RideFast Magazine March 2017

RobRidefast

RideFast Magazine March 2017 issue

MARCH 2017 RSA R30.00

MARCH 2017

VINALES

DOMINATES

MOTOGP

TESTING

9 772075 405004

17003

EXCLUSIVE

WORLD

LAUNCHES

SUZUKI GSXR1000R

DUCATI SUPERSPORT

// Proton KR3 // Family of Ninjas

// Tech Tips // ZX10R Masters Cup

// Win VR46 Fan Club membership


I RIDE

FOR THE UTLIMATE GRIP

1002 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


LEADING

TYRE

TECHNOLOGY

SINCE

1895

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 1


W E L C O M E

While on my recent trip to Spain, for the world

launch of Ducati’s new SuperSport, I came across a

100% dedicated MotoGP channel whilst chilling in

my hotel room. They had past, and current MotoGP

races as well as great features such as Rossi and his

past and current enemies. It got me thinking, I wish

we could have a MotoGP show here in SA. I used to

love watching Dave Petersen and Richard Knowles

on a show called Pole Position. I even made a couple

of appearances on the show. It was great seeing all

the behind the scenes stuff that one won’t see on the

normal race day coverage. I think it’s time we try get a

show like that back on TV....

The MotoGP testing from Phillip Island was on while

I was over in Spain, and the dedicated MotoGP channel

showed all the coverage from the test. Even though

it was all in Spanish, it was great to see the on track

action and hear from some of the riders, who did do

the odd interview in English. This got me really excited

for the new MotoGP season. There is so much talent in

the current field and the times are closer than ever. Last

season was epic but I think this season might just be

even better.

All eyes will surely be on Vinales and Marquez, who

after the Phillip Island test, seem to have started up a

feud. Marquez was not happy with Vinales, who passed

the champ whilst on a long-run, disrupting his rhythm,

or so he says. This has started up a rivalry now, and if

Marquez didn’t already know that he was going to have

his hands full with Vinales, he does now, as the new

Yamaha rider has dominated pre-season testing so far.

We have a full run down from the final test of the

season in this issue.

Back to my trip to Spain. We have the EXCLUSIVE

world launch test of the new SuperSport machine

from the Italian firm. A great bike that is sure to be a hit

here in SA, not only because of it’s seductive styling

and ride, but also it’s price. One of the best priced

motorcycles on the market today for sure. All the info

you need is in the article.

The other big EXCLUSIVE we have in this issue is

the world launch of Suzuki’s new GSXR1000R. It’s been

a long time coming but the Japs have finally released

their new weapon. No SA journos were sent on the

world launch, but we here at RF do everything we can

to bring you all the latest news and tests, so we got hold

of our mates over in the States, Ultimate Motorcycling,

who gladly supplied us with their world launch test. A

great read, and by the sounds of it the new GSXR is a

bike to be taken seriously.

I cannot wait to do our “Survival of the Fastest” test,

where we will put all the modern 1000cc superbikes up

against each other to see just who is the King. This will

hopefully be featured in our May issue, as we are still

waiting for the new Honda CBR1000RR and Suzuki

GSXR1000R to land here in SA.

There is a base 2017 Suzuki GSXR1000 model here

in SA, but kept very under wraps. I did get the chance

to test it, but it was literally just before I had to send this

mag to print, so did not have time to get it in this issue. I

have posted my thoughts up on our Facebook page so

be sure to go check it out.

Oh yes, we have another great EXCLUSIVE. Dave

Petersen recently tested the Kenny Roberts Proton

500cc GP bike at the Day of Champions held at

Zwartkops. Yes, this is the actual bike that was created

by the American legend and raced by Aoki in the

500cc Grand Prix championship. Dave sent us a great

article with some pics. Amazing to have such a bike

now living here in SA, and for the lucky few who got to

see and hear the bike in action at Zwartkops, I truly am

jealous! Even more so of Dave, who got to ride it - The

lucky bastard!

The month of February was a tough one for the

biking industry. We lost two great men, who are both

legends and will never be forgotten.

Gavin Ramsay and Clive Strugnell both lost

their lives, and we would like to send our deepest

condolences to their family and friends.

I personally knew both men very well, and had

some great memories with both. One of my fondest of

Gavin was being able to race against him. I remember

him rocking up at one of the Kyalami National races on

an Inala sponsored Yamaha R6. I was a young hotshot

back then, and when I saw him in the pits I thought

I was going to teach this old man a thing or two. Oh

how I was wrong, instead being taught a big riding

lesson by the Springbok. He was a true SA legend and

a great man.

I had grown very close to Clive over the past couple

of years. He was heavily involved with us here at RF,

supplying us with great articles and helping us out with

what ever was needed. Clive had a huge knowledge

of everything 2-wheels, and his stories and contacts

were mind blowing. I loved the memory mentioned at

his memorial. Clive was stopped by a policeman for

speeding many years back (one of a thousand times I’m

sure). When asked what his name was, Clive confidently

answered “Barry Sheene”. That made me laugh as that

is just the answer I would expect from Clive.

Both men will be missed, but both lived exciting lives

and made the world a better place. We dedicate this

issue to both these extraordinary men.

Until next time, ride safe!

EDITOR

Rob Portman

THE TEAM:

EDITOR & DESIGN:

Rob Portman

rob@ridefast.co.za

082 782 8240

ADVERTISING:

Zenon Birkby

zenon@ridefast.co.za

074 104 1074

ACCOUNTS &

SUBSCRIPTIONS:

Anette

anette.acc@mweb.co.za

011 979 5035

CONTRIBUTORS:

Sheridan Morais

Brad Binder

Darryn Binder

Richard Knowles

Gerrit Erasmus

GP Fever.de

Eugene Liebenberg

Niel Philipson

2 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R

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as you embrace a hell of a ride on this

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Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations!

The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.

Photo: R. Schedl

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 3


Contents MARCH 2017

38: SA RACING: ZX10R MASTERS CUP

26: WORLD LAUNCH: SUZUKI GSXR1000R

C

M

40: FEATURE: TECH TIPS

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

44: MOTOGP: PHILLIP ISLAND TESTING

72: FEATURE: FAMILY OF NINJAS

54: WORLD LAUNCH: DUCATI SUPERSPORT

80: FEATURE: PROTON KR3 500

4 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


NEWS

BMW Motorrad and LEGO made

this cool hover ride concept

The LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure model is surely

a neat kit to keep you and/or your kid busy for an hour or so to

build it on a rainy day. However, that kit can be transformed

into a cool hovering concept which is also a real thing now.

It all started with the partnership between

BMW Motorrad and LEGO, creating the

R 1200 GS scale model you could build

from LEGO. The kit has been on sale since

January 1st, 2017.

However, not many know you can

extrapolate a bit from the initial adventure

motorcycle design and end up with

the Hover Ride Design Concept. The

alternative version is a futuristic concept

full of emotion and creative energy, and it

is not based on technological plausibility. In

short terms, the concept is kinda like the

Star Wars Speeder.

Now, BMW Junior Company, which is

an innovative BMW Group training unit,

decided the little toy is awesome enough

to be built in real life. Thus, the Hover Ride

became a real full-size replica recently.

BMW trainees in the second to fourth year

of their course used the serial-production

parts of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure to

build a life-size model of the LEGO Technic

Hover Ride. Numerous components –

such as the front-wheel rim modified to

form a propeller – were specially made for

the project, demonstrating the youngsters’

skilled craftsmanship.

“It was incredibly inspiring to see

colleagues from different disciplines

working with our trainees. Everyone

involved in this project learned an awful

lot,” says Markus Kollmannsperger, trainer

for technical model-making.

At the moment of writing, the full-size

model of the Hover Ride Design Concept

is being presented for the first time at

LEGO World in Copenhagen. From

there, the futuristic machine will travel via

Denmark to various sites such as the BMW

Group Research and Innovation Center

Munich and BMW Welt.

6 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


NEWS

All bikers reved up

World of YAMAHA was the meeting venue for the second

anniversary Ubuntu breakfast run and more than 900

bikers in a controlled convoy rode through M1 South to

the end up Venue in Westonarea Sports ground.

All the 9 provinces in SA including

SADEC countries same day same

time had sunday the 29th January

embarked on a breakfast run as a

form of strengthening friendship,

brotherhood and sisterhood. ALSO

promoting safety as other road users

don’t respect bikes. Biking is a culture

where South Africans can learn the life

style as regardless of colour, race or

gender are so United and friendship is

so solid that been regarded as family.

No fuss moving solution

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and comes with a 12 month warranty.

Price: R4295. Visit http://www.xramp.co.za/ for

this and other amazing products from the guys

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8 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017

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Competition will run for the next 2 months - entries close 30th

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OPEN 7

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PADDOCK NEWS

Brought

to you by

DUNLOP ON NEW SUZUKI

TT star Michael Dunlop switches from BMW to Suzuki for 2017 season

Michael Dunlop will campaign the all-new

GSX-R1000R on the roads this year after

signing to ride for the Bennetts Suzuki

squad.

Dunlop has a history with the team after

winning a stack of TTs with them on BMW

machinery and will make his debut at the

2017 Vauxhall North West 200 before

moving on to the Island.

The 2016 Superbike and Senior TT

winner and current out-right lap-record

holder will get his first ride on the new

GSX-R1000R he will race this season at

a shakedown test at the team’s Mallory

Park base, before heading to Spain for

tests at Cartagena and Almeria.

“I was chatting with Steve Hicken for

Come watch all the MotoGP and

WSBK races on our big screenS.

We will be showing the

first MotoGP race at

Qatar live from 8pm!

a while, and obviously we’ve worked

together a lot before. With the new

bike coming it’s been a bit different and

we had to gather up exactly what was

happening. We just needed to see what

was going to be able to happen and to

see where we were both going to be at

this time,” said Dunlop.

“I know Steve and I know Stuart though,

as people, and I know they can take

a new bike and get it right. This is a

good team and there’s a good link with

Yoshimura. It’s going to be interesting this

year. I’ve been helping the team build my

own bikes and it’ll be good to have a run

around at Mallory for a shakedown before

we go to Spain.”

BRAD BINDER

WINS MOTOR

SPORTSMAN

OF THE YEAR

SA’s World Champion takes top award

2016 FIM Moto 3 World Champion Brad

Binder was announced as the Bridgestone

SA / SAGMJ Motor Sportsman of the Year

at a function in Johannesburg Wednesday

evening 22 February.

Binder was recognized for his dominant

performance on his Red Bull KTM last

season.

Binder was also awarded the Circuit Rider

of the Year Award, while KTM 390 Cup

winner at home and in the UK, Brandon

Staffen took Junior Rider honours.

“Brad thanks Bridgestone, the Guild and

its members for this great honour and

he congratulates to all tonight’s winners

and nominees for their contributions to

motorsport while flying the South African

flag,” Binder’s longtime advisor, confidant

and sponsor Rob Portman said on

accepting the Bridgestone SA / SAGMJ

Motor Sportsman of the Year on Brad’s

behalf.

”Brad is an exceptional talent who

comes from a tremendous family with a

tremendous story to tell — his ultimate

goal is to win the MotoGP World

Championship for him for, for his family

and for South Africa and this award will

only help heighten his resolve to pull it off.”

Join us at Ridgeway Racebar for all the motorsport action!

LOWER LEVEL STONERIDGE CENTRE

10 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Pic by GP-Fever.de

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PADDOCK NEWS

Brought

to you by

REDBULL KTM LAUNCH MOTOGP ASSAULT

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing starts new era in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 2017

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing begin a

new era in 2017 with the presentation of

the Austrian brand’s 2017 MotoGP team

at the new KTM Motorsports building

in Munderfing (Austria). The entry into

the premier class of MotoGP racing

makes KTM the first manufacturer to

have a factory team contesting all three

categories of the world championship.

Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director)

“We are very experienced in racing but

of course to enter at this level of MotoGP

is another dimension for our whole

company. But we love pressure because

we are racers, so it’s nothing special for

us to handle. Of course the last weeks

and months have been an adventure and

a huge effort by the whole company, so

I have to say thank you to our board and

Mr. Pierer for putting their trust in us so we

should prepare to enter MotoGP. All this

would not have been possible without all

the other disciplines we raced before.

For us, it is a dream come true. We have

built up young riders in all the disciplines,

and we stick with them, through good

times and bad. It was sad that we

nurtured many good young riders in the

Red Bull Rookies who could go to Moto3

but then it was somehow horrible to lose

them in Moto2.

“Just imagine what it would have been like

to have a world champion like Brad Binder

having to leave us. Now we are doing

Moto2 we have closed the gap, so our

kids can stay with us through their whole

career and all the classes.”

Thomas Überall (Red Bull Motorsport

Manager)

“Yes for us Heinz Kinigadner is the

probably the reason that we are here. He

was one of the first athletes I met when

I started at Red Bull, and he was also

the one who brought me into this KTM

family. Now after all the success and with

Pit joining the Motorsport Department in

2007, everything moved a step higher,

and we started to win in Offroad, and in

the US and everywhere. Then with Moto3,

it was a big jump into road racing. It was

clear for us as an Austrian company and

one with such a long history with KTM

that we had to join this project from day

one. We’re looking forward to the same

success as in offroad, and naturally also to

win the MotoGP title very soon.”

Mike Leitner (MotoGP Team Manager)

“First, I’m super happy to see that. All the

company worked like crazy so we would

be able to have a moment like this to start

the project. To be fair, what we have seen

since Sepang is very nice. We had some

issues after Valencia. We tried to fix them,

and the designers and everyone in the

company worked very hard, we went in

the right direction and I think the riders feel

the same. But there are many challenges.

“The most important thing is that we

keep the two boys (Smith and Espargaro)

motivated and that we can deliver what

they feel is good for the lap times and with

their feeling on the bike. I think that’s our

main goal and everyone here is working to

achieve that.”

Pol Espargaro (MotoGP Factory Rider)

“It’s beautiful, and riding the bike is

beautiful. It feels really good. KTM is

very new in MotoGP compared to the

other brands. We are making huge steps

forward, and we’re improving. Every time

12 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


we jump on the bike we are closer to the

others, and it is great to see the evolution.

I just want to say thanks to KTM for

putting their trust in me and this project.”

Bradley Smith (MotoGP Factory Rider)

“This is something that you have always

wished for and that you’ve worked for

throughout your career. Finally, when you

get the opportunity, there’s the pressure

that goes with it, but I certainly embrace

the opportunity I have. Pol and I and all

the team will be working incredibly hard.

We’ve been busy with the winter tests,

and this is just the beginning. I’m excited

to see what 2017 brings.” Speaking about

his recent injury, Smith also confirmed that

he is back to full fitness.

Aki Ajo (Moto2/Moto3 Team Manager)

“First, we are all so proud to be part of this

project, which is something incredible. But

yes, it’s difficult after a good season. There

are very high expectations after such good

results last year. We need to keep our feet

on the ground because every season is

different. Especially now with this great

project in Moto2, we have to start from

zero. We cannot expect to start winning

races immediately, but of course, that is

our target. We have raced in Moto3 with

KTM for many years, and it’s been great

every year because we were always close,

and fighting for the title. So for sure this

year we try to do the same.” Turning to his

Moto3 riders, Ajo said: “No pressure, boys.

Also in Moto2, we have such great riders,

so our targets need to be very high.”

Brad Binder (Moto2 Factory Rider)

“Stepping up from Moto3 to Moto2 will

always be tough but I haven’t set a goal

to be honest, I just want to get on the

bike and improve every time I do. Just

keep working as hard as possible and see

where we end up.”

The KTM RC16 was rolled out at the end

of October 2015 at the Red Bull Ring in

Spielberg (AUT), and since then the team

has conducted more than 50 test days on

various GP circuits. Test rider Mika Kallio

(FIN), also rode the racing machine as a

wild card entry in the final round of the 2016

MotoGP World

Championship

at Valencia in

November.

The team’s

two factory

riders Smith

and Espargaro

will start

chasing world

championship

points when the

season begins

in Qatar at the

end of March. At the same time, the Red

Bull KTM Ajo Team, with Brad Binder (RSA),

and Miguel Oliveira (POR) riding the KTM

Moto2 machine will be on the grid in the

medium class of the Motorcycle World

Championship.

KTM has been the most successful brand

in Moto3 since it’s introduction in 2012

and is the current title-holder after Binder

won the title last year. Binder now moves

up to Moto2. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Team

will race the 2017 season with Niccolo

Antonelli (ITA) and Bo Bendsneyder (NED),

together with other teams who also

compete in the series on the KTM RC250

GP. All riders in the Red Bull MotoGP

Rookies Cup also compete on the Moto3

bike. This competition, which is important

for fostering up-and-coming talent, is

about to start its eleventh season.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 13


PADDOCK NEWS

Brought

to you by

KTM OUT TO MAKE BIG IMPACT IN MOTOGP

“Our Most Hated Rival” – KTM’s Long Feud with Honda

Team launches are always a little

combative. They are, after all, the places

where factory bosses, team managers,

and riders stake out their intentions for the

coming season.

They loudly proclaim that they are in it to

win it, that their goal is to be champions

sooner rather than later, and that they are

plainly superior to their competition, both

in talent and in engineering prowess and

ingenuity. Team launches are a place for

hyperbole.

Even by normal standards, though, the

words spoken at KTM’s team launch

were more than ordinarily abrasive. In an

interview with Austrian broadcaster Servus

TV, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer took plenty of

potshots at his rivals.

He boasted of KTM passing BMW in

terms of sales, adding that beating them in

racing would be hard, “because they don’t

race any more”. He spoke of competing

against the Japanese manufacturers.

“We love racing, and we love beating

the Japanese manufacturers.” But Pierer

reserved his sharpest ire for Honda.

Speaking of the surprise decision to

compete in Moto2, he joked that the spec

Moto2 engine was supplied by “our most

hated rival Honda”.

He also noted that KTM’s entry into

MotoGP brought balance to the MSMA,

the manufacturers’ group that has a vote

in the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP’s

rule making body.

With three European manufacturers

against three Japanese manufacturers,

they were in a position to prevent Honda

from bulldozing through proposals.

“Honda tries everything,” Pierer told

Servus TV. On the one hand with money,

they shower the promoter with cash, and

if that doesn’t help, they pull all sorts of

tricks. Now there’s a balance in the Grand

Prix Commission. That’s important.”

Ancient History

Why the venom for Honda? The two

manufacturers have a long history of

conflict, in many of the series they have

raced in. But the feud started in earnest

with the birth of Moto2.

After great success in 125s, KTM entered

the 250cc class with a two-stroke twin

14 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


and met with immediate success. Hiroshi

Aoyama and Mika Kallio had both won

races on the innovative parallel twin,

as KTM had been extremely innovative

with the machine, also debuting fuel

injection on the bike.

So when the FIM and Dorna came up

with a plan to replace the 250cc class

with 600cc four-strokes, and the class

that would eventually become Moto2,

KTM was furious.

The Austrian factory, like many others in

the paddock, sensed the hand of Honda

behind the decision, as Honda had a

long and illustrious history of hating twostrokes,

and trying to kill them off.

In the late 1970s, Honda had tried but

failed to compete with two strokes using

the remarkable oval-pistoned

NR500, but that bike was

never fast enough or reliable

enough to beat the twostrokes.

Honda had been

forced to admit

defeat and built

the NS500,

which would go

on to become

the worldbeating

NSR500.

But their historic aversion to two-stroke

engines remained, and so the move

to reboot the intermediate class as a

four-stroke class immediately raised

suspicions of a Honda plot.

When the Moto2 class was announced,

KTM immediately pulled out of Grand

Prix racing, dropping their 250cc team

for the 2009 season, then pulling out of

125s a year later. KTM vowed revenge on

Honda, and withdrew to Austria to mull

over their future.

Best Served Cold

When the Moto3 championship was

announced, KTM seized the opportunity

with both hands. While Honda had built

a mildly-tuned engine down to a budget,

to stay within the price cap imposed

by Dorna, KTM built a thoroughbred

racing bike using its 250cc four-stroke

motocross engine as a starting point.

KTM won the inaugural Moto3

championship in 2012 with Sandro

Cortese, and would have had a clean

sweep of the top three had it not been for

the remarkable talent of Maverick Viñales,

who got the horribly underpowered FTR

Honda to do things that were entirely

improbable.

Honda was furious, and accused KTM of

being unfair. They were violating the spirit

of the rules, said HRC vice president

Shuhei Nakamoto, by building an

expensive race bike rather than a cheap

machine for nurturing talent. KTM were

unimpressed by this, pointing out that the

rulebook said nothing about the spirit of

the rules.

In 2013, KTM supplied all of the

top talent in Moto3, sweeping the

championship once again. The rules

were altered to force manufacturers

to supply identical engines to any

team that had signed a contract, in

an attempt to prevent some teams

having de facto factory status, and

an unfair advantage.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do

Better

It was Honda’s turn to extract revenge.

Throughout the 2013 season, Honda

kept putting off an announcement of their

plans for 2014, causing many Honda

Moto3 teams to lose their nerve and

switch to KTM for the 2014 season.

This suited Honda, as they had a trick

up their sleeves. For 2014, they would

supply just six riders, but they supplied

them with the all-new Honda NSF250RR,

a full factory machine capable of

stomping on the competition.

Honda had accused KTM in 2013 of

circumventing the price cap rules, by

supplying a cheap engine but charging

€200,000 for a chassis and support.

Their bikes in 2014 cost double that,

and nearly half a million euros by 2015,

despite both engine and chassis having a

price cap. Alex Márquez took the title on

a Honda, beating Jack Miller on a KTM.

For 2015, the rev limit was reduced from

14,000 RPM to 13,500, forcing KTM to

build a new engine for the Moto3 class.

At the end of the season, in which Danny

Kent became Moto3 world champion

on a Honda with the Kiefer team, KTM’s

racing director Pit Beirer accused Honda

of cheating by exceeding the rev limit.

That turned out to be an artifact of

the Dell’Orto spec ECU, and the way

the Honda engineers were managing

the transition into the rev limit. KTM’s

accusations were rejected by Dorna after

studying the data.

In 2016, it was KTM’s turn to get their

own back, Brad Binder winning the

Moto3 championship with ease, and

with four races to spare. Honda had

no answer, and no riders capable of

providing an answer to the domination of

Binder and the Red Bull Ajo KTM team.

A Feud for the Ages

Stefan Pierer’s remarks need to be

seen in the context of this long and

bitter history. The blood feud that exists

between KTM and Honda is alive and

well, and likely to continue into the future.

An observer prone to conspiracy theories

might even suggest that KTM’s RC16

MotoGP bike bears so many similarities

to the Honda RC213V for a very good

reason. KTM will surely want to beat

Honda in MotoGP, but to do it with a

version of their bike that is like Honda’s,

but better, would be sweetest.

Rivalries are a key part of any sport,

and alive and well in MotoGP. Pierer’s

attack on Honda at the launch of KTM’s

MotoGP project is a timely reminder

that rivalries exist just as much between

factories as they do between riders.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 15


PADDOCK NEWS

Brought

to you by

THE WINGLET LOOPHOLE IN MOTOGP

Yamaha first did it, and now Suzuki and Aprilia have also cracked the code.

Winglets may have been banned for 2017,

but the drive for aerodynamics development

continues. This time, however, winglet

development will continue on the inside

of the fairing, rather than the outside. The

development ban applies solely to the

exterior surface of the fairing, and not the

interior.

What this means in practice is that while the

shape of the fairing must be homologated

at Qatar, with one update allowed during

the season, that only applies to the outer

surface of the ducts, and not to the vanes

(the small struts or winglets inside the ducts

which control the airflow and can be used to

alter downforce) inside those ducts.

Development of aerodynamic control

surfaces will still be allowed, as long as the

changes remain on the inside of the fairing.

An eagle-eyed reader at MotoMatters.

com spotted the gap in the regulations.

Section 2.4.4.7.10 of the FIM Grand Prix

Regulations reads as follows:

Only the external shape, excluding the

windscreen, is defined in this regulation, so

the following parts are not considered as

part of the Aero Body: windscreen, cooling

ducts, fairing supports, and any other parts

inside the external profile of the bodywork.

When reached for comment by email,

MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge

responded, “You are correct in the fact that

I only control the external shape/profile of

the fairing. Meaning, Yamaha can in theory

change or adjust their inner supports as

often as they wish. When the regulations

were being discussed with the MSMA, this

was one of the criteria that they requested

in the wording of the regulations.”

The shape of Yamaha’s new fairing helped

to give the game away. As you can see

in the photo by Andrew Gosling below,

Yamaha’s fairing consists of an outer duct

fitted to the exterior of the fairing, with two

supports or vanes on the inside.

Yamaha can alter the position, size,

and shape of those supports to suit the

characteristics of each different track, or as

they learn more about the performance of

their ducted vane fairing.

On the Thursday, Suzuki and Aprilia

also rolled out their new aerodynamic

fairings. Both took a different approach

to creating downforce and aerodynamic

surfaces to Yamaha, as you can see in the

photos shared on Twitter by WorldSBK

commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast

regular Steve English.

The solution selected by Suzuki most

closely resembles the Yamaha design,

though its placement is very different. Where

Yamaha chose to put its duct on the upper

part of the mid fairing, Suzuki have added it

on the side of the nose.

Clearly visible in English’s excellent picture is

the central strut or vane which will provide

downforce. Suzuki are free to modify this

vane as much as they like.

Aprilia’s solution is very different, consisting

of an open aerodynamic duct either side

of the nose. Downforce in this design

is generated by the shape of the inner

channel, and the shape of the outer duct.

There does not seem to be as much room

for internal modification of the duct as on

the Suzuki or Yamaha.

Aprilia’s design may also spark debate

over what constitutes the outer surface

of the fairing. The wording of the rules is

ambiguous, though an initial reading of the

rules suggests that the inner surface of the

duct is not considered to be a part of the

“external profile” of the fairing.

The wording of the new regulations also

makes clear that the ban on winglets was

only introduced on the grounds of safety.

And in a sense, the rule makers were bound

by this, as the Grand Prix Commission only

has the right to ban a technology on safety

grounds, if the manufacturers in the MSMA

want to allow it.

By having enclosed, smooth surfaces on

the outside of the new aerodynamic fairings,

the manufacturers are complying with the

rules on safety grounds, while continuing

their development of aerodynamic fairings

and exploring the effect of downforce on

motorcycle dynamics.

Though many senior officials inside Dorna

feared the cost explosion which will likely

ensue from allowing aerodynamics, the

genie is out of the bottle, and they have no

grounds to ban it.

With Yamaha, Aprilia, and Suzuki having

unveiled their aerodynamic solutions, we

now await to see what Ducati, Honda and

KTM will do.

Ducati has already hinted that they are

keeping their aerodynamics under wraps

until Qatar – either the test, or a private test

before the race. Honda remains evasive,

but is likely to also have some form of

aerodynamic assistance before the start of

the season.

Only KTM has shown no interesting in

developing aerodynamics so far. But as this

is their first year in MotoGP, the Austrian

factory already has a massive list of areas

its needs to work in first.

The good news for riders of road

motorcycles is that the designs being

tested in MotoGP are far more likely to

make it onto road bikes than the previous

generations of winglets.

Getting type approval for motorcycle fairings

with internal aerodynamic devices is far

easier than for fairings with external wings

attached. How quickly this technology

actually trickles down to street bikes

remains to be seen.

16 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


WIN MEMBERSHIP TO THE OFFICIAL

VR46 FAN CLUB

Do you want to be part of the YELLOW TEAM of the

Fan Club Valentino Rossi and share your passion!?

NOW YOU CAN! RIDEFAST MAGAZINE

IS GIVING YOU THE CHANCE TO WIN

1 OF 3 OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIPS.

You get a FREE 1 year membership, official VR46

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HOW TO ENTER - Simply fill out

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page to rob@ridefast.co.za

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SHIRT SIZE: (Adults S to XL - kids 1 to 11)

You must purchase a copy of the March, April and May issues of

RideFast Magazine to be a winner.

The 3 winners will be selected and notified via email and on the

RideFast Facebook page.

Entries close 31st May 2017. Prizes will be delivered to winners.

This competition is EXCLUSIVE to


PADDOCK NEWS

Brought

to you by

SA TEAMS LAUNCHED

FOR 2017 SUPERGP

CHAMPIONSHIP

3 new teams launched for 2017 season.

The 2017 SuperGP National

championship is set to kick off on

Saturday the 25th March at the

Killarney circuit in Cape Town.

2016 proved to be a great year for

the championship, with improved

numbers on the grid and world

class racing.

Big names like 3 time SA champ

Greg Gildenhuys and 4 time SA

champ and title favourite, Clint

Seller, all returning for 2017. Throw

in the likes of 2016 runner-up and

rookie of the year Michael White,

among others, and this years

championship is set to be one of

the best yet.

We feature 3 teams that recently

held launches to show off their new

sponsors, riders and livery for the

up-coming season.

Make sure you make it to the

SuperGP races this year, it really is

a world class spectacle with world

class riders putting on a world

class show!

MiWay Superbike Team

Anassis Racing announced MiWay Insurance as the new title

sponsor of the team that will compete in the 2017 Super-GP

Champions Trophy season. The Pretoria-based team is widely

regarded as South Africa’s most successful superbike team, with

an average of one championship win per year, 12 wins and 26

podiums finishes.

Reigning champion, Adolf Boshoff, remains part of this successful

team and will defend his Super600 title joined by rookie rider, Dino

Iozzo. “This will be the year that determines his path in racing,”

said Anassis. “Adolf is one of the biggest talents that have come

through the ranks, and we see great things ahead for him.”

Team ace, Clinton Seller, will return on his MiWay Racing, Anassis

prepared Yamaha R1 to reclaim his SuperGP title from 2015.

The most successful rider in the past 20 years has built up an

incredible list of achievements since he joined the team in 2011.

With 4 National titles, 50 wins and 75 podiums in 91 starts, he is

the main title contender for the grand prize at the end of the year.

Great to see a big company like MiWay come in and support

motorcycle racing. Let’s hope more take note and back this

amazing sport. MiWay will also be giving away 2 bikes this year -

A brand new Indian Scout and 2016 Yamaha R1. Check out page

67 in this mag for more info.

HI-TECH Racing Team

This talented, young, exciting team consists of three adept riders competing in three

different Championships this season – Byron Bester #12 competing in the Super600

Nationals Championship, Luke Mac Gregor #93 competing in the Super600 Regional

Championship and Luca Balona #45 competing in the 250cc Junior Cup Regional

Championship. This is a team we here at RideFast Magazine will be following very

closely this season, as their official media sponsor, we will be bringing them as much

coverage as possible in issues to come. The team is backed by Hi-Tech Elements,

Grange Workwear Performance, Armadillo Concepts, Omega Fibre Glass, ACC Billet

Engineering, RideFast Magazine, Motul, GFP International, X-One Custom Suits, Just

Displays and MotoTyres.

Team Paramount Tracks Kawasaki / RSA Racing

This is a new team for the 2017 SuperGP Championship, with

top riders Daryn Upton and Ivan Van Niekerk taking the reins of

new Kawasaki ZX10R models. The team is backed by Paramount

Tracks - Transport Holdings - Fourways Motorcycles / Kawasaki

South Africa - Mean Wraps - Woolich Racing - Racetec Exhaust -

Expand A Sign and Motul.

Both Daryn and Ivan are considered top runners, both wining

championships at regional level and Daryn a race winner at

National level. The team is run by RSA Racing Shop owner Jamie

Pienaar, who has massive amounts of experience in the world of

motorcycle racing.

18 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


PADDOCK NEWS

Brought

to you by

SCHULTZ READY TO TAKE ON NEW CHALLENGE

Young Capetonian ready to take on the world in new SuperSport 300 class.

Great news for young Capetonian Jared

Schultz, who has been offered a contract

to compete in the inaugural WSS 300

championship to be raced as part of the

WSBK 2017 European rounds. Jared has

put pen to paper to race for the BWG

Kawasaki racing team.

This opportunity is yet another step in

Jared’s racing career and his first full

international campaign.

This will be a fantastic opportunity to build

on the experienced gained last year in the

KTM 390 world cup final and will also see

Jared returning to circuits such as Assen and

Donnington where he achieved good results.

This is indeed a huge opportunity for Jared

to showcase his talent and a chance to work

with one of the more established teams in

the pit lane.

“I’m very excited and nervous at the same

time, I think I will do well because I have

some international experience and have

raced on some of the tracks, I am very

comfortable on the 300cc bikes. I know the

competition will be tough because there are

a lot of riders with more experience than

me. I will know where I stand once I have

tested the bike. My aim for the first race is

top 10 and then take it from there.” Jared’s

comments.

It’s great to see another young South African

racing on the world scene, and we wish

Jared the best of luck and will certainly be

keeping up with his results over the course

of the year.

For more on Jared, and how to get

involved as a sponsor, check out www.

jaredschultzracing.com

Karl Schultz (Dad) and Jared

with the legend Ron Haslam


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BELL STAR HELMET

The iconic Bell helmet brand is now back in SA - big and better than ever

and the Bell brand also has a new big name wearing their lid - 2016 Moto3

World Champion and SA hero Brad Binder.

Langston Motorsports is the new importer of the Bell brand in SA and

has just sent out the first shipment of the new “Star” range to deralers

nation-wide. The new “Star” range consists of the ProStar - which is

the top of the range premium helmet, worn by the likes of Brad Binder,

the RaceStar and Star - which are the more affordable options of the

high end ProStar.

Featured here we have the “Star Pace” - a Helmet that has been

reborn to serve the two wheeled masses with even greater comfort,

performance and protection. Redesigned with a smaller profile for a

more refined fit and tuned specifically for the upright riding position,

the Bell Star combines the comfort and riding characteristics of a

touring helmet with race-bred aerodynamics and performance.

STREETVIEW: The Star features two unique profile shapes for two

distinctly different types of riding. The Raceview profile used on the

Pro Star and Race Star uses an orientation specifically optimized

for a tucked, more compact position. Conversely, the Streetview profile

used for the Star is designed for a more upright, sport or touring position.

PANOVISION VIEWPORT: No matter what or how you ride, one factor

remains constant: the need for maximum visibility. Whether racing or going on a simple

ride in the mountains, the ability to make safe headchecks and see obstacles clearly

is critical.The Panovision viewport in the Star offers riders additional vertical and lateral

visibility over the previous Star and more traditional viewports. This allows the rider to see

better in a tight or tucked position and make saferlane changes and head-checks.

EYEWEAR COMPATIBLE: Using prescription glasses or a preferred pair of shades is now

possible with eyewear arm pockets woven right into the interior liner.

The Star range is available in a various range of colours, so visit your nearest Bell stockists to see this

very inviting new range.

CORTECH MOTORCYCLE APPAREL

Now available in - Cortech brings a wide range of products to performance

riders. Cortech is all about enhancing performance within the highest

performance categories of riding whether it be in sport bikes, sport-touring,

adventure touring and dual-sport riding. From materials selection to the

design and cut of the garment, overall product design and feature used are

all focused to provide performance riders great products that enhance their

riding experience, allowing them to ride better, longer and more efficiently.

Cortech utilizes the feedback of many pro-level riders and road racers in the

design and construction of our products.

Cortech maximizes the understanding of riders needs to design and produce

products specifically engineered to excel in each and every one of those

parameters.

Cortech SA have a wide range of top quality products available - gloves,

riding jackets, riding pants, leather suits, back protector and more.

Featured he is their top of the range Adrenaline RR One-Piece Suit, priced

at R16,999, which is available in various colours. They also have a great

special on at the moment called the Clubmans Trackday Combo -

which includes the Latigo 2.0 RR One-Piece suit, Impulse RR gloves

and Latigo Air road race boots. All this for only R14,999, a saving of

around R2000. Available in various colours. There are more great

combo specials available on their website. To contact them or view

their full range check out their website - www.cortechracing.co.za.

24 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


THE CARS. THE BIKES. THE LIFE. THE PASSION.

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26 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


EXCLUSIVE

WORLD

LAUNCH

TEST

King

The

is back

Suzuki’s long-awaited GSX-R1000 finally breaks cover for us to actually ride,

and at Phillip Island Circuit in Australia—one of the world’s fastest world-class

racetracks. The new Gixxer 1000 comes in two models, and we rode the upper

echelon GSX-R1000R model, which is a step up from the base GSX-R1000.

Words: Arthur Coldwells (Ultimatemotorcycling.com)

As I scythed the big Gixxer past a line of

cars on the two-lane highway I found

myself wondering why everyone was

driving so slowly. Glancing down at the

speedometer I realized I was topping 160 kph; far

from them going slowly, it was I who was travelling

way too fast without realizing it.

That was the problem with this bike—it was

just so darn light and agile, yet so stable at speed,

that I constantly found myself going a lot faster

than I thought. The motor was incredibly powerful

and, combined with its light weight, the bike was

untouchable by anything else on the road. It was

quite simply, The King of Sportbikes.

And that was in 1987 on my GSX-R1100.

In the intervening 30 years, the GSX-R has gone

through many incremental, and six generational,

changes. Some improved it, some not so much.

The 1000 came along in 2001, and it was an

immediate success. To date, the GSX-R1000 has

garnered an astonishing 12 World Endurance

Championships and 10 AMA Superbike

Championship titles in 15 years.

I have personally kept in touch with the Gixxer

model, as I raced a GSX-R750 SRAD in the late-

1990s at both the Club and AMA level. I bought a

new GSX-R1000 in 2005 from my local dealer who

told me it was “The best turning machine on the

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 2 7


“To say that I

was intrigued

would be an

understatement

of gargantuan

proportions.”

market,” and I bought my current K7/

K8 machine in 2008—a bike I still

ride regularly. Forget about it being a

nearly ten-year-old motorcycle—it is a

remarkable machine, period.

Unfortunately, in a way, that

turned out to be a problem. The

GSX-R1000 has been so good that

Suzuki has been able to rest on its

laurels. The bike hasn’t

seen a significant

redesign since

2009—some

would argue

perhaps even

as far back as

2005.

The original

1980s design

concept that

so defined the

sportbike—make

the bike “Run,

Turn, and

Stop”—stood

the Gixxer in

good stead. The bike is still

an incredibly powerful, sweethandling

machine that does

everything superbly well.

However, it has lagged behind

in some key areas—notably in the

new electronic rider-aids. Also, the

Gixxer’s peak power has lagged just

enough behind the competition that

Suzuki doesn’t have a bike on the

World Superbike grid in 2017, either

factory or satellite.

So when a new GSX-R1000 was

announced a couple years ago, it

whetted everyone’s appetite—not least

mine. We already comprehensively

reviewed the technical aspects of

the new GSX-R; suffice it to say,

the (patented) variable valve train

technology in a monster horsepower

motor, a redesigned chassis with

even more aggressive rake and trail

numbers, and Suzuki’s new electronics

suite to keep it all in check, hinted that

Suzuki might be poised to regain the

coveted King of Sportbikes crown.

I tested the all new flagship version

GSX-R1000R at the world-renowned

Phillip Island Circuit on the southern

coast of Australia. To say that I was

intrigued would be an understatement

of gargantuan proportions.

Prior to Phillip Island, I visited

Suzuki’s world headquarters in

Hamamatsu, Japan and watched

the first US-spec GSX-R1000R

come off the production line. I first

visited Suzuki’s Takatsuka engine

manufacturing plant, and then on

to the Toyokawa final motorcycle

assembly plant (full story in next

month’s issue of this great mag).

I came away feeling that all the

workers at Suzuki have enormous

pride in what they do; every single

person seems to have enormous

passion to produce the absolute

best—and the employees clearly

have the discipline and corporate

culture to succeed.

28 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


The dash setup on the base-model GSX-R1000 and the up-spec GSX-

R1000R are the same, but the display inverts the colors on the R model. All

of the info is there—including a fuel gauge (!), a first for the GSX-R line. The

small crown of lights at the top are shift lamps, which engage in sequence

until the center blinks, letting you know you’re about to hit the rev limiter.

These simple switches on the left bar control the dash, and all menus.

Companies are finally getting the hang of this—the GSX-R1000 dash is a

quick study and easy to use.

Worker after worker was absorbed and intent on

the tasks at hand; the pride in each particular task was

almost palpable. Each employee is acutely aware that

everyone is a small, yet vital, cog in a huge machine.

If a worker’s job is not done correctly, then the whole

machine stops—so no one gets it wrong.

The level of quality control at Suzuki is breathtaking.

For instance, every single crankshaft— about 200

are made daily—goes through a process of forging,

machining, hardening and final polishing, and is then

inspected by hand using a small microscopic camera.

The inspection goes so far as to check the internal

oil channels and pathways to make sure everything

is perfectly smooth and unobstructed. This level of

detail examination was carried through every part of

the motorcycle and its assembly. The employees at

Suzuki take every aspect of its manufacturing very, very

seriously. It is very striking to witness.

I have never ridden Phillip Island Circuit before

and, although I have plenty of track experience, I can

now say I haven’t ridden anything like it either. I spent

most of each session in a full racing tuck, and most of

each lap in 4th and 5th gears, well into triple digits. As

challenging as it is, boy, is it fun!

Pulling out of the pits on my first lap, the GSX-

R1000R felt comfortable and light. The Suzuki design

engineers are obsessed with making their machines

user-friendly, so no big surprise there.

The three-quarter-inch narrower chassis was

definitely noticeable; the bike seemed lighter, even

though in actuality, it is not. I felt instantly comfortable

and at home on the bike. While it is definitely compact,

it fits my six-foot frame well.

The reach to the handlebars is relatively short, so

the new Gixxer isn’t a neck- or shoulder-breaker. The

footpegs are high and rearset, yet they don’t make

my legs feel uncomfortably cramped. I rarely touched

down the pegs during the day, so clearly the height is

about right.

30 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Pulling on to the circuit and leaning the bike into

Turn 2, the GSX-R1000R went quickly and naturally

to almost full lean angle. When I then discovered the

corner tightens up into a long exit, I had no problem

dialing in more lean angle and simply absorbing the turn

with no problem.

On a later lap I went in a little hot and found myself in

the middle of the corner running wide. I had to focus on

bringing the GSX-R back across my projected line. To

my surprise and delight, the Gixxer not only managed

it seamlessly and easily, it exited precisely where I was

aiming and I was able to get back on the gas at my

normal point with no loss of momentum.

Accelerating down the long-ish chute towards Turn

3—the legendary Stoner Corner —I was shocked at

how quickly the GSX-R1000R motor picked up, and

how quickly it went to triple-digit speed. Suzuki has

stuffed a lot of usable horsepower into that smooth,

high-revving inline-4.

Fortunately, for as potentially violent as that could be,

the new ride-by-wire fueling is perfectly mapped and

the feel at the throttle couldn’t be any smoother. The

bike simply leaped off each corner with a rapidity that

surprised me.

In addition to the power, the thing that really stood

out was the rock-solid stability of the 2017 Suzuki

GSX-R1000R chassis. I wasn’t expecting the bike to

be nervous, but its aggressive 23.3 degrees of rake

(compared to 23.8 last year) and 3.74 inches of trail

(3.85 in 2016) might imply a stability trade-off for a

machine that has additional agility. Not so.

Whether I was furiously hard on the gas, hard

braking from top speed at the end of the straight, or

changing line mid-corner, I couldn’t upset the handling;

yet, the motorcycle still feels light and quick-turning.

The wheelbase is just over a half-inch longer than its

predecessor, but I think the big change to the weight

distribution is what keeps the GSX-R so balanced and

the front so positively planted.

Suzuki rotated the motor backwards six degrees,

and the measurement from the swingarm pivot to each

axle dramatically changed. From the pivot to the front

axle is now three-quarters of an inch shorter, and from

the pivot to the rear axle now just more than an inchand-a-half

longer; the net effect is putting more weight

on the front.

“Whether I was furiously

hard on the gas, hard

braking from top speed

at the end of the straight,

or changing line midcorner,

I couldn’t upset

the handling; yet, the

motorcycle still feels

light and quick-turning.”

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 31


I survived a potentially ugly incident

on only my third lap when I got it wrong

out of the final turn on to the straight and

ran a little wide at around 195 kph. As

I hit the slippery rumble strip with some

lean angle, the GSX-R1000R shook its

head quickly three times—and it then

immediately went back to razor straight

with no input from me.

Once my heartbeat had settled down,

I was amazed at how quickly the bike had

composed itself, and how the shaking

handlebars didn’t transmit anything

through the chassis to the rear. The 2017

Suzuki GSX-R1000R is a bike that wants

to stay stable whether it’s leaned far over

or upright in a straight line; unlike some

superbikes I’ve ridden, it doesn’t want to

hurt you.

Lesson learned, I figured out the right

line after that, and in my later sessions with

increased confidence, coming on to the

straight throttle pinned in fourth gear was

pretty stirring, I can tell you.

I had the traction control set at 3 (out of

10 total, with levels 1-5 recommended for

track riding) and on the competition-spec

Bridgestone Battlax Racing Street RS10

tyres, the rear was spinning up with the TC

holding it in a minimal, controlled slide. The

yellow TC light was flashing, so I knew it

wasn’t my imagination, but I was superimpressed

at how the TC simply held the

rear without it going over my head. The

performance was consistent, lap after lap,

and I simply don’t have the skill or desire

to do that without electronics help.

Phillip Island is not a wheelie-prone

circuit—the speeds are simply too high.

Still, it bears mentioning that the 2017

Suzuki GSX-R1000R (along with the

new Honda CBR1000RR and last year’s

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R) does not have a

dedicated wheelie control—it’s built into

the TC. However, the TC does use pitch

(back and forth) data from the IMU (inertial

measurement unit) and doesn’t rely on just

the difference in wheel speeds to mitigate

wheelies, so it works well.

On one cool down lap, I experimented

with trying to wheelie by simply whacking

the throttle in first gear. In TC setting 5, the

front didn’t come up at all; in TC3, it came

up about a foot; and in TC1 it came up

a bit more than that. To do a full powerwheelie,

I had to turn the TC off and then I

could do as I pleased.

Howling out of the Stoner Corner and

up the straight on the GSX-R1000 is

motorcycling’s equivalent of smoking crack

cocaine. I’ve never done the latter, but the

former is so ridiculously addicting I assume

the correlation is right. This is maximum

grin-inducing stuff as the Suzuki’s 200

horsepower smoothly rushed in. It was

incredible.

32 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


“Overall my first impression is that Suzuki

has regained its “King of Sportbikes” crown.

There are several outstandingly capable

machines with which it has to compete, but

with the Suzuki GSX-R1000R I felt incredibly

connected on every level, and with every

part of the machine, that it bewitched me.

The combination of outstanding class-leading

horsepower harnessed in one of the most

agile-yet-stable chassis’ I’ve ever experienced,

will undoubtedly make this bike a winner.”

34 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


At 10,000 rpm, the variable valve train

comes into play and retards the intake timing

to a maximum of six degrees, enhancing the

Suzuki’s top end power. At that point, the two

small green lights flanking the shift light at the

top of the instrument pod come on, quickly

followed by the two amber lights at 12,000

rpm. Finally, the white shift light in the center

displays at 14,000 rpm.

However, there is little to no need for the

lights as far as I was concerned. I revelled in

that insane, howling, screaming motor as it hit

its crazy 14,500 rev limit—and this is a motor

that keeps pulling all the way until the limiter

forces me to stop.

I confess I hit that limiter multiple times

just because I could—what an experience.

Fortunately, the limiter is soft, so while there’s

some popping through the pipe as it activates,

there’s no hitting a wall—it’s just time to change

up a gear.

I was seeing over 290kph on the clock each

lap before I hit the brakes for Turn 1. It’s very,

very fast, and difficult to judge just how insanely

quickly you can go through it. There’s a nice

handy white line painted across the width of the

straight at the 200m countdown to Turn 1, and

I used that as my braking marker. With all four

fingers, I found I could grab the brakes quickly

and hard without any snatch or overbite from

the brakes. The Brembo callipers grip huge

330mm T-Drive rotors; the combination works

powerfully, yet with a ton of feel.

In my first session I felt a minor shuddering

coming up from the front end when really

hammering the brakes from this speed, so for

the second session I had a Suzuki engineer

add a half turn of compression damping to

the front BFF fork; that cured it. Clearly, the

hard braking was over-compressing the front

fork, so just that tad of additional compression

damping cured it.

Hard on the brakes from that speed I often

feel some movement from the back end as

the rear tire is just kissing the tarmac and big

braking forces get transmitted through the

chassis—except that the 2017 Suzuki GSX-

R1000R didn’t do it.

The standard ABS includes Suzuki’s new

Motion Track Brake System that reads data

from the six-axis IMU, which constantly monitors

pitch, roll, and yaw. The TC and cornering ABS

use that data as well. The system modulates

brake pressure to keep the rear wheel down and

the chassis in line.

Suzuki claims it is especially effective during

hard braking on downhill sections of track,

and the entry to Phillip Island’s Turn 1 is a

perfect example of that. Suzuki also claims the

system encourages the use of more aggressive

brake pads for better initial bite and more total

braking force.

The redesigned slipper clutch and flawless

blip-downshifter don’t hurt either—the

latter’s operation being so smooth to engage

the downshift was barely perceptible. The

combination of technologies has an amazing

effect on hard braking stability. I have been

feeling the rear end of bikes wandering a bit

under hard braking for years and, although

they’re not necessarily alone, Suzuki has

completely eliminated it on the 2017 GSX-

R1000R.

The GSX-R1000R comes with the ubercool

looking Showa WSBK-style suspension

with the oddly named Balance Free Fork with

remote reservoir and the Balance Free Rear

Cushion shock.

Despite the dreadful marketing nomenclature,

the suspension is awesome. It’s sensitive enough

that if you want to adjust it a little, it has a

noticeable effect. Of course, you can quickly and

easily undo any adjustment if you get it wrong.

After adding compression damping to the

front, I found the rear was starting to squat a

little under very hard acceleration coming out

of the corners; in the very fast final turn on to

the straight, it created a little waggle at the

handlebars.

Clearly, I had changed the weight

distribution under power, so I had two clicks of

compression damping added at the rear. I liked

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 3 5


how the GSX-R1000R responded

to these small changes, and was

thoroughly impressed how beautifully

it handled after that. The fork shudder

on the brakes had gone, and so had

the slight handlebar shake—as I

said, this is a very stable machine

that wants to play nice.

Another absolute standout

on the 2017 Suzuki GSX-

R1000R is the bi-directional

quickshifter for the new

cassette-style gearbox.

The quickshift system

monitors shift-linkage

movement, as well as

stroke, shift-cam rotation,

and throttle valve position.

Using that information, it

retards the ignition on upshifts,

and opens the butterflies for

downshifts.

The net result is that gearchanges

are the smoothest I have ever felt on a

motorcycle, and there are some pretty

good ones out there, so that’s really

saying something. A couple of times

I realized I hadn’t quite pressured

the lever enough, yet the next gear

still engaged smoothly with no false

neutrals. The gears mesh together

perfectly; they simply go from one to

the next one, whether you’re going up

or down the transmission, in an almost

seamless-feeling way.

It is easy to see that the GSX-

R’s bodywork has been completely

redesigned; there’s method behind

that, of course. Suzuki spent a lot of

time in the wind tunnel getting the

bike’s slipperiness where they needed

it, and even items like the fairing bolts

now have flat heads to enhance that.

The overall fairing width has been

reduced by over a half-inch, helping

with the reduced frontal area, and the

new gas tank makes it easier to tuck

in. I appreciated it on the straight, as

I was able to get my chin on the tank

without difficulty. Tucked behind the

bubble, the windblast was definitely

minimized and clearly helps the highspeed

stability too.

Other items to note are the easystart

function (just a quick prod at the

button lights the motor as long as the

bike is in neutral), a low-rpm assist to

help avoid stalling, and launch control

for racing starts.

The new LCD instrument pod

has a black background on the R

model, and six-levels of brightness

adjustment. Although this isn’t a pretty,

coloured TFT display like some

competitors, the display is clear and

easy to read. Most importantly, the

information is very well laid out, so I

have no complaint with it.

The all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000R

hugely impressed me. I only had one

day on the one track to test it, but in

that short time, the motorcycle didn’t

just impress me—it blew me away.

Suzuki has achieved that with a

screaming motor with humongous,

yet controlled power, and an agile

chassis that is also among the most

stable superbikes I’ve ridden. Those

fundamental needs for fast riding

are wrapped within easy to ride

ergonomics that fully integrate you

with the machine.

The feedback from every system

is precise. I could feel everything the

GSX-R was telling me, whether I was

accelerating hard out of a corner with

the tire just past its limit of traction,

or braking hard into a corner with the

front buried into the tarmac and then

turning-in. I felt completely connected

to the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R.

2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R key specs:

Engine: DOHC inline-4

Displacement: 999.8cc

Maximum power: 199bhp@13,200rpm

Maximum torque: 118Nm@10,800rpm

Redline: 14,500 rpm

Cooling: Twin-fan aluminum radiator; aluminum oil cooler

Fuel delivery: Ride-by-wire; electronic throttle bodies

Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh w/ quickshift

CHASSIS

Front suspension: Showa Balance Free Fork

Rear suspension: Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion

Front brakes: Radial mount Brembo Monoblock calipers w/

four 32mm pistons; Brembo T-drive 320mm floating disc

Rear brake: Single piston Nissin w/ 220mm disc

ABS: Standard

IMU: Six direction, three axis

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

Wheelbase: 1400mm

Seat height: 825mm

Lean angle l & r: 56 degrees

Fuel capacity: 16.5l

Curb weight: 203kg

Colours: Metallic Triton Blue; Glass Sparkle Black

GSX-R1000R Price: R310,000 (estimated - arriving end 2017)

Base model Price: R239,950 (arriving end March)

36 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


RACING PAGES

Red Square Kawasaki ZX-10R Masters Cup

Back on track

The first bit of 2-wheeled racing action for 2017 kicked-off at Zwartkops Raceway with the

ZX-10 Cup men at the Day of Champions. Words & Pics: Paul Blackburn

The first round of the Red Square

Kawasaki ZX-10R Masters Cup 2017

Championship season kicked off this

past weekend at the Zwartkops Raceway

in Pretoria. Part of the annual Day of

the Champion, it promised to be an

unforgettable day. The days leading up to

race day were dogged by miserable rainy

and cloudy weather. However, come race

day the racers got greeted by a typical hot

and sunny Highveld day.

Superpole got off to a fantastic start

with Graeme van Breda (IVID Kawasaki)

taking pole position. Second on the grid

would be Sven Grune and locking out the

front row in third was Jaco Gous. Gareth

Bezuidenhout qualified in fourth with Teddy

Brooke (Brooke Refrigeration) alongside

him. Brian Bontekoning rounded up the top

6 starters on the grid.

Race 1 - Graeme van Breda took an early

lead from the start. In the opening laps he

built a comfortable gap and never looked

back again. This left Sven Grune, Gareth

Bezuidenhout, Jaco Gous, Johan le Roux

(Avidan Trading), Teddy Brooke and Brian

Bontekoning to fight for the second step on

the podium. After a few laps Sven Grune

and Gareth Bezuidenhout pulled away

slightly to battle for second.

Behind them Jaco Gous and Johan le

Roux got involved in their own battle for

position leaving Teddy Brooke and Brian

Bontekoning in their own challenge. Further

back Stewart Christie (Eastern Vet) with some

new found pace got involved in a good scrap

with Sanjiv Singh. Positions were changing

hand over fist in all the various battles.

Season newcomer Sfiso Themba started

a remarkable race amongst the backmarkers

matching their pace. Sliding into the

kitty litter in turn 5 saw his race come to an

end. When the chequered flag came out it

was van Breda who took a comfortable win

over Grune with Bezuidenhout finishing a

close third. A dice to the line saw Gous pip

Le Roux for fourth. Just 0.063 of a second

separating the two over the line!

Race 2 - If race 1 was anything to go by

then a heated campaign was expected

in race 2. The spectators sure got their

money’s worth as the race kicked off. Once

again Graeme van Breda took an early lead

from the start but could not open as big a

gap as he did in the first race.

However, the great excitement and

frantic racing was right behind him for

second position. This battle was between

Sven Grune, Gareth Bezuidenhout, Jaco

Gous, Johan le Roux, Teddy Brooke and

Brian Bontekoning and in this race they

stayed together for all 10 laps!

Grune had his work cut out for him as

Gous found new pace and were all over

him at every turn, whilst Bezuidenhout

and Le Roux was keeping him honest

directly behind. Brooke and Bontekoning

however had their own ding-dong battle

immediately behind and complicated

matters to fight the guys in front of them.

Further back saw Stewie Christie in

another great dice with Sanjiv Singh.

Sfiso Themba was also back in the

second race and right back on pace.

Something not expected from new

campaigners after an off. This shows great

courage and it can be expected that he

will pick up pace as the season progress.

He also received Rider of the Day for his

great comeback.

As the chequered flag came out it was

van Breda who took the win in front of

Grune. Following close behind Grune was

Gous finishing in third. Bezuidenhout came

fourth and Le Roux rounded up the top 5

for the race. However, a mere 1 second

separated the finishers from second to

seventh! Brooke came sixth and seventh

placed man was Bontekoning. This sure

promises to be one of the most exciting

seasons for the Red Square Kawasaki ZX-

10R Masters Cup!

38 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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RF Garage

TECH TIPS

WHEEL ALIGMENT

A simple do-it-yourself method for accurately lining up your bike’s wheels.

Welcome to the RideFast Garage - A new feature we will be bringing you every month, where we will

offer some techinical tips for your motorcycle, or motorcycle riding gear.

This month, we look at a quick and simple way of checking your motorcycle’s wheel aligment.

Is your bike handling strangely? Tyres

wearing out asymmetrically? Chain making

funny sounds? Believe it or not, a serious

misalignment of the front and rear wheels

can be the cause of all these maladies.

Now, you’re probably thinking that

you’ve already checked the alignment

marks on the swingarm so the wheels

must be aligned. Not so fast. While these

alignment marks are better than they

used to be, there’s no guarantee they’re

right, considering the inherent variations

in manufacturing and the often prodigious

amount of slop in the axle blocks.

But there is an easy way to check

alignment that needs no special tools

beyond a track stand—assuming your bike

doesn’t have a centerstand—and a length

of lightweight rope.

Also make sure you have a good quality

chain fitted, like Regina, and make sure it’s

not set too tight or too lose. A quality chain

such as Regina can make a big difference

in how your bike rides.

STEP 1: Your tools for the job: lightweight

rope, a track stand, and a positive attitude.

STEP 2: Start by putting the bike on the track

stand and wrapping the center of the length

of rope around the front of the tyre as shown.

You want it placed so the lengths of rope

heading rearward are as high as they can be

without hitting the brake discs or bodywork..

STEP 3: Pull the loose ends of the rope

toward the rear wheel, trying to keep the line

taut enough that it won’t slip down the front

tyre. A piece of duct tape will hold the string

onto the front tyre if you’re having trouble.

40 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Brought to you by

STEP 4: Draw the free ends of the string back until they just touch the tread at the front of the rear

wheel. From this angle, look at the front wheel again. There should be a small gap between the

rope and the trailing edge of the front tyre; that gap should be equal on both sides. Sight down

the bike from one side then the other. It will be obvious when the front tyre is not pointing straight.

Turn the handlebars until it is.

STEP 5: With the front wheel aligned, once again

bring the rope to the leading edge of the rear

tyre. Draw the ends inward until the rope just

touches the leading edge. Be careful that you

don’t pull it so far that the rope bends. Again, if

you look at a low angle, it’s very obvious.

STEP 6: Now look at the gap from the rope

to the trailing-edge tread. It should be the

same left and right. If the gaps are different,

the rear wheel is not tracking the front. If the

rope touches the rear of the tyre before the

front, it’s way out of whack.

STEP 7: If the wheel is perfectly aligned, this gap

will be the same on both sides. If the gap is larger

on the left and smaller on the right, the rear

wheel is cocked in the swingarm with the front

of the tyre to the left of center. If the larger gap is

on the right, the tyre is “facing” slightly right.

STEP 8: If you’re smart, you’ll mark the

axle blocks when the wheel is properly

aligned for quick reference later. Or you can

maintain alignment by turning the adjusters

the exact same amount each time you set

the chain.

REGINA

98 years old in 2017 with over

325 World Championships

In 2016 Regina celebrated it’s 97th anniversary. The

company was founded in 1919, initially manufacturing

chains and free wheels for bicycles. The production of

motorcycle chains began in 1939, bringing early success

and victory after victory ever since. Over a period of more

than 90 years, many trophies in every discipline and

category, both road and off-road, were won, resulting

in more than 325 world championship titles. But the

biggest success is using the races as test ground for

ultimate product and technology development, resulting

in exclusive patents: Z-Ring, Chromized pin, shaped

bushing, etc. Applying these technologies to series

production makes the real difference between Regina

and all others. Therefore, Regina is the undisputed world

leader in research, development and production of

chains for every motorcycle.

We also encourage you to get involved, so if you have any tech questions

you would like our experts to answer please feel free to send them to rob@

ridefast.co.za. There will be a prize up for grabs every month so make sure you

send those questions, or if you have any tricks you would like to share with us

please do so. This months prize is a Regina chain to the value of R1200.

Patented Z-Ring Technology

Specially designed for application on high powered bikes, these chains are able to offer exceptional

performance thanks to the patented Z-Rings.

Assembled with high alloy steel pins and plates, solid bushings and rollers, shot-peening of plates, pins

and rollers are pre-stressed for performance-enhancing, assuring excellent resistance tom mechanical

stresses of the later superbikes.

The new generation seal rings, featuring a special-designed conical shape on their inner side, represent

the evolution of previous X-Ring and Z-Ring designs.

Patented “Z-Ring” section

The Z-Ring flexes when assembled, creating a spring effect that guarantees the seal will not decrease

over time.

The special Z-Ring section provides enhanced chain

flexibility. The conical section

enhances the assembling

on the bushing. The

lubricant trapped

between the plates

and the lobes of the

Z-Ring keeps the ring

lubricated and increases

its life.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 41


SPORTBIKE MAGAZINE

RF magazine play.indd 1006

2014/12/27 8:44 AM


44 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Things heat up

DOWN

UNDER

MOTOGP TESTING - PHILLIP ISLAND

A Spanish rivalry hots up, an Aussie makes big strides, rookies are

coming fast, and ‘The Doctor’ is behind the eight ball.

Three down, one to go: threequarters

of MotoGP pre-season

testing for 2017 is in the books

after last week’s three-day hit-out

at Phillip Island, and with only a

pre-Qatar blast to come before the

season starts at the Losail Circuit

in late March, we now have a clearer picture of

who’s on song – and who has plenty to ponder in

the next five weeks.

As he did in Valencia at the end of 2016

and Malaysia in January, Maverick Viñales set

the benchmark time across three days at the

Victorian coastal circuit, but assessing testing is

rarely as simple as going by what the stopwatch

tells you. Several riders made striking

progress as the Island test rolled on,

while others headed back to Europe

knowing they’re not yet on the pace,

and – worryingly for some – not exactly

knowing why either.

Here’s what we learned after

the Australian test, which was

(for Phillip Island standards)

blessed by unusually

stable and sunny weather,

not something we

often see in October

when the MotoGP

roadshow returns

for the race

proper.

Viñales is fastest, but Marquez is the front-runner

Viñales has made quite the impression at Yamaha

since coming across from Suzuki, and his day

three time of 1min 28.549secs (considerably

faster than pole position at the Island last

October, incidentally) showed how quickly he’s

meshed with his new machine. Impressive, sure –

but what might have been more ominous for the

rest was what Marc Marquez was able to do on

the Repsol Honda, particularly on day two when

teammate Dani Pedrosa battled illness and didn’t

ride a lot. Marquez did a mammoth 107 laps (“my

hands are destroyed,” was his rueful comment

afterwards), and 44 of those were beneath 90

seconds – a fearsomely consistent pace

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 45


that put the others in the shade. Replicate that over 27

laps in October’s race here, and he’ll win by a country mile.

The reigning and three-time world champion was

second on the overall timesheets at the end of the test,

but fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow knew better than

to read too much into that. “Marc showed his hand a

little bit,” the matter-of-fact Brit said, “but he has some

(time) in his pocket, trust me.”

The niggle between Viñales and Marquez is real

An on-track moment inside the final two hours of the

test on Friday suggested that Marquez sees Viñales –

not Viñales’ Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi or Ducati

defector Jorge Lorenzo – as his main impediment to

achieving four MotoGP titles in five years by the end

of this season. With Viñales on a long race simulation

run, Marquez emerged from the Phillip Island pits and

shadowed his Spanish compatriot around the track for a

few laps before Viñales pitted to shake him loose.

Coincidence, or not? Was Marquez trying to

unsettle Viñales? The champ protested his

innocence, as he might. “There was some gap,

but I was able to recover this gap. Then I followed

him two laps and it was interesting to see a

different bike,” Marquez said afterwards.

Viñales was a little more expansive. “The

track is four kilometres – strange that

he was there, where I was,” he mused.

“It’s not normal. You are doing your race

simulation. Someone pulls out … you

cannot stop. After five laps that he was

behind, finally I needed to abort the race

simulation.” Watch this space with these two.

46 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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Should Rossi fans be concerned?

‘The Doctor’ celebrated his 38th birthday on

day two of the test, and the celebratory cake

might have been the best things got over three

difficult days Down Under. He was under the

weather for much of the test away from the

bike, and when he was on it, things weren’t

a lot better, according to the man himself.

Yes, it’s ‘only’ testing, but 12th on the overall

timesheets was cause for consternation. “I

think the bike has good aspects, especially

the engine, but for sure this test was more

difficult for me than the one in Sepang,” Rossi

said after the final day. “I’m not very happy,

and we need to try to do better.”

More than the eye can see

He spent all Friday testing parts, and

struggling with a front tyre that he felt was

too soft for his needs. “I suffer quite a lot with

both tyres, especially the front,” he said. “For

sure this temperature and these conditions

are completely different to the Grand Prix. It

was a bit too soft. But sincerely it was not

my main problem. We tried to work a lot

on the pace for the second half of the race

because we suffered there last year.”

Rossi was pleased with the new engine,

and concluded that the new chassis

Yamaha had brought was the one he

would be using in the future. He spent

a lot of time working on settings,

running through a big program

handed to him by Yamaha. “We

work a lot. We try to improve the

feeling with the bike, especially

with the old tyres. We take a lot

of data and make a hard job.

But at the end we don’t fix

our problem so we have

to try something else for

Qatar.”

But Rossi may not be showing all his

cards. Reports from people inside the

paddock suggested that Rossi had not really

been feeling his best throughout the test. He

had been holding something back, fellow

Paddock Pass Podcaster Neil Morrison was

told. It is possible that the travel is starting

to wear on Rossi, and the busy PR program

Yamaha put him through between the Sepang

and Phillip Island tests took it out of him.

By the time the flag drops, his program will

be different. Especially once MotoGP returns

to Europe after the first three races, and

Rossi gets back into his rhythm, he will surely

be a factor. So far, the Yamaha M1 has made

a big step forward – every part the engineers

brought was an improvement, not something

that happens every year. It is probably the

best bike on the grid, and with Viñales and

Rossi aboard, it will be tough to beat.

48 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


“I think the

bike has good

aspects,

especially the

engine, but

for sure this

test was more

difficult for me

than the one

in Sepang,”

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 4 9


Ducati – halfway there...

After two days of struggle, there was

also good news for Jorge Lorenzo. On

Thursday, there had been signs of despair,

but the Spaniard finally managed to find

some pace with the Ducati Desmosedici

GP17. Both Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso

finished in seventh and eighth, Lorenzo a

tenth behind his teammate. The Spaniard

had gone out in the early part of the day

and pushed to set a time, exploring the

limits of the bike.

It had helped him understand where the

performance envelope of the Ducati was

to be found. “My goal was to improve the

feeling and understand more the way to get

a bit closer to the maximum with the bike we

have,” he said at the end of the day. He had

aimed to run a string of laps in the 1’29s,

and had succeeded in that. The Ducati was

still weak in mid-corner, he explained, and

adapting to that was not easy.

“Still it’s very difficult for me, because

they are completely different bikes,”

Lorenzo said. “They need the opposite

way to ride, the opposite way to take the

maximum from the bike. Ducati doesn’t

have corner speed for the moment, so you

need to keep braking a lot of time, and you

need to be aggressive with the throttle, onoff.

It’s a completely different way of riding.

So little by little I am starting to understand

this much better, especially today, but I

still need more time and more kilometres

to take the maximum with this bike. But

for sure I want to improve the bike to turn

better in the future. “

Phillip Island is a particular track

As a racing venue, the Island – with its

succession of sweeping corners and

stunning scenery – is one of the best on

the calendar. As a testing venue that teams

can learn from to tweak their bikes to most

tracks? Not so much. There’s nowhere

quite like the Australian circuit elsewhere

across the 17 other Grand Prix venues,

and with only two slow corners of note and

an abrasive track surface that tortures the

tyres (the hottest tyre temperatures all year

are recorded through the final two turns

of the track, the never-ending left-handers

that lead the bikes back onto the startfinish

straight), there’s not a lot you can

learn in Australia that applies elsewhere.

Honda often struggles with traction out

of slow-speed corners, so to see three of

them in the top five on the timesheets and

four inside the top nine was no surprise

given Phillip Island’s characteristics. Will

that be replicated at the stop-start Losail

layout in a month’s time? Doubtful, so

watch out for those fast Ducati’s, they will

certainly be challenging for the win...

Miller’s pace is genuine

The fourth of those Hondas inside the

top nine was Jack Miller’s Estrella Galicia

0,0 Marc VDS entry, and the Australian

could barely contain his enthusiasm after a

three-day test where he carried the team’s

workload by himself with Tito Rabat back in

Europe recovering from injuries sustained at

Sepang last month.

Miller was clean, didn’t fall once, was

inside the top 10 on all three days and

completed over 80 laps – more than three

Grand Prix distances – on each day. “For

the first time in a long time I feel like I’m

in charge of the bike and not the other

way round,” Miller joked on Friday, and

he’s clearly benefitting from the work done

behind the scenes with vastly experienced

Spanish engineer Ramon Aurin, who teams

up with the Aussie for the first time this

season. After a solid showing in the Malaysia

test, Australia was another step in the right

direction for Miller, who is in arguably the

best physical shape of his career as he

starts a crucial contract year in 2017.

50 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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The field tightens

Lorenzo’s improvement through the course

of the test was solid, going nearly 1.3

seconds faster over the three days of the

test. Progress was made by many riders

over the three days of the test. That saw

the field get a lot closer together in three

days, the gap from first to last being cut

from over three seconds on the first day

to under two seconds covering 22 riders

on the last day. Take out Karel Abraham’s

time, who went slower on Friday than he

did on Thursday, and there is just 1.651

seconds between Maverick Viñales in first

and Sam Lowes in twenty-second.

Given that Viñales improved his time

by over 1.4 seconds from Wednesday to

Friday, to end up with a lap time which

has only been bettered by three riders

in the past, the improvement, even at

the back of the grid, is impressive. Sam

Lowes took 2.1 seconds off his time

round Phillip Island over the three days.

Alex Rins was particularly quick, going

2.3 seconds faster and ending the test as

sixth, and four tenths ahead of his more

experience teammate. Bradley Smith was

2.7 seconds quicker on the final day than

he had been on the KTM on Wednesday.

The times are illustrative of just how

close the field is, once you look past the

two men at the top. Take out Viñales and

Márquez, and less than a second covers

Dani Pedrosa in third and Scott Redding

down in twentieth. Sam Lowes, last on

the Aprilia, is less than 1.2 seconds off

Pedrosa. Almost anywhere you look on

the timesheets, three tenths of a second

would give a gain of four or five places.

Strong rookies again

With the field so tight, it is hard to single

out riders who are struggling, and riders

who are close, but not quite there. Clearly,

both Monster Tech 3 riders are in the

zone, despite Johann Zarco only finishing

in fourteenth on Friday. His race pace on

his long run was close to that of Andrea

Dovizioso on the Ducati, and both Andrea

Iannone and Alex Rins on the Suzuki.

Jonas Folger took top honours in the

Tech 3 team on Friday, ending the test in

fourth and with good race pace, doing

a long run at the end of the day after a

crash, and dropping his laps into the low

1’29s before the checkered flag brought

proceedings to a halt.

Alex Rins had a strong test, faster than

his more experienced team mate on the

last two days of the test. Andrea Iannone

had been stuck doing the bulk of the test

work, going through electronics settings

and working with new parts to try to help

with grip. That had meant that Iannone

had not had a chance to go for a lap

time with a new tyre, something which

others, including Valentino Rossi, had also

missed out on.

The riders head home now, for a

couple of weeks break before the next

test at Qatar. The teams and factories

have three weeks to study the data from

the Sepang and Phillip Island tests, and

concoct solutions to their problems in

Qatar. When that test is done, the season

will be nearly upon us. Once battle is

joined in earnest, then there will be

nowhere left to hide for the MotoGP field.

52 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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56 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Everyone

As I barrel down the 800m long

front straight I glance down at

the dash and see a speed of

230kph. I quickly have to grab a handful

of front brake, and even some back

brake, as turn one is a 2nd gear 90º

right hand hairpin, The bike stops with

complete ease and lets me throw it in

with no fuss, hitting the apex beautifully.

At this point I have to remind myself

that I am not on a new Panigale racer,

but rather a sport-road bike, as Ducati

labelled it in their briefing.

DUCATI

A sport for

This is when I immediately knew

that Ducati’s latest creation is a serious

player in the market.

The world launch of the SuperSport

took place in Seville, Spain, where

we would put the new bike to the

test around the rather demanding

Monteblanco circuit, as well as the

even-more-so demanding tight and

twisty roads that surround the gorgeous

historic town. Being a former racer, I

was excited at the prospect of riding on

a track I had never seen before. I did

SUPERSPORT

Since we first layed eyes on it at last years World Ducati Week, we have been biting our

nails in anticipation of this new SuperSport machine from Ducati.

Words: Rob Portman

some research before I left on the trip

and discovered that the Monteblanco

circuit is not for the faint at heart - a true

sport bike lover, adrenaline seeking,

elbow and knee scraping junkies circuit

- 4.4km of fast and tight turns, long

straights and a uphill right hander that

will really test both you as a rider and

the machine you are on. I thought it

rather brave of Ducati to put us journos

on their new SuperSport machine

around such a demanding circuit. They

were obviously fully confident in the

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 57


sporty side of the bike - they don’t

call it SuperSport for nothing.

So what is this new SuperSport?

Is it a traditional 600cc racer? Is it

a new Panigale racer? Is it a sports

tourer? Well, let me answer those

questions for you right now…

A new breed of sporty bike

The SuperSport is not a 600cc racer,

nor a new Panigale super bike,

and yes, it is in a way a sportstourer,

although I think there is

more emphasis on the word sport

rather than tourer. As I said earlier

Ducati have given it the ‘Sport-

Road’ bike label. My first question

to Paolo Quattrino, the leader of the

project, was ‘what does Sport-Road

bike mean?”. He very confidently

answered “It’s a unique in the market

bike that offers a blend of Ducati

cool design with sport performance,

versatility and accessibility. Sport

made light, fun and easy.” A very PR

answer indeed so I asked him what

their target market was? “It’s a bike

for those eager to ride sports-style

on everyday roads. Fun and versatile

with true Ducati sports styling and

zest, the SuperSport makes riders

feel like racers: every day. A bike that

will not intimidate but rather install

confidence in the rider. We have done

research and seen a big gap in the

market for a bike like this - a everyday

kind of bike for every kind of rider.”

A good answer I though, as this

pretty much covers every motorcycle

enthusiasts wants in a motorcycle.

Ducati have very much focussed

on giving the bike a very sporty

feel, and one can recognize that

immediately just by looking at the

bike. It’s very sporty looking, with a

strong family feeling of the Panigale

incorporated in the overall design.

Its a dynamic, polished, visually

compact, light machine that is Ducati

to the core.

Love at first sight

This bike will have you at hello! The

SuperSport is a gorgeous piece of

kit that one can only really appreciate

when up close. It’s a bike that has

already won an award for its styling

- taking the honour of most beautiful

motorcycle at EICMA Show 2016.

A very big title indeed for a bike that

has only just been released.

Something that immediately

caught my eye, when I first saw it

displayed in the hotel lobby, was the

fact that no screws or bolts are visible

on the fairing. Very slick and really

does add extra sazz. Ducati really

are one of the best when it comes

to styling bikes and have once again

shifted motorcycle design one step

forward - exposed fairing bolts are so

last season!

The other stand out point was the

raised clip-on-bars and more touring

styled seat - which looked very

inviting.

58 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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Some tech

The Ducati SuperSport takes the 937cc Testastretta

motor from the Hypermotard 939, which pushes out a

healthy and enjoyable 113hp, and puts it into a relaxed

sportbike trellis frame, but it moves the power lower in

the rev range while also swapping for longer final drive

gear ratios. Ducati claim that 80% of the 96.7Nm of

torque is available at just 3,000 rpm. They’re also added

in Ducati’s Safety Pack (Bosch ABS and traction control)

as well variable riding modes - Sport/Touring/Urban.

The SuperSport makes excellent use of new Trellis

frame design developments that exploit the engine

as a fully stressed element. Both cylinder heads are

connected to the main steel frame: the seat sub-frame

- again made of steel - is, instead, connected to only

the vertical cylinder head.

Like all true Ducati sports bikes, the SuperSport

features adjustable suspension and a single-sided die

cast swingarm that is light yet extremely rigid, giving the

bike a decidedly technical, professional look.

As on all Ducati’s, the SuperSport is fitted with top of

the range Brembo brakes, very similar to those seen on

the highest-performing sports models.

So it all sounds great, and certainly looks great but

would it meet expectations? After a good nights rest it

was time for me to kit up and find out…

We tested the SuperSport S model out on track, which has Ohlins

suspension front and back as well as a quickshifter with auto-blip fitted.

They were also fully equipped with gorgeous Akrapovic twin pipes -

World SBK styled twin Akro’s also available and as you can see, they look

awesome! The optional extra Sport pack was also fitted.

The Sport pack includes: Carbon front mudguard / Carbon fuel tank cover

Articulated racing lever kit / Billet aluminium covers for front and rear

brake fluid reservoirs

Track time

We arrived at the Monteblanco circuit at 9am and were

immediately split into 2 groups. I was pleased to be in

group one and out on track first with the road ride later

in the afternoon.

We were given two 20minute track sessions to put

the bike through its paces. This was the first time I got

to sit on the bike. It was comfy, but defiantly leant more

towards sporty than touring. The high set clip-ons and

revised footpeg positioning do give it a much more

relaxed riding position and the seat is more

plush than on most sport bikes.

60 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


For the track test, we were given

the SuperSport S model, which is equipped

with fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear

suspension, as well as auto quick up/down

shift (an option on the base model), and a

colour coordinated rear seat cowl. Both the

base and S models are fitted with grippy

Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres, ideal for road

and track riding.

It took me around 3 laps to learn the

circuit and get comfortable with the feeling

of the bike. I was immediately impressed

with how light and agile the bike felt. Even

though it’s a bit on the heavy side, weighing

“The engine has been

designed to offer good

amounts of torque through

the rev range rather than

big horse power figures.”

in at around 210kg wet, it really did

not feel that heavy and was easy to

handle. Ducati were clever and fitted

the SuperSport with a 180 size

rear tyre, helping disguise it’s

chubbiness and highlight the

agility of the bike.

The gorgeous sounding

unique Testastretta engine

pushes out 113hp, not

big figures, and I could

feel that it did run

out of steam a

bit especially at

higher rpm. A

former racer

like myself

would want

a bit more

power, but I

had to remember

that this bike is not aimed at a pro like

myself, but rather the everyday rider, so in

that regard the power is perfect. The engine

has been designed to offer good amounts

of torque through the rev range rather than

big horse power figures. It did punch out

of the turns nicely, although the traction

control set at 3 did restrict power delivery

out of the turns quite a bit. The ABS was

set at level 2 for the first session, and while

the brakes did do a great job at stopping

me, I did not really enjoy the spongy feeling I

was getting from the ABS system.

So for my second session I made a few

changes, dropping traction control down

from 3 to 2 (8 levels available and can be

switched off), and ABS down from 2 to 1

(3 levels available and can be switched off).

I also asked the mechanics to stiffen up

the suspension a bit, as I could feeling it

wallowing a bit in and out of the turns. We

went from 8 clicks of compression down

to 4 front and back, this would help with

braking and overall feel and grip.

The changes were a delight and in the

second session I was really enjoying both the

bike and the circuit. I felt more in control of

the bike, the power delivery was a lot more

responsive coming out of the turns now that

TC was set a level 2, and the brakes a lot

more responsive and friendly at level 1.

I was scrapping just about everything,

in all the turns, from my knee sliders to the

exhaust. Ducati say that the bike and Pirelli

tyres are capable of 48º lean angle, and I’m

sure I reached that just sending sparks and

metal flying in the process.

Overall, the SuperSport S impressed

me out on track. It’s a nice track day

machine and a very good option for those

new to track days. Somebody coming

from a proper sports bike might find it a

lille bit lacking.

62 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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Out on the road

This is where the SuperSport really had to

shine, as this is where the target market

would be using it most. Yes it’s more than

capable out on track, but still, most of its

mileage will be done out on the road.

It needed to be everyday friendly, and

all the signs point to it being just that.

While the riding position is slightly better

than most sports bikes, it’s still very racy.

There is plenty of leg room, but that’s

for me, the average size man. I do think

Avatar’s will battle a bit on this bike.

For the 250km plus road ride we

were handed keys to the SuperSport

model, or base model if you like. So, the

fancy, more racy, Ohlins suspensions

is replaced by very capable Marzocchi

front forks and Sachs rear shock, that are

both adjustable for spring pre-load and

rebound damping.

It also loses the quick shifter and auto

blipped, which is a pitty but is available as

an optional extra (I highly recommend this).

I set off with the bike is Sport mode,

with ABS set on 2 and TC set on 3.

Again, just as on the track, the

handling was superb. It’s very stable, and

the suspension is very plush giving you

loads of feel and control. The brakes are

strong but friendly. All the instruments

are easy to understand and perfectly

accessible. You can adjust riding modes

and electronics on the fly but you will

have to take some time out at the

begging first to understand just how it all

works. It won’t take long at all.

The screen is adjustable with two

positions. I set it higher when out on the

longer roads and it offered good wind

protection, with no buffering what so ever.

My eyes lit up when I saw a trail of

tight, twisty bends come up. With all the

torque available at such low rpm, there is

no need to scream the bike and be in and

out of gears. I simply put it in 4th gear

and let the torque and engine braking

guide me through. Didn’t even have to do

much braking, just roll off and the engine

braking would slow me down enough,

and then when I wanted power, it was

there, not in abundance but more than

enough. Again, and I know I’m going on

about the handling but it’s just so good.

Agile, precise and stable, everything you

could want and expect from a Ducati.

For the second set of twistys I decided

to shift into Touring mode. This mode still

offers the full 113hp just in a smoother

delivery, and also sets the TC to 4 and

ABS to 3. You can manually change this

though. I found this a bit to laggy and dull.

Really no need to go to Touring or Urban

unless road conditions are a bit dodgy or

wet. Sport mode is very easy to use and

enjoy so I just decided to stick with that.

64 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


“My eyes lit up when I

saw a trail of tight, twisty

bends come up. With all the

torque available at such

low rpm, there is no need

to scream the bike and be

in and out of gears.”

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 65


After 150km on the bike I was starting

to feel some effects of the sporty riding

position. Although the bars are raised,

I was still getting a bit of pain in my

wrists, but nothing serious and nowhere

near what you would get after the same

distance on a proper sports bike. My

shoulders were also starting to feel

strained as it is a bit of a stretch to the

bars, again, nothing one can’t deal with.

Hats off to the suspension, even

thought it’s not the fancy Ohilns like on the

S model, it still delivered. It just floats along

and it has nice damping for the road.

I felt no vibrations at all - it’s really

smooth and effortless.

After a total of 300km riding on the

road, we arrived back at the track and the

test was over. My bum was a bit sore as

was my wrists and shoulders. But we did

do a couple of photoshoots, which can

be hard work so I had to take that into

account.

It’s certainly not a bike for massive long

distances, the lack of cruise control and

heated grips tells you that, showing that

it defiantly does have a more sporty side.

But it’s more than capable of the everyday

commute, and outride.

Conclusion

It was a long day of riding and I really did

get to put the SuperSport to the test. It’s a

great mix of performance and comfort.

The electronics are brilliant, styling is

exotic and trendy, handling is sharp, stable

and very versatile, while the brakes are just

perfect. It’s almost a like a Monster with a

fairing, loads of fun.

While I do wish it had a bit more overall

horsepower, the 113 on offer does the job

just fine and will attract a wider market.

The SuperSport is aimed at a very large

target market. If you are that rider, male

or female, young or old, who is looking to

add a bit more sporty excitement to your

commute or outride, without sacrificing

comfort, and a bike that you can enjoy and

be in control of on racy roads or on track,

then this is a bike you really should look

at, especially the S model, which is great

value for money.

Ducati SA will have the SuperSport

available soon for demo rides, so make

sure you call them to book.

Pricing is very good, considering where

new bikes prices are going. The base

model is at R169,000, while the S model is

at R188,000 in red and R191,000 for white

silk. There are a host of optional extras

available, from Sport to Touring, even cool

looking and spacious side panniers.

2017 Ducati SuperSport key specs: Engine: Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled • Displacement: 937cc • Maximum power:

113bhp@9,000rpm • Maximum torque: 97Nm@6,500rpm CHASSIS Front suspension (base): Fully adjustable 43mm (1.7 in) usd Marzocchi forks. S model: Fully adjustable 48mm (1.9 in)

usd Ohlins forks • Rear suspension (base): Progressive linkage with adjustable Sachs monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarm. S model: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable

Ohlins monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarm • Front brakes: 2 x 320 mm (12.6 in) semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo M4-32 callipers, 4-piston, radial pump

with ABS as standard DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES Wheelbase: 1478mm • Seat height: 810mm • Fuel capacity: 16l • Curb weight: 210kg • Colours (SuperSport): Ducati Red with Ducati

Red frame and Matt Black wheels • Colours (SuperSport S): Star White Silk fairing with Ducati Red frame and Glossy Red wheels - Ducati Red fairing with Ducati Red frame and Matt Black

wheels • Base Price: R169,000 • S model red Price: R188,000 (R191,000 white/silk) WARRANTY & MAINTENANCE 24 months unlimited mileage / 15,000 km or 12 months

66 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Prizes

• Prizes consist of one Yamaha YZF-R1 2017 motorcycle and one Indian Scout 2017 motorcycle.

IN A2017

INDIAN

SCOUT

Visit and like the Anassis Racing Facebook page for details

on how to enter - www.facebook.com/anassis.racing

Bike will be given away at this years Africa Bike Week, East London, 29th April. T&C’s apply

These terms and conditions apply to all competitions conducted by 23 Racing CC t/a Anassis Racing in

partnership with MiWay Insurance Limited (MiWay), whether on the Anassis Racing or MiWay website, any other

website or by any other method whatsoever, unless expressly stated otherwise.

By participating in any of the competitions conducted by Anassis Racing, as mentioned above, you agree to

be bound to the terms and conditions set out herein. Anassis Racing and MiWay reserve the right to amend

these terms and conditions without notice to the participants. It is your responsibility, as a participant in

the competition, to inform yourself from time to time of the terms and conditions that are applicable to the

competition in question.

• This competition commences on 1 March 2017 and runs until midnight 29 September 2017.

• Prohibited Participation

• A person who is:

• The winner of the Indian Scout motorcycle will be announced during the Africa Bike week, which takes place

from 27-30 April 2017.

• The winner of the Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle will be announced during November 2017 at a date to be

confirmed.

• The motorcycles may be branded, and if branded, will be on the sole discretion of Anassis Racing and MiWay.

• Prizes cannot be exchanged and are non-transferable.

responsibility is on the participant to ensure that he/she furnishes Anassis Racing with the correct contact details.

• Anassis Racing will endeavour to deliver prizes to winners within 2 weeks of the winner being announced and

verified by Anassis Racing. Delivery will be to South African addresses only. Anassis Racing will bear the delivery

cost. Alternatively, Anassis Racing may, at its sole discretion, require the winner to collect the prize(s) at the

Anassis Racing headquarters, based in Pretoria.

• Winners of the prizes shall be solely responsible for all of the costs and expenses of and associated with

• a director, member, partner, employee, agent or consultant of Anassis Racing, MiWay or the advertising agency

running the motorcycle giveaway campaign; or

• Anassis Racing and MiWay do not guarantee, warrant or make any representations whatsoever regarding the

quality of the prizes.

• Anassis Racing and MiWay reserve the right to substitute the prize at any time without notice to the participants

with a prize of equivalent or greater value, if it is deemed necessary or expedient, in Anassis Racing or MiWay’s

opinion, to do so, or if circumstances arise outside of Anassis Racing or MiWay’s control which necessitate

such substitution.

• under the age of 18 years; or

• residing outside the borders of the Republic of South Africa.

• a spouse, life partner, parent, child, brother, sister, business partner or associate of a person referred to in

paragraph 2.1.1 above; or

possessing, using, servicing, licensing, owning, registering, maintaining and repairing those prizes.

• Winners possess and use prizes won in competitions entirely at their own risk. Anassis Racing and MiWay,

their members, partners, employees, agents, representatives, advertisers and sponsors shall not be liable for any

accident, injury, harm, death, damages, costs and/or loss sustained by a participant as a result of the possession

Entries

• Entering this competition gives Anassis Racing and MiWay permission to use the entrant’s information for

product promotions, marketing purposes and information gathering.

• Only entries in an entry format approved by Anassis Racing will be considered.

• The competition draw will take place on the date specified on the relevant competition website page displayed

on the Anassis Racing social media platform. After the competition draw, the winner will be announced in the

manner referred to in paragraph 5 below.

Winners

or use of prizes won in the competition.

• The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into for any reason whatsoever.

• Any participant who breaches or attempts to breach any of the above terms and conditions will immediately

be disqualified.

• Anassis Racing and MiWay reserve the right to cancel the competition at any time without notice to the

participants or if circumstances arise outside of Anassis Racing or MiWay’s control which necessitate such

• Entry formats approved by Anassis Racing are in the form of short message services (“SMS”) and online entry

forms, and/or social media campaigns. All SMS, online and social media entries received will be combined and

• Winners will be notified by e-mail, telephone or identified on the Anassis Racing Facebook page, as determined

in Anassis Racing sole discretion. Winners will be expected to be available for photographs, to appear in print/

articles, online, on television and/or radio as Anassis Racing and MiWay may consider necessary, for which no

fee will be payable to the winners.

cancellation, as determined in Anassis Racing discretion. In the event of such a cancellation, all competition

participants agree to waive any rights that they may have in terms of the competition in question and

the winner will be selected from those combined entries.

• Only one entry is allowed per person for each motorcycle giveaway competition – whether by online entry

form, SMS or social media.

• In respect of entries received by means of SMS, only the account holder of the cellular telephone number

• The competition draw will take place on the date specified on the relevant competition website page displayed

on the Anassis Racing social media platform. After the competition draw, the winner will be announced in the

acknowledge that they shall have no recourse whatsoever against Anassis Racing, MiWay and/or their members,

directors, employees, agents, representatives, partners, sponsors or promoters.

• All Anassis Racing competitions are conducted in terms of the requirements of section 54 of the Lotteries

Act, 1997 and the regulations issued pursuant thereto. http://us-dn.creamermedia.co.za/assets/articles/

drawn from the SMS entries received will be eligible for the prize. The entrant might be requested to reply with

additional information to confirm the information and details provided.

manner referred to in paragraph 5.3 below.

• Anassis Racing will use its reasonable endeavours to contact prize winners for seven successive calendar

days after their names have been drawn. If a winner cannot be reached within that seven-day period on the

telephone number or e-mail address supplied, the prize will be forfeited and another winner will be drawn. The

attachments/03173_lotteriesact57.pdf

• Anassis Racing and MiWay competitions are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated

with, the social media platform that they are promoted on.


CARBON RUBBER

D U N L O P Q 3 T Y R E T E S T

Marketing campaigns for tyres are filled with catchy buzzwords touting their performance. So

much so that we as journalists have started to ignore them. And no two buzzwords are more

fashionable these days than “carbon fibre,” the light yet strong material so popular when it comes to

performance materials. Words: Rob Portman Pics: Gerrit Erasmus

Now Dunlop is extolling the virtues of

carbon fibre in its latest sport tyre, the Q3,

the successor to the popular Q2. CFT, or

Carbon Fibre Technology, is the buzzword

acronym now and it stems from the use

of carbon fibre filaments extruded into the

rubber used to form the Q3’s sidewall.

The benefit, Dunlop says, is lighter feeling

on turn-in, better stability at full lean, and

more composure driving out of a corner.

Beyond the performance benefits, with

advancements in manufacturing efficiencies

and processes, the Q3 will cost exactly the

same as the Q2 before it, in all sizes.

Continuing the acronym soup, the

Q3s continue Dunlop’s Intuitive Response

Profile (IRP). For the Q3, this means a taller

profile and a more aggressive taper on

the sides compared to the Q2, resulting

in slightly quicker turn-in and a greater

contact patch to the ground at maximum

lean angles.

Multi Tread (MT) technology is Dunlop

speak for dual compounds and the Q3

has them. A tough, cool-running, longwearing

compound in the centre is flanked

by softer compound rubber on the sides

for traction at any lean angle. Two nylon

carcass plies and two aramid reinforcing

belts help the tyre maintain composure

68 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


We fitted the Q3’s to our 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R - a bike with great

handling capabilities and big power figures. The Q3’s did not

disappoint and helped highlight the bikes agility, and what was

even more impressive was how the rear tyre handled the massive

amounts of abuse that came from Rob’s trigger-happy right hand,

releasing the 200hp from the motor.

during cornering and braking. In addition

to these elements, the rear features a

continuously wound Jointless Band (JLB)

to keep the tyre diameter from expanding

at high speeds.

Unlike other tyres with quick warm-up

abilities, however, the Q3 doesn’t utilize

any silica in its design, says Mick Jackson,

Manager of Product Development, who

comes from Dunlop’s UK race team,

having worked extensively in Grand Prix

and World Superbike before joining Dunlop

USA in Buffalo, New York. “Instead, the Q3

is all carbon black, infused with different

polymers, which allow it to warm quickly

and provide great grip.”

Looking at the Q3’s tread pattern, it

looks very similar to that of the D211 GP-A

DOT race tyre, however, with fewer, yet

longer, center grooves. This allows for

better water dispersal but with the same

rubber to void ratio as the Q2.

Using sophisticated data acquisition

instruments, Dunlop engineers determined

the Q3 has 8% more drive grip, plus 5%

more corner stability than its predecessor,

allowing for a 0.5-second improvement

in dry lap time around Dunlop’s test

track with test rider Rich Conicelli at

the controls. More impressive is the

1.4-second lap time improvement on the

2km wet course.

Think about that: race teams are thrilled

when they slash tenths of a second off

lap times. To cut 1.4 seconds around a

2km course, in the wet, is a huge amount.

Again, using data acquisition, the Q3

recorded 8% better drive grip, 10% more

braking stability and 15% more cornering

stability compared to the Q2 in wet

conditions around Dunlop’s test track.

Does it all work?

If the numbers are to be believed, then

Dunlop has created one incredible tyre.

Of course claims like this deserve to be

verified, and that’s why we just

had to put the new Q3 to the

test on the road and track.

Using carbon fibre in

promotional materials is sure

to grab attention, but I’m happy

to report CFT is more than

just marketing fluff – these

tyres deliver. Under braking,

they feel sure-footed with little

squirm. Initial turn-in feel quick,

with confidence inspiring grip

at full lean. The Q3 would simply

slam to full lean and immediately carve

toward the intended apex with impressive

precision and neutrality.

RedStar Raceway in notoriously a

tough track, for rider, machine, and

especially tyres, but the Q3’s performed

better than we could have ever expected,

and even after 60 hard laps of testing, tyre

wear looked good with plenty more still on

offer for the ride home.

It’s difficult not to be anything less than

highly impressed with the Dunlop Q3. It

delivers confidence-inspiring grip just shy

of a race tyre. For the rider looking for a

high performance street tyre that will also

handle hard lapping in the fast group at

your next trackday, look no further.

The Q3 now in SA in popular sizes for

most current sporty motorcycles. 180, 190

and 200 rear sizes are available with RRP

price of R4100inc vat for a set.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 69


OLD SCHOOL

1955 ROYAL ENFIELD RACER

What, 140KPH? On this old thing, looking at the skinny wheels and the rather large drum brakes. Yup

– them old school racers must have had monster Cahones… we took it for a little spin at Zwartkops

Race track. Words: Glenn Foley

Dion de Beer

with his pride

and joy.

This is a fairly famous bike in South

African racing circles. It used to be ridden

by Tiny Mariner, he of the famous Mariner

racing family from Port Elizabeth. As far

as we know, this is the only Royal Enfield

of its type in South Africa.

A few years ago, motorcycle

enthusiast Dion de Beer bought the bike

with the view to restoring it to its original

race glory - and that they have done. The

bike has unwittingly won 2 concourse

competitions at the 1000 bike show

(It wasn’t actually entered). Best Royal

Enfield on show. And it runs beautifully.

Originally manufactured in – wait for

it… 1955 – guys that’s older than most of

the toppies at the top of the motorcycle

food chain here in SA. A full 62 years old

– and it still hurls itself around the race

track without a limp. Most impressive.

A bit of history:

In 1909, the Enfield Cycle Company

began business making parts for the

Enfield rifle. This legacy is reflected in the

company logo cannon, and their motto,

“Made Like A Gun”.

They manufactured motorcycles,

bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary

engines. The first Royal Enfield

motorcycle was built in 1901. The

original British concern was defunct by

1970. The Enfield Cycle Company is

responsible for the design and original

production of this Royal Enfield Bullet, the

longest-lived motorcycle design in history.

The 500 Bullet was originally a

British overhead valve single cylinder

four-stroke motorcycle made by Royal

Enfield in Redditch, Worcestershire, but

now produced by Royal Enfield Motors,

70 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


she accelerates actually feels quite fast,

but why is my nose so itchy? And my

eyeballs are bouncing as the Zwartkops

track becomes a blur. No such thing as a

balancer shaft back then, so everything

buzzes as you hurtle along. Next corner

Ok – remember the brakes – the gears are

a bit more positive as the bike gets hotter

– open wide… old school super single

racer at its best.

Like we said, throw everything that

you thought you knew about racing… no

electronic aids, no quick shifter, no wide

race slicks or anything like that. This is

how it used to be cool – when men were

men… and they raced primitive machines.

What a great little machine. Beautifully

crafted. Not something we’d like to race, but

it is fantastic to see old bikes like these still

rolling. Dion is busy with a very Rare Honda

750. When it’s done, we’ll run a feature…

A huge Amal carb

feeds the engine.

the successor to the British company, at

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in India. The Royal

Enfield Bullet has the longest production

run of any motorcycle having remained

continuously in production since 1948.

The Bullet marque is even older, and has

passed 75 years of continuous production.

In 1955, Enfield Cycle Company

partnered with Madras Motors in India

in forming Enfield of India, based in

Chennai, and started assembling bikes.

The first machines were assembled from

components imported from England.

In 1957, Enfield of India acquired the

machines necessary to build components

in India, and by 1962 all components were

made in India.

The build.

Dion found a pic of an original Enfield

racer and the game was on. Controls

had to be moved around – the gear shift

had to be moved from the left side to the

conventional Right side of the bike – and

the brakes had to go to their proper place.

To this end, along with the rear sets and

the performance pipe, Dion fabricated all

of this in his workshop. The bike looks

pretty standard.

Next up was the fuel tank, faring and

seat – naturally nothing like this is available

off the shelf, so he and his son David had to

manufacture it all. From scratch. Guys you

need to see the bike to understand how

nicely it’s all been done. It looks factory.

(The bike was missing triple clamps), so

Dion made a set. It was a challenge to get

it to all lined up. The faring is an Aeromachi

that they cut and moulded to fit. Up front,

you’ll find a very neat SRA tachometer.

Engine wise, they fitted an aluminium

barrel, fitted an oversized piston and

bigger valves. An AMAL carburettor feeds

the power mill.

The Ride:

Riding this bike was a real experience. We

were not kidding in our opening paragraph

about how brave these early race pioneers

were. Take everything you know about

modern superbikes and throw it out of the

window.

First up – to start the bike takes a

Yup! Big Boy scooter. Back the bikes up,

spin the rear wheel, the big boy is the

compression jump starter and the big

thumper chugs to life. Deon has got his

Mrs, Sue well sorted in this department,

she has a scoot to buzz around in the pits

– and he gets his own auto start. The short

pipe makes an awesome growl.

Perching on this bike – yup – perching

– it’s pretty small and narrow and a longer

slab needs to kind of pretzel themselves

onto the bike. The little seat is quite

spacious so the rider can move around

quite easily. Hit first and roar out onto

the straight. The bottom end torque on

this 530 odd cc beasty is pretty cool, hit

second, you need very positive input to

change gears, third – and here comes the

corner… hit the brakes…. Hold on… what

brakes? They feel kind of spongy and slow

the bike rather than anything really positive

– your eyes widen as you frantically gear

down to slow further – and lean… she

actually turns pretty well… Flip just made

it… holleee cow that was fun! Check the

seat for bite marks…

Hit the throttle and down the straight

Huge drum

brakes...

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 7 1


NINJAS

A family of

Kawasaki has a full range of Ninja’s available - from the very sporty,

everyday friendly to the mind-blowing beast that is the ZX10R. They have

also just added a new member to the family - the Ninja 650.

Words: Rob Portman Pics: Zenon

72 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


The Kawasaki Ninja is the

trademarked name of several

series of Kawasaki sport

bikes, that started with the

1984 GPZ900R. It’s now firmly

established in the motorcycle industry

and one of the most loved, respected and

trusted names around.

When you buy a Ninja model you know

you getting the best of sporty, cuttingedge

technology around. The model range

has grown immensely over the years, and

once only catering for the experienced

rider, now features a range for riders of all

levels - from novice to experienced.

For 2017, the Ninja family has had

a new member added, or should I say

updated. The Ninja 650 has been around

since 2006, undergoing minor changes

over the years, and for 2017 has had even

more. We were invited along by Fourways

Motorcycles, the Kawasaki dealer out

in JHB, to test the all-new Ninja 650.

While there we noticed that they also had

a demo Ninja 300, and ZX10R model

available. So, we sneakily grabbed the

keys for all three bikes and took them out

for a spin on the busy surrounding roads.

The Ninja 300

One ride and you’ll understand why the

Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a very popular

learner and commuter motorcycle.

It is a thoroughly refined, agile, forgiving,

smooth, attractive and well-built package

that will not only suit many learners, but

also a wide variety of rider heights and

abilities. Even experienced riders might like

one as a second bike for commuting and

weekend twisties-carving.

In 2016, the lightweight sports bike got

even better with bold new racy colours,

improved instrument visibility at night, a

slipper clutch ad ABS standard.

If you love aggressive and angular

styling, you’ll love the Ninja 300 with its

“Transformers” design. Very clever of

Kawasaki to give it similar graphics to the

ZX10R, so at a glance, it really does look

like a supersport 600.

The build quality is exceptional with

high-quality surfaces, even on the engine

casings, with small and even panel gaps

and top-shelf feel in the controls. Amazing

for such a bargain bike.

While the Ninja 300 may look small, once

you throw your leg over the bike it seems to

fit. It may look like a crotch rocket, but it’s

not. The handlebars are deceptively high

and easy to reach with just a slight lean

forward. The rider’s seat is flat and firm, yet

comfortable. The pillion seat and high pegs

are only suitable for short journeys. In all,

the riding position will suit a wide range of

rider heights and be capable of most tasks,

except long-distance touring.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 73


The biggest attraction in the top-selling

Ninja 300 is the parallel-twin engine. It’s

the most powerful in its class, but more

importantly it is a mechanical quiet,

smooth, refined, flexible and forgiving

engine and transmission. While the engine

only has 39hp of power at 11,000 revs,

it won’t make you leave brown stains in

your pants, it is enough to use and enjoy.

It spins up freely and revs at 7000 in sixth

gear at 100km/h. Despite the high revs,

it never feels buzzy or over-worked. You

have to rev it and use the gears to get

the best out of it, but the six-speed box

is so positive and lightning quick you will

enjoy the task. You also won’t hit any

angel gears along the way and neutral is

very easy to find. The clutch is also nice

and light, so you won’t get a sore wrist

from all the gear changes. But even if you

aren’t into MotoGP gear changes, the

flexible engine has enough torque (27Nm

at 10,000rpm) to forgive the lazy or

inexperienced rider. Novice riders are also

forgiven for clumsy downshifts with the

slipper clutch preventing dangerous rearwheel

lockups on hasty gear changes.

The throttle is very easy to use, making

it dead easy to perform slow-speed

manoeuvres such as feet-up u-turns.

This is aided by a tight turning circle

thanks to the bars being high enough to

clear the tank and not jam your thumbs.

The smooth throttle also allows you to

easily maintain steady speeds and not be

inadvertently caught out by police radar.

Brakes are very positive with good

initial bite and plenty of feel. The

lightweight two piston Nissin front

callipers and single petal-shaped 290mm

disc supply more than enough stopping

power for the 172kg bike. The lightweight

ABS unit is smooth and reactive.

Handling is agile. There is very little

weight to fling around and the high and

comparatively wide bars for a sports bike

make it easy to flick through traffic or your

favourite section of winding road. Yet it

doesn’t feel nervous on the highway or

get blown around in the turbulence from

trucks and vans. Commuters will enjoy the

upright ring position which allows good

vision and visibility in traffic. However,

while the wing mirrors don’t give much

rear vision, they do provide good blindspot

views and are blur-free

at any engine revs.

The large fairing vents

and a radiator fan do

their best to expel heat

when stuck in summer

traffic. Speaking of heat, it

won’t burn a hole in your

wallet, either, with miserly

fuel economy of about

4.3L/100km.

It’s very easy to keep

everything in check, with

everything from the Economical

Riding Indicator to fuel gauge

featured on the racy multifunction

LCD dash.

Priced at R79,995, the Ninja

300 is a versatile package that

will suit many novice and even

experienced riders.

74 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


The new Ninja 650

The previous generation Ninja 650 models

have always felt like outcasts to me, never

really fitting in with their more sporty family

members. But the new 2017 model looks

better than ever. The bike’s lines are now

much sharper and more angular, putting

the 650 more in line with the company’s

supersport Ninjas, and the odd looking

exposed shock absorber is gone, having

moved to the centre of the frame and

connected to the swingarm by linkage.

The biggest, and most noticeable change

is the frame, which is now an all-new steel

trellis design that weighs an astounding

8.6 kg less than before. And that’s not the

only component that’s seen a reduction in

weight: the wheels, swingarm, engine and

various other components are lighter than

before, bringing the total weight savings

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 75


to 19 kg, which is unheard of in a single

model upgrade. Hardcore racers would be

hard pressed to remove half that amount

for the racetrack.

Steering geometry is more aggressive

and much more sport-bike like, with less

trail (99 vs 110mm) and a steeper rake

angle (24 vs. 25 degrees), while wheelbase

remains at 1,410 mm. Just how sporty

is the new geometry? Those numbers

now almost match the geometry of the

ZX6R (within half a degree and a couple

of millimetres). And the wet weight,

at 192 kg, is identical to the 6R’s wet

weight. The 41 mm conventional fork is

retained, but it has been retuned primarily

to compensate for the weight reduction.

The rear suspension is more progressive

in compliance, mostly due to the newly

added linkage.

I was hoping for a bit more changes

to the motor. While it was good, it always

lacked a bit of bite. The 646 cc parallel

twin’s basic specs, like bore, stroke

and compression ratio are the same

as before, but cylinders no longer have

steel liners, which reduces weight and

brings the cylinders closer together for

a narrower engine. Within a redesigned

cylinder head are new cams with slightly

milder timing, while the throttle bodies

are 2 mm smaller in diameter, at 36 mm.

These changes combine with revised

engine mapping to increase peak torque

by 2Nm to 48.5, while increasing available

torque in the lower rev range. Gearbox

ratios are unchanged, but the clutch is

now mechanically assisted to reduce lever

effort, and incorporates a slipper function.

Even with all those changes I would still

like more out of the motor. Euro-4 emission

restrictions do hold Kawasaki back quite a

bit, so I think once you add a good slip-on

pipe you will get plenty more out of the

motor. This is the first thing I would do.

The riding position has been reshuffled,

and feels slightly more sporty. Seat height

has dropped 15 mm to 790 mm, which is

relatively low for a sport bike, but this does

make the bike more accommodating to lady

rider and guys like Sheridan Morais (sorry

bud, always have to throw your name in

when height is mentioned). The ergonomics

are much more accommodating than any

supersport machine, placing you into a

modest forward lean with a very easy reach

to the handlebar.

The new 650 feels a lot narrower

between the knees and it indeed feels much

lighter, whether at a standstill or at speed —

a 19kg reduction in weight will do that.

The gorgeous dash tells you everything

you could, and would need to know.

Clutch effort is light, the bike launches

with very little throttle, and it accelerates

smoothly, but with a light throbbing vibration

that gives it an almost big-twin feel.

Although the engine isn’t electric smooth,

it is mostly vibration free until about 110

km/h, where some buzzing is felt in the fuel

tank and seat; the handlebar and footpegs

remain buzz-free, as do the mirrors, which

offer a clear, almost unobstructed rear view.

Steering is light and neutral, and the

feedback from the contact-patch inspires

confidence — an especially welcome

handling trait when having to dodge

everyday chaotic Fourways traffic.

You do have to scream the bike a bit to

get the best out of it. The engine feels best

when gassing it from about 5,000 rpm,

and it emits a very satisfying intake howl

when you do so. I do get that ‘I want more’

feeling though.

Handling isn’t a worry, as the 2017

Kawasaki Ninja 650 is stellar. Featuring a

shortish wheelbase, and a fairly aggressive

24 degrees of rake, the Ninja 650 is a

remarkably agile machine. Requiring little

input, most will likely appreciate how

compliant, and forgiving the new Ninja is.

Whether you’re gallivanting around the city,

or headed out into the twistys, the Ninja 650

can handle it with ease.

Braking is progressive and has a

confident braking feel from the basic tripledisc

setup, without suffering the pangs of an

overly aggressive initial bite.

The best part of the new 650 for me has

to be it’s styling. It’s impossible to ignore

the completely redesigned look, drawing

from the Ninja ZX6R and ZX10R. The

bold, aggressive styling, and tightly fitting

bodywork is impressive. On the same note,

the revised swingarm is a fine aesthetic

addition, as well as being functional.

Middleweight bikes play an important

role in motorcycling. These machines help

maintain the sport, and may very be the

way riders enter the fold. In this case, the

Ninja 650 does the difficult task of offering

something for a huge swath of riders.

New riders will find its ease of use

inviting, and experienced will ride the 2017

Kawasaki Ninja 650 to its full potential

with a grin. Kawasaki has improved

upon one of the staple models in terms

of performance, and especially in looks,

without forgetting the core demographic

that this bike supports—the next

generation. Price: R129,995.

76 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


2015/2016


ZX10R

The ZX10R is a animal not to be messed

with, especially one like this, that has some

extra go-fast goodies on. The Fairways

Kawasaki demo bike is kitted out with a

gorgeous, roaring SC Projects pipe, so it

will never not be heard in traffic. It also has

had it’s ECU flashed, which means more

unrestricted power and the added autoblip.

The ZX10R is plenty powerful enough

but with all this takes it to the next level.

Take the Ninja 300, combine it with

the new Ninja 650, and you still won’t

match the power figures of the mighty

ZX10R. 200hp and 113.5Nm of torque are

available at the simple twist of a grip. Thank

goodness for the electronics package,

which features traction and wheelie control,

very much needed on this bike.

The ergonomics of the bike let you

know it’s a flat out racer from the moment

you climb on. The ‘bars are wide and

racey, while vision through the mirrors

is exceptional at low speeds but quickly

deteriorates when the revs rise – you can

tell someone is there, but not who or what.

You don’t feel the vibrations but the mirrors

let you know they are there. Where on the

track the high ‘pegs seem natural during

your shorter ride sessions and cornering,

on the road they are a just a little cramped

after the first hour in the saddle I did feel a

bit sore. As mentioned the ‘bars are wide

and an easy reach, which allows for a

relatively upright and comfortable position.

I noticed a little strain on my wrists on

longer rides but a good three-hour loop

with a single quick stop for petrol left me

mainly wishing for a softer seat, with no

neck or back strain. The ZX10R for sure

enjoys more open roads asa pose to niggly

town stuff, where It did feel very frustrated.

There is noticeable heat once you’ve

been riding a while, mainly at the ankles,

however this is not unbearable.

The best part of the ZX10R has to be

the engine, and how it delivers the power.

Rolling past bottom end the intake growl

starts and the acceleration really develops

and it’s easy to reach 100km/h in first before

even thinking about second gear, such is

the deceptiveness of the power delivery.

You know you’re moving and that the bike’s

fast but in typical superbike manner this is a

machine you could get into serious trouble

with the law on if you’re not paying close

attention to the speedo! It’s not just that the

bike is fast, all the superbikes these days

are, it’s the fact it’s so hard to tell that you’re

going quite that fast, especially through the

twisties where you can power along at a

very quick pace effortlessly.

Riding below 100km/h you’d be hard

pressed to need anything more than third

gear, with quite tall gearing, which is a bit

frustrating when setting off in 1st gear, but

offers good pull from 3rd gear onwards

almost anywhere in the rev range from

5000rpm. Above 6000rpm you get swift

acceleration. There’s no hint of lugging

the engine once revving either, even a few

times when I was a couple of gears higher

than was really necessary and just

cruising along. It doesn’t have the

bottom end of the other superbike

class machines but it makes up

for it up top and means it is a nicer

ride at legal speeds. Power above

10,000rpm is staggering, however,

on the road unless I was going to

try running around in first gear there

just wasn’t the opportunity to really

test this part of the rev range much

without entering bike confiscation

and straight to jail territory.

The ZX10R is exceptionally

nimble and while handling isn’t

what I would call telepathic – with

the bike going where you want

almost before you think about

it – incredibly sharp and very

controllable, a huge improvement

on the previous model. Your input

and concentration is necessary

but the ZX10R rewards that with

some breathtaking cornering, with

a sense of stability that I can’t recall

having experienced before to such

an extent. This is no doubt thanks

to revised chassis geometry, the

longer swingarm and revised weight

balance and centre of gravity, not to

mention lighter crankshaft, which make the

new generation of ZX10R a much more

balanced machine.

The Brembo brake package, with M50

calipers and matching master-cylinder

providing good modulation and stopping

power but without a heap of initial bite.

At 206kg wet weight fully fuelled the

ZX10R carries the weight well, from

pushing it around the garage, through

to riding at both low and higher speeds,

where changes of direction or changing

your line mid-corner are effortless,

requiring only small inputs. The Ohlins

electronic steering damper also ensures

it stays inline when hard on the gas,

particularly at the track and is mounted

atop the triple clamp, fully visible, as a

great piece of bling.

The fact I could as happily ride the bike

through the usual horrendous JHB traffic

as I could go for a fang through the local

twistys is also a huge selling point.

Not only is the engine a belter, with

a nice controllable bottom end, that

develops into a blistering mid-range (and

top end, if you can find somewhere to

appreciate it – like the track), but the

handling is just sublime. This machine

and its electronics gave me absolute

confidence every second I was riding it.

Definitely organise a test ride if you’re

even the slightest bit interested.

Price: R249,995.

78 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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Proton KR3

lives in South Africa

If you attended the recent Day of Champions at Zwartkops, you might have seen and heard a

500cc Grand Prix bike out on track. Yes, your eyes and ears were not playing tricks on you, it

was an actual Kenny Roberts Proton 500. Words: Dave Petersen Pics: Paul Blackburn & Dave Petersen

It all began with an early telephone

call from good friend and competitor

Rory Nesbitt. He was enquiring

whether Kenny Roberts would be

prepared to sell one of his Proton KR3

500cc Grand Prix bikes.

Rory had been trying to obtain a

factory spec Grand Prix bike from the

golden era of GP racing. Some might

say that we are now immersed in the

golden era with the immense rivalry

we are witnessing between Rossi,

Marquez, Vinales et al.

Older MotoGP enthusiasts dispute

this vehemently. They are of the

opinion that the era of the factory

500cc 2-stroke bikes provided the

best racing moments in history. The

smell of scorched Castrol 747 oil

combined with real racing fuel and

the high pitched whine of highly tuned

2-smokers was an experience that

new fans cannot comprehend.

The problem with that era of racing

was stagnation of technological

80 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017

development. All of the competing

factories had settled on a proven

formula of V-Four motors fed by

carburators and reed valves directly

into the crankcase. These engines

produced close to 200 ponies. More

than sufficient to test the best Michelin

and Bridgestone tyres to the limit.

Three times 500cc world champion

Kenny Roberts had secured Marlboro

cigarette money for a number of years.

This enabled him to manage and own

the official Yamaha race team. His

riders were highly paid and well looked

after. They were winning races and all

seemed well in their isolated world of

grand prix racing.

Kenny Roberts by nature, was

always looking to move ahead of the

opposition. He had been instrumental

in obtaining better conditions for

grand prix competitors and saw a

much larger landscape for his beloved

sport. The technical stagnation was of

concern to him.

The first mould of the KR3

Modenas KR3 gen-one motor with hand made carbs


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His team of technicians were known

as the brain’s trust in the paddock.

Antipodeans Mike Sinclair and Warren

Willing constantly urged Kenny to try

and sway the Yamaha factory away

from their existing technology. The other

conundrum facing Kenny was that as

long as his star rider Wayne Rainey

continued winning races on the YZR500

the Yamaha factory would not invest any

more cash in development.

Wayne was riding the Marlboro Yamaha

well beyond the limit and it was only a

matter of time before it all ended in tears.

Wayne’s career ending accident at Misano

in Italy was a tipping point for Kenny.

Yamaha had finally pushed him over the

edge and the embryo of plans he had to

build his own machine was fertilized and

ready for harvest.

Kenny and the brain’s trust began

making enquiries within the Formula

One world about engine and chassis

manufacture. His team had the nickname

of “The Evil Empire” and when he

announced to the world that he was going

to build his own machine there were many

in the paddock who looked forward to the

demise of the “Evil Empire.”

Nobody believed that a home made

bike could take on the might of the land

of the rising son. When Kenny announced

that the engine would be a THREE cylinder

unit they thought he had lost his marbles.

The reasoning was that a V-Three

would produce equivalent power to the

V-Four’s. Grand Prix regulations also

allowed for less mass on two and three

cylinder bikes. Team Roberts set about

building a 500cc machine with similar

dimensions and weight to a 250cc

machine. The first generation Modenas

KR3 was built with the aid of Tom

Walkinshaw racing based in England and

weighed in at 120 Kgs. Power output was

around 180ps.

The bike was reasonably fast. The

main problem was engine vibration and

after a lack luster season with French rider

Jean Michel Bayle accompanied by Brit

Jamie Witham, the brains trust decided to

re-design the engine layout utilizing two

upper cylinders and one lower in the vee

configuration.

Kenny’s inspection

It’s alive!

“Beneath those

gorgeous carbon

fibre body parts lies

an angry engine that

produces almost

190ps at twelve

thousand RPM.”

82 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


Where will

it take

you?

The versatile

Honda NC750X

016 065-0322


The new model was much smoother to ride and the team

were the first to experiment with electronic rider aids as well

as D2 telemetry. The name was also changed to Proton

courtesy of the Malaysian manufacturer.

The Proton KR3 came of age in the year 2000 but rule

changes allowed 990cc four stroke prototypes to compete

alongside the 500cc two strokes. The writing was on the

wall for Kenny and it would not be long before his team had

to follow suit with a four stroke bike.

One could say that the KR3 simply missed the boat and

was a year or two late in development. Also, Kenny could

not entice any of the leading riders to ride his machine.

Hence the lack of results. The highlight for the Proton KR3

would have to be Jeremy McWilliams’ pole position at Phillip

Island against the four stroke opposition.

Back to the future and Rory’s enquiries via Robbie

Petersen saw the purchase of not one but three KR’s. They

now reside in Durban and Rory has painstakingly rebuilt the

machine that Nobby Aoki raced in the grand prix.

As nominated test rider I was a bit nervous in throwing

my leg over the saddle of this diminutive machine. When a

bike has not run for fifteen years you do tend to take it very

easy in those first exploratory laps.

Unfortunately we did not have the correct connection

for the engine management programme. We simply had to

go with the settings as per the bike’s last race at Brno in

Czechoslovakia. As turns out the settings are perfect.

The KR was displayed at the recent Day of Champions

event held at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria. As

I clambered aboard for a few laps around the tight and

twisty circuit bystanders were simply enthralled with this

unbelievably rare machine.

The exhaust note is flat to say the least. It almost sounds

like a Vespa scooter. This due to the big bang firing order

of the three cylinder power unit. Do not be fooled by the

noise. Beneath those gorgeous carbon fibre body parts

lies an angry engine that produces almost 190ps at twelve

thousand RPM.

This combined with an all up weight of 120Kgs equates

to a rocket ship of a bike. I honestly believe a current

national rider would dip well under the lap record at

Zwartkops on the KR3. That is if he could come to terms

with the immensely powerful carbon disc brakes and the

very different 2-Stroke power delivery.

I did ask Rory what it was like to work on and he

exclaimed that it was a jewel. Almost like a Swiss watch.

Every single component is manufactured with one thing

in mind and that is to go around a race track as fast as

possible. Team Roberts were extremely mindful of simple

maintainence to the point that no hand tools are required to

remove the bodywork, radiator or fuel tank.

The internal gearbox ratios can be removed and altered

in a matter of minutes. The suspension is limitless in

adjustment as is steering rake and trail. It is simply gorgeous.

I had to share the track with the Historic Motorcycle

Group and a big thank you to them. I do hope taht I did

not interfere with any of their personal on track battles

but heating the fabulous Bridgestone slicks as well as the

carbon brake discs does require some aggressive riding.

The KR easily lofts the front wheel in third gear at close to

170KPH. What a thrill to do so. Hell I even felt like my hero

Kenny Roberts for a few moments out there.

This is by far the best motorcycle I have ever ridden and

what an honour bestowed on me by owner Rory Nesbitt.

Jeremy McWilliams

was so fast on

the Proton KR3

machine

What’s sexier? Sorry girls, this time all eyes are on the bike...

Owner Rory Nesbitt (left) with his KR3 at the Zwartkops Day of Champions.

84 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017


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