delays made by MV Agusta’s financial troubles, and a new F4 superbike gets shuffled to the back of the pack, which also means that its model revision will not come before its emissions waiver lapses.

“Sport bikes are a very niche market. We will have it, because it’s our flagship, but the F4 will finish this year [2018]. This is the last year for the F4,” MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni told us.

“So we stop that, we will phase-out, and we will start the new inline-four with naked and neo-classical.”

MV Agusta’s priority right now with its four-cylinder platform is to produce the new Brutale 1000, and then follow it up with a Dragster-esque model, also built off the new four-cylinder engine.

With one new model per year, this means that the next MV Agusta F4 superbike will come as a 2021 model, likely debuting at the 2020 EICMA show in Milan, Italy.

“Strategic-wise, after we phase out the product, it’s going to take time-to-market for like a couple years. There will be a 2019 and 2020 without a superbike. But, it is our decision…just because we want to make something different,” explained Castiglioni.

Wait, It Gets Worse

Because of this, MV Agusta will also be leaving the World Superbike Championship, with the current season possibly the last for the foreseeable future. The 2019 season seems up in the air for MV Agusta, but the 2020 season is definitely out.

“We will race this year in Superbike, and potentially next year, yes. The year after, I don’t know if its so convenient or interesting – or potentially even next year. We’ll see,” explained Castiglioni.

MV Agusta will likely continue racing in the World Supersport Championship however, with the MV Agusta F3 675 showing strong results last season with American PJ Jacobsen at the helm (6th overall, with three podiums).

It is possible that we won’t see MV Agusta return to the World Superbike Championship, though that takes some explaining to understand.

“First, I don’t think that the Superbike Championship is very popular. Second, I don’t think there is a link between how much you win and how much you sell – that’s proven.”

“Therefore, I believe that it’s not necessary to race in order to make something very good for the street. And last, how we want to think about the project, we would like to take into the market new technology and new applications, which is something that a big manufacturers may not do.”

The Silver Lining

As hinted, it is not all bad news for superbike fans, however. MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni revealed to us his plan for the future F4 models, and it is certainly an interesting proposition.

Looking to build superbikes that are not constrained by arbitrary rules for production racing, MV Agusta will pivot its superbike offering into a more halo bike category, with the next-generation of the F4 being more of a one-liter hyperbike than a one-liter superbike.

This means that MV Agusta can play with new technologies and materials that would have been unviable or illegal under current superbike regulations.

“We are developing something that is a bit unconventional,” said Castiglioni. “Maybe it could be criticized. But, we are not looking to develop a superbike with the mentality of what is the World Superbike regulation. We need something cool.”

“I think there is a lot of technology and new applications of engines, of combustion, electrics, or hybrids, that can be applied to the motorcycle world, but nobody is doing it. I think that’s what MV should explore. This is what our clients expect from us, and we can make it, so this is why we moved on.”

“It’s not that we don’t believe in that market. We believe we can do something different,” he finished.

While Castiglioni is reluctant to get behind an electric sport bike model, the Italian sees a future for hybrid powerplants, which could use electric motors in supplementary way to augment power delivery.

This could mean seeing MV Agusta using electric drivetrain technology in performance hybrid application, like the “push-to-pass” or KERS technology that we have seen used successfully in Formula One.

“Hybrid, that is combustion and goes 350hp with a push of a button…that’s cool, like KERS,” exclaimed Giovanni.

The idea of a “superbike” that could have 300hp at the push of a button is certainly intriguing, and perhaps it is the shot in the arm that has been missing from the sport bike category, as of late.

Using the newest technology, and the most exotic materials, the next-generation MV Agusta F4 will certainly not be cheap, but it has an opportunity to be one of the more lusted after models from this historic Italian brand.

As we have seen from bikes like the Ducati 1299 Superleggera and Kawasaki Ninja H2/H2R – there certainly is a market for these ultra-premium, ultra high-tech machines.

“If we do it, and it is something that complies with regulations to race then perfect, and if it doesn’t, then at the end of the day our clients are not run by that. They are more run by that ‘my bike makes 300hp and makes fires.’”


If this new F4 superbike is the sequel to MV Agusta’s fabled superbike narrative, then the current story needs a final chapter. For that, there will be a “Claudio” edition of the current MV Agusta F4 superbike, which will be the most premium version of the F4 superbike yet.

“We will sell the F4 with a ‘last bike’ edition – it’s very, very limited. It’s basically Leon Camier’s bike for the street, and it’s a tribute to my dad, because that’s the bike he did,” explained Giovanni Castiglioni, giving a nod to the history of the original F4, which ended with a “Claudio Castiglioni” edition.

A WorldSBK-spec race bike with lights, Giovanni Castiglioni would later tell us that the F4 “Claudio” will have carbon fiber wheels, and a bevy of other top-of-the-line pieces, as an honor to his father, the late Claudio Castiglioni.

As such, we expect pricing to be stratospheric, and quantities to be minuscule, just like the original MV Agusta F4 CC, which also bore the elder Castiglioni’s name.

A swan song for the current F4, we will have a considerable wait for its encore, which should only make the “Claudio” edition more sought after by collectors.

Source: MV Agusta

Source: This Will Be the Last Year of the MV Agusta Superbike… – Asphalt & Rubber



The American Motorcyclist Association believes you may be interested in attending the upcoming meeting regarding the Shared Use Area in Johnson Valley. Representatives from the Marine Corps and the Bureau of Land Management will host a Resource Management Group meeting to communicate the Marine Corps’ plans to conduct a large-scale exercise this summer. Information concerning temporary land closures of the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area and public safety information will be discussed with attendees. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will be temporarily closed to the public August 1-30, while the Marine Corps conducts military training to support a large-scale exercise. This closure period will include the time required to ensure the Shared Use Area is clear of recreation activity prior to training, and confirm the land is clear of hazards prior to reopening the land for public access. The adjacent Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will remain open to the public during the closure of the Shared Use Area. The Marine Corps will continue to conduct outreach to ensure the public is informed of the temporary change in land use.

When: 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 14

Where: Lucerne Valley Community Center, 33187 Highway 247 East, Lucerne Valley, Calif.

Contact: (760) 830-3737 or

If you are not yet an AMA member, please join the AMA to help us fight efforts to restrict responsible motorized recreation.  More members means more clout against our opponents, and your support will help us fight for your riding rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go to

Please Follow the AMA on Twitter @AMA_Rights and like us on Facebook.

Thank you in advance for attending. If you attend, please email the AMA at
Source: Send a Message



Contact your representative today!

California Assemblymember Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) has introduced a bill, A.B. 2972, to prevent motorcyclist profiling. The bill, co-authored by Speaker Pro-Tem Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo), would prohibit law enforcement officers from using “the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle or motorcycle club-related clothing as a factor, without any individualized suspicion of the particular person, in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle, with or without legal basis under the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.”

The AMA Board of Directors has previously adopted a position statement condemning the practice of motorcyclist profiling. It reads: The American Motorcyclist Association has long advocated for the rights of motorcyclists and the motorcycling lifestyle. The AMA, in diligently scrutinizing government policies directed at motorcyclists, is concerned over motorcyclist profiling. This includes motorcycle-only checkpoints and what is a predisposition in many cases of law enforcement officers targeting motorcyclists solely because they are wearing motorcycle-related clothing.

In the past few years, a number of efforts have been undertaken to address these issues. For example, the states of Washington (S.B. 5242 in 2011) and Maryland (S.B. 233 in 2016) have passed legislation specifically forbidding the profiling of motorcyclists, and other states are considering similar legislation. Additionally, California adopted Assembly Bill 1047 in 2012, specifically outlawing motorcycle-only checkpoints. Checkpoints are also restricted by state law or judicial action in: Alaska, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, New Hampshire, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The AMA strongly condemns the profiling of motorcyclists by government agencies and has long championed the undeniable fact that the vast majority of riders and enthusiasts are upstanding, law-abiding citizens. Motorcyclists and motorcycling enthusiasts represent the full range of Americans and should be judged on their specific behaviors and actions, not their chosen mode of transportation or association with others.

Now is the time to ask your representative to support A.B. 2972. To contact them fill in the form at the bottom of the page and click the red “submit” button.

If you are not yet an AMA member, please join the AMA to help us fight efforts to restrict responsible motorized recreation. More members means more clout against our opponents, and your support will help us fight for your riding rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go to

Please Follow the AMA on Twitter @AMA_Rights and like us on Facebook.

Source: Send a Message



U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) introduced the “Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible Fuels Act” (the GREENER Fuels Act) in the U.S. House (H.R. 5212) and Senate (S. 2519). The American Motorcyclist Association supports these bills.

The legislation would cap mandated ethanol content in the nation’s fuel supply at 9.7 percent and require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize the use of cellulosic biofuel ahead of other biofuels when determining volumes below blend wall levels.

In other words, the bill would stop the federal government from forcing E15 fuel (15 percent ethanol by volume) into the market. Capping the ethanol mandate helps ensure the availability of safe fuels, such as E10, and a continuing place in the market for ethanol-free gasoline (E0) for older motorcycles.

None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the United States is certified by the EPA to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Inadvertent use of E15 in vehicles not designed for its use can damage fuel system and engine components and void manufacturer’s warranties.

Tell your representative to support H.R. 5212 and your senators to support S. 2519. Send a prewritten message by clicking the “Take Action” link.

Source: Send a Message



03/12/2018 @ 4:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler

Those who look back fondly on the Cagiva brand will be happy to hear that it will be officially revived as a motorcycle brand, with models set to debut later this year, for the 2019 model year.

Before you envision a modern take on the Cagiva Elefant however, this news comes with the caveat that Cagiva will serve as MV Agusta Motor’s foray into the electric two-wheeled space.

We are cautious to label this endeavor however, as the new Cagiva will operate in a segment of vehicle that hasn’t really been created yet – a type of electric two-wheeler that is somewhere between an e-bike and a full-blown electric motorcycle, like what Alta and Zero are producing.

The move was told to us by MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni, and is similar to one that was announced by KTM CEO Stefan Pierer late last year, where the Austrian brand will develop something that sits between its KTM-branded e-bikes and its newly released Freeride-E models.

“I believe in electric. There is a great potential, and we are making a project there – under another brand – which is Cagiva,” Giovanni Castiglioni explained to us.

For Cagiva, this news leads to an eventual lineup that will include a new Elefant, but will first start with sport-focused off-road bikes with electric powertrains. We imagine something at or below the 125cc four-stroke class, but more potent than a downhill mountain bike.

“We are investing in lightweight fun vehicles, bikes. Let’s say in-between…it’s a family. It’s a family that goes between a bicycle to a Zero-type bike, but different,” Castiglioni clarified.

“If you want to go 300 mph, buy a combustion engine. But I think there can be a lot of potential market for electric, and we want to be there, this is why we invest in it now. We’ll see in the next five years how the market will change. I think there is a great opportunity for that,” Castiglioni added.

Looking at the larger picture, there have already been rumors that Cagiva could be revived as the off-road compliment to MV Agusta’s purely on-road offering.

Coming at that equation, via an electric business plan is interesting though, and if the end-goal several years down the line is to remake the iconic Elefant adventure-tourer, that could mean several different things for the Italian band…all of which are very interesting.

For the larger MV Agusta Motor company, having both the MV Agusta and Cagiva brands will help lure dealers into signing up with the Italian firm, using the ability of servicing two distinct markets, and with a much larger range of price points.

We should see the first new Cagiva’s by the end of this year, as 2019 models. What they will look like, and how they will work, that remains to be seen however.

Source: MV Agusta

Source: Cagiva Will Be Resurrected…As An Electric Brand – Asphalt & Rubber



NEXT Event=>Mar 19th (Mon): Superbike Corse Track Day @ Chuckwalla Valley Raceway [Directions]

Apr 4th (Wed): Bike Night @ Pizza 900° – Laguna Hills, CA @ 6:30pm [Directions]
May 2nd (Wed): Bike Night @ Pizza 900° – Laguna Hills, CA @ 6:30pm [Directions]
Jun 6th (Wed): Bike Night @ Pizza 900° – Laguna Hills, CA @ 6:30pm [Directions]


PAST EVENTS (Click on photos to go to event photos page):

3/07/18 Pizza 900° Bike Night


2/07/18: Pizza 900° Bike Night

1/24/18 Fire Breather BBQ Bike Night

11/06/17 Chuckwalla Valley Raceway Trackday

11/01/17 Pizza 900° Bike Night

10/4/17 Pizza 900 and Alpinestar Tech-Air

9/06/17 Pizza 900° Bike Night

08/19/17 Superbike corse Open House


7/22/17 Superbike Corse No-Tax BBQ

7/05/17 Pizza 900 Bike Night

6/07/17 Pizza 900deg Bike Nite

6/07/17 Pizza 900 Bike Nite



Phillip Island WSBK: Melandri beats Rea in flag-to-flag thriller

Source: Phillip Island WSBK: Melandri beats Rea in flag-to-flag thriller



Source: Phillip Island WSBK: Melandri passes Sykes to win opener



Lorenzo likely to be offered reduced salary, says Ducati

Source: Lorenzo likely to be offered reduced salary, says Ducati



02/09/2018 @ 8:16 am, by Jensen Beeler

Randy Mamola will be the newest edition to the list of “MotoGP Legends” – an honor roll that serves as the World Championship Hall of Fame for motorcycle racing.

Racing alongside some of the greatest names in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Mamola is known best as the winningest GP rider never to win a GP championship, with 13 race wins and 57 podiums credited to his name.

Mamola is as famous for his aggressive on-track riding style during the 1970s and 1980s, as he is for his generous contributions to the sport and world at large, which continue to this day as a co-founder to the Riders for Health charity.

A GP staple, you can often find Mamola in the MotoGP paddock, rider-coaching for several racers, interacting with his legion of fans, and occasionally brow-beating unwieldy motorcycle journalists.

An immensely popular rider with GP fans, Mamola raced back when men were men, and there were some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Wayne Gardner, Freddie Spencer, and Kenny Roberts Sr.

A four-time runner-up in the 500GP Championship, Randy Mamola retired from motorcycle racing in 1992.

“I didn’t expect it but it was a pleasant surprise to start my day when I got the call!” said Randy Mamola. “When I told my wife and son, as you can imagine it was huge congratulations but then ‘Oh no! Now we have to live with a legend!’”

“MotoGP is my life and I’ve been in the paddock for 39 years. I’ve seen so many things from when I was first in the paddock at 19 and it’s an honor and a privilege for me to be included in such a high level group of riders.”

“I’m also excited I’ll be inducted in Texas with my family and friends coming. After the ‘wow!’, eventually you have to absorb what it is, and then you think about how this is such an honour to be accepted by your peers as well as the people who have run Dorna for the past 25 years.”

“I hope somewhere along the line I am able to pay this back even more with the work I continue to do in the paddock. I believe and I think I’m the first Legend who has never been a World Champion.”

“I think the accomplishments I’ve had and being a such a part of charity work is another part to add. Spreading the sport, supporting the sport…you are an ambassador whether that’s the title you have or not. It’s a privilege to work in the paddock and I don’t take it lightly.”

Mamola will be inducted later this season, at the MotoGP round in Austin, Texas.

Source: MotoGP

Source: Randy Mamola Named A “MotoGP Legend” – Asphalt & Rubber


In Their Own Words - Women Speak on the Grid Girl Ban


After F1’s recent ban on grid girls many feel MotoGP should follow suit, though not everyone shares that sentiment.

Last Wednesday Formula 1 announced that it was ending the practice of using grid girls. Grid girls, umbrella girls, paddock girls, whatever you want to call them, the practice consists of young, attractive, scantily clad women standing next to a racer on the grid, shielding said racer from the sun via an umbrella (hence the name). With F1 ending the long-running practice a debate now rages on about whether or not grid girls have any place elsewhere in today’s motorsport world.

CHECK OUT: Five Female Motorcyclists You May Not Have Heard Of

The practice supposedly began at the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans when sunscreen purveyor, Hawaiian Tropic, brought a posse of bikini-clad model-types to the iconic event for promotional purposes. Since then grid girls have become a regular fixture in high-level motorsport competition. Thirty-five years later however, many are wondering if grid girls do more harm than good. Formula 1 – which is owned by the media giant Liberty Media – put out a statement on January 31 explaining the organization’s reasoning behind doing away with grid girls starting in the 2018 season.

“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport,” said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1. “While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

In the wake of this shake-up, we collected opinions from various women in motorsports – journalists, racers, and even some grid girls – and here’s what they had to say.

The Response


Superfluous much?

Lauren-Jade Pope

Longtime grid girl and ring girl

“I’ve been doing this for over eight years now and it should be our choice what we do for work, whether it be this, whether it be hostessing, ring girl duties, we should have the choice. What’s annoying me more than anything is the so called feminists, they are not even really feminists, are defending us without even asking us how we feel, and we’ve lost out jobs because of this. I have been a grid girl for 8 years and I have never felt uncomfortable!No one forces us to do this! This is our choice!”

CHECK OUT: Women Who Ride: Women of Flat Track Racing

Mellisa Paris

Successful female road-racer

“Its probably not the best way to market whatever product it might be towards women, but it definitely gets attention. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable really, because I’m of the mind that if a girl wants to sign up for that gig that then that’s really her business… We are both there for our different jobs. I’m comfortable with being judged for what I’m doing on the track more than I would be for standing around in Lycra.”

Moto GP Grid Girls

Emily Macbeth

UK-based motorcycle journalist

“This is the 21st century, and the argument that the whole notion of a grid girl is completely outdated does make sense. If a company relies heavily on pretty women promoting them, then maybe they need to rethink their brand. The practice of using grid girls does seem a little outdated, but I certainly don’t think banning them is the answer. Instead of banning women who are a part of motorsport, we need to make tweaks and encourage more women to get involved in other aspects of racing too.”

Sophia Vassiliadis

Toronto-based journalist, event host, and bike enthusiast

“I have often wondered why MotoGP, just like so many other Motorcycle and other motorsports, need to employ scantily-clad young women in their promotions and events. It feels rather unoriginal and for a woman who is getting into the sport, can lead to being self-conscious just by virtue of being female. It’s quite transparently sexist and, much like any sport or entertainment that utilizes female nudity to enhance its appeal, leads me to wonder if it isn’t insecure about its own inherent appeal or value.”

CHECK OUT: Big Bikes and Tough Women – The Litas Hit Manila’s Streets

Daphne Figueroa

Professor of chemistry, avid race fan, writer, MotoGP/WSBK flag marshall

“This is an important discussion and it should not be oversimplified or trivialized. I hope that women will be encouraged to participate in Motorsport in all ways that suit their own individual choices. I feel that it shouldn’t be “all or nothing” but instead an equal opportunity for men and women to enter into Motorsport in the manner that they choose.”

Though not a woman’s opinion, we’ve included the often outspoken Lauda’s take on this as well:

Nikki Lauda

Three-time F1 world champion

“This is a decision against women. Men have made the decision over the heads of women. This is not doing any favors to F1 and especially not for women. Grid girls have always belonged in F1, and they should continue to belong in F1. You should be allowed to have grid girls because the drivers like them, the audience like them, and no one cares.”

As with any potentially controversial issue, such as dealing with gender issues, there’s a broad range of opinions about this grid girl situation. How will it affect series like WSBK and MotoGP? Time will tell.

Source: The Sun, AutoWeek


Source: In Their Own Words – Women Speak on the Grid Girl Ban | RideApart



01/20/2018 @ 9:39 pm, by Jensen Beeler

The Asphalt & Rubber traveling circus doesn’t stop, and after spending less than 12hrs at home after the Honda Gold Wing launch, I’m back at it…this time in Valencia, Spain for the Ducati Panigale V4 international press launch.

Arguably the most anticipated motorcycle to debut for the 2018 model year, the Panigale V4 is a huge step for Ducati, mostly because of the Italian company’s radical departure from its iconic v-twin power plant configuration, in favor of the 90° V4 engine configuration.

Now with four-cylinders of fury, this 1,103cc, 214hp, V4 machine is set to tackle the superbike market, but will it live up to the hype? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out.

To do so, Ducati has us riding at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, which is just outside of Valencia and home to the final round of the MotoGP Championship. A fun and flowing track with a little bit of everything, Valencia should be a good spot to see how the Panigale V4 truly handles.

We will have five track sessions, four of which will be on the Ducati Panigale V4 S, and of which will be on the 226hp Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale.

With a bevy of electronic upgrades and plenty of features, we will need all the time that we can get to in order to play around with Ducati’s flagship model, and see how it goes.

Per our new review format, we will be giving you a live assessment of the new Ducati Panigale V4 S right here in this article (down in the comments section), and there we will try to answer any questions you might have.

So, here is your chance to learn what it’s like to ride the Ducati Panigale V4, before even my own proper reviews are posted. As always, if I don’t know an answer, I will try to get a response from the Ducati personnel. So, pepper away.

You can follow our thoughts on the bike live via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and you can see what our colleagues are posting on social media by looking for the hashtag #PanigaleV4.

Spec-Sheet Comparison of Relevant Models to the Ducati Panigale V4 S:

Ducati Panigale V4 S Aprilia RSV4 RF MV Agusta F4 RR BMW S1000RR
Horsepower 214 hp 201 hp 201hp 199hp
Torque 91.5 lbs•ft 84.8 lbs•ft 82 lbs•ft 83 lbs•ft
Weight 386 lbs (dry) 397 lbs (dry) 423 lbs (dry) 403 lbs (dry)
Engine V4 / 90° / 1,103cc V4 / 65° / 999cc Inline-four, 998cc Inline-four, 999cc
Price $27,495 $22,999 $26,798 $19,145

Photos: Ducati

Source: Gone Riding: Ducati Panigale V4 S – Asphalt & Rubber



The 2018 season sees the start of airbags being made compulsory for all three MotoGP classes. All riders with a permanent entry in MotoGP, Moto2, or Moto3 will have to use an airbag in their leathers from the coming season onwards.

This is part of a long-term push by Dorna, the FIM, and IRTA to improve safety for riders in racing. While the three MotoGP partners continue their work on improving the safety of circuits, the next frontier is improving the protection provided by the gear riders use. Airbags are just one facet of this safety drive: the FIM is becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of rider safety. Their most recent focus has been on improving the safety of helmets (link is external), including doing work on so-called oblique impacts, or how helmets absorb impacts when struck at an angle.

Airbags have played an increasing role in racer safety since they were first introduced to racing ten years ago. The original airbags focused mainly on protecting the neck and shoulders, their biggest objective being reducing the severity of the impact on shoulder joints and protecting collarbones, still one of the most common injuries among racers. As time has gone on, that protection has increased, offering protection to the rider’s back, chest and ribs as well.

These advances have mainly come in two areas: increased computing power and a better understanding of airflow. Airbag systems have first to understand whether a rider is actually crashing or not (for example, is the rider just getting a little kick from the rear as the rear tire slides then grips again, or are they being thrown out of the saddle?). Gains here have come through better and cheaper processing power, but also more data analysis. Each airbag is fitted with a data recorder, which logs the data through the accelerometers and gyroscopes it uses to detect crashes. As the airbag makers have more data to analyze, they have been able to refine their algoritms more and more.

The other advance is in the pneumatics of airbags. Compressed air has to pass from the reservoir (in the rider hump) into the airbags around the body to inflate them within a few hundredths of a second. That requires moving a lot of gas in a short period of time, and that has required working out the fastest and most efficient way of distributing it from the air capsules to the airbag.

The advances have come in part as a result of the arms race between Dainese and Alpinestars, he two Italian racing leathers companies which have pioneered the technology. As each company improved their product – Dainese’s D-Air (link is external), and Alpinestars’ Tech-Air (link is external) – the other was forced to keep up.

Dorna had wanted to make airbags compulsory earlier, but the complications of technology made that impossible. It would have restricted riders to specific suit makers, cutting down on their ability to find sponsorship. A compromise was found when Alpinestars and Dainese agreed to offer airbags which could be inserted inside the leathers of other protective clothing manufacturers. Alpinestars and Dainese offered the specifications of the airbags, without revealing the underlying technology, allowing other brands to produce suits to accommodate them.


As an example, here is a photo of British Moto3 rider John McPhee taken at Aragon last year. McPhee is wearing a D-Air undervest using an airbag. This fits under the suit from his personal leathers sponsor, Macna.

The push for airbags has also had positive effects for sports and activities outside of motorcycle racing. The technology has been passed on from motorcycling to skiing and horseriding, and Dainese is working on applications outside of sports altogether, including in public transport (buses), and even for the elderly, protecting older people with osteoporosis from fractures suffered in domestic falls.

Below is the press release from Dorna with more details of the compulsory airbags:

Airbags: compulsory from 2018

New regulations designed to increase rider safety set to come into force for the new season

From 2018, it will be compulsory across all classes within the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship for riders’ race suits to be fitted with airbag systems. These must be worn in every session by every permanent rider, and must be functional when on track. Wildcard riders are the only exceptions, and replacement riders are exempt from the rule for their first two events only. Thereafter, replacement riders’ suits are subject to the same requirements and specifications as those of permanent entrants.

The airbag should cover and protect at least the shoulders and the collarbone. Full or central back protection is optional. However, if a manufacturer chooses to have back protection, it must cover the whole spine. Small variations according to the specifics of each system are allowed, as are variations to accommodate the different morphology of each rider, but the same key areas and guidelines are in place for every manufacturer.

Each airbag system must pass a series of tests to prove it fully complies with the regulations. Requirements range from the battery and electronics to deployment and inflation times, with accidental deployment also an important factor. An accidental deployment of the airbag must not risk causing a rider to crash or impede a rider from controlling their motorcycle. In addition, airbag systems must not require any parts to be added to the motorcycle, and must be triggered without the rider being tethered to the bike.

Each manufacturer must self-certify on the official documentation for the suit that their system fully complies with the regulations and reaches these standards. They must also declare the reliability of their system based on internal testing.

These regulations mark yet another step towards increased rider safety, with the FIM, IRTA and Dorna all committed to making sure MotoGP™ is as safe as possible – and always evolving.

Source: 2018 To Be First Season For Compulsory Airbags In MotoGP | | Kropotkin Thinks



01/12/2018 @ 10:34 am, by David Emmett

After the departure of both Shuhei Nakamoto and Livio Suppo from HRC and the Repsol Honda team, Honda has announced that it will be making Alberto Puig Team Manager of the Repsol Honda team.

The appointment of Puig did not come as a surprise. Puig has a long and storied history with Honda, having raced for them in 500GPs, then moving on to a variety of management roles associated with Honda.

Puig was instrumental in the Movistar Cup, the series from which a vast array of talent came, including Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Toni Elias, and much more.

He went on to become Dani Pedrosa’s personal manager, before moving on to run the Honda Asia Talent Cup and work with the British Talent Team in recent seasons.

But this appointment also marks a break with recent history. Alberto Puig is a very different character to Livio Suppo, who he nominally replaces.

Suppo approached the role of team manager very much from a marketing perspective. Puig is much more of an ex-racer, and is much closer to the Japanese engineers than to the marketing and media side of the operation.

Though Puig’s ability to manage a team is beyond question, he faces some unique and severe challenges in managing this specific team, the Repsol Honda team.

Puig is a no-nonsense character who can be abrasive, and he already has a problematic relationship with the two riders in the Repsol Honda team.

Though he was Dani Pedrosa’s manager for a long time, he spent last season criticizing the Spaniard in his role as an expert commentator for Spanish broadcaster Movistar. Puig criticized Pedrosa’s approach and attitude, and may have a few fences to mend on that side of the garage.

But Puig’s relationship with Marc Marquez’s side of the garage is even more troubled.

Puig has long regarded Marquez’s personal manager Emilio Alzamora as a rival, and having the two in the same garage when Puig still managed Dani Pedrosa was a major challenge for HRC.

Both Puig and Alzamora were more concerned with preventing the other side of the garage from seeing their respective riders’ data than with cooperating towards a common goal.

Tensions came to a head after the Australian Grand Prix in 2013, when Marc Marquez was disqualified for not making a compulsory pit stop.

That failure was an indirect result of the lack of communication within the Repsol Honda team, with Alzamora wanting to keep Puig away from Marquez, and Alzamora also distrusting Livio Suppo and then chief mechanic Cristian Gabarrini, all of whom he regarded as holdovers from the Casey Stoner era forced on them by Honda and Suppo.

Alzamora won that particular battle. The following year, the remnants of Stoner’s crew were forced out of the Repsol Honda team, and Marquez was reunited with his full former Moto2 team.

Alberto Puig had stopped managing Dani Pedrosa, and moved on to other projects with Honda, but the tension between the two remained, as Alzamora was also managing the Estrella Galicia Moto3 team, and excluded Puig from involvement.

Puig has also had his moments in the past with the Repsol Honda team. As Dani Pedrosa’s manager, he was severely critical of Nicky Hayden when the American was Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda teammate.

There were frictions during Hayden’s 2006 championship year, but they came to a head in 2008, shortly before Hayden left, with Puig claiming Hayden “could not set up a bike”, while Hayden hit back in typically polite and measured style, asserting that Puig “basically runs our team, he runs HRC”.

With that history behind him, Puig is being thrown straight into the deep end. His first order of business as Repsol Honda team manager will be to negotiate new contracts with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

The long-standing enmity between Puig and Alzamora will complicate negotiations with Marc Marquez, though Marquez has repeatedly stated he is very happy with Honda, and has no intention of leaving.

Whether Puig will be keen to keep Pedrosa on after spending so much of 2017 criticizing is also open to question.

But finding a replacement for Pedrosa could be tricky, as Marquez is perfectly happy with Pedrosa as a teammate, and he – and especially Alzamora – could view any replacement as a potential threat, especially given Puig’s stellar reputation for nurturing new talent.

With the appointment of Puig, HRC have brought in a superbly competent and proven manager. But they have also set themselves some interesting challenges along the way.

Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Photo.GP – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Source: Alberto Puig Is the New Repsol Honda Team Manager – Asphalt & Rubber



Today is the first day of a massive recall for Brembo brakes, as our inbox just received the first official notice of what is expected to a recall that touches a multitude of brands that use the Italian company’s high-performance line of brake master cylinders.

The issue stems from the Brembo’s popular PR16 radial master cylinder unit (the master cylinder that is often paired with the Brembo M50 calipers), which apparently can crack internally at the piston, which can then lead to front brake failure.

Because of the physical properties of the piston material used on the master cylinder, and the porosity generated during the injection process used to create them, the piston could crack when used on race tracks, or with frequent ABS intervention, or when the motorcycle falls to the ground.

As such when the piston cracks, the front brakes may not operate properly during a braking procedure, which can lead to the front brakes failing entirely.

Brembo has been able to identify that the faulty piston is made from a type of plastic (polyphenylene sulphide), and to remedy the situation, an aluminum piston will need to be used as a replacement piece.

Today’s recall deals only with Aprilia models fitted with the Brembo kit, which means that it affects the 2016-2017 Aprilia RSV4 lineup and 2017 Aprilia Tuono 1100 models.

According to documents filed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 1% of the 1,800 affected Aprilia units are expected to show cracking of the master cylinder piston.

However, noting that several other brands use the same master cylinder setup on their superbikes and high-performance sport bikes, our sources have indicated to us that other recalls can be expected in the coming weeks from a multitude of other brands, including Ducati and KTM.

It is not clear at this time how this recall affects those who bought Brembo radial master cylinders as an aftermarket replacement for their bike’s braking setup. Hopefully we can find more information on that, though the PR16 is typically not bought as an aftermarket part.

For now, concerned Aprilia owners may contact Aprilia customer service at 1-212-380-4433, but know that Aprilia dealers will replace the front master cylinder free of charge. The Aprilia recall is expected to start January 15, 2018.

We will post subsequent notices from NHTSA for other brands that are affected by this Brembo brake recall. Stay tuned.

Source: NHTSA & Bothan Spies

Source: Today Is the First Day of a Massive Brembo Brake Recall – Asphalt & Rubber



Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo believes he is riding better now than when he won his third MotoGP title with Yamaha.

After nine years with Yamaha, Lorenzo switched to Ducati for 2017, though found adapting to the Desmosedici a difficult task as he endured his first winless year in the premier class.

He ended the campaign seventh in the standings on 137 points, and with just three podiums to his credit – the best of those a second place finish in Malaysia.

Admitting that he still has a lot of work to do to become “completely comfortable” on the bike, Lorenzo is adamant he has become a better rider since joining Ducati.

“Honestly, I think I’m a better rider now than I was two years ago,” he said.

“I’m riding another bike with positive things and negative things, and little by little I’m taking quite the maximum with this bike I can get, even if I think I have margin to improve this performance.

“But I’m still not completely comfortable, I cannot ride it the natural way I would like.

“Every time we are getting closer, I’m very happy about the work of the team, they try to give us a better bike.

“Six victories for Andrea [Dovizioso, teammate], quite good second half of the season from my side, I think we will be quite ready to fight from the beginning, both riders, to try again to win the championship [this year].”

Lorenzo fully expected 2017 to be a difficult year, but relished the challenge of adapting to the GP17 and remained confident throughout he would eventually be competitive on the bike.

“Well, first of all I decided to start this project because I wanted a new challenge and stimulation, something really difficult to get, that is winning the world title with Ducati,” he said.

“I said when I made the decision, if I wanted to stay in my comfort zone I would have stayed at the same team I raced for nine years.

“I took this challenge because I knew it would be difficult, I knew Gigi [Dall’Igna, general manager] and I wanted to do something new, something more stimulating for my motivation.

“[It] was very hard, especially in the beginning of the season, we didn’t have the new fairing that gave me more confidence on the front.

“I needed to ride the bike in the opposite style I rode normally, but as you see it was a matter of time.

“I’ve always been competitive with all the bikes I’ve had in my career, and I knew it would be the same with Ducati. I’m almost demonstrating that now.”

Additional reporting by Lena Buffa

Source: Lorenzo: I’m a better rider than I was two years ago



Ducati braced for “difficult negotiation” to retain Dovizioso

Ducati is prepared for a “difficult negotiation” to retain Andrea Dovizioso for the 2019 MotoGP season, according to the team’s sporting director Paolo Ciabatti.

Dovizioso enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the Italian manufacturer last year, winning no fewer than six races and taking the championship battle with Marc Marquez down to the final race.

However, the 31-year-old – along with almost the entire premier-class grid – is out of contract at the end of 2018, and his strong recent form is expected to make him a key player in the silly season.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Ciabatti admitted that Dovizioso is likely to demand a salary similar to that of MotoGP’s biggest names to remain at the squad he has raced with since 2013.

He underlined Ducati’s preference is to retain both Dovizioso and three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo, who was lured away from long-time employer Yamaha at great expense but endured a winless 2017.

“Obviously we would like to keep both riders, but our budget is not infinite and we cannot spend it all in one direction while retaining a margin for development,” said Ciabatti.

“We are aware Dovizioso expects an offer in line with his latest results – obtained, it must be said, thanks to his great personal development and exceptional form, but also thanks to the sport and the competitiveness of his Ducati. Six races are not won by accident.

“We will start talking to Andrea soon, about both financial and technical matters. He expects a salary in line with that of the other top riders. It will be a difficult negotiation.

“We will start talking after the Sepang test at the end of the month.”

Last year, Dovizioso revealed he had been approached by Honda about a potential return to the team he raced for in 2009-11 in the event that the Japanese marque lost Dani Pedrosa to Yamaha.

However, Honda and Yamaha both denied that they were seeking to poach Dovizioso for 2019.

Additional reporting by Matteo Nugnes

Source: Ducati braced for “difficult negotiation” to retain Dovizioso



Two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner will return to action when he tests for Ducati at the Sepang circuit later this month.

The Australian, who last rode the Italian manufacturer’s bike at Valencia in September last year, will join fellow test rider Michele Pirro in the three-day test, which takes place on January 24-26.

Although Ducati is yet to reveal its plans for the test, Stoner’s programme could include riding the 2018 bike before Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo ride it in the first official pre-season test that kicks off in Malaysia two days later.

Stoner, the MotoGP world champion with Ducati in 2007, already took part in the first test with what was then the Italian maker’s newest bike, the GP17, last year.

Yamaha will also be present at the Sepang test with Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane, while Honda could field former MotoGP star Stefan Bradl alongside test riders Hiroshi Aoyama and Takumi Takahashi.

Sylvain Guintoli will ride for Suzuki, while Mika Kallio and Matteo Baiocco will be on testing duties for KTM and Aprilia respectively.

Source: Ducati calls up Stoner for first test of 2018



Former 250cc racer Alex Debon will join the coaching team of Ducati MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo for 2018.

Debon, 41, made 152 starts in the 250cc/Moto2 category between 1998 and 2010, scoring two grand prix victories and a best championship placing of fourth in 2008.

He was also test rider for Aprilia’s 250cc project in 2006 and 2007, with Lorenzo winning the title both years under the leadership of Ducati’s current technical boss, Gigi Dall’Igna.

Debon has already started working with Lorenzo, joining the Spaniard’s entourage in last month’s Valencia and Jerez post-season tests.

Ducati test rider Michele Pirro was assigned to Lorenzo as a coach this year, but the Italian’s wildcard races and CIV Superbike commitments prevented him from performing his duties at some events.

On the other hand, Debon will be present at every race in 2018.

Alex Debon Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images


Source: Lorenzo hires Debon as rider coach for 2018



MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports has revealed the supplier for the all-electric support class that will commence in 2019, and will be known as the ‘FIM Moto-e World Cup’.

Italian manufacturer Energica will be the supplier to the new championship, which is set to feature on the support bill of an as-yet undefined number of MotoGP races during the 2019 season.

Teams will use a tuned version of the Energica Ego street bike that finished seventh in this year’s Isle of Man TT Zero competition for electric bikes at an average speed of 78.8mph.

The Modena-based firm, which saw off competition from Belgian constructor Sarolea to become supplier, claims the Ego produces 145bhp and is limited to a top speed of 150mph.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said: “The FIM Moto-e World Cup is a new and exciting project for Dorna, and it makes us very proud to announce Energica will be the supplier in this new venture.

“We believe in excellence, quality and performance and we cannot think of a better collaborator with whom to launch the FIM Moto-e World Cup.

“Energica are an industry-leading and innovative company and we look forward to the incredible spectacle of electric-powered racing together.”

It was previously announced that Michelin MotoGP technical boss Nicolas Goubert is to leave the French company to work as the executive director for the Moto-e World Cup.

A grid of between 15 and 20 bikes is expected for the inaugural season, with races lasting around 10 laps.

Source: MotoGP reveals supplier for 2019 electric support class



By: Lewis Duncan, Journalist

Co-author: Toni Börner, Redakteur


Ducati World Superbike rider Chaz Davies believes that the series’ new-for-2018 rules will unfairly hinder the Italian manufacturer.

Between them, Kawasaki and Ducati have won all bar three WSBK races since 2015, prompting organisers to introduce new rules for next season in a bid to tighten up the field.

Among the measures to be put in place are an adjustable rev limit and a freeze on engine development for teams that tally up the necessary concession points from dry-weather top three finishes.

But Davies feels it is unfair to put Ducati in the same bracket as Kawasaki, as only he has been the only rider able to consistently win on the Panigale in recent years.

“I would argue that Ducati hasn’t dominated like Kawasaki has,” Davies, who finished runner-up to Rea in 2017, told

“They have dominated this championship now for the last five years. They didn’t win the championship every year, but in that period they have had such a strong and dedicated package.

“We at Ducati have finished runner-up twice in the last three years and third once. But Marco [Melandri] has won one race this year.

“So even though people put us in the same box [as Kawasaki], the situation is actually pretty different. I won the races, I am the guy willing to take the extra risks, so why should I be penalised for doing that?”

Melandri: New rules a “low blow”

Melandri shared his teammate’s frustration at the new rules, as the Panigale has lost ground exiting corners due to a lack of torque at low revs from its twin cylinder motor.

“Now with the standard gearbox with the engine revs lowered, we will struggle,” predicted Melandri, who returned to WSBK in 2017 after a year and a half on the sidelines.

“For us it was a low blow, because we lack torque at low engine revs. Turning 2000 revs less than a four cyclinder [engine], we have a lot of work to do.

“We have to change gears much more often than the others, so it will be fundamental to try to have a more ’rounded’ engine.”

Additional reporting by Giacomo Rauli

Source: Davies says 2018 WSBK rules unfairly penalise Ducati



The 48-year-old will ride a Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition for the DesmoSport squad he co-owns with Ben Henry.

It will be Bayliss’ first full season of racing in a decade, and his first competitive outing at all since his two-round cameo in World Superbikes at the start of the 2015 season.

It’ll also be a chance for him to finally win an Aussie Superbike crown, having twice finished runner-up in the series early in his career before heading to Europe.

According to Bayliss he went close to joining the series midway through this year to replace injured rider Callum Spriggs, but he ultimately elected to wait for next year.

Troy Bayliss, Ducati

“Initially, I did want to see another young guy on the bike but after I rode it, I felt that I needed to contest the championship and try and win myself the elusive Australian Superbike title,” said Bayliss.

“I definitely feel like I have some unfinished business.

“I have a bit of work to do in terms of fitness but after testing the bike and running it at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival I feel I am definitely up to the task.”

Ducati Australia and New Zealand CEO Warren Lee said getting Bayliss back on a bike is a big coup for the series.

“We’re naturally all super excited that Troy has decided to race again on a Ducati Superbike and in the ASBK for 2018,” said Lee.

“When he was racing in the World Championships and since returning to Australia, Troy has always been such a great ambassador for Australia and our motorcycle sport and industry. His passion for motorcycling and ‘putting back in’ attitude is why he is Australia’s and one of the world’s most popular and liked riders.

“I’m sure everyone can’t wait to see him back out there racing next year in the ASBK with the DesmoSport Ducati Team on board the beautiful Panigale R Final Edition.”

The 2018 ASBK series kicks off at the WSBK round at Phillip Island next February.

Source: Superbike legend Bayliss to make racing comeback aged 48



Unlawful search and seizure protection should cover motorcycles.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association filed an amicus brief with the highest court in the land Nov. 20 defending the rights of motorcyclists against unlawful search and seizure as protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The amicus brief was filed in case No. 16-1027, Ryan Austin Collins v. Commonwealth of Virginia. The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that, because Collins’ vehicle was a motorcycle and not a car or truck, the officers who searched under Collins’ motorcycle cover did not need a warrant to do so. The AMA’s brief argues that the judgment of the lower court should be reversed.

AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman stated that the amicus brief points out an example of how motorcyclists’ rights can be threatened at all levels—and branches—of government.

“The AMA and its members must be vigilant at all times, because we can never know where the next threat will be,” Dingman said. “The U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter on matters of Constitutional rights, and the Court’s decisions direct the enforcement of law across the country at all levels. When motorcyclists’ freedoms are before the Court, it’s critical that we speak forcefully and convincingly to defend those rights.”

The AMA’s brief states: “This Court’s analysis should not be affected by the fact the vehicle searched was a motorcycle rather than a car or truck. … There is nothing inherently suspicious—and no inherent justification for a search—in the use or ownership of a motorcycle.”

The brief points out that a motorcycle cover is commonly used to protect motorcycles from the elements, to provide privacy and to prevent theft.

“By removing and looking beneath the cover of the motorcycle parked in the curtilage of the home, the police conducted a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” the brief continues.

While the AMA’s brief expresses no opinion regarding the petitioner’s ultimate guilt or innocence of the alleged crime, it emphasizes that motorcycles should not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. The consequences of the erosion of motorcyclists’ protections under the Fourth Amendment would be severe.

Source: American Motorcyclist Association defends motorcyclists’ Fourth Amendment rights in amicus brief to U.S. Supreme Court – American Motorcyclist Association