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Exclusive MotoGP columnist Matt
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PLUS: FIRST LADY - ANA CARRASCO // Q&A WITH SHERIDAN MORAIS
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It’s not easy putting this magazine together every
month. Deadlines are hard and this month it was
made even harder with the arrival of my beautiful baby
girl right smack bang in the middle of deadline.
On Friday the 17th of August at 2.30pm, myself and
my wife Amy welcomed our second child to the world.
Baby Nova Layn was born a healthy 3.140kgs adding
the fi nal touch to my perfect family. It has been a huge
adjustment having two kids, as I’m sure all you parents
out there know, but we are loving our pigeon pair and
look forward to a long and healthy life together. Big
thanks to all my family, friends and readers for all the
I type this ed’s column after just getting home from my
recent trip to Port Elizabeth, for the penultimate round
of the 2018 SuperGP championship held at the Aldo
Scribante circuit. This time I was not going down to just
commentate alongside Greg Moloney, but would also
be taking part in the racing action.
Aldo Scribante has always been my favourite circuit in
SA and I’m sure you have been reading about our long
term KTM 1290 Super Duke R and how we have been
getting it ready for me to race in the BOTTS class. I did
so with great effect and a little oopsy thrown into the
mix. I will be doing a full run down of not only the racing
I did but also all the mods we have made on the bike in
next months issue.
I will say that I had an absolute blast and racing with
and hanging out with the BOTTS guys was loads of fun
and I look forward to doing it again soon.
Sticking with the SuperGP series, we have a round-up
of the racing action from PE, where a new champion
was crowned. Michael White took both race wins and
the title on the day and we as RideFast are proud to be
associated with Michael and his team and congratulate
him on his fi rst SA title. Let’s just hope now that he can
get a solid ride overseas, as he has proven that he has
the talent, having not only won the title here, but also
recently picked up a 3rd place fi nish over in Italy in the
Yamaha R1 Cup fi rst time out.
Our resident MotoGP columnist, Mr Matt Birt, touches
on the problems at Yamaha MotoGP and what is going
on with Vinales in particular. It doesn’t look to be healthy
in the Yamaha camp and while Rossi still seems to have
some fi ght left in him and is trying to make the best out
of a tough situation, Vinales looks to have given up and
rather laying all the blame solely on Yamaha. I agree that
Yamaha need to pull up their socks and iron out the
problems, but for me Vinales could be doing a bit more.
Week in and week out he is being out-performed by his
39 year old teammate and in my eyes that should not
The bigger picture problem I see for Yamaha is who will
be replacing Rossi and potentially Vinales in the factory
team? They have stupidly let Zarco go to KTM and
lost out on the signature of Joan Mir. Their new satellite
team, SIC, have just announced their rider line-up for
2019 as Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo. I can’t
see either of them really making a big enough impact
to warrant the factory ride. I could be wrong though, as
they are both big talents and Rossi would love nothing
more than to see one of his academy riders, Morbidelli,
take his spot in the factory team.
One names that could potentially make the move is
Luca Marini, half brother to Vale, who has shown some
great form of late. How fi tting would that be if he were to
Other news from the MotoGP paddock is that
Crutchlow has just signed a 2-year extension with HRC
as a factory supported rider, which I think is great. Cal
has gone on record as saying that it could be his last
two years racing in MotoGP and that he could call it a
day after the 2020 season.
We also catch up with my mate Sheridan Morais
who talks about his Kawasaki WSS ride, his Moto2
experience and future plans. Was great seeing Shez in
the Moto2 class, albeit on a non-competitive bike but
nevertheless he was there and there could be a bigger
picture involved so let’s keep our fi ngers crossed.
The cover story and main test for this month is another
SA exclusive. I managed to get my hands of one of the
three BMW HP4 Race machines that have so far made
their way into SA. Harry Timmerman is the proud owner
and very kindly let me ride his bike around RSR. What
an amazing machine it is. This was the second time I
got to test the Bavarian beast, fi rst time in SA, and was
once again just blown away by the relentless power
and tech that it possesses. Big thanks to Harry, Ryan
Shapiro from Race Shop, Northside BMW and Pirelli
tyres for making the test possible.
Ok, so it’s now time for me to try and get some sleep
before one of my babies wake up wanting some
Oh yes, also look out for the amazing competition we
are running in this issue and over the next 3 months,
where you could win one of 9 Scorpion helmets.
I thank each and every one of you for your continued
support and if you are reading the mag for the fi rst time
welcome and I hope you enjoy!
Until next month, ride safe!
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 1
S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8
EXCLUSIVE SA test on BMW’s
dressed HP4 Race
Is Honda set to release a
new, stronger CBR1000RR
weapon for 2019?
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FULL DETAILS ON HOW TO ENTER ON PAGE 26
MATT BIRT COLUMN
2 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
Photo: R. Schedl
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The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.
2019 Honda Fireblade
Honda’s next-generation Fireblade will take a bow at this
November’s EICMA show in Milan according to sources
close to the company in Japan. And when it does the firm
is hoping it will demolish the competition thanks to a
massive boost in power compared to the current model.
The current Blade’s 189hp output is already
a signifi cant bump over its predecessor and
for realists isn’t likely to leave you crying
out for more. However, in a world where its
rivals are regularly passing the 200hp mark
Honda has apparently decided it’s time to
up its game.
And it’s going to do it by a big margin
if our Japanese information is correct.
Insiders say the next Blade is already well
advanced in its testing and makes an
incredible 212hp. That’s only 2hp down
on the current superbike top-dog, Ducati’s
Details on how that power is achieved
are sketchy at best, but given that the
foundations of the current Blade’s engine
and chassis can be traced back to the
2008 model, it’s likely that we’ll see a
completely new engine design.
We will certainly see a new frame.
According to our source, the next-gen
Blade features a central air duct on its nose
and a hollowed-out headstock to allow
the intake air to run straight through it. It’s
a technique that most of its rivals already
use, and has proven advantages in terms
of routing high-pressure air to the airbox.
Honda made the same change to the
CBR600RR back in 2007, so is more than
familiar with the idea and knows how to
make it work.
What the Blade won’t get – despite what
you might read elsewhere – is a V4 engine.
While Honda has been working on a
V4 superbike, potentially to be called
‘RVF1000’, it’s a completely separate
project and at the moment we still don’t
know for certain whether it’s been green-lit
for production. Patents fi led for the new V4
over the last couple of years have shown it
to use a semi-monocoque-framed design,
similar to Ducati’s Panigale, allied to a
version of the RC213V-S’s MotoGP-derived
engine. Those patents explain that the new
New CBR1000RR? New RVF1000 V4?
chassis – made of cast aluminium – would
radically ease mass production and reduce
costs compared to the original, painfully
However, the incredible 212hp power fi gure
that our Japanese sources claim for the
new Fireblade’s inline-four engine might
just be a indirect confi rmation that the V4 is
coming. Why? Because it’s hard to believe
Honda will be able to make so much power
from a mass-made, affordable, road-legal,
1000cc engine. The closest any rival comes
to that fi gure is the 214hp Ducati Panigale
V4, which has the advantage of an 1103cc
motor rather than a mere 1000cc.
We’re getting into the realms of speculation
here, but if Honda has given its longrumoured
V4-engined ‘RVF1000’ superbike
the go-ahead, it will put the fi rm back in the
position it was in when the original Fireblade
was launched back in 1992. The key to the
original Blade’s astounding performance
was the 893cc inline-four engine, which
was made possible because Honda already
had the V4-powered RC30 as its WSB
contender. Freed from the need to comply
with racing rules, Honda’s engineers – led,
of course, by Tadao Baba – were able to
create the Blade without worrying about
adding a few cc to its capacity.
If there’s a V4-engined superbike waiting in
the wings to take on WSB duties, the nextgen
Blade could easily be an 1100cc or even
1200cc bike; giving a power and torque
advantage over its 1000cc rivals without
adding much physical size or weight.
One piece of information that goes against
that theory, but doesn’t completely
annihilate it, is word from Japan that there
will still be higher-spec ‘SP1’ and ‘SP2’
versions of the next-generation Fireblade. In
the current range, those are the machines
intended to homologate higher-spec
components for racing, particularly the
limited-run SP2. But the mass-made SP1
has proved a sales success too, matching
the base model in terms of numbers sold.
According to our Japanese sources, the
next-gen bike’s SP2 version will be even
more exotic than the existing one, with
a full carbon-fi bre fairing and all-titanium
The next-gen Blade is set to appear at
EICMA this November, if our information
is correct. That show comes shortly after
Honda’s 70th anniversary as a company. It
was incorporated on 24 September 1948,
and it’s long been rumoured that there
will be at least some special new models
released to mark the occasion.
Let’s hope Honda fi nally release some jaw
4 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
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in Classic Race colours
Suzuki may produce a limited number of the race replica
livery GSX-R1000R depending on interest and feedback.
Team Classic Suzuki has unveiled a one-off
Suzuki GSX-R1000R in classic retro race
colours inspired by the design of the early
Suzuki GSX-R750, most notably with the
blue stripes across the fairing. The GSX-
R1000R Team Classic Suzuki replica gets
the same livery and sponsor graphics on
the fairings, including title sponsor Suzuki
Vintage Parts. The bike also gets a number
of genuine accessory parts, including
brake and clutch lever guards, engine
case savers, carbon frame cover, pillion
seat cowl, fuel cap trim, carbon air intakes,
double bubble screen, axle sliders and
paddock stand bobbins.
For now, the Team Classic Suzuki GSX-
R1000R is a one-off example, but reports
suggest that Suzuki will consider market
feedback and a limited edition model may
be considered for production. Team Classic
Suzuki is the UK-based classic race team
of the Japanese brand, using earlier Suzuki
models in various classic endurance races.
Troy Bayliss’ Ducati Panigale V4S
sold for record 139,000 Dollars
As usual, for the 2018 edition of World
Ducati Week a host of bike racing
champions were on site to thrill the
crowds: Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge
Lorenzo, Danilo Petrucci and Troy
Bayliss. Thirteen in all, the champions
got to race on specially designed
Panigale V4S motorcycles.
After the conclusion of the event, the
bikes were posted for sale on eBay and,
says Ducati, all got sold for good money.
Troy Bayliss’ ride was the most sought
after, managing to sell for $139,000
(R1,930m) after what Ducati describes to
have been a hard-fought auction.
“The fondness and esteem that Ducatisti
still nurture for Troy Bayliss, a true Ducati
icon, three-times winner of the World
SBK Championship and recently (at
the age of 49) winner of an SBK race
in Australia on a Ducati Panigale, are
impressive,” said Ducati in a statement.
The motorcycles ridden by Dovizioso,
Melandri, Lorenzo, Pirro, and Petrucci
found new owners for sums between
$46,000 and $72,200.
There were in all 7,084 bids coming from
1,516 people from all over the world for
the bikes. That makes an average of 116
people battling to get ownership of each
of the motorcycles.
Each of the bikes sold featured livery
and graphics dedicated to their
individual rider and colour schemes
drawing inspiration from the bikes
used in MotoGP or SBK races. On the
steering yoke sits a plaque with the
rider’s name and race number, complete
with his autograph in indelible ink.
The bikes were sold on eBay complete
with a set of original parts, exhausts
included, required for legal road use.
6 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R – details leaked
It’s been revealed that Kawasaki will be launching a revamped ZX-6R for 2019 and now detailed
specifications for the new bike including its power, weight, dimensions and top speed have been leaked.
On the face of the bare fi gures, things
aren’t going in the right direction. Next
year’s bike will be fractionally less powerful
than the old one. It’s also a bit heavier and,
as a result, it’s slower, too.
But before you throw your hands up in
disgust and declare that the golden era of
motorcycling is now fi rmly behind us, it’s
worth delving into a little more detail.
The 2019 ZX-6R – which is still offi cially a
secret, of course – has been betrayed by
two sets of offi cial documentation now. Its
initial existence emerged when Kawasaki
fi led emissions certifi cation paperwork in
California. Those documents confi rmed
that it’s sticking to its class-busting 636cc
capacity but that the 2019 bike’s emissions
would be halved thanks to the addition of a
three-way, closed-loop catalytic converter
in place of the two-way oxidising cat used
on the old model.
Unfortunately, that document didn’t reveal
the effects of the changes other than the
emissions fi gures.
Now, though, we’ve caught sight of
European type-approval certifi cation for the
2019 bike, and that’s much more revealing.
It tells us that the new, cleaner engine
makes a peak of 128hp at 13,500rpm.
In comparison, the old model achieved
129hp at the same revs. That’s a lot better
than the 2017 Yamaha R6, currently the
only four-cylinder 600 supersports machine
to meet Euro4 limits, which lost 5hp (going
from 122hp to 117hp) in its efforts to hit the
emissions targets. With some 11hp more
than the Yamaha – a lot more than its 37cc
capacity advantage alone can account for
– the 2019 ZX-6R might be a much more
In terms of weight, the Yamaha has
the upper hand. It gained 1kg in its
transformation from Euro3 to Euro4, going
from 189kg (wet) to 190kg. In comparison,
the old model ZX-6R, if specifi ed with the
optional ABS brakes, was 194kg and
the 2019 version will be 196kg thanks to
its heftier catalytic converter. All fi gures
are complete with a full tank of fuel. The
implication of these numbers is that the
2019 ZX-6R’s frame, like its basic engine
design, is going to be largely unchanged.
In terms of performance, the addition
of 2kg and loss of 1hp shouldn’t be too
signifi cant. But top speed fi gures for the
2019 ZX-6R hint that there may be
additional sacrifi ces in terms of
For a clear comparison,
Kawasaki will handily be making
a restricted 96hp version of
the bike to be offered in certain
markets. It also made a 98hp
edition of the old-model
ZX-6R. Since weight
has little bearing on
top speed, we can
assume that any
the old 72kW
machine and the
2019 model is likely
to be down to aero
changes. And there
is a difference – the
while next year’s bike is rated at 242kmh.
That’s a pretty small change, but the
chasm grows much larger when we look
at the unrestricted versions. The old bike
in 129hp form managed 260km/h but the
new 128hp 2019 model can muster a mere
That can’t be purely down to the drop in
power or a loss of aerodynamic effi ciency,
given the similarity in performance for the
restricted versions of the bikes. So logically
it makes sense that Kawasaki has altered
the 2019 model’s gearing, sacrifi cing a
top speed that barely anyone will use for
livelier acceleration across the performance
spectrum. If that’s the case, next year’s bike
may well feel faster than the old model,
even if it’s heavier and less powerful.
The performance fi gures point at a change
to the fairing, and it makes sense that
Kawasaki will give the ZX-6R a new look.
It’s a near-certainty that the restyle will
take its cues from the Ninja H2, which has
already infl uenced the most recent addition
to Kawasaki’s sports bike range, the Ninja
400. If the ZX-6R takes the same path,
expect to see reverse-raked headlights and
a jutting spoiler below them.
Offi cially-homologated dimensions certainly
prove that the bodywork is changing,
since the 2019 bike will be wider than the
old model (710mm vs 705mm), shorter
(2025mm vs 2085mm) and lower (1100mm
vs 1115mm). It also has a fractionally longer
wheelbase at 1400mm compared to the
old bike’s 1395mm, but chain adjustment
– and perhaps a different front and rear
sprockets to alter that top speed – may
well account for that.
All will be revealed, of course, when the
2019 ZX-6R makes its offi cial debut, but
that isn’t expected to be until October or
November this year.
8 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
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Ninja H2 gets more power
The Kawasaki Ninja H2 is already a beast of a motorcycle and for the
next year, this supercharged hypersport is getting a bevy of updates.
While it still looks very much like the old
model, there are some changes that
have been made for the 2019 bike.
The biggest change will be the power
output, with Kawasaki bumping the H2
from 200hp to 231hp, all of which while
keeping the bike’s Euro4 compliance
rating and current fuel efficiency rating.
The power increase comes from
technology developed for the Kawasaki
Ninja H2 SX sport-tourer. Namely, the
H2 gets a new air filter, intake chamber,
spark plugs, and ECU. The 2019
Kawasaki Ninja H2 does not get the
SX’s balanced supercharger, however.
Other changes include the use of
Bridgestone RS11 tyres, as well as
Brembo’s new Stylema calipers, which
first debuted on the Ducati Panigale V4
superbike, and offer superior cooling to
the outgoing Brembo M50 calipers.
Beyond the mechanical changes, the
updated H2 also gets a new TFT dash
that includes bluetooth connectivity. The
Kawasaki Ninja H2 also gets new paint…
and before you laugh and say “bold new
graphics”, hear us out on this one.
The paint that Kawasaki is using is “selfhealing”
paint, and with a little time at
warm ambient temperatures, the paint
can “heal” minor scratches and scuffs.
This special paint was developed
in-house at Kawasaki, and the
Japanese manufacturer says it is
superior to similar paints used in
the automotive sector. Certainly,
Lastly, Kawasaki is debuting a
“Rideoloy” app for the H2, which
shows basic vehicle information,
like fuel level, battery condition,
riding log, and service interval updates.
Two futures for Ducati says VW
The CEO of the Volkswagen Group, the parent company of Ducati Motor
Holdings, has outlined two possible futures for Ducati, including making
it a multi-brand marquee.
Will Ducati be sold after all? That is
the question that has cropped up
once again, after several rumours
and speculations of the Italian brand’s
imminent sale over the past year or so.
And now, rumours of the sale of Ducati
have again re-surfaced, and this time,
thanks to the comments of Volkswagen
AG CEO Herbert Diess to Bloomberg TV.
The Volkswagen Group owns Ducati, and
the comments of Diess don’t specifically
say that the Italian brand will be up for
sale, but he doesn’t rule out the sale of
the brand altogether as well.
Volkswagen has been reeling from losses
in billions of Euros after the ‘dieselgate’
scandal of 2015, and it’s been widely
reported that the firm has been planning
to sell off some of its assets, including its
motorcycle brand, Ducati. While those
plans seemed to have been cancelled
last year, the latest comments have once
again sparked speculation that Ducati
may be up for sale after all.
“Either we find a way forward for Ducati,
which provides some growth,” and
expand the brand, “or we have to look for
a new ownership”, implying that Ducati
may be up for sale once again. And
another statement from the Volkswagen
Group not ruling out divestments in
“non-core businesses” have only sparked
more fire to the speculation about
Ducati’s sale once again.
But if Ducati is indeed up for sale,
which companies have the capability
and capital to manage and own such
an iconic brand? As in the past, two
rapidly growing two-wheeler companies
are best suited to have Ducati in their
portfolio, and both are of Indian origin.
The first - Hero MotoCorp, is the world’s
largest two-wheeler manufacturer by
volume, and acquiring a brand like
Ducati will only increase Hero’s brand
equity in the global stage.
The other important brand is also Indian,
and is none other than Royal Enfield,
which will soon enter the premium
middleweight market with its two
brand new offerings - the Royal Enfield
Interceptor 650 and the Continental
GT 650. An acquisition of a brand like
Ducati will only strengthen Royal Enfield’s
aspirations to be a significant and strong
global player in the motorcycle market. All
this of course, is still speculation, and it
remains to be seen if Ducati, considered
the most valuable motorcycle brand in
the world, will get a new buyer after all.
But if it does happen, it will involve quite a
bit of capital, and could possibly become
one of the biggest acquisitions in the
history of motorcycles.
10 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
Ducati looking to spice things up?
Ducati likely to partner Hero MotoCorp for a 300 cc motorcycle.
According to reports, the Italian bikemaker Ducati could partner with
Hero MotoCorp to develop 300 cc single-cylinder motorcycles.
Hero MotoCorp could be the latest among
Indian two-wheeler giants to tie up with a
global sportsbike maker. There’s talk of a
small capacity, 300cc Ducati sportsbike
and Hero MotoCorp is likely to be the local
partner that the Italian sportsbike maker
is expected to approach. This is because
the other leading Indian two wheeler giants
such as Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors are
already in similar tie-ups.
In this set-up, Hero MotoCorp will bring its
low cost, high quality manufacturing set-up
to the fore, and the company’s factories in
India could serve as a global production
hub for the new, 300cc entry level Ducati
sportsbike. In exchange, Ducati is likely to
provide cutting edge technology and its
MotoGP honed engineering expertise for
the new motorcycle platform.
As is the case with Bajaj-KTM and TVS-
BMW Motorrad, the new 300cc entry
level sportsbike platform from Hero Ducati
could result in both Hero MotoCorp and
Ducati branding, selling and servicing their
motorcycles through separate outlets.
What we’re likely to see is both Hero
and Ducati branded, 300cc premium
motorcycles. More details about this tie-up
is likely to surface in the coming months.
Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest two
wheeler maker, even bigger than Honda.
However, the two-wheeler giant has been
mainly focusing on commuter segments,
with little or no presence in the premium
bike space. A tie-up with Ducati will open
up Hero MotoCorp’s horizons and help it
get a foothold in the high margin premium
motorcycle space. For Ducati, a tie-up
with Hero will open up one of the world’s
largest two-wheeler market and also give it
very attractive cost savings for motorcycle
KTM has tied up with Bajaj, and produces
all of its small capacity sub-400cc bikes
such as the Duke 125, 200, 250 and
390 in India. The same is the case with
the KTM RC 125, 200, 250 and 390. In
exchange, Bajaj has received the engine
platform for the Pulsar NS200 and Dominar
range of motorcycles. TVS builds the
BMW Motorrad G 310R and G 310GS
motorcycles in India, and has received
technology for use in the Apache RR310.
As is evident, such tie-ups are win-win for
Linex Yamaha in
Massive renovations and upgrades
happening at Linex Yamaha in
Randburg. All business has been
moved to the lower level of the building
and is operating as normal. Be on the
look out for a brand new and improved
Linex shopping experience!
13 Malibongwe Dr, Strydompark,
Randburg. 011 251 4000
Dunlop SA giving away
three sets of new Q3+ tyres!
Are you in need of a new set of top quality tyres for
your sportsbike? Well then this is for you.
Dunlop SA will be giving away 3 sets of their new
premium sports tyre - the Q3+ plus.
All you have to do is go and like the Dunlop SA
Facebook page and keep a look out for competition
details. The competition will run over the next 4
months so make sure you keep your eyes pealed to
their Facebook page.
New Faces at Honda Wing Zambezi
Milden Lurie and “Boog” Jarrad
Goetsch, the man behind the revival
MX motorsport team, are the friendly
faces at BB Zambezi Honda. They
have already made a big impact
on Honda dirt bike sales with their
involvement in the national MX series.
Lots of plans are afoot to put the
Honda brand back where it should be
in SA. Friendly fresh faces who love
motorcycles and have some great
ideas… we need more of those in this
game for sure!
Honda Wing Zambezi: (012) 523-9500
12 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
RISE TO PURE
Achieve next level exhilaration around every
corner, in every gear with the Yamaha MT-10 SP.
Yamaha MT-10 SP
•Fully adjustable Öhlins electronic suspension
•Exclusive blue/silver colour scheme
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•Torque-rich 4-cylinder ‘CP4’ crossplane engine
•YZF-R1-derived engine and chassis technology
•Strong and linear low to mid-range torque
•YCC-T, D-MODE and Traction Control System (TCS)
•A&S clutch and Quick Shifter System (QSS)
•Ultra-short wheelbase aluminium Deltabox chassis
•Dynamic mass-forward silhouette
•Upright riding position with forward lean
•High specification brakes with radial front calipers
Yamaha MT-10 Tourer
Yamaha MT-10 SP
Yamaha Tracer 700
Yamaha Tracer 900
Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
With outstanding performance and the ability to excite and inspire you wherever you go, the MT range
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www.yamaha.co.za · +27 11 259 7600 · Facebook: Yamaha Southern Africa · Instagram: @yamahasouthafrica · YouTube: YamahaMoto_SA
Harley-Davidson look to
the future with new range
Harley-Davidson Developing New, Liquid-Cooled Models for
Adventure and Naked Segments. Electric bike also on its way
Harley Davidson has announced a big
push into new market segments with
modular liquid-cooled engines. Sixteen
new bikes will utilize the new 60° v-twins
in displacements of 500cc, 750cc, 975cc,
and 1250cc. These will be DOHC designs,
so expect modern, competitive levels of
horsepower and torque.
Pictured here are a couple of prototypes
shown by Harley of a new adventure model
called the Pan America, displacing 1250cc,
as well as a Cruiser called Custom with
same motor and a Streetfighter displacing
975cc. Harley expects these to be
introduced as 2020 models.
Harley also emphasized the importance
of electric models in its future - the 2019
LiveWire. An entire “family of products” in
the EV category will range all the way down
“Traditional” cruiser models will continue
to be developed. Here is a summary from
Harley-Davidson of its future plans:
It’s a fast-changing world with new
consumer demands. Alongside our existing
loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution
of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future
riders who have yet to even think about the
thrill of riding.
We are planning our most comprehensive
lineup of motorcycles. Highlights include:
• Extending the company’s leadership in
heavyweight motorcycles by continuing to
develop improved, more technologicallyadvanced
Touring and Cruiser motorcycles
that will keep existing Harley-Davidson
riders engaged and riding longer.
• Introducing a new modular 500cc
to 1250cc middleweight platform of
motorcycles that spans three distinct
product spaces and four displacements,
starting with the company’s first Adventure
Touring motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson
Pan America 1250, a 1250cc Custom
model and a 975cc Streetfighter model, all
of which are planned to launch beginning
in 2020. Additional models to broaden
coverage in these product spaces will follow
• Developing a more accessible,
small-displacement (250cc to 500cc)
motorcycle for Asia emerging markets
through a planned strategic alliance with
a manufacturer in Asia. This new product
and broader distribution is intended to fuel
Harley-Davidson’s customer access and
growth in India, one of the largest, fastest
growing markets in the world, and other
• Leading the electric motorcycle market
by launching Harley-Davidson’s first electric
motorcycle, LiveWire, in 2019 — the first in
a broad, no-clutch “twist and go” portfolio
of electric two-wheelers designed to
establish the company as the leader in the
electrification of the sport. LiveWire will be
followed by additional models through 2022
to broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller
and even more accessible product options
to inspire new riders with new ways to ride.
We plan to advance our market delivery
approach and meet today’s customer
• Creating high-engagement customer
experiences across all retail channels
– including improving and expanding
the company’s global digital capabilities
by evolving the Harley-Davidson.com
experience to integrate with and enhance
the dealership retail experience for existing
and new customers.
• Establishing strategic alliances with global
leading e-commerce providers to extend
access to Harley-Davidson to a pool of
millions of potential new customers.
• New retail formats — including smaller,
urban storefronts globally to expose the
brand to urban populations and drive sales
of the expanded Harley-Davidson product
portfolio and expand international apparel
Concept Custom Cruiser
Our world-class dealer network is an
integral part of the company’s accelerated
strategy and critical to overall success. We
will implement a performance framework
to significantly enhance the strength of
the dealer network and the customer
experience, enabling the best-performing
and most entrepreneurial dealers to drive
innovation and success for themselves and
Harley-Davidson — while providing the
premium customer experience the brand
is known for across an increasingly diverse
product and customer base.
14 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
Big Boy, GoMoto and Jonway, the
“More Ride for your Rand” brands.
SA Motorcycles, importers and distributors of these super-popular brands,
provide a highly affordable range of scooters, commuters and utility models, all with
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Whether for business or pleasure, we’ve got a model for you, so visit our website for
more info, specs and images on our full product line-up.
* Figures based on 15,5% interest x 60 months.
T&Cs apply. Instalments include VAT, license
and registration. Excludes insurance. E&OE.
LAY-BUY OPTION ALSO AVAILABLE!
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IRC Components Italy “M-Spec” 19x19 Brake Radial
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World Superbike and MotoGP. For Trackday Riders and
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without paying a fortune for a Brembo 19mm RCS Radial
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Accosato Master Cylinder! Includes a Titanium M10x1.0
The IRC Components 19x19 Master Cylinder has more
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requires less distance to completely pull in the lever vs. a
Available from Trickbitz - 011 672 6599.
RK GXW chains
RK’s GXW series chains are the top of the line extreme
performance chains. XW-ring chains are the best highspeed,
extreme heat performance chains available today.
The leading edge XW-ring seal is made of an advanced
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This means three lubrication pools to protect against
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MUSTANG 250- CASH PRICE R28,999.00
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D860 MAX- CASH PRICE R75,999.00
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For the full scooter, motorcycle,
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REVIVAL 150- CASH PRICE R16,499.00
R0.00 DEPOSIT, R470 X 60 MONTHS
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TSR250- CASH PRICE R23,499.00
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VELOCITY 200- CASH PRICE R16,999.00
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Prices include VAT and pre-delivery inspection only. Prices exclude licence, registration and any service costs unless specified.
Prices are correct at the time of going to print and may change without notice due to currency fluctuations or at dealers who are
located in outer-lying areas. All advertised models are available at the time of going to print unless specified.
Updated Yamaha YZF-R3 in 2019?
It looks like the Yamaha YZF-R3 will get a refresh for the 2019 model year,
as photos of the bike – complete with a facelift – have surfaced.
The new design brings the R3 closer into the
rest of Yamaha’s supersport family, particularly
with an intake shape that looks inspired by the
Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.
There is a split on rumours as to whether
the rest of the machine will get an update
as well, specifi cally the frame and engine,
though we can expect some some minor
refi nements to the overall package, no
matter what the case may be on that front.
LED headlights and lighting all around have
been tipped, and we wouldn’t be surprised
to see an updated dash as well.
The Yamaha YZF-R3 has been a popular
pick in the small-displacement category,
with the Japanese brand predicting the
trend in the space well, namely the rise of
twin-cylinder engines and larger than 300cc
The 321cc parallel-twin engine on the
R3 competes very well against the KTM
RC390 and Kawasaki Ninja 300, though
this space is rapidly evolving.
KTM has been offering more
potent versions of the RC390
to racers and Kawasaki has
lived by the old adage of
“there’s no replacement like
displacement” in creating the
Kawasaki Ninja 400.
This could see Yamaha left
behind for the 2019 model
year, as a simple cosmetic
refresh of the YZF-R3
might not keep the Yamaha
relevant in this important
As such, we hope we are
wrong in our hearing that
the chassis, and more
importantly the engine, go unchanged for
next year. No one wants to bring a 300cc
bike to a 400cc battle.
If Yamaha does overhaul the YZF-R3 and
turn it into the YZF-R4, that would certainly
help them compete with the offerings
from KTM and Kawasaki – where are you
Honda and Suzuki??? – though wonder
how much further this displacement creep
IRC Components Up & Auto-Blipping
Down Quickshifter for Aprilia Dorsoduro
750 / 1200 and Caponard with “Strain
Gauge Sensor” Technology allows for Full
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MotoGP certifi ed by Magneti Marelli
state-of-the-art load cell sensor with both
right and left dual “Magic” threads”. The
IRC Components ELECTRONIC quickshifter
has a major advantage over other
units in the market because it dynamically
considers the RPM and Acceleration to
modify the Cut Time (“T”) and Pulses
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braking to prevent upsetting the chassis
that can lead to a loss of traction or
change in the bikes trajectory (this means
you can up-shift or down-shift while
cornering). Adjustable pre-load settings
(via Two-Buttons on Unit) allow the rider
to customize six (7) settings making shifts
seamless and smooth versus “switch
units” which can be harsh: 1. Cut Time
(“T”), 2. Minimum Downshift RPM (“RL”),
3. Downshift Speed (“SL”), 4. Upshift Pre-
Load (“L”), 4. Minimum RPM Limit (“SR”),
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The intelligent controller of the IRC quickshifter
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signal handling is extremely precise and
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Harness and 165MM Shift Rod (50MM
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Available for most makes and model
motorcycles from Trickbitz - 011 672 6599.
Sunoco race fuel available from
Race Shop Vanderbijlpark
In this issue we test the BMW HP4 Race bike,
so we needed to get some race fuel for the test.
Race Hop out in Vanderbijlpark sell top-grade
Sunoco race fuel, along with used motorcycles
and spares and accessories. We grabbed
ourselves 20litres of the race fuel priced at R1500.
Visit their store at 3 Edison Boulervard,
Vanderbijlpark or call 016 931 1100.
16 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
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Brought to you by
DOVI AND LORENZO
WAR OF WORDS
Tensions between Ducati factory riders Jorge
Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso have fl ared up
once more after the return from the MotoGP
season’s summer break.
Lorenzo, who joined the team last year and
will leave for Honda in 2019, had accused
team-mate Dovizioso of “trying to undermine”
him earlier this year.
Dovizioso - who outperformed the Spaniard
last year and enjoyed a vastly better start in
2018 - said Lorenzo’s approach “didn’t work”
And while a rough patch for Dovizioso,
who came good at Brno, coupled with
breakthrough back-to-back wins for Lorenzo
in Mugello and Barcelona and the recent
stunner in Austria has now seen Lorenzo
leap-frog Dovi in the standings, Dovizioso
refused to back down from his claim when
speaking to Spanish sports daily Marca
ahead of the Brno race.
“He’s won two races,” Dovizioso said.
“Winning two races does not solve the
problem of a year and a half.
“Lorenzo was not signed to win two races.
Therefore I do not change my mind.”
When the comments were put to Lorenzo,
the three-time champion said Dovizioso’s
rhetoric was proof of the claim he’d made
back in April.
“I’m a bit fed up with this situation, mainly
because when I had trouble and he was
winning, I was down there applauding,”
Lorenzo told Spanish broadcaster Movistar.
“What I said in Argentina - and the comments
caused a big surprise - you can see that I
“He tried to undermine me, or downplay what
I achieve or just attack me. As you can see, I
wasn’t lying. He’s still doing it and now he says
my method is not good, according to him.”
Lorenzo intimated that Dovizioso was in no
position to criticise him, as the Italian could do
no better than runner-up to Marc Marquez in
a ‘perfect’ 2017 season.
He said: “I think my method has not worked
too bad in my career. I’ve won three MotoGP
titles and have 47 wins.
“In my second year in Ducati I’m usually
faster than him, but maybe I should look at
his method closer if in his best season, with
everything going perfectly, he was second.
Otherwise he’s fourth or seventh usually.
“I’d tell him to leave me to go my way and
to focus on his own and everything will be
better, because when you have an angry
Lorenzo it’s usually worse for you.”
Responding to Lorenzo’s tirade, Dovizioso
sought to play down the confl ict.
“Jorge has his ideas and I think they are
based on particular things. I don’t think like
him, but it’s not a problem,” he told Movistar.
“Everybody creates their own ideas based on
what they see and how they live.
“I don’t think he has everything clear in
his head about what’s happened, but we
continue the relationship that we started
last year with respect, there’s no particular
problem. If he thinks this way, that’s his
TO MOTO2 IN 2019
Thomas Luthi has offi cially confi rmed his
brief MotoGP adventure will end after
a single season by signing to join the
Dynavolt Intact Moto2 team.
A double Moto2 title runner-up, Luthi
moved to MotoGP with Marc VDS this
season. However the Swiss is yet to score
a point and the team is closing its MotoGP
project at the end of this season, when
team-mate Franco Morbidelli will join the
new SIC Yamaha project.
“MotoGP is still a dream come true for
me - but circumstances have not made it
easy for me in recent months,” Luthi said,
referring to the Marc VDS management
dispute and future uncertainty.
Luthi is set to take the place of Xavi Vierge,
who looks to be joining the Marc VDS
Moto2 team, and ride alongside Marcel
Schrotter on Kalex machinery in what
will be the fi rst season of the new 765cc
Triumph engines and Magneti-Marelli ECU.
MOTOGP 18 GAME
NOW IN STORES!
Become the star of the 2018 MotoGP
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Race with all the riders of the MotoGP on
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Available at all leading gaming stores for
18 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
more confidence, in wet
and dry conditions, even
after 5000 KM *
even after 5 000
braking in the
Even after 5 000 KM, a MICHELIN Road tyre
stops as short as a brand new MICHELIN
Pilot Road 4 tyre* thanks to the evolutionary
MICHELIN XST Evo sipes.
With its dry grip, stability and best handling versus
its main competitors, thanks to MICHELIN’s
patented ACT+ casing technology, it offers even
more riding pleasure.***
* According to internal studies at Ladoux, the Michelin centre of excellence, under the supervision of an independent
witness, comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres used for 5 636 km with new and unworn MICHELIN Pilot Road 4 tyres.
** According to internal studies at Fontange, a Michelin test track, under the supervision of an independent witness,
comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres with METZELER Roadtec 01, DUNLOP Road Smart 3, CONTINENTAL Road
Attack 3, PIRELLI Angel GT and BRIDGESTONE T30 EVO tyres, in dimensions 120/70 ZR17 (front) and 180/55 ZR17
(rear) on Suzuki Bandit 1250
*** External tests conducted by the MTE Test Centre invoked by Michelin, comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres with MI
*** External tests conducted by the MTE Test Centre invoked by Michelin, comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres with MI-
CHELIN Pilot Road 4, METZELER Roadtec 01, DUNLOP Road Smart 3, CONTINENTAL Road Attack 3, PIRELLI
Angel GT and BRIDGESTONE T30 EVO tyres, in dimensions 120/70 ZR17 (front) and 180/55 ZR17 (rear) on a Kawasaki
Z900 giving best dry performance globally and #1 for Handling, #2 for Stability, #2 for Dry grip
SIC YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDERS
ANNOUNCED AND MOTO-E PLANS
Tensions between Ducati factory riders
Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso
have fl ared up once more after the
return from the MotoGP season’s
The debut of the FIM Enel MotoE
series is gathering momentum
ahead of its maiden campaign in
2019 with a confirmed 18-bike grid
The debut of the FIM Enel MotoE
series is gathering momentum ahead
of its maiden campaign in 2019 with
a confi rmed 18-bike grid having been
bolstered by a Sepang International
Circuit team entry.
The SIC team will also join the MotoE
grid with a one-bike entry from next
year. Rider still to be announced as
with most of the teams.
The full 18-bike grid:
Teams with two MotoE entries:
Tech 3 Racing, LCR Team, Pramac
Racing, Esponsorama Racing, Gresini
Racing, Angel Nieto Team
Teams with a single MotoE entry:
Sepang International Circuit, Marc
VDS Racing Team, Ajo Motorsport,
Pons Racing, Dynavolt Intact GP,
SIC58 Squadra Corse.
The fi rst MotoE test will take place
on November 23-25 followed by
two pre-season tests next year on
March 13-15 and April 23-25. All
tests will be held at Jerez. The bikes
will use Dell’Orto electronics, Brembo
brakes, Marchesini wheels and Öhlins
suspension having been confi rmed
as technical partners.
The 2019 MotoE calendar will be
confi rmed across the San Marino
MotoGP round this month at Misano
followed by the full 18-rider line-up at
Aragon two weeks later.
MotoE organisers held a third meeting
at the Austrian MotoGP round.
“Prior to Saturday’s meeting during
which we shared, among other things,
information about winter testing,” Cup
Executive Director Nicolas Goubert
said. “We had our test session with
Energica working on the 2019 race
bike on the seventh MotoGP track.
“Michelin Tyre testing was on the
programme and everything went very
well, with both Loris Capirossi and
Alessandro Branetti lapping the
Red Bull Ring at Moto3 pace.”no
particular problem. If he thinks this
way, that’s his problem.”
Just ahead of the Silverstone
MotoGP round the new SIC (Sepang
International Circuit) Team announced
their rider line-up for 2019. John
McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki will be
the Moto3 riders with Khairul Idham
Pawi the solo Moto 2 rider. In the
MotoGP class, as was expected,
Franco Morbidelli and Fabio
Quartararo were confi rmed for the
two Yamaha Satelite bikes.
to you by
TO APRILIA AND
ANNOUNCES 2019 PLANS
Scott Redding has issued a public apology to Aprilia ‘for
my outrageous words’ slating the team following the
Having fi nished a lowly 20th place at the Red Bull
Ring, Redding produced a stinging assessment of Aprilia,
where he pretty much used every curse word ever made,
which left him unable to explain why he fi nished outside of
the points after a promising showing during practice.
Redding has said ‘I deeply say a big sorry’ on his
Instagram account following his post-race interview
in Spielberg which also saw the British rider vent his
frustrations at the team’s running and development
programme with its RS-GP machine.
“I am here today to say that I owe a huge apology to
the Aprilia racing team and company,” Redding said in
the post. “What I said Sunday afternoon [in the] postrace
interview was not acceptable by a long way, I was
thinking with a lot of emotion from my heart.
“But I spoke out with rage which a young person of 25
can do very easily. [At] 25 I should be a role model, much
more mature and composed.
“The team and company of Aprilia Racing are doing the
best they can to improve our MotoGP machine, we have
some good items to test this week and I still believe this
bike can be competitive.
“As a team you work, live, learn all together so from
the bottom of my heart I deeply say a big sorry for my
outrageous words that were said. I will learn from this.”
Redding left Austria pondering his next career
move having been replaced by Andrea Iannone in
Aprilia’s 2019 MotoGP rider line-up alongside Aleix
Espargaro after just one year with the Italian squad.
The 25-year-old is believed to have a number of options,
including a potential test role with Aprilia, as well as
possibilities to move to the World Superbike and British
Superbike championships and is aiming to make a fi nal
decision on his future soon.
One Brit staying in MotoGP until 2020 at least is Cal
Crutchlow, who has signed a 2-year extension with HRC
to remain a factory supported rider till 2020. Crutchlow
has said that could be his last year.
BAUTISTA AND DAVIES
CONFIRMED FOR DUCATI
WSBK IN 2019
Alvaro Bautista confi rmed at the British Grand Prix
pre-event Press Conference that he will be leaving the
MotoGP paddock after 16 years to join Chaz Davies at
Aruba.it Racing - Ducati in WorldSBK. With all eyes on the
red corner for the new year ahead with the team yielding
the all new V4 engine next year, team Ducati WSBK are
excited to get the challenge underway. The factory Ducati
squad are preparing for a big season and will welcome
the experience of Bautista and Davies.
20 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
ROSSI TALKS YAMAHA PROBLEMS
AND GOING FORWARD
‘Honda and Ducati change very much in
the last year and a half. It is a combination
between engine and electronics’ - Valentino
Rossi, Austrian MotoGP.
Saturday’s unprecedented public apology
by Yamaha management to riders Valentino
Rossi and Maverick Vinales caused debate
and a little confusion within the MotoGP
The confusion, also expressed privately
by senior management of rival teams, was
why a factory that was leading the Teams’
World Championship, second in the Riders’
Championship and had one machine (the
satellite bike of Johann Zarco) on the second
row of the grid felt the need to present such
The reason given by Yamaha was that
the 12th and 14th grid places for factory
riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi
warranted such action.
It was certainly a poor performance,
Yamaha’s worst as a factory team in the dry
since Valencia 2007, but the same positions
as last year’s wet Motegi qualifying. Rossi
has also qualified 10th or lower on two
previous occasions this season alone,
Vinales three times.
A more worrying statistic is Yamaha’s 20 (now
21) race losing streak, their worst since 1998.
However, it wasn’t mentioned at all by
YZR-M1 Project Leader Kouji Tsuya, secondin-command
among Yamaha MotoGP’s
Japanese management, who stood in front
of the media to apologise for the qualifying
result, citing “acceleration performance” and
sensor problems for Vinales.
“We are struggling and have to say sorry to
Whether the apology was suggested by
Tsuya himself, his boss (Yamaha Motor
Racing General Manager Kouichi Tsuji), the
Movistar Yamaha Communication staff or the
riders remains unclear.
After the Sunday’s race, in which an upbeat
Rossi recovered from 14th to sixth, the Italian
was asked if he thought the apology had been
necessary: “I’m not the one that has to decide.
For me, it’s more important that they improve
the bike! This is the only important thing.”
Rossi also laughed off questions about
whether he has full confidence in Tsuji: “I
cannot answer this. I work for Yamaha and
my job is to try to make the maximum and
especially give the indications to improve. And
after that point, unfortunately it’s not my job.
They have to try.”
Quizzed jokingly on if he would like to see (the
long-retired) Masao Furusawa, who oversaw
his spectacular early success at Yamaha,
back in command, Rossi answered: “I don’t
think it’s possible! For me we can improve
with these guys. The important thing is to
work in the right way. In the right areas.”
‘In 2004 Yamaha was a lot worse than now’
That improvement, Rossi believes, will require
the kind of effort, financial resources and
organisational shake-up not seen at Yamaha
since the Italian’s stunning debut season at the
team, in 2004.
“When I arrived a long, long time ago in 2004
Yamaha was a lot worse than now. But in one
year they reacted very strongly,” he explained.
“They put different organisation, they put more
money, more people and in one year we were
able to make the 2005 M1 that is for me the
best M1 that I ride. So we have to try the same.
“For me the situation [with acceleration] is very
similar from August-September last year. More
August than September. I feel always similar.
“It’s true that in some tracks we suffer less,
but in some other tracks we suffer more,
unfortunately. Six days ago [in Brno] I was on
the front row and now I’m on the fifth row!”
Rossi, who went on to finish fourth in the
Czech Republic, said Yamaha’s Austrian
misery is related to the level of ‘stress’ placed
on the rear tyre on the exit of the corners.
“This happened in a critical track for the rear
tyre. Because it looks like when you stress
very much the rear tyre, the riding style of
Zarco [sixth in qualifying] and also his size
and weight, which is a lot less than mine and
Maverick, helps very much. From the other
side, also six days ago, Zarco was in trouble
and now he’s faster than us.”
22 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019
Brought to you by
‘I hoped to suffer a bit less than this’
The nine-time world champion, who took
Yamaha’s most recent MotoGP victory in
June of last year, added:
“I knew that at this track we have to suffer this
year, because maybe it’s the worst track in
the calendar [for us], but I expect and I hoped
to suffer a bit less than this.
“I was also unlucky because the only dry
practice to go directly into Qualifying 2 was
FP1 and unfortunately in FP1 I broke the bike
[sprocket] after three laps. So I have to use the
other bike that is quite different and I was not
comfortable enough to stay in the top ten.
“In Qualifying 1 I suffered a lot with the soft rear
tyre. The soft is very diffi cult to manage, even
for two laps, because you feel a little bit better
grip but the tyre is too soft and for our bike it is
diffi cult to improve the lap time so I wasn’t able
to arrive in Qualifying 2 unfortunately.
“Now I will have to start from the fi fth-row
tomorrow and that is very diffi cult and critical,
especially here because the fi rst three or four
braking are diffi cult for everybody and when
you are in the pack you have to keep attention.
“But we have to work for tomorrow. We hope
to have a dry race and we will try something
else and we have to give the maximum to
take some points for the championship.”
Last year Rossi qualifi ed seventh on the grid
with a time of 1m 23.9s, compared with a
1m 24.3s this year. Honda’s pole man Marc
Marquez set a ‘22.2s this year and last, while
Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge
Lorenzo were marginally quicker this year.
“The soft tyre is softer than last year and
maybe it was not a bad idea for me to make
like Dovizioso, that did the lap time with the
medium. Because for me I can go faster with
the medium,” Rossi said.
‘The right areas’
So what are ‘the right areas’ that Yamaha
needs to work on?
Rossi has repeatedly stated that, for one year
now, he has been warning Yamaha about the
need to improve acceleration, through the
electronics, to match Ducati and Honda.
In his apology Tsuya spoke of: “Acceleration
performance, which means to adjust the
power delivery more precisely.”
The hard-acceleration zones of the Red Bull
Ring circuit punished the M1’s power delivery
more than a fl owing circuit, hence Rossi had
been a frontrunner a week earlier at Brno
before tyre wear, also thought to be related to
the power delivery, kicked in late in the race.
But why does Rossi feel the acceleration
problems are caused by the electronics, rather
than the chassis or engine? How can he tell?
“For me, the chassis of our bike is good,”
Rossi answered, before offering some new
information: “But I agree with you, it’s not just
the electronics, it’s the engine.
“Because if you go on the track, Honda
and Ducati change very, very much in the
last year and a half and it is a combination
between engine and electronics. It’s diffi cult to
understand the percentage of each, but that
is the way.”
Commenting on Yamaha’s upcoming test
at Misano, team director Massimo Meregalli
said they would try “something for next year,
that is not related to the electronics” adding
“driveability, or power delivery, is very very
important. And this is also where we are
working for next year.”
That could mean testing a revised engine
design, since the rules prevent Yamaha
changing its current engine until next year.
Even at Yamaha’s worst circuit, starting from
the fi fth row and overtaking eight riders, Rossi
was 14-seconds behind race winner Lorenzo
after 28 laps, or half-a-second a lap.
“This is the reality now and for me it’s the biggest
difference in the last ten years. The difference [in
the races] is very small,” Rossi said.
“But we are the factory Yamaha. So we have
to look at the factory Honda and factory
Ducati. We have to compare with them, not
with the other bikes and at this moment we
are at a disadvantage.”
‘Maverick just needs a better bike’
Rossi’s upbeat demeanour even when
describing such problems was in stark
contrast to team-mate Vinales, who had a
face like thunder and barely uttered more than
a few words to the press after his twelfthplace
Why the difference?
“For me, it is a question of experience,
because I pass through a lot of bad periods,
more than Maverick, who is a lot younger
than me. But is also character,” Rossi said.
“But I’m sure if the bike made the step,
Maverick can win the [next] race. So it’s not
that he is not able anymore to ride. He just
needs a better bike and after he can be more
competitive from the next practice for sure.”
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 23
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28 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
Big thanks to Race Shop in for
supplying us with the 102 octane
Sunoco race fuel for this test. Visit
their store at 3 Edison Boulervard,
Vanderbijlpark, or call 016 931 1100.
BMW HP4 RACE
The BMW HP4 RACE is 171kg light, develops at least 215bhp, isn’t road
legal and costs R1.3m. We managed to scoop yet another SA Exclusive
with Rob testing #274 of the limited 750 at Redstar Raceway.
Last year I received one of the most important world
launch invites ever. It was an invitation to ride possibly
the fi nest production motorcycle ever made, to sample
almost-unattainable hardware taken straight out of
the MotoGP and World Superbike paddocks and
to experience something that had the potential to
completely recalibrate our defi nition of a superbike.
It wasn’t a case of working out if it would overtake
superbike status and go straight to ultrabike, but an
exercise in contemplating if it was even possible for
it not to. Forget Ducati’s 1299 Superleggera. Forget
Aprilia’s RSV4 RF. Yamaha’s R1M and Honda’s
Fireblade SP don’t even get a look in. As the name
Words: Rob Portman Pics: Gerrit Erasmus
suggests, the BMW HP4 Race is a race bike. Not a
“race” bike; a R1.3m race bike.
Few people outside of the World Superbike and
MotoGP paddocks have, or will ever get the chance to
ride anything quite like this and my lucky 2-hours spent
riding it at the world launch held at the Estoril circuit in
Portugal were simply out of this world. It wowed me
in every way possible and if I’m being honest I was a
little overwhelmed by the bikes sheer awesomeness. I
needed to ride it again. Not a day has gone by where I
don’t fi nd myself thinking about my time on the bike. I
wanted more. I craved more and fi nally, almost a year on,
I was going to get some more…
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 29
30 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
BMW HP4 RACE
A quick recap
If you did not catch my world launch test and are not
familiar with BMW’s HP4 Race then it needs a little
explanation. From a few yards it could easily be mistaken
for a S1000RR in race fairings, but the similarities end
right there. Everything else is completely different, right
the way from the frame to the seat to the engine and
electronics. And, take note: it is not to be confused with
the road-going S1000RR HP4.
Peel back the fully carbon fibre fairings and you’ll find
a single-piece carbon fibre frame. Carbon frames are
nothing new - indeed Ducati first used a carbon frame
on its GP9 MotoGP bike in 2009 - but they are extremely
rare on production motorcycles and the difference here
is this is mass-produced rather than limited-production
carbon fibre. The frame weighs just 7.8kg, a staggering
4kg lighter than the standard aluminium frame in
the S1000RR. BMW says that each carbon frame it
produces is within 0.4 per cent of the torsion and flexibility
of any other and that it can engineer the carbon to
behave any way it likes, just as it can with its traditional
It has no headlights, no indicators or brake light,
nor even an ABS system or a catalytic converter in the
titanium exhaust system. Every nut and bolt imaginable
is made of titanium rather than steel, and the fuel tank
is made of aluminium, all in an effort to save as much
weight as possible. The height-adjustable seat is a
single sliver of foam, the rear-sets milled from a block of
aluminium and the wheels, like the frame and fairings,
are made of carbon fibre. Needless to say, the HP4 Race
isn’t road legal and won’t ever be.
All of the weight savings result in a dry weight of
146kg. No, that isn’t a typo. And, yes, that means when
in running order it tips the scales at just 171kg. That’s
staggeringly, unbelievably light. A dry weight of 146kg is
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 31
BMW HP4 RACE
Only the best fitted to this bike,
including WSBK spec Pirelli racing
slicks, which help control all that power.
“The HP4 Race is a scary 28kilos
lighter than the already light Speciale
and after testing the Italian master-piece
and thinking handling just couldn’t get
any better zie German convinced me
that it can indeed.”
6kg too light to qualify for a World Superbike
entry and is a mere 3kg heavier than
an average dry MotoGP bike. A wet
weight of 171kg is 12kg lighter than a
dry standard S1000RR and if you put
your average race-sized 60kg rider
on it, the combined weight comes
out as 1kg lighter than a wet KTM
1290 Super Duke GT. I could go
on, but simply calling the HP4 Race
“lightweight” is borderline insulting.
Weight aside, the rest of the
HP4 Race’s specifi cation is beyond
impressive. Up front is a pair of
Ohlins FGR 300 forks shod with
Brembo GP4 PR (PR stands for
Professional Racing) calipers – one’s
money can’t buy, exactly the kind of
kit you’ll fi nd in the World Superbike
and MotoGP paddocks. The type of
stuff the likes of Chaz Davies and Loris
Baz would identify as tools of their trade.
There’s a full 2D data-logging system and
the swing-arm, which you might expect to
be made of carbon, is in fact made by Swiss
manufacturers Suter and (just like the forks
and brakes) is identical to what’s used in
World Superbike racing. The brakes, forks,
swing-arm and electronics package alone
will cost you in the region of R500k – that’s
two complete S1000RRs – if you are lucky
enough to get your hands on them.
And then there’s the engine. It’s a hybrid
between a Endurance World Championship
spec - the same is used in races such as the
Bol d’Or at Paul Ricard and the Suzuka 8
hours - and a World Superbike spec engine.
Producing “at the minimum” 215HP at
13,900RPM and delivering 88.5NM of
torque at 10,000RPM, it’s a seriously
powerful 1000cc four-cylinder offering.
Each engine is built by a dedicated
technician at BMW’s plant in Berlin and
it’s a blueprinted design. BMW supplies
the engine with a warranty of 5,500KM before
it recommends the engine is replaced and
that’ll cost you around R250k. While that
might sound restrictive, 5,500KM works out
to, perhaps, 45 track days, which could be
about four years’ worth of track days for
the average track-day rider.
You won’t find any
imperfection here. Just
like a perfectly photo
shopped model, this
bike has no blemishes,
just all the right lines
and curves in all the right
places, all hand-built in a
special factory by artists
qualified to produce
32 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
I want more HP4 – Round Two
I honestly never expected to ride the HP4
Race ever again. Only 750 of these handbuilt
master-pieces were created and made
available to the lucky few who could afford
the hefty R1.3m price tag. But, after many
a prayer to the sportbike Gods, I would get
another crack at the Bavarian beast.
Three of the 750 limited edition bikes
have so far made it into SA, one of them
going to Harry Timmerman – a sportbike nut
turned track racer. Harry competes in the
Bridgestone Thunderbikes series on a raceprepped
BMW S1000RR. He has only been
in the racing game for a couple of years now
and has already sampled some of the best
machines on the planet. Yamaha’s racy R1M
was his first weapon of choice, but when he
saw the BMW HP4 Race was coming he
quickly put his name down to get one.
Harry’s plan is to race the HP4 Race in the
Thunderbike series, once he has got it setup
up comfortably for his riding style.
That old saying once again came into play
here; it’s not what you know, it’s who you
know. I met Harry through the racing scene
so when I found out he had bought an HP4
Race I contacted him and asked if I could
do a local test. Expecting a firm “you must
be crazy” answer, I was shocked, surprised
and excited when he replied “sure, what
did you have in mind”. So, after a few more
messages we had arranged a date and time
to go out and exclusively test one of the most
exclusive motorcycles on the planet.
We headed out to Redstar Raceway on
a beautiful Monday morning, where we had
the track all to ourselves. Big thanks to the
team at RSR for letting us use their great
facility. Literally a month before I was at the
same track testing another exclusive piece of
kit – the Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale. I had
said at the end of that article that the Speciale
was indeed a better machine than the HP4
Race and had some readers question that
statement asking how could that possibly be.
Well, it was time to find out if I was right, or if I
was going to have to eat my words.
Climbing on the HP4 again I was quickly
reminded that this thing means business;
there’s no beating around the bush here
with fancy colour TFT displays. The seat is
high, pitching you forward into what feels
like a race tuck before you’ve even turned a
wheel. The starter button’s in the usual place
on the right handlebar, but this is no ordinary
set of handlebar controls. No indicators,
horn or whatever else - just six colour-coded
buttons, three on each side: traction control
adjust, engine mode adjust, start, stop,
engine brake control adjust and mode preset
selection. That’s it.
First impressions as soon as the engine
fires into life is that it isn’t loud at all.
Whereas the Ducati Speciale is similar to a
Metallica gig playing in the exhaust system
underneath you, the HP4 Race is civilized and
sophisticated by comparison, not much more
than a gentle hum. With your eyes closed and
you might as well be sitting on an S1000RR
or any other four-cylinder 1000cc road bike
with a full exhaust system.
Harry set the bike in intermediate mode
for my first session out. That gave me 80%
of the bikes power with 71% available in 1st
gear, 79 in 2nd, 88 in 3rd and full power from
4th gear onwards. Wheelie control on all
gears and traction control set on 0 (14 levels
available, plus 7 and minus 7).
Launch control is always active in first
gear, but that wouldn’t be appropriate here
as I roll down pit lane and join the track just
before tipping into turn one. And it’s at that
exact moment - tipping into the first corner -
that the HP4 Race confirmed that it is like no
other bike I’ve ridden before. It flips onto its
side as if an extra dose of gravity has pulled
it down towards the tarmac. I’m suddenly on
completely the wrong line through turn one
because it has turned so fast and effortlessly.
From that point on my first lap continues to
be a complete train-wreck as I discover how
34 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
BMW HP4 RACE
direct and precise the throttle response is.
The slightest movement from my right wrist
results in huge differences in response from the
blueprinted engine. It’s so accurate and precise
that, by comparison, you realize just how
wooly and vague a standard bike actually is.
By lap two or three, I’ve just about started
to get the hang of how the HP4 Race rides,
adjusting braking points, turning points,
gear selection and throttle inputs, although
I was still riding extremely cautiously. The
Brembo GP4 PR brakes, like the rest of the
bike, take some getting used to. Just as the
throttle is as sharp as a pin, these calipers
are seemingly from another planet. They are
so monstrously powerful that you can head
into a corner well beyond the limits of your
personal comfort zone, squeeze the lever with
just one finger and be delivered braking force
so strong that you will then ultimately arrive
into the corner too slow and too early and,
as a result, be on completely the wrong line,
feeling like a complete moron.
The HP4 Race quickly tells me to stop
fooling around and go faster. It needs and
wants to be ridden hard and if you don’t it
lets you know it’s not happy. It’s very hard
and ridged, so you need momentum to help
get the best out of it. Slow and steady feels
rough and unforgiving, fast and fearless and
she comes alive and wills you around with
a happy grin. With so much less weight,
the job of wrestling it into corners is made
so much easier. The dog bone section at
RSR on most production bikes feels like
punishment compared to the HP4 Race. As
if by magic, the HP4 makes the very tricky,
almost nauseating section seem like a breeze
and before I could even blink I was through
and in the heart of fast turns leading onto the
back straight and this is where things really
Accelerating hard out of the right-hander in
3rd gear, she pulls not quite as hard and fast
as the 226HP Ducati Speciale, but she is only
getting warmed up. Even set in intermediate
mode, with a very intrusive traction control
disturbing her, she blasts through the revs and
gears like a batt out of hell. The wheelie control
keeps things in check very nicely, giving my
arms and wrists a much-needed break.
After 8 laps I returned to the pits for a much
needed rest. The Pirelli WSBK spec slicks had
now been scrubbed in and it was time for me
to get a quick breather before trying out the
Dry 2 setting – which meant full power! We
turned the traction control down to minus 4
and wheelie control was set on minimum in
1st, 2nd and 3rd gears only.
Set in Dry 2 mode and full power I was
about to get hit with an extra 40-50HP over
intermediate. Harry runs his bike on Sunoco
102 octane race fuel, so gets a good deal
more than the estimated 215HP, running
closer to around 250-260HP on the rear
wheel. Harry has also shortened the gearing a
bit and added an Alpha Racing quick-action
throttle to help get even more out of the beast.
Immediately after firing the bike up in Dry
mode 2 I could hear the tone of the motor
change. It sounded angrier, faster and even
more hungry to go out and devour the track.
It didn’t take long for me to feel that there
was a huge boost in power. It felt even more
relentless. Devastating, even. Mind blowing
power from as low as 4,000rpm all the way to
17,000. Most bikes run out of steam around
13,000rpm, even though they can rev to
16,000, but this is where the HP4 motor just
starts waking up. From 13 to 17,000rpm she
pulls harder and faster than anything I have
ever tested before. That includes the Ducati
Speciale. While the V4 powered, 1100cc
Speciale in my mind still powers a bit harder
than the HP4 Race from 5 to 11,000rpm,
it’s from there where the German bullet
annihilates its competition. Just as other
World SBK riders, eat your heart out.
Not even you have some of the tech
available on this bike.
bikes are finishing up, the HP4 Race is just
getting started as my arms are near ripped
from my shoulders. 4th, 5th and 6th gear
come and go in the blink of an eye and the
750metre long back straight is made to look
like a 100metre sprint. The top-spec Brembo
brakes get called upon just before the
150metre board and they get the job done
with no fuss. Braking is simply sublime, I can’t
highlight that enough.
All that power, while a lot to handle, was
made a bit easier thanks to the traction
control set at minus 4. No more intrusive
snap-crackle and pop, just enough calm
before the storm.
The HP4 Race is a scary 28kilos lighter
than the already light Speciale and after
testing the Italian master-piece and thinking
handling just couldn’t get any better zie
German convinced me that it can indeed.
While all that power is a handful and can
be intimidating even with the top-notch
electronics, getting the bike into the corners
is, well, simple. It’s just so light. Flicking from
left to right, through fast or slow bends is a
breeze and even my 2-year-old son could
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 3 5
BMW HP4 RACE
probably do it. The standard fi tted Pirelli
slicks offer grip and guidance in abundance
making the experience just that much more
inspiring. All that carbon-fi bre goodness,
combined with those grippy tyres translates
to a light-weight machine that World SBK
riders can only dream of having on the grid.
In fact, BMW made this bike too good, as it
can’t be raced in most National and World
Championships around the world. The
Bridgestone Thunderbike class is probably
one of the only categories around where the
bike can be raced and fans will be very lucky
to see it in action when Harry rolls it out for
the fi rst time.
No more HP4…. Sad face
I won’t lie, while it was a sad moment parking
the bike up in the pits for the fi nal time I was
also very relieved to have parked it up in
one piece. It was a massive weight off my
shoulders. Yes, it’s great testing all these
wonderful motorcycles, but it’s also very risky
and many a sleepless night has been had
leading up to tests like this. But I am very
pleased to report that the bike was given
back to Harry with no battle scars.
I’m not going to pretend that I could even
get close to exploiting the HP4 Race’s full
potential, but it’s still possible to appreciate
how capable it is. And it doesn’t take much
thought to work out that BMW is giving
the HP4 Race away and very likely making
a loss on each one. The forks are R190k,
brakes R70k, electronics package R100k, the
swing-arm R110k... the replacement engines
are discounted at around R190k and that’s
already up to R550k... not even including the
rest of the bike: the carbon wheels and frame
(R150k plus), titanium Akrapovic exhaust
system (R100k plus), fairings and all the rest of
it, not even including the R&D and production
costs. You couldn’t build this bike for less than
R1.5m, that’s for sure. And that makes R1.3m
a complete bargain in my eyes.
You can only come away from the HP4
Race concluding it’s the Bavarian company’s
show of force. And, yes, it’s straight to the
ultrabike category, perhaps even hyperbike.
It represents a metaphorical hydrogen bomb
detonated at 1,000 feet over its rivals. It’s a
statement bike and a complete redefi nition
of what performance on two wheels can be.
It’s bonkers to think that you can get hold
of this kind of machine using only money;
previously, you’d need a lot of skill and talent.
It’s your chance to look and feel like a rider
from MotoGP, World Superbike, British
Superbike, Isle Of Man - or whatever series
it is you follow. But there’s a catch, and it’s
that BMW only be making 750 examples and
each bike has its number stamped onto the
So, the big question then. Does my
statement of the Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale
being better than the HP4 race stand? Well,
I hate doing this trust me, but I am going to
have to eat my words. No, it’s not, but then
again, they are two different bikes
and comparing them and saying
what I said was maybe a bit
silly now that I think
of it. The Ducati is very special indeed and
comes with headlights and can be ridden
on the road. Priced at R670k, one could
buy two of them for the price of one HP4
race, so in that sense yes, it is
better and probably better
value for money. But
while the Ducati is the
the BMW HP4
Race is simply
to call it.
KEY SPECS BMW HP4 RACE
Engine: 999cc Water/oil-cooled 4-cylinder fourstroke
in-line engine, four titanium valves per
cylinder, two overhead racing camshafts, milled oil
sump, Pankl connecting rod, precision-balanced
and lightened crankshaft
Maximum Power: 215hp @ 13,900rpm
Maximum Torque: 120 Nm @ 10,000rpm
Seat height: 831mm
Dry weight: 146kg / 171kg wet
36 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
WEIGHT: 146KG DRY, 171KG FUELED. P
BMW HP4 RACE.
AKE LIFE A RIDE.
OWER: 215 HP. TORQUE: 120 NM.
Motorcycle Tyre must knows
Most motorcyclists underestimate the importance of motorcycle tyres. It’s important to know as much as
possible to help with making the right choice for the bike you have and the riding you do.
In this tech feature, we highlight some really important factors you should know about tyres, which will help
you make the right choices and decisions going forward for better grip and longevity.
The differences between
Radial and Crossply tyres
Crossply tyres and Radial tyres are made
using completely different methods, and their
internal structure affects the performance of
the tyre at every level. If you are looking for
tractor tyres or similar then Crossply vs Radial
might be a decision that you have to make.
Radial tyres were developed in 1946 by
Michelin. At the time there was a need for
more flexible tyres which were able to absorb
shocks generated by road surfaces. The
sidewall of radial tyres and the tyre tread work
as two independent features. The flexibility of
a Radial tyre, together with its strength, are
two combined factors which means a radial
tyre absorbs impact shock and bumps more
effectively than a crossply tyre.
The flexibility of the sidewall enhances vehicle
stability and provides maximum contact of
the tyre with the road surface.
In radial tyres, steel cord plies are placed
on the heel of the tyre, and a belt is placed
across the casing. Because cord plies are
placed directly on top of each other, the
sidewalls of radial tyres remain very flexible.
Advantages of radial tyres include:
• Good steering and better road contact
• Improved driving comfort thanks to flexible sidewalls
• Less heat generated in the tyre at high speeds
• Higher resistance against tread-related damage
• Lower fuel consumption through better tranfer of
energy from machine to road
Disadvantages of radial tyres include:
• The soft sidewalls are vulnerable when, for example,
vehicles collide with curbstones
• Minor bumps in road are dealt with less effectively
because radial tyres feature a steel belt
Crossply tyres have been used instead of
full rubber tyres since 1898. They were a
standard feature in the car and bike tyre
industry before radial tyres were introduced.
Crossply tyres consist of carcass layers made
from nylon cord. They are placed diagonally
across each other in the tread and the
sidewalls, at an angle of 55 degrees. Multiple
rubber plies overlap each other and they form
a thick layer, resulting in less flexibility which
can make it more sensitive to overheating.
Crossply tyres provide a strong and rigid
sidewall which tries to follow the natural lines of
the road and this can cause a tyre to overheat
when it is used on a hard road surface and
this in turn, causes the tyre to wear out more
quickly. However, the sidewall of a crossply
tyre is more rigid than that of a radial tyre so is
more resilient at preventing sidewall damage.
Crossply tyres are therefore sometimes used if
sidewall damage is a problem.
The crown of a crossply tyre and the
sidewall of the tyres are dependent on
each other. The tyre does not come into as
much contact with the ground as a radial
tyre and this may lead to less engine power
transmission or more site damage. As it
does not absorb as much impact shock, the
driver can feel more vibration.
The initial cost of Crossply tyres is cheaper
than Radial tyres so they are often an
attractive choice to anyone on a budget.
Advantages of crossply tyres include:
• Improved vehicle stability
• Higher resistance against sidewall damages
• Cheaper to produce
Disadvantages of crossply tyres include:
• High rolling resistance, which causes tyres to quickly
• Reduced comfort due to the tyre’s rigidity
• Increased fuel consumption
In a radial structure the carcass ply is placed radially, running from
bead area to bead area at an angle of 90 degrees. The crown area
can be reinforced with bracing plies. The structure is therefore not
uniform, and the crown area and sidewall area can then be given
different properties, allowing the sidewalls to be more flexible.
CROSSPLY / BIAS STRUCTURE
The carcass of a crossply tyre consists of 2 or more diagonally
orientated carcass plies. The overlap angle of these plies can be
changed to give differing properties to the finished tyre. The structure
is uniform and the tyre crown area has similar properties to the
sidewalls, because of this the sidewalls tend to be very stiff.
40 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
Brought to you by
Threats to the tyre - the
three main threats to
the tyre are physical,
environmental and human.
They are usually related to the infl ation
pressure, damage, the level of wear of the
tread, weather conditions, maintenance,
load conditions and speed, ... etc. With so
many parameters involved, it is impossible to
accurately predict the lifespan of a tyre.
-Poor conditions of storage
-Wear and damage (punctures, cuts,
impacts, cracking/crazing of the tread/
sidewall rubber, lumps and bulges, etc).
-Ozone -Solvents, Hydrocarbons
- Does not perform routine tyre checks for
wear or damage.
- Does not maintain proper tyre pressure
(under infl ation or over infl ation).
- Re-infl ates a tyre that has run fl at or
seriously under-infl ated.
- Does not change a tyre before it reaches the
legal wear limit.
- Neglecting a change in behaviour of the
bike, loss of pressure, vibration, noise...
- Does not inspect a tyre after a severe impact.
- Has an aggressive riding style.
- Uses tyres of different sizes or types.
- Does not replace the valve when replacing a
- Repairs a tyre themselves rather than go to
a tyre specialist.
- Temporary repairs that become a
- Mount a tyre on a wheel that is damaged or
- Does not store tyres correctly.
Rubber breakdown in the cold
All rubber compounds used in tyres have
performance windows that fall within a range
• There is a low temperature threshold
from which the rubber loses elasticity and
becomes brittle. This can be as low as -55ºC
for some rubber compounds.This is called
the breaking point .
• There is also a high temperature threshold
from which the rubber becomes pasty/
viscous. This is generally above 200ºC. It is
called the reversion point.
The vast majority of Michelin tyres
operate within these thermal limits without
Supersport and competition tyres
In competition and hypersport tyres, the very
high temperatures encountered (related to
the very high levels of grip) require a specifi c
blend of tyre compounds to withstand them.
One consequence of this is that these soft
compound tyres have a break point around
0ºC. Handling these tyres at this temperature
or lower may result in the tread or other area
of rubber on the tyre literally breaking. Care
must therefore be taken to store the tyres
in appropriate conditions which avoid these
temperatures.If this occurs, the tyres should
not be handled at all.
To give the best performance and optimal
grip tyres need to be at the correct operating
temperature. Warming up time refers to
the time needed for the tyre to reach the
optimum operating temperature appropriate
to the tyre type.
Useful tips: Start all journeys at a moderate
speed in order to give yourtyres suffi cient time
to reach their optimum working temperature
and therefore deliver better grip.
Riding on under infl ated tyres can cause
premature wear, irreversible damage to the
tyre and possibly sudden loss of air which
can have catastrophic consequences.
Useful tips: When making visual checks
pay particular attention to the tread area and
the sidewalls. Look for unusual, excessive or
uneven tread wear, foreign objects, bulges or
deformation, signs of penetration, cracking of
the rubber or any deteriation or damage.
‘Tyre pressures can be dropped for special applications,
such as a track day. But this is only if it is a tyre that
allows for running at a lower pressure. If you are running
a standard road tyre, such as a Road 5, manufacturers
recommendations should be adhered to at all times.’
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 41
What you need to know
about motorcycle tyre
Whether you’re switching back in turn 11
at your favorite track day or commuting to
work on your bike, knowing how to properly
maintain your tyres is a necessity.
Properly maintained tyres help to ensure your
safety, and will also perform better and last
longer, meaning you can spend your hard
earned money on other upgrades.
Having under-infl ated tyres is the most
common cause of improper tyre wear and
poor handling. Even if you’ve just purchased
a brand new motorcycle, you should always
check your tyre pressure before each ride.
Q: Why is it important to maintain my
motorcycle tyre pressure?
A: Motorcycle tyres must be more pliable
than automobile tyres in order to provide
grip when bikes lean into turns. Though this
capability benefi ts you when you’re dragging
knees, it is important to have the right tyre
pressure for the type of riding you do. If you
don’t have a gauge hidden in your motorcycle
or tucked in your tank bag, you should think
about getting one.
Q: What is the proper tyre pressure?
A: The best advice you can get will come
from a tyre tech, who will know the specifi cs
of your situation. If you’re at a track day,
odds are that there will be a tyre tech there
to provide you with advice on what pressure
to have in your tyres. Generally, 30/30 psi.
or 32/32 psi. are good starting points for
a streetbike. Our advice is to talk to a tyre
professional and then play with your tyre
pressures *in a safe margin* to see what
fi ts your riding technique. Tyre pressure and
rider comfort are both very subjective, so
the same pressure may not feel the same to
two different riders. Pressure that is too low
can result in sluggish handling and high tyre
temperatures. Pressure that is too high can
result in worn-out center tread, reduced grip
and a rougher-than-average ride. When you
go back to riding on the street, make sure to
bring your tyre pressure back to the proper
setting. Many people, including canyon
carvers, think that by running a lower tyre
pressure will result in better performance. In
reality, you’re fl exing your tyre when it doesn’t
need to by not having enough air pressure in
it, resulting in excessive tyre wear.
Q: How do I make my tyres last?
A: The best piece of advice you can have
is to have the proper air pressure. When it
comes to protecting the tyre rubber itself,
there are some very easy tips to help you get
the most out of your rubber:
• Park your bike either inside a garage, in
a shady area or cover it. Tyres wear faster
when exposed to sunlight, the elements and
Brought to you by
• If you have to store tyres, the best way to
store them is by laying them on top of each
other, parallel to the ground, and keeping
them out of the sunlight, the elements and
• Don’t store your tyres or motorcycle next to
a refrigerator or electric motor. Electric motors
put out traces of ozone which can accelerate
aging on even the newest of tyres.
• If your bike is being stored in a cold
location, put your bike on its center stand or
front/rear stands to take the weight off the
tyres while it sits.
Q: Can I use race “take-offs” on the street?
A: If a friend gives you a pair of their race
“take-offs” to use on the street, keep in mind
that those tyres were on a racetrack, where
people push their equipment to the limit, and
tyres tend to go through heat cycles more at
a racetrack or a technical riding area than on
the road. Also take into consideration that the
operating temperature of race tyres will rarely
be reached under normal riding conditions on
the street, causing poor grib and handling.
Tip: If you’re not planning on riding very
much, or you have a short riding season,
get some sticky tyres like the Michelin
Power RS, but if you commute through
multiple seasons and ride through it all, a
sport-touring tyre will better handle your
riding needs, such as the Michelin Road 5.
Tyre markings (how to read a tyre sidewall)
42 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
ROAD TRIPING WITH THE
Mpumalanga RIDE 2018
The Motobelles was started in 2016. Just a group of women riding. No rules.
To inspire more women to ride. This year, they ran a trip to Mpumalanga, taking
in sights and some of the greatest biking roads in South Africa.
Words & Pics: Mercia Jansen & Motobellas
44 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
Day 1: A ride with a bunch of ladies
starts off with a slow breakfast and a
wardrobe re-design due to sudden
weather changes. Trading form-fi tting
leather for a baggy rain suit was never
so easily arranged. The N4 seemed
never-ending, thank heavens for coffee
drinkers and stops and a no rush
approach to a well-deserved craft bear
at Anvil Ale House in Dullstroom. Just
as you thought the pot holes would take
over, in the dip appears Dullstroom and
lure of boozy cake and winter sun leaves
the highway and obstacles far forgotten.
Coffee supplies sorted from Beans
about Coffee, onwards to the Whisky
bar it is. Being the only Gin drinkers in
the Whisky bar, allows for more that
interesting conversation over a Bathtub
of catching up to do. Try the Bathtub
gin, Its good!
When you are not planned to death
true adventure starts and rerouting
accommodation to avoid the massive
horseshoe ride around resulted in night
time strolls through Dullstroom. It’s only
Vaalies who’ll do star jumps at freezing
temperatures in die “hoofstraat” at night.
As long as there’s decent coffee to
start off the day, we are prepared to go
“It’s only Vaalies who’ll
do star jumps at freezing
temperatures in die
“hoofstraat” at night.”
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 45
Day 2: Coffee in bed, while
staring at the fast moving clouds
through the church yard like a
bunch of meerkats we were
preparing for the worst rain
forecasted as per our trusted
phones, and of course… No
rain. All day long.
We were also prepared for
basic maintenance and roadside
repairs and the worst that
happened was a broken mirror
and as luck would have it we
didn’t have the right tool. Quick
stop and a motorcycle repair kit
appeared miraculously from a
bistro kitchen in Lydenburg, a
#14 spanner was all it required. In
goes the bubble gum, Hanepoot
and Biltong bought and packed
and off we go again.
Dullstroom to Lydenberg
was cold, overcast, windy and
full of potholes but well worth it
once the six-part snake crawled
leisurely higher and higher up
Long Tom Pass. A break in the
clouds and a perfect picture/
memory moment appeared as
we pass through a sunlit portal
with outstretched arms. You
wish you could capture those
moments on camera. Finally, the
weather started to turn.
Much remains to be said
for going slower to allow those
breath-taking moments to appear
and re-appear and just like that
the Hops Hollow sign appeared.
Through the lead glass doors
to be treated to craft beers at
the highest brewery in Africa by
such a gracious young host. The
cheese platter is a must!
Howling winds swept up both
rider and bike at the highest point
of Long Tom and yet we were
still reminded of the hospitality
and friendly nature of our people,
everyone waved along with eager
strangers offering to take photos
of our epic adventure. And yes.
Stepping in a hole.
From Sabie it was onwards
to Blyde river canyon. Potluck
Boskombuis is a must stop. We
“Howling winds swept up both rider
and bike at the highest point of Long
Tom and yet we were still reminded
of the hospitality and friendly nature
of our people, everyone waved along
with eager strangers offering to take
photos of our epic adventure. And yes.
Stepping in a hole.”
46 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
Track Day Fees
NEXT CLUB RACE
6 TH OCT 2018
FOR RACE ENTRIES
Office: 076 624 6972
Email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Groenfontein / Dryden Turn Off
N12 Zonderfout Farm
Portion 5 Delmas 2210
4 KM OF TYRE FRIENDLY TAR, 5 STRAIGHTS, 13 CORNERS, 100% EXCITEMENT!!!
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BIKE, GEAR & LUNCH
made our way down to the perfect setting for a welltimed
G&T and Zamalek and a fat conversation about
previously unheard-of relationship advice. A lot of food
for thought for the road.
As the sun became lazier we head off to our last
destination for the day and with perfect timing we
captured the best time of day for a sundowner view
of the deep valley of Blyde river Canyon. Hanepoot
in blikbekers on a rock while reminding our older
companions to heed all the danger signs along with
controlling vertigo unsteady feet that are always ready
to step into any available hole.
Day 3: Started with a “You Spin me right round” wake
up dance in the hope of getting everybody ready to ride
on time as debates around fitting in a toboggan ride
started. First stop at the Three Rondawels. We made it
in just before the tour busses arrived with the inevitable
crowds pouring onto the mountainside. “Yes, we are
all ladies riding these motorcycles” seems to become a
standard answer. Seems everyone is out this weekend,
vintage Hot Rods and the Ladies on the Triumphs.
The hunger set in and Misty Mountain on a clear day
saw us all a bit hangry. A short walk through reception
an out of nowhere appears a view that immediately
calls for exploring and fast made plans to return. Also,
the toboggan ride never happened so for that have to
return too. A quick walk through an enchanted forest
reminded us how much we miss when we speed by
places on trips like these. Take the small turn-offs and
just maybe you’ll see something that will truly fill you
We hit the next Panaroma road from there to
Nelspruit. Those sweepers with the scenery opening
in front of you is both breath-taking and therapeutic.
Nothing beats a snake of motorcycles gliding through
The winding road from Nelspruit to Kaapschehoop is
spectacular. Riding through the mountains with the pine
forests either side of us, noticing the sun’s rays as they
pass through the trees and all you can smell is the fresh
Kaapshehoop is known for its wild horses roaming
freely and is a picturesque town popular for its misty
mountains, waterfalls and restaurants filled with
We stopped for a late
afternoon pick me up of
chocolate cake and good
coffee in a local restaurant
called the Bohemian Groove
café. Old music playing, craft
vodka being served and an old
fire roaring, it was the perfect
mood setter for the sunset
ride that was about to follow.
48 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
As the night set in, the temperature
dropped dramatically and the excitement of
not knowing what our last destination had in
store for us was kicking in.
We turned off the N4 onto a dirt road into
the forest. What a magical sight. Anford
country house is a gem right next to the main
road and the perfect stop over. When last did
you see the Milkyway? After a very warm
welcome and a sherry we made our way to
the pub for some trout pies and red wine and
shared our stories with the friendly owners
Day 4: The 3 little girls wanted to sit on and
start the bikes the next morning. Motorcycles
are smile inducing machines was evident
again. Next generation Motobelles!
And so our adventure ended as we rode
back out through the forest for the last stretch
In Sharne’s words
The best part of this trip was “us”, everyone
brings a different dynamic to the group which
makes it that more special. We are supportive
of each other, we are brutally honest and
keep everything true to heart. These traits
I struggle to find with friends I’ve known
my whole life... We are a beautiful group
of ladies that love the same thing, to ride
our bikes, along with that comes exploring
roads untraveled, breath taking sunsets and
finding the beauty in each obstacle we might
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 4 9
R I D E R S A F E T Y
Bad habits are negative
behaviour patterns, and
in motorcycle terms, this
can most certainly be
the difference between
life and death.
Article by Hein Jonker - www.msi.org.za
The fact of the matter is that it is much
easier to learn or create a new habit
than to try and fi x an old one. The
willingness to change is key, followed by a
certain level of commitment, and guided by
a vigilant attitude.
How would you describe or define what is
a “Bad Riding Habit”?
A bad riding habit spawns from the infected
mental and physical state of the rider, which
in turn affects the person’s riding abilities.
A bad habit puts the rider up for certain
disaster, ranging from a minor “parking-lot
drop” and a major crash. A bad-habit-rider
is a high-risk-rider!
The Motorcycle Safety Institute keeps
accurate records of crash data – What
has this data been telling you about bad
The single biggest contributor to motorcycle
crashes has been speed! The wrong speed,
too fast – the wrong place, in an Urban
traffi c environment.
How is this a bad habit? It is an infected
thought pattern, resulting in an uncontrolled
situation and a minor or major turn of events.
According to our 2017 report, more than
72% of motorcycle crashes involved another
vehicle, of which 63% happened in an
Urban area. It is true that not all crashes are
because of rider error, but my safety is my
responsibility, therefore my riding habits are
directly relevant to my risk.
Don’t become a Stat
Not every bike crash is caused by riding
that is Illegal – sometimes it is caused
by bad riding habits – what would you
describe as the bad habits that cause
Riding a motorcycle starts with your mind,
and the decision to think. Below are three
habitual errors every rider should pay
Attitude – Applying a healthy attitude
pretty much means riding with your head
securely screwed onto your neck. Letting
destructive infl uences like ego, peer
pressure, intoxication, and distraction make
decisions for you will eventually lead to a
hospital visit; if you’re lucky. So, just say no
Overconfidence – Riders at times
defi ne their riding capability based on
their years of experience. But I’ve seen
experienced riders making the most
common mistakes, like engine braking,
using the brakes with clutch pulled in, or
not checking blind spots. No matter how
experienced you are, there’s always room for
improvement. The fi rst step is to admit that
you lack certain skill and practise on getting
it right. Remember ‘Overconfi dence is the
most dangerous form of carelessness’.
Ignorance – Don’t think for a second,
“I don’t need training”. You can never learn
enough, and the best way to learn is under the
expert guidance of a professional. You spend
an average of R100 000 on the purchase of
a motorcycle, R10 000 on riding gear, and
NOTHING on Rider Training. Where’s the logic
in that? Ignorance is a bad and merciless
habit, it is the decision not to think.
50 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
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Is it fair to say that bad habits start even
before starting the bike or even by incorrect
positioning on the seat? What are the bad
habits in our positioning on the seat?
I’ve seen over the years of training a few
1000 riders, from all experience levels, that
they mount the motorcycle incorrectly, sit
on the motorcycle incorrectly, and dismount
the motorcycle incorrectly. Getting on, riding,
and getting off a motorcycle should be a
Most folks mount a motorcycle with the
“door closed” or handlebar turned in to
the left. This results in a very awkward or
unnatural hand to grip arrangement when
holding on to the handlebar and mounting.
Instead, the rider should “open the door” or
straighten the handlebar before mounting,
which provides for a more natural and easy
way of getting on the motorcycle. It also
brings the righthand grip closer so you
don’t have to reach that far, or lean over
the tank when mounting. The same goes
for dismounting; leave the “door open” until
you’ve dismounted, then “close the door” if
you must or want to lock the steering.
When sitting on the motorcycle, don’t
sit up on the tank, leave some shift room
between your crotch and the tank. If you
come to a hard stop or hit something on
the road, you could knock them jewels and
sound like you’ve inhaled helium – an inch
or two of a gap will do. On the same note,
don’t sit so far back that your arms are fully
locked when riding. You can’t effectively steer
a motorcycle with locked arms – relax your
arms and shoulders. Just drop them elbows,
and allow your forearms to run parallel to the
road surface. This way you take some load
off the grips, and so you can properly brace
yourself when braking hard.
What are the most common bad riding
habits you have observed as an instructor
riding along on the road?
Oh boy, let me think… It will have to be space
management and risk perception.
I constantly observe riders putting
themselves right up and behind another vehicle,
or taking their time to overtake a truck. This
compromised buffer or safety zone, leaves very
little response time, in case the rider needs to
avoid impact or contact with the other vehicle.
The same goes for the rider who rides in
Lalaland, just riding over a manhole cover,
through road debris, and in the famous suicide
lane. Most riders cannot remember anything
between point A and B, unable to recall
potential hazards or areas of improvement in
their riding manner.
Nearly 80% of riders do not cover their
levers (Clutch, Front Brake, Rear Brake) when
riding. Not covering your levers (fingers on
Front Brake and Clutch Lever, Right Foot on
Rear Brake) in a High-Risk Environment sets
you up for disaster, resulting in NO brake use
to avoid or minimise impact. Covering your
levers will most certainly help in response
time, whereas most riders just grab the grips
tighter in a panic situation. Learn to brake
What are the mistakes our bikers make
on the open road as compared to riding in
A relaxed state of mind can cause a rider to
become oblivious to his or her surroundings.
You leave the busy traffic of the city behind,
there is less and less traffic, you start to relax
body and mind, and then BAM! A farm truck
comes out of a hidden entrance, or a cow
steps out in front of you around the next
bend. It is true that Freeway riding is less of
Relax your Arms, Drop your Elbows
a risk than Urban, but nothing stops another
vehicle from making a U-turn in front of you
on Rural roads or Freeways. The difference
is that you are now travelling a lot faster than
in an Urban setting, and the question is: Can
you react and respond at the same pace?
The truth is that the physics of speed
applies to all road types, and is directly
connected to your visible reserve.
The visible reserve is the visible distance
in which you can safely avoid incident or
accident. For example, let’s say your bike can
come to a stop from 100 km/h in 35m. If you
can’t see any further ahead than 35m, your
speed shouldn’t be any faster than 100 km/h.
Of course, in real-world situations, it
also takes 0.5 seconds or so to react, and
another 1 second of progressive front brake
squeezing to full braking capacity. At 100
km/h, 1.5 seconds will eat up an extra 40m.
OH SNAP! That means that your actual
stopping distance from 100 km/h is more
52 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
How do bad riding habits differ between
men and women – are there some you find
more prevalent among specific genders?
The number of female riders on our roads in
South Africa are ever increasing. As exciting
as that might be, the risk remains the same.
Female riders tend to analyse situations
more effectively than their male counterparts.
Some boys may look older but take longer
to grow up, happy to say I’m one of them. I
haven’t met many female riders with an ego,
but the number of male riders with an ego far
exceeds their riding abilities.
According to our Crash Report, male
crashes account for 92% of the total crashes
2017 to date; this percentage will decrease
accordingly if we take the number of female
riders to male riders into consideration.
There are no specifi c habits that stand out
for female riders, but one thing to keep in mind
is peer pressure. Ride your own pace, listen to
good advice, and use that 6th sense of yours.
Ride your Own Pace
What do you believe are the reasons for bad
riding habits – Is it the poor teaching of bad
examples from others?
Poor coaching can play a huge role in the
effective development of a rider’s skill. An
inexperienced instructor can very easily miss
a vital part of his teaching agenda, but the
bulk of bad habits come from “instruction” by
friends and family.
Over the years your friends and family,
have developed bad riding habits themselves,
and them passing it on to you is the last thing
you can afford. If your friend or family really
Fools are Not Cool
want to help you, let them pay for a proper
rider course conducted by a professional
instructor. Sure, not all friends or family are
bad-habit-riders, but professional instructors
coach with structure building confi dence in a
Bad examples are everywhere. One rider
feels he or she wants to ride without a proper
riding gear, some even decide to be a “cool
idiot” and ride without a helmet. I’ve even
seen some, wearing a helmet and jacket, but
then with shorts and tekkies and no gloves.
A few years ago, a local rider set out to taunt
me, riding past my training venue smoking,
with this helmet on his arm. Needless to say,
I made him famous in the local newspaper.
These arrogant fools might get away with
it, but the next ignorant rider may not be
so lucky. Your decision not to set a good
example is self-righteous, and a certain threat
to riders around you. Grow up!
What are the major differences between
the bad riding habits observed among
inexperienced bikers as compared to more
Too big too soon! Inexperienced riders don’t
give themselves enough time to learn without
being intimidated by the size or power of the
motorcycle. Like female riders, inexperienced
riders are open to peer pressure from friends
You cannot learn good habits while
intimidated, or riding in fear!
It only takes repeating something 25
times to establish a habit. An inexperienced
rider is more likely to make mistakes than
an experienced rider, and when they make
these mistakes, start to establish bad riding
habits because they don’t know any better.
Seek professional help, my friend, learn what
you can from the old dogs, but compare it
to professional guidance before you make it
We always talk about the “power of
habit / mag van gewoonte”. Would overconfidence
lead to bad riding habits?
Oh, for sure. “You can’t touch this” or “Hold
my beer, I’m gonna be awesome” only proved
harmful to the fool who said it. As mentioned
earlier, riders at times defi ne their riding
capability based on their years of experience.
The fi rst step is to admit that you lack certain
skill and submit yourself to proper training.
Overconfi dence is the most dangerous
form of carelessness.
How would you suggest that we detect and
address / reduce these bad riding habits?
This horse is getting tired but let’s ride it
anyway – Professional Training!
The only way you can effectively identify a
bad habit is when you change from a know-itall
to a learn-it-all attitude. It is very diffi cult to
train yourself, and there is certainly no shame
in getting trained either.
The next time you ride, ask a good and
experienced friend to ride with you and point
out any errors or areas of improvement in
Any other thoughts you might like to share?
The internet, web and YouTube, hosts a vast
number of articles on motorcycle safety. I
have more than 100 of my published articles
on the MSI website (www.msi.org.za), open
to read and learn from.
If there’s no riding school or academy in
your area, then take a few friends to an open
parking lot. Print an article or two, and go
practise a few moves. There’s always a way,
not just the Freeway.
Realise how important your safety, and
that of others, is to you. Setting a good
and life-saving example is what riding a
motorcycle well, should be all about.
Ride to Live!
This article was proudly brought to you by the Motorcycle
Institute of South Africa.
MSI, founded by Hein Jonker, is the leading organisation
on Motorcycle Safety and Risk Awareness in South Africa,
conducting Road Captain Training, Group Safety Training to
Motorcycle Clubs/Groups/Chapters, and Riding Instructor
Training in a support capacity to riding schools and academies
throughout the country.
MSI is also the only active organisation that monitors Motorcycle
Crashes in South Africa, collecting and analysing data for the
sake of Risk Awareness and Safety among motorcyclists.
Today, the team consists of dedicated individuals, actively giving
of their own time and resources to help save the lives of others.
“We are in the business of changing the way you think, thus
changing the way you ride – Ride to Live!”
Over the next couple of months we will be bringing you some of
the brilliant safety and skills articles they have featured on their
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 5 3
C U S T O M B U I L D
V-TWIN TEST BED BY DANMOTO
After designing and manufacturing his own performance
parts for years Danmoto owner, Wei Liya, decided it
was time to build a bike of their own. Naturally, the plan
was to build a showcase of the products his company
produces, but more importantly, to show their design
and fabrication abilities. The result is a completely
custom, cafe racer styled motorcycle, built around a
“We can do much more than just building exhausts!”
says Wei, who spent 4 months working with his staff to
build the bike. The bike features a long list of Danmoto
bolt-on parts and an even longer list of custom ones.
What is most impressive though is that everything was
designed and built entirely in-house using the skills and
tools available at Danmoto HQ.
The 2006 Sportster v-twin is perhaps the least
customised element of the bike and was chosen
because of its popularity with his customers. Knowing
their design would weigh considerably less than the
stock Harley, Wei limited engine mods to the fitment of
a Mikuni HSR 42 carb wearing a CNC milled velocity
stack and a custom exhaust. Since exhaust systems
are a Danmoto speciality they installed a one off set of
2-into-1 headers and one of their own Highwayman slipon
mufflers. Finally, for flexibility of tuning, they installed a
Thunder Heart ignition system.
For the bike’s frame, Wei and his team developed a
concept that was vastly different to what the v-twin was
accustomed to. “We brain-stormed to see what frame
design we could build in-house and what would perform
well.” says Wei. “ The result was an EGLI styled frame.”
Conceived by Swiss motorcycle racer Fritz W. Egli
the “EGLI” frame design first appeared in the mid-
‘60s for race applications. The frame used a stressed
member engine design with a large diameter backbone
that housed the oil required for the dry sump engines,
like that of the Vincent Black Shadow it was originally
54 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
C U S T O M B U I L D
It has the overall geometry
of a GSX-R 1000 and handles
like one. It just lacks the power
of a GSX-R, but still, it’s a hoot
to ride on country-side roads.
Constructed entirely from aluminium,
the new frame is a mix of tube sections
and CNC machined components for
additional strength. The headstock,
engine mounts, swingarm mounts, shock
mounts, and chain adjuster were all
milled from solid alloy on their workshop
CNC. At the rear, they designed a basic
subframe with mounting points for rear
sets and the mono-shock built in. Then,
just like Egli’s design, they developed a
wide diameter, tubular backbone to house
the engine’s oil. Oil is pumped directly
from the engine up into the backbone
before travelling down through one of
the vertical sections of the frame that
functions as the feed line. This design
allowed them to minimise the number
of visible hoses and keep the engine
relatively clutter free.
The bike’s suspension uses a unique
recipe of custom and high-performance
components. For the swingarm, they
developed another one-off design
constructed once again from aluminium.
The wide swingarm design permitted for
the fi tment Suzuki GS1200SS rear wheel
and is supported by the mono-shock
from a Ducati Monster. At the pointy end
are Suzuki GSX-R forks mounted using a
CNC milled top clamp and modifi ed lower
clamp. Brakes are a mix of Brembo and
GSX-R components with Danmoto alloy
fl uid reservoirs to round things off.
“The bodywork! It was an absolute
P.I.T.A and we had to do it twice.” Wei
replied when I asked him which part of
the build was most challenging. “The fi rst
run was fi breglass that we made using
a lost foam technique. The result was
not satisfactory so we fi lled and ground
the fi breglass parts until the shape was
nice. Then we used those as plugs to
build moulds and used those moulds to
make the Carbon Fiber parts.” Despite
the unexpected time and effort, the results
speak for themselves. Wei was so happy
with the fi nished bodywork he even chose
to only paint part of it so the carbon fi bre
could be properly appreciated.
At under 200kg wet, the Danmoto
v-twin weighs around 60kg less than the
Sportster its engine came from. As for
how the bike rides, Wei had this to say
about it. “It has the overall geometry of a
GSX-R 1000 and handles like one. It just
lacks the power of a GSX-R, but still, it’s a
hoot to ride on country-side roads.”
Pics and story supplied by
Check out their website for more
amazing custom builds.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 55
E N D U R A N C E R A C I N G
The 41st Suzuka 8 Hours kept viewers behind the winner. Kawasaki Team Green,
Bridgestone tyres takes a
in suspense until after nightfall. Following who were one lap behind, came in 3rd
clean sweap of the 2018 duel after thrilling duel for the lead between after being front and centre throughout the
Kawasaki Team Green and Yamaha Factory first half of the race. Kazuma Watanabe,
Suzuka 8 Hour race and in the early stages of the race ahead of Red Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam waged
Bull Honda. In the end it was the Yamaha a lengthy battle for the lead with the
win 2017-2018 World
Factory Racing Team that won the day. The Yamaha Factory Racing Team. However,
Championship with F.C.C. Factory Yamaha squad claimed victory with a rain shower threw Kawasaki’s plans into
the same rider line-up as last year: Katsuyuki disarray. Jonathan Rea crashed as he was
TSR Honda France. Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der entering the pits to switch from slick to wet
Mark. This was the fourth consecutive win tyres, causing the Kawasaki squad to lose
for both Yamaha Factory Racing Team and precious time.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga. The Japanese rider Suzuki S-Pulse Dream Racing IAI
smashed the record held by Aaron Slight, (Hideyuki Ogata, Tom Bridewell and Kasuki
the Suzuka 8 Hours winner from back in Watanabe) ran a flawless race to finish at
1993 to 1995.
the foot of an all-Japanese podium featuring
Having led the race at the start on a Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki.
soaked track, Red Bull Honda with Japan All three teams on the podium used
Post (Takumi Takahashi, Takaaki Nakagami Bridgestone’s Racing Battlax tyres.
and Patrick Jacobsen) finished 30 seconds
Johnny rea and Michael van der Mark do battle.
56 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
F.C.C. TSR Honda France crowned
FIM EWC champion
A 5th-place finish made F.C.C. TSR Honda
France (Freddy Foray, Alan Techer and
Josh Hook) the first Japanese team in the
championship’s history to win the FIM EWC
title. Despite stepping up the pace towards
the end of the race, GMT94 Yamaha’s David
Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio
finished 6th. Christophe Guyot’s team are vicechampions
of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC, 13
points behind the brand-new world champion.
They were also awarded the Anthony Delhalle
EWC Spirit Trophy for sheer perseverance in
their quest for the world title.
Another praiseworthy full-season FIM EWC
team is British squad Honda Endurance Racing,
who finished 9th just behind Honda Asia and
KYB Moriwaki Motul Racing to become the
2017-2018 FIM EWC’s second runner-up.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished
12th behind two prominent Suzuki teams
at Suzuka, who were however delayed by
crashes: Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing and
Team Kagayama. Mercury Racing also made
it into the points thanks to a 14th-place finish,
topping the ‘independent teams under contract’
rankings reserved for privateer squads racing
the full FIM EWC season. Their win netted them
€11,500 worth of prize money.
E N D U R A N C E R A C I N G
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 57
E N D U R A N C E R A C I N G
DominaTES at Suzuka
The Suzuka 8-Hours is dominated by It was very rigid and kept its position very
Bridgestone tyre. Why is that? And what is well. It generated confidence under braking,
the difference between a Bridgestone, a Pirelli with a stability that allowed riders to set the
and a Michelin at this iconic race?
corner up as early as possible.
Even the most talkative factory riders get From entering the braking zone, to
tight-lipped when the topic of tyres is raised. releasing the brake, it allows riders to be
Jonathan Rea was asked after securing smoother because you don’t feel as much of
pole position for the Suzuka 8-Hours about a transition from one phase to the next of the
the feeling he has with Bridgestone tyres, corner as the bike loads.
compared to using Pirelli rubber in WorldSBK. “The way in which a Bridgestone
The three-time world champion
steers when the rear is sliding is incredibly
sidestepped that landmine with customary impressive,” continued Laverty. “Looking at
ease by saying, “both are very high
Dunlop Curve, for example, the Bridgestone
performance tyres.” It was a similar situation riders can spin it up towards the grass and
when talking with MotoGP riders about we’re three metres wider through there.”
comparing to Michelin tyres in recent
“No matter what I do on the bike, I can’t
years. There are, however, some outliers in get it to turn to that point on the track. That’s
what you can do with a Bridgestone. It’s a
Riders with experience of Bridgestone, different riding style with these tyres.”
Pirelli, and Michelin tyres, and who are able to For Guintoli, the challenge of the different
speak about the contrasts.
brands of tyres was huge in 2017. He
Both Michael Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli was riding full-time in the British Superbike
have plenty of experience on all three brands, championship on Pirelli tyres, with minimal
with Laverty even acting as a MotoGP electronics and his experience of the
test rider at the time when the French Italian tyre was of little help because the
manufacturer was building their initial batch of specification of machinery and because the
tyres for their return to grand prix racing. layouts of tracks were so different.
Speaking about the contrast between In addition to this he raced and tested for
the Bridgestone-shod front-runners at the the Suzuki MotoGP squad on Michelin tyres
Suzuka 8-Hours and his Pirelli-tyred BMW, and rode at Suzuka with his Bridgestone
the Northern Irishman offered his thoughts on shod Suzuki.
the differences in riding styles.
“All three tyres are really good and they’ve
“The biggest difference is the drop off all got their own strengths and weaknesses,”
in lap time with a Pirelli is significant, and in said the Frenchman. “You need to get the
the hotter temperatures here in Suzuka, it’s best out of each of them and they’re all
quite difficult,” said Laverty. “In Europe, the different for this.”
temperature isn’t quite as hot, so you can
“Here in Japan, it’s so hot and you can
hammer a Bridgestone. The harder you
work a Bridgestone front tyre, the better it
performs. You can spin a rear tyre for a full
27-lap stint and it doesn’t drop off the pace.”
“We have to contend with a big drop off on
the Pirelli, and we’re spinning a lot here and
at the front, in these temperatures, it’s a good
tyre, but I know what the Bridgestone is like
from MotoGP and it’s a bit firmer in the heat.”
The fabled Bridgestone front tyre, otherwise
known as “the one that got away.”
When Michelin first returned to MotoGP,
riders lamented the loss of this tyre from their
lives. The Bridgestone front tyre is unlike any
other tyre. Black and rubber doesn’t describe
it at all.
“Certain tyres require certain riding
techniques, and of course they all feel
different to one another, but also most tyres
feel different. Even within the same tyre brand
you can have a different feeling with a different
compound or construction of tyre.
“Last year was really interesting for me
because I rode Pirelli’s in British Superbike,
Bridgestone’s for Suzuki at Suzuka and I also
rode Michelin’s in MotoGP.”
“Some of them work better in the cold,
some in the hot, so you have a lot to think
about when you’re riding. You ride every tyre
based on the feeling from them, and of course
for a pure riding performance, it’s always
better to ride only one tyre because you can
concentrate on how to get the most from it.”
“I think it’s really good to experience such
a wide range of tyres and regulations – BSB
with Pirelli’s and no electronics, WorldSBK with
Pirelli and electronics, Bridgestone with an
Endurance bike and Michelin with a MotoGP
bike – they all work differently with the different
specification of bike too, so it’s been interesting
for me to do this much riding with them.”
The Bridgestone tyre used at Suzuka is
very similar to what they used in MotoGP in
2015, the Pirelli is similar in feeling to their
WorldSBK offering. As of yet it doesn’t come
with the increased profile that riders have
made the default WorldSBK tyre of late.
The Italian firm is keen
to increase their footing
in the Endurance World
understand that breaking
the Bridgestone monopoly
at the front will be almost
The experience of the Japanese
manufacturers around the Japanese circuit
with Japanese tyres is simply too much to
overcome in the near future.
58 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER.
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The S20 EVO loved by so many riders has evolved
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• Riders who are thinking of starting riding on the
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The wet performance of the SPORT TOURING T31
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While preserving long tyre life, the ADVENTURE
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EXCLUSIVE RACE COLUMN
SHERIDAN MORAIS: WSS - MOTO2 - WORLD ENDURANCE
IN THE BIG LEAGUES!
It’s always been a dream
of Shezza’s to compete in
the MotoGP paddock and
he finally got to do so as
a wild-card in the Moto2
class at the Brno Round.
We caught up with him to
see how things are going
and how the MotoGP
Q: Firstly, how has the last couple of
races been on the Kawasaki in WSS
and will you be riding for them again?
A: It’s been good to ride of course, but after
Kawasaki changed their engine builder it’s
evident that the bike just isn’t as competitive
as before and although I am grateful for the
opportunity to have ridden with this top team,
the bike just isn’t able to produce for both
them and myself.
Q: How did the Moto2 ride come up?
A: The Czech based team asked me if I’d be
interested in some testing as they had the
2014/2015 Kalex chassis, which they knew
but had just received a 2017 chassis that
was supposed to be a big step up and they
wanted me to confi rm and show the difference
between the two chassis ‘lap time’ wise.
Q: Tell us about the Moto2 bike?
A: Well, before I got to test the bike, their
other rider, Karel Hanika, had been testing
on it and although he was faster on the 2017
chassis he had a huge crash and destroyed
every part of the bike, so I have only ridden
the 2014/2015 spec bike and it’s really good.
In testing we only had the old spec Dunlop
Moto2 tyres and it was an eye opener. I could
do whatever I wanted to with the bike and
tyres and the best way I can explain it after
having never ridden a prototype bike before is
that it’s like a World Superbike spec 600cc.
Q: How different is a Moto2 bike to
a WSS bike?
A: I was surprised at the engine because all
of these years the rumour has been that the
Moto2 Honda engines are like Superstock
spec and that they are a lot slower power
wise but make up for that with their €140
000.00 chassis. That isn’t the case. The bike
actually feels faster than a World Supersport
and the top speeds were 7kph faster than
on my Puccetti Kawasaki and equal to Jules
Cluzels Yamaha at the WSBK Brno round.
Chassis wise it handles better in areas but
that’s understandable when comparing
production bike prices to this kind of moneydon’t-matter
Q: What was the biggest adjustment
you had to make?
A: The biggest adjustment was to get used to
the Dunlop’s, but in testing, on the old spec
tyres, I took to them real fast and set damn
fast lap times.
When race weekend came it changed
completely and we thought that there was
a massive problem with our bike as we had
extreme chatter and could not fi nd a problem
or a solution. Eventually, after a meeting
with Kalex, they explained to us that every
year Dunlop change the tyre specs from
compound, to carcass, to overall tyre size
even. Our older chassis was built extremely
stiff to cope and work with the tyres from
60 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
ack then and that now their latest chassis
from 2017/2018 are as “soft” as a production
bike. They were 100% confident that this
was the problem and they went on to help us
remove 2 bars on the frame that make it rigid.
This helped make the chatter less aggressive
but the frame itself was still braced internally
and welded externally, so we reached our
limit with that and continued trying to better
Q: How different is the MotoGP
paddock to WSBK?
A: Very different. To me the MotoGP paddock
is how the WorldSBK paddock was when
I first went there around 2009, at its peak.
Firstly, the paddock is full of riders walking
around and just socialising. And then you’ll
notice the money in this paddock!
KTM have something like 40 trucks that
go to an event. I mean it’s like Monopoly
money in this paddock. In saying that both
championships are professional and the level
is high too but Dorna and IRTA obviously
forced it to where it is now and they have the
right to as they own both championships.
Q: Tell us about the race weekend?
How did it go?
A: To sum it up, I was pleased to get within
1.5 seconds from P1 lap time wise, but
obviously I want to win and don’t take
pleasure from making up the numbers or just
participating. There is a bigger picture though
as Team #Willirace are applying themselves
to get a full-time contract in Moto2 for 2019
onwards, so my hope is that our sacrifice
now will pay off next year where everybody
will be on the same chassis and the all-new
Q: What happened at the start of the
race? Did you start from pitlane?
A: The clutch bombed out and I was suppose
to start at the back of the grid but confusion
from race direction had me start from pitlane.
Q: Anymore wild cards in Moto2 or a
potential full time ride?
A: We have confirmation for a Misano wild
card and then the team have applied for
another 2 wild cards and then it’s hold
thumbs for 2019.
Q: Future plans for 2018?
A: The Bol Dor 24 hour is the other treat that
I have coming up and although it’s physically
the hardest thing I have ever had to do, the
prestige and 200 000 spectators make it all
worth it. Then just the Moto2 wild cards.
Q: How is the WSS 300 team you are
running going? Team Samurai.
A: A good year for the two pikkies, learning
and finding their feet amongst the world’s
best but all round it’s been good for them and
obviously for the team itself too.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 6 1
EXCLUSIVE MATT BIRT MOTOGP COLUMN
Pics by GP Fever.de
Spinning out of
Yamaha’s worst season since 2002 in MotoGP - what’s going wrong?
WHEN Yamaha won half of the
opening eight races of 2017, few
could have foreseen the turmoil and
discord that would ensue over the
following 15 months.
A winless streak not witnessed
since the pre-Valentino Rossi era
way back in 2002 has plunged
Yamaha into a crisis rarely
experienced since it first entered
Grand Prix racing 57 years ago.
Rock bottom appeared to be hit
during the recent Austrian Grand
Prix where a Spielberg blockbuster
for Honda and Ducati turned into a
horror show for Yamaha.
Rossi labored to his worst dry
qualifying result since Indianapolis
in 2011. And collectively Yamaha’s
factory squad trudged to its worst
dry qualifying performance in a
decade since the final round of
2007 in Valencia.
And that was straw that broke the
camel’s back. Tyres and tempers
had barely time to cool down on
Saturday afternoon in Austria when
Yamaha took the unprecedented
step of making a public apology to
both Rossi and Maverick Vinales for
the underperforming YZR-M1.
MotoGP Project Leader Kouji
Tsuya looked thoroughly remorseful
in an impromptu speech that
zigzagged between a heartfelt
apology and public humiliation for
a man seriously under the cosh to
instigate a rapid transformation in
Talk is cheap though. Actions
speak louder than words and it will be
the actions of Tsuya and his technical
staff beavering away in Iwata over
the next few months that will decide
whether the apology was a token
gesture or the catalyst to recovery.
The problems are
crystal clear and
repeated with such
frequency by Rossi
and Vinales over
the past year or
so that the pair
must be sick of the
sound of their own
Way too much
too much rear tyre
acceleration or top
speed. And repeat.
62 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 6 3
EXCLUSIVE MATT BIRT MOTOGP COLUMN
“The worrying aspect for Rossi
and Vinales is that their endless
verbal protests have not provoked a
hastier response from Yamaha.”
64 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
The worrying aspect for Rossi
and Vinales is that their endless
verbal protests have not provoked a
hastier response from Yamaha.
Updates to fix the YZR-M1s
obvious fragilities with traction
control and anti-wheelie with
the controlled Magneti Marelli
electronics have emerged at the
pace of an asthmatic snail.
Not negligible progress, but zero
Rossi’s analysis of
how Honda and
Ducati have left
in mastering the
is simple. Yamaha
resources and it has
been too conservative
in its approach.
The point and squirt configuration
of the Red Bull Ring brutally
exposed Yamaha’s weak points.
Two of its first three corners are low
gear turns leading to full throttle
sixth gear straights that demand
attributes like acceleration that the
YZR-M1 is missing in its arsenal.
Almost bored rigid of perpetually
blaming the electronics, Rossi
turned his attention to the motor
in Austria and said it too was
contributing to Yamaha’s dire
Handcuffed by the engine
development freeze which prohibits
in-season motor tweaks, Yamaha
can find no quick remedy for The
Doctor in that department.
The last time Yamaha was staring
into the abyss like now was back
in 2003 and it took the immense
influence and strength of character
of Masao Furusawa to implement
a radical overhaul of the racing
department to reverse the decline.
He also dared to break with
Yamaha’s five-valve technology to
prepare a crossplane-crankshaft
bike with four-valves per cylinder
that instantly convinced Rossi in the
winter months of 2004 that both he
and Yamaha could be a contender.
The history books show Rossi’s
faith in Furusawa was justified and
Yamaha now need similar dynamic
and decisive leadership to guide
them back to winning ways.
Its failure to win since the Dutch
TT in Assen in mid-2017 is not
the only reason Yamaha has been
hogging the headlines for the
wrong reasons of late.
Struggles on the track inevitably
adds to the stress and strain
behind-the-scenes, and Yamaha
has not escaped the consequences
of being reduced to a supporting
role behind Honda and Ducati.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 65
EXCLUSIVE MATT BIRT MOTOGP COLUMN
66 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
Yamaha’s capitulation in terms of winning
has not been felt any harder than in the close
confines of the Vinales camp.
An irreversible internal rift has emerged
between Vinales and his crew chief Ramon
Forcada that will end in divorce when the
chequered flag is waved in Valencia in mid-
It all seems a far cry from the opening five
races of 2017. Vinales won three of those
five having clicked instantly with the Yamaha
YZR-M1 and clicked immediately with Forcada,
who was blessed with an enviable CV, which
included three MotoGP titles and 44 wins with
But just as Yamaha’s winning touch had
vanished, so has the bond and trust between
A crew chief must have such an intimate
relationship with his rider that he can sense
instantaneously where his mind is at both and off
In the high-pressure environment of a
MotoGP garage a crew chief can interpret what
a rider is thinking and what he wants to go
faster without a word being spoken.
A wink, a thumbsup,
a shrug of the
shoulders, a shake
of the head, a nod.
All can speak more
than a thousand
words and processing
can at times be
A working relationship can never be expected
to run completely smoothly, particularly in a
scenario that Vinales now finds himself in.
Those of you who monitor MotoGP closely
will note how Vinales is susceptible to very
public displays of emotion when things don’t go
Frequently, it’s Forcada who has taken the
brunt of his ire.
You don’t have to trawl back through history
too far to find a time when Vinales inexplicably
quit his Moto3 squad while still mathematically
in contention to win the title.
In dispute with his Avintia Blusens squad, he
jumped ship on the eve of the 2012 Sepang
race, only to be ordered to jump back on a plane
from Europe to Australia to see out the season.
That was a decision that spectacularly blew
up in his face. Only time will tell if he will regret
cutting Forcada loose and if it will continue to be
a case of Maverick by name, Maverick by nature.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 67
R A C I N G H E R O
She’s 21-years-old, stands five-foot-one, and
weighs eight stone, wringing wet. But don’t
let that fool you. Ana Carrasco is one tough
little Spaniard. She’s the first woman in the
100-years-plus history of the sport to lead a
motorcycle road racing world championship. She
was also the first woman to set pole position
and the first to win a race and, with just two
rounds remaining of the World Supersport 300
Championship, she has a healthy16-point lead –
against an entire field of men.
Oh, and she’s also half way through a four-year
law degree and trains six hours every day. Are
you starting to feel a bit inadequate? You should
be. Meet Ana Carrasco – the fastest female
motorcycle racer of all time.
Words: Stuart Barker
Women have not always been welcomed in the sport of
motorcycle road racing. Original regulations laid down
by the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme)
in the early days of racing dictated that competitors must be
‘male persons between 18 and 55 years of age.’ This ruling didn’t
apply to Sidecar racing so in 1954 the intrepid German, Inge
Stoll-Laforge, caused a sensation by entering the Isle of Man TT –
the biggest motorcycle race in the world at the time. She fi nished
in a highly credible 5th position but was tragically killed four years
later in a crash at the Czech Grand Prix.
By 1962 the FIM had changed its rules and allowed women to
race so Beryl Swain became the fi rst female solo rider at the TT,
fi nishing 22nd in the 50cc race before the FIM did an about-turn
and banned women again in 1963.
Despite this historical backdrop of rampant sexism, a handful
of brave, determined women have persisted in blazing a trail for
female riders in one of the world’s most dangerous sports. Riders
like Maria Costello have scored podiums at the Manx Grand Prix
(the ‘amateur’ TT) and Carolynn Sells became the fi rst woman
to win a Manx in 2009 while Jenny Tinmouth (the fastest woman
ever at the TT with an average lap speed of 119.94mph) recently
became the fi rst female rider to compete in the prestigious British
Superbike Championship. Germany’s Katja Poensgen won
the Supermono Championship in 1998 and women have even
scored points in the Grand Prix world championships, the fi rst
being Taru Rinne with a seventh-place fi nish at Hockenheim in
1989. But while convalescing from a crash shortly afterwards, the
Finn received a letter from Bernie Ecclestone (who, at the time
had a heavy, but thankfully short-lived, involvement in motorcycle
racing) informing her that she was ‘not qualifi ed’ to compete the
68 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 69
R A C I N G H E R O
Clearly, nothing had changed. Despite occasional
outstanding performances by women in the male-dominated
sport of motorcycle racing, by the start of the 2017 season
no female had won a world championship race - perhaps
unsurprisingly given the additional barriers they faced.
But that all changed at Portimao in Portugal on Sunday,
September 17, 2017 when a 20-year-old Spanish rider called
Ana Carrasco came out on top in an epic drag race to the
finish line in the World Supersport 300 Championship race.
In doing so, she became the
first woman in history to win a
motorcycle road racing world
championship race. And while
the significance of the moment
wasn’t exactly lost on Carrasco,
she thinks like a racer first, and a
‘At the time I was not thinking about the significance of
this’ she says. ‘I always just try to ride as hard as I can and try
to achieve results – I don’t think about being a woman. So,
in that moment I was just happy because I’d won the race
but after some days I start to realise what I had achieved. It’s
important that a woman can be fighting for the victory in the
world championship because it’s good for other girls to see
that this is possible.’
After finishing the 2017 season in eighth place overall,
Carrasco came out of the traps ready for a proper fight in
2018, setting pole position at Imola, winning the race, and
taking the lead in the world championship. After another win
at Donington Park in England, Carrasco now has a 16-point
lead with just two rounds of the championship remaining.
This makes her the first woman ever to lead a motorcycle
racing world championship.
It seems an incredibly young age for anyone – male of
female – to be leading a world championship but Carrasco
was practically born into the saddle. ‘I started riding when I
was three years old because my family was always involved
in the motorcycle world’ she says. ‘My father was a race
mechanic since before I was born so when I was three I
started riding my big sister’s minimoto because she wasn’t
interested in it. So that was a good thing for me!’
Standing at just 5”1 and weighing eight stone-three
(52kg) wringing wet, Carrasco cuts a diminutive figure in the
racing paddock. Her slight frame would normally give her
an advantage under acceleration but constantly-changing
rules in the fledgling WSS300 championship (which is only
in its second year) mean that even this advantage has been
removed: because she is so light, Carrasco is forced to carry
a weight penalty on her Kawasaki Ninja 400 race bike. ‘I now
have to carry a 13kg weight penalty so I think it’s actually
worse to be small’ she says. ‘I have to move more kilos than
the other riders through the corners and yet the overall weight
of rider and bike is the same (because of the combined
bike-and-rider minimum weight rule) so I don’t have any
advantage on acceleration.
‘The rules change every race so sometimes we have a
good bike and sometimes no. It’s difficult for us to work like
this because every Thursday of a race weekend they say
“Okay, now you have to change this” or “Now you have to
change that.” It’s difficult for the team and it’s also difficult for
Carrasco being chased by
her team-mate, SA’s very
own Dorren Lourerio.
70 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
R A C I N G H E R O
me to ride fast like this because every race
I have a different bike. I hope for next year
the rules will be more stable because I like to
win, always, and with all these changes it’s
not always possible to win. At the moment,
Kawasaki is not always on the top because
the rules are helping the Yamahas to be at
the same level. But we just have to work
within the rules Dorna gives us and finish the
championship the best we can.’
Carrasco at least has a competitive
bike and team for the 2018 season, which
is something of a novelty after battling for
years with uncompetitive and poorly-funded
rides in various Spanish championships and
even, for a few years, in the Moto3 World
Championship that runs alongside MotoGP –
the Formula 1 of motorcycle racing. ‘Yes, for
me it’s really good because in the past years
I was struggling a lot because I wanted to be
at the top but it was impossible with the bikes
that I had. Now it is really good and I’m really
happy with my team and with my bike and
Kawasaki is helping me a lot so now I don’t
want to change my team because I feel so
comfortable. I want to win, so I will stay in the
place where I can fight for the victory.’
The World Supersport 300 Championship
which Ana currently leads is a support series
to the World Superbike Championship,
meaning the young Spaniard has operated
out of the two biggest paddocks in world
motorcycle racing. So how do they compare
in their attitudes towards women? ‘The
people in the WSB paddock are more friendly
and more relaxed’ Carrasco says. ‘You
can speak with everybody. In the MotoGP
paddock there’s a lot more pressure so the
riders have to always be thinking only about
riding and they cannot do anything else. So,
yes, the paddocks are different but I like both.
‘I didn’t notice any difference between the
paddocks in their attitudes towards female
riders. My job is the same and the people
are good with me, always. But in the World
Supersport 300 Championship it was more
easy for me to find a good team and a good
bike so that I can be fighting at the top. In the
past it has been really difficult for me because
I never had the equipment I needed to be
fighting for the victory.’
Like every motorcycle racer, Ana Carrasco
needs to have the mental capacity to accept
the inherent dangers of her chosen sport
and the ability to endure the pain caused by
regular injuries. Although safety measures
have improved radically over the last 30-odd
years, people still die in this sport. Yet it’s
clearly not a fact that Carrasco loses much
sleep over. ‘I broke my elbow in 2007 and
I broke my collarbone in 2015 and also my
shoulder. I’m okay with pain – I can handle
it. I can ride with pain and don’t feel it so
much. I’ve had some difficult injuries but I
don’t worry too much about it. I know it’s
a dangerous sport but many things are
dangerous so we have to try and take part in
all sports with as many safety measures as
we can. We have to respect the dangers and
just try to remain safe and do our job. For my
mother it’s more difficult! I think this sport is
difficult for all the mothers to watch!’
And before you think these are the words
of a crazy and irresponsible young kid,
consider this: when she’s not travelling the
globe fighting for a world championship, Ana
Carrasco is studying for a law degree. Half
way through a four-year course, the girl from
Cehegin in the Murcia region of south-east
Spain must balance adrenalin with diligence
and solitude in equal measure. ‘It’s difficult
to do both things because I spend so much
time away from home but now I’m in a sports
university where many Olympic athletes study
so they give me the possibility to change the
dates of my exams if I am racing. So I try
to work out my study and exams calendar
according to the racing calendar. It’s a fouryear
course and I am in my second year now.
‘I don’t know for sure if I will
be a lawyer after racing but
this is my Plan B! I want to
be a racer and be riding for
many years but, if not, then
at least I have another plan
to be a normal person and
to have a job and a family
72 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018
R A C I N G H E R O
Perhaps even more impressive – and
certainly testimony to her determination and
will to win – Carrasco also maintains a brutal
training regime that would qualify as a full-time
job in itself. ‘I train around six hours every day’
she says. ‘I go to the gym for about three or
four hours and then ride dirt bikes for another
It’s this kind of commitment that sees
Carrasco regularly beating an entire field full of
men and her reward is the sheer satisfaction
that generates. ‘Yes, for me it’s good!’ she
laughs. ‘This is a motivation to show the
people that women can do the same. This
is what I want – I want to win in a world
championship so I can show that I can beat
the best riders in the world in that class. So,
I want to be always better and better and
better and to arrive at the top.’
It’s perhaps not easy for every male
psyche to handle being beaten by a woman
(in the past, they’ve also had to accept
Carrasco’s own take on the brolly dolly –
she had her own umbrella fella on the grid!)
especially in a sport that has for so long been
male-dominated. So how do her rivals treat
her? Does she get the respect she deserves
or does she get shunned by bitter, defeated
rivals? ‘For sure they respect me because
if you are fast, everybody respects you! I’ve
shown them that I can win races and fight
for the championship so I think everybody
respects me now.’
Testosterone is not always a man’s best
friend. Often it can lead to rash decisions out
on track and crazy do-or-die lunges that have
little chance of working and every chance of
ending in crashes and broken bones. In the
sport, this kind of aggression is known as ‘red
mist’ and it’s the one area where Carrasco
thinks female riders may actually have a slight
advantage over the men.
‘Sometimes it helps
to be a woman, yes.
Women think more
when they are on the
bike! The men are
more brave but they
without thinking and
sometimes this is not so
good! I think in my case I
have a slight advantage
here because I always
stay calm and think a lot
about what I have to do
out on the race track.’
Female motorcycle racers are no longer a
complete novelty but they’re still very much in
the minority (there are none at all, for example,
in the world’s two biggest motorcycle
championships – MotoGP and World
Superbikes) although Carrasco believes it’s
getting easier for women to be involved.
‘Every year it gets a bit more easy. It’s difficult
for a young female rider to see how they can
arrive in a world championship if they never
see any other girls doing it. So if you are the
first girl to do it then it’s more difficult but once
you can see that other girls are doing it then
you can think “Why not? Why can’t I do the
same?” So, for the girls, it’s important that I’m
doing a good job in the world championship.
‘I think women can do the same as men
in this sport. We are all just riders and we can
all do the same thing. But it’s more difficult
for women to find a good opportunity – a
good team and a good bike. It’s more difficult
for people to believe that we can win so we
have many problems in getting access to
competitive equipment to be fighting at the
top. In this sport, if you do not have a good
bike then you cannot fight to win.’
As to the future, Carrasco already has
some options on the table due to her
incredible performances this year. But for
now, she’s concentrating on the job in hand. ‘I
want to continue with Kawasaki because I am
very happy with them and they are supporting
me to be at the top. I would also like to
continue with my team. But it will depend on
what we achieve this year. I have some offers
from the Moto3 World Championship and
also from World Supersport 600 and World
Supersport 300 teams. At the moment, I
don’t know. I think around September time
we will start to look more closely at next year
but at the moment I just want to think about
There are two rounds remaining of the
World Supersport 300 Championship – at
Portimao, Portugal, on September 16, and
at Magny-Cours, France, on September 30.
Carrasco has a healthy 16-point lead over
Germany’s Luca Grunwald but with 25 points
available for each race win, it’s still all to play
for. One crash or mechanical breakdown
could change everything, but Carrasco is
confident. ‘We have a good opportunity, we
are in a good position in the championship,
so I want to try to win at Portimao because I
like this place. The circuit is good for me, so I
would like to finish on the podium and win the
championship there. But if not, then we will
wait and try again in Magny-Cours. For sure
we have a good opportunity and we are in the
best position to win the championship.’
The sport of motorcycle road racing has
been around for well over 100 years but no
woman has ever come this close to lifting a
world title. So what would it mean to the petite,
highly intelligent, and multi-lingual Spaniard
if she could put an end to all that and finally
prove beyond all doubt that women have a
genuine place in motorcycle racing? ‘For me it
would be a dream come true because, for my
whole life, my dream is to be world champion
and this year I have the opportunity so I want
to give my best to try to win.’
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2018 73
SA SBK RACING:
SUPER GP NATIONALS: ROUND 5, ALDO SCRIBANTE, PORT ELIZABETH
Michael White (Consortium Shipping
Yamaha R1) claimed his first national title
when he wrapped up the 2018 SuperGP
Champions Trophy by winning both heats
at the fifth round of the series, held at the
Aldo Scribante circuit in Port Elizabeth
on Saturday, 25 August after defending
champion Clint Seller (King Price
Extreme / Bikefin Yamaha R1) crashed
out of the opening race.
In the Super600 category, Adolf Boshoff
(Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) took
both race wins from Blaze Baker (King
Price Extreme / Bikefin Yamaha R6) to
close the gap to just five points between
the two of them heading into the final
round in four weeks. Kewyn Snyman (The
Mag Workshop KTM RC390) won all three
of his heats on the day to move to the top
of the Super300 standings.
Words and pics: Paul Bedford
In Friday afternoon’s qualifying session,
Seller and White were the picks of the
fi eld, with Seller almost four-tenths
quicker than White. Daryn Upton (Uncle
Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR 1000) led
the chasing pack with the second row
of the grid headed by Arushen Moodley
(Dynamic Express Services Yamaha
R1) who had Gavin Upton (Turn Skill
Engineering Yamaha R1) and AJ Venter
(Lekka Racing Yamaha R1) alongside
him. Problems with the electronics on
his RPM Centre/Stunt SA Kawasaki
ZX10R prevented David McFadden,
who was expected to be up with the
front-runners, from setting a time.
In the opening race, White grabbed
the lead when the lights went out, but
it wasn’t long before Seller, knowing
he needed to fi nish in front of White to
keep his championship hopes on track,
found a way through. The multiple
champion pushed hard to open a gap,
setting the fastest ever Superbike race
lap time around the newly resurfaced
Clint Seller became the
first motorcycle rider to
break the 1-minute mark.
74 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMEBER 2018
Aldo Scribante circuit, before he lost the
front end of his Yamaha through the fast-lefthand
sweep. While Seller was not injured,
the same could not be said for his bike, and
he was out for the remainder of the day, the
59.862-second lap record his only reward
from the trip to Port Elizabeth. With Seller on
the side-lines, White had a comfortable run to
the fl ag and the 25 championship points that
went with the win. Behind White, McFadden
had a somewhat lonely run to second with
Moodley eventually getting the better of Daryn
Upton to take the fi nal podium spot. Gavin
Upton ended fi fth on the road and fi rst in the
With Seller not able to start the race, White
just needed to fi nish the second heat to claim
the 2018 title. A cautious start left him in third,
behind Daryn Upton and Moodley at the end
of the fi rst lap, but just a lap later he was in
front and controlled things from there to take
the race win and the 2018 championship.
Behind him, there was a three-way battle
for the remaining podium positions between
Upton, Moodley and McFadden. This became
a two-way fi ght when McFadden’s Kawasaki
cried enough. Moodley showed he had lost
none of the skill that brought him the 2007
South African Superbike title, eventually
fi nding a way past Upton to take second.
Gavin Upton ended in fourth and again took
the SuperMasters win.
There was very little to choose between Baker
and Boshoff on the Super600 qualifying
session, Boshoff claiming pole for the opening
race by just 0.022”. The positions for the
second race, based on their second quickest
laps, were reversed with Baker a couple of
tenths quicker than the Suzuki mounted man.
Byron Bester (Hi-Tech Racing Kawasaki ZX6)
completed the front row of the grid for both
races. The second row of the grid was an all-
Cape Town affair, Jared Schultz (Uncle Andy
Racing Suzuki GSXR600) leading the way
from Brandon Staffen (AJH Cooling/Keating
& Jansen Kawasaki ZX6) and Gareth Gehlig
(Formula Autos / RPM Centre Kawasaki ZX6).
Baker grabbed the lead at the start of the
fi rst race and managed to open up a slight
gap before Boshoff slowly hunted him down.
With a couple of laps to go, Boshoff moved
into the lead but Baker stayed on his back
wheel. In the drag to the line from the fi nal
corner, it looked like a dead heat, but the
timing system had Boshoff in front by just one
one-thousandth of a second. Staffen, riding
with injured ankles and a fractured pelvis after
a huge crash in a regional race at Killarney a
couple of weeks ago, was able to hang on
to third although his task was made easier
Double win and the title
for Michael White.
Another podium for Byron
Bester who now looks favourite
to finish 3rd in the standings.
Rolling backj the years - Arushen Moodley
(21) back on the podium. Another great ride
from Suzuki rider Darryn Upton (66).
Adolf Boshoff and Blaze
Baker put on a real show.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMEBER 2018 75
SA SBK RACING:
SUPER GP NATIONALS: ROUND 5, ALDO SCRIBANTE, PORT ELIZABETH
when Schultz crashed out in the early stages.
Bester ended in fourth, just over half-asecond
behind Staffen with AJ Venter (TRD
Motorcycles Yamaha R6) and Gehlig rounding
out the top six.
In race 2 Baker was again the early leader,
but this time he was unable to open up a gap.
He and Boshoff swapped positions regularly,
sometimes multiple times on a lap, but
Boshoff was in front when it counted, taking
the win by half a second and setting-up a
thrilling fi nale to the championship at Phakisa
in a month’s time. Bester just managed
to hold off Shultz to take the fi nal podium
position with Staffen, who had to work his
way back through the pack after running wide
at turn one early on, in fi fth ahead of Gehlig.
Dino Iozzo (King Price Extreme/Bikefi n Honda)
went to Port Elizabeth with a 6-point lead
in the Super300 championship, but with
three races on the card and a maximum
of 75 points on offer, Kewyn Snyman (The
Mag Workshop KTM RC390) was looking
to eliminate that gap. The two of them were
separated by just 0.012” at the end of the
Friday qualifying session, Iozzo taking the
honours. Ryno Pretorius (Pretorius Blomme
Yamaha R3) completed the front row. Chase
Hulscher (Uncle Andy Racing / Motul KTM
RC390) got the better of Taric van der Merwe
(Evolve Nutrition Yamaha R3) to head row
two with Clinton Fourie (NCA Plant Hire
/ Kimco Yamaha R3) completing the top
six. Unfortunately, Pretorius crashed in the
Saturday morning warm-up session, ending
his race weekend.
In the opening race, Iozzo grabbed the
early lead but crashed leaving Snyman to take
an easy win. Iozzo was able to re-mount but
fi nished way down the fi eld. Iozzo’s misfortune
left Hulscher and van der Merwe to fi ght for
the remaining podium positions, van der
Merwe taking second, leaving Hulscher to
settle for third. Fourie came home in fourth
comfortably ahead of the battle for fi fth and
The every improving Cape Town
youngsters - Brandon Staffen (95)
and Gareth Gehlig (48).
Taric van der Merwe and Chase Hulscher.
sixth which went the way of Keegan Mills
(Kawasaki Ninja 300) from Deegan Claassens
(Nine Nine Racing Kawasaki Ninja 300).
Race 2 was a ding-dong affair at the front
of the fi eld with Iozzo and Snyman swapping
positions almost every lap for the fi rst half of
the race. Snyman then sat in Iozzo’s wheel
track until the penultimate lap, when he was
able to use a backmarker to his advantage,
passing Iozzo and opening up a gap that
Iozzo couldn’t close before the fl ag. Van der
Merwe and Hulscher again spent the entire
race within a couple of bike lengths of each
other, with van der Merwe again in front
when it counted. Fourie took fi fth ahead of
An early mistake by Iozzo in the fi nal race
dropped him to the back of the fi eld and
allowed Snyman to take an easy win. Iozzo
fought his way back through the fi eld, getting
past van der Merwe on the fi nal lap to take
second. Fourie got the
better of his duel with Mills
to take fourth while the best
that Hulscher, who made a mistake shortly
before half-distance, could do was sixth.
Snyman heads to the fi nal into the fi nal
round with a 21-point advantage in the
championship standings with van der Merwe
a further 23 point back.
Rob Portman (RideFast Magazine KTM Super
Duke) made a welcome return to top-fl ight
motorcycle racing and immediately made
an impact, just missing out on pole position
for the opening BOTTS race to Thomas
Brown (Rehab Racing Ducati), but taking
pole position for the other two races. James
Harper (Moto Uno Ducati) was next up, ahead
of Hendrik Fourie (Ducati), Alan Hulscher
(ALDOR Steel Fabrications Ducati) and
Christo Reeders (Ducati).
Portman grabbed an immediate lead in
the opening race, opening up a substantial
gap which Harper slowly closed down.
It all came down to the last lap when a
backmarker just slowed Portman enough
to allow Harper to grab the win, the pair
separated by just over a tenth at the line.
Brown joined them on the podium, with
Hulscher, Mick Landi (Rehab Racing Ducati)
and Fourie rounding out the top six.
The second race looked like it was going
to be a repeat of the fi rst, but Portman
crashed out of the lead on the second lap,
leaving Harper to take another win, this time
from Brown and Hulscher. Landi, Fourie and
Reeders rounded out the top six.
Race 3 went to Brown, who had to fi ght
off Hulscher with Landi joining them on the
podium. Fourie got the better of Reeders to
take fourth with Harper in sixth.
The SuperGP Champions Trophy now
makes its way to Phakisa Freeway for the fi nal
round, which takes place on Saturday, 22
76 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMEBER 2018
As used by top British
Superbike riders and teams:
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James Ellison - Anvil Hire Tag Yamaha
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Richard Cooper - Bennetts Suzuki
Jakub Smrz - Lloyd & Jones / PR Racing
Martin Jessop - Ridersmotorcycles BMW
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