RideFast March 2019


March 2019 issue of SA's best motorcycle magazine!

MARCH 2019 RSA R35.00


9 772075 405004

MARCH 2019





All the MotoGP riders under the

spotlights for the first time in 2019.



We take a Bus, two Indians and a Brit

on a 350km plus breakfast run ride.



Valentino Rossi turns 40 years-old

and we look why it’s a big deal.

Monocle Racing Series: Round One Action | Tested: Zontes 310X & two very Hi-Tech Yamaha’s | World SBK: Season opener down under





Rob Portman


082 782 8240


Sean Hendley



071 684 4546





011 979 5035


Sheridan Morais

Brad Binder

Darryn Binder

Gerrit Erasmus

GP Fever.de

Eugene Liebenberg

Niel Philipson

Greg Moloney

Daniella Kerby

Michael Powell

Brian Cheyne

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.

The 2019 racing season is fi nally upon us with the

World SBK championship kicking off at the iconic Philip

Island circuit in Australia. While it was not the classic bar

bashing racing we have come expect over the years

down under it was still exciting stuff throwing up some

interesting topics.

Alvaro Bautista made his World SBK debut on the

all-new Ducati V4R and dominated the entire weekends

racing. This was no surprise to me and most but the

fashion and distance in which he won did get eyebrows

raised. But it actually shouldn’t have as it’s no secret that

the former Spanish MotoGP rider loves the Island. Just

look at what he did a few months ago when he replaced

Lorenzo at the factory Ducati MotoGP squad and spent

most of the race challenging for the win.

Alvaro’s performances in not only the two main races

but also the new Superpole race and practice sessions

were simply sublime. He answered all the question marks

of “would he be able to make his tyre’s last” with pure

domination and authority.

Johnny Rea, whilst being a gentleman and humble in

defeat, did not look like a very happy man and who could

blame him. He has not been beaten like that in a very

long time, certainly since his been on the Kawa and he

made some interesting comments after the race saying

“We took a knife to a gun fi ght”. Rea commented on the

Ducati’s pace exiting corners, and going down straights.

“It is completely clear to see where we are struggling.

Right now we have a knife in a gunfi ght, and there is no

substitute for horsepower.” More on this in the World

SBK story we have in this issue.

It’s no secret that the Island is not one of his or the

Kawasaki’s strong tracks and he has said it many times.

Although he did manage to pick up pole position for race

one and grab the outright fastest time ever at the Island.

But on overall race pace he and the rest of the fi eld had

no answer for Alvaro and the new V4R.

There is no doubt that the new Ducati V4R was simply

built to dominate the World SBK class. It’s the only bike

that comes with wings, which I think at the fast fl owing,

windy Phillip Island circuit did play a role. This begs the

question; why did the likes of BMW and Kawasaki not

do this with their bikes? BMW released an all-new bike

for 2019 while Kawasaki released an upgraded model for

this year that basically just revs more. Why not see the

bigger picture and release them with wings? Yes, the new

BMW S1000RR is a much better package than before

and has so far been impressive with Sykes and will only

get better as the season goes on and yes Rea and the

Kawasaki do not enjoy the Island and will be winning

races and will be a lot more competitive throughout the

season, but they really did miss a trick there and Ducati

have a massive advantage. Having said that, it was only

really Alvaro Bautista who could get the best out of the

new V4R. The other Ducati riders seemed to struggle

with the new package and were sadly very disappointing,

especially Alvaro’s team mate Chaz Davies. He just hasn’t

gelled with the bike at all yet, but the question here now

is can he handle having a faster team-mate? Chaz has

always been the number 1 man in the team and seems

to be battling with the fact that he is no longer. We have

seen this kind of thing happen before. I have always said

it, there can only be one number one rider in any team

and past seasons have proved this fact. Look at Sykes

when Rea arrived at Kawasaki, Pedrosa and Marquez,

history has proven time-and-time-again that one rider

takes the spotlight in a team and it’s happening again

in this case with Bautista and Davies. I’m a huge fan of

Davies and hope he can turn it around and it is still early

days but the signs are not looking good.

While Bautista cleared off at the front the racing behind

his was quite exciting. I was impressed with Haslam


who has proved over the years that he can go fast at the

Island so the question now is can he keep it up? Don’t

think Rea enjoyed having his “seat fi ller” team-mate

challenging him that hard…

It was good seeing the Yamaha boys right up there in

the mix. No doubt they have a stronger package for the

new season and will be challenging more, but still think it’s

going to be between Rea and Baustista most weekends.

Sykes and the new BMW had a solid start to the season.

Good qualifying and decent race one. The Superpole race

and Race two was not very good but still early days there.

I will be off to the Estoril track in Portugal on the 10th of

March for the offi cial World launch of the new Beemer

S1000RR and am really excited to swing my leg over that

machine. Full review in the April issue, but I will be making

video and pic posts up on the RF Facebook page and my

personal FB and Instagram pages so look out for them.

A few weeks after that I will be back in Portugal for the

launch of the latest addition to the very exciting street

range of Husqvarna motorcycles – the Swartpilen

701. Very keen to see and feel this bike as I have loved

my time on our Vitplien 701 long termer and the new

Swartpilen 701 promises to be a real treat.

Next up is the return of MotoGP, yes baby!!! Can’t wait

as it looks like another epic season ahead. We managed

to squeeze the fi nal test before the season opener in this

issue and it’s great to see the Yamaha’s and suzuki’s up

there in the mix with the Ducati’s and Honda’s. Some of

the rookies are also looking really good so to say I am

excited is a complete and utter understatement!!!

So, a busy March coming up for me then but before I get

there myself and the team have managed to put a great

magazine together for you once again. A great mixture of

all that is good in the world of motorcycling – from racing

to lifestyle. It has been brought to my attention that our

mag is a bit to race focused and I have been asked to

feature more lifestyle rides and bikes. So, we have some

great features in this issue. I personally think we get the

mixture perfect every month but I am all ears when it

comes to improving the magazine. I would love to hear

your opinion in this matter – more lifestyle, less racing, or

keep doing what we have been? Drop me a mail at rob@


As I said it’s another cracker of an issue so I hope you all

enjoy it as much as I have.

I’ll end off by saying a big thank you and well done to all

involved with the new Monocle Motorcycle Racing Series.

Round one took place at Redstar Raceway recently as

it was a huge success. Many top people/personalities

in the industry said it would not work and did not give

it much attention or support and advised me to not get

involved. Over 100 entries at round one proved that it’s a

winning formula that is only going to get bigger and better

and myself and the magazine are honoured, proud and

excited to be a part of it!

Until next month, please ride safe!


M A R C H 2 0 1 9



Some notes from the offi cial test at Qatar.


























2018 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R



Purchase a 2018 Super Duke R and receive both Track and

Performance Pack to the value of R 13,533.09 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.

We really like the look of these two renderings of the potential

Triumph Daytona 765. Please make it happen Triumph!

Bigger, better Daytona?

Triumph Daytona With 765 engine spied.

The 765 engine first appeared on Triumph’s

Street Triple and now it looks like a new

Daytona will get that engine as well. The

motorcycle spies over at Motorcycle News

spotted the new bike riding around. The

images of the return of the Daytona with that

new engine were shot in Spain. With them

comes some concrete detail and plenty of


There are a few things that can be gleaned

from the images. As Motorcycle News

points out, there is a lot of this new bike

that looks very familiar. Some things like the

swingarm and frame look pretty much the

same. It’s also clear that the engine is new,

and most likely the 765 engine from the

Street Triple and Moto2 racebikes from this

year onwards.

You can see hints of what looks like Öhlins

fork and shocks and some obvious Brembo

brakes. Motorcycle News suggest the rear

shock is the same as the one used on the

previous bike. The company’s TFT full-color

display will likely make an appearance,

adding some tech features and rider modes,

such as Road, Sport, and Track to the

rider’s list of options.

Triumph has been pretty hush, hush about

this model. While it obviously exists due to

the photos, who knows when the company

will actually let the bike debut or how much

money it will cost when it finally does.

Our guess would be Spring of 2020 for a

production model, but if Triumph got a kick

in its butt, it might kick this bike out into the

world at the end of 2019.

There’s also a chance for a Triumph Factory

Custom (TFC) version of the new Daytona.

Although Triumph has made no indication,

there’s no reason to suggest it wouldn’t

make one. The company plans to churn out

TFC versions of other models and the new

Daytona would make a good addition. We’ll

keep an eye and an ear out for more info on

this model, should be a cool bike.

A Bigger Honda Africa Twin?

It seems that Honda may debut a bigger version of the Africa Twin for

the 2020 model year. Various reports suggest that Honda will beef up the

Africa Twin. While Honda hasn’t officially said this is true, folks seem pretty

confident it is.

For the 2020 model year, the rumour is that the Africa Twin’s engine will be

increased to 1080cc and produce around five more horsepower. This new,

bigger engine will also get the bike ready for Euro 5 emissions standards that

will take effect.

This bump in engine size and power will help the Africa Twin better compete

in an ever-changing adventure motorcycle market. The bike has been a force

to be reckoned with, but it needs to continue to evolve and change to keep

pace with the competition and still be an enticing model to potential buyers.

Honda will need to keep the bike’s weight low despite adding to the engine

size. If the Africa Twin packs on a bunch of weight, then it won’t matter too

much that its new engine will have more power. Reports also indicate that

the model will get a bigger gas tank. That will make some riders who want

to go on longer and more remote journeys happier with the bike.

The rumoured changes seem pretty positive to us. If Honda does make the

Africa Twin more powerful and give it a bigger gas tank, it should continue

to be a smart choice for riders. Only time will tell if this rumour is true, but

with the specificity of the details, we guess it’s pretty accurate.


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

Bridgestone’s new Battlax Hypersport S22 tyre is ready to

areas. So what we had created the

take your riding experience to the next level in 2019.

ultimate hypersport tyre for all

conditions ?


Increase the

shoulder are

for optimum

angle and al

working forc

is positive on

drainage, fee

B A T T L A X H Y P E R S P O R T S 2 2





B A T T L A X H Y P E R S P O R T S 2 2





An in-depth look into Bridgestone's

latest hypersport tyre development.

An in-depth look into Bridgestone's

latest hypersport tyre development.

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

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 Battlax Hypersport S22 will become

the tyre partner taking your excitement

and thrill of riding to the next level.

5LC Compo

Balance be

stability wit

traction and

New tractio

with optimiz

the initial co

to upgrade

New center

silica molec


ratio (+25%



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


design in line with the needs and

*Test data : BMW S1000RR , Autopolis Track JPN, BS proving ground JPN , 120/70 , 190/55 sizes.

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.

A Naked Italian Stallion V4?

Will Ducati Sell A Naked Panigale V4 Like This Custom From Officine GP Design?

While Ducati hasn’t made any announcements about a production

version of a naked Panigale V4, there’s a good chance it will build

one and soon. When it does, let’s hope it looks this good. Officine

GP Design built a unique naked version of the bike called the V4

Penta. It’s available for sale for 100,000 euros (A Zillion rand) and no

the pretty girl is not included in that price, sadly.

The bike wasn’t designed to be a naked bike and that’s evident

with one look at the front end. It’s not the prettiest face in the

motorcycle industry. Not by a long shot. With that said, Officine

GP Design did its best to make it look good. The end result is

somewhat odd but still weirdly attractive.

Of course, the Italian designers were smart enough to throw a

beautiful Italian woman in the background of many of the pictures,

and the video the company released has as many shots of her as

it does the bike. It’s kind of like a classy Italian Hot Bike shoot. If

you like luxury homes, luxurious items, style, beautiful women, and

motorcycles, you should watch the video.

The company’s website says the bike gets a new tank cover, new

fork and handlebars designed by FG Racing, Ohlins dampers,

spoke Jonich SX aluminum wheels, lights from other Ducati

bikes, and a “texturized coppery skin.” The mechanical bits don’t

appear to be touched. Overall, it’s not a bad package, though

we wouldn’t spend in exces of a million rand on it if we had that

much money to spend.

We do hope Ducati comes out with a naked version of the Panigale

V4 and hope it costs a whole heck of a lot less than this bike. With

that said, we know it will still probably be a very expensive machine.


The Membo 32 flips out.

Is the world ready for the Nembo 32

motorcycle with an Upside Down Engine?

Most motorcycles try to get the weight

low so it’s easy to manage, but the Italian

motorcycle company Nembo says mass

centralization is more important than getting

that weight low. According to the company,

by flipping the engine upside down, it can

package most the weight closer together.

This unique idea first appeared in 2013.

Now the bike is ready for production and

Nembo needs some help.

The company doesn’t have money to

produce its bike. To make this happen,

it started a crowdfunding effort put

together on Indiegogo. Unfortunately, the

amount of money raised currently sits

a big old goose egg. Yep, zero. Call us

crazy but this might have to do with the

fact that the expected price is supposed

to hover around R1m. A bargain racer

this is not.

The Nembo 32, as it’s called, features

a 2.0-liter three-cylinder engine making

200 hp and 214Nm of torque flipped on

end. The crankcase of the engine, due to

its unique placement makes up a large

part of the frame. This helps keep weight

down. In its lightest form, the bike can

weigh as little as 160kilos. That means

this bike is wicked fast and an absolute

joy to race.

Will Honda build a

modern Cafe Racer, too?

According to the Japanese

publication Young Machine, Honda will

consider bringing back the GB series of

bikes in the form of a modern cafe racer.

The GB bikes were Japan’s attempt at

they’re own British bikes. GB basically

equals Great Britan, get it? Well, a few of

those bikes were released some years

ago, but they didn’t last. Now it seems

Honda may bring them back thanks to the

interest in cafe racer style motorcycles.

The rumour is that it would be a 1,000cc

motorcycle and fit into the Neo Classic

lineup Honda has going on right now. We

think it would be a nice addition.

Seeing as how Young Machine speculates

on several other models, it’s unclear if

this rumour has any serious validity to

it. However, it would make sense. Modern

cafe racers are a hot commodity in the

motorcycle industry right now and Honda

might as well ride that wave. Plus, who

wouldn’t want a retro-styled 1,000cc cafe

racer from Honda?

It’s would be a move that kind of goes

along with Honda’s most recent retrostyled

bikes like the Super Cub and the

Monkey. The only difference is that this

would be a legit motorcycle instead of a

small displacement machine. Would it be

perfect? Likely not, but neither are any

cafe racers if you’ve ever ridden one, new

or old.

Honda did give us a glimpse of this model

happening a few year back with the CB4

Interceptor concept. Make it happen

Honda, please!


Mikes Bikes - For the love of Motorcycles.

From a tiny shop with little stock to a new impressive showroom fully stocked with over 90 motorcycles.

So, about 18months or so ago Mike van Vuuren, Melvin

Erasmus and Jovan Erasmus start a new bike shop

in North Rand road, Boksburg. With a bit of cash and

some big dreams they open doors for the first time

on the 1st of June 2017. With dedication, hard work,

excellent service and a passion for motorcycling the

eventually start bursting at the seams and decide to

move to more comfortable premises just off North

Rand road and down from the CTM at 632 Trichardt st,

Beyers Park, Boksburg North.

With a selection of 90 bikes plus at any given time,

ranging from super bikes, sports bikes, road bikes,

tourers, cruisers and adventure bikes the sales guys are

always kept busy. The bikes are very clean, in extremely

good condition and very well priced. The sales team is

friendly, polite and well versed in motorcycles in general

and know what they are talking about.

So, with the expansion came a demand for clothing

and accessories, so enters well known motorcycle

lady, Sarah Taylor. The accessories department only

opened two weeks ago, so still early days, but they are

reasonably well stocked and are the first dealers in Sa to

have the new BEON helmets.

Give them a call on 087 945 4000, drop them a line on

mike@mikes-bikes.co.za, or pop in at 632 Trichardt st,

Beyers Park, Boksburg North.

You can also contact your favourite sales person on the

following numbers:

Regan Verrier – bike sales – 082 377 0474

Stephen Cousins – bike sales – 081 766 2724

Quinton Kotze - bike sales – 079 077 2236

Sarah Taylor - accessories – 074 455 3693



Brought to you by

Iannone suffers after

plastic surgery woes

New Aprilia signing Andrea Iannone

was forced to sit out the fi nal day of

the Sepang test, as he suffered from

the consequences of plastic surgery

he underwent during the winter break.

Completing only 75 laps compared to

teammate Aleix Espargaro’s 161, he

complained about a lack of energy as

he battles an infection in his mouth after

undergoing a cosmetic operation to alter

his jawline.

His fi rst test in the presence of new Aprilia

boss (and former Ferrari F1 manager)

Massimo Rivola, it’s unlikely that the

Italian’s forced absence will have gone

down well with his team. However, it did

give an opportunity to British test rider

Bradley Smith, originally set to miss out

the three days but quick to step into

Iannone’s shoes.

And, working with him for the fi rst time,

Espargaro was quick to sing the praises

of Smith after the test, concluding that

his addition to the team has been part

of a resurgence for the Noale squad that

saw Espargaro fi nish the test inside the

top ten.

“I’m happy, because we did a really good

race simulation, and if we compare with

Marquez’s race win of last year we were

four seconds quicker than him! We’re

consistent, the fast lap pace is good

enough, and we’ve taken the maximum

from the test.

“Everyone knows how fast Bradley is, but

I didn’t expect to fi nd a guy so humble.

He spent two hours every night with my

data guy, and the stuff that he developed

with them is really good. He arrived at

8.30am with me, and within three minutes

of Andrea saying he couldn’t ride Bradley

was in the garage in his leathers saying

‘what do you want me to try?’ I’m a little

shocked, and I have to thank Aprilia for

choosing him.”

Ducati experimenting

with holeshot device?

Ducati technical guru Gigi Dall’Igna has once again

left the MotoGP paddock scratching their heads after

rolling out mystery new components at the Sepang

test for factory trio Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci

and Jack Miller. Coming in the shape of a large knob

clearly designed to be activated by the rider and

mounted on the GP19’s triple clamps, it’s started

speculation that Dall’Igna has found a way to adapt off

road riding’s holeshot device for a road racing bike.

Something fi rst experimented with in track racing

by the Honda British Superbike team nearly fi fteen

years ago, the squad saw promising results despite

the added complications that the device brought.

Essentially locking the suspension in place on the

warm up lap, it gives riders more power by not

wasting energy compressing the suspension when

they fi rst open the throttle.

And speaking to MCN off the record, one factory

engineer who worked with Ryuichi Kiyonari and

Michael Rutter when they fi rst tested the bike says

that there’s even more benefi ts than that from a

properly set up system.

“Back in 2004, Showa brought one to BSB. You

pushed a button on the fork and it locked the inner

tube to the outer about 120mm from the top. There’s

mixed opinions about whether Ducati are running a

similar set up or whether it’s on the rear linkage, but

either way the rider controls it from the dash. They’ll

apply the brake, drop the suspension and then turn

the knob to lock it in place.

“In road racing you see riders really forward on the

bike to control wheelies off the line, but the g-force

pulls them back when they accelerate and causes

it anyway. With a holeshot device you can be dead

central and just stay there, instead of getting thrown

back when you drop the clutch.”


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

Indonesia to host

MotoGP street race

Plans to construct an all-new venue

in the Mandalika area of the island of

Lombok with the aim to host grand prix

motorcycle racing were originally reported

by Motorsport.com in November.

A fi nal deal has now been reached

between the state-owned Indonesia

Tourism Development Corporation and

MotoGP promoter Dorna, which will

see the new track host MotoGP events

between 2021 and 2023.

Abdulbar M. Mansoer, the president

director of the IDTC, confi rmed to

Motorsport.com that the contract was

signed on January 21st in Spanish capital


Abdulbar says the design of the circuit,

which is set for a 4.32km layout featuring

18 corners, have already been approved

by FIM Safety Offi cer Franco Uncini.

“The street circuit will be built from zero,

unlike the tracks in Singapore and

Monaco,” Abdulbar said.

“When it is not being raced on, it will be

used as a regular highway in the area.

“We estimate a fast construction process

for the circuit, as we only need to build

roads and paddocks.”

The project will be carried out by French

company Vinci Construction, which is set

to begin paving the surface for the track in

September of this year.

An option to extend the deal past its initial

three-year duration exists in the contract,

according to Abdulbar.

The race, which is set to be MotoGP’s

fi rst-ever street circuit event, will allow

the championship to fi nally break into

one of the world’s largest markets for


The series currently comprises 19

events, and with Finnish venue KymiRing

expected to join the calendar in 2020, the

Indonesia race could take the MotoGP

schedule past the 20-race mark.

Source: www.motorsport.com

KTM boss says Marquez’s

salary better spent on

bike development

KTM CEO Stefan Pierer believes the money it would take

to sign fi ve-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez is better

spent developing its RC16 premier-class bike.

Honda rider Marquez has been long linked with a potential

future KTM switch due to his close ties with the Austrian

team’s title sponsor Red Bull.

But the Spaniard, whose current Honda deal runs through

2020, has repeatedly played down his interest in exploring

MotoGP options away from his current employer.

Speaking at his team’s 2019 launch, Pierer – who previously

criticised Ducati for over-spending on Jorge Lorenzo’s salary –

suggested a bid for Marquez’s services would not be the right

move for KTM at this stage.

“Marc Marquez is an exceptional rider,” Pierer said. “He would

certainly be able to win with our material. Thank God the rider is

still very important in motorcycle racing.

“It’s always diffi cult in the early stages of a project. If he wins, it’s

because of the rider. If he doesn’t win, it’s the bike’s fault. You

can only lose.

“I’m not even talking about the rider’s salary, even if Red Bull

would pay it. I’d rather put the saved money into the bike. But

that takes a deep breath and patience.”

KTM, which has expanded to four RC16 entries after the

addition of Tech 3 as a satellite team has Pol Espargaro and

Johann Zarco contracted as its works riders.

Espargaro scored its maiden MotoGP podium in a wet

race in Valencia last year, while Zarco arrives as a statement

signing, having opted to join KTM despite attracting interest

from Honda.

Pierer revealed that KTM’s MotoGP programme, which

employs 180 people, is operating on a budget of 40 million

Euros in 2019.

“We are in our third year and are still beginners, but we are

on the right way,” Pierer said. “Racing also means patience.

“It took us seven years to win the Dakar Rally. Since then

we’ve won 18 times in a row.

“MotoGP is a fi ve-year programme and we are now in our

third year. In the fi rst year we started surprisingly well and in

the second year we lost out due to injuries [to Espargaro and

test rider Mika Kallio], but in the end we caught up again.

“For this year I expect to be in the top 10. If we get one

podium, it would certainly be a great thing. Consistent singledigit

fi nishes should be possible with our riders. In the fi fth

year we want to [reliably] fi ght for the podium.”

Zarco and Espargaro fi nished the pre-season test in Sepang

17th and 18th overall respectively, although Espargaro

claimed afterwards that the RC16 had made huge gains in

race trim.

“We’re less than a second behind [the leaders],” Pierer

estimated. “Between 0.5 and 0.7 seconds.

“We’re in the lucky situation of being able to try a lot of things

during the year [due to manufacturer concessions].”



Brought to you by

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The all-new Hi-Tech Racing team has offi cially

taken the covers off ahead of the 2019 SA

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The new team consists of two top young riders

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will be riding Yamaha machines for 2019.

Both Byron and Taric make moves up in

classes for the 2019 season, with Byron

stepping up for the 600cc Supersport class

onto a Yamaha R1 in the 1000cc class. Taric

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class to the 600cc championship onboard a

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Both Byron and Taric had great 2018 seasons

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Prepping the bikes and helping the riders will

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Joining the team as the offi cial eyewear

sponsor is SBK Eyewear, who have always

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so again with this new team. They had a fi tting

offi cial launch at Ridgeway Racebar recently

where the entire team – from riders to pit crew

got to sample and go home with a top-quality

pair of SBK shades. The perfect partnership in

so many ways and will for sure help make the

team look full factory!

We wish the team the best of luck for the

season ahead!


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The other day most of our team was sitting around the office having a brainstorm session. The Portman brothers are getting their knees down

here and their elbows down there, our regular lot can barely get leg over – let alone knees and stuff down. Why don’t we go do a breakfast run?

Good idea! That’s what 98 percent of the world does with their motorcycles anyway…

What bikes? Sean loves cruisers. Let’s get

some of those. Sean’s directive is to increase

the lifestyle content in our magazine anyway.

A call to America’s biggest brand procured no

demo models – strange!

Who else? None of the Japanese importers

had anything cruisery available – that left


A call to the very friendly Melane Osher

at Indian procured the Indian Scout and the

Springfield Dark Horse – and test rides are

available daily. Nice! Things were looking up!

None of us really felt like getting

scrunched up on crotch rockets what other

options are there?

Sports tourers? Yup! Let’s make some calls.

Kawasaki – no demo’s at the moment - so

no ZX14. We’ll feature that soon.

Honda and Yamaha don’t really have

anything that fits the bill - so what about a

Suzuki Hayabusa? For sure! What else?

Something a bit more comfortable… Hmmm

Triumph has that lekker 1050 Tiger – why not?

Four very different motorcycles and the

world at our fingertips.

That’s what the good stuff is made of!

The ride:

In typical Foley fashion – there is no set plan.

Where we goin?

Ummm… Ok let’s follow Sean. Why

don’t we go to The Motorcycle museum in

Deneysville? Good idea. 5 hours – a great big

koekeloer and 350KM’s later, four pretty tired

riders returned all the bikes.

Here’s a rough idea of our route:

From the Indian Store we headed onto the

freeway and somehow ended up in Nigel.



A quick stop at the Vaal Dam Wall.

Great twisty roads though… from there we headed out

Heidelberg, through town (chips for the cops they are

a bit bedonnered out there…), and we hit the road out

to Deneysville and the dam.

What a lekker ride, fast straights, some cool fl owing

curves – until you get close to the dam wall –it’s a case

of dodge the potholes… So worth it though!

Deneysville is such a cool “Dorp”. We say this

because at every establishment there is a board that

reads – Bikers welcome!

There is a garage so you can top up – and there

is the Historic Motorcycle Museum run by Mr John

Boswell. If you have never been to visit – get your ass

down there – with more than 140 historic motorcycles

on display, this really is a piece of South African

Motorcycling history.

Never mind that. It’s a friendly establishment, well

priced, and the steak egg and chips are amazing (sorry

vegans). While we were there, they came and ogled

the new Indians – and they hauled out a 1925 Indian

Powerplus that we included in this photoshoot.

1925 – something really special for sure. Great to visit

a place that takes such care of our motorcycle heritage.

After lunch, we reset the preload on our suspension

– and started the trek back to the big smoke. This is

when we realized that following Sean on that very fast

‘Busa was a bit of a crappy plan. He was going so fast

that he missed most of the turn-offs and we ended up

doing a rather large circular route all the way home.

But no complaints – it was a great day out.

NOTHING beats riding a motorcycle to clear your


Go and pay the museum a

visit, you’ll never be sorry.

The enigmatic John

Boswell, proprieter

of the museum with

his latest creation.

Story soon.


Sean tells the story:

The Indians:

Indian motorcycles Melrose Arch. What a

cool store go and pay them a visit

(010) 020 6195

The Springfield dark Horse: 111

cubic inches of comfort...

Get your motor runnin’ … Head out on the

highway … Lookin’ for adventure … And

whatever comes our way …

Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen … Take the

world in a love embrace … Fire all of your guns

at once … And explode into space … I like

smoke and lightning … Heavy metal thunder

… Racin’ with the wind … And the feelin’ that

I’m under … Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen

… Take the world in a love embrace … Fire

all of your guns at once … And explode into


This song, (tell me that you didn’t sing that

…J) has always been THE bike riding song to

me and I’ve often wondered what bike Mars

Bonfire was thinking about when he wrote

the song for Steppenwolf. I now believe that

it undoubtedly had to be an Indian Scout or

Chief or any other model of Indian.

I am possibly the world’s most cynical oake,

not very much really impresses me and gets

me all starry eyed, so it takes something very

special to get my motor revving, walking into

the Indian dealership in Melrose Arch did just

that. I have always loved the Indian brand,

the long sleek flowing lines of the Chiefs, the

stocky aggressive looking Scouts, the luxury of

the Chieftans and the list goes on.

I was like the proverbial ‘kid in a candy

store’, there is no superlative that comes to

my mind that can accurately describe how

beautiful these bikes are to me, and to the

others riders judging by the boxing match we

had to see who got to ride the Indians first,

being the littlest bloke in the group I lost and

was relegated to one of the other test bikes for

the first couple kays of the ride.

Eventually it was my turn to swing my

leg over the big, (1800cc), Springfield Dark

Horse, so named for its combination of gloss

and matt black livery and also for its hidden

talents in its speed and cornering abilities.

Settling down into the big comfy saddle

behind the long, swept back bars was a bit of

an adjustment from the superbikes I rode for

A 1925 Indian with some more modern machines... apparently Annaline

Kriel did an interesting photo shoot at this pool... but that’s another story.

Melanie and Kagiso at the Indian

dealership in Melrose Arch

the first bit of the ride. An adjustment I made

happily and quickly. Banging her into gear and

yanking on the right-hand bar was quite a

surprise, the last couple of cruisers I rode were

just that …. Cruisers.

This big girl picked up her skirts over her

knees and hauled ass down the highway with

me squealing in delight. I soon found myself

charging into some decent sweeps at quite

a bit faster than I felt comfortable making my

nought chew threw my jeans onto the seat

quite hard, for nothing as it turns out.

The long, low slung chassis, perfectly

balanced motor, the more than capable

suspension and tyre set up had this large lady

planted in the corner like she was on rails, at

some points I had to be careful not to drag the

running boards on the tarmac.

The Indian

dealership in

Melrose Arch is

well worth a visit...

We all picked up a problem with the

turbulence behind the windshield, (which

detracts from the gorgeous lines of the bike),

over 90kmh which rattled our eyes balls

around in their sockets, but then I worked

out I was sitting like an adventure bike rider

in the saddle, once I laid back in the saddle

everything evened out and I could cruise all

the way leading the group back from the dam

at speeds that had Glenn pretty sure I was on

the ‘Busa.

In fact, I missed a couple of turn offs

because of the speed and ended up adding

about a 100 kays to the journey.

Kurt on the ‘Busa was the only bike that

could comfortably keep pace with the Dark

Horse along the long sweeping road.

The ‘Horse’ is a very uncomplicated

creature. The cockpit is quite sparse, which


Brett says:

That Windscreen is terrible!

The height is exactly in line with ones eyes, I

tried looking over and then through the screen,

both didn’t work too well and the buffet is bad.

The good thing is that the bike is very

comfortable. Lekker bike for a good long ride.

Glenn says:

I don’t think I’m quite old enough to appreciate

a bike like this. So chilled and pretty to look

at, like a big ass couch on wheels. A relaxed

touring machine, the bike is big and mighty

and comfortable – but it is the polar opposite

of the Scout…

1800cc’s of Yes Please!

had me enjoying the scenery we were riding

through rather than fidgeting with all the

unnecessary gadgets most bikes seem to

come adorned with nowadays. The cruise

control is effectively simple next to throttle,

looking very similar to the indicator switch.

Get up to speed, press it in, toggle to the left

to set the speed and relax. Touch the brakes to

go back to manual throttle or toggle to right or

left to increase or decrease cruising speeds.

The one modern feature we are not too

sure about is the keyless system, we were all

terrified of losing the thing or worried who had

it in their pocket while riding, something we’re

going to have to get used to I suppose, just

like our forefather did with keys.

There is a big ON button on the tank that

looks like it came off my computer and another

one behind the headlight that I assume was

to switch the spots on and off. Just tap the

starter button and the starter keeps cranking

on its own until the motor growls into life, the

note from the standard twin exhausts is a loud,

but not obnoxiously so, growl.

Acceleration is smooth and quick, Gear

changes are relatively smooth through the sixspeed

box and power delivery through the belt

onto the back wheel is seamless, no snatch

from a chain or rise from a shaft and extremely

quiet. The rider gets nice wide running boards

and a big comfy seat, while the pillion has foot

pegs and a soft seat pad.

Ergonomically she is very comfy for my

rather lanky chassis. The dials are a very


touring boxes

easy to read with a combination of digital and


The headlight looks like it would be at

home on a 1930’s art deco high speed train,

the lines are long, curvaceous and super sexy,

reminding me of a Bugatti Atlantiques, one of

the most beautiful cars ever built.

This is the type of bike that makes want

to get a couple of good mates together and

hit the road looking for adventure like Peter

Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson

did in Easy Rider, just without the kak ending

they had.

2nd opinions: Kurt says

I rode the Indian Chief Dark Horse first,

a totally matt black bike, full panniers, an

optional touring screen which comes off easily

if required, an 1800cc motor with oodles of

torque, cruise control, extra running lights, out

on the highway I was immediately comfortable,

getting there through busy weekday traffic was

easy, the Dark Horse handles well, brakes well

and turns well. It will cruise the highways all

day, complete with forward biased floorboards,

swept back handlebars, I found the riding

position very comfortable, all I needed was

some music…

The 1200 Scout: 1133 cc’s of hooligan

Dropping onto, (literally …. It’s so low slung you

basically trip over it), the 1200cc Scout Bobber

makes you feel more like Jack (Ray Liotta) and

the Del Fuegos in Wild Hoggs out looking for

a fight.

The Scout is low, mean and loud and as

fast as f….., I banged hard on the throttle and

just could not find a rev limiter and at just over

the double ton in speed with my loins dangling

perilously close to terra firma, I collected the

mother of all potholes and got airborne and

crossed over. Figuring I was going to die

anyway I just kept the gas wide open planning

on going out in a blaze of glory and Indian

Scout spares.

Much to my undying gratitude the tough

little beast got her wheels back on the deck

and tore along like it was all in a day’s work,

no real bother. That’s when the red mist

descended and I went looking for a fight or

dice, I was game for anything. This is quite

possibly the naughtiest bike I have ever ridden.

It is not the type of bike that is so powerful as

to frighten the hell out of you, but more a “we

can have some fun, I’ve got your back” type

of bike.

The superbikes were a bit dumbfounded

when they were passed at speeds no cruiser

should be able do.

Riding back into Jo’burg in 5 o’clock rush

hour traffic was a hoot, using the double

barrel cannons to knock the cell phones

out of cagers hands when they should have

been concentrating on the road instead of

Facebooking while driving.

Like I said, I was ready for anything on this

hunched down ‘animal’ of a bike.


Simple. Effective.

1200cc of pure




Loud - but they


You even get an

Indian Keyring

This is also not the fastest variant of the

Scout, there are performance air fi lters,

degreed cams and all sorts of go faster

goodies that can be ordered, along with

a whole bunch of ultra-desirable bolt on

accessories and clothing.

In standard guise Indian claims around the

100bhp, but with the go faster bits they reckon

you can get it well over 125bhp. I do believe

that with the excellent handling, the ultra revvy

twin motor and that kind of power it would be

a really fun bike to RIDE FAST on a track day

and will get you a lot of admirers, you would be

a social media superstar instantly.

Like the Dark Horse, the Bobber is quite

spartan by current standards as far as the

gadgets are concerned. You got the absolute

necessary to make a motorbike work and be

legal ….. and I love that!

It’s more about the ride, the adventure, the

thrill than about how big my iPad dash board is

that makes me coffee and tickles my scrotum

while dawdling around looking ‘cool’.

No Cruise control here, no screen either so if

your helmet is ill fi tting as most are, it’s going to

squash your nose if you ride the Scout properly.

This is no poser bike, it is for this reason

that Burt Munro used his 1920 Indian Scout,

only the 627th unit to come off the production

line ever to set the world speed record for

under 1000cc bikes at Bonneville on 26

August 1967. Yes he had it bored out to

950cc, but his record of just over 295kmh still

stands unbeaten to this day.

Get yourself the movie titled “The world’s

fastest Indian” with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the

lead role. Even the toughest of the tough manne

will crack a little tear. Burt set a couple more

records on the same bike over the following 10

years, a lot of which still stand today.

Get yourself down to Indian in Melrose

Arch and chat to the friendly staff, they are

always willing with a test ride, a cup of decent

coffee and a smile, you will be so glad you did.

Needless to say, I loved every millisecond I

spent on both bikes and so will you.

Quite surprisingly, in today’s economy they

are very reasonably priced for what you are


2nd opinions: Kurt says:

I opted not to ride the Indian Bobber, I had

ridden it previously and thought to let the other

guys experience it in full, this is one bad ass

1200cc bike with serious attitude, the other 3

riders almost came to blows in their quest to

ride it. It has an optional exhaust that not only

adds around 15hp, it is loud, this fi rebreathing

Scout gets serious attention wherever it goes,

and it’s no slouch, it tops out at way above

road legal speeds, they just couldn’t get

enough of the Scout.

Brett Says:

The Indian Scout: great bike for quick trips

around town and the odd 100kms.

Sounds good, however on a long run you’d

need to wear ear plugs.

Revs to the moon for a 1200.

Suspension is hard, but you can get softer


Brakes were good.

Glenn says:

A grin stretcher of some note, the 1200cc

Indian Scout is more fun than the world’s

greatest girlfriend. It oozes personality, runs like

a steam train and is just so much fun to ride.

When you are on it, it takes control of your

entire being. Yup! One of those.

What a bike! Please Mr Bank manager we

need one of these to deliver magazines with!

Suzuki Hayabusa: Open the throttle

and hold on for dear life…

Now there have been a bunch of false rumours

that the iconic Hayabusa has been cancelled.

This is not so.

Only in some countries overseas has the law

changed and affected the import of the ‘Busa

but not in South Africa. Here’s the offi cial word:

Europe has moved to Euro 5. The

Busa does not comply and is Euro 4. SA is

essentially Euro 4, so Suzuki can still import

and sell. America doesn’t care either way

so they also are still importing, selling and

therefore ordering from factory. The factory

is still producing, and SA will receive 2019

colours shortly, as the demand from the rest of

the world is still very high even without Europe.

So to make is simple. EU has

discontinued the Busa. The rest of the

world has new 2019 colours arriving and

production, and sales, continue.




Visit our world-class boutique store and book your next test ride with us today.


5 The High Street

Melrose Arch

010 020 6195



There is still 2018 stock and everyone

should own one of these bikes at some stage

of their life. At R207 000, the ‘Busa is by far the

best rand to horsepower bike around

I haven’t ridden a Suzuki Hayabusa in more

years than I care to remember, partly because

the opportunity never really presented itself and

partly because I am a bit nervous about riding

the big hyper bikes.

I worked for Kawasaki for many years and

had a lot opportunities to ride the likes of the

ZZR/Zx1400’s, the H2 & H2R when they came

in, but I declined each time because I know I

am irresponsible when it comes to speed, so it

was with a lot of trepidation that I boarded the

‘Busa and headed off into traffi c.

By any standards, it is a crazy quick

bike. At just under 2m tall and 115kg in

my underpants, (not all of it, but enough),

most Tupperware torpedo’s are horribly

uncomfortable for me to ride any distance on.

Not so with the ‘Busa, I fi t in reasonably well

and can get fairly comfy.

Dodging mid-morning traffi c down the

N3 was a breeze, get into the middle of the

gearbox somewhere and use the throttle to

fi nd the gaps that won’t be there in a second

or two, it didn’t take me too long to lose the

rest of the crew and clear the traffi c.

120kph feels like you’re at 80.

This bike is so well faired and aerodynamic

that the wrong side of 200 sneaks up on you in

a matter seconds if you’re not vigilant.

I did a little over 100 kays on the big hyper

bike, some morning traffi c, some highway,

some sweeping bends and one or two

twisty’s, at no point did I feel that familiar

superbike strain on my wrists or lower back,

but I did pucker up into a twisty or three when I

wasn’t watching my speed, more my own lack

of talent rather than the Hayabusa’s.

She is incredibly stable under relatively

harsh braking cranked over in a bend with

good feedback from the suspension and

brakes and has enough low down torque

to exit the bend in the wrong gear without


There is not much I can say about the big

Suz that you haven’t heard before. It is an

awesome bike to ride and comes with a lot of

street cred and status.

What a bike! It’s no wonder it has had such

a long and distinguished history.

KCR Suzuki on the East Rand are the one dealership largely

responsible for putting the Hayabusa on the map in SA.

available, very informative instrumentation

albeit it a bit behind in the digital age. The

‘Busa does everything well, out on the open

roads in the Nigel area your own common

sense, which I’m told I don’t have much of,

determines the speeds you want to ride it,

suspension copes very well with uneven

road surfaces, it corners well, brakes well, still

deserving of the legend status.

Brett says:

I’m not too much of a super bike fan because

of the angle at which one has to “lie” over the

bike and therefore strain on wrists, HOWEVER

the Suzuki was very pleasant and does exactly

what it’s designed for - very well.

Brakes are good, power is awesome and

handling right up there.

Glenn says:

Man! What a cool bike! It’s been years since I

last got a leg over one of these – and climbing

back on board –It just feels like getting

reacquainted with an old friend. I remember

when I was just an appy – the fi rst one came

out and that blew everything out of the

water. I remember the headline we ran – a

Quantum Leap Forward. Then guys like KCR

Motorcycles raced them, hotted them out,

blew away land speed records. The world

drag champ Ricky Gadson came out with his

ZX12 – and Fransie Engelbrecht took him on

at Tarlton on the ‘Busa and drilled him.

Man that was a great event. I’m glad to say

that over the years, Suzuki has kept the bikes

overall feel very familiar. Fast as you can go.

Comfortable for a bike like this – and at the

price… well everyone should own one.

The Triumph 1050 Tiger Sport: An

everyday motorcycle.

Immediately after the ‘Busa I got onto the

Triumph 1050 Tiger Sport.

Now I really enjoy the triple cylinder motors

from Triumph and generally they all come

packed with a lot of personality and character,

especially the Speed Triple which this is

basically a faired version of the same.

This bike is a lot more conservative, the

seating position comfortable, (in fact the most

comfy bike of the day on the ride), and upright,

the cockpit layout pretty standard, everything

exactly where you would expect to fi nd it.

My one little grievance was the placement of

the cruise control assy. It is next to the throttle

and a bit fi dgety, you have get your hand and

2nd opinions: Kurt says:

The Suzuki Hayabusa 1300. Everyone knows

about this bike, it’s been around for years,

small upgrades over the years, diffi cult to

improve, it was legend when it was released

and it still is. The ‘Busa as its often referred to

is still a rocketship, it will top out at just over

300kmh, it is a fairly comfortable high speed

tourer, at home on the dragstrip, will tootle

along at slow speeds, has optional luggage


throttle in exactly the right spot then try use your

thumb to set the cruise control without moving

the throttle off your desired speed.

I prefer click and ride rather than fi ddling

about trying to fi gure things out while also

trying to stay on the road.

Overall this bike is very lekker to ride, you

can sit on it all day cruising down the highways

and by-ways of South Africa and it is also

sporty enough to be fun in the twisty stuff but

don’t be expecting to break any land speed

records, it is quick enough to get you into

trouble, but if you are riding with some proper

sports bikes they will get quite a bit ahead of

you on a top end run.

But that is not what this bike is intended

for in my humble opinion. It is a comfortable

tourer/commuter with a bit of a sporty appeal

and ability, essentially and adventure bike for

the road, non-aggressive or terrifying to ride, it

inspires confi dence in the rider with its stable

upright riding style.

I enjoyed my time in the saddle and would

happily ride one again and at R164,000.00 is

not badly priced.

2nd Opinions: Kurt says:

My all-time favourite for the day was the

Triumph 1050 Tiger Sport. that triple cylinder

motor is just so addictive, if it wasn’t for the

rev limiter these motors would rev until they


The upright sitting position is where I’m

happiest, once I found out how to lift the

screen to cope with my length I was in 7th

heaven. Braking is amazing, the single sided

swingarm looks incredible, the chassis and

handling is fantastic. The Tiger Sport is a bike

that will scream through the twisties, cruise the

highways at speeds well above the national

limit all day, seating is comfortable, cruise

control is standard, although I’d prefer this to

be on the left handlebar, instrumentation is

substantial, I was sad to relinquish riding the

Tiger Sport every time I had to swap.

Brett says:

For what we did (breakfast run to the Vaal), I

would choose this bike 1st.

Wind protection wasn’t the best, but it was

fi ne. It handled well, had enough power to

accelerate its way out of trouble and review

mirrors were fi ne.

I felt I slid down the seat a bit, pulling my

pants up, but that was a minor issue.

It never made me say “WOW” , however it

was still an enjoyable, comfortable easy to ride


Glenn says:

I fi rst met this bike at the launch at the end

of last year and I kinda felt that we needed to

give it a proper run like this. Triumph has some

great machines in their model lineup – and of

them all, this is probably the most practical

of the lot. It’s a bike you can ride to work and

back every day – and take a lekker breakfast

run on the weekend.

Not madly exciting – but very accomplished

and fun to ride for sure!

So there you have it!

Four great motorcycles – different price points

and all with very different personalities.

Motorcycles are the greatest things in the

world – and we live in a place where you can

ride to your hearts content.

What are you waiting for? Get hold of any of

these dealers – details in the magazine – and

go and ride one for yourself!

By Brandon Leppan - We Sell Parts: www.wesellparts.co.za | Pics by Rob Portman, Gerrit Erasmus and Brandon Leppan


How to build a track bike.

Step by step, here is what

needs doing in order to

do the conversion.

Many riders aspire to convert their bikes to track bikes.

most of the dealers and race guys who do this - kinda

like to keep their ideas and race preps secret.

The guys from We Sell Parts Accessory store in Edenvale

have just done the job on their 2018 Yamaha R1.

Sean Laverick will be competing in the Monacle series in

the Masters class...

It’s a great read and will give you an approximate idea of

the costs involved in a build like this.

R1 race bike build day 1:

Today we removed the road fairings, mirrors, foot pegs, lights,

indicators, number plate bracket and side stand.

There sure are a lot of pieces to this bike compared to our previous

build on a BMW S1000RR.

All stripped parts are wrapped up in bubble wrap, all bolts put into

bank bags an labelled any everything packed into 2 large boxes

ready for storage.

When the bike goes back to road form everything is still brand new.

We had to relocate the ECU to under the fuel tank as the bracket

that used to secure it is part of the road trim that we removed.

While the fuel tank was off we removed the standard paper air fi lter

and replaced it with a lifetime DNA high performance fi lter which

costs R1850.00.

This air fi lter will allow the engine to breath better ensuring

maximum engine performance and never needs replacing, just

periodic cleaning.

We also fi tted a set of RG Racing swing arm bobbins to lift the bike

with a paddock stand which also act as crash protectors. They

cost R475.00.

Total spent to date R2325.00.


R1 race bike build day 2:

Today we fitted the fiberglass race fairings. We used the kit

supplied by Active Graphics in East London. It’s a very well made

kit which requires minimal trimming and shaping before fitment.

The two main advantages of this fairing kit are:

• The faring comes pre-primed ready for painting which reduces

your cost at the paint shop.

• Areas of the kit where fasteners will be used are reinforced

with Kevlar which prevent fasteners from breaking through the


Cost of fairing kit R6500.00 plus R400.00 shipping from East


We also opted for the optional HD foam covered seat which costs

an extra R750.00.

We removed the standard exhaust canister before fitment as this

would get in the way of the belly pan.

We installed a set of R&G Racing engine case sliders for crash

protection cost R1790.00 and a set of crash bobbins from Panther

Racing Products cost R1000.00.

The fairings take a full day to fit due to the shaping and drilling of

holes and installing of no less than 23 Dzeus fasteners which cost

R58.50 each totaling R1345.50.

Total cost of build to date R14110.50.

R1 race bike build day 3:

We removed the fiberglass race fairings and sent them to the paint

shop for the base coat.

We fitted a set of Panther Racing rear sets cost R3950.00. The

main purpose of rear sets is to raise the foot pegs to increase lean

angle and to help keep the riders boots off the tar. The average rear

set raises the foot pegs about 25 mm over standard pegs. There

is also a lot of adjustment on aftermarket rear sets to help make

the rider comfortable. We chose the locally made Panther rear sets

because you can get parts for them which saves you money if you


That’s all we had time for today as the bike had to go in for a locally

made Racetec exhaust. We are not replacing the headers just the

canister and link pipe which costs R7500.00.

Total spend to date R25560.50.

R1 race bike build day 4:

The exhaust is fitted. It looks and sounds awesome!

Gearing: Red Star is the venue for the first two races.

Standard gearing on the R1 is 16T front and 41T rear with

a 114 link 525 pitch chain.

We are going to use a 14T Renthal front sprocket cost

R399.00 and a 45T Renthal hard anodised light weight

rear sprocket cost R695.00 and a 116 link DID 520 ZVMX

chain which costs R1695.00.

The reason we are going 2 links longer on the chain is to

get the desired longer wheel base of 590mm which we

know works at Red Star. This is measured from the centre

of the swing arm pivot to the center of the rear axle.

There are 2 reasons why we do a 520 conversion on a

race bike:

• It is lighter than the standard 525 pitch

• There are a wider range of sprockets available in 520

pitch which allows us to optimize the gearing for each

race track.

Be careful of ultra-light weight 520 pitch race chains as

they do not last very long. We have heard of National race

teams replacing chains every race week end. We have

always used the DID ZVMX on all our 1000cc bikes and

they last around 3 years if you look after them.

Total spend to date R28349.50.


R1 race bike build day 5:

Brakes: The braking system requires quite a lot of work.

First we need to bypass the ABS system because you

cannot switch it off electronically on the R1. This involves

removing the fuel tank and air box so that we can get to

the brake pipes that run from the front master cylinder to

the ABS pump and back to the brake calipers.

All of the standard brake pipes need to be removed and

replaced with Hel braided hoses direct from the front

master cylinder to each front brake caliper and direct from

the rear master cylinder to the rear brake caliper. Cost on

braided hoses is R1950.00.

Next we remove the standard front brake pads and

replace with SBS Dual Sinter race pads.

Cost R3000.00.

Track day riders can use the cheaper SBS Dual Carbon

brake pads which cost R1100.00 and offer sufficient

braking power until they make the step-up to racing.

We are replacing the front brake caliper bolts with

stainless steel race spec bolts from Pro Bolt which are

pre-drilled on all 6 faces for easy lock wiring.

Cost R595.00.

Once all is connected we fill the system up with Motul

RBF660 dot 4 racing brake fluid which has a boiling point

of 325 degrees Celsius compared with standard OEM dot

4 fluid which boils at around 265 degrees.

The cost of a 500ml bottle is R269.00. Finally we bleed

the system and we are ready to go.

Total spend to date R34163.50.

R1 race bike build day 6:

This morning we are going to do the cooling system upgrade before

the bike goes in for suspension. First thing to do is drain the glycol

based coolant as this is not allowed in a race bike due to the fact that

it is as slippery as oil if the overflow gets onto the race track.

We replace the coolant with distilled water premixed with 5% Motul

Mocool (50ml per litre). Mocool is a glycol-free coolant used in race

applications which provides better cooling than water alone and

prevents rust inside your system and costs R269.00 per 500ml bottle.

We replace the standard 1.1 bar radiator cap with a 1.8 bar cap to

further assist with cooling.

Cost R250.00. Basically the higher pressure cap keeps the coolant in

the radiator longer before pumping out into the expansion bottle.

Note: Only fill the radiator and leave the expansion bottle empty. This

will prevent overflow when bike comes into pits.

Finally we fitted a GFP radiator and oil cooler guard to protect from

stone damage. Cost R1050.00.

Now to take the bike to Leroy at Adrenalin Powersport to upgrade the

front suspension.

Total spend to date R35732.50.

R1 race bike build day 7:

The bike is back from Adrenalin


Leroy removed the front forks, stripped

them down, removed the bump stops,

fitted stiffer springs and reassembled

everything with the correct viscosity and

quantity of fork oil. Cost R3500.00.

Race / track bikes generally use lighter

weight oil than a road bike and quantities of

oil used are also very different.

We don’t know the exact science here

which is why I left it up to the professionals.

The R1’s standard front suspension is very

good so we are not going to spend R30

000.00 odd on aftermarket cartridges, as

our rider is not on national pace. This would

be a waste of money.

While assembling the forks, Leroy fitted

the GFP clip on race bars for us saving us

removing the top triple clamp again. Cost


Reason for fitting clip on bars: If you crash

with standard handle bars it’s quite a bit of

work to replace them at the track. You have

to remove the top triple clamp to replace

the handle bar. With an aftermarket clip on,

the bar is removable from the clamp which

speeds up the repair process enabling you

to get your bike ready for the next heat, and

they are also a lot cheaper at R250.00 per

replacement bar compared with around

R1500.00 for a standard handle bar.

We removed the wheels today, removed

the road tyres and the brake rotors as they

need to go to the paint shop. Our colour

scheme requires black rims.

Cost of painting the rims is R1300.00.

We will do the rear suspension on Monday.

Total spend to date R41782.50.


R1 race bike build day 8:

Rear suspension: We managed to get our hands on a good

second hand recently serviced Bitubo rear shock for R10

000.00 (new price is around R21 000.00). We struck a bargain

here and it even came with the right spring for our rider.

Remember when you buy a new back shock, they normally

come with a relatively light weight spring like a 85 or 90

depending on the make, which means you normally have to

spend around R2000.00 for a heavier spring before you can

even use it.

Be wary of second hand rear shocks because they normally

need servicing before you can use them and this can cost

around R2500.00 or more if there is any damage.

Be sure to consult a suspension specialist before installing a

rear shock to ensure that you have the correct spring, amount

of pre-load, length of shock, compression and rebound

settings etc. You need a good starting point before you can

actually dial in a good set up with track testing.

We will install the rear shock once we have the wheels back

on the bike. Don’t like fiddling too much while the bike is on

paddock stands.

Total spend to date R51782.50.

R1 race bike build day 9:

The weather is delaying our fairings and wheels being painted. Unfortunately our painter does

not have a spray booth and oven, so he cannot paint when it is wet.

All we can do at the moment is a bit of critical race prep like lock wiring the sump bolt and

the oil filter. If you intend racing a bike in any category there are certain bolts that need to be

lock wired namely:

Front caliper bolts, Sump plug, Oil filler cap and Oil filter which we do with a clamp.

You can drill holes in your bolts or you can buy fancy race spec pre drilled bolts depending

on your budget. Pro bolt supply pre drilled caliper bolts and sump plugs. We had a nice blue

anodised aluminium sump plug in stock that we used costing all of R199.00.

We use an R clip on the oil filler cap which prevents us from cutting and rewiring every time we

top-up the oil. We also lock wired the grips to prevent them from turning especially in the wet.

Total spent to date R51981.50.

R1 race bike build day 10:

The fairings and wheels are back from the paint shop!

The fairings have the base coat on and now need to have all the bling bling decals applied by

Tinkwix Signage, the rice bike decal specialists.

Once this is done the fairings will be sent back to the paint shop for clear coat which will

make them look nice and shiny and protect the livery.

In the meantime, we refitted the brake rotors to the rims and fitted a nice bling set of 90

degree valves which make your life a lot easier when checking tyre pressures - cost R250.00.

Finally we fitted a set of Dunlop KR slicks as used in AMA racing for grip - cost R4500.00.

These race tyres come from Dunlop America and are very well priced and last longer than

most other brands of cut slick that we have used before.

We used these tyres for the shakedown test but have since fitted the new Bridgestone R11

cut slick tyres for the first race of the season.

Total spend to date R56731.50.

R1 race bike build day 11:

OK. We are finally getting somewhere!

Bitubo rear shock is installed. Decals have been applied

by Tinkwix Signage.

Fairings are off to the paint shop for clear coat. We

decided to add a set of GFP engine casing protectors to

the bike at a cost of R2350.00.

This will save you a fortune if you throw the bike down the

road as it prevents damage to the engine casings.

Next week we will do the final few upgrades like fitting a

quick release fuel cap and a front brake lever protector

and wrapping of the fuel tank (we opted not to re spray

the tank as it won’t match the colour scheme if the bike is

ever put back into road trim).

Total spent to date R59081.50.

R1 race bike build day 12:

We are finally ready!

Tinkwix Signage tweaked the livery a bit before clear

coat was applied and wrapped the tank and hugger. It’s

all starting to look really lekker!

We fitted a nice carbon fiber race lever protector from

GFP costing R895.00. The only things we are still

waiting for are the quick release fuel cap and the stomp

grips for the tank which arrived the follwoing day.

Let’s talk about costs:

The paint job and livery came to R6950.00. The big

question is how much for labour?

We have logged around 60 hours of work on the bike

over the last 3 weeks which if charged at R400.00 per

hour equates to R24000.00 but because we are nice

guys we are going to half that number to R12000.00.

So by the time we add the stomp grips at R995.00

and a quick release fuel cap at R795.00 our total

spend on this project will be R80716.50.

So there you have it - to convert a brand new road

bike to a race bike costs around R80K.

This is about half the cost of prepping a National

race bike because they will spend around R60K on

suspension alone and also do certain engine mods

like a racing head gasket and vernier cam pulleys to

optimize cam timing and ECU flashing etc.

If you want to start riding track days you can start with

your road bike - the problem is that if you crash, they

are very expensive to repair.

Rather look for a second hand track/race bike to start.

If you want to convert your road bike to a track bike

the basics will cost you around R30K.

For this you will get race fairings, a paint and sticker

job, basic suspension set up, gearing, brake pads &

fluid and track tyres.

We went off to Red Star for initial shake down and to

start setting up the suspension. The bike was raced

on Saturday the 24th Feb at Red Star in the Botts and

Masters class in the Monocle Racing Series.


(011) 088 9240/ 9251


Does it ride as

well as it looks?

It’s not easy building a beautiful machine like this, but what

is even harder is building a machine that can RIDEFAST

around a track.

The team from We Sell Parts did an amazing job with

this bike, transforming it from a road R1 to a full track

beast. Up-close the bike looks immaculate. Build quality

is sublime and the paint job is stunning from every angle.

Nice to see the team steer away from the usual Yamaha

blue and even though they are all huge Rossi fans they

resisted going with the masses and painting the bike in

Rossi colours, instead opting to go with the new SIC

Petronas Yamaha MotoGP colours, which I love!

Heading out of the pits for the first time and I could feel

the quality of the build straight away. Loved the wide clip

on GFP bars, just the way I like them. The pegs felt solid

and well placed while the quickshifter and autoblip was

so smooth and effortless to use. Braking was sharp and

responsive and thank goodness as this thing was fast!

The Yamaha R1 is the perfect track bike as it needs little

mods to make it go fast and be enjoyable around a track.

These guys have proved that you don’t have to spend an

absolute fortune to make a bike gorgeous and fast. Yes,

it’s still a lot of money, but not a scratch compared to what

can and is spent by others out on track.

Fitted with the Dunlop KR slicks the bikes handling did

need some work as these slicks are notoriously hard to

get in-line with the bikes overall geometry because of

their hard compound, high profile and stiff nature. A slight

unsettling chatter from the front end was a bit off putting

but other than that the bikes handling was pretty good. It

turned fast and accurately and had good grip in and out

of the turns. Stability under hard braking was confidence

inspiring while throttle response and control was superb

and very encouraging.

Gearing was spot on for the Redstar track and even

on the blistering hot day the bike did not come close

to overheating, which can be a problem on these bigbang


Overall a great job by the team and rider Sean Laverick

did a great job on the bike at Round one of the new

Monocle series. Make sure you get down to We Sell Parts

in Edenvale and check out this work-of-art first hand.

The WSP team:

Sean Laverick, Brandon Leppan,

Eugene Harber, Andre Venter.



Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista made it three wins out of three

on his debut World Superbike race weekend at Phillip Island.

Bautista, who has joined the series after nine seasons in

MotoGP, went lights-to-flag in the final race of the season

opener to complete his clean sweep.

Reigning champion Jonathan Rea had run Bautista close in

the 10-lap sprint earlier on Sunday, but this proved a false

omen for the full-length third race.

Bautista kept the lead off the line with ease, while Rea was

then swiftly picked off by teammate Leon Haslam at the Turn

4 right-hander.

Haslam could do little to keep the pressure on Bautista, as the

Spaniard gained nearly a second with every tour of the circuit.

But the reigning British Superbike champion did keep Rea

well at bay for the first half of the race – and when Rea finally

closed in and made the move at the first corner on lap 15,

Haslam immediately retook position at Turn 4.

With Yamaha riders Marco Melandri and Michael van der

Mark edging ever closer to the Kawasaki pair, Rea made

another Turn 1 move on Haslam a lap later, hanging on to the

second spot for more than a handful of corners this time.

The duo then swapped position at Turn 1 for four laps in a

row before Rea consolidated the spot after a failed block-pass

from Haslam at Turn 4 on the penultimate lap.


This was as close as

Rea got to Bautitsa...

Leon Haslam was impressive on his

return to WSBK, giving his team-mate

Rea a hard time in all the heats.

Bautista, who had long disappeared up the road,

rolled off the throttle on approach to the line but

still claimed victory by over 12 seconds.

In finishing runner-up for the third time this

weekend, Rea completed his first three-race

winless run since the middle of 2017, while

Haslam was two tenths behind to bag his second

podium of the weekend.

The Yamahas ultimately couldn’t challenge the

Kawasaki pair and instead scrapped for position

between themselves, with van der Mark and his

works Yamaha teammate Alex Lowes picking off

GRT rider Melandri for fourth and fifth respectively

in the closing laps.

Bautista’s teammate Chaz Davies progressed

from 16th on the grid to seventh, securing his

best finish on what has been a difficult first

weekend racing the new Panigale V4 R bike.

Melandri’s GRT teammate Sandro Cortese took

eighth, while GoEleven Ducati rider Eugene

Laverty narrowly beat the works Honda of Leon

Camier to ninth.

The factory BMW bikes had a muted race against

the backdrop of Tom Sykes’ heroics earlier in the

weekend, and Sykes himself was beaten to 12th

place by teammate Markus Reiterberger.

The second works Honda of Ryuichi Kiyonari

claimed 15th as the Japanese returnee took his

only point of the weekend.

Althea Honda rider Alessandro Delbianco had

briefly delayed the start with a technical issue, and

then immediately exited the race in a fast crash.

Bautista will head into the second round of the

season in Thailand leading Rea by 13 points in

the riders’ championship.

Krummenacher takes

opening victory in WSS

Randy Krummenacher (Bardahl Yamaha) enjoyed the first

race win of the 2019 WorldSSP season after an exciting twopart

16-lap contest at Phillip Island.

He was in close competition with his team-mate Federico

Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) right

up until the mandatory mid-race tyre change.

Krummenacher left his pitlane position in good order, but

Caricasulo, revving his engine after his rear wheel was

changed, was delayed after his spinning rear tyre landed

on the ground and took rider, bike and rear paddock-stand

down pitlane for a time. His mechanics had to run to get

it disentangled, and his hopes of winning the race stayed

back in pitlane.

He would be eventually third, with the experienced Jules

Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) second overall, despite being

penalised for coming out marginally too early from his

mandatory pit intervention time.

Leon Camier on the

Honda and tom Sykes

on the new BMW have

some work to do.

In the final analysis Krummenacher won the race with some

ease in the end, from Cluzel and the exasperated Caricasulo.

Hector Barbera (Team Toth by Willirace Yamaha) took

an impressive fourth place, but it still saw him almost ten

seconds back on Krummenacher.

Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing Yamaha) was fifth, 15

seconds back, with the top Kawasaki rider being Hikari

Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in sixth.

Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) was seventh, Peter

Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) eighth (and

first Honda), with Jules Danilo (CIA Landlord Insurance

Honda) and Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing Yamaha)

completing the top ten.

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was one of

three riders punished for exceeding the mandatory pit

intervention time, by a huge margin of over 20 seconds.

He was this finally relegated to 12th, one place behind the

potent wildcard rider Tom Toparis (Landbridge Transport

Yamaha) in 11th place.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out

while in a strong position behind the leaders.

“We took a knife to a gunfight”

Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea is not used to

getting beat at all, but far less taking three second places on

the same weekend, under the new rules that came into being

at Phillip Island.

His problem was both Alvaro Bautista and his Aruba Ducati.

Rea praised the rider but thinks the hyper-high revving and

expensive Ducati is too much.

The comment from the four-time champion on the Ducati’s

pace exiting corners, and going down straights, illustrates

Rea’s thoughts on where he is at with it all. “It is completely

clear to see where we are struggling. Right now we

have a knife in a gunfight, and there is no substitute for


Rea also feels there is nothing he needs to change on his

own bike, as it stands within the maximum rev rules at least.

“What can we change?” he said. “Our chassis is incredible,

electronics are working great. Our bike is an 18,000 Euro

bike from a shop. We need to keep Superbike as simple as

possible. But when you have homologation specials and a

bike that revs to 16,000 rpm - I am sure the technical guys

are pulling their hair out - because it is very easy to see from

TV the advantage they have.

“In the last years when I have been in dominating form, I

have never had the fastest bike out there. It has always been

a slog and fitting the whole jigsaw together. Right now what

we are seeing is that – not just us – but all manufacturers

compared to Ducati have a huge disadvantage.

“I was complaining to Pere and Kawasaki, but then my bike

is the best it has ever been. We have made a step from last

year. I feel more for the guys that are struggling even more.

Guys like Tom, or whatever, who has even worse power.”

The Ducati’s 16,350rpm upper rev limit is all perfectly legal,

as it is based on the real performance of the streetbike. But

what a streetbike, with so much MotoGP influence and a

massive engine capability with all those revs on hand.

So the way is for everybody else to go and build their own

high budget homologation special and go racing to win

again? Not so days Rea.

“That is not logical. Manufacturers cannot do this. None of

the Japanese manufacturers can do this, it is not part of

their philosophy. I am not really technical guys, so do not

understand, really. But I know that right now the advantage

they have is too much, to make it interesting, to make it

interesting to fight.

“I can only have nightmares about the two straights in

Thailand. It is 800 metres, the first straight. This is taking

nothing away from Alvaro, he is doing an incredible job. In

both races he was incredible.”

Rea, who had been nervous of his tyres over race distance

after some bad experience over full and uninterrupted races,

offered a reason why the higher revving, more powerful

Ducati was not using its tyres as much. More power should

equal a harder time for the tyres.

“I think it looks like, with the vee-four configuration of the

engine and how the bike is making its power, it is very kind

on the tyre. The mechanical traction they have is much more.

So they are able to be more progressive on the exits, and not

destroy their tyre like an inline four would do.”

With Ducati and Bautista dominating at PI in round one, Rea

is keen that different tracks may bring different results. “I

really hope that this is not the trend of the championship,”

said Rea. “When I was following Alvaro in the short corners,

we were much stronger. So fortunately for me we go to

tracks with lots more tight corners and heaving braking,

change of direction. I am in a much better position than I

was in last year, unfortunately the competitors have a huge

advantage right now.”


A look at some of the

best new production

LOOKINGmotorcycles of 2019.


Words by Loz Blain

It’s probably fair to say 2018 wasn’t the world’s most

revolutionary year in production motorcycling, no matter how

crazy things had been in the electric market, the custom world,

and the technology work around the edges of the scene.

Realistically, a lot of companies were holding out for this

year to drop the really fun new gear, because there was little

point building a new model for 2019, when Euro 5 emissions

regulations were set to come in and change the game again

in 2020. But there has still been some shining lights in the

production world, and here’s our favorite new bikes for 2019.



2019 Honda CRF450L

Honda went big and broad with its CRF450 lineup this

year, but nothing seemed to ring folks’ bells quite like the

CRF450L. Honda took its beastly CRF450R motocrosser, and

comprehensively overhauled it until it reached street-legal status.

At 131 kg, it’s heavy for a motocrosser, but joins some of the

most extreme street-legal road/trail bikes on the planet, with a

dash of Honda reliability.

The new CRF450L has arrived in SA and is available at your

nearest Honda Dealer.

2019 Yamaha Tenere 700

Here’s what you need to know: there are two versions

of the KTM, one more road focused and one more

mud-happy. Both use the 790cc motor making 94

horsepower, while the Yamaha uses the 689cc MT-07

motor making less at 72 horses. The Yamaha is lighter,

and looks like a Dakar

bike. The Katos hold

more fuel, and

the R model

has a couple

inches more


Both are very

exciting machines.

We only expect to

see the Tenere 700

go into production

as a 2021 model

so wont be seeing

it here in SA any time



2019 KTM 790 Adventure R

And then there were two major additions to the middleweight

adventure market that we’ve been waiting on for several years

now. KTM dropped its 790-series Adventure bikes and Yamaha

finally officially launched its Ténéré 700. Both had been quietly

bimbling about in a series of semi-public off-road rally testing

scenarios, but now they’re here, and a pleasant anathema to

yesteryear’s trend of monstrous 1200cc tourers masquerading as

off-roaders the average biker can wrangle.

We will be off to the official World Launch of the new 790

Adventure models, which will be held in Morocco, in March and will

bring you the full test review in our April issue.

The Norton Atlas 650 Nomad

Norton have made something pretty in the “hipster

funkybike with chunky tyres that you could probably ride

on grass” segment. Lopping its V4RR superbike engine in

half, it came up with a 650cc parallel twin – a revvy little thing

making 84 horses. And thus was born a pair of Atlas 650

scramblers. They look neo-retro-tastic, and we’re

looking forward to seeing them on the road.



2019 Ducati Panigale V4R

There’s a new King Dingaling in town and he wears red and

silver. The Ducati Panigale V4R, a WSBK homologation

machine, gives Ducati the honour of having the most powerful

street-legal production superbike in the world. The V4R

superbike stands alone at a monstrous 234 horses once you

fi t the naughty Akrapovic exhaust kit. The rest of the bike is

equally special.

The new V4R will only be available in SA through special order

and so far our sources tell us that there have been close on 8

orders already made. Not bad for a bike has a price tag of close

of R680k, but pretty sure it’s going to be worth every cent.

2019 BMW S1000RR

That Ducati, as we mentioned, will cost house-deposit kind of money. So for

those who are actually looking to get something within the realm of sensibility,

the new third-generation 2019 BMW S1000RR looks like the pick of the crop

for this year. Gone is the trademark asymmetry, which will please some buyers,

and somehow BMW’s also hacked a whopping 11 kg from the weight of the

thing, giving a fully fueled weight of just 197 kg to go with a sizeable power

increase up to 207 peak horses with a fatter midrange. Giddy up!

We will be attenting the World Launch of the new Bavarian Bomber in Portugal

middle of March and will have the full feature test in our April issue. Also look

out on our Facebook page for daily updates and up-close videos of the bike.

2019 Kawasaki H2

Ever since the Kawasaki H2 fi rst poked its supercharged, mirror-fi nished

nose into showrooms a few years ago, there’s only been one hyperbike that

matters. And for 2019, the new H2 has received a thoroughly unnecessary

31-horsepower kick up the bum to make it even more berserk than it already

was. 231 horses out of the box is wonderfully insane, and we’d love to know

what it can do with a pipe, a chip, a tune and a boxful of fresh undies.




2019 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro

We may as well start at the loony end of the scale, with the

most powerful production nakedbike ever built: the MV Agusta

Brutale 1000 Serie Oro, which makes a highly nutty 208

horsepower, enough to allegedly catapult you to 302 km/h

without the soothing benefi t of a fairing. The rider that can

achieve this speed and hold on for a solid few minutes will get

off looking like he’s just gone three rounds with Mayweather.

Actually, not Mayweather, maybe somebody that actually

punches you instead of running away all night.

Fire It Up! has been appointed as the

new MV Agusta importers here in SA

and they say the cost of this bike will

be heavy but they are happy to take

orders. Call Berto on 011 467 0737.

The new Katana is set to arrive

in SA middle of this year. Get

down to your local Suzuki

dealer now to order yours.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114

Harley-Davidson signaled this year that it’s planning on some pretty wacky

pivots come 2020, but for 2019 it’s bringing out a very tasty power cruiser

with an emphasis on aggressive riding, including some crude attempts at

lightweighting and even some thought put into cornering ground clearance.

The 2019 FXDR 114 looks badass, sounds badass ... and we dig it.

We’ve already had the pleasure of testing and featuring this brute a couple of

months back when one of our contributors, Mr Brian Cheyne, became the

fi rst journo in SA to test it. And he gave it two very big thumbs up!

2019 Suzuki Katana 3.0

Retro continues to be the name of the game in motorcycle styling,

but Suzuki became the fi rst company to extend retro design into

the 80s era when it pulled the covers off its Katana 3.0 at Intermot

in Germany. Based on the GSX-S platform, and thus the K5

GSX-R motor, the new Kat is technically not all that remarkable,

but it should ride beautifully, and it’s got plenty of style – so we

look forward to seeing if it makes an impact on sales charts.

The new FXDR 1400 is now

available in SA.


2019 MV Agusta Superveloce 800

Just look at it? Surely it has to be one of, if not the most seductive

motorcycle ever produced...

MV Agusta unveiled the new Superveloce concept at EICMA 2018 in

Milan; an F3 based tribute to the 1970s and their years of GP racing.

To make the bike, MV say they started with an F3 800 chassis, engine

and brakes, but they wanted to enhance the sporty F3 even more.

For the Superveloce, MV have completely remapped the engine

to fatten up the midrange and MV say there’s plenty more top

end potential. As part of the engine tune, MV have worked with

SC Projects to create an asymmetrical 3-into-1-into-3 exhaust,

reminiscent of MV’s racing history.

We spoke to Berto at Fire it Up! and were very pleased when he said

that this bike might be making its way into SA, but could not say just

yet what the price tag will be.

How cool does the FTR 1200 look

with the Shotgun pipes on?

The new FTR will be available

in SA soon. Visit www.

indianmotorcycle.co.za to locate

your nearest dealer.

The Indian FTR1200

And fi nally, you guessed it, the Indian FTR1200. Last year’s

“hottie of the year” got a full reworking as Indian turned it from a

droolworthy custom into an actual production streetbike, losing

surprisingly little charm in the process. The 120-horse V-Twin

motor will be a ton of fun on the street, this thing looks like a

proper banger. But this twin high-rise shotgun exhaust kit from

S&S should be made mandatory. Here, look at the difference

they make:

The Indian FTR1200, with shotgun exhausts

These are only the production bikes that caught our eye – make

sure you check out our 2018 motorcycle technology roundup to

see what’s going on in the electric world, the custom world and

the technologies that are shaping the bikes of tomorrow.




It’s set to be another cracking season in MotoGP and we take a final look at all

the riders in testing before the season opener. Words David Emmett Pics by GP Fever.de & others

The Qatar MotoGP test is really only half a test. Taking place just two

weeks before the fi rst race of 2019 at this very same track, factories are

caught between testing and reevaluating new parts and looking for the

right setup for the race. And with the test running from 4pm local time until

10pm, the fi rst two hours, the track is too warm, heated by the setting

sun, and too cold and potentially damp in the fi nal hour, as temperatures

drop perilously close to the dew point. Of the six hours the track is open,

only three actually approach the conditions during the race and qualifying.

That means it’s imperative that the factories get most of their work

done at Sepang, bringing parts to Qatar more to verify the fi ndings at

Sepang, rather than actually run through a major testing program. There

is one major exception to this rule: aerodynamics. With just under two

weeks to go to the race, Qatar is the place where aerodynamics have to

be fi nalized. No factory can risk bringing brand new aero to the fi rst race,

when they have to homologate a fairing.

There was some new aero on display on the fi rst day of the Qatar test.

Aprilia unveiled their 2019 livery – good news, it looks like an Aprilia, and is

consequently gorgeous – and also a new set of wings, looking for all the

world like Ducati’s most recent effort.


Even more intriguing was the new rear air scoop appearing underneath

the swingarm of Jack Miller’s Ducati GP19. Ducati Corse, under Gigi

Dall’Igna, have led the way in both aerodynamic development and in

tire management, and this appendage could hypothetically serve both

causes. The scoop appears to consist of three wings attached to the rear



Some big new aero on Jack Millers Ducati - under

the rear fairing at the back wheel.

swingarm (a location where it is least likely to

fall foul of MotoGP’s increasingly strict aero

regulations, ironically).

At speed, those wings do two things: they

channel cool air on to the rear tire; and they

exert a small amount of downforce on the

rear swingarm. In the first case, they could

be there to manage tire temperature, and as

a consequence, tire degradation, something

which has been the main focus for Ducati for

many years now. In the latter case, they could

be there to help keep the rear wheel down at

speed, actively helping the suspension to keep

the rear tire in contact with the ground.

Which of these theories is correct? Who

knows. There may come a point at which

Gigi Dall’Igna deigns to give us a hint as to

its function, but I am not holding my breath.

It is also possible that Dall’Igna is throwing

wild ideas at the bike, on things he doesn’t

necessarily think he might use this year. Rival

factories, spotting this appendage, will likely

assign an engineer to try to work out what this

new rear wing does. And while they are doing

that, they won’t be working on anything new,

to help their own bike go faster. It’s a win-win

proposition for Ducati.

Pipe up

There were more conventional parts on

display: at Aprilia, they had a new fuel tank

cover, based on the design used by Jorge

Lorenzo and aimed at allowing riders to

support themselves better under braking. KTM

had a new seat and tail unit, and the obligatory

new aerodynamic fairing.

Both Honda and Suzuki had new exhausts,

but Suzuki’s was the more obvious. The GSX-

RR sported a work of art crafted by Akrapovic,

featuring a double tailpipe. The idea, seen on

the Moto2 bikes for the past couple of years,

should help generate a little more torque and

Alex Rins trying a new double exhaust.

power. Alex Rins was certainly fast on it, but it

deserves to be kept for the aesthetics alone.

The Suzuki Ecstar rider was not just fast

over a single lap, finishing second behind

Maverick Viñales on the Monster Energy

Yamaha M1, he also had outstanding pace.

As in Qatar, Viñales and Rins showed the best

race pace, seemingly head and shoulders

above the rest. They were lapping comfortably

in the 1’55s and low 1’56s, where others were

stuck in the 1’56s.

Problem solved?

The fact that Valentino Rossi ended the

day as fifth fastest, right in the middle of the

pack vying for third, is a sign of just how well

Yamaha is doing. Viñales has been happy

since the Jerez test in November last year,

and built on that at Sepang, but Rossi has

remained cautious. There are now signs of a

little more optimism from the Italian.

“I’m more optimistic, especially because

we work well, and there’s a good atmosphere

in the team, and it looks like Yamaha is more

concentrated and more motivated compared

to the last two years,” Rossi said. “Already in

Sepang we tried something which improved the

bike. Something improved, something didn’t,

but that’s normal. For me, it’s a long work. We

need a bit of time. We need to work very hard,

it’s not just three months to recover the gap. But

the impression is not so bad, and for me, we

can be a bit stronger than last year.”

The biggest thing is that Yamaha appear

to have fixed a lot of their issues with tire

wear. “We always suffered a bit with rear grip,

and at this track that’s very important,” Rossi

said. “But also the degradation of the tire, we

suffered very much last year, especially the last

five laps. And it looks like we made some small

improvement, and that’s already important.”

There was no room for complacency,

however. “We have to continue like this, and

we have to work well during the season.

Something arrived at the first test, but Yamaha

has to continue through the season, because

in the last two years, we started not so bad,

but after during the season, the other factories

overtook us, so we have to work hard all the


Getting a grip

For Maverick Viñales, the low grip of the Qatar

track was a decided benefit. It meant they

could work on tire degradation and finding grip

in poor conditions, which had been difficult

at Sepang, where the track had been almost

perfect. “Today the grip was very low but

actually it was really good that the grip was

low,” Viñales said. “In Malaysia the grip was

great. I exited and the bike was perfect. Here

the bike was sliding a lot and I could work a

little bit more. It’s going to be good. Still we

are facing down, trying to work hard. We still

have a bit of gap to the competitors. We need

to close it and we have two days. We need to

work really hard.”

Viñales had two chassis to test, which

he had also tried at Sepang. The difference

between the two was clearer in Qatar, thanks to

the low-grip conditions. “In Sepang we had two

different chassis – very similar, but here I can feel

a bit more difference because there is no grip.

We are testing these things because they need

to be clear for the first race. Let’s see. Tomorrow

and after tomorrow it’s important to define the

bike, to see if we can do it.”

Both Rossi and Viñales were satisfied with

the engine, or at least with the effect it had

on the tires. The one gripe Viñales had was

the eternal complaint of the motorcycle racer:

‘please sir, can I have some more power?’

“We need to improve the top speed,”

Viñales said. “At Sepang not so much but

here we lose a lot. Already we have some

ideas to improve it. But top speed and a little

bit of acceleration, the electronics side, engine

brake, and that’s the way to go. We are doing

a good job. We are doing small steps but let’s

see if we can do a big one.”



Honda were also happy with their new engine,

though they still have a lot of work to do.

Their plight isn’t helped by the fact that Jorge

Lorenzo is back on track after an extended

absence due to fracturing his scaphoid just

before the Sepang test. Lorenzo wasn’t at all

comfortable, from his fit on the bike, the pain in

his wrist, and from a lack of bike fitness.

“We are missing a lot at this moment,”

Lorenzo said. “First my physical condition,

because of the wrist and because I’ve been

four months without riding MotoGP. You lose

everything, you lose all the rhythm, all the

speed, you get tired, even if you are strong in

the gym. From that point of view, MotoGP is

completely another story.”

He still wasn’t entirely happy with his position

on the bike, and the support the bike was giving

him, this time in acceleration rather than braking.

“I find that I still don’t fit well on the bike,”

Lorenzo said. “In acceleration I need some

more support to relax the arms, we spent most

of the day with the rubber on the seat that slid

and slid and slid, and we didn’t understand why.

So finally we found a solution there.”

He was fit enough to lap, however, but he

was two seconds a lap slower than Viñales.

Lorenzo will focus on bike setup on Sunday,

getting ready for the season opener, and

hopefully making his life easier aboard the

Honda RC213V.

Stronger shoulder

For Marc Márquez, this was the second

time back on the bike, after having returned

from major shoulder surgery at Sepang. The

good news for Márquez was that he was

less troubled by his shoulder than he had


And yet Márquez was cautious. “Here, the

shoulder was much better,” he said. “I feel

much better on the bike. Of course I feel some

pain in some areas, but now it’s much better.

I’m able to ride more or less how I want. Still in

some changes of direction, I’m struggling. But

now in testing we can say I’m coming on my

normal riding style.”

“I find that I still don’t

fit well on the bike...

In acceleration I need

some more support

to relax the arms, we

spent most of the day

with the rubber on

the seat that slid and

slid and slid, and we

didn’t understand why.

So finally we found a

solution there.”

Being able to ride in his normal style had

a downside as well, however. “I’m riding in a

normal way, in my style. In Malaysia I was very

smooth, but maybe I need to change style,

because here in Qatar, maybe I was a little bit

too aggressive, and it’s quite slippery and then

it was difficult to setup the bike in a good way.”

Both Lorenzo and Márquez will spend the

next couple of days working on setup, in part

because they are a little behind in development.

The engine chosen was the right one, being

even more powerful than the one tested

last year, as witnessed by the fact that Marc

Márquez had the highest top speed. “It’s very

positive that the engine is very fast,” Lorenzo

said. “I think Marc today was the fastest one in

terms of top speed, so that’s a good signal. We

are losing in some areas compared to the other

engine, we still need to study. But it’s good that

we have a strong engine, now we need to be

strong on the lap time.”

The bike still needs work before it is ready

for the first race, however. “In Malaysia, it was

very good, we were riding in a very good way,

the bike was easy to ride. And now we are

struggling a little bit more, all the Hondas are

struggling. We are missing some feeling, and

now it’s time to understand the setup of the

bike to see how we can improve.”

Getting ready already

That could put Ducati, and especially

Andrea Dovizioso, in the driving seat for the

championship. The factory Ducati riders didn’t

have much to test, Dovizioso said, and were

mainly working on setup, though not yet

chasing a really fast time. “The lap time was

already quite fast, but in the end, like most

of the time, the time at the end of the day is

not important, and didn’t show the reality of

everybody,” Dovizioso said.


“So we are not focused on that, we are

focused on the race, what we have to try to

be in the best situation for the race. We didn’t

test a lot of things, just a few things. There

was a situation to already test a few parts,

but nothing crazy. The speed is good, but the

first day is not too important because of the

condition of the track. The second and third

day normally is better, and is a better day to

understand and to analyze more.”

Are Ducati in better shape than last year

when compared to their rivals? That wasn’t an

easy question to answer, Dovizioso said. “It’s

very difficult to understand this, because I think

last year we were in a really good condition

for this race, and we are in a really good

condition for this race now. But to analyze and

understand how strong the competitors are is

almost impossible. Because it looks like they

are a bit better. Not everybody, but Suzuki,

Yamaha, looks like a bit better. But it’s difficult

to know until you are in the race.”

Testing penalty

It wasn’t just the factories who were testing at

Qatar, however. Race Direction had laid out

a penalty lane on the outside of Turn 6. The

idea is to replace the penalty of being forced

to drop a place with a consistent time penalty.

Dropping a place can be a fraught process,

as Jonas Folger found to his detriment during

the Moto2 race at Misano in 2014, when he

was penalized for cutting the track, but it took

so long for him to drop back to the group

scrapping behind him that he incurred another

penalty, this time a ride through.

Valentino Rossi was cautiously positive

about the change, as one of a few riders who

had tried it. “It’s a bit tricky, but it’s possible,”

Rossi said. “They say that you lose three

seconds. I think a little bit more, but it’s not

so bad. For me, it’s more right compared to

giving up one position, because sometimes if

you give up one position, sometimes you lose

half a second, but sometimes you lose five

seconds. So this loop is always the same, so

it’s not so bad.”

Whether this will remain is still uncertain.

There are risks to having a slow lane on the

outside of the corner: if a rider loses the

front on the entry to the corner, they could

potentially wipe out a rider riding through the

penalty lane.

Overall, though, the reception was positive.

“We spoke in the Safety Commission,” Andrea

Dovizioso explained. “I think it’s a really good

idea. It looks like nearly every rider thinks this

is a good idea. And I think for them it could be

much better to manage than when you have

to drop a position. It’s more clear what you

have to do, what you lose. It’s the same for

everybody. You know before the weekend. I

don’t know if it’s easy to create this situation

at every track, but I think it’s a good idea.

Unfortunately I didn’t test it, but I think the only

problem can be the dirt. Outside the track is

dirty, which means slippery. But anyway, when

you have that penalty, it’s because you made a

mistake. So at the end, I think it’s a good idea.”

Day two: Rins Rocks It, Quartararo

Surprises, Yamaha’s Dilemma, And

The End Of Testing Is Nigh.

The Qatar MotoGP test turned out to be more

intriguing than we dared hope. The track in the

desert is a very different beast to the tropical

Sepang, and throws up different challenges.

That produces different winners and different

losers. And that leaves us, the neutral

observers, with much to chew on.

Some of the names at the top of the

timesheets are the same: Alex Rins and

Maverick Viñales have been fast all preseason,

and the second day at Qatar was no

exception. But seeing Fabio Quartararo in third

is quite a surprise; at Sepang, the Petronas

SRT Yamaha rider was way down in sixteenth,

1.2 seconds off the pace at the front.

Quartararo’s secret? “Today has been

the first time that when I put the new tire in,

I disconnected my brain to say, OK, now it’s

time to make a time attack,” he joked. So

disconnected was his brain that he didn’t even

realize just how fast he was going. “The first lap

time I made was a 1’55.0, and I didn’t realize it

was a 1’55.0. I thought it was a 1’56.0, and I

said, ‘I need to be faster!’ The next lap, I made

a 1’54, so the lap before was a 1’55!” He was

happy that it was three quick laps in a row,

proving that it wasn’t just luck.

It is interesting to compare the fortunes of

Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia. At Sepang,

Bagnaia was the rookie making all the waves,

while Quartararo languished down the field. At

Qatar, the roles are reversed, with Quartararo

third, and Bagnaia down in fifteenth, over a

second back.

This rookie seems to be

another sensation.


With Aleix Espargaro ending the day as

sixth quickest on the Aprilia RS-GP, and his

brother Pol setting the tenth fastest time

on the KTM RC16, we had all six MotoGP

manufacturers inside the top ten. It is still only

testing, but that in itself is a sign of just how

healthy the championship is.

Suzuki revival

Alex Rins being quickest is proof of just how

quick the Suzuki GSX-RR is, coming as it

does off Rins’ performance in Sepang. Rins

has been quick, and consistently so, at both

tracks. “I think if the race was tomorrow, we

would be happy to start quickly!” Rins said.

“Because as you can see, we are doing a very

good job. In Sepang, and in Qatar during these

two days, I think we are happy. The team and

me. We confirmed all the things that we tried

in Sepang, and also new parts, like the new

exhaust Suzuki brought here to Qatar. I think

we are in the good direction.”

Suzuki’s improvement has not come from

radical change, Rins explained. A series of

small steps and updates had honed and

refined it into a bike which looks capable of

winning races. “We did a small step, but a

positive step. We didn’t change the bike a

lot, it is still similar to last year, but the small

changes we made, they are important.” The

biggest improvement had been in braking,

something Rins had been asking for since late

last year.

Two doors to choose from

Maverick Viñales’ second fastest time neatly

illustrates the dilemma Yamaha find themselves

in. Viñales is quick, and more importantly,

he’s happy. The bike still needs work, but it is

heading in the right direction. “The consistency

was much better,” Viñales said. “I could ride

quite well, when I put good new tires on, I felt

great on the bike. I tried to keep my rhythm a

little bit more, but finally I got some issues with

the bike, and I went to the box. But anyway, I

think we did a really good improvement from

yesterday. So we need to keep focused on the

right way, and we will try tomorrow to improve

the acceleration, which I think we were losing

some tenths there. And it’s very important,

especially for overtaking in the race, to not be

passed by maybe some riders who you can

get stuck behind in the race.”

The bike was better on corner entry, and

they had found more grip. The bike was the

best bike he had ridden since he had arrived

in Yamaha, Viñales said, though Yamaha

wasn’t the only factory to have made progress.

Vinales and Yamaha

seem to have found

something, let’s hope

they can keep it up.

“I tried to keep my

rhythm a little bit more,

but finally I got some

issues with the bike, and

I went to the box. But

anyway, I think we did a

really good improvement

from yesterday. So we

need to keep focused on

the right way, and we

will try tomorrow to

improve the acceleration,

which I think we were

losing some tenths there.

And it’s very important,

especially for overtaking

in the race, to not be

passed by maybe some

riders who you can get

stuck behind in the race.”


“The only problem is the level is much higher!

For sure the bike is now working quite well,

I think it’s the best bike we’ve had in two

years, but the competitors made really good

steps forward, so we need to keep working.

Especially on acceleration.”

While Viñales is happy and fast, Valentino

Rossi is exactly the opposite. The Italian

veteran ended the second day at Qatar in

nineteenth, 1.2 seconds behind Alex Rins, and

1.15 seconds slower than his teammate. He

was worried. “I hope with all my heart Maverick

is right and I am wrong, because I think at the

moment, we are not strong enough to fight for

the victory,” Rossi said.

They had worked a lot, but not found a

solution. They had changed the setting, the

weight distribution, the electronics, but the

problems remained the same, Rossi said. “The

bike slides a lot, and also at this track we suffer

a lot in the straight, much more than at Sepang.

The fact is that 10 km/h less than Honda and

Ducati is a lot, it’s logical to be worried.”

How to explain the difference? Who knows.

The situation in the Petronas SRT Yamaha

team is the same, with Franco Morbidelli six

tenths of a second slower than his teammate,

and nine tenths off the pace of Viñales.

The Yamaha appears to have made a big

step forward, but it still appears to be highly

sensitive. A bike which works at one track may

not work at another, and competitiveness may

vary between riders. There is still much work to

be done.

“I hope with all my

heart Maverick is

right and I am wrong,

because I think at the

moment, we are not

strong enough to fight

for the victory,”

Swings and roundabouts

The situation for Honda looks equally

confusing. The 2019 bike is much more

powerful, but the changes made have come at

the price of confidence in the front end. “The

front is not what it has been and what we’re

used to in all areas, going in, and in the middle

of the corner,” Cal Crutchlow said. “It’s going to

be a work on progress throughout the season.

Jorge Lorenzo echoed some of those

sentiments, feeling he lacked confidence in the

front end of the bike. But Lorenzo has bigger

problems at the moment, still working on

finding the perfect position on the bike. Honda

were experimenting with different shapes and

thicknesses of seat pads, to support him in

acceleration through Sunday.

It helped a little. He improved his time by

1.3 seconds from Saturday, though that still

left him in eighteenth. At least his gap to the

front was not as bad, cut from 2 seconds to

just 1.1 seconds.

The layout of the Qatar doesn’t help the

Hondas. Both Cal Crutchlow and Marc

Márquez told reporters that they felt that

Qatar was always a problem for the RC213V.

Márquez, who has won repeatedly at just

about every track, has only won once at Qatar,

in 2014, the year he blew the opposition away.

At least he had felt better during the test,

Márquez said. He was able to ride the way he

wanted, his shoulder hindering him less. This

meant he could work on the setting of the bike

better, and actually ride hard enough to provide

useful feedback data. Márquez finished the

day in fifth, just behind Danilo Petrucci and

ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, a solid result for

the Spaniard, and a promising sigh he could

be competitive.

The Ducatis, meanwhile, were

concentrating on setup, their testing work

mostly done. That, in itself, should give

Dovizioso and Petrucci some confidence, as

they are already competitive, and their bike will

not change much before the racing starts.

Bits and pieces

There were a few technical updates to be

seen at the test. Ducati and Honda brought

the aero fairings they had tested at Sepang to

Qatar, and work continued on those. Aprilia

had a wider fairing, in search of improved

aerodynamics, the fairing looking a little like

Ducati’s recent attempts. The smaller salad

box (what Mat Oxley refers to as the ‘Bento

box’) appeared on the Honda RC213V again,

though we still don’t know if it houses a mass

damper as Ducati’s is alleged to do. Given the


location – offset to one side of the bike – this

seems unlikely.

Yamaha also had a revised tail section,

but unlike the Honda and Ducati, theirs was

much slimmer and pointier. Ducati, meanwhile,

debuted a strange aero contraption hanging

over the lower half of the front wheel. It is legal,

but what the point of it is, is a mystery. The

Spanish sports daily has a gallery of various

tech updates for you to ponder over.

And so we approach the final day of the

test. The last day of the test is the day when

there is nowhere left to hide. If you want to do

a race run, this is your last opportunity, and

given that nobody has attempted a full race

run, that means just about the entire MotoGP

grid. Then there’s the bragging rights for the

fastest lap, which both matters not a jot, and

is the most important part of testing. Naturally,

how you describe it depends on whether you

were fastest or not. It may only be testing, but

there is no quenching the competitive spirit

which drives racers to do the truly remarkable

things they do.

Viñales, Quartararo and Marquez

close out the Qatar Test on top

…but they’ve got Rossi, Lorenzo,

Morbidelli and more for close

company as 15 riders conclude

testing within a second

Maverick Viñales left the Losail International

Circuit after the Qatar Test having topped two

of the three days, the first and final, and on

Franco Morbidelli

made big steps on

the final day.

Monday it was with a 1:54.208 to end the test

0.233 clear. The top spot was again under

threat from an incredible performance from

rookie Fabio Quartararo in second, however,

with reigning Champion Marc Marquez

completing the top three. And, after a tougher

Day 2 for Valentino Rossi, the ‘Doctor’ was

back inside the top four just behind Marquez,

with Jorge Lorenzo another resurgent runner

as he completed the top five.

So it’s Yamaha who left Qatar on top

despite a windier Day 3, with Viñales putting in

50 laps on Monday and Rossi 38. The Italian

was pretty positive and said it came from

putting “everything together”, but the Spaniard

did still insist they need to improve and one of

the big things he pointed out was edge grip,

where he said the Yamaha is lacking a little

compared to other manufacturers. Quartararo,

meanwhile, did 48 laps and showed his Day 2

showing was far from a fluke, with teammate

Franco Morbidelli shooting up the timesheets

to sixth on Monday too. That makes good

reading for both the Iwata marque and the new

Petronas Yamaha SRT team, with all Yamahas

in the top six.

Repsol Honda were the only other team

and manufacturer to mix it with them on

Monday, although both machines took

tumbles – riders ok. Marc Marquez was

third with a 1:54.613 and did 53 laps, again

showing the capacity to put more mileage on

his shoulder, and teammate Jorge Lorenzo

took P5 just 0.040 off Marquez and 0.002 off

Rossi. After two much tougher days on the

timesheets hovering outside the top 15 as he

both changes bike and comes back from a

scaphoid broken only a month ago, the fivetime

World Champion catapulted himself up to

a 1:54.653 on Day 3.


Marquez was on fire, well, nearly... A

small crash for Marquez who luckily

never landed on his injured shoulder.

Takaaki Nakagami, meanwhile, also had a solid final

day as he finished the Qatar Test in eighth despite a crash,

and the Japanese rider concludes testing with a sheet of

consistent top tens. He did 50 laps with a best of 1:54.789,

with teammate Cal Crutchlow down in P17 after 39 laps.

Another big headline on the last day of preseason came

from the consistently impressive Pol Espargaro, who was a

stunning seventh on a best effort of 1:54.770. The Spaniard

put in 37 laps as the Austrian factory continue working on

the details, and the second quickest KTM was actually

Miguel Oliveira on Monday as the Portuguese rookie was

within around a second of Espargaro. Johann Zarco was a

little further down the timesheets on Monday in P22.

Danilo Petrucci, meanwhile, retained his stronghold on

the timesheets amongst the Borgo Panigale machines.

The Italian was ninth on Day 3 after another 43 laps, with

teammate Andrea Dovizioso down in P15 after 50 but

they focused on long runs and race setup. The engine and

fairing and bigger decisions were already made before the

end of action. Jack Miller improved to tenth on his final of

57 laps, and his teammate, rookie Francesco Bagnaia,

wasn’t far off in P13 – just two tenths in arrears. He was

closely followed by Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat.

Between that Ducati invasion were nestled both of

the Team Suzuki Ecstar machines. Although third overall

from his Day 2 laptime, Alex Rins ended Monday in P11

on a 1:54.852 after 41 laps and rookie teammate Joan

Mir was the second quickest rookie in P12. The gap

between the two Hamamatsu factory machines was only

a tenth and a half…

Aprilia, meanwhile, were happy with their improvements

and although Andrea Iannone was P16 and Aleix

Espargaro P19, they were focusing more on longer runs,

for Espargaro especially – and overall across the test

Espargaro was P14. The Noale factory were also happy

with the adaptation shown by Iannone after the Italian

had to sit out much of Sepang with illness, which is a big

positive after a difficult recent run.

Tech 3 KTM looks

so good.

Aleix Espargaro on his

gorgeous Aprilia.

Zarco and KTM will

hopse for a bit more

over the race weekend.






Far East Movement is an American hip hop and electronic music

group from the States, one we have never come to enjoy. The

new ZT310-X however is a machine from the Far East making

plenty of movements here in SA. Words: Brian Cheyne | Pics: Brian Cheyne & Sean Hendley

In a world where everything seems to be getting

pricey, here’s a refreshing bike at a refreshing

price. Brian Cheyne sent us a feature and some

awesome pics – and then our mob used it to poke

around in the JHB traffi c…

Brian says:

As far as I can tell in the past, all Chinese

motorcycles that made their way to South

Africa came from the same factory. They tell me

differently, but to me it seemed that only the decals

were different between brands.

In 2017 a new entry to the South African market

shook things up a bit and gave us the Zontes S250.

With it’s day-glow highlights the bike was not ugly.

Nor was it underpowered and it did not feel cheap.

While I was heaping praise on the S250, Zontes

readied the ZT310-R. Even the most hardened

bikers had to admit that this was an arrestingly

good-looking bike. It had all the ingredients and

styling of an aggressive naked bike. This year they

upped the ante with the ZT310-X.

With every iteration, you can see the

improvements that Zontes makes, and the




“Kawasaki Esque” X is even better looking

than the R, something I thought would be

hard to do.

The engine is a 312 cc single cylinder fuel

injected unit that produces a respectable 26

kW @ 9500 rpm. Add to that the 30 Nm of

torque at 7500 rpm and you have quite a

spritely little machine that certainly delivers

more than I was expecting. The fuel tank holds

a generous 15 litres of fuel. That means that at

the claimed fuel consumption you should get a

range of over 400km on a tank. Furthermore,

Zontes claims a top speed of 160 km/h. The

review bike was still new, so I did not want to

push it too hard, but judging by how easy it

kept up with highway speeds, I would say that

the claim does not seem far-fetched.

Sharing most of the components of the

R, the X version adds more fairing panels and

a sharpened up front-end. The front looks

almost like the Kawasaki H2, (they say the

best form of flattery is imitation), and the styling

is certainly aggressive. There are day-time

running lights and the front indicators are

incorporated into the fairing. The windscreen

is adjustable although only two settings are

available – nice touch!

The bike sports the same two stubby

exhausts from the R and the tails kicks up like

a sport bike should. Overall the build quality felt

good and on some items, it felt almost over

engineered. The mirror stalks, for instance are

made from cast iron! I am sure Zontes can

shave quite a bit of weight off its 155 kg kerb

weight if they applied themselves.

The instrumentation is an all new, much

larger, LCD screen. It is comprehensive,

and most of the display is taken up by the

rev-counter. To the left of the screen, inside

the fairing, is a USB port. The Zontes uses a

keyless system, which is quite an upmarket

feature for such a small capacity bike.


Apart from the regular handlebar controls,

the Zontes has a few extra buttons for opening

the seat and the fuel cap. The main buttons

are backlit and they are soft touch plastic.

You sit low in the bike, and the handlebars

are quite narrow which makes for excellent

lane splitting. The seat lacked a bit of grip, and

under hard braking you end up against the

tank, whether you like it or not.

For a 310, this bike a surprisingly lively. I’ve

ridden other 300’s and the performance of

the Zontes is right up there. As a commuter it

will serve you well because not only can it get

away from traffic, it will also happily keep up

at highway speeds. At no point did the bike

feel at all strained. The engine does get a bit

buzzy, but that is to be expected from a single

cylinder mill.

Up to now I have only been positive about

the ZT 310-X with only a small irritation here and

there. At a price just shy of R69 000, you might

still feel reluctant to opt for this bike over the

“For a 310, this bike a

surprisingly lively. I’ve

ridden other 300’s and the

performance of the Zontes

is right up there.”

Japanese and German offerings, and I get it.

To some extent, Zontes still needs to prove

themselves as reliable back up their product

here in South Africa. To that end, the dealer

network is expanding and exciting new models

are coming. They even have an adventure

variation coming soon, and if they price that

right, it may be a very popular model.

Overall, I came away impressed with the

310-X as a nippy little commuter. It just carries

the burden of perception with it. Let us hope

that Zontes can change that. They certainly

have the products to help their cause.

2nd opinion: Glenn Foley

I have watched the “Chinese invasion” over

the years. Some of the bikes have been pretty

decent – others have been – well – lacking.

In todays world, the Chinese bikes walk a

fine line in terms of costing structure – and like

Brian says, perception.

This is the second Zontes that I have

ridden – and both times I prepared to be a

bit underwhelmed – and guess what? Both

times I came away thinking “Hmmm that was

actually quite lekker.”

With a bike like this – you have to test it as

it is. It is not a Japanese or European crotch

rocket. Switch off all of your preconceptions

and we guarantee that you’ll like it!

Brian has covered all the bases – the bike

is really comfortable, It’s nippy, it handles really

well – and it’s a lot better looking than some of

the old clangers that we grew up with.

It feels good. Really good. Comfortable with

long legs and modern features. They seem to

have focused on a quality feel and ride – and

that decides whether you’ll like it – or not.

And we all really liked it.

If you are an electronic junkie:

Electronic tank, electronic seat removal, all

keyless with no sign of anywhere to actually

put a key…

Not really our cuppa tea – but then we are

just simple folks here. What the hell do you do

if the battery goes flat? Well - don’t let it go flat.

If it does, there is a little AC adaptor just

behind the shock absorber that allows to you

get enough juice flowing so that you can pop

the seat and get to the battery.


If you are a guy who wants a ZX10 with all the

bells and whistles – then this is not the bike for

you. If, however, you are just starting out in the

world of motorcycles – and you are looking

for a bike that is easy, comfortable and fun to

ride… then this one is definitely worth a visit…

Proudly brought to you by the official

importer of Dainese and AGV.

RACE! SA. 011 466 6666



Why Valentino Rossi Turning 40-Years-Old Is Such a Big Deal.

Words Dave Emmett | Pics by GP Fever.de & Yamaha press

I do not make a habit of marking the birthdays of motorcycle

racers, but Valentino Rossi’s 40th is worthy of an exception to my

self-imposed rule. His 40th birthday is clearly a milestone, though any

birthday can hardly be regarded as an achievement. To reach his 40th

birthday, all Rossi had to do was keep living.

But of course, the fuss being made of Valentino Rossi’s 40th

birthday is not because of the age he has reached. It is because he

reaches the age of 40 a few months after having fi nished third in the

2018 MotoGP championship, racking up fi ve podiums and a pole

position along the way. It is because the media, his fans, and Rossi

himself regard that as a disappointing season.

It is because he enters his 24th season of Grand Prix racing, and

his 20th in the premier class, the fi rst year of a two-year contract

which will see him racing until the age of 41 at least.

It is because he is one of the leading favorites to wrestle the

MotoGP crown from reigning champion Marc Márquez (15 years

younger), along with Jorge Lorenzo (9 years younger), Andrea

Dovizioso (8 years younger), Maverick Viñales (16 years younger).

And he will race against, and be expected to beat, Franco

Morbidelli (16 years younger) and Pecco Bagnaia (18 years younger),

two riders who enter MotoGP thanks in large part to the tutelage

and support they have received from the VR46 Riders Academy,

the scheme set up by Rossi to nurture young talent where the Italian

motorcycling federation FMI were falling so woefully short.

Age Is Just a Number

What makes this such a remarkable achievement is that Valentino

Rossi is still competitive at what is, for a motorcycle racer, an

advanced age. Few have been so competitive at that age, and even

fewer have managed to keep winning for so long.

Back in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, it was more common for riders to

be competitive well into their thirties, but then again, they often did not

start competing until much later in life. In the modern era, Troy Bayliss

won a MotoGP race at age 35, and WorldSBK title at age 37, but

Bayliss didn’t start racing seriously until he was in his late teens.

By contrast, Rossi has been riding motorcycles since he was two

and a half, and racing them since the age of ten. Three years later, he

committed to racing motorcycles full time, dropping the karts he had

previously been racing.



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Three years after that, he became Italian

champion and was competing in the European

125cc championships. The next year, he was

racing in Grand Prix, winning his fi rst race at

Brno in his rookie season.

The gap between that fi rst Grand Prix

victory and the last (at Assen in 2017) is

nearly 21 years (20 years and 311 days to be

precise). His nearest rival in that respect is Loris

Capirossi, who won Grand Prix just over 17

years apart.

But if the Yamaha M1 is competitive in

2019, there is no reason Rossi will not be able

to extend his winning career even further.

Burning Ambition

Of all the truly awe-inspiring things which

Valentino Rossi has achieved in his career, this,

for me, is what sets him apart. Yes, the 9 world

championships are incredible, as are the 115

Grand Prix victories, or the total of 6073 points

from 383 starts, an average of nearly 16 points

a race, the equivalent to fi nishing third in every

single race he has started.

The fact that he has raced against 35

different Grand Prix champions, a number

which will increase to 37 with the arrival of

Joan Mir and Pecco Bagnaia on the grid

in 2019, puts into perspective just how

long he has been competitive, and the

level of competition he has faced.

Above all, the blind ambition which drives

him to do whatever it takes to put himself

“The fact that he has raced

against 35 different Grand

Prix champions, a number

which will increase to 37 with

the arrival of Joan Mir and

Pecco Bagnaia on the grid in

2019, puts into perspective

just how long he has been

competitive, and the level of

competition he has faced.”

in a position to win races at the age of 40 is

what truly sets him apart. To line up on the grid

against Márquez, Lorenzo, Viñales, Dovizioso

et al and have an honest chance of beating

them is not easy even for young, hungry

talents at their physical peak.

To do it at age 40 is truly remarkable, for

the sacrifi ces Rossi has to make, and for his

willingness and ability to learn and adapt.

When Rossi entered the premier class,

he barely had to train: the fi rst fl ush of youth,

combined with an outrageous abundance of

talent and the enjoyment in riding and racing

was enough to allow him to win races, and


From around 2006, with Dani Pedrosa and

Casey Stoner, a new generation entered the

class, riders who had grown up knowing that

if they made it to MotoGP, Valentino Rossi was

the rider they would have to beat. Rossi was

the benchmark for them, and they worked

harder than the generation which came before

in an attempt to beat him.

Beaten two years in a row, by Nicky

Hayden in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2007,

Valentino Rossi altered his approach,

taking his preparation more seriously,

working more methodically, and beat the

newcomers, along with Jorge Lorenzo, to

win another couple of titles. A shoulder injury

in 2010, and a failed switch to Ducati for 2011

and 2012, put Rossi’s career back a long way.


Adapt, Adapt, Adapt

This is the point where other riders would have

given up, accepted their time had passed, and

moved on to other things. But not Rossi. His

boundless ambition, his voracious appetite

for victory, what he refers to as “the taste”

of winning pushed him on, drove him to find

ways to be faster, to match and try to surpass

the young upstarts who come to usurp him.

From paddock wild child who loved to

party, Rossi transformed himself into a serious

athlete, who lived for his sport, trained hard,

and lived a more restrained and moderate

life. It was the only way he could remain

competitive, as the young riders entering the

class pluck the fruits (and suffer the burden)

of an ever-increasing professionalization of the

sport, an ever-closer focus on training, diet,

physical conditioning, riding technique, even

the mental side of the sport.

This has also meant a major change to

his riding style. Rossi has studied his rivals

closely, learning their secrets and trying to

apply it to his own riding. That is a hard thing

to do: “Your style is your style, and you can’t

really change it much,” Bradley Smith told us

at the Sepang test.

Rossi has done this continuously and

constantly, starting from early in his Grand Prix

career. When MotoGP switched from 500cc

two strokes to 990cc four strokes, Rossi

was one of the few riders to understand the

advantages of riding the four strokes differently.

“Watching him from the outside, he was

the only one who was doing something

different,” veteran crew chief Gilles Bigot told

me last year. “Everybody was riding his bike

in a normal way, like a 500. Just shifting in the

same place. He was riding different gears,

different way of braking.”

“At that time, for the engine brake was a

bit different. It was more difficult. It was more

mechanical than electronic. So it was difficult.

Everybody was trying to come around and the

bikes were sliding around. So he was trying to

brake straight, and then entering the corner. He

was trying techniques that no one was trying.”

Italian Savior

That early lesson stayed with Rossi, and fired a

continuing willingness to learn and adapt. At the

dirt track ranch he had built behind his house in

Tavullia, Italy, he has worked at altering his style,

trying new approaches he sees in his rivals.

On a track with both left and right handers,

and on bikes with a front brake as well, Rossi

works relentlessly on body position, limb

placement, braking technique, understanding

what happens when grip runs out, both front

and rear.


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In 2013, Rossi saw a chance to help both

himself, and Italian motorcycling. With the

Italian federation consistently failing to promote

and nurture talent, Rossi founded the VR46

Riders Academy, bringing young Italian racers

into a structured environment and giving them

all the tools they needed to succeed.

The Academy riders live together in

apartments in Pesaro, they train and prepare

together at the ranch and at the Academy, are

given help with their diets, and trained in the

PR aspect of the sport, learning English to help

them with the media. “Valentino saved Italian

motorcycling,” one Italian team manager told

me privately recently.

But the Academy has also helped Rossi

save himself, and extend his career. Training

with youngsters in their late teens and early

twenties has rejuvenated the Italian veteran,

helping him keep the fi re of his ambition

burning, and sharpening the edges of his


Training and racing at the ranch is at full

speed and full intensity, as you would expect

when you put a bunch of young racers on

the track. Rossi uses that intensity to push

himself to limits he might otherwise stay

more comfortably away from, were he

training on his own.

How long will Valentino Rossi keep

racing? There are no signs of him slowing

down, and as long as he is competitive, he

will want to keep racing. Surrounded by

youngsters at his Academy, he keeps both

his ambition and is talent alive.

“How long will Valentino Rossi

keep racing? There are no signs

of him slowing down, and

as long as he is competitive,

he will want to keep racing.

Surrounded by youngsters at

his Academy, he keeps both his

ambition and is talent alive.”

His ambition burns as fi ercely as ever, and

that keeps him changing, learning, and above

all, focused. Eyes on the prize, and for Rossi,

doing that will give him a fi ghting chance of

getting his hands on the prize as well.

Greatest or Most Important?

There can be no doubt that Valentino

Rossi’s legacy as a motorcycle racer is fi rmly

cemented in history. The GOAT, Greatest Of All

Time? That is a hard judgment to make. From

my perspective, both Casey Stoner and Marc

Márquez are more talented than Rossi, and

Jorge Lorenzo’s dedication and ability have

allowed him to beat Rossi to the title three

times, twice on the same bike.

But, there is no doubt that Rossi’s fame,

his impact on the sport globally, his longevity,

the impact of the VR46 Riders Academy,

his unparalleled popularity, and his record

mark him out as by far the most signifi cant

motorcycle racer who ever lived.

Valentino Rossi will be remembered for

many decades after he retires from racing.

The fact that he is still such a long way

from retiring at the age off 40, that he is still

capable of winning races, and perhaps even

championships, marks him out as truly unique.

We are living in a golden age of motorcycle

racing, and MotoGP in particular. Valentino

Rossi helped put much of the shine and the

glitter into that golden age. For that, and

so many other things, I salute him.




STUFFA closer

look at Team Hi-Tech Yamaha

Racing and the dominant R1 and R6.

Words Rob Portman | Gerrit Erasmus & Daniella Kerby


2019 is set to be a very exciting year for the SA

National superbike championship. After a few

very disappointing years with depleting grids,

2019 looks like an appealing year with more

bikes set to feature on the 1000cc and 600cc

grids. New riders and teams are getting ready

to do battle ahead of the new championship,

which will form part of the Extreme Festival and

sees the bikes once again race on the same

day as cars. Not ideal, but looks like the only

solution to bring back the glory days of packed

stands, grids and TV coverage.

One of the new exciting teams lining up

on the grid for 2019 is the Hi-Tech Yamaha

Racing squad, who will be competing in the

600cc and 1000cc class.

We as RideFast Magazine are proud to

be the official media partner to the team

and were invited out to Redstar Raceway

to sample their two race bikes ahead of the

season opener held at the new improved

Dezzi Raceway in the South Coast.

As expected, the bikes look flawless and

the team’s setup is nothing short of spectacular.

By far one of the best and most professional

looking teams in SA motorsport. I have been

lucky enough to be a part of the Hi-Tech team

for the past couple of years and Shaun Bester,

along with the magician himself, Ricky Morais,

really do know how to run a race team.

For this year’s racing, the team decided

to move from green machines over to blue –

Kawasaki to Yamaha. Byron Bester makes

the move from 600cc Supersport to 1000cc

Superbike and has so far in testing looked

comfortable on the new R1 machine and as I

type this has probably already finished on the

podium at Dezzi, if not on the top step. He is a

serious contender for that number one plate this

year and will be challenging the likes of Clinton

Seller (Yamaha R1), Adolf Boshoff (Yamaha R1),

the returning Nicolas Grobler (Yamaha R1) and

BMW mounted Lance Isaacs.


Making the step up from the Supersport

300 class is Taric van der Merwe, who will

be racing a Yamaha R6 machine in the 600

class. This will be Taric’s first season on the

600 machine and at the young age of 14 is the

youngest rider in the field. He will be looking to

get on the podium more often than not in what

is a very competitive field, which includes the

likes of 2018 champ Blaze Baker and superfast

Capetonian’s Jared Schultz and 2018

Supersport 300 champion Kewyn Snyman.

The Hi-Tech Yamaha R1

I have had the pleasure of testing many an

R1 race bike prepped by Ricky Morais over

the past couple of years and they don’t come

much better. Ricky is one of the masters at

getting the best out of the big-bang blue

machines and has done so again with this

2019 racer. The rules for 2019 are a bit more

open than in previous seasons and this has

played right into the hands of Ricky.

Suspension is pretty much open front and

rear and Ricky has got setup near on perfect

on this machine. The bike feels completly

dialed in for fast lap times and there is no

wonder Byron is showing the pace he is.

Rapid Bike and Flash Tune has been installed

to the bike and has improved the power

delivery and smoothness tenfold over a stock

bike. Acceleration is ridiculous – instant yet

so smooth and easy to control thanks to the

bikes overall balance and masterful electronics

package. With traction control set on level

one, it was so easy to get on the gas early and

drive hard out of the turns. The power carries

effortlessly around the tricky RSR track -

holding on for dear life was a recurring factor.

The tank has been fitted with a carbon fibre

tank extender, kind of like what Lorenzo had

fitted to his Ducati and now Honda MotoGP

bike to help him feel more comfortable. This

was my first time riding a bike with this fitted

and I have to say it felt much better. I didn’t

find myself having use my arms to pull myself

forward when accelerating out of the turns.

It also felt much comfier at full lean angle,

keeping me planted in the bike perfectly. A lot

less work on my arms and legs.

Braking is fierce yet very stable with a front

end that is quite happy to go wherever needed

even while trail braking. The rear end happily

follows in what is a symphony of pure handling

delight. And this was despite not having

Shaun loving life on the R1.

Nothing but the best used on

these bikes. Arata race exhausts,

Ohlins suspension, Motul

lubricants, Rapid Bike, Flash

Tune, GB Racing crash protectors,

locally made ACC Billet rear sets

all wrapped up to make two very

factory looking machines.

We love the Evolve Nutrition livery

on both bikes.


the carbon clad BST wheels fitted, which

is allowed for the 2019 season. Can’t even

imagine how good the bike will be with those

bad boys on.

Overall, it’s another cracking race package

from Ricky and it’s no wonder that the

Yamaha R1 (current model) has dominated

the 1000cc class the way it has over the

past 5 years. Since its release back in 2015,

the new Yamaha R1 has overshadowed its

competitors, picking up close on 95% of all

victories since the start of the 2015 season.

In the capable hands of Clint Seller (2 titles),

Mathew Scholtz (1 title) and current champ

Michael White (1 title) the R1 was taken the

number 1 plate in every season since it was

introduced and looks almost certain to do the

same for 2019, with close on 90% of the field

running the Tuning Forks machine.

The Hi-Tech Yamaha R6

Just like its bigger brother, the Yamaha R6

is by far the best choice for racing in the

Supersport class. New and old, the R6 has

been at the forefront of the Supersport class

for many a year now and will almost certainly

be taking another SA Supersport title in 2019.

In 2017, the new R6 machine was

revealed and worldwide it dominated every

championship it entered, winning the World

Supersport championship in 2017 with

Lucas Mahias and again in 2018 with Sandro

Cortese. Blaze Baker took it to his first SA title

in 2018.

The R6 machine has picked up more

than 87% of overall race wins over the past

5 years of SA Supersport racing, winning 3

championships in that period as well.

In the hands of young Taric van der Merwe,

it’s going to be a real challenger for the 2019

title. In fact, I will happily bet my house on a

Yamaha R6 machine taking the title in 2019, as

95% of the field will be sporting the blue racer.

The Hi-Tech Yamaha R6 race machine is

a pure gem and just like the R1 is perfectly

setup and well dialed in. I am very much a

600cc rider so enjoyed riding the R6 machine

a bit more than the R1. Power delivery is crisp

and sharp and this bike really does like to

scream. Both the R1 and R6 are fitted with

top-of-the-line Arata pipes so performance

and great sound are guaranteed.

This R6 is a real weapon and loves been

ridden hard and fast. It was so easy getting the

best out of this bike and man was it enjoyable!

Taric will be supported by Dragon Energy

this season and no doubt is going to be a

beast on this machine.

Both riders looked so factory kitted out

in their custom made OneX suits and this

is one very factory looking, exciting team

heading into the 2019 seasons and I/we

are very proud to be a part of it and I can

promise you will be seeing loads more of

them in future issues.

Byron (12) and Taric

(32) look seriously good

on these bikes and are

going to be contenders

for the crowns.




Round 1 of the all-new Monocle Racing Series took

place at Redstar Raceway and we entered a stock

Honda CBR1000RR into the street bike class.

Words: Rob Portman Pics: Gerrit Erasmus & Daniella Kerby

A new era of South Africa motorcycle

racing kicked off on the last Saturday of

February 2019. The Monocle Motorcycle

Racing Series hosted its first round of what

is an exciting new championship. A racing

series that is for riders, by riders and one

that has no shackles or ridiculous rules that

have be followed – OR ELSE!

This is a racing series that welcomes

all motorcycle racers – no matter age, skill

level, motorcycle, tyres etc. It’s a series that

allows you to race whatever motorcycle you

like with whatever tyres you like. You don’t

have to sign up to a club or association,

you simply have to have a valid medical aid

and off you go. Basically, a track day with

added spice. Entry fee is cut at R1500 per

rider and that includes entry into as many

categories as you like. So, for instance, if

you are a 40-year-old male or female and

have a 600cc or 1000cc bike (race or road

trim) you pay the R1500 entry fee and can

enter into the 600cc/1000cc unlimited

class, Masters class and Street Bike class,

all in one day. Granted you have to be really

fit and a bit mad to enter that many classes

but the choice is yours. Choice being the

proactive word here – in this series the riders

have the CHOICE!

This is a series ready to ignite the

motorcycle flame here once again in SA

and not for the top, fast guys, but rather the

everyday rider or racer looking merely to

enjoy the greatest sport in the world – track

motorcycle racing!

Round one took place at Redstar

Raceway and despite many in the industry

saying that this series would be a flop, 107

entries were present on the day to race in

the various categories; Unlimited 1000cc

superbikes, unlimited 600cc Supersports,

Masters (racers over the age of 35 on any

motorcycle), Battle of the Twins, 300cc

Supersport and Street Bike Racers. The

Classic racing club will also be joining from

round two and they are 20 plus strong so

we could be seeing well over 120 entries

at some point, that is by far the biggest we

have seen in a while from an all motorcycle

racing series.

Dunlop SA and ourselves came onboard

as sub sponsors to the event, although it

must be reiterated that this is not a one make

tyre series – any and all tyres are welcome

– Dunlop will and do offer special prices on

their range of tyres for competitors and tyre

changing facilities at every event.

Lights and mirrors all

duct taped up.

Getting some fresh new

Dunlop Q4 rubber fitted.


AJ Venter did a

great job with

the setup.

Morne loved racing the

CBR1000RR, which now

comes standard with

quick-shifter and auo-blip.

Sean Powell

from Dunlop.

First time racer

Nyiko Baloyi.

Our tyre warmers for the

day - the sun.

The Dunlop brolly dollies

were a huge hit.

Good racing in the BOTTS.

The 300

racing was


I was extremely excited for the first round to take place and

decided that we needed to enter a bike for the days racing. I got

on the phone to Honda SA and asked them if we could have a

CBR1000RR bike to test for the weekend. Truth be told, I did tell a

small white lie. I told them it was for a track test over the weekend,

which it kind of was. What I failed to tell them was that we were

going to enter it into the new Street Bike class, lights, mirrors,

number plate and all. Sorry Honda!!! Glad to report that I did send

the bike back in one piece and with only an extra 200km on it.

My idea was to highlight just how easy it is for riders with road

bikes to enter and race. I literally rode the bike from my house in

Boksburg to the track, stuck some duct tape over the lights and

mirrors (to stop the glass from shattering all over the track in event

of a crash). We then also removed those horrible little things off

the footpegs to prevent scrapping, slapped on some numbers,

fitted some Dunlop Q4 tyres and we were ready to race. A quick

run through from the scrutineers to make sure everything was tight

and it was time to head out on track.

Now, the Street Bike class is really aimed at the newbies with

street, or track bikes, to come and race without having to stress

about going up against the fast guys and girls. So, we entered one

of our riders with very little race experience but who is capable of

doing us proud. Morne Krynauw was the man tasked with the job

and what a job he did. AJ Venter was the man who fitted the tyres

for us and helped us with some very basic suspension setup, just

a bit harder on front and back basically. It was a stock standard

road bike after all fitted with now grippy Dunlop Q4 tyres, which

are road tyres that also perform well on track.

Morne got a 20-min qualifying session in before the 2 races.

He managed to put it 3rd on the grid with a time of 2,14.6. He got

the holeshot in race one and led for a full lap before being passed

by overall winner Andre Swanepoel on his Yamaha R1. It was

nerve racking trying to commentate on the race as I was holding

my breath hoping nothing would happen to Morne, or more

importantly the Honda… Morne did a great job and after a brief

battle with Sean Powell he brought the bike home in 3rd place,

setting a personal best time of 2,11.3, going 3.3 seconds faster

than he had managed in quali.

Race two and again he got a great start heading into turn one

in the lead. This time he was passed early by Sean. A massive

battle ensued between Morne and Louis La Grange, but on the

last lap Morne managed to catch and pass Sean to move up into

second place. He managed a time of 2,08.4, which is incredible

considering the limited track time he had and the fact he was on

a stock CBR1000RR with the number plate etc. still attacked on

road going tyres.

The Street Bike class was a huge success with 14 very happy

riders taking part and all ending the day with no issues. The entire

day was a massive success with smiles for miles wherever you

looked and no politics or protests, other than a small incident

involving the 300cc class, but that has been sorted and won’t

happen again!

The atmosphere around the track on the day was simply

addictive, packed pits, packed grandstands and nothing but good

vibes, just the way racing should be.

An awesome live band closed out the day along with prize

giving and I have not seen the canteen at RSR that packed in a

long time. I have not attended a prize giving that well represented

in even a longer time.

Overall, simply fantastic and myself, along with all the other

riders and spectators cannot wait for the remaining 5 rounds.

Make sure you check out the Monocle Racing Facebook page

for more info and race dates otherwise we will be keeping you up

to date as much as possible over the year.




Shaun had some good fun

with the Vitpilen out on track,

even got BMW RR Cup champ,

George Hadji, to join in the

elbow scrapping madness.

Pics by Gerrit Erasmus



The Vitplien will

always be known

as the bike that

helped Mike find

the apex...

Great service,

pricing and advise

from BTW.

Phew! I can tell you that I am one very relived

man. As you know my brother, Shaun,

reckoned that he could take my Husqvarna

Vitpilen 701 to the track and get his elbow

down. I was not convinced and delayed the

inevitable as much as possible in fear of him

getting more than just his elbow down. But,

as you can see by the pic, he did scrape his

elbow and on more than one occasion.

Nothing but a big fat smile after every

session from my brother, who was simply

addicted by the super-singles charm.

The Vitpilen 701 is well worth its tag as a

super-single. Not only does it perform every

time I need it to out on the road, but clearly

also out on the track. So-much-so that my

brother was begging me to enter it into the

Street Bike class at the Monocle series race

at RSR. That would be pushing I thought…

Now, if you think that is impressive let me

highlight what really makes the 701 a supersingle.

One of our test riders, Mr Michael

Powell, let’s just say struggles to fi nd the apex

in most corners most of the time. But, not

on the Vitpilen. As you can see by the pics

on the left Michael has fi nally found the apex,

thanks in big part to the awesomeness that is

the 701 super-single, which will now forever

be known as the bike that helped Mike fi nd

the apex!

After being tortured around the track it

was time for me to head out to Bike Tyre

Warehouse in Midrand to get some new

rubber fi tted. The Metzeler M7RR’s are

considered the best tyres for naked street

bikes and can be found as the standard OEM

tyre fi tted to most. This is down to the fact

that aside from offering massive amounts

of grip and durability, it offers almost unmatched

stability on the front end, hense why

it’s the preferred choice for naked street bikes

which have the tendency to get very light and

twitchy on the front at high speeds.

So, I will be putting this claim to the test

as well as grip levels and mileage over the

next couple of months. I will also be taking

the Husqvarana in for a well-deserved service

and a facelift.

Big thanks to Metzeler and Bike Tyre

Warehouse for the tyres

and amazing service!

















Trade Enquiries: (011) 672-6599

Email: info@trickbitz.co.za

Enquire at your local dealer

Office Hours Mon-Fri 8am-5pm


Any Road,

Any Time.

Designed to be the ideal travel partner, the Versys-X 300 is built for adventure.

Having a compact and responsive, Ninja-derived 296cc twin-cylinder engine

makes it one of a kind. A lightweight chassis and long-travel suspension provide

sporty and nimble handling. Whether commuting or long-distance riding, the

Versys-X 300 is your ticket to adventure.


For more information visit www.kawasaki.co.za

Kawasaki Factory offers a standard warranty per model and vehicle category. Any and all other warranties that differ from the official Factory Warranty, are offered at dealership level, as per the terms

and conditions of the dealership concerned.

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