RideFast January 2019


South Africa's best motorcycle magazine!

JANUARY 2019 RSA R35.00


9 772075 405004




We put the new 998cc Ducati Panigale V4R to the test!



119 070 kilometers through 54 countries over

442 days, all on a Suzuki Gixxer.



2019 World SBK testing has started with

Bautista making his debut on the new V4R.







Rob Portman


082 782 8240


Rob Portman


082 782 8240





011 979 5035


Sheridan Morais

Brad Binder

Darryn Binder

Gerrit Erasmus

GP Fever.de

Eugene Liebenberg

Niel Philipson

The Singh

Mieke Oelofsen

Greg Moloney

Daniella Kerby

Copyright © RideFast Magazine

All rights reserved. No part of this

publication may be reproduced,

distributed, or transmitted in any

form or by any means, including

photocopying, articles, or other

methods, without the prior written

permission of the publisher.

We ended 2018 off in the best way possible, with our

annual SA Riders meet and greet held at Ridgeway

Racebar and what a day it was!

What an event it turned out to be, as you can see by the

pics, and big thanks must go to everyone who supported

as well as the riders and sponsors who got involved.

We had some of SA’s top boys on show - Brad Binder

(Moto2), Darryn Binder (Moto3), Steven Odendaal

(Moto2), AJ Venter (Isle of Man TT), Bjorn Estment (British

Supersport), Dorren Lourerio (WSS 300), Dino Iozzo

(WSS 300), Aidan Liebenberg (Red Bull Rookies Cup)

and Taric van der Merwe (European 300). All the guys

were absolute stars and completely satisfi ed everyone

who attended. Brad, of course, stole the show and had

his new range of merch on sale for the fi rst time and it

went down like a house on fi re.

It was great chatting to and hearing all the comments

about testing and future plans from all the guys. Us as SA

supporters can really be proud of what these guys have

achieved and are doing in the world of racing.

Apart from getting to meet and greet these top riders, we

also had loads of prizes on the day. R100 got you in and

an entry into the raffl e to win some really exclusive prizes.

Brad had donated a set of his race boots, gloves and

2 sets of knee sliders for the raffl e, while brother Darryn

contributed 2 sets of boots, gloves and knee sliders to

the cause. Steven Odendaal put in a set of his boots

and gloves, while Aidan Liebenberg supplied a signed

poster. Henderson Racing Products gave us a signed

Alvaro Bautista Scorpion replica helmet and Langston

Motorsports very kindly supplied a Bell Qualifi er helmet

to give-away, signed by Brad of course. Shez gave a set

of his RST Yamaha race leathers, which were a hug hit

even though not many can fi t into them, while Motorex

supplied a cleaning hamper, Michelin a set of Power RS

tyres and Bridgestone SA and KCR Motorcycles very

kindly donated a set of S21 tyres. Redstar Raceway

gave us a couple of track day vouchers along with a

one-on-one trackday with AJ Venter himself. Again, loads

of prizes and big thanks to all the guys and companies

that got involved.


Just before the event, the SA racing community was

hit with some tragic news. Savannah Woodward, a

top young lady racer, suffered a massive crash while

competing over in Mexico in the Ladies World Cup

race. Savannah took a big knock to the head and

suffered huge head trauma leaving her unconscious

and with frontal lobe damage. Savannah has since

been on the mend and after weeks stuck in Mexico has

fi nally returned home. On the day of our event, top SA

photographer, Andre Laubscher, supplied three mounted

pics of Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez that he had

personally taken on his MotoGP travels throughout 2018.

All these amazing pictures were auctioned off, along with

some very collectable caps supplied from Mr Moloney, all

in aid of helping raise funds for Savannah. We managed

to raise R30k on the day, so big thanks to all those

who bid and bought stuff. It was a massive contribution

towards what is going to be a long road to recovery for

Savannah and her family.

It has been truly inspirational seeing how the SA racing

community has come together in support for Savannah

and her family. Over R300k has been raised so far, but

plenty more is still needed as it is going to be a long,

expensive recovery so please if you would like to get

involved you can do so by contributing towards the fund

which has been setup.

Account details are:

Lee and Macadam Attorneys

Standard Bank

Branch code: 9205

Account number: 375547908

Our thoughts and prayers have been with Sav and

her family since the tragic accident and will continue to

be throughout the recovery process. We will hopefully

have some positive news to bring you in the next issue

regarding her recovery.

On that note, let me leave you to reading what is an

incredible January issue. In the past, the January issue

has been a nightmare to fi ll as not much happens, but

this one is a belter and I really hope you enjoy and it helps

kick off your 2019 with a bang!

Pics by Gerrit Erasmus & Daniella Kerby (Beam Productions - Available on their Facebook page


J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9



Less engine capacity but more

power - the new Panigale V4R

tested for the fi rst time.





















This is the story of Bruce Smart’s epic 119,070 km, 54

countries in 442 days, solo ride around the world.

From 1st October 2012 to 14th June 2014, Bruce Smart

rode a Suzuki GSX-R1000 119,070 km around the

world, solo and unsupported, through 54 countries to

keep a promise he made his mum before she lost her

battle with cancer. There were ups, there were downs,

highs and lows, but one aspect shone through, the

overwhelming friendship and support shown from

almost everybody he met around the world.

From Europe to South East Asia, Russia to Australasia,

South America to the USA and Canada, almost

everybody he met opened their lives and homes to a

complete stranger, and the journey grew and grew.

The entire RTW adventure was caught on fi lm,

from issues with motorcycle shipping, to the most

dangerous road travelled, this travel blog, or travel

vlog, is a documentary you just can’t miss - TeapotOne

Motorcycle Around The World on YouTube.

We managed to get an article from Bruce, where he

talks about the highs and lows of his epic journey.


2018 KTM 1090



Purchase a 2018 KTM 1090 Adventure R and receive an Akrapovic slip-on to the value of

R 16,281.10 free of charge. Limited stock available, promotion valid whilst stocks last.

Contact your nearest dealer or phone 011 462 7796 for more info. T‘s & C‘s apply.

2019 Triumph Speed Twin

British manufacturer re-introduces legendary model.

Triumph has re-introduced the legendary

Speed Twin model for 2019, with the 1200cc

motorcycle taking a nod to the British

manufacturer’s heritage.

Changing the face of motorcycling, the

original 1938 Triumph Speed Twin, with

the world’s fi rst successful parallel twin

engine packaged into a game changing

chassis, was a revelation to ride. Its smooth

dynamic handling and superb responsive

feel established Triumph as the number one

motorcycle marque globally for performance

and handling, setting the template for all that

followed, and earning a global reputation for

being the fi rst real ‘riders bike’.

For 2019, the all-new 1200cc Speed Twin reintroduces

this illustrious Triumph name to the

Modern Classics line-up, setting all over again

a new standard in class-leading handling,

and delivering a new benchmark for how a

modern custom roadster should ride and feel.

The brand new Speed Twin carries all of the

contemporary custom style of the Street

Twin but adds even more beautiful premium

details. It delivers all the power, torque and

technology of the Thruxton R, in an even

more accessible modern set-up. And, it offers

all of the confi dence inspiring ride and rider

comfort of the Bonneville T120, but with even

more engaged ergonomics.

The result, just like its iconic 20th century

namesake, is a new performance icon

that sets a whole new standard, with the

chassis set-up, riding position, braking ability,

suspension, and thrilling power delivery of a

truly modern roadster.

The all-new Speed Twin brings a new

standard for class leading handling, with a

precise, agile and dynamic modern roadster

ride, and a confi dence inspiring, intuitive feel.

The dedicated new frame developed from

the Thruxton R delivers comfortable engaged

roadster ergonomics, which combined

with the high specifi cation cartridge front

forks and twin rear suspension units with

adjustable spring pre-load, make for a truly

unparalleled ride.

High specifi cation twin Brembo four-piston

axial calipers on the front with twin discs, and

a two-piston fl oating caliper and single disc

on the rear, provide excellent stopping power,

complementing the motorcycle’s modern

roadster character.

The modern roadster character comes to life

through its 1200cc high-power eight-valve,

parallel twin Bonneville engine, specifi cally

updated for the new Speed Twin.

This revised high performance engine

features a low inertia crank and high

compression head, and is developed from

the Thruxton R’s powerplant.

The Speed Twin’s all new distinctive twin

upswept silencers, with satin black painted

wrap and stainless steel end caps deliver

the unmistakable sound of a British Twin,

a unique exhaust note that matches its

powerful and legendary character – rich,

deep and full.

Behind the stylish exterior sits a liquid cooling

system, carefully integrated to minimise its

visual impact whilst achieving clean emissions

and enhancing fuel effi ciency. Combined

with an extended fi rst major service interval

of 16,000km, this contributes to a reduced

overall cost of ownership.

The new Speed Twin features a full suite of

rider-focused technology to deliver advanced

rider control and safety, plus enhanced rider

confi dence – sensitively integrated to maintain

its iconic Bonneville style and character.

Pricing and availability domestically in SA is

still to be determined. For more information

call Triumph SA on 011 444 4441.


From only


• No Dyno, plug and play intelligent technology.

• Easy Install, do-it-yourself.

• Instant HP and Torque.

• Warranty friendly.




Rapid Bike EASY add-on electronic module is equipped

with a microprocessor managing directly the lambda

sensor signal to optimize the air/fuel ratio, improve the

engine efficiency and eliminate the torque and power

gaps typical of the low and medium rpm.


Install your EASY module to the stock lambda sensor

connector and check for operating status thanks to a

led. Now you are ready for the module fine-tuning: this

is a very simple procedure (using two easily accessible

trimmers) without any need for additional software


EASY add-on module can manage up to two lambda

sensors, and it is designed especially for motorbikes with

a standard configuration.

AFR Air Fuel Ratio

Compared to the stock version (bottom left in blue colour),

RapidBike EASY (in red color) gains a higher speed keeping

the same throttle opening, while placing the lambda sensor

value in the ideal range between 13,5 – 14,5 AFR


Available for most makes and models

For sales & Dealer enquires: Email llewellyn@rapidsa.com or call Danie 0837915919 - Deliveries Nation-wide


A Ducati customized to

look like a basketball shoe

BSTN’s custom Ducati 916, designed to celebrate the

new Jordan shoes, and MJ’s love for motorcycles

The 90s were a truly great era for basketball

and for motorcycling, so a German shoe

shop has decided to combine two absolute

90s legends – Michael Jordan and the Ducati

916 – into a custom bike to celebrate the

launch of the latest Air Jordan sneakers.

Such a pairing could be seen as pretty

crass, if Jordan wasn’t such a huge fan of

motorcycles. But he’s the real deal; he rode

dirtbikes from the age of seven, and his NBA

contracts all stipulated that he wasn’t allowed

any two-wheeled action, lest he fall off and

jeopardize his teams’ championship hopes.

Not long after his second and fi nal

retirement from basketball, MJ found his

way to streetbikes, and not long after

that, he threw himself into racing, creating

Michael Jordan Motorsport to run an AMA

Superbike team between 2004 and 2013.

He dug the riding part, too, no matter how

odd his 6’6 athlete’s frame looked hanging

off a GSX-R.

So, when the shoe merchants at BSTN

were looking for a way to celebrate the

release of the 2018 Air Jordan XI “Concord”

– yes, Jordan’s name still sells shoes by the

boatload – it made sense to create a feature

motorcycle as a promo.

The peak of MJ’s greatness was the midnineties,

and the pinnacle of motorcycle

design at that time was Massimo

Tamburini’s Ducati 916, a design that holds

GOAT status in its fi eld today almost as

unanimously as Jordan does in his own.

So, that’s what BSTN chose as a donor

bike, giving it to Munich-based custom

house Impuls to create something that

refl ected the lines of the new shoe.

The results aren’t bad, in an angular,

cafe-fi ghtery sort of way, with an upturned

German-style seat unit fi nished to look like

the laces on the shoe, sleek black fairings

echoing shiny patent leather and plenty

of small details like a list of MJ’s greatest

accomplishments laser-engraved into the

rear carbon rim.

The translucent white grips mimic the outsole

of the shoe, the tread is lasered into the

otherwise-slick tyres, and the front fairing has

been reshaped into a smoother, more heellike

shape that still works as a screen.

All in all, it tickles us, both as fans of Ducati

and Michael Jordan, and we thought it

worth sharing.


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

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




The VITPILEN 401 is a fresh and simple new approach within the world of

motorcycling. It is subtle, style-focused and stripped of all that is unnecessary.

Its simple yet progressive design opens a new gateway to motorcycle culture

and makes urban motorcycling more accessible and inviting than ever before.

A bike for progressive, freethinking riders who appreciate exceptional design

and seek new ways to experience their urban environment.

Could KTM buy Ducati?

KTM’s CEO thinks so...

The Austrians Gaze Lovingly At The Italians

In an interview with the German

website Speedweek, Stefan Pierer, the

CEO of KTM, said he would be interested

in Ducati to continue KTM’s current positive


Pierer discussed Ducati as a possibility

after being asked if KTM could continue

to compete with its twin-cylinder engine or

if it’ll have to go with more cylinders and

larger displacement. He said a threecylinder

engine would be possible if KTM’s

partner Bajaj bought Triumph.

Bajaj has expressed interest in that kind of

deal, but Pierer said he sees Ducati as the

right move.

“I have an emotional relationship with

Ducati,” Peirer said. “Ducati is Ducati,

there’s nothing to shake about that. The

only brand that would fi t us is Ducati.

Everything else you can forget. MV Agusta

is too small.”

As Visordown points out, a stronger

connection of some kind between the two

companies actually makes a lot of sense.

Audi currently owns Ducati, and Audi’s

engines can be found in the KTM X-Bow.

There’s already a connection between the

two brands, so it would seem that KTM

would be the fi rst to know how to broker a

deal of some kind.

Then there’s the question of money. Audi

reportedly paid around 740 million euros

for Ducati back in 2011. It would probably

go for more money now. When asked

about actually coming up with that kind of

capitol Pierer didn’t seem to be too worried.

“Audi may soon have other priorities than

a motorcycle plant due to the diesel affair

and e-mobility. Ducati is the Ferrari of the

motorcycle industry. Of course, having such

a brand in our group would be interesting.”

He went on to mention homologation, Euro

5 emissions, the need for many bikemakers

to expand to Asia and specifi cally India to

survive. It seems Pierer sees Ducati as a

smart move for his growing company, and

KTM is growing.

Since his appointment as CEO in

1992, Pierer has brought KTM to

prominence. It went from 150 employees

to around 5,000 today, and it now owns

Husqvarna and WP Suspension. Adding

Ducati would help continue the company’s

extensive expansion.

Motorheadz launches

the Pro100 Bike Lift

Motorheadz is a proudly South African

company that has launched an all new product

- the Pro100 bike lift.

A product designed for local conditions, the

Pro 100 is a durable and versatile must have

product for every bike owner.

Cruisers – Superbikes – On Off Road if it has

two wheels it will work.


You can now without any help lift your bike and

• Adjust, clean or replace your chain.

• Repair a puncture.

• In emergencies remove your wheel.

• Clean you wheel hassle free.

With its unique design it’s not just easy to use,

but also easily stored under your seat or in

your luggage. Its solid construction, quality

coating and non slip base weighs in at only

0.795 of a kilogram, with a total dimension of

200mm x 70mm.

The high quality rip stop bag not only provides

easy storage but it also protects your bike.

You will receive your Pro 100 with Bag, swing

arm cradle and rear bobbin attachment to

make it user friendly. Price: R765.

To purchase your Pro100 contact Motorheadz

on 071 135 0505 or email orders@motorheadz.

co.za. Trade enquiries welcome.



Will The Suzuki

Hayabusa Live On?

Is this the end of the almighty Busa?

After nearly 20 blistering fast

years, Suzuki will end production of its

GSX-1300R Hayabusa. Why, you ask?

It’s certainly not for lack of demand. It’s

due to the stringent Euro 4 emissions

standards, which to me sounds like a

pretty silly reason to say goodbye to this

legendary motorcycle.

When the Hayabusa fi rst hit the road in

1999 it was a revelation, a 194 horsepower

monster at the peak of the motorcycle

speed wars. After it and subsequent

efforts by competitors, manufacturers gave

themselves a self-imposed top-speed limit

of 320 kph.

Since the Hayabusa debuted, it has been

a motorcycling icon and one of the most

highly sought after superbikes you could

buy. The fact that anyone with enough

money—not even that much money,

really—could go out and buy a motorcycle

that would do 310 kph is ludicrous.

With all that said, it doesn’t seem like Suzuki

is ready to let it’s high-speed motorcycle go

forever. Some information recently surfaced

that hint at Suzuki bringing a new model to

production fairly soon.

Return Of The Mack?

A new Hayabusa, a better Hayabusa,

may be yet to come. Suzuki renewed

trademarks for the Hayabusa name,

according to reports. That means it’s

worth betting Suzuki will keep the iconic

bike going.

Some publications have mentioned

information from “Suzuki insiders” that

confi rm a new Hayabusa is in the works.

Those publication points to patent

applications that show a new frame with a

Hayabusa-like engine in and a new exhaust

system for that bike, which we have shown

you before.

Undoubtedly, the new Hayabusa would

be even quicker and more agile than its

predecessor. Suzuki would have to really

knock it out of the park to live up to the

motorcycle’s name.

Considering the Hayabusa’s current

design has a lot of equipment that dates

back 20 years or more suggests Suzuki

could indeed make a better, faster bike.

Good God, can you imagine the mindwarping

speed of the next ‘Busa? Cross

your fi ngers.

Born 2 Race Clothing and


A proudly South Africa company started by

passionate motorcyclists. We’ve seen some of their

work being proudly shown off at events all around

SA and decided to check them out.

Celebrating PASSION and STYLE, Born 2 Race

Clothing & Accessories was created at the

intersection of style and passion. Thanks to their

inspiring collections and impeccable customer

service, they have been highly successful since

day one. Browse through their site and check

out the latest additions to their collection and feel

free to get in touch with the team if you need any

assistance. Happy shopping!

For more information call 084 415 8033 or visit

their Facebook page - Born 2 Race Clothing &

Accessories - and website https://born2racersa.






Discover more: 011 437-4699

Words and pics by Renette Rauch

Flying Dutchman arrives in Cape

Town on a bright red Ducati.

The Originale Ducati Enthusiasts December track day had a special guest

The Originale Ducati Enthusiasts from Cape

Town hosted another one of their spectacular

Track Days, organised by Jannie Krynauw,

President of the Club, and sponsored by

Quick Sure Insurance with Ace instruction by

Mark Cooper from ART (Advanced Riding

techniques). The riders had been drooling over

this track day for weeks, getting their Ducatis’

ready for action. To heighten the excitement

even more, Jannie Krynauw managed to

secure no less than Peter Muurman to attend

Killarney as a guest of honour.

Peter Muurman, a free-spirited Dutch

helicopter pilot, rode his bright red Ducati 998

from the Netherland to Cape Town right down

the vein of Eastern Africa and across Zambia

, Angola and Namibia . Almost like he was

the phantom Flying Dutchman, onlookers

would gape and wonder if they were seeing

a mirage. On a vehicle truly made for race

track, he would eat up over 350,000 km on

various long trips crisscrossing interesting

chunks of our earth, including gravel and

sand. Dozens of admirers would gather

around every time this Ferrari of Bikes

clothed in fine ruby red stopped in Africa, the

sweet 998 engine sound having heralded its

coming. When the rider took off his helmet

and his curly blond locks cascaded down

the ladies were mesmerized and that is even

before he displayed his radiant smile and

piercing blue-eyed gaze. Peter is a selfconfessed

lover of machines and women

and he understands at least one of them. He

knows and loves every curve of the hourglass

figure of his 998. He knows how to fix every


screw and says he would rather fix

his own Ducati many times then wait

for DHL to deliver parts of a modern

electronic bike.

It was very interesting to hear some of

Peter’s stories as he spoke to us. Peter

has ridden where angels fear to tread,

and has crossed some desolate, dark

and dangerous places such as the

Turkmenistan, Pamir and Iran. But he

lives for his riding and he conquers fear

by living in the moment every moment.

He connects deeply to people. A

philosopher at heart, he believes we

find pieces of ourselves in others and

everyone we meet brings us closer to our

true selves and makes us more whole.

Like smiling into a mirror, when you smile

at another being, they will almost certainly

smile back. With warmth, humour and

humility he has charmed people all along

his route. He reminds me of Ted Simon

who had that same gentle eagerness

to understand people on a deeper level,

whatever their culture.

He has adjusted his seating position to

make it easier on his butt and also the

cooling system. The holes in the panniers

allow air flow and cool his engine by

10 degrees, a necessity in Africa. He

told us how hard he worked to save for

his helicopter training, a very valuable

discipline. Today he flies for the oil and

gas industry and he tells how egos are

chunked down when you fly in a helicopter

miles away with just one other pilot who

can deliver some criticisms and you have

to stay cool and vulnerable. Lucky his

boss gives him three month’s holiday

every two years so he can save the other

two years , and get visas and vaccinations

ready and dream of the Ride.

After Peter’s talk Mark Cooper shared

some insider knowledge of the track and

afterwards we watched the riders puff

up to take charge of their bikes on the

race track. You could almost hear their

heartbeats pulsing in their veins. Exciting,

but also designed to make them safer

riders, this is a wonderful opportunity to

hang out, have fun and to ride better, all

with like-minded Ducati owners. Having

Peter Muurman there was just the red

cherry on top. I itched to put my camera

down and to go out and ride on those

lovely curves of the track myself, but I

behave myself and will instead share my

passion with my pen.

Jannie was a fine host and he encourage

Peter to ride a lap of honour around

the race track and I wondered at the

irony of Peter riding 20,000 km from the

Netherlands to Cape Town on a veritable

race bike only to finish the epic adventure

on, no less, a famous race track.

Motorcycle Lifestyle Store

inside World of Yamaha

If you have not been there yet, what the hell are

you waiting for? You will no doubt feel like a kid in

a candy store when visiting the Lifestyle Concept

store situated at the World of Yamaha in Sandton.

As soon as you walk in your eyes fill with tears of

joy and if you are a Rossi or Vinales fan you will

literally faint. The range of official VR46 and Vinales

gear is breathtaking and nowhere else in SA will

you see a bigger and better range - everything from

caps to kiddies dummies - they have it all!

They also have a great range of SKY VR46 team

gear as well as official Yamaha gear.

You really have to get down there and see it for

yourself. It is open to the public from Monday to

Saturday. A great place to take a ride out to and

enjoy on a Saturday. You can even gawk at the

full range of Yamaha motorcycles on display while

enjoying a hot, or cold beverage and snack.

Call 011 259 7604. World of Yamaha, 19 Eastern

Service Road, Sandton, Gauteng.


World’s fastest electric bike

Lightning LS-218 heading to SA.

The most silent but violent motorcycle in the world coming to SA.

Electric motorcycles startups face a huge

challenge. While they’re showing up with great

and innovative ideas, they don’t usually have

the financial support to put those ideas into

production. But Lightning Motorcycles have

done everything right, and from the start, this

San Jose based company showed they had

what it takes to take their electric superbike

LS-218 to the top!

After many years of development and earning

records and trophies along the way, like the

World Record for fastest electric motorcycle

with 352 km/h set at the Bonneville Salt

Lake, and beating all electric and gas

powered bikes at the famous Race to the

Clouds, or Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the 201 hp

and 228 Nm of torque LS-218 is headed into

production at the California factory.

Lightning Motorcycles, after months without

showing anything new in social media,

have finally broke the silence and posted

a photo of four LS-218 units being built at

the assembly line, before heading to their

owners, in the early months of 2019. And

yes, it will be making its way to SA!

This is a huge accomplishment for this

electric motorcycle startup company, and

we’re glad to see that the work they’ve done

with their prototypes, racing and proving to

everyone what they’re capable of, without

just selling the “electric superbike dream” that

no one could see or touch, is ready to be

tested by common riders like us.

Lightning Motorcycles started when the

company CEO Richard Hatfield decided to

experiment with electric powered engines. He

bought a Yamaha R1 with a blown engine, and

using off the shelf batteries and electric engine,

he created a hybrid bike.

Four years later he showed the first working

prototype of the LS-218.

At the Bonneville Speed Trials, this first

prototype showed its potential by reaching a

top speed of 279 km/h, and a couple of years

after that, the development team returned to

Bonneville Salt Flats with a special version of

the Lightning LS-218, with special fairings. That

bike reached the record speed of 352 km/h!

Since then, Lightning has been taking orders

for the LS-218 through their website, but until

last month, no production version rolled out of

the assembly line.

The frame, which holds the battery pack and

engine Is made in carbon fiber, to help lower

the weight to 224 kg. The battery pack is

available in three versions, each with its own

charging times and range: the 12 kWh goes

up to 190 km of range, the 15 kWh up to 240

km and the biggest available is the 20 kWh

which allows for rides of up to 290 km before

needing to recharge.

According to Lightning Motorcycles, and using

a Fast Charger, the 12 kWh battery only needs

30 minutes to recharge completely.

But this is a superbike, and for that matter,

Lightning has done their homework the right

way: brakes are Brembo race grade GP4-

RX CNC monoblock calipers biting Brembo

T-Drive 320 mm discs, suspension at the

front is a mix of RaceTech outer tubes with

Öhlins NIX30 components inside, while at

the rear there’s a Öhlins TTX36 monoshock.

Wheels are forged in aluminium, and if the

stock suspension setup isn’t enough for you,

Lightning offers as an option the full race spec

FGRT front fork.

We can’t wait to see the LS-218 electric

superbike arrive here in SA! We have been

told by the importers that they will be here

early Jan and we will be testing it soon.

Pricing does sound a bit hectic at around

R500k, but the experience of riding one will

be priceless no doubt!

More information in next months issue.


Petrolheads Village officially launches.

A one stop haven for all bikers to enjoy and shop till they drop.

We told you all about this lot in last month

issue and now Sean Hendley went along to

the offi cial launch party where our Rob was

the offi cial MC for the day as well. Here is

what Sean had to say about the day:

Wow, this is a concept I really believe in

and support wholeheartedly. I have always

been an advocate of the Motorcycles mall/

lifestyle centre concept.

Think about it, when you are looking for a

new pair of jeans, shoes and new shirt, you

don’t wander around from one end corner

shop to another, you cruise down to your

local mall where there is a concentration

of shops selling what you are looking for

because you know if one or the other

shop doesn’t have your size or fi t or colour,

another shop will defi nitely have what you

are looking for.

So when Bruce de Kok, (Bike Tyre

Warehouse boss), and Ryan Shapiro (Race

Shop boss), told me of their plans for a

PETROLHEADS village at the Buzz shopping

centre in Fourways I was really excited.

They had their grand opening on Saturday

the 1st of December 2018. There is a really

top notch Bike Tyre Warehouse outlet

there, which is supremely well stocked with

all the premium brands of bike tyres, brake

pads, chains and etc with a fully kitted out

state of the art fi tment centre and very well

trained, experienced, knowledgeable and

professional staff always ready.

Then, Race Shop is a premium boutique

styled motorcycle accessory store, stocked

to the rafters with all the popular brands.

The staff are well known, highly regarded

stalwarts of the industry with at least

50 years combined industry experience

between them, if not more. Then you have

Graham at Romans Tattoo, making sure

you get your ink done the right way. I was

so thoroughly amazed by the set up and

Grahams exuberance and passion that I

sommer got my fi rst bit of ink done…

Move next door and you have quite

possibly the biggest and best stocked

Vape shop I have ever seen, I’m not a

smoker or a vaper and know zero about it,

but this set up is mind blowing.

Then, Smokin’ Aces Cafe. What a mind

bender, everything is for sale, the bar, the

stools, the art work - frikkin’ everything,

or so I am told, but what a concept, their

offi cial blurb says, “We are an American style

Diner, Smoke-house and Saloon. Serving

‘Tex-Mex’ style cuisine with a separate ice

cream parlor, coffee bar and cigar saloon,

and it truly is something to behold - as is

their pulled smoke brisket hoagie.

The day in general was outstanding, live

music from the ever brilliant Black Water,

(blues rock to move your soul), and a bit

later on Backbone. Metzeler SA were there

with their full range of tyres and experts on

hand to assist with any questions. They also

had massive specials on selected rubber.

Plenty of stalls, excellent craft beer, Jack

Daniels girls, cool hot rods and bikes,

amazing specials on everything, plenty of

happy people, it was a day to remember.

Get down to The Buzz Shopping Centre

and experience the Petrolheads Village for


Bruce 073 777 9269 Bike Tyre Warehouse

Ryan 082 345 1399 Race Shop

Warren Davis 072 105 5314 Smokin Aces


Shoei Neo Tech 2 flip-up

helmet with integrated

comms system.

The perfect helmet for touring.

Here is something quite unique from the

Shoei stable: The Neotec 2 blends the

versatility of an open-face helmet with the

safety of a full-face. The helmet is top line

with exhaust outlets that complement the

upper air intake vents for improved air

fl ow. Wind tunnel testing optimized the

Neotec 2’s aerodynamics to perform in a

variety of riding positions. The integrated

shell spoiler is repositioned to better

reduce lift and drag at speed, while

the Aero Defl ector along the chin bar

adds stability. A micro ratchet chin strap

makes securing the helmet and removing

the helmet quick and easy. Noise Isolator

cheek pads improve the seal along the

neck opening of the helmet to keep

turbulent air out. The 360 Pivot Locking

System secures the chin bar in the down

locked position and a multi-piece EPS

liner made out of varying densities of

foam absorbs impact energy.

But here is what makes this fl ip up lid

quite unique: The Shoei Neotec 2 is

designed to integrate with the Sena SRL

Communication System for a clean and

low profi le installation. Cool Huh?

Available with the Sena headsets from

dealers like Linex Lifestyle Centre.

(011) 251 4000.

Motul concept store at

Holeshot Motorcycle.

The busy Kawasaki, Sym and Husqvarna

dealership on the East Rand recently included a

Motul Concept store to their lineup.

It’s a cosy area in the shop with all of the

Motul products on display and up for sale,

a workbench with toolracks and a chill zone

with bar stools and table where you can relax,

have a coffee and wait for your new bike to be

serviced and lubricated. The team at Holeshot

are experts when it comes to advise on

maintaining your motorcycle or what lubricants

to use for your motorcycle and your motorcycle

riding gear. Very cool – go and have a looksee.

And while you there take a gander at the full

range of Kawasaki and Husqvarna models,

or pop to the accessories side and check out

the latest in motorcycle gear. A true one-stop

motorcycle shop!

(011) 823-5830.

Intercom-Ready Design

If you’re a NEOTEC II owner, gone

are the days of custom-fabricating

bulky universal intercom systems

into your helmet. Specially designed

for the NEOTEC II, the all-new

SENA SRL Communication System*

seamlessly integrates with ease and

precision. Sleek in appearance, the

SRL installs effortlessly, and allows

for the NEOTEC II’s advanced safety

and performance to remain intact.

*SRL is specially developed for the

NEOTEC II, and is sold exclusively

by SENA.




Receive a complimentary Full HP Titanium Exhaust System

when you purchase a new BMW S 1000 RR.

Terms and Conditions apply.


Brought to you by

World Superbike confirms a

third race at every round in 2019

Back in October we already broke the news

that the World Superbike championship would

see important, if not radical, changes for the

2019 season, and now the SBK Commission

confi rmed that the structure of each of the 13

rounds from next year’s calendar will have three

races for the Superbike class.

Next season the main class of this world

championship gains a third race, which will be

called Tissot Superpole Race, a sprint race with

only 10 laps.

But let’s see exactly what changes every day.

On Friday, there will be less Free Practice

sessions for World Superbike riders. Instead

of three, there will be only two sessions. With

a third Free Practice session on Saturday

morning, this means that from 2019 onwards,

the SBK riders will only get a total of three Free

Practice sessions instead of four in 2018.

For the Supersport 600 class, there’s no

difference on Friday, while the Supersport 300

class will be divided into two groups, each with

two Free Practice sessions. The SSP300 class

will be split into two groups with the objective of

having less riders on track at the same time.

Saturday will also bring changes: the current

Superpole format will change, and instead of

SP1 and SP2 sessions, there will only be a

single Superpole session that decides the grid

position for World Superbike Race 1, held in the

beginning of Saturday afternoon.

Supersport 600 and Supersport 300 will also

get a single Superpole session, but in the lower

class, riders who qualify below 30th place, will

need to enter a Last Chance race. The fi rst six

riders in this race, will occupy the last six places

of the Supersport 300 grid for the Sunday race.

On Sunday there’s more changes, and the

biggest one yet, the arrival of the brand-new

Tissot Superpole Race for the Superbike class.

This race will happen Sunday morning with

only 10 laps, and riders getting the same grid

positions as for Race 1. At the end of the race,

only the fi rst nine riders will get points:

1st) 12 points

2nd) 9 points

3rd) 7 points

4th) 6 points

5th) 5 points

6th) 4 points

7th) 3 points

8th) 2 points

9th) 1 point

The third race for the Superbike class will

happen Sunday afternoon. Grid positions for

this race, with regular length, will be defi ned

by the results of the Tissot Superpole Race,

meaning the fi rst nine riders of the sprint

race will be the fi rst nine riders on the grid

for Race 3, with the remaining places on the

grid set by the results from the Superpole

qualifying session.

On Sunday the Supersport 600 and Supersport

300 races are also held, with fans getting a total

of four races on Sunday.

Honda will do

everything to make

Lorenzo champion

Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) is willing to

do anything next season to be able to take

Jorge Lorenzo to the MotoGP title. That’s

been confi rmed by HRC technical director

Takeo Yokoyama during an interview with


Yokoyama knows that Jorge Lorenzo has

specifi c requirements regarding his MotoGP

bikes, and in order to let the Spaniard use the

full potential of the 2019 factory spec Honda

RC213V, HRC will develop a different bike just

for him, instead of having just a single spec

prototype with small specifi c details for Marc

Marquez or Jorge Lorenzo.

This approach by HRC is totally different than

what Lorenzo experienced during his two

season stint with Ducati factory. The Italians

weren’t able to develop a Desmosedici

prototype according to Lorenzo’s needs, and

only by the middle of the 2018 season the

Ducati Corse racing department was able to

manufacture and deliver the specifi c fuel tank

and seat requested by Lorenzo a long time ago.

The results were immediate, with Lorenzo

winning as soon as he got what he asked for,

but by that time was already on his way to join

Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda in 2019.

According to Takeo Yokoyama, “If Jorge asks,

we will do something special. We have two

factory riders, and if they need something

different, we will make two different bikes.

Obviously the engine specs will be the same

for both riders, but we can do different things

regarding the frame, chassis setup and other

parts”, says Yokoyama, who also doesn’t

discard the possibility of Honda creating and

developing two different frames for each of the

factory riders.

During the Jerez test, Jorge Lorenzo already

saw that Honda is willing to do everything so

that he becomes MotoGP champion with the

Japanese brand.

During those post-season tests, Lorenzo

requested Repsol Honda to give him a special

fuel tank and seat unit for his bike. He requested

this in Valencia, right after the MotoGP season

fi nale. A week later, Honda Racing Corporation

already had the parts built in Japan, taking the

parts to Jerez, and Lorenzo felt much more

comfortable riding the RC213V prototype.


more confidence, in wet

and dry conditions, even

after 5000 KM *

even after 5 000

KM, experience

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


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


Brought to you by

What is that thing on the right side of the GP18’s rear

suspension? Ducati MotoGP mystery strut explained.

Writers dealing with MotoGP have recently

speculated on Ducati’s latest test hardware,

a slender aluminum strut extending forward

from the rear brake caliper. Is it a rebirth of

Kawasaki’s 1974 four-bar, twin-swingarm

rear suspension known as “Fu-Bar”? Is it a

warp drive that derives free energy from ions

in the air?

Nothing so esoteric. It is just a means

of varying the degree of torque coupling

between the rear brake and the swingarm.

The rear caliper bracket is pivoted on the

axle centerline and a strut extends forward

from it to the frame. When adjusted as a

parallelogram—consisting of the swingarm,

the caliper on its pivoted bracket, plus a

pivoted strut of length equal to that of the

swingarm extending forward to a pivoting

attachment point on the frame—no brake

torque is reacted to the swingarm. It all goes

into the chassis at the forward end of the

strut. But as the attachment point of the front

end of the strut is raised by degrees, more

and more of the rear brake’s torque is applied

to the swingarm. The resulting torque on the

swingarm tends to lower the rear of the bike

when the brake is applied.

In recent years, it has been normal to attach

the rear caliper directly to the swingarm

(100 percent of brake torque applied to

compressing the rear suspension) because

with this setup, applying the rear brake an

instant before the front lowers the rear of the

machine. This allows the rider to brake a bit

harder before the bike lifts its back wheel in a

stoppie. When Skip Aksland went to Kenny

Roberts in 1980 to ask what he could do

to stop being outbraked by Dale Singleton,

Roberts reportedly said to him, “Did you ever

think about hitting the rear brake just before

the front?” And in his little book, The Art of

Motorcycle Racing, Mike Hailwood suggested

applying the rear just before the front because

“it steadies you up.”

“Longer-wheelbase bikes need

some rear brake to get stopped

(remember Jorge Lorenzo

talking about having to learn the

technique?) but the harder you

brake on a bike whose rear brake

torque is fed into the swingarm, the

easier it is to develop brake hop.”

Through the Bridgestone tire era of MotoGP,

front braking was powerful enough that most

slowing was done with the front, so the rear

brake was much less a part of the action. In

the present era, two things are different. One

is that tires now come from Michelin, whose

rears have a lot of grip. The other is that Ducati

riders fi nd they need to supplement frontwheel

braking (not all that hot, as Michelin

fronts can’t do what the Bridgestones did) with

fair-sized amounts of rear braking.

Why is this a problem? With the rear caliper

bolted to the swingarm, if the rear tire is being

braked fairly hard and hits a bump hard

enough to leave the ground, the spike of brake

torque when it returns to earth is large enough

to kick the rear suspension upward (because

brake torque lifts the rear axle). The result can

be violent rear brake hop, enough to keep

the rider from using as much rear brake as

he needs (possibly also enough to give him

double vision). The very same used to happen

at the front in the 1980 era of mechanical

linkage anti-dive brake systems; hitting bumps

or ripples at maximum braking with one of

those “Gyro Gearloose” contraptions could

set the bike hopping and the fork tubes and

steering head fl apping.

“Ducati has made an adjustable

linkage to explore variations of the

geometry to find a sweet spot in

which braking is hop-free but the

value of squatting the rear of the

bike is not completely lost. The

lower the bike, the harder the rider

can ultimately brake.”

Therefore, it is only natural to wonder if trying

some degree of rear brake torque coupling

less than 100 percent might kill the hop while

retaining a useful amount of rear suspension

compression during braking. This is what

Ducati is testing now.

This is not a new idea. The great Manx Norton

tuner Francis Beart built such a rear-brake

torque-adjustment system in 1952 and I

built one for my homemade Kawasaki H2R

in 1972. In both cases, riders commented

that with less rear brake torque going into the

swingarm and more into the chassis through

a strut, it became possible to use more rear

brake without provoking rear-wheel hop.

Whatever happened to front anti-dive braking?

It was quickly abandoned once Yamaha

proved that dive is actually benefi cial. As

previously noted, dive lowers center-of-gravity

height, thereby making slightly harder braking

possible. But how could all that high-techlooking

linkage possibly have been wrong?

And why are custom builders reviving it? First,

remember Occam’s razor, that the simplest

solution is most often the best solution. And

second, never ask artists why they do things

the way they do.



Words by David Emmett

Rossi, Marquez and Pedrosa

through the eyes of Alberto Puig

On Saturday 15th December, Barcelonabased

daily newspaper La Vanguardia

published a lengthy interview with Alberto Puig.

That is in itself mildly surprising: despite being

team manager of the Repsol Honda squad,

Puig has little time for the media, and little

interest in speaking to them.

What is even more surprising is that it is a truly

insightful and fascinating interview, revealing a

lot about how Puig views running a MotoGP

team, and what makes Marc Márquez tick.

So it is a shame that the discussion the

interview has generated has centered around

two of the briefest subjects Puig mentioned:

his views of Dani Pedrosa, whom Puig thought

had not been fully committed in recent years,

and his thoughts on Valentino Rossi, whom he

believed had seen his moment pass.

The Old Dog

Which of those generated the most

controversy depended on where in the world

you were. Puig’s comments on Rossi were

biggest in Italy, unsurprisingly. Perhaps rightly

so, given the comparison Puig made between

Rossi and Marc Márquez.

Rossi has been a great rider who he fully

respected, Puig said. He was impressed by

Rossi’s refusal to accept that he shouldn’t

be able to compete at his age, and by his

undimmed desire to win.

But, Puig said, “he is having a hard time

accepting his moment has passed.”

That refusal underlies the animosity Rossi has

for Márquez, according to Puig. That animosity

was not reciprocated, according to the Repsol

Honda team manager.

The clashes between Rossi and Márquez had

been ‘racing incidents’, he said. “At no point

in time have I seen Márquez doing anything

against Rossi with malice.”

The animosity was a sign of weakness, Puig

said. “Like it or not, Marc is number one.”

Márquez was unaffected by the people around

Rossi trying to stir up negative public opinion

against him, Puig told La Vanguardia. “On the

contrary: we have sensed his weakness in his


Learning new tricks

Is such criticism justified? It is hard to see that

Valentino Rossi’s powers have declined. Speak

to the people around him, the members of his

team, and the rivals he races against, and they

will tell you that Rossi is riding better than ever.

His ambition drives him to keep adapting his

riding style to match and beat his rivals. He

finished third in the championship in 2018, and

second between 2014 and 2016.

Saying his moment has passed seems harsh.

It’s just that the level of his rivals has never

been higher.

Puig’s remarks about sensing weakness in

Rossi’s attack on Márquez may have some

truth to them, but it is hard to separate out the

animosity that Rossi still harbours for Márquez

after the 2015 season from any anger at

seeing Márquez taking over the position of

undisputed best rider in the world (five titles in

six seasons would seem to justify such a claim

for Márquez).

Has Márquez shown any animosity on track

towards Rossi? In his worst moments,

Márquez has displayed a recklessness and

lack of respect to his rivals, with Argentina this

year being a prime example.

But in that, Márquez has treated Valentino

Rossi no different to anyone else on track.

When the red mist descends, Márquez doesn’t

care who is in front of him, he just wants to get

past whatever the cost.

To his credit, such moments have been few

and far between since Argentina.


The comments that generated the most

controversy outside of Italy were Puig’s

remarks on Dani Pedrosa. He has worked with

Pedrosa in his prime, Puig said, but he didn’t

understand what Pedrosa had been doing in

recent years.

“This year, when I worked with him, I saw a

different Dani than the one I remembered.” He

refused to go into too much detail, but Puig did

feel there was some effort lacking.

“To be a champion in MotoGP, you have to

some things which he didn’t do.” There were

other riders who wanted it more, Puig said.

Pedrosa was still immensely talented, though.


Brought to you by

Pushing a bit and with only one good hand, he had

shown he was capable of being inside the top fi ve,

according to Puig. But that hadn’t been suffi cient for

the Repsol boss to want to keep him.

It was not just Puig’s remarks that caused the

controversy, but the response that Pedrosa posted

on Facebook. In a post dripping with Pedrosa’s

typically dry sarcasm, the Spaniard said that he

found it “curious that he [Puig] changed his opinion

of me so abruptly.”

He would have appreciated it if Puig had told him

of this resentment while he was actually in the

team, rather than waiting until he had left, Pedrosa

added cuttingly.

Presenting such criticism now he that was gone was

hardly going to change his motivation, Pedrosa said.

Long Time Coming

The spat between Puig and Pedrosa is hardly a

surprise. Puig’s criticism of Pedrosa is certainly

harsh, but on the other hand, Pedrosa fi nished

just 11th in the championship this year, behind the

Hondas of Marc Márquez and Cal Crutchlow.

On the other hand, there has been an unspoken

friction between Pedrosa and Puig ever since Puig

took over the role of Repsol Honda team manager.

I fi rst started hearing rumours from sources with

knowledge of the situation that Puig wanted rid of

Pedrosa as early as the beginning of this year.

Puig wanting to keep Marc

Márquez was a no-brainer. But it seems that Puig

was determined to get rid of Pedrosa from the start,

Pedrosa’s only chance of retaining his seat coming if

he had been able to beat Márquez.

That has not proved possible for anyone in MotoGP,

with the exception of the Movistar Yamahas in 2015.

Juicy Details

All this drama overshadows the best part of the

interview with Alberto Puig, however. La Vanguardia’s

reporter, Toni López Jordà, drew some real insight

from the Repsol Honda team manager.

When asked about Honda’s winning of the triple

crown, of rider, team, and manufacturer titles,

Puig was blunt. “If you don’t have a rider like Marc

Márquez, things are complicated.”

Puig was impressed by Márquez’s maturity, but also

by his humility. “Márquez is an antistar, he doesn’t

pretend to be something he isn’t. He has the humility

and curiosity to listen: to learn, and out of respect.”

He was “a genuine killer” on the bike, Puig said, “a

machine programmed to go right to the limit.” And

capable of saving himself when he tipped a little too

far over the limit.

Puig didn’t believe it was luck. Márquez was always

trying to learn on track, that was what makes him

the best.

Was Márquez the perfect rider? “Perfection doesn’t

exist, but he is close,” Puig said. Márquez still had

margin to improve with age. One of his strongest

points was admitting when he had made a mistake,

and working to correct it in the future.

“The majority of riders never admit it was their fault,”

Puig said. “He is the opposite.” That meant he was

able to learn from his mistakes.

Puig also had interesting insights into how he would

manage the team with Jorge Lorenzo joining. Having

two riders at the highest level – and he had no

doubt Lorenzo would soon be at the highest level,

Puig said – was not something he was particularly

worried about.

Honda had never had number 1 and number 2

riders, and that was not about to change. Nor would

Puig be playing the role of peacemaker, he said.

“Many team managers try to create a situation of no

confl ict between their riders. To me, that’s a mistake:

they will never win anything.”

The entire interview is worth reading, as it contained

so much more than a few off-the-cuff remarks about

Pedrosa and Rossi.

Though it has only been published in Spanish, using

an automatic translation service such as Google

or Bing Translate should provide a good enough

translation to get a very good insight into the thinking

of a man who tends to avoid publicity as a rule.

‘To win both WSB and

BSB would be ideal!’

Ducati Corse General Manager Gigi

Dall’Igna has his sights set on world

domination with the all new V4 in

2019, stating the Italian fi rm’s goal

is to win titles in both World and

British Superbikes with the bike in

its fi rst year in competition.

The V4’s predecessor, the v-twin

Panigale, is Ducati’s only superbike

model in history not to have won

a title in the Superbike World

Championship and the bike hadn’t

even won a race in Britain until

Shane Byrne and the PBM team

took it on in 2016.

However, with the V4 R looking like

a world beater on paper, Dall’Igna

– the man responsible for turning

around Ducati’s MotoGP effort –

has set his teams a big challenge

for the year ahead.

“There is only one goal – we

win,” he said. “Winning both

championships [WSB and BSB]

is the ideal solution. We are quite

happy with the fi rst tests in World

Superbike, both Chaz and Alvaro

are happy with the bike and

delivering similar feedback to our

two test riders who have been

working on it over the last year.

“We have some small problems to

solve, but they are problems that all

the riders agree on and we have a

clear idea on the areas to improve.

BSB is still one of the most

important championships, we have

good irders there, a good team

there and would like to do well.”

WSBK not

coming to SA

Over the past couple of months

there was a big rumour that the

WSBK championship would be

returning to the iconic Kyalami circuit

for 2019. Sadly, those rumours

have been put to rest with the

confi rmation of Laguna Seca on the

dates when Kyalami was scheduled

to be held. The deal broke down

when the money that was promised

to be paid, by a certain individual

here in SA, was not done, hence

the collapse. Pity, as we and many

others were excited to have the

WSBK boys back in SA. Let’s hope

that they, or even MotoGP, will one

day return to SA. Although we don’t

see it happening anytime soon...



Brought to you by

Words by Donovan Fourie / Pic by Eugene Liebenberg & Gerrit Erasmus

New Monocle Motorcycle Racing Series:

racing without big money or politics?

Here is how a racing series works – the poor

organiser books the circuits and possibly puts

down deposits, pays the event licence fees to

whichever governing body they’re under, pays

for timekeepers, pays for marshals and race

offi cials, pays for ambulances, buys trophies,

possibly pays for TV coverage and then hopes

enough people enter this race series to cover

all these costs. These days, there usually isn’t

enough income to cover said costs, and if said

organiser is lucky then a sponsor is found to

make up the defi cit but, like entrants, sponsors

are hard to come buy, and usually houses get

mortgaged and homelessness takes place.

This new Monocle Race Series seems to be

run quite differently. It doesn’t give two hoots

how many entrants they get, and isn’t actively

looking for sponsors, but the racing shall go

ahead unhindered.

This all started with a misplaced BOTTS

Class – a category formerly standing for Battle

Of The Twins, but with the fading out of twin

superbikes they have shortened it to simply

“BOTTS” and allowed any motorcycle with

a V motor. In previous years, they raced as

a support class for the SuperGP Series that

also hosted the National 1000 and National

600 classes. This series has now dissolved,

and will be split to join other car racing series

to broaden the car and bike racing days.

This did not go down well with the BOTTS

racers who understandably don’t want to

race with a bunch of rust-bucket cars that

have a tendency to dump oil all over the

track. Normally, a racing class would have

to either concede and slip on oil, or give up

racing, but the BOTTS riders have another ace

up their sleeve.

The class is made up mostly of owners of fi ne

Ducatis and exotic European bikes, often with

an entire catalogue of expensive aftermarket

good bolted onto them. They are not exactly

the sort of people that are short of funds. With

this, they decided to simply club together

and organise their own racing, rent the tracks

themselves, put in place all the offi cials and

other requirements, and just go racing. And,

if they are going to go through all that trouble,

why not host other classes at the same time?

And so we have the Monocle Series, a

countrywide racing championship with seven

rounds and six classes. As mentioned, it will

be non-profi t with certain BOTTS members

fi tting any shortfalls in the books, and complete

fi nancial transparency. They have also decided

not to fall under any of the current motorsport

governing bodies, and are going at it alone.

The benefi ts of this include less fi nancial

strain as they will not have to take out event

licences, plus they will run autonomously, with

no interference from anyone else. This suits

their “no politics” objective, with each class

governing themselves and making their own

technical rules. The organisers have stressed

that all safety regulations will be in place “exactly

as people have become accustomed to”,

meaning there will be marshals, paramedics,

offi cials, technical consultants and all other

safety personal in check. What makes this all

the more believable is that most of the BOTTS

grid, apart from being successful businessmen

and professional people, have been racing for

many years and were previously involved in the

running of racing events.

For racers, the recipe is simple – you will not

have to buy a racing licence, but you will have

to have suffi cient medical aid, or a hospital

plan, that has been notifi ed of your racing

activities. The entry fee per race will be set

at R1500 per rider, regardless of how many

classes they enter on the day.

The classes will be BOTTS/Masters, Classics

(with their various subclasses), Open 1000cc,

Open 600cc, 300s (with possible subclasses)

and a novice/street bike class. These are the

classes, but the organisers will attempt to

fi t anyone on any machine in. On technical

grounds, these classes will each be governed

by themselves, but most of them will involve

open technical rules, apart for turbos and

nitrous, and will have to adhere to safety

regulations such as lockwired bolts and other

scrutineering criteria. The upside of this is

less politics and simple racing. Each of these

classes will have championships scoring points

in the usual way, and will receive trophies at the

end of each race day.

Tyres will also be open, meaning riders can

bring whatever rubber they prefer, though

the series will be supported by Dunlop who

will bring tyres to sell at each event and tyre

changing facilities that will be free for anyone

using Dunlops.

As for TV coverage, they are currently

exploring the possibility of live streaming over

the internet, something that is becoming more

and more commonplace.

Here is the calendar for 2019:

23 Feb RSR

4 May Phakisa

4 June Kyalami

27 July East London

21 September Phakisa

19 October RSR

November Kyalami (exact date tba)

Enquiries: motorcycleracingseries@gmail.com





For all you die-hard Valentino Rossi fans. Moto Mate Sandton have just

received stock of the new limited Rossi AGV replica helmet. The Pista GP R

Soleluna is the top of the range lid from the Italian manufacturer and looks

splended in the Rossi replica colours. The Shell consists entirely of carbon. A

super-light and extremely strong helmet. It is the safest helmet available. It

also has improved aerodynamics by, among other things, the Biplano rear

spoiler. This results in the spoiler ensuring that the helmet remains stable

at top speeds. This helmet has a hydration system (which you can easily

remove), so you can drink while driving, should it be necessary. This helmet

is suitable for both circuit and street use. Available in S, MS and L only.

From: Moto Mate Sandton - (011) 234-5274/5 Price: R26 900



One of the best racing gloves on the market today, the

RST Tractech EVO R gloves are designed to protect and be

comfortable. Styling is very cool and we love the colours

that are available. Moto Mate Sandton currently has them

on special so don’t miss out!

From: Moto Mate

Price: R1999 (Save R500)



Start the 2019 race or trackday season off with a brand new, top quality gear bag. The

Ogio 9800 gear bag is the top-of-the-range bag available and comes with wheels

and adjustable grab handle to help transport. KTM and Husqvarna have their own

Powerparts team replica options and they look great. Our Rob uses the Ogio 9800 bag

and raves about how amazing it is and how well it caters for all his riding gear.

From: All KTM and Husqvarna dealers Price: KTM R4200 / Husqvarna R4120



Just arrived in store is the new range of Troy-Lee Designs KTM

Factory USA replica team gear. Two cool shirt designs, caps

plus a really stylish backpack. Nothing better than that factory

look with all the team logos. Caps are R850 each, shirts R799

each and the backpack is R1999.

From: Planes, Trains & Automobiles - sales@pt-a.co.za



Badger Racing is an Australian company that has also now setup a base here

in SA. They are the official importers and distributors for top brands such as

I2M, TWM and Spider. These products are now available here in SA. The range

includes various styled top quality adjustable rear-sets from Spider (R8500),

TWM folding levers (R1499 per lever) and lever protectors (R1299),

passenger tank grab handle (R2500) and the I2M dash (R16,500). A

variety of filler caps are also available from R1450. All the products are

of the highest quality and once seen in person can really be appreciated.

The I2M dash has been approved to be used in the SA National superbike

racing series and displays everything you could possibly want out on the

track. Go check out the full range of Badger racing products on their Facebook

page (Badger Racing South Africa) or displayed at Race Shop Fourways at the

Petrol Heads Village at the Buzz Shopping Centre in Fourways.

From: Race Shop Fourways - Ryan 082 345 1399 or email ryan@sunoco.co.za

Triumph Finance, a product of Wesbank, a division of FirstRand Bank Ltd.

An authorised Financial Service Provider NCRCP20.

Terms and conditions apply and finance subject to approval

Triumph Johannesburg l cnr South & Datrfield rds l Sandton

info@triumphbikes.co.za l 011 444 4441




The new Panigale V4R is pretty

much a WSBK with lights on...

really, it’s that similar.





Is Forced Induction for Motorcycles Dead on Arrival?

Ducati’s announcement that it is making its final production run of

the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition got me thinking. This could

be the very last v-twin superbike from the Italian brand, making it a

true “Final Edition” motorcycle? It certainly appears so. By Jensen Beeler

Right now, the Italian marque is betting its

superbike future on the V4 platform, which

means it could be another 5 years or longer

(10 years could be a reasonable number,

even) before Ducati debuts its next

superbike platform.

What do we imagine

that motorcycle will

look like? Where do we

imagine the motorcycle

industry will be in the

next five to ten years?

That future isn’t too far away, but the

answer is still hard to fathom.

Can we really see a future where

Ducati builds another v-twin engine?

Understand, the Superquadro motor

is the pinnacle of v-twin design, and

pushes the limits of what kind of

power such an engine configuration

can create.

This is the very reason that Ducati

abandoned the Superquadro v-twin

design for the Desmosedici Stradale

V4. That is a big deal in Ducatista land,

but it is a notable move for the motorcycle

industry as a whole.

So, the thought experiment evolves from

this, and we begin to wonder what is not only

in store for a brand like Ducati, whose history

is rooted in a particular engine design, but

also what is in store for the other brands of

the motorcycle industry, who have been tied

to thermic engines for over a century.

For the Japanese brands, the hand that

holds that future has been tipped, with

turbocharged and supercharged designs

teased by three out of the Big Four

manufacturers. We have even

see Kawasaki bringing its

own supercharged

motorcycles already to

market already.

But, is this really the future? Or, is this

resurgence of forced induction for

motorcycles dead on arrival?

The Next

Chapter, The

Next Century

To think about

the future of

the motorcycle

industry, we have

to think about

the future of the

environment that we

live in…and unless

you hid yourself from

the recent news

headlines, the

environment is the

operative word here.

Politics aside, I can say three things

with absolute certainty: emission

standards are only going to grow more

restrictive as time moves forward; gas

prices are only going to increase as oil

becomes more scarce; and from all this

the specter that is the final days of internal

combustion becomes only more real.

Thermic engines have had a good run

of things, for over 100 years we have

been perfecting the methods by which we

translate mechanical power from the ignition

of fuel, primarily gasoline. But, we are on the

verge of the next chapter in transportation.


As such, it is hard to imagine an engine company investing

more research and development into a thermic motor design.

The days of the electric motorcycle might not be here yet,

and development of this technology might still be in its

infancy, but the writing is on the wall.

In the next fi ve years, we are poised to see electric

vehicles making a leap in price and performance

parity, as solid

state batteries

arrive on



This isn’t

pie-in-the-sky hope that is

talking about yet another

promised vaporware

technology. Instead,

this is an innovation

that a multitude of

automotive manufacturers are

right now in the midst of their

product development in bringing

to market.

Unforced Induction

All of this brings us back to forced

induction, where on a motorcycle, the

goal is to extract the most

power from the lightest


From bikes like

the Kawasaki Ninja

H2R and concepts like

the Suzuki Recursion, there

is a hope that forced induction

can bring either headline power fi gures

from typical displacements, or class-jumping

performance from smaller engines.

We have seen as much already in the fourwheeled

space, so there is natural progression

for turbochargers and superchargers to make their

two-wheeled arrival (or re-arrival, if you know your

two-wheeled history). But the stressors and rigors of the

automotive world don’t always translate to motorcycles.

The push for more fuel effi cient motorcycles isn’t here (yet).

The need for more power is illusory, driven only by the

marketing departments at the OEMs. The packaging and

weight savings that forced induction offers create minimal

gains for machines that can weigh already under half a ton

(often less).

And then, there is the matter of increased costs and

complexity – hurdles that might make sense if the endpoint of

development necessitated it and validated it – but again, the

days of thermic propulsion are surely numbered.

For the millions of rands that have gone, and potentially will

go, into developing forced induction motorcycle engines, an

argument can be made that those resources would be better

spent on hybrid and electric drive systems for motorcycles.

Potential Energy

Last month saw the MotoE World Cup taking its fi rst testing

laps at Jerez, ushering a new era of road racing at the grand

prix level. The spends weren’t exciting, the lap times weren’t

scorching, though I do think we can expect the racing to be

enticing (maybe or maybe not aurally).

While we are witnessing another milestone in two-wheeled

history, one cannot help but think that the MotoGP

Championship is missing an opportunity. If the goal of the

premier class is to drive innovation, why hasn’t it allowed

development of electric-assist technologies like the KERS

and push-to-pass systems we have seen in Formula 1.

MotoGP is pushing nearly 300hp per liter of engine

displacement now, a terrifyingly great achievement, but

for what gains at the stopwatch? And, how much of this

technology is relevant for production machines.

We don’t have to look far to see the lengths OEMs are

going in order to sustain this technology Ponzi scheme.

If we know the endpoint for production motorcycles is an

electric fi nal drive, why is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing

not helping us build a bridge to that destination?

Instead, we get the MotoE World Cup, which will still be a

series too early for its time, and lack any sort of progress for

technology. Ask the Isle of Man’s TT Zero race how that plan

is working out for them.

The better alternative is to incorporate electric drives into

existing thermic systems, adding and augmenting power

drive to the rear wheel via electrons.

Better yet, the technology for meaningful gains from these type

of electric drive systems already exists.

Hybrids too offer an opportunity, and while the challenges might

be higher than a more simple “push to pass”

setup, the technology requires only obtainable

goals from the current state of the art.

Repeatedly, we see motorcycle manufacturers

and racing organizations trying to mount a

step too tall for the current technology, when

the reality is that there is a lower threshold

to cross fi rst – one that not only drives

innovation, but also provides consumers with

the increase of performance and value that

they are seeking.

So with this in mind, I wonder out loud

whether brands like Honda, Kawasaki, and

Suzuki should be pursuing forced induction

systems. I will answer my own question…

The road that technology takes us down is

a dead end. It is 1990s thinking perpetrated

in the 21st century, and we have enough of

that already in the motorcycle industry.


Pic by Louis Mac Pherson


This article proudly brought to you by


Around the

119 070 kilometers through 54 countries over 442 days, all on a Suzuki gixxer fitted with

Bridgestone tyres. It was a roller coaster of a ride, I had moments when I’d been at my

lowest, but countless times where I smiled and laughed until it hurt. Words and pics Bruce Smart

It’s impossible to go through the entire trip

here in one article, so I thought I’d give

you my highlights. If you want to see the

whole trip, head over to youtube.com/

TeapotOneVids and check out the ‘Around

the World’ playlist – there are 17 episodes

covering the entire trip in depth, all free to


Best Country: Norway

This is probably the question I get asked

the most, and people look at me like I’m

insane when I give them my reply. Out of

the 54 countries I had the privilege to ride

through, Norway was the one that I’d most

likely hold at the top. I loved everything

about the place, its outstanding beauty

is something you have to experience for

yourself to believe. Her people are amongst

the friendliest and most open I’ve ever

encountered, with the biking community

a shining example of what it means to be

a biker. No matter what or how you ride,

no matter where you’re from, show up

in Norway on 2, or 3 wheels, and you’ve

instantly got friends and a place to stay.

The roads are fantastic in places, although

at times the surface can be a wee bit bumpy

where the harsh winters and ice tyres have

ripped it up in parts. But that aside, head

over the mountains, through the forests, and

across the isles, Norway is just a bike touring

mecca. I’ll be going back as soon as I can,

and with 24hr sunshine during the summer

months, you can ride 24/7 to get your monies

worth whilst you’re there.

That by the way, is the only negative.

Norway is probably the most expensive

country I visited, with a pint of lager

coming in around R300! But never fear,

get to know the locals and they’ll point you

in the right direction for an evening’s tipple

before heading out on the town – it’s the

Norway way!

Top tip: Head right up the West coast

towards ‘Lofoten’ and then up to ‘Tromso’.

The roads are fantastic and the scenery

is like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Truly Epic.

The Japan and the USA are very close

second, and to be honest, there are loads

of countries that really struck a chord for

various reasons. Just get out there and



Two gorgeous pics from what was

a gorgeous experience in Norway.

Worst Country: Mauritania

Without a shadow of a doubt, Mauritania is my idea of hell. It starts at

the border as you enter from Western Sahara in the north of Africa. I

remember the border guard shaking my hand as he slid the iron gate

back, wishing me good luck as he revealed the gates of hell. Sand,

landmines, extreme heat and humidity, a plethora of AK-47’s, and locals

who’d watch you die in the heat unless you grease their palm with cash.

I hated the place.

I hit Mauritania right at the point where there was a huge Islamic

fundamentalist uprising throughout North Africa. Mali had already been

overrun and they were sweeping their way down and across Mauritania

from its Eastern border. The whole country was full of police and military

checkpoints who were there to guard against the fundamentalists. As it

was, I mostly got robbed by these same police, only occasionally being

robbed by militia and bandits along the way, in between checkpoints.

The place got to me, it REALLY got to me.

Top 5 Roads: In no particular order:

• Scotland

Country of my birth, but so much more. The roads around Scotland are

amongst the best in the world, with my firm favourites being the run from

Inverness to Thurso, and the North Western coastal run from the Isle of

Skye all the way up to the very tip in the North. Maddening fast straights,

sweeping bends, tight twisties, hip shaking turns, and scenery to beat

any blockbuster, it’s right on our doorstep yet pretty much empty most

of the time. Absolute bliss.

• Tail of the Dragon, USA

Where the States of South/North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee meet

lie the Smoky Mountains. Unlike most of the rest of the USA, the roads

here actually have corners – not the usual slight kink in a never ending

straight, but full blown twists, turns, hairpins and sweepers. Mix that with

constant elevation changes, a fairly decent road surface and some of the

finest mountain views around, and you’ve got a biking playground.

Broken subframe in

Mauritania, the least

of Bruce’s problems

while there...


The infamous ‘Tail of the Dragon” or “Deals

Gap”, is the route 129 that twists and turns

its way through this fantastic mountain range.

318 bends in just 18 km, it’s every bit as good

as the hype, right up there with the best roads

I’ve ever ridden around the world. But to be

honest, you could take practically any road

off the 129 and you’ll be faced with equally as

impressive asphalt.

Every type of bike and car can be found

on the ‘dragon’ when the sun is out, so

time your visit carefully. The police are only

too aware of the roads notoriety so are in

abundance when it gets real busy. But it’s

worth the visit. Do it.

• Snowy Mountains, Australia

South West of Canberra lie the Snowy

Mountains, right on the border of NSW and

Victoria. Like the ‘Smoky Mountains’ in the

USA, they offer a stark contrast to the majority

of the other roads throughout Australia in the

form of twists, turns, hairpins, sweeping bends,

descents, rises, insanely fast straights and

breathtaking views abound. If you’re coming

this way on a bike, get onto www.bikeme.tv and

make yourself known. The biking community

in Oz is every bit as welcoming as everywhere

else in the globe, you’ll soon have yourself some

playmates to show you the best roads, and more

than likely a BBQ or four to attend. Lovely Job.

• N260, Spain

Epic, that’s the only word needed here, simply

epic. Pick up the N260 from Olot in the East

of Spain and ride its 300-odd mile length all

the way to Jaca to the West. It’s just curve

after mind blowing curve, transcending you

across the beautiful Pyrenees, surrounding

you with breathtaking views I’ve found hard

to beat anywhere in the world. It’s a good

days ride, even when ridden at pace, so

do yourself a favour and make the most

of your time on it. There are plenty of wee

villages along the way with places to stay,

and you can’t go wrong with the roads up

there in Northern Spain. Just take a turn off,


One of the many great

roads in Indonesia...

S@#t roads but

great people in


Stunning Indonesia...

follow the road, and enjoy the ride. Spain

is a firm favourite of mine, I head back

frequently throughout the year on tour with

ChickenStrips.co.uk so I’ll likely see you there.

• Route 35, Ecuador

Riding from the border of Peru to Ecuador

you pick up route 35 at Macara, and follow

it for over 805 km to the capital city of Quito

in the North. It’s absolutely breathtaking and

caught me completely by surprise. I was

expecting an old road at best, more than

likely just a cart track really. But what I got

instead was a brand spanking new stonker

of a biking road, twisting and turning its way

up and down the edge of the Andes, with

views of the Amazon rainforest presenting

themselves at times. On the whole the road

surface is immaculate as it’s mostly a brand

new road, with only the occasional patch of

gravel after the winter to look out for.

A long way to go for a blat on the bike,

but if you’re ever passing through, it’s got

to be done. Contact the folks at www.

freedombikerental.com for the best guided

tours available in the country, they also offer

bike and kit rental, as well as a top mechanic

if you have any issues!

Worst Roads

This is a difficult one really as some of the

worst surfaced roads actually presented

some of the best parts of the trip as I had to

really battle to get through. But again, in no

particular order, here are some that stick out

in my mind:

• Sumatra, Indonesia

This in no way reflects on the folks of

Indonesia, as they are some of the nicest and

friendliest people I’ve met. But the roads in

Sumatra, which lies in the north of Indonesia,

are horrendous to ride along. The surface is

not too bad, the occasional pothole keeping

you concentrating on the road a few feet

ahead, but the traffic is biblical! It took me

almost a week to ride the 1120-odd km from

Medan to Bandar Lampung, as it was almost

nose-to-tail traffic the whole way. Speed is

kept down to an average of about 10-15mph,

the air is thick with acrid black smoke, and just

about every other vehicle on the road is trying

to kill you. Size matters in this land and I very

quickly realised that if I was riding towards a

bend, I should expect a bus or truck to be

coming at me on the wrong side of the road.

More often than not, this was the case.

Chuck in flooding, wildlife, entrepreneurial

bandits (but they don’t often target bikers to

be honest) and the local version of the ‘Delhi-

Belly’, and my time riding down through

Indonesia was off to a miserable start.

But persevere as the roads from Bali

across the islands to West Timor are much

better, the traffic lighter and the air cleaner.

• Outback, Australia

Now this is another difficult one as it’s a

double-edged sword. The Stuart Highway

heading South from Darwin is well surfaced,

there are enough petrol stations to keep you

and the bike fuelled, and the scenery is initially

stark enough to keep your interest. But 965

km later you’ve not seen as much as a kink

in the road for hours, the ‘scenery’ is just red

sand and road kill, and the only company you

get is the occasional road train thundering

along. Ride early in the morning or into the

evening and you’re dicing with death as the

wildlife comes out to play. The kangaroos out

here are massive, not the wee cuddly ones

you see in the zoo, these are the huge 7ft

high 270kg buggers that will hit like a train if

you connect on a bike. They have the road

sense of a Glasgow drunk, appearing out


The wonderful, built especially

for sportbikes, Laos

Just had to take a pic at

the Grand Canyon.

of nowhere from the bush at the side of the

road, sweeping across in front of you as you

ride and sometimes even stopping to stare at

you as you close at warp factor 9. Interesting

feeling that!

I even used one of the road trains as a

blocker at one stage, tucking in behind as

we thundered along at 90mph. Unfortunately

when they meet a mob of ‘roos’ they make

short work of them, the resultant red-mist

the only evidence of their short encounter.

I ended up wearing this mist, the smell and

taste staying with me in my lid for many miles

to come. Lovely!

• Route 1D, Laos

If you followed the trip you will have seen the

pics and vids of this road. The mud, sand,

rocks, gravel, landfalls, floods, rivers, guntotting

locals and wildlife are all in evidence.

If you were on a more traditional ‘adventure

bike’ then it wouldn’t be anywhere near as

hard, but on a Superbike, it was sheer hell at

times. But the sense of achievement when

I finally found asphalt again after over 130

miles and 2 days was one of the best feelings

I experienced on the trip. That bike took me

over sheer landfalls, small mountains of rock

over 12ft high that blocked the way ahead.

With a drop to rapids on one side, the steep

rise of the mountains edge on the other, you

have 2 choices – go over it or turn around

and go back. Going back wasn’t something

I was entertaining, so I just gunned it and up,

up, up and over we went. If I hadn’t been

there myself I never would have believed a

sports bike and sports tyres could put up with

the abuse I dealt them on that road.

I know Guy Martin (“When a man can eat

his own head….”) doesn’t like the word, but it

was simply ‘unbelievable’.

• Western Ukraine

Keep in mind that I didn’t go on the side

roads in the Ukraine, as they are just mud

and sand. I stayed on their motorways and

highways, the equivalent of our M1, M6,

A1 etc. You could be riding down the road

then all of a sudden it just disappeared and

was replaced by something resembling a

honeycomb. Huge and plentiful potholes

swallow any surface, the cars and trucks

don’t slow down so if you’re following them,

the first you’ll know of a pothole is when you

crash into one. Leave a gap from the vehicle

in front so you can observe the road surface

ahead, and some drunken driver will just fill it.

But yet again, the people of Ukraine were

brilliant, always willing to help and eager to

know about your travels and plans. I stopped

in Kiev before heading up to Russia, and it

has to be said, there’s definitely something

in the water. The woman folk of this city are

amongst the most beautiful on the planet.

Head East out of Kiev and the roads

suddenly become much better. When I

commented about the roads to locals, I was told

that the West of the country were pro-Europe,

whereas the East of the country favoured

Russia. As the current government were more

towards the East, all investment in infrastructure

was driven towards the East of the country.

• Interstates & Highways, USA

This is purely from a biking perspective as

the highway infrastructure in the States is

a superb way of covering huge distances

in a relatively short period of time. But they

are straight, by God they are straight, and

featureless! It’s purely a case of sitting in the

saddle, twisting the throttle and keeping

it there for hours at a time. Perfect for the

Harley’s out there, but literally a pain in the

arse if you’re on a sports bike.

One exception is the I90 as it crosses the

State of Montana. This place is incredibly

beautiful, huge mountains and steep valleys,

even the interstate has to twist and turn

its way through, up and over the natural

beauty. If I had more time, I’d have loved to

investigate the minor roads that crisscross

their way through this State. Another one for

another day me thinks.


Hottest Moment

The hottest temperature on the trip was 51

degrees Celsius just outside a town called

Mount Isa in Australia. It was Christmas Day

and I’d bee riding right through the bush,

aiming to try and reach the Eastern Coast

of Oz. I stopped and had my Crimbo dinner

(Ginsters egg & cress sandwich and a Yazoo)

at a petrol station in the town, then as I left

the temperature just soared. I went past a

sign marking the hottest ever recorded temp

of 53ºC, and the gauge next to it showed a

current temp of 51ºC!

The best way of describing riding in that

kind of heat is this. Put on your biking kit, then

your lid and flip the visor up. Then take a hair

dryer and turn it on with to the highest setting.

Point it right into your face and that’s about it.

With the lid up it’s almost too hot to breathe,

it dries your eyes out and life is not good. Flip

the visor down and you’re in a sauna, but at

least you can breathe and see. Even if you

go faster, the outside air is just hot so it hardly

makes a difference. I never thought I’d yearn

for Blighty’s weather so much!

Coldest Moment

I’d been really lucky throughout the trip with

the weather. Apart from rain and light snow

when I left the UK for the 2nd time in May

2013, the weather had been good with an

average temp around the 32ºC mark for

practically the whole way until I got to the

America’s. It got colder as I headed north

up through South to Central America, but

only to the high teens and low twenties. The

USA was all over the place with the weather,

scorching hot at times, but then freezing cold

the next day. As I headed north to Canada,

a huge cold front hit with massive tornado’s

and storms causing immense damage all

around. Crossing the prairies of Canada from

Winnipeg to Edmonton, the temperature

plummeted to a staggering -38ºC with the

wind chill on the bike. I’d no winter gear, I’d

ditched it all in the middle of Russia after

snapping the subframe for the 3rd time. I’d

reckoned I wouldn’t need it until Canada and I

was right. Unfortunately as it was now spring,

everywhere had got rid of their winter range

and the light summer stock was filling the

shelves! All I could do was put on my Spada

one piece rain suit and fleece, double up my

socks and wear 2 neck buffs to try and keep

the cold out. The Spada ‘Enforcer WP’ winter

gloves were great for a time, but once the wet

gets in, you’ve had it. I could ride for about

10-20 mins then have to pull over and hold

my hands over the running exhaust, trying

to get some heat and feeling back into my

fingers. It was absolute pain all the time. I’ve

never, ever been so cold in my life.

The ironic thing was I was heading north to

Alaska, but the temp up there was currently in

the mid 20’s? Unfortunately, the delay caused

by my slow progress in the extreme cold,

meant I had to turn back short of my final

destination in Alaska, instead heading South

to Vancouver and East to New york. But I’ll

just add it to my list for where to go next.

Best Bed

Believe me or not, but the best sleep I

ever got was when in the desert, sleeping

straight on the sand in my tent. The warmth

emanating up from the sand keeps you toasty


Merge with Nature.


Shoei helmets are imported and distributed by AMP. To find your nearest Shoei dealer call 011 259 7750.

Camping in Morocco.

through the night, the stars above the best feature film you

could wish to view. Just beautiful.

Camping in Peru.

Worst Bed

When I got to the Isle of Man for the TT, I met up with my

Mrs and she brought a tent and some camping kit. For

some reason she didn’t want to sleep in my tent, the one I’d

lived in for the last 13 months or so, no idea why not?

Anyway, being a lady she’d got a couple of air

mattresses and popped them in the tent. They absolutely

killed my back, I was in sheer agony after the first night,

unable to get more than a few hours kip before I’d have

to get up and walk around. I even ended up sleeping on a

bench in the gents’ shower block, that was my excuse at

least! Hello sailor!!!!

Longest Distance Travelled on Reserve

Heading up through the Atacama Desert in Chile, I’d

thought I’d passed all the parts where I’d need extra fuel.

There’d been a plethora of fuel stations everywhere since

leaving Santiago, so I hadn’t bothered filling up my jerry

cans. Unfortunately I was proven wrong whilst riding through

the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert. As soon as

my fuel light came on, the onboard computer on the Gixxer

starts a counter to show you how far you’re ridden on the

reserve. When the engine finally coughed it’s last and I

coasted to the side of the road, I’d covered a staggering 74

km! I’d ridden about 300 km on one tank of fuel, the furthest

I’ve ever gone. I’d just had her in 6th gear, hardly touching

the throttle at all, trundling along at about 10 kph.

A very big hand in Chile.

Best Bodge

I was really lucky on my trip, the bike held together and

never let me down, apart from the subframe. After going

through 3 genuine Suzuki subframes, breaking them 4 times

in exactly the same place, and with Suzuki unwilling to help

me investigate any issue with the frame or shock mounts,

I was contacted by the lads at ‘Run Riot’ motorcycles in

Kent, UK. They very kindly built me an aftermarket subframe

out of solid aluminium billet, shipped it out to me in Japan,

and it has lasted to this day.


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An in-depth look into Bridgestone's

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5LC Compo

Balance be

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The Battlax Hypersport S22 is

Bridgestone's latest hypersport tyre: a

thrilling new product that will allow you

to experience the full extent of your

bike's performance on the road!

The technical upgrades on the S22

show performance enhancements in all

areas. So what we had created the

ultimate hypersport tyre for all

conditions ?

The S22 has adopted a new pattern

design in line with the needs and

requirements of hypersport users. The

light handling brought by the tyre

The Battlax Hypersport S22 is

Bridgestone's latest hypersport tyre: a

thrilling new product that will allow you

to experience the full extent of your

bike's performance on the road!

combined with its feedback and

cornering performance for maximum

confidence are a perfect match for any

hypersport rider.

By adopting new compounding

technology, Bridgestone’s hypersport

flagship model is showing no

compromise in wet and dry

performance on top of increasing the

total handling package.

The technical upgrades on the S22

show performance enhancements in all

areas. So what we had created the

ultimate hypersport tyre for all

conditions ?

The Battlax Hypersport S22 will become

the tyre partner taking your excitement

and thrill of riding to the next level.



Increase the Sea/Land ratio in the

shoulder area Sharp 3D end groove

for Increasing optimum cornering speed rigidity. in the dry Optimize groove

by 15% giving 1.2% faster dry

angle laptime. Generating and alignment less spinning to redirect the

from lower speeds onwards in Wet


conditions giving


5% faster


wetthe tyre. the impact


is positive on handling lightness, water

drainage, feedback and limit control.

The S22 has adopted ratio a new (+25% vs. pattern S21) touching the


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requirements of hypersport users. The

light handling brought by the tyre


L I Nsoon E Uat Pdealers Nation-Wide

combined with its feedback and


Increase the Sea/Land ratio in the

shoulder area Sharp 3D end groove

for optimum rigidity. Optimize groove

angle and alignment to redirect the

working forces on the tyre. the impact

is positive on handling lightness, water

drainage, feedback and limit control.

Pattern design and compound

changes are reducing the slippage

towards the end of the contact area,

this generates more grip.

5LC Compound structure (Rear) :

Balance between Grip and cornering

stability with a harder center, softer

traction and softest edge compound.

New traction area compound applied

with optimized resin components in

the initial compound mixture in order

to upgrade the grip characteristics.

New center compound adopting fine

silica molecular approach :

Generating a higher silica molecule

Pattern design and compound

changes are reducing the slippage

towards the end of the contact area,

this generates more grip.

As such, I never really needed any bodge job repairs

after that. But beforehand, when the subframe broke on the

road, the resourcefulness and technical expertise shown

by mechanics in Mauritania and Russia was superb. In

Mauritania, a local mechanic soldered the subframe back

together, bracing it where he could. It went back on the bike

a dream and never gave me any problems until I replaced it

with a stock Suzuki part that merrily snapped as I exited the

M1 on the way to Donington for a track day?

After replacing with yet another stock Suzuki subframe

just before I left again, it broke twice more whilst crossing

Russia. Both times the argon welding carried out by the

Russian mechanics, were pieces of art. The last time it

went, I ended up at a roadside garage, stripping the back of

the bike off in the scorching heat. Once off I took it into the

workshop and was met by mountains of crap everywhere,

sand and muck on the floor, surrounded by every type of

vehicle part you could imagine.

The mechanic braced one section in a vice then had his

wee lad jam the other piece against it using a long lump of

wood. No glasses, no welding shield, they just turned their

eyes away and welded! He did probably the best weld I’d

seen so far, and it lasted until I changed it over for the new

heavy-duty model from ‘Run Riot’.

Although not a bodge, when I crashed in Japan I

smashed up the front plastics. This would’ve cost a fortune to

replace with OE parts, so I ended up just cable tying them all

back together, more or less stitching them together with cable

ties. It’s worked a dream and is still there to this day.

Biggest Hype

Top of my list would have to be the Transfăgărășan Highway

in Romania. After seeing it on Top Gear I’d always wanted

to go there and ride this incredible road. It still is an amazing

feat of engineering, and the views available throughout its’

length are truly superb. But when I rode it in late May 2013,

the road surface was terrible with lots of potholes and

excessive amounts of grit and rubble strewn throughout.

It may have just been because it had only recently opened

after the winter, maybe they hadn’t had time to clear the

road of the winter detritus, I don’t know. If you want to just

trundle along and admire the views then you won’t notice it

too much. If you’re planning a knee down nirvana, you may

want to rethink and just head to Germany or Spain.

Best Secret

It’s got to be what we’ve got on our very own backyard

here in the UK. I dreamed of riding the roads of the world,

trying out all the routes we read about in far-flung places.

Having been there now and tried them, I can safely say that

what we have here in the UK, and just across the channel in

Europe is the best of the best. Tip to toe the UK mainland

is only about 1200 km long, and while that may cause pain

in some of your arses at the mere mention of that kind of

mileage, you could easily do a week to ten days tour all over

the UK, trying out the best on offer. I guarantee you won’t

be disappointed.

Want to go further afield, then head to Spain where just

about any road you try is a grin inducer. Apart from up in

the north in the mountains, the South is almost perpetual

sunshine with great locals, cheap booze and cracking

grub. Germany, South East France, Poland and the Czech

Republic are all other paces I’d urge you to try. Just get your

passport, a set of new tyres, then hit the road. Job done.

Watch out for

Japanese wildlife.

Beautiful Japan.


Just had to stop at the

Sepang Circuit whilst

in Malaysia.

Words of Advice

I’ll keep this plain and simple. If you have any

inclination to travel on your bike, whether it’s

just to explore your own country a bit more,

see some of Africa, or embark on a global

quest, just do it!

The hardest part of any trip is actually

leaving, having the bollocks to just go for it.

There will be a queue of people telling you

that you can’t do it on that bike, you can’t go

to that country, it’s too dangerous, the people

will hate you, you won’t be able to do it. But

take it from me, as long as you have the

mindset that things will go wrong and you’ll

just have to deal with them, then you CAN.

I have a mortgage, a family, a job, financial

commitments, but I knew that this trip and

the promise I made was something so deeply

engrained in my soul that I had to do it. There

was no other option for me. When it went

wrong in Africa and I ended up back home I

felt like I was dying, each day was tearing my

head apart and I knew I’d have to go again, if

only to keep my sanity.

If you want to know more about getting

backing for a big trip, then you’ll need to

check out the book about the trip, available

to download at www.teapotone.com It’s not

easy, but I’m living proof that it can be done.

Another thing…… don’t over pack.

Whatever you decide to take, pack your

bags, mount it up on the bike, then unpack

and half it. Do this a few more times until

you’ve got the absolute bare minimum. I went

around the world for almost 14 months with

2 pairs of pants and socks, 4 t-shirts, a pair

of zip-off trouser/shorts, a fleece and a pair

of flipflops. Believe it or not there are shops

everywhere, you’ll always get what you need

on the road. Tools wise I took a socket set,

Allen keys, screwdriver, cable ties and duck

tape. That was it.

Once you’re on the road, never be scared

to approach people and ask for help, even

if you don’t speak their language. The vast

majority of the folk I met around the world

were incredibly kind and helpful, even the

police – Mauritania excepted. It’s when things

don’t go to plan that the real adventures start!

Dodgiest Moment

Without doubt Mauritania. As soon as the

border gate from Western Sahara closed

behind me, I found myself in an alien land.

After passing the first customs point I set off

down a sandy track, being bartered by men

all the time who were offering to guide me to

the next border point at the police post. As

there was only one track, I turned them down

and rode on. Quickly the track split into two

and I chose the wrong one, ending up in a live

mine field. Not my brightest move.

Shortly after getting through that, I was

chased into and through a town by two large

4x4 trucks, filled with gun toting jihab clothed

men. They didn’t look like they wanted to

chat or welcome me to their country, and it’s

only because the bike was so nimble through

the traffic that I escaped.

Each and every day brought new

challenges, I nearly died in the Desert heat,

saved only by a stranger. Police would rob us

at gun point, locals wouldn’t sell us any food

or water at times, bandits would only sell us

fuel at extortionate rates. To top it all off, when

it came time to leave the country and enter

Senegal, we were held up and systematically

robbed by locals and the police at the border.

I couldn’t wait to leave the place and won’t be

going back. The arsehole of the world.


Bastards in Italy...

Camping in Russia.

The Gixxer

hitting 50,000

miles in Russia.

Nice Russia.

Five things I’ve learnt

Right this is where I get my guitar and

tambourine out. If you’ve got a pet tree,

prepare to hug it, and if you’ve got some

lentils handy, give them a suck.

• Strangers aren’t bad. They can be if

you’re 5, but as a grown man who found

himself in strange lands, in need of help from

people who couldn’t understand what I was

saying (no change there really), I was privy to

a level of kindness and hospitality that I’d only

ever read about. Just about everyone I met

only ever wanted to help. Countless times I

found myself in their homes, eating their food,

drinking their drink, at times even living with

complete strangers for weeks at a time. It really

has changed me for the better and I hope I

don’t fall back into my cynical old ways.

• Behold the power of gaffa tape and

cable-ties. There is nothing in life that can’t

be solved or mended with either, or a

combination of both. Never mind the wheel,

they are the greatest invention in the Universe.

• Deep down I’m a hic, I absolutely loved

the deep south of the USA. The people, the

lifestyle, particularly Texas, all had a huge

effect on me. When the folks say, “Have a

nice day”, they genuinely mean it, you feel

appreciated here and welcome. Don’t get me

wrong, politically there are a few folks who

perhaps wouldn’t get the ‘liberty’ vote, but

you get that everywhere.

• There’s nothing more important in life

than family and friends. Before the trip I pretty

much sacrificed everything for my job, I’ve

missed celebrations, not seen those I love

for weeks, months, even years at a time.

Being away by myself, totally reliant on the

support of others at times, has highlighted the

importance of having those you love around

you. I’m lucky to have such incredible friends

and family, and although everyone needs

an income coming in, I won’t let the day job

always dictate my life anymore. Of course

there are times when you have to knuckle

down and earn the coppers, but you need to

strike a balance to keep the soul topped up.

• Lastly, don’t believe the hype, don’t

believe the drivel the media report on the

news and in the papers. Get out there and

see for yourself. It’s a big world out there

but it’s getting ever smaller. Whatever you

ride, however you ride it, just get on and ride

somewhere new. You won’t regret it.

It’s a Wrap

So that’s it then. Nearly 74,000 miles around

the world solo through 54 countries on a

Superbike. Amazingly Suzuki GB showed

zero interest in the trip, I even had their PR

guy laugh in my face the last time I met him

at an adventure bike meet. Never in a million

years did they think I’d do it, but I’m glad

to say I had more faith in their product than

they did. The GSX-R1000 is an unbelievable

machine, capable of taking a fat Scotsman

around the world, over any terrain, at any

speed, and in any weather. If I was to do it all

again, I’d still take the ‘Beast’ as she’s never

once let me down – apart from the stock

subframe issue.

Would I do anything differently? I get

asked that a lot, and the only thing I can

think of would be to take a mate or two with

me to really enjoy the awesome roads and

sights that are out there. That said, I think a

lot of the experiences and interactions I had

with people was because I was on my own,

so maybe it would have detracted from the

overall trip if I did have company?

I’d have loved to have had a film crew

with me, I really don’t think I’ve captured

enough of what happened to truly reflect it,

and the sound quality of some of my footage

isn’t great. But folk seem to like the vids and

blogs, so it’s always great to get feedback

on them – head over to youtube.com/

TeapotOneVids to see the entire trip.

If you fancy reading the book, there are no

more printed copies available I’m afraid, but

you can download it in either Kindle or ebook

over at www.teapotone.com

One day I’d love to come back to Africa

and explore this beautiful continent. South

Africa is right up there on my list, I’ve not met

anyone yet who has been there and didn’t fall

in love with the place and her people. So one

day I’ll get there I promise.

For now it’s back to the day job, working

as a police officer in London, but my heart

belongs on the road. Bills have to be paid,

obligations and roles fulfilled, but I continue

to live by my mantra… “LIVE your life”, and

make the most of it whenever you can.


Gorgeous Peru.

Dodgy Peru.

Wasn’t going to

say no to this guy

in Columbia.

Road closed in Hungry.

Awesome meeting Colin

Edwards at his Ranch.

John Muguiness luxury

home at the TT.

Not so nice Russia.

Home at last...




Always wanted to look like the

guy in the promo pics, and now

I do, thanks to the ultra-cool

official Husqvarna Pilen helmet

as it’s called.

Words by Rob Portman / Pics Gerrit Erasmus

Before: The bike as I collected

it in stock form with stock pipe

and stock mirrors.


Like any true love affair my bond with the

Husqvarna 701 is getting stronger and stronger.

I’m simply loving riding around on this work-ofart.

It has surprised me in so many ways with

it’s versatility and eagerness to delight.

I’ve offi cially taken it past the 1000 km mark

so I sent it in to Husqvarna SA to get the fi rst

service done and while it was there they also

fi tted a couple of new offi cial Powerparts. These

additions are available from their Powerparts

catalogue, which, when paging through, gets

you more excited and features more desirable

bolt-ons than any Playboy magazine has ever

been able too.

Gone is the stock Akro pipe, which is by far

one of the best looking OEM pipes out there,

and replaced with an even better looking Akro

pipe that helps open up the throat and stomach

of the bike a bit. The tone belting out of the

690 single motor is now more pronounced and

crispier - adding even more fl air to the ride.

My only gripe with the bike in stock trim is the

mirrors, which just don’t blend in with the bikes

unique design and stand out like a choir boy at

a hardcore concert. So, off they came and on

went the more suitable retro bar-end mirrors.

How cool does that now look?

The bike is an eye catcher in stock trim, but

now it catches both the eye and the ear even

more so.

Apart from the bikes unique design, what

has really impressed me is the bikes braking

capabilities, which I have put to good use over

the fi rst 1000 km on the chaotic JHB roads.

Proper Brembo brakes are fi tted as standard

and man do they work. No fade, no initial

sponge, just nothing but good solid bite and

stopping power. Another big plus is the torque

from the 690 motor. No need to scream the tits

off it to go anywhere, just twist and go. Perfect

power low down and in the midrange for the

urban squirt and the standard quick-shift and

auto-blip just make things that much more

pleasant and exciting.

Like any naked bike and single powered

motor the 701 does struggle a bit out on the

open road, but what does really impress me is

the front end stability, even at high speeds. With

its low, over the front riding position thanks to

the wide clip-on bars there is more weight on

the front so none of that customary naked bike

waddle from the front end.

Really have been impressed with how this

bike has treated me so far and look forward to

some more happy days riding it. Next month

some more bling parts will be added as well as

a pair of new Metzeler M7RR tekkies.

My brother seems to think that he can get his

elbow down around RSR on the 701, so that’s

going to be exciting and scary to witness. Let’s

see, next month will either be pics of him getting

it done the right way, or the wrong way...

After: The bike after it had the

new Akrapovic slip-on pipe fitted

and retro bar-end mirrors.

Handlebar end mirrors costs R2575

Slip-on Akro Pipe costs R13 000

222.6 km from the 12l tank - not bad, could have maybe got

another 5-10km or so had I pushed.


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S26 04'30.9" E28 45'20.0"

076 624 6972

Where Riders Become Racers....



We give you a short round-up of how

each team are looking after the first

four days of 2019 preseason testing.

The 2018 MotoGP season was another year

of incredible racing. Now, all the focus is on

2019 and after the first two preseason tests,

how is every team looking?


The 2018 triple crown winners started

preseason with bikes that had a combination

of parts, rather than a solid 2019 model.

New features were seen, most notably was

the new aero fairing that was debuted, while

the air intake and steering damper were

also slightly different. In addition, newcomer

Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) had

a Ducati-esque fuel tank modification

as all eyes were on the five-time World

Champion making his RC23V debut. Both

he and 2018 Champion Marc Marquez

(Repsol Honda Team) completed both the

Valencia and Jerez Tests without any further

complications, with both not riding at 100%

fitness; Marquez is to have surgery on his

shoulder in early December, while Lorenzo is

still recovering from his wrist fracture.

Elsewhere, test rider Stefan Bradl was

called into the LCR Honda ranks as Cal

Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) remains

sidelined after his Phillip Island crash. On the

other side of the garage, 2019 preparations

have gone very well for Takaaki Nakagami

(LCR Honda Idemitsu). The Japanese

rider topped the timesheets in Jerez as he

adjusted to a 2018 spec RC213V – a sign of

things to come? All in all, Honda are looking

in good shape as the winter break begins,

can Marquez and Crutchlow be fully fit for

Sepang though?


The Italian manufacturer were the only team

on the grid who weren’t trying out a new

engine for 2019. This goes to show how

strong the Desmosedici machine is, while

the factory team – including stand-in test

rider Alvaro Bautista – sported a new seat

fitting that didn’t look too dissimilar to a rear

spoiler. For Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team)

and teammate Danilo Petrucci, testing things

like electronics and the chassis were at the

forefront of their plans as the GP19 bike looks

to be a formidable force this coming season.

Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was

responsible for testing some geometry

settings for Ducati, with the Australian also

venturing out on track with a curious bar

located under the swingarm. On the other

side of the Alma Pramac garage, 2018 Moto2

World Champion Francesco Bagnaia was

very impressive – just 0.388 separated him

from pacesetter Nakagami at the Jerez Test

as the Italian gets to grips with the handlebars

of a GP18 in 2019. A GP18 will also be Karel

Abraham’s (Reale Avintia Racing) in 2019,

while Tito Rabat made his eagerly awaited

Petrucci enjoying

factory life.


Going to be exciting to

see how these two get

along next season.

Bagnaia big

contender for rookie

of the year in 2019.

Vinales looks a bit

happier while Rossi

still not convinced.

return to MotoGP action after his triple leg

break at Silverstone – the Spaniard also

having a GP18 at his disposal in 2019.


The first objective for Yamaha in 2019 is to

get the engine choice right, and not to make

the same mistake as 2018. Two 2019 spec

engines were tested by both Valentino Rossi

(Yamaha Factory Racing) and teammate

Maverick Viñales, with the duo both agreeing

there is a clear choice. However, in Rossi’s

opinion, Yamaha have plenty of work to

do “in all areas” over the winter if they are

to challenge the likes of Ducati, Honda and

Suzuki in 2019. Viñales has been the happier

of the two in the initial tests, the Spaniard

finishing P1 in Valencia and P4 overall in

Jerez, but he also acknowledged there is

work to do over the winter – mainly on the

traction and chassis. What will Yamaha bring

to Sepang?


For the new Petronas Yamaha SRT garage,

2019 has begun in positive fashion. Franco

Morbidelli has taken to the YZR-M1 from the

RC213V like a duck to water, finishing P6 in both

Valencia and Jerez - the Italian will get his try of

the new engine in Sepang. Meanwhile, rookie

Fabio Quartararo’s start to life in the premier class

has started very well. The Frenchman finished

just 1.3 seconds off Viñales’ pace in Valencia,

while in Jerez, he was just 0.165 off Rossi’s

quickest time…


In the Team Suzuki Ecstar garage, the focus has

so far been on getting the engine and chassis right

for 2019. Alex Rins and test rider Sylvain Guintoli

will decide the engine choice for the Hamamatsu

manufacturer after testing it in both Valencia and

Jerez. For rookie Joan Mir, despite getting to try

the new engine on Day 2 in Jerez, the main goal

was to adapt to the GSX-RR from the Moto2

machine. And finishing less than a second off

the pace in Jerez means the 2017 Moto3 World

Champion is adapting pretty quick.

Franco Morbidelli

looking good on

the Yamaha.

Suzuki are going to be

big contenders next

season with Rins and

new boy Mir.


Christmas came early for KTM after Pol

Espargaro’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)

maiden podium finish in Valencia, and just like at

Christmas, Espargaro had plenty of new toys to

play with in Valencia and Jerez. The Spaniard had

a “truckload” of new parts to test, ranging from

the fairing, engine and chassis as the RC16 enters

its third year in the premier class. On the other

side of the garage, Johann Zarco began his new

adventure. It hasn’t been the smooth transition

from Yamaha that Zarco would have been looking

for so far, but the Frenchman gradually found more

feeling with the KTM across the four days of 2019

testing – more vital tests are on the horizon for the

double Moto2 World Champion.

For Tech 3, it was all about finding their feet

as they also made the transition from Yamaha

to KTM after 20 years spent with the Japanese

manufacturer. Both Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM

Tech 3) and rookie teammate Miguel Oliveira were

able to try 2019 spec RC16s on their inaugural

KTM tests.


It’s been a complicated start to preseason

testing for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, with Aleix

Espargaro having to sit out the first day in Jerez

due to illness. After a crash in Jerez, teammate

Andrea Iannone was also struggling – a foot injury

hampering his progress with the RS-GP. This

meant testing duties rested firmly on test rider

Bradley Smith in southern Spain, the British rider

testing a new engine spec, while also comparing

two Aprilia chassis for 2019.

 So, a short recap for you as the winter break

now begins. The next instalment of 2019 MotoGP

action will be on the 6th February, as the grid

convenes in Sepang to continue their preparations.

KTM and Zarco have

some work to do.

Iannone already finding

life with Aprilia tough.



Who is the


rider of all time?

We’ve seen some big personalities with massive talents over the

years in the World superbike championship, but who deserves the

tag as “The best” of all time. Words by Steve English

“Who’s the greatest” has been a question

asked in every sport over the years. Whether it’s

Muhammad Ali self proclaiming himself, or Tiger

Woods being anointed by the masses, a general

consensus quickly forms about a pecking order.

In football, it quickly comes down to Pele

or Maradonna, Ronaldo or Messi, or another

combination from a certain era. In tennis it comes

down to dominance over a sustained period,

with one era blending into the next of Rod Laver

to Bjorn Borg to Pete Sampras to Roger Federer.

Motorcycle racing is similar in a lot of ways

with riders typically earning their titles in spurts of

sustained excellence.

Superbike racing is however a curious

subset. With domestic series feeding into World

championships, and some of the brightest

WorldSBK stars being offered MotoGP seats

after only a couple of years, at the same as riders

step across to Superbike racing from Grand Prix

for only a handful of seasons at the end of their

careers, it’s a strange combination of fluidity and

constant change.

When you ask a Superbike fan who the

greatest is you certainly get more than your fair

share of choice.

Jonathan Rea

Four-time WorldSBK champion, 71 wins and

134 podiums and counting

Recency bias will place Rea at the top of the list

of many fans, but a constant thorn in his side

is the references to racing in an era of lesser

competition and having the best bike. In terms of

the machinery, the best riders almost always end

up on the best bikes in any championship.

Rea’s form from his WorldSBK debut, and

indeed his race-winning pedigree in British

Superbike, show his natural ability and speed,

especially during his six seasons with Honda,

which culminated in finishing third in the standings

in 2014. This shows that Rea extracted every inch

of potential from the Fireblade.

When Rea moved to Kawasaki in 2015, many

riders at the time commented that the writing was

on the wall, and that with Rea already a top-class

rider, that he would be unbeatable with the best

machine underneath him.

The team that has surrounded him, led by

Pere Riba, has enjoyed unprecedented success,

but still there are questions from some quarters

about Rea. His riding style and professionalism

would thrive in any era of WorldSBK, and he’s had

to beat some world-class rivals over the years in

WorldSBK, with Marco Melandri, Chaz Davies and

Tom Sykes all former world champions.

Carl Fogarty

Four-time WorldSBK champion, 59 wins and

109 podiums, Three-time Formula 1 World

Champion, Senior TT winner

For many fans, Foggy is WorldSBK. The

determination etched into his eyes as he focused

on the grid is a defining memory for many of

the golden era of WorldSBK. The Briton was an

unbelievably determined rider that was able to

wring every last drop of ability out of himself.

There were times when Foggy was a tour de

force out on track and his wins, with two different

manufacturers, came against the likes of world

champions Troy Corser, Scott Russell, John

Kocinski, Colin Edwards, with Nori Haga and

Frankie Chili also playing key roles.

The competition on the grid was tighter during

this era because in part there was only a handful

of bikes that could win, not that dissimilar to the

current era. For much of Foggy’s career, if you

wanted to win you needed a Ducati, and the grid

was filled with lots of the Italian machinery.



For years Carl Fogarty

was Mr superbike.

Bayliss however was destined to return

to the WorldSBK paddock, and in 2006 he

came back, won the title and capped his year

off with a maiden MotoGP victory at Valencia.

The wildcard was a reward for his world title,

and he certainly used it to show the paddock

exactly how good he was.

A third title followed in 2008, with ten wins

in his final season. A tw- race return in 2015

saw him finish inside the top ten at Buriram at

45 years of age.

Of course to come out on top of this

you needed to be the best Ducati rider, and

Fogarty certainly was that throughout his

career. His ability to dominate teammates and

use mind games was legendary, and last year

Aaron Slight said, “Foggy’s a nice guy now,

but at the time he was awful. He came up me

and apologized about it, and he’s good now,

but that doesn’t make up for being a c*nt

back then!”

In ten seconds, Slight perfectly captured

Foggy’s approach to racing; never give an inch

and push the boundaries as far as you can.

Troy Bayliss

Three-time WorldSBK champion, 52 wins

and 94 podiums. British Superbike champion

Replacing a legend is never easy, and it fell

on these Australian shoulders to handle

the weight of expectation that came

following Foggy’s retirement in 2000. Bayliss

immediately stepped up to the mark, and

no one has a better record than the former

MotoGP race winner.

His 52 wins and 94 podiums give him a

better success rate on both counts than Rea.

The fact that he did it in different eras is unique.

His first title came in 2001 with the Ducati

996, in a time prior to electronic aids on the

machine, his last crown in 2008 came with

those aids turned up to the max.

Two completely different bikes with

completely different riding styles, but still

Bayliss prevailed.

His rookie campaign saw him miss the

opening four rounds of the year, but he was still

able to win in only his third meeting of the year,

his 11th WorldSBK start including wildcards,

and he added another win before the end of

the year to finish sixth in the standings. The

following year he claimed his first title from

Colin Edwards.

In 2002 the most thrilling culmination of a

WorldSBK season took place with Edwards

gaining revenge at the last round of the year at

Imola. That race is arguably the most famous

race of WorldSBK history, and when it finished,

both riders rode off into the MotoGP sunset.

Who could forget

the classic Bayliss vs

Edwards battles.

Colin Edwards

Two-time WorldSBK champion, 31 wins,

75 podiums

The Texas Tornado became a household

name in WorldSBK with wins for Yamaha

before switching to Honda and enjoying

sustained success, four consecutive years as

champion or vice-champion, before switching

to MotoGP.

Edwards is forever remembered for Imola

2002, but what’s forgotten is how dogged

his campaign was. After the opening race at

Laguna Seca, the home hero had fallen 58

points adrift of Bayliss, but nine wins in a row

to close out the year proved just enough to

claim the title by nine points.

His win at Imola Race 1, by just half a

second, gave him some breathing space

going into the final round, but that last race of

his WorldSBK career was a no holds barred

fight for the win.

Edwards may not have translated his

WorldSBK form to the MotoGP field, but as

an AMA Superbike race winner and Suzuka

8-Hour winner, his pedigree on a Superbike

beyond question.

The Texan was a better qualifier than

he was given credit for, raced in a hugely

competitive era of WorldSBK where he went

up against Fogarty, Corser, Bayliss, Haga and

Slight. Underestimate Edwards at your peril.


Doug Polen

Two-time WorldSBK champion, 27 wins,

40 podiums. AMA Superbike champion

and Endurance World Champion

Doug Polen holds the record for most wins in

a season with 17, two WorldSBK titles and an

Endurance crown. Polen has a small sample

size, because he only raced 80 times, but his

dominance was such that he left an undeniable

mark on the championship as an early 90’s


Unfortunately for the American, his success

came just as WorldSBK was establishing itself,

and before the likes of Foggy were at their

pomp. As a result, Polen is one of the most

underestimated riders that you will find in the

discussion for legendary Superbike status.

Troy Corser

Two-time WorldSBK champion, 33 wins,

130 podiums. Australian Superbike

champion and a winner on three different

manufacturers in WorldSBK

Corser’s career spanned three decades,

and with it he rode against almost all of the

greats of WorldSBK history. He also beat all

of them at one point or another. Corser, the

Superpole record holder when he retired, was

a remarkable qualifier, with 99 front row starts,

and he was able convert those front row starts

into all but five of his victories.

If he got to the front, he was a tough rider

to beat, and he was able to win on almost

any machine. Victories for Ducati, Aprilia, and

Suzuki proved this point, but being able to

finish on the rostrum on the Foggy-Petronas,

Yamaha, and BMW also showed that his speed

wasn’t blunted by any change of machinery.

It’s easy to overlook Corser’s career because

of his longevity of 20 seasons and “only”

winning two titles, but seven times through his

career he was able to finish in the top three of

the standings.

Troy Corser has certainly stamped his mark on

the WSBK championship over the years.

Doug Polen.


It was a huge shock when

Max Biaggi moved from

MotoGP to WSBK.

Max Biaggi

Two-time WorldSBK champion, 21 wins,

71 podiums

Was there ever a more heralded WorldSBK

rookie than Biaggi? If there was it’s hard to

see how any rookie could have surpassed the

expectation and pressure that was placed on

his shoulders. Biaggi’s 2007 rookie season

started in Qatar with a victory from the front

row of the grid. It was a dream start for the

Suzuki rider after sitting out the 2006 season.

It seemed inevitable that Biaggi would right

the wrong of his 500GP rookie campaign, and

become a WorldSBK champion at the first

attempt. That script was quickly ripped apart by

James Toseland with the Englishman winning

Race 2 in the desert, and quickly asserting

himself as the title favorite with eight wins.

Biaggi had to wait until 2010 and a switch

to Aprilia,, to claim the crown. With his name

back in lights, Biaggi finished third in the

standings the next year before regaining the

crown. Biaggi became the first rider since

John Kocinski to win a Grand Prix title and a

WorldSBK crown.

Raymond Roche

One-time WorldSBK champion, 23 wins,

57 podiums. 250GP podium finisher and

Endurance World Champion

A one- time SBK champion as the greatest is a

stretch, but Roche was so consistent over the

course of his four WorldSBK campaigns. With

23 wins and 57 podiums in 97 starts, he was

victorious in the 1991 title race and finished

inside the top three of the standings in each

of his full campaigns. As a multiple a 500GP

podium finisher, he was a measuring stick with

which to judge the other riders in the fledgling

WorldSBK championship.

Noriyuki Haga

43 WorldSBK wins, 116 podiums

Nitro Nori was the Superbike answer to Norick

Abe in the mid nineties. He was swashbuckling

and exciting. A rider that always commanded

your attention and that of his rivals. His career

saw him win on 750cc and 1000cc Yamahas

and also on Ducati v-twins. His style translated

from one to the other successful, but ultimately

he would fall short of his quest for a title.

As a three time runner-up, and a rider who

finished third in the standings three times,

his longevity and speed saw him win races

in ten different seasons, and failed to register

a victory in only two seasons. Those winless

campaigns are a blot on his copybook, but as

a regular podium finisher in both he was still a

front runner.

Haga’s ability to get to the front of the field

saw him retire as the all-time lap leader. That

record was only recently broken by Rea.

Despite never winning a

title Nori Haga was always

a fan favourite.


Pure, natural talent. Ben

Spies shocked the WSBK

paddock with his speed.

Ben Spies

One-time WorldSBK champion, 14 wins,

17 podiums. Three-time AMA Superbike


The 2009 World Champion came to

WorldSBK as the hottest property in Superbike

racing. As a three-time defending American

champion, where he defeated Mat Mladin,

Spies jumped onto the factory Yamaha

and was immediately the fastest man in the

WorldSBK paddock.

Claiming a remarkable 11 Superpole

victories in 14 rounds, it was his qualifying

performances that lay the foundation of his

title charge.

Qualifying off the front row only once

throughout his WorldSBK career, the Texan

was able to claim the crown from Nori Haga.

Throughout the season Spies was fast,

but four retirements, three while leading the

race, and a non-score on his debut kept the

championship close.

His domestic career should also not be

discounted too. Going toe to toe with Mladin in

one of the most heated rivalries in AMA history, it

was a yo-yo battle for supremacy. Mladin was a

six-time champion when Spies put the skids on

his American dominance, and from that point

onwards Spies claimed a hatrick of titles.

The pair had four years of bar-to-bar

visceral hatred on track. It was everything that

Superbike racing was designed to be, with any

mistake punished by your rival.

Following his title winning campaign Spies

left for MotoGP and was able to win a premierclass

Grand Prix.

So Who Is the Best?

To be the best you have to beat the best. To

do that you need longevity, consistency, and to

be in an era of unparalleled competition. That

competition comes from rival riders and bikes

that are close to one another.

Rea’s success has been incredible

and unique, but with Kawasaki enjoying a

machinery advantage prior to Rea’s arrival, as

shown by Tom Sykes success, and coming at

a time when Ducati was at a low ebb, it’s hard

to judge how Rea would fare in earlier eras.

He has ridden unbelievably well, possibly

too well and as a result his success has been

expected rather than appreciated.

Rea’s talent is beyond question, as shown

by his performances on the Honda, and his

speed, professionalism, determination and

mental strength are of the highest level.

His career isn’t finished and the book on

his career isn’t written yet. He’ll finish his career

as the statistical leader in every conceivable

category. The sheer weight of numbers at this

time are staggering, and they’ll only continue

to grow as he continues to win but is he the

greatest ever?

Carl Fogarty’s success and personality

made Superbike racing big business in the

90’s. He dominated the headlines and was

front and back page news at times in the UK.

You couldn’t move at Brands Hatch during

Foggy Mania, and his ability to win Formula

1 world titles, a World Endurace title, and be

a race winner at the TT shows that he was

a unique talent and the last of the true world

class, all round racers.

Foggy was brash and brave, and if his career

hadn’t been cut short by injury he might well

have set records that Rea would still be chasing.

Foggy was a Superbike Superstar and certainly

is on the Mount Rushmore of legends.

While injury cut short Foggy’s career in his

prime, even if Rea called time on his career he

would hold the records and statically be the

greatest ever, but to answer a question about

who is the greatest is subjective. As of today

Troy Bayliss is my choice.

That’s not a knock on Rea at all. This era of

WorldSBK is filled with talented riders and front

to back of the grid there are at least a dozen

riders who would be able to mix it with the

best ever and wouldn’t look out of place on

any grid in racing.

This field is deep, professional and fast,

but Bayliss replaced a legend, has a statistical

edge on Rea in terms of his conversion rates

for wins and podiums, and he was a better

qualifier than Rea.

The Australian’s career also spanned an era

of Superbikes that Rea can’t match. Riding

different bikes that required different styles

in longer races, Bayliss found a way to get it

done consistently.

It’s unfortunate for Rea because the

prospect of him going up against Bayliss,

Foggy, and the rest of WorldSBK’s legends

would be mouthwatering. You’d certainly

not bet against Rea coming out on top, but

looking back at their careers to this point

Bayliss holds a very slender edge.






WorldSBK testing at Jerez: Ducati’s V4, Yamaha’s need

for speed and Kawasaki as fast as ever. Words by David Emmett

Three factories and eight WorldSBK riders

turned up at Jerez in late November 2018,

Ducati bringing their brand new Panigale V4R,

but at the end, Jonathan Rea was fastest.

All eyes were on the Ducati garage and

Alvaro Bautista’s fi rst day on the Panigale

V4 R. “First day at school” was how the

Spaniard characterized it, taking some time

to adapt to the bike. It was quite a switch

from the Desmosedici he had been riding in

MotoGP, the bike having a lot less power.

But, the V4 engine still has plenty, rival

teams complaining that the Ducati was

10km/h faster than the others at the Aragon

test a few weeks before. Here, the difference

was less, but the Panigale was still clearly

quicker than the rivals.

The bike reminded him more of a 250,

Bautista said, needing corner speed to get

more out of it. Aruba.it Ducati teammate

Chaz Davies joked that it might have

reminded Bautista of his 250, but that bike

was very different to the 250 Davies rode

when he was in the class.

But overall, Bautista’s adaptation went

well, the Spaniard trying two qualifying tyres

as it was the fi rst time he had had a chance

to ride qualifi ers. He needed one set to fi gure

out the potential of the tyres, and a second

set to attempt to set a time on the tyres.

His time was good enough for second

place, three tenths behind Jonathan Rea on

the Kawasaki, and a couple of tenths ahead

of his teammate Chaz Davies.

The Welshman had been focusing his

work on fi guring out the Ducati Panigale

V4 R, and working towards a base setup.

The bike is so new and so different to the

Panigale 1198cc twin it replaces that very

little could actually carry over.

The bike is shorter because of the engine

confi guration, meaning it will need a very


Bautista and the new Ducati V4R

are going to be a serious threat to

Rea and Kawasaki in 2019.

different setup to make it work. There was

still an enormous amount of work to do.

“I’m riding around thinking about 20 different

things,” Davies said, but he was trying to

focus on one thing at a time, to try to make


The bike felt very good under braking,

Davies said, something that he felt played to

his strengths. Once they get the bike fi gured

out, it should allow him to be competitive in

head-to-head battles, but there was still an

awful lot of work ahead of them. This was

much more the beginning of the beginning,

rather than the end of the beginning, as

Davies described it.

At Yamaha, Michael van der Mark worked

on suspension and a new swingarm,

and concentrated on electronics, but the

Dutchman was being hampered by a broken

scaphoid he had picked up in a crash at the

fi nal round in Qatar.

The X-rays had missed it, but a CT

scan had shown it up, though by the

time it was discovered, the doctors

noted that it was already healing quite

well. Van der Mark was working more on

making big changes on the bike and trying

to feel the difference, rather than working on

smaller refi nements.

Big changes were what Alex Lowes felt

was needed to make the Yamaha YZF-

R1M competitive. They were chasing half

a second, and that would not come from

minor refi nements, he said. He had new

forks that felt a little better, but the biggest

problem is that they needed a big step

forward in electronics to gain more drive out

of the corners.

The Yamaha is fast enough when you run

wide sweeping lines and carry lots of corner

speed, but as soon as you get caught up in a

battle with another rider, you would lose out,

Lowes said. If they could fi nd more drive grip,

he felt he could be in the fi ght.

Jonathan Rea had been working with

the 2019 spec Kawasaki ZX-10R, and trying

to fi gure out a decent engine setting. The

new engine features lighter internals, and

that in turn made the engine a little bit more

aggressive at higher revs.

There are a few spots around the Jerez

circuit where that made it a little tougher to

manage, especially around the fast sweepers

at Turns 11 and 12.

Teammate Leon Haslam was working

on adapting to a bike with electronics, after

riding a machine with the simplifi ed BSB

spec ECU. The electronics made it hard

to feel the feedback from the bike, Haslam

said, explaining that the bike didn’t really tell

you what it was doing, and the only way to

know if you were going fast was by looking

at the lap times.


Rea showing that the new

changes made to the ZX10R

for 2019 are positive.

He was having to adapt his riding style

more, Haslam said, and trying to lift the bike

onto the fatter part of the tyre earlier on exit,

to carry more speed out of the corner.

There were a fair few complaints about

the state of the track, especially as the track

took so long to dry. Jonathan Rea said

he had been forced to take a different line

through Turn 5, as a wet patch on the fast

line made it treacherous, as Leon Haslam

found out to his cost.

Even when the track was dry, the surface is

in a bad state, the asphalt breaking up at Turn

1, Turn 2, Turn 8, and a couple more places.

The track is to be resurfaced, but the lack of

grip due to the surface did at least make the

times more representative of a track in May or

September, when the races are normally run.

Tuesday at the Jerez Test:

Rea Still Reigns, Ducati makes

progress, Yamaha’s small steps

with the rear.

And so the season ends for WorldSBK. The

weather fi nally behaved at Jerez and the four

WorldSBK teams and three WorldSSP teams

got a full day of testing in at Jerez.

Or rather, nearly a full day of testing: the

track opened at 10am, but the riders didn’t

go out for about 45 minutes, as cold track

temperatures made it a perilous undertaking

in those early minutes.

But the sun soon did its work, heated the

asphalt, and away they went.

Heating the asphalt meant there was grip,

but the surface is still in a bad way in several

corners. Turns 1, 2, 6, and 8 are the worst,

according to the riders.

BSB Champion, Leon Haslam,

makes his full-time return to WSBK

as Rea’s team-mate for 2019.


One seasoned rider spotter pointed out

just how gracefully Jonathan Rea was riding

around the holes in the tarmac, and still

producing a really fast time. But it hadn’t been

as easy as Rea made it look.

“It’s wearing ruts in the short corners where

everyone is using the same line and putting

the power down, or pushing the front in it,”

Rea said on Tuesday night. “It’s lifting the

asphalt up. It’s treacherous if you run over

that. That’s the common racing line for track

day users or normal racers.”

“If you’re on the limit or really sharp you can

stay just inside that, like pretty much on the

white line. But even that, you compromise

your line, especially in corner one, two, six…

So the track’s in really bad condition so

they’re doing right to resurface it.”

Smoother on Top

Rea ended the day as fastest, six tenths clear

of Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha, who

in turn was four tenths quicker than Rea’s

Kawasaki teammate Leon Haslam. Rea was

working on adapting to the updated 2019

Kawasaki, and especially on making the top

end power delivery a little smoother.

“I’ve told Kawasaki engineers that’s where

we need to focus over the winter, making

that top RPM more smooth,” Rea said.

Rea’s team experimented with changing

the balance of the bike, which made some

improvement. That came after Rea had tried

a longer run, though he felt the pace was

rather underwhelming, and did not reflect the

pace he was capable of.

Rea had not been surprised by the pace

of the brand new Ducati Panigale V4 R. “It’s

Ducati,” he said. “They’re not going to show

up with anything that’s not competitive.” He

rejected any suggesting that Ducati was fast

out of the box.

“It’s hard to say it’s out of the box when

they’ve had a full test team working for the

last 18 months,” Rea pointed out. “It looks

like both Chaz and Alvaro are going really fast,

but that’s expected.”

Alvaro Bautista went fast, but found himself

crashing twice. The Spaniard was to blame

for one of them, when he lost the front in the

morning, but his second crash was completely

beyond his control, the Aruba.it Ducati rider

being wiped out by Raffaele De Rosa’s MV

Agusta, the Italian Supersport rider having

crashed in Turn 1 just as Bautista exited pit lane.

The Spaniard had spent the day figuring

out the Ducati Panigale V4 R, he and his

team making changes to the bike in an

effort to understand how it reacted. He was

happy with the pace he had found, running

consistently in the 1’40s for most of the day.

Tyre Voodoo

Though he had felt relatively comfortable on

the bike, he was still trying to figure out the

Pirelli tyres, Bautista said. “I can ride, but I still

don’t know how to use them and how to get

more performance,” the Spaniard told us.

Where the bike needed some improvement

was in the middle of the corner and on exit,

Bautista said. In the middle of the corner the

bike wanted to run wide, but Bautista wasn’t

sure whether that was a result of the bike or

the Pirelli tyres.

The one area that both Bautista and

teammate Chaz Davies said needed

improvement was in calming down corner

exit. At the moment, the bike was moving

around a fair amount on corner exit, and really

wanting to wheelie.

After climbing off the WorldSBK Panigale

on Tuesday, Bautista will be back in action on

Wednesday, riding the Ducati MotoGP bike

as a test rider. He is substituting for Michele

Pirro, who is undergoing shoulder surgery.

Though Bautista said he was looking

forward to riding a MotoGP again, it is a very

different prospect from subbing at a race,

with a lot of hard work to get through to help

the factory team for 2019.

New Bike, No Data

Chaz Davies had been the main focus of

Ducati’s WorldSBK testing program, as a

veteran of the series and of the factory.

But, his experience with the Ducati

Panigale 1198 V-twin had been of little avail,

as the V4 is a completely new bike, with no

real resemblance to the twin it replaces.

Chaz Davies has to step us his

game for 2019 as he has a very

fast team-mate.


Alex Lowes and the

Yamaha have to prove

their worth in 2019.

The good thing, Davies said, is that the four

cylinder does everything at least as well or

better than the old twin, so the project is off to

a good start.

Davies and Bautista had been sharing a

new swingarm, which both had felt was an

improvement. It was meant to help make the

bike a little less aggressive on corner exit, which

Davies felt was an issue for the new bike.

Davies was pleased that the swingarm was

pointing in the right direction, but there was

still a mountain of work to do. “It still feels

like there is a mountain to climb and putting

it together,” Davies said. “There is so much

information, but it is about putting it together.”

Despite the fact that they still have so much

work to do, Davies was optimistic about

the direction of the new bike, and about the

prospects for Ducati for the 2019 season.

He felt he could be more consistent, as he

wouldn’t need to be pushing right at the limit

for so much of the season. But Davies was

cautious about venturing any predictions for

the future, beyond a feeling that he could be


It is important for Ducati that the Panigale

V4 R is competitive. But it is also important for


So far, any attempts at reining Jonathan

Rea in has met with failure, the Northern

Irishman taking any technical rule changes as

a challenge to be overcome.

Ducati’s outrageous V4 should be able to

crush Kawasaki’s opposition, Dorna will be

hoping, making the series look a lot more


The bike is impressive even in its stock

form. Ducati’s road tester Alessandro Valia

was circulating on the road-legal version of

the bike, in preparation for the media launch

of the bike at Jerez on Friday.

On a bike with used tyres, and with a

generalized setup aimed at journalists rather

than racers, Valia was five seconds off the

pace of the Aruba.it riders on qualifying tyres.

Chaz Davies reckoned that the potential

of the standard bike was closer to three

seconds off the race bike. That is an

impressive base, but bridging that gap would

make for three expensive seconds.

Controlling the Rear

At Yamaha, it was Alex Lowes’ turn to try the

new swingarm which Yamaha had brought to

the test, Lowes and Pata Yamaha teammate

Michael van der Mark swapping testing

objectives. Lowes used the new swingarm,

while Van der Mark worked on the front end

of the bike.

Lowes was pleased with progress made,

and the changes they had found to the

setup, which had helped get the best from

the new swingarm.

They had moved the weight more to the

middle of the bike, and that had reduced

the disadvantages on braking that the new

swingarm had produced, while keeping the

increased stability and grip on corner exit.

The aim, Lowes said, was to create a bigger

window of adjustment, to make the bike more

competitive at more circuits.

On the Monday, Lowes had told us that he

felt the Yamaha was giving away 0.5 seconds

to the competition. The improvements found

with the swingarm had cut that to 0.4 seconds,

which was better, but still too far behind.

Lowes had been working on his riding

style, as well as the bike. The objective had

been to scrub off a little more speed earlier on

MVDM looking for answers

to help him and the Yamaha

compete more in 2019.


Marco Melandri switches

from Ducati to Yamaha for

the 2019 season.

corner entry, to reduce his tendency to enter

the corner absolutely on the limit.

It was a change he had been making

through the course of the 2018 season, but

testing was the ideal opportunity to spend

time on working on that.


The one area left for Yamaha was the

electronics, both Lowes and teammate

Michael van der Mark agreed. Electronics

were where the biggest steps could be made,

and where the added stability and exit speed

could be found.

Van der Mark had spent his day working

on the front end of the bike, but he had been

limited in what he could achieve.

The Dutchman was suffering with a scaphoid

injury, meaning he didn’t feel he had full control

of the bike out of Turn 5, for example, the fast

right leading onto the back straight.

Thankfully, the injury is healing well, and he

should be fully fit when he returns for the next

test in January.

At the GRT team, Marco Melandri was not

allowed to talk to the media – the result of

him still being under contract to Ducati – but

his teammate and reigning World Supersport

champion Sandro Cortese was.

The German was still in the middle of

adapting to World Superbikes, the Yamaha

YZF-R1M nothing like the R6 he had raced

last year. Cortese was visibly struggling on the

brakes, the bike moving around much more

than for the other riders. But all that was just

part of adapting to riding a Superbike, he said.

Looking Ahead

What conclusions can we draw from the

winter test? It is hard to judge, according to

reigning WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea.

“It always is in winter tests,” he said. “To

be honest, I feel like it’s really difficult to say.

I feel like last week in Aragon it seemed like

the toys were out of the pram at Yamaha and

then this week Alex has looked like he’s been

the most competitive behind us.”

“I think everything is in place for Yamaha,

Alex and Van der Mark to step up. Of course

the Ducatis are going to get better and better.”

“The ingredients are there for a great

season but it’s really hard to tell. Racing’s

different from testing and putting 26 races

together is tough.”

“We have a package that works everywhere.

We can be confident of that. I don’t need to

change my preparation or my approach.”

World Supersport champ

Cortese makes to step up to

WSBK in 2019.

Combined Test Times:

1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R 1:38.713

2 Alex Lowes Yamaha YZF-R1M 1:39.377

3 Leon Haslam Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R 1:39.766

4 Alvaro Bautista Ducati Panigale V4 R 1:39.845

5 Chaz Davies Ducati Panigale V4 R 1:39.852

6 Michael van der Mark Yamaha YZF-R1M 1:40.092

7 Marco Melandri Yamaha YZF-R1M 1:40.235

8 Sandro Cortese Yamaha YZF-R1M 1:40.592



• 23 February RSR

• 4 May Phakisa

• 4 June Kyalami

• 27 July East London

• 21 September Phakisa

• 19 October RSR

For more information email motorcycleracingseries@gmail.com

Dunlop SA & RideFast Magazine are proud supporters

2019 is set to see the launch of a brand new Motorcycle Racing Series in

South Africa comprising of 7 rounds across the country.

The Monocle Motorcycle Racing Series is aimed at bringing affordable, fun

racing to the masses - from eager track day rider to breakfast run warriors

- this Series is For the Riders, by the Riders!

The Series will cater for a range of bikes and riders, with classes such as:

• BOTTS Masters

• Ultimate Superbike 1000cc & Supersport 600cc

• Supersport 300

• Classic Racers

• StreetBike Racers - newcomers/road bikes welcome

Entry fee is capped at R1500 per rider - enter as many classes as you like

and only pay R1500.

You don’t have to belong to a racing association, no special racing license is

required - all you need is an active medical aid scheme.

Dunlop SA have come on board as a supporter of the Series and will offer

all riders discount on racing tyres but riders are welcome to use whatever

tyres they like - there is NO single tyre rule!

RideFast Magazine will publish all the races in the magazine over the year,

giving the Series massive amounts of coverage.

All bikes and riders welcome! The only rule is to have fun!



My first year of International racing

is finished and it was an amazing

experience. I learned a lot and it was the

best experience of my life. I am happy to

announce that I have been selected to

ride in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

in 2019 again. It’s great to get another

opportunity, after finding it really tough last

year and not always getting the results I


The second part of the season was not

great missing the last 3 rounds of the

season due to an injury I sustained at the

Red Bull Ring in Austria. In the first practice

in Austria, on my second lap going down

the long straight braking for turn 3, I had

brake failure causing a high speed crash

that ruled me out for the rest of the season.

My front brakes failed and I could not get

the bike stopped with the rear brake. I

made the decision to climb off the bike, but

when my bike hit the air fence, it caused

the air fence to lift and I went sliding straight

under it and I hit the tyre wall. I broke the

L1 Vertebra in my back and unfortunately

could not participate again for the rest

of the season. The dates of the last 3

races were unfortunately all close to each

other, not giving me enough time to fully

recover. I went to Aragon, Spain for the

last race, but only did one session and

then retired for the rest of the weekend as

I was unable to handle the bike properly.

The season did not go according to plan

and I didn’t manage to score points,

which frustrated me a bit. I learned a lot

last season and will come back stronger

this year.

There are only 8 of the old Rookies riders

that are staying for 2019, with 17 new

spots open. 13 New rookies have already

been selected. This makes it hard to

predict what will happen this year in the

championship, but I will just make sure

that I am well prepared and at my best

when we start testing in April.

To prepare for the year, I also want to

do a few local races again and maybe

participate in the National series again.

You improve the most in race conditions

and I think it will be good preparation for

next year. Rookies do not often get a 3rd

year, so I need to get good results next

year and make every moment count.

A big thanks for everybody’s support and

help last year!





















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