MRW Issue 34

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

ISSUE <strong>34</strong><br />

Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel<br />

SUPER<br />

TESTED:<br />

306HP<br />


DEMON<br />










Shaun Portman<br />

Beam Productions<br />

Adam Child “Chad”<br />

Sheridan Morais<br />




Rob Portman<br />

082 782 8240<br />

rob@motoriderworld.com<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

072 260 9525<br />

shaun@motoriderworld.com<br />

KISKA.COM Photo: P.Platzer<br />

CARVE<br />

CLOSER<br />

TO THE<br />

EDGE<br />

Hello <strong>MRW</strong> fans and welcome to issue <strong>34</strong><br />

of SA’s only motorcycle magazine. It’s hard<br />

to believe that we are heading closer to our<br />

3-year anniversary issue. It’s been a crazy<br />

ride but a very enjoyable and rewarding one<br />

so far and we look forward to many, many<br />

more to come.<br />

We have some great first-ride tests featured<br />

in this issue along with some exclusive track/<br />

Super Charged features. A big well done<br />

to my right-hand man and brother Shaun<br />

Portman for all the great content, and to<br />

Beam Productions for helping capture all the<br />

moments with great pics and videos. Make<br />

sure you stay tuned to our YouTube channel<br />

for video content on all the great tests you will<br />

read in this issue going live soon.<br />

No <strong>MRW</strong> issue will be complete without the<br />

latest news from the MotoGP paddock. As<br />

I type this I have just returned from my 3<br />

days spent at the Silverstone MotoGP round.<br />

A great couple of days for sure, but I can’t<br />

help but say that Silverstone is not the most<br />

exciting MotoGP round I have done and lacks<br />

passion, emotion, and electric atmosphere<br />

compared to the likes of Jerez, Assen,<br />

Mugello, and the Red Bull Ring.<br />

The Silverstone circuit is a massive place<br />

so everything is very spread out - it’s hard<br />

to create a vibe and keep the energy going<br />

when it’s that big. It feels more like a business<br />

park than a racetrack. Nevertheless, it’s still<br />

MotoGP and it was still a great weekend. No<br />

doubt the racing action on track once again<br />

did not disappoint.<br />

Heading into the Silverstone weekend there<br />

was plenty of news revealed - Morbidelli<br />

leaving Yamaha, Rins joining Yamaha...<br />

I personally think Rins has made the right<br />

call and will be a huge asset to the struggling<br />

Yamaha team, while it seems as if Franco<br />

will be on a Ducati for the 2024 season.<br />

Which one is still the big question - VR46 or<br />

Gresini? I think VR46 will be his home with<br />

Bez making way by joining the Pramac team -<br />

Zarco out. But, this is all still up in the air. Stay<br />

tuned...<br />

Cheers for now.<br />

Rob Portman<br />

Copyright © Moto Rider World:<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this<br />

publication may be reproduced,<br />

distributed, or transmitted in any<br />

form or by any means, including<br />

photocopying, articles, or other<br />

methods, without the prior written<br />

permission of the publisher.<br />


WEBSITE: www.motoriderworld.com | FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Moto-Rider-World | INSTAGRAM: Motoriderworld<br />

The 2022 KTM RC 390 is a high-performance Supersports machine with its roots<br />

firmly planted on the race track. Featuring an impressive technology package, as<br />

well as race-derived styling, handling characteristics, and addictive power delivery,<br />

the KTM RC 390 is a real-world racer with undoubted pedigree.<br />


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

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






Alvaro Bautista and the Aruba.it Racing team will fly to<br />

Malaysia from 10th-12th November 2023 to take part in<br />

the Grand Prix of Malaysia, which will be held at Sepang<br />

International Circuit two weeks after the conclusion of the<br />

Superbike World Championship, from 27th-29th October, at<br />

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).<br />

For Ducati, it will be the third Wild Card of the 2023 season<br />

after participating in the two Italian Grands Prix with Michele<br />

Pirro at Mugello in May and the upcoming San Marino GP<br />

in Misano on the next 8th-10th September. Since last year,<br />

Ducati has further strengthened its partnership with Aruba.<br />

it by contesting three MotoGP events with the same liveries<br />

as the factory Panigale V4R machine of the Aruba.it Racing<br />

- Ducati team in the WorldSBK Championship.<br />

Following two recent tests at Misano aboard the Ducati<br />

Desmosedici GP - which provided convincing feedback<br />

- reigning World Champion and current WorldSBK<br />

Championship leader Alvaro Bautista will return to contest<br />

a MotoGP race after his last appearance in Valencia (Spain)<br />

in 2018.<br />

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #1)<br />

“I’m really happy to be able to race in MotoGP as a Wild<br />

Card at Sepang, a track that I really like and that I’m happy<br />

to be back at since it’s not on the WorldSBK calendar.<br />

The tests with the Ducati Desmosedici GP gave positive<br />

feedback: the feeling was good, and I had fun. I want to<br />

sincerely thank Ducati and Aruba.it because, without them,<br />

it would have been impossible to have this opportunity. At<br />

the same time, I would like to say that this MotoGP race will<br />

be a bonus for me and not a priority. That’s why we must<br />

stay focused on the WorldSBK Championship, which is the<br />

only thing that matters now. I want to stay focused for this<br />

last part of the season, which will be very demanding, with<br />

many races in a short time. The feeling with the Panigale<br />

V4R machine is good, and I hope to continue on this path.<br />

Then, when the season ends, we’ll think about going to<br />

Malaysia and having fun. Now I’ll have a little holiday, and<br />

then we’ll be back at Magny-Cours.”


Suzuki Hayabusa 25th<br />

Anniversary Edition<br />

No matter how you look at it, the Suzuki Hayabusa<br />

is one of the most extreme production motorcycles<br />

out there. Having established what to expect from<br />

it right from the get-go, the mighty sport machine is<br />

now celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special<br />

edition model that’s actually only mildly special. But<br />

who needs more than what’s already offered by the<br />

Hayabusa?<br />

It was back in 1999 when the Suzuki<br />

machine was shown for the first time, in<br />

Germany, and unlike most motorcycles of<br />

its kind, which get presented during crowded<br />

photoshoots and media events, this one<br />

immediately took to the track.<br />

Not only did it do that, but it instantly became the<br />

world’s fastest production motorcycle. It sped<br />

past the 194 mph (312 kph) mark, instantly<br />

claiming the title and breaking the previous<br />

record by the highest margin recorded - 14<br />

mph (23 kph).<br />

Since that time, the Hayabusa slowly rose to<br />

become Suzuki’s flagship two-wheeler. Now, 25<br />

years after its introduction, the model is still<br />

around, alive and kicking, and offered in only<br />

three visual packages. Well, four, thanks to<br />

the 25th anniversary model presented at<br />

the end of last week.<br />

If you were expecting some great<br />

changes for the Hayabusa meant to<br />

celebrate all the others before it, think<br />

again. You don’t mess with perfection, so<br />

mechanically the bike is the same as it’s<br />

ever been: a 1,<strong>34</strong>0cc inline-four liquidcooled<br />

engine hidden under the massive<br />

body panels, a twin-spar aluminum frame<br />

and swingarm to hold the machine together,<br />

and Brembo braking hardware, just to name<br />

the most important bits.


But you can mess with the visuals, as a means<br />

to make the bike stand out for what it is, a very<br />

special model. Whereas in the case of the series<br />

Hayabusas the color schemes for 2023 include<br />

combinations of black, gray, white, blue, and<br />

only a touch of red, the Suzuki Hayabusa 25th<br />

Anniversary sports a lot more red in places not<br />

used before, mixed with black everywhere else.<br />

Just to give you a taste of how successful the bike<br />

has been since its introduction, consider the fact<br />

200,000 of them have been ordered so far and are<br />

presently roaming the streets of the world. That<br />

means it’s likely we’ll see a lot of these new red<br />

devils doing the same.<br />

Special decals can be seen on the sides of the<br />

ride, but also on the fuel tank, while the drive<br />

chain features the Hayabusa Kanji logo. Gold is<br />

discreetly placed on the inner brake rotor and<br />

chain adjuster, and a 25th anniversary logo has<br />

been placed on the muffler. As standard, the bike<br />

will come with a single-seat cowl (except for the<br />

version that will be sold on the Japanese market).<br />

The normal Hayabusa presently sells in 48<br />

countries, and so will the 25th anniversary model.<br />

The bike will be available for order from August,<br />

but pricing for it has not yet been disclosed. For<br />

reference, a normal Hayabusa starts at R335,000.


The new BMW CE 02.<br />

With the new BMW CE 02, BMW Motorrad<br />

is presenting another<br />

e-vehicle for urban conurbations around<br />

two years after the CE 04 and is thus<br />

consistently pursuing its electric mobility<br />

strategy. Thanks to its electric drive, trendsetting<br />

design and innovative solutions, the<br />

eParkourer is a dynamic partner for a new<br />

kind of mobility and provides great riding<br />

fun in an urban environment.<br />

Progressive design with new proportions<br />

and plenty of room for individualisation.<br />

The new BMW CE 02 represents a new<br />

way of accessing BMW Motorrad. It’s<br />

electric, it appeals especially to young<br />

people and it’s neither an e-motorbike nor<br />

an e-scooter. It’s an eParkourer. Created<br />

for the city and the urban environment.<br />

Nimble, practical, robust and reduced to<br />

the essentials in terms of design. Large<br />

wheels meet the demand for robustness<br />

and at the same time ensure riding fun on<br />

many terrains. Black as the basic colour for<br />

the frame, wheels, front fender and triple<br />

clamp fairing at the top, and granite grey<br />

metallic matt for the engine cover offer just<br />

as exciting a contrast as the interplay of<br />

matt and high-gloss surfaces. In the special<br />

HIGHLINE version, the new CE 02 puts in<br />

an extroverted and colourful appearance.<br />

Forks anodised in gold and a tape design<br />

in combination with Petrol as a contrasting<br />

colour make the CE 02 look dynamic and<br />

future-oriented even when standing still.<br />

Powerful drive, low weight and practiceoriented<br />

range. Two performance variants.<br />

Riders aged 16 can ride the new CE 02<br />

with a maximum power output of 11 kW (15<br />

hp). In a 4 kW (5 hp) (rated power 3.2 kW<br />

(4 hp)) version limited to 45 km/h, the new<br />

CE 02 also meets the requirements of the<br />

AM driving licence class and can be ridden<br />

in Germany, for example, from the age of<br />

15 and by riders who have a car licence. In<br />

addition, there are further country-specific<br />

regulations. The powerful drive enables<br />

the new CE 02 in the 11 kW version to<br />

accelerate quickly at traffic lights and offers<br />

a dynamic riding experience. With a top<br />

speed of 95 km/h, progress is speedy on<br />

expressways and a range of more than 90<br />

km (11 kW version according to WMTC)<br />

allows for extended urban adventures.<br />

Thanks to its low weight of only 132 kg<br />

(11 kW version) or 119 kg (4 kW version)<br />

and the low seat height of only 750 mm,<br />

the new CE 02 is also characterised by its<br />

playful handling characteristics.<br />

Two riding modes “Flow” and “Surf”<br />

as standard and “Flash” as optional<br />

equipment and original BMW Motorrad<br />

accessory.<br />

The new CE 02 comes with the “Flow” and<br />

“Surf” riding modes as standard. “Flow”<br />

offers the optimal set-up for cruising along<br />

in urban traffic, while “Surf” provides a<br />

dynamic riding experience beyond the<br />

bustling city traffic. The “Flash” driving<br />

mode is also available as a sporty and<br />

dynamic addition as part of the HIGHLINE<br />

optional equipment and as an original<br />

BMW Motorrad accessory.<br />

External charger as standard and a quick<br />

charger as optional equipment and as an<br />

Original BMW Motorrad accessory.<br />

The new BMW CE 02 comes as standard


with an external charger with a charging<br />

power of 0.9 kW, which enables charging<br />

processes to be carried out quickly and<br />

conveniently at standard household<br />

sockets. It’s even faster with the quick<br />

charger with 1.5 kW charging power, which<br />

is available in the HIGHLINE optional<br />

equipment and as an Original BMW<br />

Motorrad accessory (11 kW version only).<br />

Chassis with double-loop tube frame,<br />

telescopic forks, single-sided swingarm<br />

and cast light alloy wheels.<br />

As far as the chassis is concerned the new<br />

BMW CE 02 relies on a torsionally rigid<br />

double-loop frame made of tubular steel.<br />

Hydraulically damped telescopic forks<br />

operate at the front, while a single-sided<br />

swingarm and a directly pivoted shock<br />

absorber are used at the rear. Wide tyres<br />

are mounted on cast light alloy wheels in<br />

disc wheel design and disc brakes ensure<br />

safe deceleration at the front and rear.<br />

BMW Motorrad ABS is featured at the front.<br />

TFT display, USB-C charging port and<br />

connectivity solutions.<br />

In the cockpit, an easy-to-read TFT display<br />

informs the driver about riding speed,<br />

battery charge status and much more. A<br />

USB-C charging socket also allows you to<br />

supply a smartphone with power. Using<br />

the BMW Motorrad Connected app your<br />

smartphone shows you the predicted<br />

end of charging thanks to networking via<br />

Bluetooth, as on the BMW CE 04. In the<br />

HIGHLINE variant, the cradle mode allows<br />

the BMW Motorrad app in the smartphone<br />

(held in a smartphone holder) to be<br />

controlled safely as an additional display<br />

using the keypad on the handlebar. It is<br />

also possible to record your trips using the<br />

app. With the BMW Motorrad Connected<br />

Services (also included in the HIGHLINE<br />

package) the charging status and other CE<br />

02 vehicle information can be viewed at any<br />

time from anywhere via the app.


Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is pleased to<br />

announce the signing of Alex Rins. He will be<br />

joining Yamaha’s factory team rider line-up for<br />

the 2024 MotoGP season alongside Fabio<br />

Quartararo.<br />

The vastly experienced Spaniard has many<br />

premier-class and lower-class race victories<br />

(6x MotoGP, 4x Moto2, 8x Moto3, 18<br />

in total) and podiums (18x MotoGP, 17x<br />

Moto2, 23x Moto3, 58 in total) to his<br />

name. His vast experience and undeniable<br />

talent make him a fully qualified and welcome<br />

addition to the Yamaha rider line-up.<br />

Following Rins’ leg injury sustained in the<br />

2023 Italian GP Sprint, MotoGP fans the<br />

world over eagerly anticipate his return to<br />

action. He underwent two surgeries and is<br />

working hard on making a full recovery.<br />

Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor<br />

Racing: “We are delighted that Alex is joining<br />

the Yamaha line-up, and we warmly welcome<br />

him to the Yamaha MotoGP group.<br />

“We expect Alex to be a great asset. He<br />

has vast experience as a MotoGP rider and<br />

is known to be a natural talent and a multitime<br />

MotoGP class race winner. He already<br />

has experience with two other MotoGP<br />

manufacturers and has ridden bikes with<br />

similar characteristics to the YZR-M1, which<br />

should help him adapt quickly to our bike. His<br />

win in COTA earlier this year underlines his<br />

speed, hunger, and determination to succeed.<br />

Yamaha sign Rins for<br />

2024 MotoGP season<br />





Silverstone. “And now we are dedicating<br />

ourselves to evaluating the different options.<br />

The market is wide and there are also some<br />

young talents in Moto2 to consider. After<br />

Austria, we will surely close the deal.”<br />

“Alex has been away from the MotoGP<br />

paddock for a while due to the injury he<br />

sustained at Mugello, but we are confident<br />

that he should be fully recovered and up to<br />

speed for the 2024 season. We are really<br />

looking forward to working with him and<br />

believe that he will collaborate well with Fabio<br />

and enhance the total performance of the<br />

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team.”<br />

LCR Honda Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello<br />

has been speaking about his squad’s future<br />

on Friday at the Monster Energy British Grand<br />

Prix after it was confirmed that his 2023 racewinning<br />

rider, Alex Rins, will become a Monster<br />

Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider in 2024.<br />

“We knew that if Alex received an offer from<br />

a factory team this could happen,” said<br />

Cecchinello during MotoGP Practice at<br />

Cecchinello was also asked about comments<br />

Rins made to Spanish broadcaster DAZN<br />

about feeling he didn’t get supported enough<br />

by HRC.<br />

“The truth is that Alex has a factory contract<br />

with HRC, but when you ride a factory bike<br />

in a satellite team everything takes longer.<br />

The evolution is not the same, it’s always a bit<br />

slower. He has shown that he has the talent<br />

and the ability to win races”.<br />

The Italian also went into detail about a recent<br />

phone call he had with Red Bull KTM Factory<br />

Racing’s Francesco Guidotti regarding the<br />

possibility of LCR switching to KTM from<br />

Honda in the near future.<br />

“It was a very normal, friendly call. A private<br />

call between us. He called me and told me<br />

that KTM were assessing their situation. They<br />

have a lot of young talents in their sights and<br />

they don’t have enough places. He told me<br />

they were interested in increasing the number<br />

of KTM riders on the grid and that they knew<br />

we were in a more complicated situation. I<br />

told him I appreciated the offer, but we have<br />

a contract with Honda for 2024, in the future<br />

we will see. I took it into consideration. But the<br />

conversation stopped there. We won’t be with<br />

KTM in 2024.”


2024 and beyond: where<br />

next for Morbidelli?<br />

Franco Morbidelli and Monster Energy<br />

Yamaha MotoGP’s journey will come to<br />

an end once the chequered flag is waved in<br />

Valencia at the season finale in November.<br />

Recently it’s been a relationship that hasn’t<br />

reaped the rewards that both Morbidelli<br />

and Yamaha are capable of. Three wins<br />

and a runner-up accolade in 2020 have<br />

been the highlights of what looked set to be<br />

a formidable partnership, but 2023 signals<br />

the end. So where next for Morbidelli?<br />

Mooney VR46 calling?<br />

The most likely destination for Morbidelli<br />

is Mooney VR46 Racing Team. The #21<br />

became Valentino Rossi’s first VR46<br />

Academy World Champion when he won<br />

the 2017 Moto2 title, and Morbidelli<br />

remains an integral part of the VR46<br />

Academy.<br />

Of course, from what we currently know,<br />

there’s no room at the inn. Compatriots<br />

and close friends Luca Marini and Marco<br />

Bezzecchi currently take up the two VR46<br />

Ducati spots for 2024, but there could be<br />

some moving parts within Ducati’s rider<br />

structure that could facilitate Morbidelli’s<br />

move.<br />

Mooney VR46 Racing Team Manager,<br />

Pablo Nieto, admitted before the summer<br />

break that Morbidelli was on their minds<br />

amid the honest interviews Morbidelli<br />

served up when asked about his future.<br />

Rossi and the VR46 Academy won’t want to<br />

see Morbidelli left without a ride and know<br />

exactly what he’s capable of, so it’s a move<br />

that makes sense if it’s possible to make it<br />

happen.<br />

The aforementioned is all speculation for<br />

now, but Morbidelli’s confirmed departure<br />

from Yamaha will spark the silly season<br />

domino effect as we begin the second half<br />

of the 2023 campaign.<br />

Is moving away from MotoGP an option<br />

for Morbidelli?<br />

This is a question that will be on many<br />

people’s lips after hearing this news.<br />

Given how saturated the premier class<br />

rider market currently is, it’s a viable thing<br />

to ponder. Is there room in WorldSBK if<br />

that was the only option? Difficult to say<br />

as things stand. If not, where else would<br />

Morbidelli apply his trade?<br />

But given what Morbidelli confidently said<br />

about having a ‘Plan B and C’ to stay in<br />

MotoGP, all signs point towards the<br />

28-year-old having a place on the grid for at<br />

least 2024, wherever that may be.<br />

It shouldn’t be long before we know what<br />

the future holds for Morbidelli. Does a<br />

mouthwatering switch to VR46 and Ducati<br />

await, or is there something surprising<br />

waiting in the pipeline?


Zarco talks Honda links: “I<br />

would be proud”<br />

MotoGP burst back into life at the British<br />

GP and the action came thick and fast, both<br />

on and off the track. While Aleix Espargaro<br />

(Aprilia Racing) claimed a brilliant last lap<br />

Sunday Silverstone win, we saw some big<br />

moves in the rider market which may have<br />

major implications for some established<br />

names in the coming weeks, chiefly Johann<br />

Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing).<br />

Having seemed destined to continue<br />

his time with the Ducati based outfit, the<br />

Frenchman’s future is now up in the air, with<br />

Alex Rins’ (LCR Honda) move to Yamaha<br />

and Franco Morbidelli’s exit kickstarting<br />

a rider merry-go-round. LCR now have a<br />

vacant seat to fill for 2024, and Zarco has<br />

been touted as a potential option.<br />

have to think about this. But my target is<br />

Ducati with this winning bike and winning<br />

team, too. We’re leading the Championship<br />

with Pramac. Jorge [Martin] and I are good<br />

together so why not continue?<br />

Indeed, Zarco remains defiant that he<br />

deserves to continue with Ducati and<br />

ride the Desmosedici beyond the current<br />

campaign, but he believes that Prima<br />

Pramac Racing is the only option for him<br />

to do so: “At the moment results are good<br />

enough to think about Ducati and Pramac<br />

on a factory bike.”<br />

There were also links to the World<br />

Superbike series, but Zarco was quick to<br />

pour cold water over them.<br />

“I would be proud to be this guy,” the #5<br />

said as he responded to speculation linking<br />

him to a lead role with Honda. Assessing<br />

the current state of the RC213V, he<br />

regarded it is an intriguing proposition but<br />

acknowledged that his current home would<br />

be hard to top.<br />

“It won’t be a bad challenge. If you think<br />

about victory, to be in the top position and<br />

to fight, as I’m doing now for a few years,<br />

clearly the place to be is at Ducati because<br />

it’s the best bike. We can see it on the track.<br />

“It’s good to have the interest of Honda.<br />

Clearly it’s nice to have this kind of brand<br />

interested, even if they’re struggling. We<br />

“I’m 4th (at time of speaking after Saturday’s<br />

British GP Tissot Sprint) in the Championship<br />

so why should I think about the Superbike<br />

now? We’re used to saying that if you make<br />

good results you can have your seat in<br />

MotoGP for the following year. I’m doing it<br />

and I still don’t have the seat for next year.<br />

So that makes the feeling a bit strange.<br />

But for sure, what I’m doing now, I won’t<br />

go to Superbike. Not because I don’t<br />

like Superbike, but I’m still performing in<br />

MotoGP, even if people say I’m not winning.”<br />

As Zarco failed to quell the fire, LCR boss<br />

Lucio Cecchinello fanned the flames by<br />

claiming the Frenchman’s camp first made<br />

contact with them.<br />

“I’m going to tell you the truth, we have<br />

nothing to hide. We were approached by<br />

various agents, including the one of Zarco.<br />

We were a little bit surprised, because<br />

Zarco has a very competitive bike currently.<br />

He will also offer us the possibility of<br />

working together with a project of several<br />

years and it’s an option on the table,” LCR’s<br />

Team Principal told French broadcaster C+.<br />

Repsol Honda Team Manager Alberto Puig<br />

was slightly more coy on the rumours, but<br />

did express his admiration for the two-time<br />

Moto2 World Champion.<br />

“I don’t know, right now I can’t answer<br />

you. But I can give you my personal<br />

opinion, Johann is a fast rider with a lot of<br />

experience. He rode with many teams. He is<br />

always a welcome rider. But I can’t give you<br />

a real statement at this moment because we<br />

don’t even talk.”<br />

In what could prove one of the most<br />

surprising switches from the 2023 Silly<br />

Season, should Zarco leap across to Honda,<br />

it paves the way for Marco Bezzecchi<br />

(Mooney VR46 Racing Team) to move to a<br />

Pramac factory machine, and then for Franco<br />

Morbidelli to slot into Bez’ seat and once<br />

again ride under the VR46 banner.


Three into two: KTM &<br />

GASGAS’ 2024 dilemma<br />

As was to be expected, the 2024 rider<br />

market talk was ramped up as MotoGP<br />

returned to action at the Monster Energy<br />

British Grand Prix. Alex Rins’ (LCR Honda<br />

Castrol) move to Monster Energy Yamaha<br />

MotoGP to replace Franco Morbidelli was<br />

the first domino to fall, but one of the most<br />

intriguing situations is playing out within<br />

Pierer Mobility AG.<br />

KTM and GASGAS fall under the Pierer<br />

Mobility AG umbrella, a group which is led<br />

by CEO Stefan Pierer. A lot of the silly season<br />

talk has surrounded what’s going to happen<br />

in the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3<br />

ranks for next season, with Pol Espargaro<br />

having a contract in place for 2024. Augusto<br />

Fernandez has done more than enough to<br />

show he’s worthy of another year on the<br />

premier class grid, but then there’s Red Bull<br />

KTM Ajo star boy Pedro Acosta who has<br />

made it clear another year in Moto2 isn’t an<br />

option for him in 2024.<br />

That means, with Brad Binder and Jack<br />

Miller already confirmed to be Red Bull KTM<br />

Factory Racing’s pairing, Pierer Mobility AG<br />

have three riders to fit into their ranks. Three<br />

into two doesn’t go. And the last thing Pierer<br />

Mobility AG will want to do is see Acosta<br />

move to a rival factory. So there’s some<br />

working out to be done.<br />

Speaking to Speedweek.com, KTM<br />

Motorsport Director Pit Beirer confirmed that<br />

talks have been held with current MotoGP<br />

Independent Teams about trying to find<br />

a slot where they could place one of their<br />

riders.<br />

“There was a reasonable conversation at<br />

the French GP. Two weeks later they came<br />

to a new agreement with their current<br />

manufacturer. From their point of view, that<br />

makes sense,” said Beirer, talking about<br />

Gresini Racing MotoGP.<br />

A similar conversation was had with LCR<br />

Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello: “There were<br />

no intensive discussions with Lucio. We just<br />

asked about his contract situation. When he<br />

informed us that he had a Honda contract<br />

for 2024, the conversation ended.<br />

“We don’t want to negotiate with anyone<br />

who has a valid contract for the coming<br />

season. We don’t support a culture of<br />

snatching teams that are under contract<br />

from other manufacturers,” continued Beirer<br />

to Speedweek.<br />

A clear answer was also received from<br />

CryptoDATA RNF Aprilia boss Razlan Razali,<br />

as they have a contract in place for 2024<br />

with the Noale factory.<br />

All is not lost yet though. Beirer also<br />

confirmed to Speedweek that their preferred<br />

option is to gain two extra places on the<br />

MotoGP grid through Red Bull KTM Ajo<br />

boss Aki Ajo. “Our efforts and wishes are<br />

still going in weekly talks with Dorna to get<br />

more places,” stated Beirer. How possible<br />

that idea is remains to be seen.


When asked about what the future holds on<br />

Thursday at Silverstone, Pol Espargaro said he<br />

wasn’t worried about the noise surrounding his seat<br />

and the situation regarding himself, Fernandez and<br />

Acosta.<br />

“I’m super pleased and happy because the Pierer<br />

Mobility Group have been super good with me,<br />

I never expected they would treat me in the way<br />

they’ve treated me in the last months, I’ve felt huge<br />

love from that side,” said the #44, who returned to<br />

action for the first time since his Portimao crash at<br />

Silverstone – just over four months ago.<br />

“They’ve always said don’t worry about that, the<br />

first and most important thing is to recover and<br />

then from that moment on, go racing and see what<br />

happens. This is the only thing I was looking for. Not<br />

caring about the contracts or whatever, the most<br />

important thing was to come here fully fit.<br />

“After that I have a contract for 2024 also so for<br />

me I’m not worried about that. My expectation is<br />

to prove that I can be here, I want to be here. If I’m<br />

not fast enough next year for sure I will move away,<br />

I love this factory, I love KTM and GASGAS Factory,<br />

and they deserve good results. So if the results<br />

aren’t coming then I’m going to be the first one to<br />

move on and let the young guys like Pedro and<br />

Augusto build themselves.<br />

“For me the most important thing at the moment<br />

is to see that bike winning. They deserve it. They<br />

spent a lot amount of effort to put that bike on the<br />

podium and hopefully it will come with me, but if not<br />

somebody else needs to do it so I will be happy.”<br />

Espargaro is adamant that this will only come into<br />

play next year though. After all, the Spaniard has<br />

a contract for 2024. However the 2013 Moto2<br />

World Champion did admit that every rider needs to<br />

prove themselves each year – whether they have a<br />

contract in their back pocket or not.<br />

“This is something that even the riders with<br />

contracts need to do every year, the riders need to<br />

know they need to perform. Each manufacturer puts<br />

a lot of effort into this paddock to perform well. If<br />

the rider doesn’t perform well then you need to find<br />

solutions.<br />

“I’m going to be the first one to move if I’m not<br />

performing well, this is not what worries me. I really<br />

want to perform and from that moment on I show to<br />

everyone that I should be here, this is my place.”<br />

The talk was ramped up during the summer break<br />

when Stefen Pierer confirmed to Speedweek that<br />

Fernandez’s contract had been renewed for 2024.<br />

Asked about that ahead of the British GP, the<br />

premier class rookie was adamant nothing has been<br />

signed or confirmed.<br />

“Honestly I’ve read the news but my situation is the<br />

same as before the summer. Nothing is confirmed<br />

so yeah, just waiting for confirmation from the<br />

bosses but yeah my situation is the same.”<br />

The reigning Moto2 World Champion was also<br />

asked whether he’d heard anything regarding the<br />

talks Pierer Mobility AG had held with Independent<br />

Teams. Fernandez was clear in what his preference<br />

was if that was something that did come to fruition.<br />

“Yeah I’m trying to close my contract with them.<br />

Obviously I want to continue with GASGAS Tech3,<br />

I’m happy with them, and I hope to continue in the<br />

same place.”<br />

With Pol Espargaro having a contract and Peirer<br />

confirming Fernandez’s contract has been renewed,<br />

a solution needs to be found to accommodate<br />

the impending arrival of Acosta. It’s because of<br />

the Spaniard’s obvious talent and potential that<br />

Pierer Mobility AG finds itself in a situation like this.<br />

Having too many options is never a bad problem


to have, but it is that - a problem. And it’s a<br />

conundrum that needs to be solved soon.<br />

The lengths KTM and GASGAS hierarchy<br />

are going to in order to make room for the<br />

2021 Moto3 World Champion are clear,<br />

and it’s something Acosta himself finds<br />

“impressive”.<br />

“It’s quite impressive that one manufacturer<br />

puts all their support in myself,” said Acosta<br />

on Thursday at Silverstone, as the new<br />

Moto2 title race leader continues to wait to<br />

find out where he’ll be riding next season.<br />

“And they are believing in myself, the only<br />

thing is I have to wait. I believe in them, they<br />

are giving 100% since the moment I arrived<br />

in the World Championship. And why not?<br />

It could be so nice to continue my story with<br />

KTM racing in orange and let’s see, why not.<br />

“I’m so happy for him, in the end they’re<br />

having very good results,” continued the<br />

19-year-old, speaking about his former<br />

Moto2 teammate Fernandez. “He<br />

deserves this place in MotoGP and let’s<br />

see. We’re going to have to fight again for<br />

the number 37.”<br />

What Pierer Mobility AG end up doing for<br />

2024 remains to be seen. It’s a fascinating<br />

situation to keep an eye on ahead of their<br />

home round in Austria on the 18-20 of<br />

August because it’s usually at the Red<br />

Bull Ring where we find out where the<br />

jigsaw pieces have fallen for the Austrian<br />

manufacturer.<br />

Will two new spots be opened up by Dorna<br />

Sports? Is there an option to place one of<br />

their riders in a current Independent Team?<br />

Or will Pierer Mobility AG be forced to make<br />

a decision on who makes up the two spots<br />

at GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 in 2024<br />

between Pol Espargaro, Fernandez and<br />

Acosta? A huge couple of weeks await.

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />



The KTM 1290 Superduke R has arguably been<br />

the best in its segment since its release way<br />

back in 2014. Since then there have been three<br />

generations of the iconic machine, from 2014 to<br />

2016, 2017 to 2019, and finally 2020 to the current<br />

day. One would think that KTM would rest on their<br />

morals on what is an already brilliant machine,<br />

however, KTM isn’t done with their third generation<br />

of the 1290 Superduke R- Enter the 2023 KTM<br />

1290 Superduke R EVO. Evolution and adaption are<br />

critical when it comes to maintaining one’s status<br />

as the top dog. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO<br />

is a BEAST-evolved. Boasting intuitive Semi-Active<br />

Suspension Technology (SAT), this BEAST not only<br />

adapts to the road surface but also to the rider’s<br />

inputs - making it a cold, calculated hunter. A<br />

frightening prospect for any would-be challenger.

Yes, not much has changed on the EVO, but as the<br />

saying goes- if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The 1290<br />

Superduke R promises to accel at both road and<br />

track and that’s exactly where we put it to the test.<br />

We collected a demo unit from RAD KTM in Rivonia<br />

and added over 500km on the Odo with a ride out<br />

to Cullinan and our favorite home track, Redstar<br />

Raceway out in Delmas. The heart of the beast, the<br />

1301cc LC8 V-twin motor has been optimized to be<br />

lighter while still obtaining near-class-leading stats.<br />

The ferocious 180hp and 140NM of torque are and<br />

have always been what makes the 1290 Superduke<br />

a ‘BEAST’. The R Evo uses a six-speed PANKLmanufactured<br />

gearbox with a power-assisted slipper<br />

clutch to round out the package. While riding, the<br />

roar from the excitable motor, combined with the<br />

aftermarket SC Projects slip-on exhaust sings a war<br />

cry with every decibel, penetrating your heart and<br />

soul, making you ride like you never ever thought you<br />

could while popping and banging along the way.<br />

The Chrome-moly tubular space frame has also<br />

evolved over the years becoming stiffer and lighter,<br />

still using the motor as a means to increase torsional<br />

rigidity. This is what gives the Duke its sporty yet<br />

comfortable riding position and unrivaled handling.<br />

Although stiffness is the name of the game, the<br />

Superduke R is still soft and plush enough out on the<br />

roads where you need it to be without compromising<br />

stiffness and rigidity out on the track. The EVO takes<br />

this one step further now, with the addition of 48mm<br />

USD WP Semi-active Suspension up front with<br />

125mm of travel and a WP Semi-active Rear Shock<br />

with 140mm of travel. This addition makes the 1290<br />

EVO more adaptable and useable than ever before.<br />

Now, at the flick of a switch, you can alter settings<br />

via the easy-to-use and navigate KTM system. The<br />

suspension feels less intrusive and conventional<br />

when comparing it to other electronic suspensions<br />

on the market. It is electronically controlled and<br />

uses Pulse Width Modulation stroke sensors which<br />

offer finer and more responsive stroke signals and<br />

faster reaction and adjustment times, leaving you<br />

as the rider with just the simple task of just riding.<br />

The settings are extensive and include damping<br />

adjustment, auto(High, Low, and Standard), Sport,<br />

Street, Comfort, and Track. Out on the road, I found<br />

myself either riding in Comfort or Sport. Comfort<br />

POWER<br />

180 bhp @<br />

9,500 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

140 Nm<br />

@ 8,000rpm<br />

TANK<br />


16 L<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

835mm<br />

DRY<br />

WEIGHT<br />


soaks up the bumps well giving you the illusion<br />

that you are riding a sports tourer and not a firebreathing<br />

rigid naked beast. Sport mode is stiffer,<br />

more precise, and more direct around corners,<br />

offering better feedback as well as a more<br />

consistent feel although not as subtle and soft<br />

as Comfort. You also have an advanced setting<br />

where you can alter damping, pre-load, and antidive<br />

to name a few.<br />

Now I never delved into the manual settings<br />

but rather into the default ones, as who am I to<br />

doubt the WP suspension Wizards at KTM? For<br />

the track, I simply selected track mode which<br />

stiffened up the compression and adjusted the<br />

pre-load and rebound settings accordingly. I also<br />

played around with the anti-dive setting and found<br />

it better to leave on, rather than off which gave me<br />

better control under braking and slowing down<br />

coming into corners reducing the amount of dive<br />

The EVO made<br />

this task simple, by<br />

combining rigidity<br />

with feedback and<br />

control making<br />

sure that I never<br />

missed an apex<br />

and held a line with<br />

relative ease.<br />

on the front end while braking. The possibilities<br />

and adjustments are endless and with more time<br />

I do believe that we could have got the setup just<br />

right, however saying that the default settings<br />

offered by WP and KTM came pretty darn close.<br />

The EVO felt familiar out on track and you would<br />

have to look pretty hard to find any difference<br />

between this and a normal 1290 Gen3. When<br />

riding though is wheen you will feel and notice<br />

the changes KTM has brought to the table.<br />

Unfortunately, this particular demo wasn’t fitted<br />

with the optional Tech Pack as yet so we were<br />

limited to only having the Street, Sport, and Rain<br />

mode. Even so, we managed to set competitive<br />

lap times of 2.03s and even managed to put some<br />

full race-prepped 1000s on race rubber to shame.<br />

The EVO made this task simple, by combining<br />

rigidity with feedback and control making sure<br />

that I never missed an apex and held a line with<br />

relative ease.

WP isn’t the only big name found on this<br />

bike though – Brembo Stylema brakes are<br />

standard, as are the specially designed<br />

Bridgestone S22 tires which we swapped<br />

out for BATTS HP2 Supersport tyres<br />

for this test. The range-topping Brembo<br />

Stylema brakes with Bosch 9.1MP 2.0 (with<br />

cornering ABS and SUPERMOTO ABS)<br />

make braking and stopping safely as easy<br />

as 1-2-3, while the Supermoto mode allows<br />

the kid in you to come out and play giving<br />

you the freedom to slide the rear end with<br />

the back brake while the front brake is still<br />

kept in check by the ABS. The EVO stays<br />

true to its siblings by being thirsty. A beast<br />

needs to eat as they say and therefore the<br />

16L fuel tank is drained rather quickly when<br />

riding spiritedly. This is soon forgotten<br />

about though as you cannot put a price on<br />

FUN. And that’s what the 1290 Supeduke<br />

EVO is all about... FUN!<br />

Subtle styling changes on the EVO, make<br />

it as light and strong as possible without<br />

losing any of the 1290’s charisma and<br />

aggression that we have come to adore<br />

over the years. Parked next to a normal<br />

1290 Superduke Gen3, you would be hardpressed<br />

to tell them apart other than the<br />

colour and difference in suspension. The<br />

new KTM 1290 Superduke R EVO is exactly<br />

what it says it is in its name, an evolution<br />

of an already near-perfect machine. Now a<br />

complete package with the finest electronic<br />

riding aids, cruise control, and the WP<br />

Semi-Active suspension. What KTM has<br />

done for 2023 is take the Superduke R and<br />

give it that final missing piece to make it not<br />

only Ready to Race but also Ready to Ride.<br />

Priced from just R371 999.00 and after<br />

careful evaluation, we’ve determined that<br />

the 2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo is<br />

not only a beast. It is the beast!


GET A GRIP<br />

You’ve just read how awesome, and brutal<br />

the new KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO<br />

from RAD KTM is. A real beast with real<br />

power, and as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker<br />

(Spiderman) “With great power comes great<br />

responsibility”. So, for the test on the new<br />

Orange Naked beast, we did the responsible<br />

thing. We headed over to the best in the<br />

business when it comes to motorcycle tyres,<br />

Bike Tyre Warehouse, and fitted one of the<br />

most responsible, and affordable, supersport<br />

tyres on the market today - BATT’s new HP II<br />

Series Supersports.<br />

I have been seeing this tyre more and more as of late<br />

out on the roads, with many a rider having them fitted<br />

to their bikes due to their impressive grip, longevity,<br />

and most important their price. Available in the<br />

following sizes- 110/70-17, 120/70-17, 140/70-17,<br />

160/60-17, 180/55-17, 190/50-17, 190/55-17, and<br />

a 200/55-17, the HP II series cater for a whole host<br />

of motorcycles and applications from small capacity<br />

motorcycles, commuters, adventure bikes, touring<br />

bikes, naked bikes, and superbikes. This tyre is a highperformance<br />

super sport dual compound with steel<br />

belt radial that is a confidence-inspiring tyre whether<br />

you are daily commuting, touring, or enjoying the<br />

occasional track day.<br />

We had them fitted to the Superduke R EVO for exactly<br />

that reason, a little bit of road fun as well as a full day<br />

of track riding out at Redstar Raceway in Delmas. Out<br />

on the road, the tyre heats up quickly and offers grip<br />

and confidence right out of the gates. For the road, we<br />

set pressures to 2.3 bar front and 2.5 bar on the rear.<br />

The edge and braking grip was impressive as was<br />

the way the tyre adapted and handled changing road<br />

conditions. The Dual compound ensures longevity<br />

without sacrificing grip with customers reportedly<br />

getting between 20-25 000km on a single set.<br />

With Steel belt radial technology and a wide central<br />

spine to ensure maximum grip during acceleration the<br />

tyre not only excels on the road but out on the track<br />

as well. Yes granted it’s not a track tyre but rather a<br />

supersport tyre with built-in track technology. We put<br />

the tyres to the test around the demanding Redstar<br />

Raceway out in Delmas with a mixture of tight and fast<br />

corners, long straights as well as hard acceleration<br />

and braking points. No tyre warmers were used and<br />

tyre pressures were set to 2.2 bar cold on the front<br />

and 1.8 bar cold on the rear. After only just over 1<br />

lap the tyres were up to operating temperature, even<br />

in the colder morning weather conditions. From the<br />

second lap, my knee was already dragging on the<br />

tarmac as I got to grips with the feeling and feedback<br />

the tyres gave me. The sidewall is stiff enough to offer<br />

flex without compromising on edge grip, meaning I<br />

could obtain impressive lean angles. The braking grip<br />

was consistent with not one moment on the front end

the whole day. The rear started to move around<br />

as the day went on under hard acceleration but<br />

this was more due to the increase in track and air<br />

temperature as well as the immense torture they<br />

were subjected to with the 180hp/140NM Duke.<br />

At the end of the day, the tyres looked pretty<br />

much new and hardly wore. Even after 6 eight lap<br />

sessions(48 laps) the tyres still offered premium<br />

grip allowing me to post sub 2.04 lap times. I even<br />

managed to catch and pass race-going 1000cc<br />

superbikes fitted with race rubber on a stock naked<br />

road bike, fitted with road-going supersport tyres.<br />

To say I was impressed with BATT’s HP II Series<br />

tyres would be an understatement. Priced from just<br />

R3999 fitted, there really isn’t any reason not to give<br />

them a go for yourself.

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />


SUPER<br />

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

SUPER<br />

SUPER<br />


We have been lucky enough to test some<br />

amazing bikes over the years here at <strong>MRW</strong>,<br />

none more so than the latest machine we got<br />

to swing our leg over. A 2017 Kawasaki Ninja<br />

H2, but with a difference. Blake Industries<br />

and ETR Performance, masters of tuning<br />

got their hands on this already unique and<br />

powerful supercharged machine to make it<br />

even more powerful.

From the factory, the Kawasaki H2 produces an<br />

already impressive 200HP and 133NM of torque.<br />

But for Blake Industries and ETR Performance this<br />

wasn’t nearly enough as they fettled and tinkled<br />

with the H2 and what they achieved is nothing<br />

short of mind-blowing. Even more impressive is<br />

the fact that the bike still runs on 95-octane pump<br />

fuel, so no special race fuel to aid in additional<br />

performance. The H2 is fitted with a full Arata<br />

racing exhaust system, Turbosmart blow-off valve,<br />

Extreme Creations (Australia) intercooler kit, Stage<br />

2 supercharger gears, Bosch 1000cc secondary<br />

injectors, and a Blake Industries custom ECU<br />

flash. All of this means that this H2 now makes<br />

more power than a stock Kawasaki H2R with a<br />

mind-blowing 305.9hp and 169.1NM of torque.<br />

For reference, a stock Kawasaki H2R on the same<br />

dyno produced 284.5hp and 161NM of torque.<br />

If this wasn’t enough though, Blake Industries<br />

and ETR Performance have taken it a step further<br />

by customizing the aesthetic side of things by<br />

customizing the wheels, adding winglets, adding<br />

radiator guards, adding carbon fiber bits, adding a<br />

Brembo front master cylinder and adding winglet<br />

mirrors. This H2 truly is beautiful and demands<br />

attention where ever you go on it. This is the same<br />

bike that Sheridan Morais has been riding and<br />

having fun on over the last couple of months.<br />

When he first started riding it, it was only 240hp.<br />

It now has 305.9hp and he recently took it out to<br />

The Monday Club at Kyalami to put it to the test.

The traction and wheelie<br />

control seemed to have given<br />

up trying to keep the power in<br />

check much like a babysitter<br />

losing control of a group of<br />

unruly youngsters.<br />

Unfortunately, he was still recovering from injury but<br />

still managed to put in some impressive laps, still on<br />

standard suspension and gearing. The gearing was<br />

quite short, despite being standard the H2 was topping<br />

out on the clock at 299kph before the flat-out right-hand<br />

sweep down Kyalami’s main straight.<br />

Since then Blake Industries and ETR Performance have<br />

gone down two teeth on the rear sprocket for more<br />

top speed and to prevent the H2 from limiting down<br />

Kyalami’s main straight. They took the bike down to<br />

Kyalami for yet another Monday Club at Kyalami and<br />

this time, I would get to sample the most powerful bike<br />

I have ever and more than likely will ever get to ride.<br />

To say I was nervous was an understatement but my<br />

excitement and interest got the better of me and I was<br />

soon out for my first session on a well-worn set of Pirelli<br />

Diablo Supercorsa SC2 race tyres. The power was<br />

simply brutal, there are no other words to describe it,<br />

and definitely too much power for a race track and my<br />

skill level.<br />

As the session went on it would seem that the<br />

outrageous power wasn’t just too much for me but the<br />

standard clutch as well as it started slipping halfway<br />

through the session at high rpm’s from 4th to 6th gear.<br />

Now it has taken a huge amount of abuse and numerous<br />

track days with Sheridan, so who can really blame it?<br />

Chatting with Martin Blake there are plans to fit a heavyduty<br />

clutch to this beast to better cope with the amount<br />

of power and abuse it takes.<br />

The H2 was actually easier to ride around a track than<br />

I was anticipating. Handling wasn’t bad at all, all be<br />

it quite soft. The traction control and wheelie control<br />

seemed to have given up trying to keep the power in<br />

check much like a babysitter losing control of a group of<br />

unruly youngsters. The H2 was spinning the rear wheel<br />

in and out of the corners and even down the straights.<br />

This put even more strain on the ailing clutch and Pirelli<br />

SC2 rear tyre which was now misshaped and had little<br />

grip left to offer. Despite the clutch issues the H2 was<br />

still reaching over 290kph on the clock down the front<br />

straight even though I was having to short shift from 4th,<br />

5th to 6th and roll off around the right-hand sweep with<br />

a lot of vibration coming through the handlebars from<br />

the clutch and high rpm’s thanks to it slipping. Trying to

keep the H2s front wheel down was much like stopping<br />

the SA goverment from being corrupt - impossible, and<br />

eventually, I just had to let it do its thing and hold on for<br />

dear life. I was leaving thick black lines on just about<br />

every corner exit as I tried to get the 306hp down to the<br />

ground. A battle I happily lost with a huge smile on my<br />

face as this was the most fun I had ever had while riding<br />

around a track.<br />

The standard Brembo brakes worked like a treat with<br />

some fade late on in the sessions due to well-worn brake<br />

pads. The Brembo front master cylinder also aided in<br />

sharper braking, giving more feedback braking from<br />

around 290kph to 60kph for turn 1. All of this is more<br />

impressive when you take into account the 238kg wet<br />

weight of the H2. This is obviously a lot heavier than<br />

standard 1000cc superbikes which are a lot easier to<br />

ride and slow down for the corners. The quick shifter<br />

worked well and is silky smooth and precise although it<br />

does lack the addition of an auto-blip, another addition in<br />

the pipeline for Blake Industries and ETR Performance to<br />

further enhance the performance of this H2.<br />

All in all and it was a great experience to sample that<br />

amount of power and I look forward to doing it again<br />

soon with fresher rubber and with the heavier-duty clutch<br />

fitted. We will also be getting Sheridan Morais back on<br />

the H2 to see exactly what speed he can reach down<br />

Kyalami’s front straight on the monstrous Kawasaki H2<br />

by Blake Industries and ETR Performance.<br />

Trying to keep the H2s front<br />

wheel down was much like<br />

stopping the SA goverment<br />

from being corrupt -<br />

impossible, and eventually, I<br />

just had to let it do its thing<br />

and hold on for dear life.

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />


THE BUZZ<br />

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

AROUND<br />

TOWN<br />

The Honda Hornet is just about as iconic<br />

as any motorcycle can be. A fan favorite<br />

since the original CB600F Hornet debuted<br />

way back, 25 years ago in 1998 mainly<br />

thanks to its practicality, affordability, and<br />

sheer reliability. Since then there have<br />

been various updates and versions of the<br />

Hornet, with the latest coming in 2023<br />

with the all-new CB750 Hornet. So we did<br />

what we do best here at Moto Rider World<br />

by putting it through its paces both out on<br />

the road and on the track.

An all-new 755cc Liquid Cooled OHC, 4-stroke,<br />

8-valve Parallel-twin motor, featuring a 270-degree<br />

crank and uni-cam produces 90.5hp and 74.4Nm<br />

of torque. The all-new motor, which is also<br />

mounted in the new Transalp, is mated with a steel<br />

diamond frame with limited flex. So Honda has<br />

done away with the infamous in-line four motor<br />

and replaced it with a parallel twin motor with the<br />

same design ethos, similar to that of the Africa<br />

Twin and CRF450R. Has it worked? In short, yes!<br />

The new motor has oozes of low-down power<br />

and torque, perfect for point A to B commuting,<br />

touring, or general horseplay. The addition of a<br />

ride-by-wire throttle increases and smoothens<br />

out response and also allows the addition of new<br />

and various riding aids, never before seen on<br />

any Hornet prior. The new CB has three preset<br />

riding modes- Rain, Standard, and Sport with a<br />

customizable User mode as well. You also have<br />

access to three traction control settings, three<br />

engine brake levels, and three power output<br />

levels. I found the traction control to be quite<br />

medley, even on the lowest setting the bike would<br />

almost cut out when joining the road from off of it<br />

or under hard acceleration at low speeds. I found<br />

it better to leave the TC off, also making it easier<br />

to wheelie or accelerate hard without concern of<br />

the bike cutting out.<br />

As with most Honda’s the Hornet comes standard<br />

fitted with Showa front and rear suspension. Up<br />

front, you have an SFF-BP 41mm USD fork paired<br />

with a rear mono-shock operated by Honda’s<br />

usual Pro-link system. Suspension adjustment is<br />

limited with the rear pre-load alone. The brakes<br />

are Nissin radial mounted 4-piston calipers with<br />

twin 296mm rotors up front and a single-piston<br />

caliper at the rear, mounted to a 240mm disk.<br />

The Hornet also boasts a simplistic dual-channel<br />

ABS system which unfortunately cannot be<br />

disengaged.<br />

POWER<br />

90 bhp @<br />

9,500 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

75 Nm<br />

@ 7,250rpm<br />

TANK<br />


15.2 L<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

795mm<br />

WET<br />

WEIGHT<br />

190kg<br />

A closer look shows that Honda<br />

hasn’t skimped where it really matters<br />

and this shows in the aesthetics<br />

department. The Hornet is sleek,<br />

sharp, and elegant with a hint of<br />

aggression from every angle. Typical<br />

Honda build quality shines through, especially<br />

in the switchgear and interface. LED headlights,<br />

tail lights, and indicators are standard with the<br />

before mentioned turning the night into day<br />

with their brightness. The rich specification<br />

list is headlined by a 5-inch TFT colour display<br />

offering vivid information and four types of speed/<br />

rpm display (analog or bar, according to rider<br />

preference) as well as fuel gauge/consumption,<br />

riding mode selection/engine parameters, grip<br />

angle degrees, gear indicator and customizable<br />

up-shift point on the tachometer to name a few.<br />

Also integrated into the easy-to-use interface is the<br />

Honda Smartphone Voice Control System(HSVC)<br />

allowing you to connect your Android or Apple<br />

phone via Bluetooth, make and receive phone<br />

calls and give voice commands so long as you<br />

use a helmet-mounted headset.<br />

Out on the road and track the Hornet is<br />

predictable and easy to use. It’s a small and<br />

compact bike, resembling a 250/300cc rather<br />

than a 750cc and this makes it light and flickable<br />

from left to right. Believe it or not, it actually<br />

has the best power-to-weight ratio in its class,

weighing in at 190kg fully fueled. The frame is rigid<br />

and while riding aggressively you can sense that the<br />

suspension battles to keep up. The riding position is<br />

typically naked, sporty yet comfortable with narrower<br />

handlebars than most of its rivals. Tall and short riders<br />

won’t have an issue adjusting to the Hornet. The<br />

795mm seat height also ensures that even the vertically<br />

challenged will manage to feel comfortable on the CB.<br />

Around the track, the footpegs do scrape from time to<br />

time because the handling is so good with the 120/160<br />

tyre size.<br />

Each riding mode engages 1 of 3 different power levels,<br />

3 engine braking settings, and the before mentioned<br />

traction control settings. Sport mode uses maximum<br />

level 3 of power, level 1 engine braking, and TC settings.<br />

The Standard mode puts power, traction control, and<br />

engine braking all into level 2 while Rain mode puts<br />

the TC to level 3, drops the power level to 1, and sets<br />

the engine braking to the middle setting. You can also<br />

mix and match these three settings to create your own<br />

custom user mode which is exactly what I did.<br />

The Hornet is pinpoint<br />

accurate, nimble,<br />

and holds a line<br />

fantastically out on<br />

track. A comfortable<br />

place to be whether you<br />

ride every day or enjoy<br />

the occasional kneedragging<br />

track day.

The Hornet is pin-point accurate, nimble,<br />

and holds a line fantastically out on track. A<br />

comfortable place to be whether you ride every<br />

day or enjoy the occasional knee-dragging track<br />

day. The Hornet will get you to where you need<br />

to go, with a gigantic smile on your face to boot.<br />

It’s unassuming but quickly pulls on your heart<br />

string. I can’t remember when I last rode a naked<br />

Japanese bike with this amount of fun factor and<br />

character. Perhaps the Yamaha MT09? The sixspeed<br />

gearbox is smooth but lacks the addition<br />

of a quick-shifter as standard. This puts a damper<br />

on what is an already great package. Yes, you can<br />

add one after but that’s not the point. And yes I<br />

know that adding one would have hurt the price,<br />

as would adding cruise control and heated grips<br />

but nowadays these are necessities and should<br />

be standard equipment.<br />

The Hornet isn’t thirsty as you would expect from<br />

a Honda in this segment. The 15.2L fuel tank will<br />

last close to 350km, more if you ride sparingly.<br />

Packed with great features such as smartphone<br />

connectivity, auto-canceling indicators, and<br />

ESS(Emergency Stop System). The new Hornet<br />

is the cheapest of its middle-weight naked rivals<br />

at R179 999, a mouth-watering prospect because<br />

it’s powered by an all-new beautiful parallel twin<br />

motor, and has a bountiful array of riding modes,<br />

electronics, and standard equipment. An allaround<br />

fun and practical machine is the new<br />

CB750 Hornet. You truly cannot go wrong with the<br />

legend that is a Hornet!<br />

The brakes are fantastic and fade-free, especially<br />

around a race track, not its natural habitat by<br />

any stretch of the imagination. The ABS is barely<br />

noticeable, a plus in my book especially since you<br />

cannot switch it off.

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

RACING<br />

AHEAD<br />


One of the most popular superbike racing categories in South<br />

Africa is by far the Sunbet Kawasaki ZX10 Masters Cup. The series<br />

forms part of the Extreme Festival. The bikes are obviously all<br />

Kawasaki ZX10 machines of different years and so are the riders.<br />

There are a few different age restrictions and classes the first<br />

being Masters which caters to riders aged between 35 and 44.<br />

Then you have the Veterans from 45 to 51 and finally the Extreme<br />

Veterens for riders 51 and up. There are generally over 20 bikes<br />

lining up on the grid for every round, a rare sight in SA nowadays.

The bike we have on test here is a 2022 Kawasaki<br />

ZX10R which belongs to and is ridden by Ian<br />

Harwood. This particular bike pushes out 180hp and<br />

just over 107NM of torque which doesn’t sound like<br />

much to be honest, especially when comparing it<br />

to the ZX10R’s standard specs. The bike was fitted<br />

with a used set of Bridgestone R11 soft tyres which<br />

already had a good 30 laps on them before the test.<br />

Aesthetic wise it is a pretty bike from every angle,<br />

fitted with a custom decal kit from Moto Kustoms<br />

which really helps it stand out. The high-rise screen<br />

also aids not only in the looks department but with<br />

aerodynamics as well. As mentioned above with the<br />

rules of the ZX10 Cup this bike is pretty much stock<br />

except for some suspension work and that beautiful<br />

Arata slip-on exhaust.<br />

We managed to do around 45 laps for the day and set<br />

a consistent pace in the 2.03s. The setup wasn’t ideal<br />

with the front suspension springs being way too soft.<br />

We dialed up pre-load by 8 clicks to its max but it was<br />

still way too soft. The front end chattered, hopped,<br />

and skipped under hard braking making corner entry<br />

sketchy more often than not. The brakes were good<br />

and consistent for most of the day but the brake pads<br />

These are the basic rules for<br />

the bikes in the ZX10 Masters<br />

Cup which help keep things<br />

as close and fair as possible:<br />

• Standard Engine which gets<br />

dynoed and sealed at KMSA<br />

• Standard ECU with minor<br />

Changes allowed [Quick shifter<br />

timing and sensitivity]<br />

• Aftermarket plug-and-play quick<br />

shifter is allowed<br />

• No after-market fuelling modules<br />

are allowed<br />

• Front suspension is standard<br />

with only springs and oil/air gap<br />

changes are allowed<br />

• Rear shock modification as<br />

per ZX10 spec done by MP<br />

suspension or Shock logic and<br />

then sealed<br />

• Only standard or SBS brake pads<br />

and discs are allowed<br />

• Only BRIDGESTONE R11 Soft<br />

compound tyres are allowed<br />

• Aftermarket slip-on exhaust with<br />

standard header pipes<br />

• Air filters are free of restriction<br />

• Rear sets and the steering<br />

damper are free of restriction<br />

• Clip-on handlebars are free from<br />

restriction<br />

• Aftermarket race fairings are free<br />

from restriction

were quite worn which caused a little bit of brake<br />

fade from the standard Brembo front Stylema<br />

calipers and master cylinder. The tyres offered<br />

great grip under braking, lean angle, and corner<br />

exit, despite having over 70 laps of abuse on<br />

them by the end of the day. Kawasaki has always<br />

had a great traction control system on their new<br />

generation ZX10s, and this one is no different.<br />

It’s consistent and reliable, helping to prevent<br />

wheelies and wheelspin to optimize acceleration.<br />

The rear suspension felt good and solid offering<br />

great feedback to me on what the rear of the bike<br />

was doing- despite my hefty frame. The motor<br />

on the ZX10 is crisp and strong but not as strong<br />

as some race BMW S1000RRs I have ridden<br />

but then again you are restricted by the rules in<br />

what you can do and how much performance<br />

you can get out of it. The quick-shifter/auto-blip<br />

is smooth although slightly delayed and too<br />

sensitive, but can be adjusted as per the rules.<br />

Without knowing it even the slightest touch would<br />

trigger an untimely gear change causing a few<br />

intense moments out on track. The fueling system<br />

and engine braking could use some work. The<br />

bike runs into turns and surges even when off<br />

the throttle which caused me to run into corners<br />

quicker than I would like, run wide on a few<br />

occasions and almost lose the front.<br />

The riding position is typical superbike, with<br />

pushed-out clip-on handlebars providing the<br />

perfect and aggressive layout for the track.<br />

The aftermarket rear sets are adjustable and<br />

if it was my bike I would move them down a<br />

notch for more comfort and control. Ian has<br />

them like this because he leans the bike over<br />

too much without moving out of the saddle<br />

scraping the gear lever which obviously isn’t<br />

ideal. I reached lean angles of 58 and 59<br />

degrees, impressive on the old worn tyres. In<br />

my last session, I managed to do a 2.02.9 on<br />

my last lap which I was happy about despite<br />

struggling with setup and having not ridden a<br />

race 1000cc for half a year.

After spending a day riding a ZX10 Cup bike I could see the appeal<br />

in the rules. A fair playing field for all the riders. And to be fair most<br />

modern superbikes are already pretty good out of the box, so<br />

limiting modifications will also keep the cost to go racing down and<br />

allow the cream of the crop to rise to the top.<br />

A huge thank you must go out to Ian for trusting us with his beautiful<br />

and immaculately prepared race bike. If you want to find out more<br />

about the ZX10 Masters Cup, you can email them at Zx10.masters@<br />

gmail.com or visit their website: www.zx10masterscup.co.za. Stay<br />

tuned to <strong>MRW</strong> as we hope to do a wildcard race sometime in the<br />

near future. You can also check the video review we did on this bike<br />

for yourself on our YouTube channel.

Words: KTM Blog (Adam Wheeler) | Pics: Polarity Photo & KTM Images<br />




MOVER<br />

Jens Hainbach, Vice President Sports Management<br />

Road Racing, has a rewarding but delicate job as one<br />

of the main chess piece movers for the company<br />

and its multi-classes participation in MotoGP.<br />

Seven years into the role, the 50-year-old tells us<br />

about the maturing talent scheme where the KTM<br />

roster is now bursting with potential.<br />

‘Silly season’ – the period in the racing calendar<br />

where riders and teams decide their changes and<br />

futures – is always one of the most speculative and<br />

fascinating parts of the motorsport year. The fans<br />

revel in the gossip and the possibilities of new faces<br />

on new bikes and how those racers and rising stars<br />

will fare.<br />

Usually, the bigger the name, the earlier a long-term<br />

contract is sorted. But there are also unexpected<br />

twists in the paddock landscape that get the tongues<br />

wagging (and journalist’s keyboards bouncing).

A former racer like Hainbach is at the centre of this<br />

complicated weave of negotiations and discussions<br />

that not only include where a rider is employed but<br />

also which team receives factory support, the color of<br />

the bike and the short, mid and long-term prospects<br />

of projects and investments. He helps bring together<br />

the key management figures that take decisions and<br />

write the checks to keep the Pierer Mobility Group’s<br />

Grand Prix racing efforts (as well as development<br />

series’ like FIM JuniorGP, Red Bull MotoGP Rookies<br />

Cup and the Northern Talent Cup) ticking over and<br />

heading towards their objectives.<br />

In 2023 so far Hainbach is having some interesting<br />

talks. Talent like Daniel Holgado, Deniz Öncü and<br />

Jose Rueda are shining in Moto3, and former Moto3<br />

world champion Pedro Acosta is making big strides<br />

in Moto2 (and he has been heavily linked to one of<br />

the company’s berths in MotoGP where KTM have<br />

already watched Brad Binder and Jack Miller take<br />

podium finishes). Then there are other considerations,<br />

such as the clamour to elevate Jake Dixon from his<br />

Moto2 berth to the premier class to give the UK some<br />

much needed representation on the grid.<br />

It feels like there are a lot of balls to juggle, and that’s<br />

without appreciating how advanced and competitive<br />

the RC16 looks to be this season and the appeal<br />

of racing MotoGP for KTM. This wasn’t always the<br />

case. To get an orientation on both his tasks and the<br />

current demands of his work, we pestered the friendly<br />

German for some of our own face time…<br />

Jens, how has the job changed in the<br />

last five years?<br />

It’s changed quite a bit because we decided that<br />

it would be nice and beneficial to have one Pierer<br />

Mobility Group representative in the paddock all<br />

the time. So, I took the role, meaning quite a lot of<br />

travelling and less days in the office but it’s fine for<br />

me and it makes sense for all the topics that come<br />

up in any of the classes or with IRTA or Dorna. I’m<br />

more in my office at the circuit than I am in Austria!<br />

The technical side and the management side have a<br />

good split. Everybody knows their job and their place<br />

and we come together to try and make the best of<br />

what we have.

The size of the company’s ‘footprint’ in MotoGP hasn’t<br />

expanded that much, right?<br />

It changed a bit in Moto2 with the involvement of other<br />

brands. The teams that were already connected to us took<br />

on a bit more and it also took a bit more time for us to get<br />

them sorted with everything they needed.<br />

How tricky is it to organize the pathway of the rising<br />

generation of talent, and then deal with the stars<br />

compared to the rising stars…?<br />

Very tricky, and that is why we really need the help and<br />

input of team managers like Aki [Ajo], Hervé [Poncharal],<br />

and others to take a decision and follow these young guys,<br />

identify their strengths and weaknesses, and see what we<br />

can do to help them improve and ‘grow up’ to potentially<br />

be ready for the challenge of MotoGP. You never really<br />

know how a young rider will develop. There is always a bit<br />

of a ‘guessing game’ to support the right one. Sometimes<br />

it will work, sometimes it doesn’t. There is also this issue of<br />

‘lack of space’ when you get to the top, which means the<br />

decision on the rider that gets the vote is critical. It’s always<br />

a bit of a bet.<br />

You never really<br />

know how a young<br />

rider will develop.<br />

There is always a bit<br />

of a ‘guessing game’<br />

to support the right<br />

one. Sometimes it<br />

will work, sometimes<br />

it doesn’t.<br />

There must be some hard decisions along the way<br />

because riders mature and progress at different times.<br />

They cannot all be teenage hotshots like Pedro Acosta…<br />

Yes, because you have different levels of ability, different<br />

characters, different backgrounds. Some riders you enjoy<br />

working with, but you see that they are not reaching a<br />

certain level of ability. It means some hard decisions that you<br />

don’t want to take but, in the end, it is all about performance.<br />

That’s what makes the job quite easy because we’re rated<br />

by what we achieve on a Sunday afternoon and it’s what we<br />

have to look for. We make sure we have as much information<br />

as possible before we make a decision. It is not only about<br />

what the riders are doing on the track but what they are<br />

doing off the track, their surroundings, their entourage and<br />

how they behave and how they support the rider. There<br />

are many things. It’s the same with a bike; it’s not only the<br />

engine or the chassis or the aero, it’s the whole package and<br />

it’s complex. It is even more complex with riders because<br />

there are many things that affect their performance and<br />

many things to consider for their future. You make mistakes<br />

– and they will happen again – but the important thing is to<br />

learn from them and try not to repeat them.

The group introduced GASGAS into MotoGP<br />

for 2023 and there was a reset for the former<br />

KTM Tech3 crew, including the rider line-up.<br />

Was that an example of a hard decision?<br />

It was a hard decision…but I would not consider<br />

it as a ‘mistake’. It was something that we<br />

planned [having two rookies in 2022] and that<br />

we felt that we wanted to try, and it didn’t work<br />

out as we – or anybody – expected. So, you have<br />

to learn from it, analyse it and make a decision.<br />

It didn’t work out with both riders and now the<br />

situation is different, and I feel we have a much<br />

better overall situation in our hands, injuries<br />

aside. We enjoy seeing what a proper attitude<br />

can do to results but also to the overall mood in<br />

the pitbox. Of course, a lot does depend on the<br />

readiness of the bike and the performance of the<br />

machinery, especially when things are so tight in<br />

the categories, but when one rider can produce<br />

something extra or better than the rest then the<br />

question of the bike gets taken off the table. It<br />

is always a combination. It is a lot easier for us<br />

when the bike is performing well because you<br />

have a lot more knocks on the door and interest.<br />

It’s not always the way though! In that case<br />

you need to convince riders and make them<br />

trust you in a different way and align goals and<br />

perspectives for the future.<br />

It must also be hard to match contract<br />

timelines with the talent, and the<br />

opportunities you are able to give riders…<br />

Sure, we’re fortunate that we have big support<br />

from our bosses as the general philosophy is<br />

‘why should we buy someone from outside the<br />

group when we have grown our own riders?’<br />

and when these riders have an understanding<br />

of what we are about and how we go racing. We<br />

like to work with them and to see what we can<br />

do for them in terms of preparation, like going<br />

to the Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre.<br />

It’s helpful that the upper management and the<br />

company are on the same page and buy into our<br />

approach of the ‘road to MotoGP’ and benefits<br />

of putting money on riders in our own system<br />

rather than those with no connection.

You mentioned the growth in Moto2. Is that as much about the<br />

KTM GP Academy and the ‘road to MotoGP’ as it is<br />

a branding exercise?<br />

For sure. It’s part of the pyramid. We have the base in Moto3, then<br />

it goes up and there are less spaces in Moto2 but we can still follow<br />

riders as they develop and try to conquer that next stage, and then<br />

even less spaces at the peak of MotoGP. Not all of them can reach<br />

the top and there is only one space on the top of the podium! That’s<br />

the one we want to fill. Moto2 is also important for promotion. Also,<br />

you have a clear distinction in the character of the teams; one is the<br />

cool Finnish-led set-up, another is hot-tempered Spanish and then<br />

this rational German outfit. You then have to be careful where you put<br />

the riders and marry the right character to the right team. It’s nice to<br />

have that opportunity.<br />

Will Moto2 ever become a chassis development<br />

class for KTM again?<br />

We’re quite happy with how it is now. Also talking about the riders, it<br />

is good to see them on similar equipment and to observe which one<br />

is making steps forward. I don’t see a need for our own chassis in<br />

Moto2.<br />

KTM race everywhere and worldwide. Is MotoGP still<br />

a big priority for the company?<br />

MotoGP is still the biggest promotional window we have in KTM.<br />

The value of what we do and the payback we get through marketing<br />

is huge. It’s the top of the game. Steps have been taken this year to<br />

make the racing even more attractive and the Saturday Sprints bring<br />

an incredible level of excitement. We love the idea, and if you see<br />

races like Jerez and Le Mans then I see us going in the right way with<br />

the championship. If you see the competition on track, then I doubt<br />

it has ever been closer. It’s very exciting. Maybe it needs some small<br />

adjustments here-and-there but this is already in the making. All our<br />

guys, and especially Brad and Jack are happy to go racing, and we’re<br />

happy with the results so far!<br />

Lastly, with names like [Pedro] Acosta, Öncü and Holgado KTM<br />

have world champions, race winners and MotoGP stars<br />

in the making…<br />

That’s why we do this and pick them from a young age. When we<br />

pluck a rider from the Rookies [Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup], let’s<br />

say, and plug him into Moto3 then it is with a long-term plan for him to<br />

make it to MotoGP. You are not only thinking about Moto3 or Moto2<br />

but the wider goal of having the best riders on our MotoGP bike.

Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel<br />


leaping<br />

ahead<br />



LUCKY<br />

NUMBER 4<br />




Words & Pics: Red Bull Content Pool<br />

RACING<br />


hard<br />

enduro<br />


Get ready to relive the motorbike<br />

spectacle of a lifetime, as Romania was<br />

transformed into a true battleground<br />

for the fearless. The 20th Red Bull<br />

Romaniacs brought forth pulsepounding<br />

intensity as elite Hard Enduro<br />

World Championship riders displayed<br />

their unparalleled skills, just weeks<br />

after conquering the iconic Red Bull<br />

Erzbergrodeo race. Here is all you need<br />

to know:<br />

Hard Enduro combines the most extreme elements<br />

of the major off-road motorbike disciplines including<br />

the high speed and long distances of Endurance, the<br />

technical skills and obstacles of Trials, the jumps and<br />

fast lines of Motocross and the navigation challenges<br />

of Cross-Country.<br />

The Hard Enduro World Championship tests different<br />

skills to breaking point by riding offroad over rugged<br />

ground, climbing up mountains or picking a trail<br />

through dense forest deftly balancing the need to find<br />

fast lines over tricky terrain along with the outright, raw<br />

pace of motocross.<br />

The majority of riders opt for a 300 or 350cc two-stroke<br />

bike which combines speed, low-down torque and are<br />

lightweight - the main brands coming from the KTM<br />

stable, as well as Husqvarna and GasGas.<br />

and look after your tyres because you need a good<br />

edge on your tyre to get up the last climb.”<br />

A great Hard Enduro rider is a synthesis of the lowspeed<br />

mastery of a trials rider, the pure speed of a<br />

motocross racer and the stamina of an endurance<br />

competitor with 48-year-old Graham Jarvis showing<br />

that age is no barrier if you maintain good fitness while<br />

there is good camaraderie between riders to help each<br />

other out: it’s all about beating the course.<br />

In terms of staying in shape, Letternbichler adds, “I<br />

train on a motocross track, I ride trials, I ride classic<br />

and extreme enduro, it makes you a better all-rounder.<br />

I’m a big mountain bike fan, it’s my second passion,<br />

and it’s good for cardio. I do a little bit of gym work in<br />

the summer.”<br />

The biggest and oldest races are the recent Red Bull<br />

Erzbergrodeo, carried out in a working Austrian ironore<br />

quarry mine, and this week’s gruelling Red Bull<br />

Romaniacs over five days in deepest Transylvania.<br />

Red Bull Romaniacs is the longest event in the<br />

Championship and the brainchild of former snowboard<br />

champion Martin Freinademetz starting out with the<br />

fan-friendly Prolog around the medieval city of Sibiu<br />

before a marathon four days of riding around the<br />

beautiful Carpathian Mountains.<br />

You can also tweak them as reigning world champion<br />

Mani Lettenbichler explains, “KTM’s bikes are pretty<br />

good out of the box, but I have made a lot of changes<br />

to the standard bike. My bike has a different engine<br />

and suspension, and my handlebars and footpegs are<br />

in different positions.”<br />

Looking after your bike is also key as Paul Bolton<br />

reveals, “You don’t want broken or bent brake discs,<br />

so they have to be covered, and there’s also armour<br />

to protect the chain and big skid plate to protect the<br />

engine. You need to know when the bike is suffering

Words & Pics: Red Bull Content Pool<br />

RACING<br />


lucky number<br />

four<br />





Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel<br />

Lettenbichler easily powered clear of<br />

the field to win round three of the 2023<br />

FIM Hard Enduro World Championship<br />

season at Red Bull Romaniacs and<br />

maintain the perfect start to his world title<br />

defence. Here is all you need to know:<br />

Red Bull Romaniacs is the longest event in the<br />

Championship and the brainchild of former snowboard<br />

champion Martin Freinademetz starting out with the<br />

fan-friendly Prolog around the medieval city of Sibiu<br />

before a marathon four days of riding around the<br />

beautiful Carpathian Mountains.<br />

SA’s Wade Young<br />

Riders from 55 countries competed as German<br />

Lettenbichler accelerated majestically through the<br />

gears over the first three days to open up a 58-minute<br />

lead that he never looked like relinquishing.<br />

He made a strong start on Saturday to top the<br />

opening checkpoint, then managed his pace superbly<br />

throughout the day to finish ahead of the fellow<br />

KTM bikes of Canadian Trystan Hart and Teodor<br />

Kabakchiev.<br />

Lettenbichler, 25, said: “I’m super stoked with how<br />

the whole week has gone. To get my fourth Red<br />

Bull Romaniacs win and hat trick of victories in the<br />

championship this year is kind of crazy.”<br />

Ending his day sixth, Hart wrapped up his debut<br />

podium and became the first Canadian to finish in the<br />

top three of the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye<br />

as Bulgarian rider Kabakchiev overhauled 2021 world<br />

champion Billy Bolt brilliantly late on to claim the final<br />

podium place.<br />

Graham Jarvis<br />

Billy Bolt<br />

Husqvarna rider Bolt, 25, said: “Red Bull Romaniacs is<br />

never easy but coming here with limited bike time and<br />

still nursing an (shoulder) injury added to the difficulty<br />

of it. It started out great, but as the race continued it<br />

wore me down. Ultimately the goal was always to reach<br />

the finish line.”

Sherco rider Wade Young finished in fifth place with<br />

Austrian Michael Walkner sixth. Young, 27, said: “This<br />

edition of Red Bull Romaniacs didn’t let up. Each day was<br />

hard, at the limit of possible. Overall I feel like I had a good<br />

week and was able to put a consistent race together.”<br />

Lettenbichler now leads Hart by 18 points overall as the<br />

2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship season<br />

enters its second half with round four at Red Bull Outliers,<br />

Canada on August 26-27.<br />

FIM Hard Enduro, Round 3, Red Bull Romaniacs result<br />

1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 19:45:15<br />

2. Trystan Hart (KTM) 20:55:14<br />

3. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 21:19:16<br />

4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 21:25:16<br />

5. Wade Young (Sherco) 21:32:02<br />

6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 21:37:48<br />

7. Mario Roman (Sherco) 22:31:30<br />

8. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 23:44:46<br />

9. Sonny Goggia (KTM) 24:19:31<br />

10. Matthew Green (KTM) 24:44:25<br />

FIM Hard Enduro World Championship Standings (After<br />

round 3)<br />

1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 64pts<br />

2. Trystan Hart (KTM) 46pts<br />

3. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 44pts<br />

4. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 38pts<br />

5. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 31pts<br />

SA’s Mathew Green

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />


leaping<br />

ahead<br />


The enduro motorcycle market is like a never-ending war<br />

among motorcycle manufacturers worldwide. To stay on top<br />

of this technical battlefield, manufacturers need to bring<br />

their A-game every year and continue development on their<br />

models and improve on them annually. One such manufacturer<br />

is Husqvarna who have been in the game since they started<br />

producing motorcycles in 1903. Since then they have<br />

produced top-level motorcycles, not only for the road but offroad<br />

as well to compete with the very best in the world.

They generally release their new Enduro models<br />

to the public, early every year, around June/<br />

July here in South Africa, and always release<br />

models a year ahead. So for example, like now<br />

in 2023 they have released their 2024 models<br />

and we were invited to the Hartbeespoort Dam<br />

to sample them. This would take place at Blue<br />

Groove on a set-out Enduro loop where we would<br />

get to spend time on the all-new 2024 TE and FE<br />

machines. For 2024 the bikes have undergone a<br />

massive overhaul which typically only happens<br />

with Husqvarna every 4 years with the last being<br />

in 2020. The 2024 Husqvarna range features new<br />

expertly crafted frames, subframes, bodywork,<br />

suspension, and brakes to further enhance and<br />

improve on rideability and keep Husqvarna at the<br />

forefront of its class.<br />

WP suspension is typically the best in the business<br />

in the off-road segment, and they have been hard<br />

at work to further enhance their 2024 XACT Closed<br />

Cartridge fork and XACT rear shock. The forks<br />

have been overhauled for 2024 and now feature<br />

a mid-vale piston which offers a smoother action<br />

and consistent performance while a hydro stop in<br />

the final 68mm of travel helps to maintain forward<br />

momentum. The XACT rear shock has been redesigned<br />

for 2024 and features a new piston that<br />

is 100g lighter and 15mm shorter but still retains<br />

300mm of travel. This upgrade or re-design is set<br />

to improve comfort and soak up the bumps more<br />

efficiently. For added convenience the suspension<br />

remains adjustable by hand, both on the front<br />

and rear, ensuring easy and fast personalized<br />

set-up. The chromium molybdenum steel frame<br />

is also new for 2024 and designed to work handin-hand<br />

with the updated WP suspension with<br />

revised flex characteristics and improved antisquat<br />

behavior. New frame geometry improves<br />

the ground clearance of the linkage which makes<br />

it less susceptible to damage. As with most offroad<br />

motorcycles the frames and more particularly<br />

the subframes need to be tough and hardy so<br />

Husqvarna have also developed and added a<br />

much more durable hybrid subframe to their 2024<br />

machines. A new, hollow die-cast aluminium<br />

swing arm features an improved casting process<br />

and now features a 22 mm axle. Additionally, the<br />

chain guard and chain slider have been completely<br />

redesigned for 2024, which Husky claims results<br />

in improved durability and less susceptibility to<br />

catching on external objects while also helping<br />

to reduce dirt build-up around the swing arm and<br />

chain guard. Chain adjustment markings are also<br />

visible from above to make for simpler adjustments.<br />

There have also been key changes aestheticswise<br />

for 2024 with new bodywork on all the<br />

models, plastered with modern, Swedish<br />

graphics. A new grippier seat cover finishes<br />

the looks off perfectly while also aiding with<br />

riding performance and practicality. More knee<br />

contact and better control have been acquired by<br />

improving the rider triangle, with narrow bodywork<br />

making it easy and giving you more space to<br />

move around. A new brighter headlight and<br />

mounting system has been added for 2024 which<br />

improves efficiency and is easier to operate.<br />

The two strokes for 2024(TE150, TE250, and<br />

TE300) are now also powered by all-new engines<br />

which are fuelled by using TBI(Throttle Body<br />

Injection) which offers a more controllable and<br />

consistent spread of power throughout the rev<br />

range, from low down to higher revs. Unlike the<br />

two-stroke MX bikes with TBI the enduro bikes<br />

retain the in-frame oil tank and oil injection system<br />

which means no pre-mixing of fuel is required.<br />

While the FE250 and 350 benefit from new<br />

compact and lighter DOHC engines which are<br />

positioned two degrees backward in the frame<br />

to further centralize mass and contribute to the<br />

improved anti-squat behavior of the chassis. The<br />

four-stroke range features a 42 mm Keihin throttle<br />

body while the two-stroke range features a newly<br />

developed 39 mm Keihin throttle body. Torque<br />

and power have been maximized thanks to all<br />

major engine components being as centered as<br />

possible. Two pre-set riding maps are available via<br />

the advanced EMS electronics on both the two and<br />

four strokes with the latter models also benefiting<br />

from rider aids such as Traction Control and a<br />

Quickshifter for upshifts.<br />

The OCU(Offroad Control Unit) is also new for<br />

2024, aiding in the reliability and user-friendly<br />

serviceability of the electronics. All the models<br />

across the range are fitted with new enhanced<br />

BRAKTEC brakes with high performance and

hardy GSK rotors. The 2024 Husqvarna range<br />

also receives a new combined start/stop button,<br />

ProTaper handlebars, and Michelin Enduro tyres as<br />

standard.<br />

Time to ride then and for those of you that know the<br />

layout at Blue Groove we would be riding up what<br />

seemed like mount everest, covered in rocks and<br />

boulders rather than snow. I would classify myself<br />

as average or maybe slightly above when it comes<br />

to Enduro riding although this would be my first<br />

time riding in this kind of terrain. I don’t get to ride<br />

Enduro that often and so this would be a relatively<br />

new experience to me and as such I would be<br />

relying on the bikes to get me through the day and<br />

up that rocky mountain.<br />

2024 Husqvarna FE250<br />

The first bike I would sample would be the<br />

FE250, and I chose this as being a little ring rusty<br />

I needed a bike that would be easy for me to ride<br />

and be forgiving at the same time. Sitting on the<br />

Husky for the first time and I was comfy. The<br />

re-designed ergonomics for a solid rider triangle<br />

and a grippier seat filled me with confidence. The<br />

throttle response felt lively, and instant, and despite<br />

previous Husky models bringing impressive<br />

performance, I could feel that they have seriously<br />

upped their game. The combined start/stop button<br />

is convenient and once I got used to it, it was<br />

simple and effective to use and trust me when I say<br />

that I did use it often with all the stop/start riding<br />

we did. The terrain forced me to use mainly 1st<br />

and 2nd gear with it being very steep and rocky.<br />

A lot of loose rocks of varying sizes were the<br />

order of the day but the FE250 and its Traction<br />

Control literally saved the day and ensured I<br />

had caught the wheel and prevented spinning<br />

ensuring that I had enough forward momentum<br />

to make it through or over any obstacle I faced.<br />

Now unfortunately we, and when I say we, I mean<br />

the Press would be sharing the bikes for the day<br />

with Dealers so riding and sampling each model<br />

would be at a premium. I managed to make it to<br />

the top of the mountain without falling over and<br />

more importantly to the water point which was my<br />

main objective. The FE250 was a great choice for<br />

my first encounter with proper hard-core Enduro,<br />

being light, nimble, and forgiving with a smooth<br />

spread of useable torque. The upgraded WP<br />

suspension soaked up the knocks and bumps<br />

well, and the stroke was smooth and consistent<br />

giving me the feedback I needed to feel what the<br />

bike was doing under me and how it was reacting<br />

to the terrain around me.<br />

2024 Husqvarna TE300<br />

After guzzling a whole lot of water down my<br />

parched throat it was time to swap bikes and<br />

head back down the mountain. My weapon of<br />

choice for this would be the TE300. Straight<br />

off the bat, I could feel the improvements of<br />

the Throttle Body Injection, giving me a wide

spread of power consistently with no flat spots as you normally<br />

encounter on two strokes, injected or not. Going down the<br />

rocky mountain was easier and this is where I could sample<br />

the all-new BRAKETEC brakes and GSK disks. The brakes<br />

were on point, fade-free, and offered great feel through the<br />

levers, slowing me down enough to stay in control down the<br />

steep declines. I am no lightweight at 110kg and I must say the<br />

upgraded WP suspension impressed me more going down the<br />

mountain than it did up. On the way down I hit many a rock with<br />

momentum and the suspension took the knocks in its stride,<br />

soaking everything up smoothly and not forcing me off course<br />

with sudden jolts. I was bottoming out the suspension at points<br />

but it wasn’t as harsh as I thought as the XACT suspension<br />

slowed the stroke down towards the bottom of the stroke<br />

meaning a more stable and pleasant ride for me. The new<br />

grippier seat cover and improved rider triangle made it easy<br />

for me to grip the tank with my knees and move around on the<br />

seat as I descended back down to level ground. The TE300<br />

is a brute and it will kick you in your teeth if you disrespect it,<br />

however, it is also forgiving for the more casual rider like myself.<br />

Low-end power and torque come to the forefront when on<br />

the throttle, no matter the speed or terrain the TE300 got me<br />

through it with relative ease.<br />

2024 Husqvarna TE150<br />

Perhaps my favorite bike of the day and 2024 line-up was the<br />

smallest in the range, the 2024 TE150. The bike is so light and<br />

flick-able making it easy to maneuver over obstacles, especially<br />

when tired. You do have to carry more momentum on the<br />

150 but even so, the motor was more punchy and torquey<br />

than I expected, especially low down in the revs. Don’t get me<br />

wrong you still have to rev the 150 more and ride it harder and<br />

with more momentum than its bigger capacity siblings but<br />

not as much as you generally have to with smaller capacity<br />

two-strokes or two strokes in general. The throttle body fuel<br />

injection for better response with two injectors, combined with<br />

electronically monitored exhausted values meant for a fiery<br />

ride. The engine is programmed to adjust and adapt to the<br />

riding conditions, always bringing you optimum performance.<br />

Overall the TE150 was mightily impressive and even small<br />

touches like narrower foot pegs to reduce the risk of catching<br />

them in ruts have been taken a step further with a peg redesign<br />

for 2024. With 27% more surface area for the foot, reducing<br />

riding fatigue and aiding with more comfort in all riding<br />

conditions, the new footrests were highly appreciated and<br />

highly noticed by me and my fat, err rather wide feet.

2024 Husqvarna TE250<br />

I never got to spend much time on the TE250 as it<br />

was very popular amongst the Press and Dealers<br />

however the time I did get riding it left a memorable<br />

impression. Much like the TE150 the TE250 is light and<br />

maneuverable with the added bonus of more power<br />

and torque thanks to its extra 100cc of capacity. I rode<br />

the 250 around the Enduro track and not the loop<br />

where the terrain was mostly thick and deep sand with<br />

jumps and obstacles. The TE250 felt stable and had a<br />

great center of gravity making the jumps a breeze and<br />

consistent, also with a sense of predictability through<br />

the corners and over the obstacles. The way the 250<br />

produces its power is much like that of the TE300,<br />

just with less of it. The ergonomics were comfortable,<br />

whether standing up or sitting down. The changes to<br />

the suspension, motor, and ergonomics could be felt<br />

and had a positive effect, even in the short time I spent<br />

on the TE250. Making a list of what has not changed<br />

in 2024, would be a far shorter process. That list would<br />

contain the premium Michelin Medium rubber and the<br />

tough D.I.D DirtStar rims.<br />

2024 Husqvarna FE350,450 and 501<br />

Once again I never got to test the FE350,450 and 501<br />

as much as I would have liked to however you don’t<br />

need a lot of time on these bikes to find out just how<br />

good they are. With a full redesign for 2024, the new<br />

Husqvarna’s are a new level of dirt bike. New bikes<br />

often undergo a few small tweaks here and there,<br />

sometimes unnecessary and even disappointing,<br />

but having spent the day in Harties riding the new<br />

2024 Enduro range I can confidently tell you that<br />

this next-generation line-up is worth a look at! The<br />

2 and 4-stroke models are nearly a total head-to-toe<br />

redesign. They say change is as good as a holiday<br />

and that is exactly what Husqvarna has given us for<br />

2024, a holiday and change from the norm. Not only<br />

has Husqvarna focused on the big things but the little<br />

things too, with a new forged one-piece side stand<br />

design that is perfectly integrated on each motorcycle<br />

and provides a convenient and stable option for when<br />

the machine needs to be parked. Not much parking<br />

will be needed though as the new 2024 Husqvarna<br />

Enduro range is so good that you will be riding more<br />

often than not.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!