Straight out of MotoGP - Ducati take
covers of their new Panigale V4 models.
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Over 20 new models released
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The one they call
Marquez wraps up 6th
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Top grade sportbikes hit
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FIRST RIDE: YAMAHA TRACER 700 RACING: MOTOGP & WSBK TESTING
DECEMBER 2017 RSA R30.00
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1002 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 1
W E L C O M E
What the hell are we suppose to do now that MotoGP is
over? Well, fear not, because we have enough awesome
content to fi ll the massive gap left by no racing.
What a season of MotoGP it was, with the title going
right down to the wire. Marc Marquez and Andrea
Dovisioso did battle at the fi nal race of the season at
Valencia, with Marquez coming out on top in a very
exciting fi nale. Say what you want about the guy, but
he is just ridiculously good! Marquez is a true Alien. He
simply defi nes all logic. He pushes the limits more than
anyone else, because he is not afraid and has 100%
faith/confi dence in his, and his Honda’s ability.
This is what separates him form the rest. He trains his
body and mind to push the limits, and that’s what makes
him an unstoppable force! He is simply breathtaking
to watch, and I really love watching him. People say
MotoGP is nothing without Rossi, and to a point I
agree, but MotoGP would be a whole lot boring without
Marquez. He is going to break every record ever set - by
Rossi, Agostini etc… Love him or hate him, you just
hate to respect him!!! Really do not know how he makes
those saves. It’s mental!
The question now is can anyone stop him in 2018?
Ducati certainly are getting stronger, but does Dovi
have the mental strength to win a title? He certainly
showed he can win races and be very competitive, the
only problem is when things aren’t going to plan, then
everything just seems to fall apart. He lost vital points in
key races this year, so that is something they need to
address if they are to win a MotoGP title once again.
Marquez, Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo, they are all very
confi dent and head strong riders, with massive amounts
of brashness and very mentally strong, and this is what
puts them on that level above the rest. I think Dovi
needs to get a bit more vicious, and needs to be 100%
confi dent in himself and his ability. He needs to tell
himself that he is better than Marquez, and that he can
win a world title. I sometimes think he is a bit too soft, so
needs to get that aggression out. All the top guys have
that certain arrogance to them, and I think Dovi could
use a bit more of that.
Yamaha have a bit of work to do next year. This season
started off so well with Vinales dominating testing and
the fi rst couple of races. But then, things went pear
shaped. They switched to the new chassis and motor
and things just did not click. In this issue we feature the
Valencia 2018 test, and it seems as if Yamaha made big
steps with Vinales and Rossi. A combination of old and
new tech, so let’s hope they are competitive for next
year. 2018 will pretty much be Rossi’s last chance at that
10th title, and he has said that he will make his decision
on racing after the fi rst 3 races. If that Yamaha is not
up to scratch, that could pretty much make up Rossi’s
mind, and that day we all dread could happen at the end
There is no doubt Rossi himself is still fast and confi dent,
but needs the Yamaha M1 to be more competitive.
Even so, I still think it’s a massive uphill for him in 2018,
and sadly I think that 10th title is further away than
we all hope, but, he will still be there and we will all be
screaming for the GOAT!
Looking ahead to 2018 and one can’t help but be really
excited. Not only for MotoGP, but for the motorcycle
market, which is set to see an infl ux of exciting new
The annual Eicma Show took place in Milan, Italy, and
once again manufacturers showed off their new masterpieces
for the coming year. The biggest of them being
Ducati, who once again stole the show and revealed all
the new models on the main stage on opening night.
Some very tasty models, but no doubt the one we were
all waiting for was the new Panigale V4. And we were
not disappointed. What a piece of art. It looked glorious
dressed in iconic Ducati red, showing off all the right
curves in all the right places.
Now, this is where I need you to not hate me. I have
been confi rmed to attend the world launch of the
new Panigale V4 in Spain at the end of January 2018.
Possibly at the Valencia track. Yes, I can hear and feel
your anger and jealousy, but at least you know I will give
you a proper story in the Feb issue, and probably be the
fi rst to do so.
To say I am excited for this test is a complete
understatement, and I, just like you all I’m sure, cannot
wait to hear that V4 scream in anger. I will be sure to
post as many videos as possible on our Facebook page
to make you feel part of the experience.
While the Panigale V4 stole the show, while, for me at
least, there were a host of other great models released.
One that did catch my eye, after I stopped gazing and
drooling over the V4, was Kawasaki’s new 200hp,
supercharged tourer - The ninja H2 SX. A really sexy
looking bike that looks very inviting.
Honda also released a model that looks tasty - The
naked CB1000R. Last month we showed off the Neo
Sports Cafe Racer, which Honda took the covers off at
the Tokyo Show. Rumour was that Honda were going to
release a naked version of their CBR1000RR super bike
based on the exciting looking concept. So pleased that
this was not one of those crazy motorcycle myths, and
that the CB1000R is a perfect mix of concept and reality.
One to look our for in 2018 no doubt.
We cover all the models released at Eicma in this issue,
with a 14 page special. Oh yes, there is also a new
Duke in the KTM stable, and it looks nothing short of
There is a great test on the new Gixxer R and Kawasaki
ZX10RR in this issue. The Singh and Miks took the two
elite bikes down to Sabie for a weekend, to see how
they fared on the long trip and famous 22. I also made
the trip down, but in something a bit more comfy and
luxurious. A big thanks to Haval SA for getting involved
and helping us out with their new H6 SUV. What an
amazing vehicle, and I suggest you get used to the
name Haval, as you are going to see and hear plenty of it
in the near future.
Crazy to think that this is already our December issue,
and that the festive season is now fully upon us. I would
like to say a big thank you to all of you who have once
again spent your hard earned money on this magazine
throughout the year. It means so much to me seeing and
hearing the response the mag is getting. 2017 has been
a great year for us at RideFast, and we look forward to
bringing you big and better things in 2018.
I wish you all a blessed and safe festive season!
Until next year, ride safe! Rob Portman.
EDITOR & DESIGN:
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Bill du Plessis
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2 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Photo: R. Schedl
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RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 3
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.
Contents DECEMBER 2017
FREE 2018 HJC
OF LIDS ON
PG6: 2018 BIKES
2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
• A bunch of new Ducati’s - Including
new Panigale V4 Superbikes
• A couple of new Yamaha’s
• A new naked Honda
• Kawasaki’s supercharged tourer
and another ZX10R model
• KTM’s newest Duke
• Aprilia’s RSV4 gets wings
• Husqvarna’s awesome naked
PG48: SABIE TEST
TWO ELITES HIT THE 22
PG64: JET SETTER
TESTING A BUNCH OF BM’S
MOTOGP & WSBK TESTING
4 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
The power values indicated are measured using a chassis dynamometer.
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2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
New Ducati models kick
off Eicma 2017 Show
Ducati opened this year’s EICMA show in Milan,
Italy, by presenting multiple new models on Sunday
evening during it’s 2018 World Premiere event
Hosted by Ducati Motor Holding CEO Claudio Domenicali, world
championship riders Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, Danilo
Petrucci, Chaz Davies, plus test riders Casey Stoner and Michele Pirro
were part of the presentation.
The fi rst 2018 bike to be revealed was the Ducati Scrambler 1100. It
also comes in a Special version, which draws its inspiration from the
custom world and a Sport version. Also on stage was the Scrambler
Mach2, the Desert Sled with a never-before-seen black livery and the
new Street Classic.
The evening continued with the 959 Panigale Corse, which maintains
the tradition of Ducati twin-cylinder sportsbikes. Characterised by new,
exclusive components and an eye-catching livery, this bike was ridden
onto the stage by Davies, who arrived in Milan directly from Qatar’s
fi nal round of the Superbike World Championship.
The 959 Panigale Corse is the superlative sports version of the
legendary Italian twin-cylinder. It boasts Öhlins 43mm NIX30 forks,
Öhlins TTX36 shock, type-approved Ducati Performance silencers in
titanium by Akrapovic, a lithium-ion battery and a dedicated colour
scheme inspired by the colours of Ducati’s MotoGP racers.
Another new 2018 bike presented during the Ducati World Premiere
was the Multistrada 1260. Mounting the new Ducati 1262cc
Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) engine, it also
features a new chassis set-up, more modern electronics and a re-style
that includes side ‘wings’ and sportier-looking wheels.
The latest Ducati MTS comes in several versions: the S version offers
semi-active suspension and S D-Air, which maximises safety thanks to
integration with an airbag-equipped jacket, while the Pikes Peak, the
sportiest Multistrada version, features Öhlins mechanical suspension
and forged aluminium wheels.
During the evening Domenicali also showcased the Multistrada 1200
Enduro Pro, set to play a pivotal role in DRE (Ducati Riding Experience)
Enduro 2018 courses, the XDiavel, introduced by award-winning chef
Massimo Bottura in a special video message, and the Monster 821.
And then there was the real highlight - The Panigale V4.
More on that next...
For more information on all Ducati models visit www.ducati.co.za.
959 Panigale Corse
Multistrada Pikes Peak
6 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
The World’s Most
2018 Ducati Panigale V4
The undisputed star of Ducati’s World Premiere 2018 at this
years Eicma Show was the new Panigale V4, the factory
bike that comes closer to being a MotoGP prototype
than anything ever seen.
It’s been teased for so long, but fi nally the Ducati
V4 Panigale has been revealed.
Replacing the much-loved 1299 at the top of
the Ducati supersport tree, the new V4 Panigale
is aiming to be the ultimate, sports motorcycle.
Ducati make the usual claims with regards to
enhanced performance, but with substantial
frame and chassis changes, they’re laying even
bigger stakes down with regards to its improved
With it’s MotoGP heritage, it remains to be seen
as to whether that is enhance Lorenzo-like
rideability or if you need the Ducati wrangling
ability of Dovisiozo. But one things is clear. This
thing is a beauty!
With an engine displacement of 1103cc, 214hp
and a power/weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg, the
Panigale V4 replaces the 1299 twin-cylinder at the
top of the Ducati supersport line-up. The Panigale
V4 has been developed in close collaboration with
Ducati Corse, drawing directly on technology from
racing to provide a road bike that is the closest
thing possible to its MotoGP
The new Ducati superbike
family consists of the Panigale
V4 and the Panigale V4 S.
The latter mounts Öhlins
suspension featuring the
Smart EC 2.0 system with
a new adjustment interface
and top-level components
such as forged aluminium
wheels and the lithium-ion battery.
Completing the range is the exclusive
Panigale V4 Speciale, a numbered,
limited-edition bike with a dedicated livery,
titanium exhaust and machined from solid
8 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
The Desmosedici Stradale engine is
a 90-degree V4 with Desmodromic
timing, just like the Desmosedici GP
from which it also takes an 81mm
bore (the maximum allowed by
MotoGP rules). This has been
combined with a longer stroke
than that used in racing to boost
low-to-mid rev torque and
reduce maximum revs so
that the power is easier
to handle. The new
Ducati engine puts out
a maximum of 214hp
at 13,000rpm, with a
torque of 124Nm at
The Panigale V4 engine
is the only one in the
with a 90-degree
V confi guration.
It’s also the
only engine to
such as the
crankshaft and twin pulse
ignition. The power of the
standard Desmosedici Stradale
confi guration can be boosted
to 226hp by mounting the alltitanium
racing exhaust, made
by Akrapovic as per Ducati
Corse specifi cations.
To contain the inevitable
weight gain with respect
to the 1299 Panigale,
Ducati has developed
frame where the
Stradale itself has a
load-bearing function. Called
Front Frame, it’s more compact
and lighter than a perimeter frame
and uses the engine as a stressed
chassis element. This solution
ensures the right torsional rigidity
for on-the-edge riding and gives riders
The Front Frame has allowed the
designer to create a bike that is slender
in the tank-seat merge zone. This,
together with seat/handlebar/footpeg
triangulation, ensures perfect bike-rider
integration according to the Italian brand.
Together with meticulous design and the
use of light materials, the new frame keeps
the kerb weight of the S and Special
versions down to 195kg. This weight,
combined with the 214hp, means a
power/weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg.
Thanks to the potential of the six-axis
Bosch inertial platform, a latest-generation
electronics package with some previously
unseen features defi nes new active safety
and dynamic vehicle control standards
in all riding situations. The Panigale V4
introduces controls such as controlled drift
during braking, ABS Cornering on the front
wheel only thanks to a set-up specially
designed for track riding and Quickshift
Up & Down with a strategy that takes lean
angles into account.
All these controls – developed on the track
together with offi cial Ducati riders and test
riders – are incorporated in the three new
Riding Modes (Race, Sport and Street)
and can be adjusted via the advanced
TFT panel that makes the Panigale V4 the
highest-tech bike in its history.
According to Ducati SA, the models will
begin to arrive during Feb/March (Panigale
V4 and V4 S) and May for the Panigale V4
Speciale. Ducati SA are now taking orders
with pricing announced at R280,000
for the base, R349,000 for the S and
R650,000 for the Speciale.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 9
2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
Ducati Panigale V4 Wins ‘Most
Beautiful Bike’ in Milan Award
The 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 has won the title of the “Most Beautiful
Bike of Show” at EICMA 2017. Despite tough competition from a
host of new bikes, this thirteenth edition of the “Vote and win the
most beautiful bike of the show” competition, organized by Italian
magazine Motociclismo, was won by Ducati for the ninth time.
Surprise! Ducati win the ‘Most Beautiful
Motorcycle at EICMA’ award for the third
year in a row.
It will perhaps come as no major upset to
anyone that the fan’s choice award for the
bike that people found ‘Most Beautiful’ in
Milan last week was Italian. It’s even less of
a surprise that it was the utterly stunning
Ducati Panigale V4.
In fact, not only is this the third year in a
row that the award has been given to a
Ducati bike (the two previous winners have
been the Ducati Scrambler and Ducati
Supersport) but it’s also the third year in a
row that the designer of the bikes has also
been the same.
We’ve been following Julien Clement and
his work since we fi rst spoke to him about
his Ducati Scrambler, and after falling in love
with the Supersport last year it’s incredible
to see that he’s followed up that doublewin
with a hat-trick of not only stunningly
beautiful machines, but signifi cant ones too.
Somebody must be in line for a substantial
raise at the Bologna HQ.
As for the rest of the top fi ve, that’s more of
an interesting mix.
In number two was the MV Agusta
Dragster 800 RR. Which – of course – is
another Italian but is also rather tasty.
Third came the Honda CB1000R (more
on that later), which whilst looking great in
pictures we have been told by collegues
who attended this years show that is
actually less attractive than it’s younger
siblings, but nothing beats CC numbers it
Fourth – and this should be an absolute
surprise to pretty much everyone – was the
new Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, so maybe
their is life in the ol’ bar and shield yet!
And rounding up the top fi ve most beautiful
motorcycles of Milan, comes the left-fi eld
but emotionally evocative Fantic Motor
Cabellero Scrambler 500.
Quite a solid selection all round.
10 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
Yamaha unveil new Tracer GT
and MT-09 SP at Eicma
Yamaha Motors have unveiled a huge array of model updates for 2018, including the addition
of a MT-09 SP version of their popular nakedbike, as well as an updated MT-07, with updated
Tracer 900 versions including a GT version.
The MT range is constantly evolving and
coming just one year after the launch of
the new MT-09 – that has been a huge
sales success in its first season – the Hyper
Naked segment will be further strengthened
by the launch of the new MT-09 SP.
The SP suffix is reserved for a small number
of exclusive Yamaha models including the
MT-10 SP that offer a premium specification
with an emphasis on sport performance.
Featuring a high standard specification
that includes Öhlins equipment as well as
dedicated colouring and unique finishing,
the radical new MT-09 SP builds on the
significant strengths of the MT brand, and
takes the Hyper Naked riding experience to
a new extreme.
In order to give Hyper Naked riders
even greater possibilities to explore the
outstanding performance of the 3-cylinder
torque-rich crossplane engine, Yamaha’s
designers have specified an Öhlins rear
shock absorber for the new MT-09 SP.
This premium rear suspension system
offers higher levels of adjustability via an
easily accessible remote adjuster, allowing
riders to fine tune their settings and achieve
class-leading handling performance and
MT-09 SP owners also have the possibility
to fine-tune their suspension set up with a
range of optional Öhlins rear springs that
are available in a range of different rates
from the Genuine Yamaha accessories
line-up. By fitting an optional rear spring that
matches their riding style and weight, every
owner can create their ultimate suspension
Both the MT-09 and MT-09 SP are fitted
with Kayaba front forks. The standard
MT-09 has adjustable front forks where
one leg is for rebound and the other is for
compression. The MT-09 SP has adjustable
front forks where both legs can be adjusted
for rebound and compression damping, and
this difference allows more fine-tuning of the
front suspension settings.
To complement its premium specification,
the MT-09 SP is finished in an exclusive Silver
Blu Carbon colour scheme that matches the
design featured on the MT-10 SP.
The fuel tank features silver sides with blue
upper sections, and
has a stylish MT-09
SP water transfer
each side, as
well as a 3D Yamaha tuning fork logo. The
headlight cowl and seat cowl are painted
silver, while the front fender has a blue/black
finish with SP graphics.
To complete the exclusive SP look the
lightweight 10-spoke wheels are finished
in blue – just like the MT-10 SP – and the
wheels feature MT- 09 SP graphics. The
SP theme is continued in the seat, which
features distinctive blue stitching that
complements the tank and wheels.
The high quality feel and exclusive looks of
the MT-09 SP are complemented by the use
of black handlebars, black control levers
and a black handlebar crown.
Unlike most other bikes in the class, the
MT-09 SP’s special LCD instrument panel
displays white information against a black
background, giving higher levels of clarity
during daytime riding. As well as its practical
advantages, this high quality panel refines
this class-leading motorcycle’s impressive
2018 Yamaha MT-07
The MT-07 is one of Yamaha’s most
successful motorcycles of all time, with
almost 80,000 new units purchased in just
With its characterful and torquey crossplane
engine, compact chassis, low weight and
agile handling, the Yamaha MT-07 is one
of the few motorcycles that appeals to all
kinds of riders.
For 2018 the MT-07 is equipped with
a completely new seat design
that gives an improved riding
position for riders of all sizes.
The front of the new seat
now extends to the sides
of the rear of the fuel
tank, giving increased
comfort – and the new
shape also gives the
2018 model a more
12 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
With 130mm travel at both the front and
rear, the MT-07’s suspension system is
designed to give comfortable, progressive
and predictable performance, making it
ideal for a wide range of riding conditions.
For 2018 the front forks are equipped
with revised settings that give a sportier
character, while the rear suspension
is fitted with a new rebound damping
adjuster that enables riders to set their
bike up to suit their riding style and usage.
2018 Yamaha Tracer 900 and
Tracer 900 GT
Launched three years ago, the Tracer
900 has quickly become established as
adefinitive Sport Tourer in the fast growing
sub-1000cc class. With its thrilling sports
performance, agile handling and the ability
to handle long distances with ease, the
stylish Tracer 900 has become one of
Yamaha’s best-selling models with over
35,000 units sold.
For 2018 Yamaha’s team of designers
have concentrated on reinforcing the
much loved strengths and values of the
Tracer 900, while also introducing a range
of updates and changes that are aimed at
enhancing the bike’s touring potential – as
well as delivering an even more refined,
high quality product.
There’s a larger windscreen that offers
better upper body weather protection
for a more relaxing and enjoyable ride
on longer journeys – and with its manual
height adjustment facility, it can be
quickly set to the desired position. For
enhanced passenger comfort the 2018
model also features a revised passenger
footrest assembly together with the newly
designed grab bars.
Yamaha’s designers have also made
subtle but efficient revisions to all of
the body panels and covers in order to
improve the overall look, feel and quality
of the 2018 model. A new air intake area
on the front cowl gives a more refined
appearance, and the design of the fuel
tank’s sidepanels and side wings are also
revised to enhance the overall style.
For 2018 the Tracer 900 is equipped with
a newly designed aluminium swingarm
as well as revised rear shock settings
to further enhance the bike’s touring
performance, allowing the installation of
Genuine hard side cases.
Both the rider’s and passenger’s seats
are new for 2018, and as well as giving
higher levels of comfort, they also enhance
the premium look and feel of the Tracer
900. The rider’s seat can be adapted for
height in 2 positions, high and low, to
accommodate your personal riding style.
Plus, there’s a soft pad on the tank for
added rider comfort on longer journeys.
The Tracer 900 also benefits from
narrower handlebars together with slimmer
and lighter hand guards. The new layout
gives a more natural riding position for
added comfort, and the new handlebars
help to keep the rider’s arms out of the
airflow at higher speeds – and the reduced
width also helps to improve the bike’s lane
filtering abilities – where it’s permitted.
Joining Yamaha’s Sport Touring range for
2018 is the Tracer 900GT, a new model
that comes with a premium specification
as standard. Developed from the
Tracer 900 and sharing the same 2018
specification upgrades, the Tracer 900GT
is designed to offer sport touring riders the
ultimate package at a competitive price.
The Tracer 900GT comes fitted with
quickly detachable 22-litre colour matched
Genuine hard side cases as standard,
and the latest TFT (Thin Film Transistor)
instrument panel. Featuring a full colour
display, these high specification instrument
panel comes with a comprehensive range
of information, including gear position
indicator, ambient temperature, coolant
temperature, current riding mode, fuel
gauge and fuel consumption.
The Tracer 900GT is equipped with
a premium suspension package that
features fully adjustable front forks offering
the rider the ability to set their bike up to
suit different loads and conditions. These
fully adjustable forks come with a beautiful
For easy and convenient suspension set
up when carrying a passenger or luggage,
the Tracer 900GT features a remote
preload adjuster for the rear shock. It’s the
quick and effective way to set the bike up.
The Tracer 900GT’s Quick Shift System
transforms acceleration performance of
the bike by allowing the rider to make
seamless clutchless upshifts. Based on
the system used on the latest MT-09, the
QSS gives this premium Sport Tourer an
even more exciting character that’s sure
to be appreciated by performance minded
The Tracer 900GT also benefits from
the fitment of a cruise control system as
standard equipment. It’s the same system
that’s used on the MT-10, and can be set
to control the riding speed in 4th 5th and
6th gear when riding between 50 km/h
and 180 km/h. This system is operated
by a switch on the left handlebar cluster,
and can be used to increase or decrease
cruising speed in 2 km/h increments.
The system is automatically cancelled by
the application of brakes, clutch or throttle,
and features a resume button that allows
the rider to reset to the previous setting.
Cruise Control makes longer journeys
more enjoyable, and also can help to avoid
exceeding speed limits.
The Tracer 900GT is an all weather, all
season motorcycle that’s built to get
across continents, and the provision of
heated grips is a real bonus for the serious
Sport Touring rider.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 13
2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
Honda’s new naked - The CB1000R
We are very pleased to announce that the Honda Neo Sports Cafe concept, which we featured last month,
became a reality with the release of the 2018 CB1000R, launched at the EICMA Show.
Just like the concept, Honda calls the new
design language “Neo Sports Café.” In
their words, it’s “modern and minimalist,
mixing sports naked and café racer
inspirations with head-turning results.”
The CB1000R is the latest in a series
of high-profile motorcycles from Japan
seeking to shake up the stylistic standoff
in motorcycle aesthetics, and it certainly
turns heads. They’ve gone to great
lengths to create something that “looks,
feels and performs very differently from
what’s gone before”. No harm in that.
Kawasaki’s Z900RS (still to come) and
Yamaha’s XSR900 also sought to solve
that problem, but the three arrived at very
different conclusions, which makes for
great variety on the showroom floor.
The CB1000R looks to be more than a
design manifesto in the metal, however.
“As Honda, our intention is always to look
to the future and to be ready to lead,” said
S. Uchida, Large Project Leader for the
2018 CB1000R. “Hence, as the naked
sector’s requirements mature, we knew
that we had to go much further than giving
the new CB1000R a boost in real-world
performance. Customer expectation and
interests are about much more than just
For the most part, the radical styling of
the NSC concept bike carried over into
the production model. Check out the
BMW-style rear fender, which allows
the CB1000R to retain that stubby tail.
Available in black or a metallic dark red (as
seen on the NSC concept), the CB1000R
will take the place of Honda’s outgoing
bike of the same name. Honda’s shaved
more than 11 kilos off their big retro, and
the engine has been updated, as well, with
a variation of the CBR1000RR Fireblade
lump. Shorter gears mean the new bike
pulls harder than the RR through the first
three gears. And should riders still wonder
“how fast” (they always do), the new bike
makes 143.5 horsepower at 10,500 rpm
and 104Nm of torque at 8,250 rpm. That
should satisfy most.
Riders also get multiple riding modes,
three-mode Throttle By Wire, and Honda
Selectable Torque Control, plus an assist/
slipper clutch. Expect a fully adjustable
suspension package, as Honda’s stuffed
a Showa Separate Function Big Piston
(SFF-BP) inverted fork up front with a rear
monoshock, also from Showa. If these
specs aren’t exciting enough for you,
a CB1000R+ will be coming soon with
aluminium bodywork and a few other
No word on pricing or availability yet for the
SA market, but we sure hope it does cross
the ocean and make its way here. And if it
doesn’t, we say let’s all get together and
strike outside Honda SA... (joke)
14 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
original CB4 concept was based on
the Honda CB650, the CB4 Interceptor
appears to be based on the Honda
CB1000R, meaning it will carry more grunt
than the previous concept and could reach
production as cafe racer version of the
same. Technical specifi cations and details
remain scarce at the moment.
When the original CB4 concept was
showcased at EICMA 2015, Honda had
also showcased another concept, which
was recently launched as the Honda
X-ADV scooter. Going by that, we may be
able to expect the CB4 Interceptor hitting
the streets in two more years, and the wait
could not be any longer.
Honda CB4 Interceptor Concept
Honda’s European design studio is back with another super-sexy
concept bike based on the CB400. The CB4 Interceptor takes the retro
cafe racer style and flings it into the future with a faux-frameless design
and some very cool touches.
Honda has had a good outing at EICMA
2017. Alongside production models
including the 2018 Honda Africa Twin
Adventure Sport and the 2018 Honda
CB1000R among others, Honda also
showcased the Honda CB4 Interceptor.
The Honda CB4 Interceptor is based on
the Honda CB4 streetfi ghter concept
showcased at EICMA 2015. However,
the CB4 Interceptor is a mix of retro and
futuristic styling in a single-seater cafe
racer package developed by the Honda
R&D facility in Rome. Honda has once
again gone for the minimalist styling which
we have seen on the CB1000R. The
all-matte-black CB4 Interceptor looks
stunning from the rear too, with a petite
tail section ending in a cowl and sporting a
The CB4 Interceptor is as much a
harkening back to faired Hondas from
the 1980s as it is an example of futuristic
technology. The ring LED headlamp
surrounds what appears to be a small
turbine fan. This fan converts movement to
electricity which powers the touchscreen
on the fuel tank of the CB4 Interceptor.
Not to mention the LED surround lighting
up the moving fan will give it a rather
badass look from the front. While the
2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX
If you thought that the supercharged H2 and H2R duo
were a bit too much, at least they were sportbikes. How
about a sport tourer version of the H2, complete with
the supercharger and a stampede of 210 horses going two-up
touring? Well, that’s exactly what Kawasaki unveiled at EICMA
2017 in the form of the Ninja H2 SX.
Two years have passed since we had our
socks forcibly removed by the bonkers Ninja
H2, Kawasaki’s game-changing supercharged
litre-beater. But while it was sent to wow us, the
long game was always about the introduction of
production supercharged engines. And this is the
fi rst more mass-market destined model to emerge
from the project.
Still boasting the Ninja H2 moniker, the key letters
here are actually SX – denoting its touring intent.
While it would be logical to assume that Kawasaki
have simply bolted a rear subframe to their nuts
Ninja, the changes are actually far more extensive.
The chassis is new, the engine is new, and the
riding experience will be, too. The substantially
reworked engine also boasts a new fl avour of
supercharger to smooth out the power delivery, and
soften the H2’s dramatic punch. It’s also there to
allow the 998cc inline-four to muster 207bhp peak
power and 138Nm, while
emissions, and the same
sort of fuel economy
you’d expect from the
less well-endowed Versys
1000. Not only is it frugal,
but it allows the SX to
run a relatively small 19-litre
fuel tank, while still going the
The SE gets cornering lights,
and the top-spec dash, which
combines an analogue tacho
with a multi-function TFT
Colour dash (the stocker gets
18 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
LCD). There are two selectable display modes (Touring or Sport) to allow riders
to prioritise what they see on screen.
There’s also electronic cruise control, and KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering
Management Function), which uses an IMU to monitor engine and chassis
performance throughout the corner, modulating brake force and engine
power to get the best transition from acceleration to braking and back
again. There’s also traction control, a bi-directional quickshifter, launch
control, and engine braking control.
One surprise is the lack
of electronic suspension.
Nonetheless, it is fully adjustable
at both ends and there’s a remote
rear preload adjuster, too. There’s
plenty of competition in the fast touring
market, whether any of them can compete
with the SX will be one of 2018’s most
The new SX comes in two fl avours, the full-fat SX SE, and
this base specifi cation SX. The differences aren’t dramatic,
and without confi rmed prices to judge the gap, it’s hard
to say whether the SE if worth the extra wonga. The most
obvious visual clue to which model is which is the colour
The SE comes in garish Ninja colours, while the stock SX
is black only. Other visual clues include a lower screen,
and a slab of plastic where the SE gets progressive
cornering lights. From the cockpit, you’ll also notice a
lower spec LCD screen sits alongside the analogue
tacho. Underneath the fairings, you get exactly the same
balanced supercharged engine, chassis, and 19 litre fuel
tank – delivering the same touring range. The SX weighs
4kg less than the SE, but you’re unlikely to notice that with
207bhp to play with.
Word from Kawasaki SA is that the bikes will land here around
May, with pricing starting from R400,000.
Z900RS Cafe Racer
Kawasaki surprised showgoers when it unveiled
the Z900RS Café, which is based on the Z900RS
that was showcased at the 2017 Tokyo Motor
Show. Kawasaki has taken the Z900RS and
lowered the handlebars as well as added a café
racer fairing. Other bits that add to the café racer
theme is the humped seat and the ultra loud,
green colour that’s exclusive to the Kawasaki
Z900RS café. Both the Z900RS and Z900RS
Café are inspired by the 1970’s Kawasaki Z1 and
based on the Z900 street bike.
The Kawasaki Z900 RS Café shares the same,
Z900 based, inline-four motor that powers the
Z900 RS. The engine in the Z900 makes 125PS,
however, in the Z900 RS / Café, the motor has
been retuned to make 111PS only. Like the
Z900RS, the Z900RS Café also gets traction
control and an assist and slip clutch.
The Z900RS/ Café and the Z900 also share the
same frame, albeit with a few revisions to the
upper portion of the frame to accommodate the
Z900RS/ Café’s tank shape. The triple clamps
have also been revised to shorten the trail. This
should result in slightly sharper steering.
If a retro styled, café-racer motorcycle is your
thing, the Z900RS Café should surely be on your
list of considerations. You, after all, cannot ignore
the styling or that green shade, can you?
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 19
2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE for 2018
Team Green’s latest addition to their top tier sportsbike stable is the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.
There’s certainly more to it than a new paint job and a couple of extra letters on the name.
If you want to ride the road-going
equivalent of Kawasaki’s multichampionship-winning
already a multitude of choices. There’s
the Winter Test Edition Ninja ZX-10R, the
race-coloured ZX-10R KRT Replica or the
ultimate homologation-special version, the
Ninja ZX-10RR. And for 2018 there’s yet
another option – the new Ninja ZX-10R SE.
And while the RR model is the basis of the
WSB race bike, with engine changes to
allow more tuning potential, the new SE
promises to be the ultimate road-going
version of the ZX-10R.
It gets a brand new acronym: KECS. That
stands for Kawasaki Electronic Control
Suspension and it’s a system jointly
developed by the firm and Showa, adding
semi-active ride to the ZX-10R for the first
Add a classy-looking black and green paint
scheme, the same lightweight Marchesini
wheels used on the ZX-10RR and that
bike’s up-and-down quick-shifter into the
mix, and it looks like the ZX-10R SE will be
the version to have in 2018. Performance
is unchanged, with the same 200PS power
claim as the other ZX-10R models. Weight
is increased on the SE, but only fractionally;
its curb mass is 208kg compared to 206kg
for the normal ZX-10R.
The semi-active suspension is, of course,
the headline technology of the ZX-10R SE.
It’s the first time we’ve seen Showa’s take
on the idea, which has been pioneered by
the likes of Ohlins and WP.
Unlike rivals that use stepper motors to
adjust their damping settings on the fly, the
Showa system is based on a direct-acting
solenoid. The firm claims it’s faster to
respond than other arrangements, with a
reaction time of just one millisecond.
It takes its information from stroke sensors
on both the front and rear, which tell the
computer what direction the suspension
is moving, and how fast, 1000 times per
second. The bike’s inertial measurement
unit and fuel injection
computer add more
information 100 times
per second, letting
the KECS computer
decide how to adjust the
As the rider, the changes should
be seamless and undetectable,
although you’re also given the
choice of three modes – road, track or
manual. Road is softer, track is harder and
manual allows personalised base settings
from 15 steps compression and rebound.
All this kit has been bolted to the high-spec
suspension components from the ZX-
10RR – Showa’s Balance Free Front Fork
and Balance Free Rear Cushion lite – so
even before the electronics get involved it’s
some impressive kit.
The proof will be in the riding, but as long
as Kawasaki has got its computer settings
right there’s every reason to think the ZX-
10R SE could be a contender to be 2018’s
best litre-class superbike.
20 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
2018 KTM 790 Duke finally lands at EICMA
Last year, during the same event, KTM unveiled the 790 Duke concept
model, also known as The Scalpel. One year later and here we are with
the bike maker pulling the wraps off of the full production version that
comes with a spec sheet that will make an impact in the naked segment.
The 2018 KTM 790 Duke is described as
the company’s sharpest tool in the shed,
built with one thing in mind - to dominate
the street through power and agility. For
this reason, the engineers went with
an extra strong CroMo steel chassis
combined with KTM’s first inline
twin - the LC8c, with ‘c’ standing
The latter displaces 799
cc and cranks 105
horsepower. KTM said
nothing about torque,
but considering it’s
two-cylinder, it should
be more than enough
to pop wheelies and
shred the tyre.
Power delivery goes
through a six-speed manual gearbox fitted
with an anti-hopping clutch, and there’s
even a quickshifter system mounted from
the factory allowing both up- and downshifts
without pulling the clutch lever.
But that’s not all, as the 790 Duke comes
with a lot of other advanced electronics.
Besides the standard ABS, you also benefit
from four riding modes (Sport, Street, Rain,
Track), traction control, and Motor Slip
Regulation (MSR), which is an engine brake
control. If due to shifting down or abrupt
throttle-off, the engine drag torque is too
high, the ride-by-wire system balances the
throttle exactly as much as is needed to
ensure a controlled deceleration.
The front end is fitted with four-piston radial
calipers biting on dual disc brakes and a
43 mm upside-down fork, which handles
the compression and rebound damping
22 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
in separate tubes. The springs are also
progressive, assuring a smooth operation
throughout the stroke and preventing
The rear uses a gas-assisted WP shock
with progressive spring and preload
adjustment, and, in late KTM style, the rear
subframe is exposed, also housing the
airbox and allowing the engine to ‘breathe’
Seat height is set at 825 mm, the tank can
hold 14 liters, and the whole assembly
offers a very generous 186 mm ground
clearance. With no fuel or fl uids, the 790
Duke tips the scale at 169 kg so it should
be somewhere around 185 kg when full,
which paired with the 105 hp engine,
should feel very snappy.
The new KTM 790 Duke is expected to
reach dealers sometime next year, and it
can be had in two color setups - gray on
black or gray/orange on black. Further
customization is possible through a wide
range of accessories including billet parts,
phone/GPS mounts, bar-end mirrors,
handlebar risers, crash pads, and more.
KTM Australia is yet to confi rm its
availability domestically, along with pricing
of the highly-anticipated model. Visit www.
ktm.com/au for the latest on the release
and more information.
2018 Aprilia RSV4
Aprilia the first to release production superbike with wings.
Aprilia have announced a
Factory Works kit for their
stunning RSV4 RF and
RR sportsbikes, which
increases power to 215bhp and
includes aerodynamic winglets,
as featured on today’s crop of
Carbon parts, a lighter fuel
tank, lithium-ion battery and
Akrapovic exhaust system
are also available and bring the
weight down by 10kg.
The kit also includes a number of
parts for the engine which together
signifi cantly increase
the power. Single-groove pistons with a
surface treatment reduce effort and give a
smoother action, giving a 4bhp increase
A cylinder head kit helps improve fl uid
dynamics to the intake and exhaust ducts.
This is further aided by new springs, valves
and related caps while new camshafts that
feature a surface treatment reduce friction
Combined with the Akrapovic system and
a new ECU that features a map for the
exhaust, Aprilia claim that the max power
increases to 215hp at the crank.
Giving it that true full-factory look, and
also improving aerodynamics are the
side fairings that feature winglets.
The wings are developed by
the factory Aprilia Racing
team and feature on the
RS-GP MotoGP machines.
Not only do they look trick,
the winglets also help with
There’s no word on price
yet, but don’t expect it
to be cheap.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 23
2017 EICMA SHOW SPECIAL
The 2018 Husqvarna
Vitpilen 701 is Here!
Good things come to those who wait: the 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701!
Since it was first teased back in 2014, we
wondered how different the production
version would be from the concept, but
here it is: the 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
– and it’s more amazing than we could’ve
hoped for. From concept to production,
we’ve been waiting for the moment that
the official unveiling of the Vitpilen 701.
The original concept was both minimalist
yet aggressive, and futuristic but classic,
and we wondered just how much of that
cool DNA would make the final cut…and
against all odds, pretty much everything
that Husqvarna promised has made it
to the final production model. This is an
unexpected turn of events indeed!
It’s been teased, spy shot, featured in
trailers, and talked about on a regular
basis since 2014. It was hyped up to the
maximum, and since this is the motorcycle
industry that we’re talking about, we
prepared ourselves for disappointment.
We got a first-hand glimpse of the bike
at the 2017 SA Bike Festival at Kyalami
back in May, where Husqvarna SA had
it proudly displayed on their stand. Since
then, we have been waiting
on details, and finally
they came at this years
The 2018 Husqvarna
Vitpilen 701 is everything
we wanted and more.
Since it was never far from
the headlines, we’re already
well aware of the Vitpilen
stats and vital
powered by a big liquid-cooled, 693cc
single that has a respectable 75
horsepower on tap and 70Nm of torque
on offer too. The engine isn’t a surprise,
because we’ve seen it on the KTM 690,
and the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. But
it isn’t the engine that makes this bike so
Built on top of a laser cut, hydro formed
and machine welded chrome-moly steeltrellis
frame, we’ve got a motorcycle that
comes equipped with a vast array of
premium goodies that comes gloriously
wrapped in the most futuristic but subtle
bodywork out there. Boasting Brembo
brakes with a Bosch ABS system,
adjustable torque control, a slipper clutch
and KTM’s WP suspension, we’ve got a
motorcycle that’s technologically superb –
but there’s more.
The 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 boasts
beautifully engineered clip on handlebars,
aluminium forged triple clamps, LED
lighting, a MOKKA leather upholstered
saddle, and cast alloy rims too. Overall,
it’s held together in one of the most
attractive motorcycle bodies that we
have ever seen – and it’s lightweight too.
Weighing in a 157kg, the Vitpilen 701 in
an incredibly lightweight machine that
promises responsive handling and a
fantastic ride experience. If you’re looking
for a motorcycle that works well as a quirky
commuter that can also hold its own in
the canyons, then this is definitely worth
considering. At the moment, we’ve got
no word on the price…but after years of
waiting, we can wait a little longer for that.
Get on the phone to Husqvarna and KTM
though, because you’re going to want to
book a test ride on one of
these as soon as possible.
Get down to your nearest
Husqvarna dealer for full
details on price and arrival.
24 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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Hatfi eld, Pretoria
Tel: (012) 342-8571
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AutoTrader new headline
sponsor for SA Bike Fest
South Africa Bike Festival and AutoTrader join forces to boost industry
growth and invest in the future of South Africa’s motorcycle market
South Africa Bike Festival, powered by
Discovery Channel, is now the market
leading annual showcase in the SA
motorcycling calendar. The third installment
returns to the legendary Kyalami Grand
Prix Circuit, 25-27 May 2018.
Alongside the existing headline media
partner, Discovery Channel, the three
powerhouses look forward to delivering
the strongest platform yet for the leading
motorcycle brands, manufacturers,
accessories and apparel, as well as all
industry and motoring lifestyle businesses
to meet upwards of 20 000 potential
customers and network with the wider
industry players to focus on the future of
motorcycling in South Africa.
Nicole Muller, Portfolio Director at Clarion
Events says; “The AutoTrader partnership
brings together two of the largest motoring
platforms in the live and digital spaces
in South Africa, alongside international
broadcast adventure and documentary
platform, Discovery Channel. This alliance
guarantees to drive commercial activity
all year round for motoring and lifestyle
brands, exhibitors and sponsors who have
invested in the festival since the beginning
as well as new brands looking to join and
benefi t from the exposure. We look forward
to working with our partners in the coming
months to ensure 360-degree coverage.
This will be the time when engagement
ignites across digital, live and broadcast
to create tangible unique experiences at
Africa’s leading international race circuit
and convention centre. The South African
consumer has the opportunity to meet
the people behind the industry as well as
the choice to try, test, ride and buy from a
multitude of brands in a safe and controlled
environment. Having worked with the
AutoTrader team since 2016, we are
delighted to be working even closer with a
leading, forward-thinking motoring brand in
South Africa who shares our vision.”
AutoTrader CEO George
Mienie says, “After 25 years, we have
successfully transitioned the business
from print to digital and our move to
support and now headline the largest live
bike event of it’s kind in SA, continues
our strategy to offer world-class market
leading solutions for buyers and sellers of
all vehicles. Our Bikes channel has grown
substantially with 2 million visits in the past
year so we are delighted to bring the digital
world into reality for this event, another
move to grow our bikes platform. As
market leaders it made sense to partner
with Clarion Events, the market leaders in
providing connectivity and business-critical
insight across communities of buyers and
The Clarion team are also pleased to
announce the offi cial brand ambassadors,
the “Voice of Motorsport” Greg
Moloney, “Biker Queen” Seipei Mashugane,
The Association of Motorcycle Importers &
Distributors in SA (AMID) and the Rainbow
Mzansi Bikers Organisation (RAMBO).
The combined intention for 2018 and
beyond is that “united we are STRONGER
and TOGETHER we can drive the
industry forward”. Motorcycling can offer
independence, mobility and an alternate
and cost effective means of transport
for SA Commuters. During these diffi cult
global economic times, by highlighting and
raising awareness of the positive impact
2 wheels can have for South Africa’s
future, we can have a positive impact on
environmental and economical solutions.
For further information, contact the team
via southafricabikefestival.com or call
/ WhatsApp the dedicated marketing
number 061 505 5727.
All of the different brands of oil and
air fi lters can get confusing. We’ve
used these often without any issue.
The Hifl ofi ltro-Thai Yang Kitpaisan
factory was founded in 1955 and
has been manufacturing fi lters
for the OEM motor industry since
1963. With the experience of more
than four decades, continuous
research and development
and modern production
facilities, they manufacture
some of the best quality
fi lters in the world. Every
oil fi lter goes through 16
individual quality control checks
before it is ready to leave the
factory. The whole manufacturing
process, including the checking
of raw materials, individual fi lter
testing, is regularly audited and
verifi ed independently by TÜV SÜD.
There are applications for almost
every motorcycle, scooter, and ATV
that uses an oil fi lter.
Imported by trickbitz – www.
trickbitz.co.za or your nearest
Products: for all bikes
Yup! This full cleaning kit even comes with evefrything from
a bucket and nifty sponge to air fi lter oil spray, so you can
scrub up your bike or bakkie after a ride. Only R299.
At dealers Nation-wide.
26 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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Suzuki Motorcycles South Africa
Fire it Up
They’ve done it before, and now they are
doing it again!
To celebrate the support received from
their valued customers and the fact that
Fire It Up have been appointed as offi cial
Kawasaki Dealer in the Fourways area, Fire
It Up Kawasaki will be giving away prizes
valued at over R100k on Sunday the 24th of
December 2017 at 11.00am via a live feed
on their Facebook page.
• 3rd prize is ownership of the
personalised number plate MM 93 GP.
• 4th prize is ownership of the
personalised number plate NICKY 69 GP.
• 5th prize is ownership of the
personalised number plate DOVI 04 GP.
• 6th prize is ownership of the
personalised number plate MV 25 GP
New life at Clearwater
The Impressive Clearwater Motorrad dealership near
Roodepoort has been in a bit of a state of fl ux for the
last few months. The store has new owners now – and
Motorrad man Craig Jones has brought in some very
experienced people to run the show.
Richard Friend and Jo Rust are on the showroom fl oor
waiting to sell you your next bike. There is always lekker
coffee, clean used BMW’s and, of course, always the
latest machinery on the fl oor. Full workshop and service
centre – and the accessory section is fi lling up nicely.
Clearwater Motors c/o Hendrik Potgieter and Falls Road,
Little Falls ext 6. Phone: 011 761 3500
To enter the giveaway is easy - simply
take a selfi e instore at Fire It Up! with the
Hashtag #fi reitup2017, check in and you
Visit the store - Shop 3 & 4, Showrooms
On Leslie, Cnr William Nicol Dr & Leslie Ave,
• 1st prize is a Brand new Kawasaki
KLE300 Versys valued at R75000
including a genuine Kawasaki Dual
Purpose Jacket and Bell Helmet
(valued at R11000) brining the total of
value of the first prize to R86000!
• 2nd prize is ownership of the much
sought after VR46GP personalised
number plate worth thousands.
28 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
KYALAMI GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT
25 - 27 MAY 2018
TICKETS ON SALE
LEARN TO RIDE
CUSTOM, VINTAGE, CLASSIC
AND RETRO CHAMPIONSHIP
Don’t miss your opportunity to join in the fun
with the “RocoMamas Custom, Vintage,
Classic & Retro Championship” taking place
at South Africa Bike Festival 25-27 May 2018.
After two years of incredible builds and custom
creativity we are thrilled to welcome back Frank
Sander, our international judge and builder
from Germany, and joining him from a local
perspective, Robert Coutts, from the 2 Stroke
Club. This year we are changing things up to
include more classic and restored categories and
we’re looking forward to yet another nationwide
search for the very best restored, maintained,
hand-built and customised motorcycles.
Our 2018 categories have been finalised and
we encourage all entries to register as soon
as possible to save their spot on the viewing
deck inside the Kyalami Pit Building. The top 60
motorcycles chosen will also join us for two-laps
around the circuit before positioning the bikes
indoors, undercover, secure and protected from
Enter your Pride Of Joy today via the
festival website or whatsapp your pics and
details to 061 505 5727
• Scooter/Junior Bike Class
• Trike & 3-Wheeler Class
• Sport/ Streetbike Class
• Custom Sportsbike
• Streetfighter Class
• Stock Metric & European V-Twin
• Stock USA V- Twin
• Touring Class
• Custom V-Twin Class
• Radical Custom Class
• Custom MotoCross/Off-Road
• Classic Class: Every Motorcycle before
• Retro/Cafe Racer Class
• Two-Stroke Division – Custom/Original
• Two-Stroke Division – Classic Restoration
• Two-Stroke Division – MX category
• Overall winner and runner up
• People’s Choice award
SOUTHAFRICABIKEFESTIVAL.COM / 061 505 5727
to you by
Suter quits Moto2
Swiss manufacturer Suter has announced it is
withdrawing from Moto2 with immediate effect.
Suter has been a mainstay of grand prix motorcycling’s middle
category since Moto2 replaced the 250cc class in 2010, supplying
Marc Marquez during his title-winning season in 2012.
However, it has fallen out of favour in recent seasons, as rival brand
Kalex gradually established itself as the category’s dominant force.
Just two teams, Dynavolt Intact GP and Kiefer Racing, fi elded
Suter machinery this season, with the Swiss fi rm’s last victory in the
class coming back in 2014, courtesy of Thomas Luthi - although
Dominique Aegerter won on the road in Misano this year before
being disqualifi ed.
However, Kiefer chose to switch to KTM bikes for 2018, leaving
Intact GP as Suter’s sole customer and Xavi Vierge and Marcel
Schrotter as its only riders.
A statement issued by Suter on Friday said that it could not justify
competing in Moto2 with only two bikes on the grid.
Company founder and sometime 250cc racer Eskil Suter said:
“From a strategical point of view, this does not justify any further our
participation in the Moto2 world championship.”
Suter’s exit leaves a total of fi ve different chassis represented on the
2018 grid: Kalex, KTM, Tech 3, Speed Up and newcomers NTS.
Intact GP has announced it will revert to Kalex machinery next season.
New faces in WSBK
Loris Baz returns to the World SBK paddock for 2018,
while top Turk Toprak Razgatlioglu moves up from
the European Superstock
Loris Baz has been confi rmed to make
his return to World Superbike for the 2018
season with the Althea BMW.
Baz ended a three-year stint in MotoGP
after a season with Forward Racing in 2015,
and two campaigns for Avintia Ducati.
His tenure included two impressive fourthplace
fi nishes in the 2015 Misano and 2016
Prior to joining MotoGP, Baz spent three
seasons in World Superbike with Kawasaki,
winning two races and standing on the
podium 14 times.
Baz will join the Althea BMW squad next
year, which will downsize to a one-bike
operation after the departure of Jordi Torres,
who joins MV Agusta, and Raffaele De Rosa.
“I wanted to fi nd the best solution for my
future and I think I have found this in team
Althea,” said Bazi.
“I have known Genesio [Bevilacqua, team
boss] for a long time, so we talked and, to
be honest, it was very easy to come to an
“I know the team is strong – they won
the title with Carlos Checa after all – and I
consider the project a very interesting one,
also in light of the changes to the regulation.”
RAZGATLIOGLU WITH PUCCETTI
The Puccetti Kawasaki World Superbike
squad has announced it will run Superstock
1000 ace Toprak Razgatlioglu as its sole
rider next season.
Razgatlioglu, 21, fi nished runner-up
to Michael Ruben Rinaldi in this year’s
Superstock 1000 season, losing out on the
crown by only eight points after being forced
to skip a race at Magny-Cours.
The Turkish rider has long been linked with
a step up to WSBK in 2018, and fi lls the
seat occupied by Randy Krummenacher,
Anthony West and Sylvain Guintoli at various
points this season.
“I am happy to step up in WorldSBK
next year,” said Razgatlioglu. “I have
been riding with the team Puccetti for a
couple of seasons now and so I know the
professionalism of the people working here.
“I am confi dent that I will have all what I
need to learn the new bike and be able to
fi ght for good results soon.”
Guintoli had initially been expected to join
Puccetti full-time next season as he returned
to WSBK with the Italian squad for the fi nal
two rounds of the season in Jerez and Qatar.
However, it’s understood the French rider
ultimately turned down the chance of a fulltime
comeback to the championship in order
to take on a MotoGP test role for Suzuki.
2018 WSBK line-up so far:
Kawasaki - Jonathan Rea / Tom Sykes
Ducati - Chaz Davies / Marco Melandri
Crescent Yamaha - Alex Lowes / Michael
van der Mark
Honda Ten Kate - Leon Camier / TBA
MV Agusta - Jordi Torres
Puccetti Kawasaki - Toprak Razgatlioglu
GoEleven Kawasaki - Roman Ramos
Orelak Kawasaki - Leandro Mercado
Althea BMW - Loris Baz
30 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Dual compound technology
The new reference
tyre in the sports
An incomparable sensation of grip
“In terms of safety, the front tire
of the MICHELIN Power RS sets
and cornering stability
Front tyre profile derived
from race competition
derived from racing
“The best stability during sequences of
curves, even on a simulation of a country
Pole-winning performance: agility and
handling when changing direction, under
braking and when accelerating hard!
“Extremely agile, with exceptional directional
stability and impeccable handling in
cornering; All this makes Michelin the winner
(and not only in terms of points).“
A new patented construction for exceptional straight-line
and cornering stability.
A single ply ensures a more flexible crown, while the side
ply back over itself.
Harder rubber underneath the softer rubber on the
shoulders gives better rigidity at lean, for more stability
when cornering, especially under strong accelaration.
to you by
Marquez breaks more records
Marc Marquez becomes youngest-ever 4-time world champion
Marc Marquez became the youngest rider in
MotoGP history to win four world titles at a
dramatic Valencia MotoGP fi nale.
Watched by a crowd of 110,000 at the
Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the race pitted the
24-year-old Repsol Honda rider against
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Marquez fi nished in third place, while
Dovizioso retired after crashing into the
gravel late into the race, ensuring Marquez,
the defending world champion, retained his
It was a tense fi nale at the end of a closefought
2017 MotoGP season.
Marquez was defending a 21-point
championship lead over Dovizioso heading in
the 18th and fi nal race and sped into an early
lead from pole position.
The Catalan rider sensibly let combative
Frenchman Johann Zarco through to head
the race. Behind them, Marquez’s Honda
teammate Dani Pedrosa and the two Ducatis
of Jorge Lorenzo and Dovizioso gave chase.
For long periods, it appeared that Lorenzo
was inexplicably holding up his teammate.
Signals from his crew seemed to be
imploring the Malaga man to allow Dovizioso
through, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, Marquez followed Zarco at
the front, apparently content to let the
Frenchman pursue a maiden premier class
win. However, as the laps ticked down,
Marquez ran out of patience and swept by,
only to lose the front end of his Honda in the
It was the kind of moment that has come to
defi ne his career.
As his bike began to slide from beneath him,
Marquez jammed an elbow into the tarmac,
lifting the Honda back onto its wheels. The
bike hit the gravel, but Marquez somehow
managed to maintain control and re-join the
race, in fi fth place.
Shortly after though, Lorenzo and
Dovizioso’s races ended. Lorenzo
spectacularly crashing out, while Dovizioso
- like Marquez - succumbed to the lure of
the gravel. Unlike his rival though, he was
unable to keep his bike upright.
Dani Pedrosa denied Zarco his fi rst MotoGP
win, with last year’s Moto2 champion
fi nishing second. Marquez clawed his way
back to third, meaning he could celebrate his
championship win from the podium.
Marquez’s victory was his fourth in fi ve years
in motorcycling’s premier class and his sixth
world title overall -- he won the 125cc class
in 2010 and the Moto2 crown two years later.
Catalan’s fans streamed onto the track,
handing Marquez a giant red die, and laying
down a mock board game. Of course, the
now six-time world champion rolled a six.
“I’m living a dream,” Marquez told reporters
after the race. “’Six Titles’ are big words.”
“Today the race was incredibly tense
and exciting -- a bit ‘Marquez Style’,” he
laughed. “I made a mistake, but I also made
my best save of the year.”
Pedrosa was aghast at his teammate’s
save: “It was incredible. The smoke, the
noise, the speed -- wow, impressive!”
Dovizioso was philosophical about his
season. “I tried everything and I think that
we have to be pleased with this weekend.
We weren’t as quick as Marquez but we
fought to the very end,” he said.
“I put myself in the right position but,
unfortunately, I didn’t have many cards to play.”
He also rubbished suggestions that Lorenzo
had held him up. “In the end staying behind
him helped me ride in a smoother way, so
it was positive he was in front of me,” he
“We were all at the limit, even Marc who
managed to save himself once again from
a crash, and I want to congratulate him
because also this year he managed to make
Marquez also had kind words for his rival.
“I’m sorry that Andrea didn’t fi nish the race,
as he deserved to do so,” he said. “He had
an incredible season and I would have liked
to have him on the podium with me today.”
32 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
RF magazine play.indd 1006
2014/12/27 8:44 AM
Helmets worth a look
When it comes to buying riding gear, no piece of equipment is more
important than a good motorcycle helmet.
Protecting a motorcycle rider’s head is serious business, but with
so many styles and brands on the market, choosing a motorcycle
helmet can be as difficult as choosing the right motorcycle.
Since the early 1900s, motorcycle helmets have evolved nearly as
much as the bikes themselves. Crash helmets used to be simple
canvas domes covered in brittle shellac, but current lids are
comfortable, safe, and connected in ways never before thought
possible. The process of choosing one can be confusing, however.
The market is flooded with countless options with different styles and
price points, but fear not, we’re here to help.
This month we feature part 2, and highlight some of the best top of
the range helmets on the market.
AGV Pista GPR Carbon
The pinnacle of professional motorcycle racing protection.
The ultimate track helmet. The AGV Pista GP-R Helmet
features an integrated hydration system developed with top
riders with tube routing optimized to eliminate distraction
for completely unencumbered hydration while riding. Moto
GP developed metal air vents with an innovative external fins
structure have been engineered to capture maximum airflow
in the front of the shell and increase air pressure on the
rear exhaust, therefore increasing the speed of air transition
inside the helmet, and leading to higher cooling performance.
The wind-tunnel-tested “biplano” spoiler has multiple wings
to maximize aerodynamic performance and add stability at
high speed. The extremely compact and light 100% carbon
fiber shell’s shape is designed to minimize interference with
the racing suit and limit risk of impact energy transfer to the
collarbone, while the interior has an adaptable fit and places
no stitching in sensitive areas. The result is a helmet that
approaches perfection in terms of eliminating distraction and
maximizing comfort for the ultimate pro-level track riding
experience- the AGV Pista GPR Carbon Helmet.
Available in Ianonne replica, Rossi and VR46 project.
Price: R23 990 From: RACE! SA 011 466 6666
42 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
AGV Corsa R
Exceptional Italian hardware for the serious sport rider
and track day enthusiast, the AGV Corsa R Helmet is
a professional-level piece of equipment. Engineered
to the same exacting standard as AGV’s flagship Pista
GP R Carbon, the Corsa R benefits from the Moto-
GP-level Pista’s research and development process,
inheriting many of the same features.
The Corsa uses the same shell and ventilation design
as Pista GP Carbon but without the additional expense
of full carbon construction, opting instead for an equally
strong proprietary blend of carbon and aramid fibers
with traditional fiberglass. Race-bred features including a
condition-dependent reversible crown comfort liner for peak
performance in either heat or cold, an aerodynamic spoiler and humpcompatible
shell design testify to the level of engineering expertise poured
into the AGV Corsa R Helmet. Available in Rossi Goodwood and Pol Espargaro.
Price: R16 990 From: RACE! SA 011 466 6666
The Bell Race Star Helmet has been designed for the
sport rider and track day enthusiast that demands
unparalleled performance. Constructed using the
latest in carbon fiber technology and developed
through extensive wind tunnel and track testing, the
Race Star’s design features a superlight 3K Carbon
Shell, Raceview ergonomics for unmatched visibility
and the three layer Flex Impact Liner to manage slow,
mid and high energy impacts. The Race Star continues
the racing heritage of the Bell Star line, pushing the
limits of helmet technology to all new heights.
This is the same lid our very own Brad Binder wears, and
our test rider Shaun Portman, so we know it’s good!
Price: R11 999 From: Full Throttle - 011 452 2397
HJC RPHA 11
The HJC RPHA 11 builds upon the hugely
successful RPHA 10, creating an even more
finely tuned helmet for sport and track-day
enthusiasts. A more aerodynamically refined
shell, improved rear spoiler design, ACS
“Advanced Channeling Ventilation System”,
an added forehead vent, greater field of
view, a redesigned face shield gasket system
and both clear and smoke tinted opticallysuperior
Pinlock-ready 2D flat-racing shields
round out the features of this helmet.
Two new limited edition styles will be
available in 2018 - The Military Camo and
Miliraty White Sands (both pictured here).
Price: R10 995 From: Randburg MC 011 792 6829
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 43
SLIME Powersport tyre inflator
The mini-kit is ideal for vehicles
such as motorcycles and ATVs,
which are unable to carry a
spare tyre. Included in the kit is
a powerful, palm-sized ( 6x6 ) air
compressor and accessories to
inflate tires in minutes. The kit is
so small and portable, it stores
easily under a seat, in a saddle
bag, or in any small area. The kit
includes everything required to
perform an emergency repair - an
air hose with quick-clip, optional
power cord configurations to ensure
connection to any 12-volt DC source
– motorcycle, ATV or other vehicle -
all in a small, shock-proof and water-proof zippered pouch.
From: Most motorcycle accessory stores
TORK CRAFT Work Apron
A work apron is a protective garment that covers the front
of the body. It protects clothes from wear and tear and
includes pockets to hold tools (tools not included).
• 13 multi-purpose waist pockets for all tools.
• 1 Chest pocket for pens and handy note etc.
• 2 extra hammer loops.
• Quick release buckle for convenient action.
• 100% cotton for more comfort and durability.
• Fully adjustable size..
Price: R257.21 From: Vermont Sales Group - 011 314 7711
SBK Eyewear special
The new range of official SBK Eyewear has just arrived in SA, and they have
a massive special on for the month of December. When you buy a new pair of
shades you get a FREE cap, case and lens/visor cleaner. Brilliant value for money,
and the perfect Christmas gift for you or your loved one.
From: SBK Eyewear - Belinda 082 654 5690
MOTUL quality products
Motul has a massive range of quality products for all motorcycles, from oils to
lubricants and cleaning products. Here we feature 3 great products that every biker
should have in the garage.
1: Motul Stabilizer: It’s a multipurpose formula to protect gasoline against oxidation,
making it easier for your motorcycle to start up after wintering. the solution also
helps avoiding deposits building up in the carburettor, combustion chamber and on
valves, along with cleaning valves for optimum engine performance.
2: The P3 tyre repair: Re-inflates and repairs motorcycle tyres with instant effect
without the need of any additional tools.
3: Scratch Remover: Removes superficial scratches on any painted or varnished
surfaces: motorcycle fairings, helmet, etc ... Restores gloss paints and varnishes.
Removes superficial scratches on any painted or varnished surfaces: motorcycle
fairings, helmet, etc ... Restores gloss paints and varnishes.
From: Most motorcycle accessory stores
44 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
There is a certain class associated with exclusivity, whether it’s the luxurious feel of
Egyptian cotton or the elegance of an expensive timepiece. Anything that is not part of
what the masses partake in motivates us mere mortals to strive for that elusive slice of
intangible recognition. Words: The Singh Pics: Gerrit Erasmus (Beam Productions)
46 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
he misty mountains of
Mpumalanga represent that level
of tasteful exclusivity, perhaps
not during the peak tourist infested times
of December, but for the remainder of
the year, it is a surreal destination that
invigorates the soul and frees the mind.
I had not frequented my favourite
corners for the better part of a year, work
commitments and completing my novel
took vast chunks out of my tar scorching
adventures. I had expected the roads to
display signs of timely decay and ill-planned
maintenance, but surprisingly they were
When we selected the dates for our
weekend test, the forecasts predicted
scattered thundershowers throughout the
day. I commute every day. Fair weather,
rain even the occasional snow storm, but
rain, mist and the declining radius corners
of Long Tom Pass do not represent
recreational entertainment for me. I’ve
survived frost warnings on those roads
where visibility was reduced to staring just
past your handle bars and pouring rain
that make the rubber that you trust in feel
like spray and cook on a baking tin. It’s a
harrowing experience and once you tick it
off your bucket list, it should remain there.
Either way, we were out of options, so
when we arrived at Rob’s place to fetch the
GSXR-RRR R and the ZX 10RRR, (more Rs
mean more expensive, ie more Rands) we
were excited with a twinge of nervousness.
The Suzuki’s tyres had been munched on
by Rob on the previous day, which had
me scowling slightly as we left for our
After the Suzuki had won my own
personal Pirelli BOTY test, I was bubbling
with enthusiasm to ride the elite version
of this machine. The GSXR with its loyal
fan base has been selling well and that’s
encouraging to see in our current economic
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 47
climate. The exclusive model features a few
tweaks and tricks but the most enticing
gimmick on this machine are the balance
Showa themselves explain the
suspension like this: “Usually suspensions
are installed with positive and negative
pressure valve settings and cavitation
(oil foam) pressure balance fluctuation
generates due to large pressure resistance.
The new suspension is designed with
balance-free structure that has no
fluctuation and will offer smooth operation
due to its new hydraulic circuit. By
generating damping force at large flow rate,
response, controllability at slow speed and
uniformity has improved.”
In simple terms, this equates to a
smoother ride, where the impact of uneven
road surfaces are muted by the technology.
With the condition of some of our blacktops
this intervention should become mandatory.
With 1500km on the GSXR’s clocks one
can feel the engine is beginning to loosen
up. It’s like a new set of leathers that needs
continuous use to become comfortable.
Mieke was on the ZX for the entire journey
to Sabie so I will reserve my comments on
the Kawa for later. We were disappointed
that the Honda SP could not participate in
“The Suzuki engine as always is relentless.
Power is available from anywhere across
its rev range and the bike makes its
presence known with malicious intent.The
suspension feels flighty initially but, as you
apply throttle the bike squats onto the tar
with the same kind of aggression as The
Hulk trying to lift Thor’s hammer.”
this test and trying to source an R1M was
like trying to find an honest politician. It is
the stuff of dreams and legends.
The Suzuki engine as always is
relentless. Power is available from anywhere
across its rev range and the bike makes its
presence known with malicious intent. The
suspension feels flighty initially but, as you
apply throttle the bike squats onto the tar
with the same kind of aggression as The
Hulk trying to lift Thor’s hammer.
The BMW RR has always been an
incredibly versatile road bike, its balanced
fueling and DDC suspension have become
fantastic companions to the adventurous
road rider. Suzuki has shifted this bar with
its latest incarnation. The fueling on the
GSXR is progressive and smooth, where
the BMW or R1 needs to be continuously
fed. It’s like a nicotine addict that begins
vaping in order to quit smoking but needs
incredibly high doses just to keep sane. The
suspension on the Suzuki deals with slights
in the tar with insipient patience, it responds
immediately whereas the DDC needs
nanoseconds to adjust. It may appear as if
we are splitting straws, but like the impact
of social media on public opinion, the
microcosmic differences between the bikes
are the core focus of consumerism.
We roared into Dullstroom chasing
the wisps of thunderclouds. I sipped on
my Earl Grey while Mieke nursed a Lindt
hot chocolate, both our eyes focused
warily on the distant mountains of Sabie.
We hastened through a smoked trout
pancake and rushed towards Lydenburg.
The weather was miraculously holding
and we kept at a steady pace to the
foothills of Long Tom Pass. The tar on the
mountain road is grippy and shreds tyres
with disdainful ease. The pass itself is
48 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
notorious for sluggish trucks that hold up
vehicle trains forever and create more of a
risk for traffic than the actual gradient. As
we climbed the lower foothills, it became
glaringly apparent how vastly superior the
balance free forks are in comparison to
other current suspension systems. The
relentless power of the GSXR gobbled up
the steep incline of Long Tom in a blaze of
fluid overtaking and flawless apexing. I had
the luggage with me, the ZX10 RR having
only one foot peg, so my usual acrobatics
were slightly limited, none the less, the
GSXR was as agile as a Bolshevik ballerina
on steroids. There are a few brutal corners
in a stretch of the pass called The Staircase.
These corners comprise of grueling second
gear turns that keep twisting until you find
yourself looking so far through the corner
that you end up with a stiff neck.
We descended into Sabie with sighs of
relief, the weather had held off. I quickly did
a lazy hazy. Although I was exhausted, the
22 is always a welcome sight and it did not
disappoint. Two other road legends were on
the 22 as I gently engaged the twisties. As I
reached the turnaround point I noticed that
some helpful individual had actually painted
a finish line at the end. Was this perhaps
an indication that the fabled 22 was in fact
a race track? Either way, I returned to the
woodsman to await the arrival of our host.
The jovial countenance of Thomas Bohm
greeted us at the Woodsman. His curiosity
piqued at the elite machines that we had
brought with us on this test.
After a quick beverage we sauntered
to our accommodation. The Windmill
cottages are a long stone’s throw from the
end of the 22. Linked to an
exotic wine shop with oodles
of craft beer, the venue is
reminiscent of a fairy tale.
With tastefully decorated selfcatering
cottages and a crystal clear view
of the valley, it’s a far cry from the sparsely
furnished practical accommodation of The
Woodsman that we normally reside in.
This was an exclusive test and we were
privileged to be housed in luxurious digs.
We unstrapped the luggage and went
out for another few rounds on our favourite
patch of tar. Thomas rode the Suzuki and
I finally got a stint on the ZX 10RR. After
the standard model had won our Durban
Test, many of my riding colleagues seemed
unconvinced about my change of stance.
As a road tester, there are many factors
that influence the outcome of a result. The
bike is just one cog in the larger machinery
of what we hope to provide. A concise
“The Windmill cottages are a
long stone’s throw from the
end of the 22. Linked to an
exotic wine shop with oodles
of craft beer, the venue is
reminiscent of a fairy tale.”
50 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
summary of what these steeds are like to
live with every day. Bad weather, crappy
tyres, inconsiderate motorists and the
occasional runaway locals are just some of
the additional factors that we must take into
consideration when providing our input.
Most riders think that the life of a
journalist is all unicorns and rainbows, after
all we get to test the latest and greatest,
it’s all caviar and Moet with dollops of
silky smooth environments coupled with
gorgeous pit girls that ooze sexuality. Well
ok, on that front, having Mieke along ticks
that box in abundance. On the converse
side, it’s riddled with multiple double takes,
grumpy editors and a tedious fixation on
testing the limits of bikes in road conditions,
while staying alive.
Track testing is grueling and painful,
but apart from the physical condition of
the rider, the only component of the test
that is an actual variable is the skill of the
rider. The environment is predictable, the
traction is predetermined and chances of
anything going wrong is entirely dependent
on the intelligent quotient of the tester. A
lot of my biking mates always want me to
join them on track. Most times I decline, I
find the track as refreshing as a lobotomy.
The quick riders like the Rob, Shez, Uncle
Ricky and a few others are a pleasure to
“As testers most of us can only hope
to touch the limits of the technology
we test and for that, it’s worth every
curse, every obstacle and every
moment of imperfect perfection.”
watch, their movements predefined by the
subconscious repetition of engaging the
same patch of tar, consistently for hundreds
of laps, others present a mismatched set
of stressed, ego driven excursions into the
depths of their own limits. It is hilarious to
watch “fast” A group riders being blitzed
by true masters of speed. A lesson in
perception of self versus actual self.
Being fast and thinking you are fast are
two entirely different concepts. One that
I feel defines the true rider, whether you
peruse the road or the track.
Both the road and tar require a certain
level of courage, but conquering fear and
the premise of mortality is defined by
the risks associated with the actions we
take. Both these disciplines are equally
responsible for the success and failure
of certain brands. As testers most of us
can only hope to touch the limits of the
technology we test and for that, it’s worth
every curse, every obstacle and every
moment of imperfect perfection.
The ZX 10RR is responsive and sports
the best sounding standard exhaust in
the market. The gearing is not ideal for
quick roll-ons but once you flirt with higher
revolutions the Kawasaki is aggressively
predictable. It feels heavier than the
Suzuki but once tipped in, it holds its line
with magnetic clarity. The lightness of the
Marchesini rims is apparent from the first
corner, the ZX feels longer and with my taller
frame is far more comfortable to pose with.
One of the legendary riders of the 22
had a modified BMW RR present and it’s
only when you jump on the Beemer that
the vast chasm in technology becomes
obvious. The RR is only two years old now
and this particular bike is cared for with
In this prestigious company, the BMW
feels aged, like a war veteran that is still
able to fight but lacks that finesse of the
younger participants. It responds with
alarming clarity but the smoothness that
impressed us pales next to the new breed
of competitor. The DDC feels lethargic
but still copes with the light bumps of the
road. The ZX 10RR and GSXRR outclass
the aging competitor in a spark of new
technology. Riding these bikes back to
back, the differences are abundantly clear.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 51
I was beginning to get a cramp in my
wrist that reminded me, that although the
mind is infinite, the physical body requires
rest. Bidding our gallant companions a
refreshing and restful good night we retired
to our lovely cabin, complete with rustic
décor and spacious shower that could
easily accommodate three people.
The next day dawned misty with hints
of rain, the picturesque Mountain View
was obscured by a silvery haze of fog. It
was a perfect morning. Our gracious hosts
provided us with scrumptious buttery
scones and freshly ground coffee. Thomas
runs the Sabie Riding academy and his
institute needs no introduction, suffice to
say the course is independent of weather.
My experience in dirt riding is limited to the
sand that forms the boundary between the
road and the driveway, so I carefully avoid
anything to do with off-road.
As we patiently waited for the weather
to clear and the roads to dry, I observed the
discipline needed to execute off-road riding.
Thomas does most of these exercises with
a level of understated expertise that makes
it look way easier than it is to execute.
Much like road riding, it is the little things
that save your skin. A balance point here, or
using the brake there, normally defines the
line between a successful rider and those
that survive on luck.
The Robbit arrived and it was time to
take photos. Some of the magnificent
footage you witness is painstakingly and
patiently shot until we get the perfect shot. I
got to ride both the bikes again with cooler
conditions and damper roads. The Suzuki
has a marvelously calibrated traction control
system. The difference in each setting can be
individually sampled and one can definitely
feel the moto GP technology that has filtered
its way to the streets. It is truly a privilege to
feel the surgical precision of these modern
bikes and unless you actually ride one, it is
difficult to convey their superiority.
The auto blip on the Suzuki is flawless,
it shifts downwards with the smoothness
of butter on steaming popcorn and
the gearbox feels solid with each gear
slamming into the gate with no hesitation.
The ZX 10R has a good gear box and there
are no fluctuations in the rhythm of quickshifting,
the GSXR just does it better.
The stoppers on both bikes are
adequate to road riding, but progressive
use does tend to make both brakes feel
spongy. It is something I do not understand.
Who approves the final brake tests,
because the bikes are equipped with
Brembo, so what’s the excuse? They are
also not cheap components, so I ask again,
who approves the final products. In fact
who tests it and gives the final OK before
they are mass produced. It’s similar to the
shelf life of modern day cell phones, at 18
52 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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months all the nonsense starts and it just
goes downhill from there.
As we were completing another death
defying U-turn, two Porsches blasted
past. A 911 Turbo and a GT3 RS. I could
not resist. I went from fi fth to second gear
in as much it takes to moisten the eye
and was off in tyre scorching pursuit. I
expected the cars to outrun the ZX 10R
with consummate ease, but I also know the
road so that adds a slight advantage to the
two wheel club.
I watched in glee as the 911 stomped on
his brakes, the car squatting like an angry
sumo wrestler at an eat as much as you like
buffet. The car catapulted out the corner
with grim power. The massive rear rubber
spitting up thousands of small stones
towards me. The thump of the multiple
pipes on the 911, momentarily drowned
out the exhaust note of the ZX 10. Scary,
but true. I backed off and followed with a
bit more distance between us. Somehow
I had begun using brakes and the gears
on the Kawasaki and wail of the 1000 cc
engine as she almost kissed her limiter in
second gear was orgasmic in the hollow
valleys of Sabie. The rampant Porsches
were on some sort of extended breakfast
run and both the cars continued past the
22 fi nish line. As I turned to return I watched
in mesmerized awe as another fi fteen or so
supercars fl ashed past. The posse included
a Ferrari 458 and even a Datsun GTR was
thrown into the mix…Odd, but although the
Skyline performs better than some of these
supercars it still feels, well, the interior is just
underwhelming. At almost R2 million it can
certainly hang with the big badges, but it’s
still a Datsun. But I test road bikes so who
cares what I say about cars.
By this stage the rubber on the Suzuki
had reached a stage of dangerous wear.
It was slipping at low rpms and although
I wanted to ride more, I decided to park
it. (Note to self, ask for pictures of tyre
condition before doing a 1000km test)
Either way, we only had the ZX 10R to play
with and after a few more runs, the skies
opened up and we had a lovely downpour.
Dinner was a provocative affair, I was
feeling exhausted so we ventured to a
fancy restaurant down the road. I ordered
the salmon salad. Little did I know that
they were actually a species of salmon
that came from Ethiopia and had obviously
been starved? They wrapped this skeletally
thin skin around a fresh rocket leaf and
presented that to me as my salad. It was
late, I was grumpy so I wolfed it down and
concentrated on dessert. Tomorrow the
journey back would begin.
The morning began with a more rain
and fog so thick you could trip over your
shadow. We waited till about 11am before
leaving. I have no issues riding in rain, but
even with advanced inertia management
units, I draw the line at slicks. Yes, the tyres
were that bad.
It was a treacherous ascent up Long
Tom, I had to keep reminding myself to turn
and not lean the bike. I cursed Rob but the
Suzuki never put a foot wrong. I wound
the traction up to 10 and even slight lateral
movement was captured by the bikes
electronics. I did not want to risk Mieke
riding the GSXR so she stayed on the
Kawa. When we hit the open freeways, we
did a few roll-ons. Granted the Suz had my
fat a$$ on it plus the luggage and we were
pretty even all the way to about 270. Which
means with equal riders the GSXR would
be the faster machine.
The rest of the trip panned into a
detached trip into straight-line boredom.
Kilometer after kilometer of straight tar.
Both machines were effortless in their
cruising speeds and once we reached our
destination, they both looked none the
worse for wear.
The weekend on these steeds endeared
me to them with a fondness that I have
become aloof from. Testing so many bikes
leaves one over awed and sometimes
detached. The GSXRR and ZX 10RR
are perfect for this sort of application.
Fast road, long distance and incredible
electronics. It’s a blissful blend of mind
warping performance coupled with the
marvels of modern research…what more
could we want.
RATINGS: KAWASAKI ZX10RR
New Rider 6
RATINGS: SUZUKI GSXR1000R
New Rider 6
54 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Sabie in Luxury
H A V A L H 6 C W o r d s R o b P o r t m a n
When we do tests like this we approach
car manufacturers to get involved and help
us out with a vehicle to make the logistics a
bit easier. Most of the time we get nothing
but silence, not even the courtesy of a
response. This is once again where the old
‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’
saying came into play.
We contacted our good mate Greg
Moloney, who has a great contact at Haval
SA. Greg kindly made the call to Tyrone
Alberts, National Sales manager at Haval SA,
and asked if we could use a vehicle for the
weekend of the test. Tyrone gladly assisted
and gave us the new Haval H6C luxury SUV.
I first heard of the Haval brand earlier
this year at the SA Motoring Experience at
Kyalami, where I commentated with Greg,
and where Haval launched their brand in SA.
To be honest, I didn’t take too much
notice of the brand. I thought it was just
another Chinese brand hitting the SA market.
Boy was I wrong!
After spending the weekend with the
Haval H6C, my view on this ‘Chinese’ brand
has completely changed. Nothing about this
car is that cheap ‘Chinese’ cliché that we all
expect. It is pure quality through and through.
No wonder they are the biggest selling SUV
brand in China.
Right off the bat, the Haval H6 makes
an impression. It sports a handsome shape
designed by the man responsible for the
original BMW X5, Pierre Leclercq. It’s not
ground breaking, nor is it derivative, and the
proportions and silhouette are sophisticated.
Ditto the contemporary cabin with Audistyle
toggle, gear-lever and buttons on the
transmission tunnel, a large touchscreen,
lovely leather steering wheel and wellbolstered
seats. Original, no but so effective.
Every where you look you’ll find signs of
excellent quality, with damped buttons,
chunky switches and some decent materials,
all screwed together consistently well.
The car drives superbly well, and it’s
turbo-charged 2 litre petrol motor is sublime,
and complements the luxurious look and feel
of the car to a tee.
Space? It has plenty. The H6 also offers a
good back seat with more space than rivals I
have driven in the past, comfortable reclining
seats with ISOFIX anchors, rear vents,
reading lights and nice materials in the door
trims. Strip away the badging and you’d be
flummoxed as to the car’s origins.
The auto DCT transmission is pure delight,
and I loved the paddle shift on the steering
wheel. Gave this big SUV a very sporty feel...
right up my alley!
Overall, I was extremely impressed with
the Haval H6. It’s quality is on par, if not better
in some cases, than it’s much more illustrious
rivals. But, and this is where Haval really does
have one over it’s competitors, the price is
the real highlight of this car. Starting from
only R329,900, there is no better value-formoney
on the market today in the luxury SUV
segment. I urge you to go test drive one now.
You will not regret it!
We look forward to a great relationship in
the future with this great brand!
For the full range of vehicles, and there are
some great options, with specs and pricing,
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 55
Words: Mieke Oelofsen
When asked to describe my life the
popular #blessed springs to mind. Not
because my sugar daddy buys me a new
Hermès bag every other week, but rather
because I have so many opportunities to
experience what others can only dream of.
It does sound a bit cliché of course, so I
refrain from using it to gain more followers
on Instagram. I can however write about it,
and I hope it inspires you to live a little…
We set off for Sabie at midday on
Friday, myself on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR,
trailing not-too-far behind The Singh on
the route so familiar to us by now. The ZX
was cool and composed during the windy
stretches of road between Boksburg and
Belfast, even though I spent most of the
way hanging off the one side to keep a
straight(ish) line forward. The Singh, aboard
the Suzuki GSXR-1000R, had the added
weight advantage of our weekend luggage
to keep the bike grounded on the tar. Yes,
I did pack for two people in one bag – a
talent of mine. Any attempt at passing
trucks or larger vehicles had to be carefully
planned and executed, or you risked being
blown off course completely.
The ZX is super comfortable on longer
distance rides, the larger tank and front end
making it feel like a Cadillac on a highway
cruise. The bi-directional quickshifter –
standard on the RR model – is smooth,
but I would later discover it comes second
to the Suzuki’s. The front suspension felt
a bit…retarded. Like it just didn’t settle
quickly enough after consecutive bumps
in the road. It felt floaty in places, and like
someone high on space cakes, wasn’t
always to be relied upon . My initial elation
soon died down, and I found myself having
to focus more on the road surface ahead
than appreciating the winding roads and
Lunch in the quaint town of Dullstroom
was a welcome pause, The Singh as
always in a rush to get to his favourite span
of road - Long Tom Pass – which would
take us to Sabie. Harry’s Pancakes was
our restaurant of choice for a change, the
trout pancake appeasing my grumbling
stomach, and the persistent Macadamia
Nut Vendor photobombing my postcard
A quick fuel stop in Lydenburg had us
contemplating a possible over fuelling on
the Suzuki if the pump gauge is anything to
go by, with the Kawasaki being less thirsty
by a few litres at every station. A coin toss
later, and I happily settled back onto the
ZX-10RR. The mountainous pass loomed
ahead, and as we ascended the first uphill
stretch I felt the first grind of my molars.
For the record here - I’ve done this pass in
various weather conditions, on a multitude
of different motorcycles, and I still can’t get
myself to enjoy riding it. Perhaps it’s the
nothingness on the other side of the barrier,
I can’t be sure. I was hopeful that this new
premium Kawasaki would change my mind
The ZX handled the tighter turns with
poise, no doubt helped by the Marchesini
rims which makes for faster handling in
and out of corners. It being relative, of
course, since the ZX does require a bit
more effort for quick direction changes. I
absolutely love the ZX-10RR on open roads
and long sweeping corners. But it is a
very physical bike and after already having
ridden 300kms, the longer wheelbase does
56 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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ecome apparent. If it’s the only bike you
ride, you probably won’t notice, but once
you ride the more compact Suzuki you will
observe the difference.
The sound, oh-em-gee, the sound!
Better than my 2011 ever dreamt of
sounding even with a full Arata exhaust
system. It brutally reminds you of the beast
lurking beneath the Winter Test livery. Like
a snapping dragon, the menacing sound
reverberates off the cliffs and crawling
motorists can be seen jerking awake and
frantically looking around for an impending
attack. As far as standard exhausts go, the
Kawasaki is at the top of the list, and it’s not
that bad looking.
Arriving late afternoon in a sunny Sabie,
feeling dehydrated and ready for a nap we
stopped at the ol’ Woodsman Pub to enjoy
a refreshing glass of lemonade. The Singh
- after a compulsory sighting lap – put both
bikes through their paces on the ‘22’. The
road surface was in better condition than
expected, despite the increased traffic of
logging trucks. I did notice more public
transport vehicles creeping along than
usual, and we know what death-defying
sidestep moves they can cause.
Our accommodation for the two nights
was at the Windmill Cottages with the lovely
hosts Jacky and Thomas Böhm. Located at
the Windmill Wine Shop just past the Sabie
‘22’ turnaround point, it is also home to the
Sabie River Valley Rider Academy - well
known by GS enthusiasts.
“Those of you who relish the
mountain air, ravishing scenery and
breathtaking roads will know how
difficult it is to set off for home again.
It’s almost like the mist rolling over
the mountains tries to cocoon you
from the outside reality, enticing you
to stay another day.”
A beautiful big room awaited us, with
king size bed and double shower – ideal for
A well-stocked kitchen, shared with 2
adjoining rooms, offered delicious coffee to
be enjoyed on the wraparound deck, whilst
you appreciate a view of the valley and
Dinner with friends was in order at The
Reserve, catching up on who rode / bought
/ sold what motorcycle, and who spent the
GDP of a small country on riding gear. The
food – my aubergine dish at least – was
appetizing, although some of the meat on
the plate next to mine was still ‘mooing’.
How odd, I thought, the vegetarian inside
cringing. A slow two-up ride on the Suzuki
back to our lodging would have certainly
been romantic, had we not had an almost
expired back tyre in the rain. We eventually
arrived safe and sound, ready to give tired
bodies a well-deserved rest.
A morning drizzle the following day
made for a late start to the photo session,
and I exploited the ideal cuddle weather.
Rob arrived in his larney ride, and we suited
up for the gruelling work that brings you,
the readers, drool-worthy photos. Up and
down, round and round we went, until the
Singh suddenly disappeared. Apparently,
he just had to chase down this Porsche -
Insert eyeroll – and chat to the driver, who
turned out to be a bit of a fan.
The day went by with more photo snaps,
endless U-turns, Kylo Ren looking stylish.
We called it quits when the fuel lights
came on, and the clouds gathered for the
Those of you who relish the mountain air,
ravishing scenery and breathtaking roads
will know how difficult it is to set off for
home again. It’s almost like the mist rolling
over the mountains tries to cocoon you
from the outside reality, enticing you to stay
58 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
another day. And not in the creepy horror
movie way, I assure you. Long Tom Pass
was a literal uphill battle, with up to ten cars
dragging along behind a truck and trailer
in some places. Overtaking when I can’t
see more than one car length ahead had
me holding my breath almost all the way
up to the plateau. My relief when I turned
the last corner in one piece must’ve been
evident on my face by the time I reached
Lydenburg. PS: The ‘Don’t try this at home’
warning applies here.
The Suzuki was a real treat on the
ill-maintained road to Dullstroom, and it
was only when riding behind the ZX-10RR
that you see how easily the suspension is
unsettled. Fully anticipating the same jolt
at every dip in the road, I was surprised to
find that the Suzuki handled much better.
Smooth feedback allowed me some short
bursts of speed - despite the worn tyre -
the traction control system worked with me,
not against me. I immediately felt confident
in the way the suspension reacted and just
soaked it up. The raised handlebars take
some getting used to though.
A brief stop at the Beans About Coffee
to stretch the legs and gulp some mocha,
with the Singh complaining about some
age-related issue being aggravated by the
ZX – I think he just wanted to spend more
time aboard the Suzuki. (Don’t worry, I got
another turn again farther down the road.)
Off we go again, ready to brave N4 highway
traffic and overzealous BMW X6M drivers
who think everyone is out to ‘dice’ them.
The Suzuki still has the same midrange
grunt we have come to love about
them, the engine feeling as strong as ever.
The welcome additions to the electronics
package make it a sweet deal for even a
non-diehard Suz fan. The only downside
on this bike is the lack of aesthetic appeal.
A hugger would’ve rounded it off better,
perhaps a less lacklustre cluster (Say
that quickly 3 times). Overall, it’s a worthy
contender in the 1000cc market.
After what felt like endless kilometres on
straights, the typical Johannesburg gloom
tainted the skies, announcing the end of
our trip. Aware of countless pre-article
discussions awaiting me at home, I felt a
bit sombre as I handed the keys back. But
alas, the next adventure awaits….
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 5 9
How to wash your motorcycle
If you want to keep your motorcycle clean, you have two options: wash it, or keep it
covered, in a garage, and only bring it out for photos when your social media profile
Knowing how to wash a motorcycle correctly
will save you time, money, and more than a
little disappointment along the way. Cleaning
a motorcycle not only removes corrosive
substances (i.e. road salt and grime) from
important parts and finishes, but is also is
a great opportunity for you to look over the
bike carefully for any structural or connection
issues that may not be immediately evident
from your daily perch in the saddle.
Step 1: Get your cleaning supplies together
The best way to wash your motorcycle
always starts with ensuring you have what
you need to get the job done, and done
right. Few things are as frustrating as clearing
your schedule, rolling your motorcycle into
position, cracking open a beer, and then
realizing that you don’t have the right supplies
to get started.
There are plenty of motorcycle cleaners to
choose from, so you don’t have to make
do with something else. All that glitters is
not gold, and all that makes suds is not
meant to clean motorcycles. From detailing
spray to rinse-less wash, when selecting
products to clean a motorcycle, be sure they
are designed for that purpose.
Luckily, Spanjaard have a very affordable
complete bike cleaning kit with everything you
need to look after your machine, so you don’t
have to look far (see on right).
The less you touch your motorcycle while
cleaning it, the better (more on this later).
However, when you must touch the
motorcycle, make sure you have the right
materials for the task:
• Sponges: Great for gently removing stuckon
grime without damaging finishes, but be
sure they do not pick up pieces of dirt in the
process or they can scratch your paint.
• Brushes: Mainly designed for areas like
spoked wheels that can handle a bit of elbow
grease, but should be used in a very limited
capacity, and only when other methods of dirt
removal fall short.
• Cloths and flannels: These work great for
the initial drying pass post wash.
• Chamios: Ultra-absorbent leather cloth that
is safe for all surfaces.
• Microfiber: Best for the finishing touches and
final pass with detailing spray. Microfiber does
a great job of trapping leftover dust, lint, etc.
Step 2: Get your work area in order
Once you have everything you need in order
to properly clean your motorcycle, you will
want to be sure that both your motorcycle
and your work area are ready to go. First,
before you begin, make sure the motorcycle
is cool. Like a temperamental toddler, your
motorcycle needs to be in the right mood for
its bath. A hot engine + cold water = thermal
shock. When metal gets hot, molecules
expand. A quick shot of cold water creates
an unceremonious snap back that could
You’ll also want to avoid working in direct
sunlight, which will make the soap dry faster
and thus will make it much more difficult
to do a good job cleaning your motorcycle
by increasing the probability of streaks and
Step 3: Plug exhaust holes
While your motorcycle is generally pretty
resilient when it comes to water, it never
hurts to plug your exhaust with something
like the Bike Master Muffler Rubber Plug. You
can also just stuff a rag in the exhaust hole,
or simply cover it with a rubber glove in order
to keep the water out. This step is most
commonly seen with dirt bike riders, but is
something to consider for all motorcycles
that feature exhausts that are angled in a
way that would allow substantial amounts
of water to pool in them during the washing
Step 4: Give the motorcycle a quick spritz
In general terms, the less friction applied
while cleaning a motorcycle, the better. The
more you rub and scrub, the more likely
you are to have your sponge pick up small
particles of dirt and then grind them over
delicate surfaces. To lessen the likelihood of
this, spray down the entire motorcycle with
a combination of Spanjaard’s motorcycle
cleaner and water prior to touching it with
anything else. This will help loosen up some
of the gunk and wash it away before you
finish it off with elbow grease.
Start with a spray cleaner. Motorcycle spray
60 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Brought to you by
cleaners should be applied to a dry bike
before rinsing. They work to take a first pass
at loosening up dried muck, bugs, and other
unsavoury remnants of the road.
Then rinse the motorcycle. After letting the
motorcycle spray cleaner do its job, you will
want to rinse it away with a standard-pressure
hose. While rockin’ a power washer sounds
like an efficient and fun method of doing this,
don’t! Unlike the siding on your house, your
motorcycle has a multitude of intricate pieces
that power washers can damage.
Step 5: Suds up your motorcycle
After your initial pass with the hose, you
can start getting to the meat of the process
of cleaning your motorcycle. This is the
part everyone thinks of when they think
“motorcycle wash.” As always, be very careful
with the amount of force you employ.
Here are some other tips to make the job
• Start at the top of your motorcycle and
• Ensure that the solution you are using is
right for the surface that you are using it on.
• If your sponge picks up any dirt, grime,
grease, etc., be sure to clean it thoroughly or
swap it out before continuing. You will also
want to change out the wash bucket, as grit
and grime have a tendency to pool at the
• Water and soap will spill on your bike’s
chain and brakes of your bike. This is to be
expected (more on that later). However, you
should not be scrubbing these areas as the
coating on each is part of what makes them
Step 6: Rinse your motorcycle
This step should happen relatively quickly
after lathering up your ride. You don’t want
to let soap dry on your motorcycle as it will
cause swirls and streaks that are hard to
remove. Don’t be afraid to be thorough here.
You really want to splash away any residue,
so get at it from all the angles.
Step 7: Dry the motorcycle
Rather quickly after washing a motorcycle,
you should dry it thoroughly. Water left in
creases and crevices over time can cause
corrosion. One of the best ways to do this is
to use an air blower of some type (leaf/snow
blower, shop vac on reverse, etc). This allows
for a hands-off approach that will reduce
swirls and save you some energy.
If you prefer a more tactical approach, you
can always use something like the S100
Drying Towel or natural chamois to gently
wipe away any excess water droplets.
A lot of people will take their bike out for a
ride as a way to finish off the drying process.
While this is a much more fun way of getting
the job done, it’s important to note that if your
bike has fairings, the air may be deflected
away from some areas, which will stay wet.
Additionally, you will need to be sure to
ride long enough for your engine to get hot
enough (for enough time) to really get the
excess water to evaporate.
When riding your motorcycle for the first
time post-wash, your brakes will most likely
perform somewhat differently as they work off
any excess water. It is best to ride cautiously
and work them out at low speed prior to
hitting the streets at full force.
Step 8: Re-lube the motorcycle chain
In a perfect world, the exact parts of your
bike that you wanted to clean would get
hit with precisely the right amount of water
and cleaning solution. The world, however,
is not perfect. By this point, you will have
undoubtedly splashed more than a little
bit of cleaning spray or soapy water over
lubed up parts of your bike. Most notably,
the motorcycle chain. Your best bet is to
ensure that you have re-lubed prior to logging
any more miles (all the lubes you need are
available in the Spanjaard cleaning kit).
Step 9: Waxing a motorcycle
By this point, your motorcycle is clean. You
have aggressively taken the fight to the
opponent and come out victorious. However,
diligence is key, and with that comes the
need for defence of your masterpiece.
The processes for polishing and waxing a
motorcycle is a article unto themselves, and
as noted above, we won’t be getting deep
into the details here.
Waxing your motorcycle will make the most
of your motorcycle cleaning. A product
like S100 Carnauba Paste Wax will seal in
the glistening goodness of your paint while
simultaneously protecting it from degradation
handed down from the elements.
While wax levels out and protects
imperfections in surfaces, polishing shaves
them down entirely. Honestly, you really
shouldn’t be polishing, as it is literally cutting
away layers of your clear coat on each pass.
The Spanjaard cleaning kit below is available
at most motorcycle stores country-wide.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 6 1
Custom-Made Yamaha R1 Street By Ludovic Lazareth
It’s pretty common for a crashed bike to become a custom project. But how often does a bike get built for
a movie, crashed on set, and then rebuilt? It’s the kind of weird story—and motorcycle—that could only
come from Frenchman Ludovic Lazareth. Words: MaxAbout Pics: Cédric Collao
62 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Yamaha YZF-R1 is a name that
brings the idea of sharp styling
and niche superbike spirit inside a
motorcycle lover. This case is totally
different as this typical R1 has gone
under the knife of French artist Ludovic
Lazareth. This looks quite distinctive
and can now be shifted into futuristic
list of motorcycles around the world.
He created this when he was free
from customer demands and other
The motorcycle may feel ultra fresh
but it underpins a 1999 Yamaha R1
that was modifi ed ten years ago for
Vin Diesel’s Babylon AD. The front
end of the original R1 was given to
some other project and this got itself
an all new, custom built front end for
more excitement. Yamaha R1 has
a conventional front end while this
machine uses swing-arm setup that
allow it to be unique among all others
Triumph Daytona 955’s wheels
are stocked at both the front and rear
section of the motorcycle. It now gets
single sided swing-arm at both the
ends. The shocks on the motorcycle
has been custom built by TFX
Suspension. The exhaust now looks
more like an important part of the frame
while its dead end can be seen studded
with LED lights that act as the taillight
for the modifi ed Yamaha R1 Street.
The fuel tank is made out of
aluminum while its outer cover is
carved from carbon fi ber. The same
fi ber can be seen on tail section, belly
pan and most of the body panels. The
brakes on offer on the Yamaha R1
are Brembo sourced while Lazareth
has even used an Acewell instrument
console, bar end mirrors and drag
bars on the front end. The motorcycle
claims a price tag of R820,000.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 6 3
64 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Can you believe the nerve of some staff? Our Kyle took a day off work to go and test the full
new range of BMW motorcycles. At least he came back with a smile and a really cool story.
Words: Kyle Lawrenson
We often get told we have the
best job in the world - we have
to admit that we do!!! Although
you think we ride all day everyday, we do
tend to work in front of a computer as
well, and run up ridiculous phone bills.
We are not Jet setters, but there is
always time to be one. Lets put it this way.
How cool would it be to get up at seven
in the morning and fly to the Kruger? That
is the foundation plan to a dirty weekend.
Leave nice and early, have a quick chow
on the plane while you watch all your
friends in the traffic from above.
Well lets pretend we are jet setters
and we are doing exactly that. No there
is no entertainment on the plane as it
is a 45 min flight but that’s more than
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 65
anyone can ask for. You don’t have a bar
to yourself, instead you can hear the war
stories from the weekend. But don’t let that
bother you, you just need to imagine what
You land at a airport that looks like your
lapa in the back yard and is not much
bigger either. You get welcomed by a BMW
representative – who we will call Thando,
and get told that breakfast is waiting along
with a Mother Land Coffee. Now for you
coffee addicts out there. This is some great
coffee. Breakfast is full continental style with
a bit of a African flair.
After breakfast you meet a very confused
German. We will call this German Bagger.
Bagger is a BMW that is aiming at the
V-twin market in America. Confused right.
So as you can read we are at the BMW
Bagger Launch, and it gets better from
here. Lets not bore you about all the
proceedings of the morning. Lets get to the
good part. Well, there was a big issue! One
Bagger, 10 riders, now I know I have close
friends but I am not keen to get close to
journos I have only just met.
This is where everything got interesting.
BMW South Africa decided to try a new
style of launch. 10 riders and 10 New
models. Now that sounds great. So the
entertainment you wanted on the plane is
on the ground. How often can you say you
rode all day on eleven different “models?”.
Plan of attack is to ride all the models in
a day over 350 odd kays. Gives us plus
minus 30 – 40 kays a bike. Bad maths I
know but you must see my English. If it
is still bad I blame the editor he is from
Boksburg. Nowhere near enough ‘BOETS’
in this story.
Enough nonsense, the bikes. BMW had
the whole range of motorcycles available
from the G310 up to the new Bagger
1600. We chose a bike at random and that
was our order for the day, changing bike
First bike of the day was the R1200GS
with the correct suspension, the Sport
suspension. Feels like there is more
technology on this bike than in a Sci-fi
movie. First things first, Enduro Pro mode
and see how she jumps over the gigantic
speed bumps. At first it felt like a bit of a
pogo stick but, messing around with the
different suspension modes you soon
find the sweet spot. The electronics in
the suspension is almost like BMW has
cloned Hilton Hayward and put him as the
computer controlling everything.
We know why BMW has sold so many
of these motorcycle; They are comfortable,
they are not going to rip your arms off and
they last for ever. This bike, as big as it is,
still doesn’t feel heavy when riding, it is
nimble and feels nice and slender unlike its
big brother the adventure. Smooth power
curve with a very responsive throttle. This
one was fitted with a quick shifter and they
do work well but, in traffic around town I’m
not sure if it is the greatest idea. What more
do you want. Put your handbag on the
back and off you go. No fuss, no worries.
All round a fantastic bike.
This bike doesn’t need to say much, it
looks the part and man alive is she fun to
ride. Fitted with a Akro pipe she sounds
fantastic, whether you are doing 60 kph
or 200kph. The sound is biblical. This bike
does not like going slowly, loves the revs
and loves going fast. The quick shifter on
this bike just compliments the whole bike.
Smooth and fast.
At a first glance you think this bike is out of
the Transformers movie and is about to turn
into a robot. With the amount of personality
this bike has I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
You would think that the S1000R has a
very superbike rider position, but it’s way
66 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
more relaxed, but at the same time when
you do ride her hard you don’t get the
feeling you’re on a naked bike at all, still
very sporty. Looking at the display you get
the feeling it’s miles in front of you. In the
same breath, the S1000R does feel like a
long bike but it isn’t really. If you want to put
your knee down on the infamous 22, you
can most defiantly do it on this bike.
R nineT Racer
The bike that stood out the most. Old
school retro, clearly in the old days they
new nothing about comfort because this
bike is just like its predecessors. It is not
comfy at all. Firm suspension with an
uncomfy rider position. Half the problem for
it being uncomfortable is the broken elbow
attached to the hand holding on. But the
styling and the woody factor out ways all
of that. For blasting to the coffee shop and
back this bike is fantastic.
With the same 1200 motor as the older
GS1200, you do feel torque steer and when
rolling on the cable throttle it feels like the
harder you try and stretch the cable the
faster you go. Keeping with the retro feel
there are no rider aids on this bike and that
is the best part. You ride the bike to your
abilities and not to the computers. Don’t be
fooled though, if you want to race up Long
Tom pass with your buddies. Our money
is on you. It handles great once you get a
hang of it.
The winner of the day. Sports tourer with a
quick shifter. Interesting isn’t it. Well if you
get the opportunity to ride one you will feel
the smoothest quick shifter in the market.
Last years model was amazing. This year
it feels smoother. Like a hot knife through
butter. No resistance. But that doesn’t
make the bike, what really makes the bike is
This bike has so much attitude under
the seat, you can tour at 130 kph or race
around Kyalami. Everything about this bike
makes sense. The seat holds you in place
without getting numb. Yes, it is a de-tuned
1000RR but you don’t miss the power at
all as it has a very linear power curve. This
bike is an everyday bike you can take to the
track and still travel around town.
The loose cannon. Feels like someone
kicked you in your ring piece and you went
flying. The power delivery is unreal. Roll on
and boom, off you go. This is a complete
hooligan bike. You have so much fun riding
this bike. It offers raw power with a very
sensitive throttle and rough Gearbox. There
is nothing fancy about this bike at all. We
get the feeling BMW had excess 1200
motors and made a frame for the motors.
The ride is smooth when cruising along
at 160 kays, with being a naked you would
expect a lot of wind but you don’t really
get blown around. It is a really comfy bike
to ride. Suspension is firm but when riding
through town it doesn’t pose any problems.
We are pretty surprised we don’t see
many of these bikes on the road. It’s a pity
because they are so fun to ride. When we
had to change bikes I was glum about the
idea of riding a GS800.
Unfortunately this bike was a bit lost on
the day. The 800 was fitted with TKC Tyres
and that is by all means not the best tyre
to try put your knee down on the 22. But
the day wasn’t about racing; more about
experiencing the bikes. The 800 Adventure
has been around for a while and is one
of BMW’s most reliable bikes next to the
GS1200. BMW has changed the graphics
on the Adventure and it looks really good.
The Adventure is a tall bike even for tall
arses like us. But the ergonomics of the
bike allow easy riding even for the shorter
chaps. With a smooth parallel twin motor
and gear box the adventure is ideal for
the longer trips and dirt roads. If you are
interested in buying one and the bike is
fitted with TKC tyres, I recommend putting
a steering damper on the 800 for the longer
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 67
We have seen many of these bikes on the
road but, it has never crossed our mind
to ride the GTL. The GTL was surprising,
as big as she is, she rides beautifully. The
straight six engine delivers a smooth power
curve with lots of torque. The GTL is a big
bike but it is in a class of its own. Relax
twist the grip and sail away. The bike as a
whole is so smooth you get the feeling you
are in a limo. With an easy to use radio and
controls. The GTL is a street glider of note.
Lazy boy rider position with wide bars
making you feel king of the road. This bike
stole the camera all day. The GTL is an
elegant bike, classy, and meets all BMW
standards. The 5 series of bikes.
Bagger (Yes that’s what it’s called)
The confused German. BMW’s attempt to
get into the American market. Showing the
American manufacturers that you can build
a bagger and still have German quality.
Nothing over the top. The first concept was
built in 2015 and we have the production
model today. This bike was the main reason
for the launch. Don’t let your ignorance
blind you, this is a big bike. One I might
not use every day, BMW has a XR1000 for
that, but the Bagger is a bike that I would
like us to travel around South Africa on.
As big as this bike is, riding the Bagger
is an absolute pleasure. The ergonomics
behind this model is unreal. So much so, a
Journo showed everyone how low the bike
could go around corners by scrapping the
panniers. Now please don’t try this. He is
an expert at his job. i.e Jet Setter
A few years ago BMW installed electric
Powered reverse motors for the GTl and
now for the Bagger, and what a pleasure
it is. Hold the R button on the bars, the
revs increase and bobs your uncle you are
reversing into your parking. Impressive stuff.
Like the motor vehicles there are driving
assists and aids for everything. The bagger
has got lean assist lighting for cornering
in the dark, unfortunately couldn’t try that
out. The bagger follows a long streamline
design. With bars slightly narrower than the
GTL. All in all the Bagger is going to be a
big contender in the Cruiser market. The
one thing the Americans love is rock and
roll while on the road, the Baggers radio is
easy to use and surprisingly super clear.
So pump the Iron Maiden and maiden on.
Offering all the things the riders want with
German Quality. The Bagger we road had
Quick Shifter and panniers – R320 000.
Man alive, the sound this bike makes is
phenomenal – sounds like a M5 when you
ring its neck.
While we were hard at work, this is
what Kyle was doing... BASTARD!
The new Bagger is going to be a big
player in the SA market... Literally!
BMW’s Rnine T range has grown some
more. We rode the T Racer as well as The
Urban GS. The Urban GS looks like an
old R80. Now that’s cool. There is nothing
fancy or special to this bike at all. GS1200
motor air cooled, Cable throttle, no rider
aids, just you and the motorcycle. Much
softer suspension than the racer with bigger
wheels and off road tekkies. Offering a more
MX feel riding style to the T Racer. This bike
is more for looking the part and enjoying the
We did the local launch of the 310 a few
months back and we loved it. A entry
level BMW under 60K. We rode it again
and even though it was the smallest and
the slowest bike at 140kph this little bike
was still the talk of the trip. It lugged both
bigger and small chaps up the hills without
missing a beat. Opening up in the revs she
pulls through and finds the angry side, but
through traffic in the lower rpm region she
We spent the last few hours on the 310
and by the time we got back to the airport it
felt like you were saying good-bye to an old
friend. You have so much fun riding the little
bike you forget about the other awesome
bikes you rode all day.
After all it was a day in the saddle with
some good friends and great bikes. My pick
of the day would still be the XR1000. Now
back to the part about being a Jet Setter.
That is the way to Jet Set – Kid Rock can
keep his private planes.
68 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
First Ride Yamaha Tracer 700
70 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2017
The Yamaha MT07 Tracer
Occasionally a seemingly unassuming bike just knocks your boots off. The new
MT07 Tracer is one of them… Words: Kyle Lawrenson Pics: Glenn Foley
hen you think parallel
twin midrange bike,
you get visions of a
commuter/chilled, delivery kind
of motorcycle. A week on board
Yamaha’s baby bike convinced us
otherwise. Naturally you’d want
to compare this bike to a bike
like one of the worlds best-selling
motorcycles, Honda’s NC, but the
personalities are just so different.
Where the NC can be described
with expletives like conservative
and businesslike, the Tracer
can be described as hooligan,
comfortable excitement. And this
is largely attributed to Yamaha’s
After a week in the saddle, we
know exactly what this bike is all
about, a comfortable, punchy, fun
to ride motorcycle with heaps of
Some of the trips that we made
on this bike included, some urban
commuting, calling on dealers all
around Gauteng, freeways and city
stop and go type stuff. Mandatory
was the breakfast run out to the
famous steam train restaurant in
Cullinan – and we even took her
along to watch the MX final at
Motorcycles are generally an
affair of the heart – this one has
crept into ours…
It tips the scales at just on
200kg’s fully fueled and when you
sit astride the Tracer it certainly
feels small and nippy. We had to
wonder about the bar that crosses
the handlebars, cool for clipping
things onto like your GPS or cell
phone holder, but the design team
dropped the ball a bit. It looks
like a bit of an afterthought on an
otherwise immaculately designed
The digital display is easy
to read and modern. The small
tank is beautifully crafted to
accommodate long and short legs,
levers, mirrors and pegs are all
typical Yamaha Quality items.
Narrow, nippy, fun to ride.
With a seat height of 830mm
and a narrow saddle, it’s a
bike that short riders will enjoy.
Same with big guys and girls,
very comfortable sit up and beg
posture for long outrides. Thumb
the starter and the two cylinder
engine happily rumbles to life.
The controls are light and easy to
use and around town the MT-07
is a real pleasure to ride, notably
different to the more aggressive,
snarly three-cylinder MT-09, with
which it shares its DNA. All of our
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2017 7 1
First Ride Yamaha Tracer 700
riders commented on the fact that the bars
are kind of narrow for a bike like this. Just
an observation – it is certainly not a crit.
The adjustable screen offers pretty
great wind protection – and it is designed
to match the aggressive headlights. To
suit its longer distance role, the 130mm
travel front and rear suspension systems
are tuned for smooth and responsive
characteristics in a variety of conditions.
Dual 282mm front discs with 4-pot calipers
and a 245mm rear disc deliver powerful
and responsive braking performance, and
ABS is equipped as standard.
Head out on the freeways and that
light weight and compact feel makes it so
much fun to zip in and out of traffic. The
engine has a lot of soul, which has been
engineered into the power plant through
the use of a 270-degree crossplane
crankshaft. With 74bhp, there’s more
than enough power at your right hand,
and throttle response is crisp and willing.
Power to weight ratio is spot on. The 12
litre tank gives you a fairly decent range.
No matter how we rode her – fast, slow
or commuting, we achieved a range of
250KM’s to a tank. The warning light
comes on at 225 – by 250, you are biting
holes in the seat…
It’s a blast and the whole package
works so well together. The chassis is
nimble and the motor so gutsy and willing.
Yamaha has gone to great lengths to
make the Tracer compact as possible, with
details from the design of the balancer
shaft inside the engine to the way in which
the rear shock has been mounted, to keep
the wheelbase at a very short 1400mm.
With great looks, agile handling and
more than enough performance to put
a massive grin on your face, this is one
machine which is going to live forever in
the mind of many new motorcyclists. It
really is that good.
A version of the Dakar style T7 bike,
unveiled at last year’s winter shows, uses
the same engine and is likely to be on sale
within the next 12 months.
Can’t wait for that.
SPECS: YAMAHA TRACER 700
Engine: Parallel twin cylinder, four stroke,
Power: 73.7hp @ 9,000rpm
Torque: 68Nm @ 6,500rpm
Wet weight: 196kg
Seat height: 836mm
Fuel capacity: 12L
72 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2017
All purchases come with cap,
case and lens/visor cleaner.
From Office shop (Not at Shows or Rallies)
New Models just arrived!
prize for 10
(All names of purchases for
December go into Draw)
Congrats to Uncle
Andy Race Teams for
great 2017 Season
Contact Belinda 082 654 5690 or Marc 082 853 4476
Email email@example.com / Web: www.exclusiveproducts.co.za
NEW Online shopping Sites, www.racerzone.co.za & www.toshop.co.za
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2017 73
As with every year, 2018 MotoGP testing got underway the Tuesday after the final race held at
the Ricardo Tormo circuit, and, as always, things were very interesting. Words: David Emmett
The first day of 2018 raised more
questions than answers. Two days after
not featuring at all in the race, the Movistar
Yamaha riders finished first and fourth.
A satellite Ducati – Jack Miller, on his first
outing on the bike – was quicker than the
factory riders. The only constants were Marc
Márquez and Johann Zarco, who finished
in exactly the same positions as they did on
Sunday race day.
Confusion reigns at Yamaha, as they
search for the cure to the problems which
plagued them all through 2017. There were
four bikes in Maverick Viñales’ garage, three
in Valentino Rossi’s garage, and two different
ones in Johann Zarco’s pit box.
They were testing all sorts of combinations
of machinery: a 2016 bike with 2017 engine,
and a full 2017 bike for Maverick Viñales;
a 2016 bike with 2017 engine, a full 2017
bike, and a 2017 bike with a 2018 engine for
Valentino Rossi; and a 2016 bike and a full
2017 bike for Johann Zarco.
The results? Pretty much identical, no
matter what bike the riders were on. Viñales
and Rossi were fastest on the 2016 bike,
Zarco was fastest on the 2017 bike, and
Rossi managed to throw the 2018-engined
bike up the road after just two laps. The
crash looked huge, but Rossi came away
The problem was entering a fast right
corner with a new cold tyre. “Turn ten,” Rossi
explained. “Maybe a cold tyre. I was already
with two and a half laps so I push. I lost the
front. I don’t know if I was a little bit off the
line or it was cold.” Rossi may have been
okay, but the bike was completely totalled.
Both Viñales and Rossi were happy on both
the 2017 and 2016 chassis, but were fastest
on the old frame. “The day was not so bad
because we have a bit more time to work
on the 2016 chassis and I feel good,” Rossi
“I feel strong. The day was positive
because I have a good pace and also with
the new tyres I can make a good lap time.
I am in the P4, not so far from the top. Also
the feeling with the bike is quite positive. We
were able to find the right balance.”
“But the problem is – like we know –
we have some problem with the rear tyre
degradation. So the ’16 is not enough. We
need to work. But I confirm that I’m able to
go faster with the old bike.”
Viñales agreed enthusiastically with
Rossi’s assessment. “I felt much better every
lap, I felt like I’m back as always, pushing the
bike,” Viñales said.
“Already since the morning the first laps, I
felt great, making this 1’31 low, and during all
the day, I didn’t leave the 1’31 low. Even with
29 laps on the tyre, I continue to make this
1’31 low. So it looks like from nothing, all the
feeling came again.”
With feeling came enjoyment again. “Let’s
say I enjoyed it a lot today, because on a
74 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
disastrous weekend, I was enjoying a lot
riding, and I felt strong again,” Viñales added.
“It’s something good. We tried some
things, some positive, some negative, but
anyway the lap time was there all the time.
So I think we did a good job, always riding
with the race setup, and especially the fuel
tank completely full.”
“We worked really well on that area, and
I felt good. Finally I did the time attack and I
felt great, I felt I could even go a bit faster, so I
feel good on the bike again.”
This was a complete reversal of fortunes
for Viñales. “On the weekend, I was honestly
sometimes crying every time I got off the
bike, because I didn’t understand what was
going on if I didn’t go as fast as usual, if I lost
the feeling. But already this morning when I
went on the bike, I felt good again and the
smiling came again and that’s something
“On the weekend, I was
crying every time I got
off the bike, because
I didn’t understand
what was going on
if I didn’t go as fast
as usual, if I lost the
feeling. But already
this morning when I
went on the bike, I felt
good again and the
smiling came again and
that’s something really
The strange thing was that Viñales had
been so much faster on exactly the same
bike. “They didn’t even clean it!” Viñales
joked. “They said, we want it exactly the
same, without cleaning…”
While Rossi and Viñales went quickest with
the 2016 bike, Zarco was faster on the 2017
bike he had been given by Yamaha. Zarco
was unclear precisely which spec it was, but
only because he never wants to know that
level of detail.
“I just know that it was a different bike,”
he said. “But really, I don’t try to know
which bike it is, which bike they were
using, because it’s going to be too much
information, and then my work will become
Zarco was clear about the benefits of the
new (to him) bike. “For me, I got better feeling
on the brakes. The bike was more stable,
and this helped me to prepare the corner
better. Also to relax myself on the bike.”
“So when I got this better control on the
brakes, then I enjoy much more on the bike.
Just when we put the new tyre at the end,
1’30.3 is quite good, but then I expected with
another new tyre to be faster, but I was not
able to go into 1’29.”
Being relaxed allowed him to conserve
energy, and maintain his pace. “I’m not
surprised to not feel negative things and I’m
just happy that what I felt helps me to play
even more on the bike,” Zarco said.
“I was able to be fast with the old bike,
but sometimes spending energy, I think today
I spent maybe 30% less energy, and that’s so
important to prepare a race.”
2017 Ain’t That Bad
Despite having a different view of the 2017
bike to the factory riders, Zarco pointed out
that at times, both Rossi and Viñales had
been able to be fast.
“The factory riders got a problem at the
end of the year, and then maybe were not
able to solve the problem. That’s why they
have negative comments, but they had very
good performance all season, so we cannot
say the bike was bad.”
“When we remember Valentino at Aragon,
I think he did a great race, and he was with
the injured leg, so if the bike was really bad
and with the injury, he could not be in the
front for almost all the race.”
The one thing Zarco had not done was
put full race distance on the tyres. He only
had a maximum of 20 laps on his rear tyres,
and so was not sure how they would fare
over a race.
“We did not do laps on tyres with more
than 20 laps, so this is going to be my target
tomorrow, so push tyres until 20 laps, then
work for the last third of the race.”
“Sometimes we have not a good feeling
when we change tyres, but we must
remember that for Sunday, the race in the
last ten laps was still very important. So
maybe I will have some negative points from
20 to 30 laps, but this we will see tomorrow.”
Zarco was entertainingly dismissive of
suggestions that his speed was a problem
for the factory Yamaha team. “I never heard
that having a fast riders in your brand is a
problem,” he told us.
“So it can only be good information and
good things.” Valentino Rossi was a little more
sarcastic when asked about Zarco being fast
on the 2017 bike. “I’m happy for him,” he
smiled in response to the Italian media.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 75
“For me, I got better feeling on the brakes.
The bike was more stable, and this helped
me to prepare the corner better. Also to
relax myself on the bike.”
The inconsistent feedback from their riders
is a problem for Yamaha, but there could be
another factor causing confusion. Despite
the dust blown all over the track by Monday’s
strong winds, the track has a lot more grip
With the Dunlop Moto2 rubber erased
by Sunday’s 30-lap race, and with dry and
sunny conditions – a little cold, but otherwise
perfect – the track is bursting with grip.
Yamaha’s bugbear throughout the season
has been the question of grip. At tracks with
loads of grip – the newly resurfaced Le Mans,
Aragon, Phillip Island – the bike is incredibly
fast. At tracks without grip (or in the wet),
the M1 struggles: Jerez and Barcelona were
If Yamaha continue their testing program
at Valencia, and the grip levels hold, they
could find themselves heading down another
blind alley. They can only hope that mixed
conditions at Sepang throw a spanner in the
works, and give them some time on a track
with low grip.
In all the confusion over chassis, the fact
that Yamaha debuted a new aerodynamic
package – very similar to the ones used by
Ducati and Aprilia – with Maverick Viñales.
Viñales’ comments were positive, saying it
helped in some corners.
At any other test, this would be big news.
But Yamaha have bigger fish to fry.
A New Honda
There were very few 2018 machines on
display on Tuesday, but Honda had the first
version of their bike for next year, which
included a revised engine and exhaust
system. The reaction was generally positive,
though HRC’s policy of Omertà means we
learned little from their riders. Márquez was
“We have an engine, we have a
chassis, we have exhaust. Many different
configurations and yeah, it was just the first
laps. In the beginning they adjust all the
things. Already I start to feel some small
positive and small negative points.”
“Anyway I want to wait, even with the
engineers, until tomorrow and work more on
that bike and see how which is the real level
of the bike.”
Cal Crutchlow was a little more
forthcoming, but even he did not reveal too
much. “They are trying to make the bike
easier to ride, but keep our positives, which
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is corner entry… Gain grip, gain acceleration,
gain speed,” he explained.
“I think they’ve done a good job because
essentially what they have brought is a
different engine, different chassis, basically a
completely new bike. The strange thing is it
feels similar, but with small changes. Some
areas are worse, but I think there’s a lot more
positives than negatives that’s for sure. It’s
only the first day on track, so we can be
When he was what made the biggest
difference, Crutchlow clammed up again. “I
can’t tell you,” he smiled. “But we haven’t
done too much setting wise because we only
got our hands on it yesterday and we’ve set it
up very much like our normal race bike. Just
as a reference, and then we’ll go from there.”
Ducati were similarly uninformative,
despite having a slightly revised frame at their
disposal. The real revelation is to come at the
Sepang test for Ducati, but for the moment,
they are only testing small evolutions.
Jorge Lorenzo tested the new carbon
forks, but he did not feel they helped him
enough. He preferred to stay with his
The moment the bikes fell silent at Valencia,
at 5pm on Wednesday, officially marked the
end of the beginning. The 2018 season is
now well underway, the initial outlines of next
year’s bikes being revealed.
There is still a long way to go to Qatar,
but the first step has been taken, the first
few hundred terabytes of data downloaded
to laptops and uploaded to factory servers
The new season began in much the same
vein as the old season ended: with Marc
Márquez fastest, and on a tear.
The Repsol Honda rider was fastest
on the second day of the test, and fastest
overall, four tenths quicker than his teammate
on Wednesday, and a tenth quicker than
Maverick Viñales, who had topped the
timesheets on the Tuesday.
The timesheets had a familiar look to
them. The top five overall consisted of the
two Repsol Hondas and three Yamahas – the
two Movistar factory bikes and Johann Zarco
on the Tech 3 machine – followed by a couple
of Ducatis, Jorge Lorenzo on the factory bike
and Jack Miller on the Pramac machine.
Whether the timesheets will stay like
that when Qatar rolls around is another
There is reason to believe that the Hondas
will still be at the front in Qatar. Though
Márquez set his fastest time on the 2017
bike, the 2018 bike both he and Dani
Pedrosa used was relatively well sorted.
Both riders referred to the new bike as
the “prototype bike”, and it is to form the
basis of the 2018 Honda RC213V which
will make its debut in Sepang. But it is
different in every aspect: a new engine, new
exhausts, new chassis.
Only the fairing looked familiar, though it
remained in gorgeous black carbon fibre,
rather than the gaudy Repsol colours.
The bike is sufficiently different to the old
machine that differences are visible to the
naked eye. The exhaust looks different: the
lower exhaust (from the front cylinder bank)
is a little longer, and squared off instead
of the slash style which debuted midway
The upper exhaust is shorter, no longer
curling coquettishly into a loop, but hooked
into a shorter exit much like the Ducati. The
two pipes merge into one later too: on the
old pipe, the two separate pipes from each
rear cylinder join just before the exhaust
enters the tail unit.
The new pipe has the two pipes joining
in the middle of the tail. Pipe length and the
point at which the exhausts join are used
to tune the pressure in exhausts, managing
power delivery and outright horsepower.
The new engine had the most promise
as far as Márquez was concerned. “Always
when you get a new engine they try to give
more power to you,” the newly-crowned
2017 MotoGP champion told us.
“And we gained, especially on the bottom,
we gained a little bit more power. Also in the
top, we gained there.” The engine will help to
make acceleration more manageable, always
a problem with the Honda.
Some Parts Are Better than Others
Most encouraging for Márquez was the fact
that the engine was already fairly well sorted,
the electronics well within an operating
base. “I’m happy because it’s the first time
that with such a new engine I feel inside the
parameters, you know?” he tried to explain.
“Normally every year I was starting here
and we were talking one year ago here,
saying the electronics are not there, we need
to work on the electronics. But now it’s inside
the parameters in this circuit, but now we
need to reconfirm in February.”
“Always when you
get a new engine
they try to give
more power to you.”
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He was less positive about the chassis,
though that was not a cause for concern. “We
need to work on the chassis area,” he said.
“The chassis that we had today, there were
many, many new parts, and now we need
to understand which part was better, which
part was worse. But we need to choose, the
engine is good, the chassis? Doubts.”
Yet the bike is sorted enough that the
factory riders had decided to skip the private
test at Jerez which most of the MotoGP
teams will be attending next week. “We
have some things to try, and of course it’s
important to reconfirm things in another
circuit,” Márquez explained.
“But we get a lot of information here and
we believe in that information, and we prefer
to spend these days next year. Because at the
moment, if we have something new maybe
we will try, but anyway, Cal, LCR will go to
Jerez and so they can get information there.”
If Honda were making clear and obvious
progress, Yamaha are still in the process of
defining the direction they want to go. Three
different riders had three different programs,
each focusing on different areas.
Johann Zarco spent the day with two
2017 Yamaha M1’s. Maverick Viñales was
switching between the 2016 and 2017 bikes.
Valentino Rossi has 2016 bikes, but with a
What conclusions can be drawn from
the test? The 2018 engine is a positive
development, according to Rossi, with more
power both at the bottom and top end.
That had achieved its stated objective: “To
try to have more power without losing the
character from the bottom, and smooth from
the bottom,” Rossi explained.
“We try some different things. We have
some positives, some negative. But are not
so bad. For sure Valencia is not fantastic for
test the engine because it was quite small.
But you can understand and we continue to
try also in Sepang in 10 days.”
Getting the engine right is crucial, when
the engine design will be frozen for the
duration for the season.
“It’s an important test because you don’t
have to make mistakes it’s better to have the
same bike for understanding the way. I think
at the end I decide what is my favourite. And
now we will confirm in 10 days at Sepang if it
is the same or something else.”
Old vs. New
Maverick Viñales had been running back-toback
tests with the 2016 and 2017 bikes.
“With the 2017 I had better traction, better
acceleration,” Viñales said.
“And with the 2016 I feel better with the
front. It is what I was feeling all year. Finally
let’s see if we take the 2016 and work to
make the acceleration good or we get the
2017 and try to make, especially the brake
area and corner speed better. So we have to
decide which way is the easiest to be fast.”
The 2016 bike had better corner speed,
Viñales explained. “With the 2016 I feel
better. It is better for the corner speed. I feel
more turning and easier for me. Let’s see. It’s
always difficult just in one day to decide.”
That was the opposite to what Johann
Zarco had reported. But Viñales dismissed
any such idea, saying it was hard to make
comparisons. “Different riding style and you
know riders have different feelings on the bike
so difficult to compare.”
Viñales also spent a lot of time testing the
new aerodynamic package Yamaha brought
to the test. The aero package looked an
awful lot like the winglets that used to grace
the bike in 2016, before they were banned.
That aero package raised a lot of
hackles in the paddock, with riders and
team managers complaining that the
forward-swept aero appendages were too
dangerous, and resembled the winglets
which were banned at the end of last year.
“If this is allowed, then I don’t understand
why we can’t have our old winglets,”
Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti expressed his
Yamaha were on the defensive. These
were legal, they insisted. “Aprilia is doing the
same!” Viñales insisted. “And Ducati. Finally
looks like a winglet but they take it out of the
fairing. I don’t think it’s illegal.”
It certainly had some benefit, he felt. “It
feels really good. Actually we improve and
here in Valencia we know for sure the fairing
is much better.”
According to Technical Director Danny
Aldridge, the legality of Yamaha’s fairing is far
from settled. There have been discussions
back and forth over the fairing, but changes
still need to be made, he told Crash.net’s
The question of legality is not relevant
during the test. Teams and factories can
use whatever they want during testing, both
private testing and official IRTA tests such as
the one at Valencia.
80 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Of course, there is not much point in
testing something which has no chance
of ever being approved in any form, but
Yamaha’s fairing can probably be made legal
with a certain amount of adjustment.
Of course, Yamaha’s new fairing does
make something of a mockery of the current
aerodynamics rules, just as the Ducati, Aprilia,
and Suzuki fairings did beforehand. But that
is the danger of making rules. As soon as you
ban one thing, engineers start plotting ways
around whatever ban you have in place.
The Pandora’s box of aerodynamics has
been opened, and cannot be closed again,
I suggested to Paolo Ciabatti. “As far as we
are concerned, Pandora’s box never needed
to be closed,” the Ducati boss insisted.
Newer Is Better
Johann Zarco spent the day on two 2017
Yamaha M1s. The Frenchman was happy,
using much less energy to ride the 2017 bike
at speed than the 2016 machine.
“At the end of the day, I could confirm
again I’m spending less energy with that
one,” Zarco told us. “At the moment we are
not super fast but spending less energy is
such an important thing that we must keep
when you are travelling around the world, to
have facility [ease] on the bike. So I want to
keep that and work on it.”
The weak point of the bike is particularly tire
wear in the second half of the race. It was what
Zarco had focused on throughout the test, he
said. “Today we tried to work with more used
tires from half race until the end and see if we
have better lap times,” Zarco said.
“This is always complicated to analyze;
if we’re much faster or not in the race pace.
But at least when I was changing from one
bike to the other one the difference was not
big. It was good to compare the things.”
“Now, when we analyse these two days of
testing the ’17 bike gives me more possibilities
to enjoy on the bike, to be fast and having the
same lap time than with the old bike I can say
that we have the same lap time but we are not
at the maximum of the bike.”
Nothing New on the Western Front
In stark contrast with the intense work at
Yamaha was the relative calm in Ducati.
Both Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo
only had a few minor parts to test, to get
a general idea of the direction of the 2018
Ducati, they told us.
“We try small things,” Andrea Dovizioso
told us. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ‘18
bike here to really start for the season. So we
just wanted to try different things to decide in
which way it will be the ‘18 bike. But also we
test in Jerez. Still we have to try a few things
to make a decision.”
Things had worked out a little more
favourably for Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard
explained. “Today we tried again the seminew
bike,” Lorenzo said. “For the moment it
doesn’t work better than the current one.”
“And many little things, the same things
than yesterday to be really sure of the way the
engineers must follow for the new bike. Apart
from that, it has been an interesting day for my
side, for my riding style, because I understood
certain things that will help me to take more
profit of the current bike until we will have a
bike that turns better in the corners.”
A completely new bike is expected at
the Sepang test, but the preparation work
continues. The main focus of a new bike
is turning, and Jorge Lorenzo is willing to
sacrifice top end in order to achieve it.
“I already did with the new fairing. So I am
one of the riders who believes that you make
more of the time in the corners than in the
straights. So I’m prepared for it, but it’s also a
compromise,” Lorenzo said.
Jack Miller had been very happy to switch
to Ducati from Honda, but the fate of Scott
Redding was less positive.
The Englishman had gone from the
Pramac Ducati – the seat now vacated
by Redding and filled by Miller – to the
factory Aprilia in the Gresini team. It was a
difference of night and day, and fraught with
complications, Redding said.
Careful What You Ask For
“I expected it a little bit easier than the
Ducati,” Redding said, “but it was, not more
difficult, but the engine style and chassis style
was quite a lot different.”
“Like when I went from the Honda to the
Ducati, they were sort of similar, in a way, but
it was easier when I went to Ducati. Now it’s
like the characteristic of the engine is coming
back. So that’s one thing I feel we need to
work on for the future, but in general, the
feeling with the bike is good.”
The way the bike needed to be attacked
was both very strange and very unnatural,
Redding said. “The bike struggles more with
the front load, so you have to override it a
lot yourself with the rear brake to do that,”
“And that’s something we want to work
on to improve. I didn’t try too much. At first I
said, oh, the bike’s really stiff, it’s aggressive,
so we changed some things, made it more
agile, the engine more mellow. I came back
today, we did this and that, and it’s better. So
it’s just finding the way in the end.”
It had given Redding an appreciation of
the riding of Aleix Espargaro. “Aleix’ riding
style, honestly, he’s riding it well to make it do
what it does,” Redding said.
“The bike is not naturally doing things it
should do, and you need to override it a lot
on the brakes. I was doing that, but my level
to his level is again another step. So it’s just
one of those things that you need time to
adapt to it and do it.”
Redding’s hope was that he would go
to the test next week at Jerez with an open
mind and fresh ideas of how to ride the bike,
unencumbered by his previous experience
on the Ducati.
“I’m pretty sure that having a break, going
away, coming back in Jerez, like I went to
Ducati, you start on a new track, you don’t
have those lines in your mind, you have a
fresh page to start from. We’ll see from there.”
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 81
WSBK vs MOTOGP
A week after the Valencia MotoGP test, it was the turn of the World SBK riders to take to the
track, with a big test at the Jerez circuit in Spain. They were joined for a few days by their
more illustrious counter-parts, with some top MotoGP teams getting some extra testing time
in. Johnny Rea, on his Kawasaki WSBK machine, was all the talk in last years test, where he
posted times quicker than the MotoGP boys. Could he do it again?
The first two days of testing were all about
the WSBK teams. Jonathan Rea started off
the 2018 World Superbike season where he
left off, at the top.
The three-time world champion took to
the top of the timesheets from his first laps of
the 2.8-mile Andalusian circuit and remained
there all day as he continued to improve as
Kawasaki test their machine in full 2018-spec
for the first time.
Rea’s quickest time of the day, 1’39.650,
was quicker than he has ever lapped here on
race tyres and just 0.7 off the time he set on
qualifying rubber at Jerez 12 months ago to
outpace a number of MotoGP machines.
After clocking 42 laps, Rea was not on
track for day two as he head back to London
to collect his MBE from the Queen, before
heading back to Jerez to complete the test.
KRT’s second rider Tom Sykes followed
Rea on the timesheets, some 0.355 back
after 57 laps on track while Milwaukee
Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty was fourth quickest,
1.5 seconds back on Rea’s time.
BSB rider Leon Haslam was fourth as he
made his return to action after that horrific
crash at Brands Hatch earlier this year, he
was just 1.626 back on Rea despite the
deficit of his BSB-spec ZX-10RR.
Making his debut with the Althea BMW
team as he returns to World Superbike
from MotoGP, Loris Baz was fifth quickest,
1.7 seconds off Rea’s pace, while the
second Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo
Savadori was sixth.
Jordi Torres, still visibly in pain from his
crash in Qatar, was seventh quickest ahead
of the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki BSB
bike of Luke Mossey.
Leandro Mercado, riding the Puccetti
Racing ZX-10R in the absence of Toprak
Razgatlioglu while Yonny Hernandez, who
makes his debut with Pedercini Racing
completed the top ten.
Ducati, Honda and Yamaha’s World
Superbike teams joined the field throughout
the rest of the week, as did most of the
MotoGP grid and Honda’s British Superbike
team. And things got very interesting…
Tom Sykes topped the second day in the
absence of team-mate Jonathan Rea.
Second fastest on the opening day, Sykes
significantly improved his time to 1’39.692,
just a whisker of the fastest time Rea had set
on day one – 1’39.650.
The Yorkshireman’s time came earlier
in the day, with many riders reporting the
track to be much greasier in the hottest
temperatures in the afternoon than it was on
Loris Baz was second quickest as he
continued to both get to grips with the
Althea BMW and riding a superbike after
two years in MotoGP. The Frenchman was
0.776 seconds behind Sykes and looked
comfortable out on track, commenting he’d
found a particularly good feeling with the front
end of the S1000RR.
Eugene Laverty, who had been further
down the timesheets in the morning,
improved his time in the afternoon to again
place third quickest for Milwaukee Aprilia,
0.859 seconds off Sykes.
82 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
Jordi Torres, who is still injured after that
massive off in Qatar, was fourth quickest
and still less than a second off Sykes as he
concluded his debut test with MV Agusta.
British Superbike star Leon Haslam was
fifth despite two days of riding taking its toll
on his injured ankle, he was just 1.076 slower
than Sykes despite riding a BSB-spec ZX-
10R with no electronics.
The second Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo
Savadori was sixth ahead of Haslam’s BSB
team-mate Luke Mossey, who made big
strides forward as he tested a number of new
Leandro Mercado rounded out the
superbike teams for Orelac Racing, who step
up to the superbike class with the Argentinian
on an ex-Puccetti Racing Kawasaki next year.
Loris Baz first test back in WSBK
with team Althea BMW
DAY THREE - HELLO MOTOGP BOYS
After two days of just ten bikes on track,
things were a lot busier on the Wednesday
as the 29 riders confirmed for testing for the
remainder of the week headed out.
With MotoGP, World Superbike and
British Superbike machines on track at
the same time, the timesheets made for
interesting reading as the Kawasaki World
Superbike boys once again mixed it up in the
top ten with the GP regulars.
Iannone’s quickest lap would have seen
him narrowly miss out on pole position for
this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, although the
circuit has been resurfaced since then and is
now understood to provide much more grip.
Cal Crutchlow was second quickest, as
he had a hefty testing schedule with HRC
with no fewer than three RC213Vs to test,
two in 2018 spec as well as this year’s bike.
Dovizioso was the quickest Ducati, ahead
of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo while Pol
Espargaro continued to show KTM’s recent
improvement to lap within just 0.2 seconds
behind the Ducati duo despite a crash at the
fast third turn.
Tom Sykes led the way in the Superbike
class, sitting an impressive sixth quickest
overall after lapping within a whisker of the time
with which team-mate Jonathan Rea topped
this joint test this time last year. It’s understood
Sykes’ time came on qualifying rubber.
Tito Rabat was seventh quickest as he
continued to show promise after a move to
the Avintia Ducati team, ahead of the second
Kawasaki Superbike of Rea, who unlike his
team-mate stuck to race rubber throughout
the day. The Northern Irishman shrugged off
a fast crash at Turn 12 earlier in the day, but
went to have his neck checked at the end of
the day as a precaution despite returning to
track to go faster.
Bradley Smith was ninth quickest for KTM
while Scott Redding rounded out the top ten in
his second test with the Aprilia.
Marco Melandri led the way for the
remainder of the Superbike class in 12th,
ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.
Eugene Laverty swapped his Milwaukee
Aprilia for the Aprilia MotoGP machine as Aleix
Espargaro sat out.
With Tom Luthi still out of action, the
Estrella Galicia team shared their second bike
between Takumi Takahashi and Alex Marquez,
who started his first full test on a MotoGP bike
after two short outings in the last two years.
Andrea Dovizioso was quickest on the
fourth day of the joint MotoGP and
Superbike test, blitzing the outright circuit
record on Thursday afternoon.
The Italian’s quickest lap of 1’37.663
was almost 0.3 seconds quicker than
Jorge Lorenzo’s circuit best lap from 2015,
suggesting the 2.7-mile Spanish circuit’s
new surface had dramatically improved the
pace. World Superbike star Jonathan Rea
reckons the new surface was worth around
a second per lap.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was second
quickest after a manic day testing for HRC with
Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani
Pedrosa not riding at the test. The LCR Honda
star had three bikes in his garage through the
course of the test, not even stopping for lunch
on his second and final day.
Jorge Lorenzo was third on the second
of the factory Ducati machines, ahead of
Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone who had topped
the first day of MotoGP bikes on track.
Pol Espargaro continued to show
significant improvement for KTM to place
fifth, ahead of the second Suzuki of Alex
Rins who took to the track for the first time
on day 4 after Suzuki test rider Sylvain
Guintoli took his place on the Wednesday.
Tito Rabat was seventh quickest as he
continued to adapt to the Avintia Ducati
machine, which he says he’s finding easier
to ride than the Honda he’s ridden for the
last two years.
Danilo Petrucci ranked eighth quickest
on Pramac Racing’s first day on track, one
place ahead of new team-mate Jack Miller.
Jordi Torres switches from BMW to
MV Agusta for 2018
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017 83
Bradley Smith rounded out the top ten.
Franco Morbidelli showed significant
improvement on day two for Estrella Galicia
0,0 Marc VDS to place quickest rookie ahead
of Takaaki Nakagami. Alex Marquez, standing
in for the injured Thomas Luthi also improved
to place 17th quickest on the overall times.
Marco Melandri led the way as the
Kawasaki Racing Team took a rest on the
penultimate day of the week’s joint Superbike
and MotoGP test.
With KRT at the Andalusian circuit for all
five days, Thursday was always pencilled in
as Tom Sykes’ rest day, but with Jonathan
Rea – who sat out Tuesday to collect his
MBE – crashing heavily on Wednesday, the
World Champion also opted to sit out on
Thursday rather than push further when he’d
already completed most of Kawasaki’s test
Also absent on Thursday was the leading
Aruba Ducati of Chaz Davies, who injured his
knee in an enormous crash on Wednesday.
An issue saw him jump off his Panigale R at
Jerez’ fast turn one towards the end of the
play on the third day of testing. An MRI scan
would later revealed he’d sustained ligament
damage in the incident, forcing him to sit out
the remainder of the test.
Melandri’s time of 1’39.663 was almost a
second slower than the quickest time Sykes
had set on the Wednesday.
Alex Lowes was second quickest of the
superbike’s on the Thursday as he looked to
build upon the impressive results he achieved
towards the end of 2017.
However, one of the biggest WorldSBK
stories of the day was the pace of Leon
Camier, who continued to evaluate the
struggling Red Bull Honda Fireblade. The
former British Champion went 2.5 seconds
quicker than the quickest lap set on the
Fireblade during September’s qualifying
session, and almost two tenths quicker than
he lapped on the MV Agusta to qualify ninth.
Xavi Fores was the fourth quickest
Superbike machine, ahead of the second
Yamaha of Michael van der Mark. Yamaha
test rider Niccolo Canepa was fifth with
Superstock 1000 champion Michael Rinaldi
rounding out the field in his first test with the
Aruba Ducait team.
Many teams packed up and headed
home for winter, including the factory Ducati
squad and Crutchlow’s LCR Honda team,
but several remained on track for one final
day on the Friday.
Leon Camier’s first test out on the
Honda was an impressive one...
Only Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow
and Jorge Lorenzo lapped quicker than Rea’s
time of 1’37.986 Rea clocked using a supersticky
Pirelli qualifying tyre in the morning.
Even more impressive is that Rea’s time
is almost a full second quicker than the time
Marco Melandri recorded on his way to
pole at the Jerez World Superbike race in
Andrea Iannone was second quickest on
the final day, just 0.044 behind the reigning
three-time World Superbike champion ahead
of the KTM of Pol Espargaro in third.
The second Suzuki of Alex Rins was
fourth quickest to round out Friday’s times
with the second quickest Superbike of Tom
Danilo Petrucci was sixth quickest on the
Pramac Ducati ahead of Alex Lowes, who
also improved his time on the final day to
place ahead of GP Brits Bradley Smith and
Scott Redding. Jack Miller rounded out the
Leon Camier had another good day in
the saddle of the Honda Fireblade, going 0.3
faster than he had managed the day before.
Jonathan Rea returned to the track and once
again turned heads as the final day of the
joint MotoGP and World Superbike test in
Jerez concluded with the fourth quickest time
of the week.
84 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2017
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