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MRW Issue 35

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ISSUE <strong>35</strong><br />

Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel<br />

DOUBLE<br />

TROUBLE<br />

FIRST RIDE<br />

•SUZUKI GSX-8S<br />

•KTM 890 SMT<br />

WORLD SBK<br />

MUSICAL CHAIRS HJC<br />

PRODUCT APRILIA<br />

REVIEW RS 457<br />

RPHA1 NOMARO<br />

F I R S T L O O K


EDITOR’S NOTE<br />

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

<strong>35</strong> of SA’s only motorcycle magazine.<br />

I’ve just finished watching the Q1 and Q2<br />

sessions from MotoGP in Misano and what a<br />

performance by Jorge Martin smashing the<br />

lap record. Hats off to Bez and Pecco to put it<br />

on the front row despite the injuries they are<br />

both carrying from the Catalunya disaster.<br />

Heading into the weekend all the talk was<br />

more off-track involving Marc Marquez. We’ve<br />

heard the rumours of him potentially leaving<br />

Honda for Ducati machinery but nothing<br />

really that serious. Marc himself has come<br />

out saying that he has a contract with Honda<br />

and won’t be leaving. Something seems<br />

to have changed heading into the Misano<br />

weekend as the big rumor now is that Marc<br />

will indeed be leaving Honda to join his<br />

brother on the Gresini Ducati team.<br />

The force is strong with this one as many<br />

top personalities in the paddock are saying<br />

it is a done deal. I’m still not that convinced<br />

but when I dissect into it more I could see<br />

it actually happening. The fact that the big<br />

boss from HRC has left his comfort zone<br />

in Japan to fly out to Misano says a lot. Is it<br />

for a meeting to discuss Marc’s termination<br />

from his contract? Or could it be to try and<br />

convince Marc to stay? Either way, there is<br />

a big reason for him being present at the<br />

Misano round.<br />

There is a big test on the Monday following<br />

the race weekend and I also think that this<br />

could play a huge role in what MM93 does.<br />

After the test if MM93 feels the “new” Honda<br />

pacjage has not improved enough I think he<br />

could then jump ship to Gresini Ducati, taking<br />

big Red Bull and Estrella Galiciacash along<br />

with him. Honestly, I hope this move happens<br />

as watching the 8-times world champion ride<br />

around near the back kills me. Love him or<br />

hate him, he is a phenomenal talent and still<br />

has the talent and desire to be running at the<br />

front.<br />

I do worry what this move will do to his<br />

brother Alex who finally looked like he<br />

escaped the shadow of his brother and found<br />

his own path and this move will very much<br />

put him back in that shadow. There is a lot to<br />

discuss around this point so make sure you<br />

tune into the Talking MotoGP Misano post<br />

talk show on Monday night on our YouTube<br />

channel. If you miss it live don’t stress it will<br />

be up there for good so you can enjoy it<br />

anytime.<br />

For now, enjoy the mag and all our content on<br />

our Facebook and YouTube channel.<br />

Cheers for now.<br />

Rob Portman<br />

CONTRIBUTORS<br />

Shaun Portman<br />

Beam Productions<br />

Adam Child “Chad”<br />

Sheridan Morais<br />

CONTACT<br />

DETAILS<br />

EDITOR/OWNER<br />

Rob Portman<br />

082 782 8240<br />

rob@motoriderworld.com<br />

ANYTHING & EVERYTHING<br />

Shaun Portman<br />

072 260 9525<br />

shaun@motoriderworld.com<br />

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KISKA.COM Photo: R. Schedl 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.<br />

GO FASTER<br />

FOR LONGER<br />

Class-leading power and a massive electronic<br />

package mean the world just got a whole lot smaller.<br />

On pristine new asphalt or a broken-up old track,<br />

the new KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is ready<br />

to rip through it all. #DARE2ADV<br />

FIND OUT MORE AT KTM.COM/TRAVEL


NEWS DESK<br />

KTM LAUNCH THE<br />

BRAND NEW 2024<br />

SINGLE-CYLINDER<br />

KTM DUKE LINE-UP<br />

In the very extensive lineup of motorcycles<br />

Austrian bike maker KTM currently sells, the Duke<br />

occupies a very special place. Born in the mid-<br />

1990s, the family now has nine powerful members<br />

playing in the naked segment, and one in the<br />

sports tourer one. Of interest to us today are some<br />

of the naked ones, as they’ve just received a major<br />

tech boost for the 2024 model year.<br />

The base three models of the range are at the<br />

receiving end of the changes, namely the 125<br />

Duke, 250 Duke, and 390 Duke. As per their<br />

maker, the upgrades are not minor, but come as<br />

“the biggest change to the sub-500 cc capacity<br />

DUKE model range since the KTM 125 DUKE in<br />

2011.”<br />

That’s because the company targeted not only the<br />

color scheme of the bikes, as it so often does, but<br />

this time dove a lot deeper into the mechanical<br />

bits. Sure, new paint schemes are included in the<br />

package, but what’s important is that the engines<br />

are new, and so are the frames that hold them.<br />

From this version onward, all three models<br />

benefit from a new frame design in two pieces,


NEWS DESK<br />

combining a new steel trellis frame with a<br />

diecast aluminum subframe. Additionally, new<br />

triple clamps have been fitted, as well as a new<br />

swingarm, curved around a rear shock absorber<br />

that’s in a new position. The seat on all three bikes<br />

is now lower and a larger airbox can be seen.<br />

Powering the three bikes is a revised engine<br />

lineup called LC4c, with displacement ranging<br />

from 125cc to 250cc. At the top of the range sits<br />

the 399cc unit. All of them come with improved<br />

cylinder heads and new gearboxes.<br />

As far as equipment goes, the three Dukes are<br />

equipped from the factory floor with the KTM<br />

Supermoto ABS, a 5-inch screen, and smartphone<br />

connectivity.<br />

Setting the bikes apart from one another is not<br />

only the color scheme but also some design<br />

elements unique to each of them. The entrylevel<br />

125 Duke, for instance, comes in Electronic<br />

Orange and Atlantic Blue and is equipped with<br />

Apex suspension.<br />

The mid-range 250 Duke throws onto the market<br />

a body in Electronic Orange and Ceramic White,<br />

the same Apex suspension system, but also tank<br />

spoilers.<br />

At the top of the family sits the 390 Duke with its<br />

Electronic Orange and Atlantic Blue bodywork<br />

and 399cc engine. It too relies on Apex<br />

suspension, but comes with a tank spoiler larger<br />

than on the 250, noticeable radiator covers, and<br />

LED lights.<br />

KTM says the new range of Dukes will become<br />

available in most markets, except for the U.S.<br />

(it’s unclear when rollout there will begin), in<br />

September. Pricing for the three new KTM Dukes<br />

was not announced.


NEWS DESK<br />

Backed by a rich racing pedigree spanning over<br />

four decades, TVS Motor Company unveils the<br />

latest addition and a new flagship to its iconic<br />

Apache line-up: the TVS Apache RTR 310. This<br />

highly anticipated naked sports motorcycle is set<br />

to redefine the realm of two-wheeled exhilaration<br />

with its impressive blend of power, agility and style<br />

and is poised to captivate motorcycle enthusiasts<br />

and adrenaline aficionados around the world. It<br />

promises an unmatched riding experience, setting<br />

new benchmarks and offering a gateway into the<br />

world of the freestyler.<br />

The TVS Apache RTR 310 leads in innovation<br />

right from its unique design, engine layout,<br />

heat management and many differentiated<br />

technologies which are focused on rider<br />

engagement, safety and comfort.<br />

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sudarshan Venu,<br />

Managing Director, TVS Motor Company said,<br />

“TVS Motor Company has always transformed<br />

and redefined technology with the TVS Apache<br />

series at the helm, where we brought to life tech<br />

led innovations such as ride modes, slipper<br />

clutch, connectivity, fully adjustable suspension<br />

and the Built to Order Platform. The global<br />

launch of the all the new TVS Apache RTR 310<br />

marks a momentous occasion for us, as this<br />

motorcycle encapsulates Apache’s 18 year legacy<br />

of innovation and performance. With the TVS<br />

Apache RTR 310, we’re taking our engineering<br />

to a whole new level, offering enthusiasts a<br />

motorcycle that’s not only powerful but also brings<br />

together different technologies to give a unique<br />

riding experience. This motorcycle is positioned to<br />

be the flagship product for many global markets<br />

including India, Europe, LATAM and ASEAN.”<br />

Speaking at the launch, Vimal Sumbly, Head<br />

Business – Premium, TVS Motor Company, said,<br />

“The TVS Apache RTR 310 is the first of a new<br />

generation of Apache’s that inherit a 40 year<br />

racing pedigree and are based on our ‘Track to<br />

Road’ philosophy. This machine will be the start of<br />

a new era of Freestyle Performance Motorcycling<br />

with a core essence of thrill and fun. With many<br />

defining technologies, this flagship Apache<br />

like every other Apache will lead in technology<br />

setting new benchmarks for the category. Its<br />

cyborg inspired streetfighter design, all range<br />

torque and track tuned agility, elevates the fun of<br />

motorcycling for the new age riders – Power to<br />

Play for the Freestyler.<br />

POWER TO PLAY FOR<br />

THE FREESTYLER


NEWS DESK<br />

Power to the freestyler, packed<br />

with performance:<br />

Built from ground-up, the motorcycle’s 312.2<br />

cc engine has a unique reverse inclined DOHC<br />

engine that provides a compact engine layout<br />

resulting in mass centralisation. The all-new<br />

forged aluminium piston is 5% lighter which<br />

produces a peak power of <strong>35</strong>.6 PS @ 9,700 rpm<br />

and maximum torque of 28.7 Nm @ 6,650 rpm.<br />

The engine is tuned for all range torque delivery<br />

which gives you unlimited thrill across the power<br />

band and the fastest in segment 0-60 of 2.81 secs<br />

The power is delivered through a 6-speed<br />

transmission with all new Bi Directional<br />

Quickshifter. The quickshifter is specially tuned<br />

for widest operating range starting from 2,300<br />

rpm all the way to the red line. The state-of-theart<br />

Throttle-By-Wire system comprises of an<br />

intelligent 46mm large throttle body that provides<br />

a crisp power delivery<br />

Additionally, the motorcycle offers Race Tuned<br />

Linear Stability Control (RT-LSC) that includes<br />

straight line dual channel ABS, Cruise control,<br />

Linear Traction Control and rear lift protection.<br />

The first in segment cruise control maintains<br />

the set speed without any throttle or clutch<br />

input helping in reducing rider fatigue over long<br />

distance riding. The cruise control feature allows<br />

you to downshift and upshift up to 2 gears to<br />

achieve optimum cruise rpm and use cruise for<br />

longer period.<br />

Race Tuned Slipper Clutch allows for rapid<br />

downshifts, allowing for later braking and more<br />

precise cornering. The assist function tightly binds<br />

the clutch plates during acceleration, to provide<br />

enhanced torque carrying capacity with reduced<br />

clutch operating force.<br />

The Engine Coolant Jacket Optimization along<br />

with 23 rows of radiator tubes is designed to<br />

have best-in-class heat management by reducing<br />

the engine temperature, allowing for superior<br />

performance and higher revving.<br />

The motorcycle brings in Glide Through<br />

Technology (GTT), a first-in-segment feature that<br />

aids ease of riding during slow movements while<br />

in traffic or otherwise.<br />

Sculpted Design and Dynamics of<br />

the freestyler:<br />

dynamic response at higher speeds, greater<br />

agility and ease of manoeuvrability. This is<br />

further accentuated with sporty steel tapered<br />

handlebars to give the rider precise control. The<br />

machine’s ergonomics are optimized for better<br />

load distribution to give excellent steering control<br />

and good lower back comfort during long rides.<br />

The adjustable hand leversprovide 4 levels of<br />

adjustment for increased accessibility during<br />

diverse riding styles.<br />

The TVS Apache RTR 310 sports a forward<br />

biased mass with an upswept sleek tail giving<br />

it a unique streetfighter silhouette. The DRL,<br />

headlamp and tail lamp are all designed to give<br />

a menacing cyborg look. The unique lightweight<br />

aluminium sub frame embodies an exoskeletal<br />

look that maximizes its agility. The all new<br />

lightweight 8 spoke dual coloured alloy wheels<br />

enhance the flamboyance.<br />

The Hyper Spec trellis frame of the TVS Apache<br />

RTR 310 is designed to provide excellent<br />

The suspension on the motorcycle is honed and<br />

tuned by the experts from KYB. The monoshock<br />

with monotube floating piston technology has<br />

hydraulic stopper with check valves providing<br />

precise damping and smooth dynamic response<br />

to achieve best-in-class lateral acceleration and<br />

cornering speeds. The TVS Apache RTR 310<br />

is equipped with Michelin Road 5 tyres, that<br />

are engineered with next-gen compounds and<br />

featuring Michelin’s patented ACT+ technology,<br />

to provide superior grip for cornering and offer a<br />

premium ride feel.


NEWS DESK<br />

Advanced Technology for the freestyler:<br />

Built on a foundation of advanced technology,<br />

the motorcycle is equipped with 5 ride modes<br />

namely Urban, Rain, Sports, Track and the all-new<br />

Supermoto mode that disengages the rear ABS<br />

while maximizing the power. The horizontal 5”<br />

TFT race computer offers unique UI themes, and<br />

customizable settings including traction control,<br />

cruise control, quickshifter, climatic seat control,<br />

TPMS, headlamp brightness and DRL control.<br />

The SmartXonnect Bluetooth connectivity links<br />

the TVS Apache RTR 310 with your smartphone<br />

offering a series of features including telephony,<br />

music control, GoPro control, smart helmet<br />

connectivity, voice assist, race telemetry, precise<br />

turn by turn navigation with what3words, digi docs<br />

and crash alert.<br />

The motorcycle features first in segment smart<br />

lighting features – The all new Class D Dynamic<br />

LED Headlamp which has 3 levels of light intensity<br />

that changes basis the speed thus providing<br />

optimum lighting. The all new Dynamic Brake<br />

Lamp triggers rapid flashing of the brake lamp<br />

during hard braking.<br />

Customization for the freestyler<br />

TVS Apache RTR 310 will be offered on the<br />

TVS Built To Order platform which will empower<br />

customers to customize and personalize their<br />

machine based on 2 customisation kits namely<br />

Dynamic kit, Dynamic pro kit and a unique<br />

Sepang Blue Race Graphic option. The kits<br />

include first in segment technologies for the<br />

hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts.<br />

Dynamic kit includes fully adjustable suspension<br />

with preload, compression and rebound damping<br />

adjustment on the front suspension and preload +<br />

rebound damping on the rear monoshock which<br />

a wide range of adjustability for varied riding<br />

conditions. The kit also includes a Tire Pressure<br />

Monitoring System to keep real time track of tire<br />

pressure for optimum performance and Brass<br />

Coated drive chain that not only enhances the<br />

look of the motorcycle but also protects from rust<br />

thus increasing the life of the chain.<br />

The new Dynamic Pro kit will offer a host of first in<br />

segment technology features namely Race Tuned<br />

Dynamic Stability Control and Climate Control<br />

seat. The RT-DSC features a first in segment 6D<br />

IMU that provides the ultimate safety package<br />

– Cornering ABS, Cornering traction control,<br />

Cornering Cruise control, wheelie control, slope<br />

dependent control and rear lift-off control. The<br />

IMU is also paired with the cruise function to offer<br />

a first in segment cornering cruise control that<br />

adjusts the cruising speed of the motorcycle basis<br />

the lean angle and use cruise for longer period.<br />

Globally the first in motorcycles, Climatic Control<br />

seat offers instant heating and cooling by 15oC<br />

from the ambient temperature and is controlled<br />

via the TFT cluster.<br />

With respect to styling, the Sepang Blue – Race<br />

Edition, reflects 40 years of TVS Racing heritage<br />

through unique race inspired decals paired with<br />

the iconic blue, red and white colours.<br />

The TVS Apache RTR 310 boasts of 12 exclusive<br />

freestyler accessories including knuckle guard,<br />

visor, pannier and top box kit and 14 safety gears<br />

and lifestyle merchandize for the customers<br />

to choose from. The motorcycle offers 24x7<br />

roadside assistance and hassle-free servicing with<br />

its annual maintenance contracts.


NEWS DESK<br />

APRILIA REVEALS<br />

ALL-NEW RS 457<br />

In a thrilling development for young motorcycle<br />

enthusiasts, Aprilia has unveiled its latest<br />

masterpiece, the Aprilia RS 457. This sportsbike,<br />

born from the rich legacy of Aprilia Racing, marks<br />

a new milestone in the brand’s commitment to<br />

delivering exceptional performance and style to<br />

passionate motorcyclists.<br />

Staying true to its roots, the RS 457 embodies<br />

the iconic design of the RS range, with a double<br />

front fairing, underbelly silencer, and a sleek 2-in-1<br />

exhaust. The full LED front headlamp features the<br />

distinctive light signature of Aprilia’s larger super<br />

sports bikes, and the dashboard boasts a 5-inch<br />

TFT colour instrument cluster for a modern and<br />

elegant look.<br />

One of the standout features of the RS 457 is its<br />

cutting-edge liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder<br />

engine with double camshaft timing and four<br />

valves per cylinder. This powerplant delivers<br />

an impressive 48 horsepower while minimizing<br />

vibrations, resulting in a unique and thrilling riding


NEWS DESK<br />

experience. Moreover, the RS 457’s remarkable<br />

power-to-weight ratio sets it apart from its<br />

competitors, with a dry weight of 159 kg (175 kg<br />

when wet). This balance of power and weight is a<br />

testament to Aprilia’s dedication to performance<br />

and rider enjoyment.<br />

Aprilia has meticulously designed the RS 457,<br />

incorporating technological innovations from the<br />

world of racing into a road-ready sports bike. Its<br />

aluminium frame, inspired by decades of racing<br />

victories, provides exceptional stiffness and agility.<br />

The suspension system, including a 41 mm fork<br />

with preload adjustability and a monoshock on a<br />

steel swingarm, ensures precise handling.<br />

Braking is equally impressive, with a 320 mm<br />

front disc featuring a ByBre radial-mount 4-piston<br />

caliper and a 220 mm rear steel disc. A twochannel<br />

ABS system adds an extra layer of<br />

safety. The RS 457 rides on 17-inch sports rims<br />

fitted with 110/70 front and 150/60 rear tyres for<br />

outstanding grip and maneuverability.<br />

The new Aprilia RS 457 boasts a superbike-level<br />

electronic package, including a Ride by Wire<br />

system with three riding modes that adjust power<br />

delivery and traction control. Riders can finetune<br />

their experience with three levels of traction<br />

control or disable it altogether. Additionally, a<br />

quickshifter is available as an accessory, further<br />

enhancing the bike’s performance.<br />

The Aprilia RS 457 promises to be a gamechanger<br />

in the world of sports bikes, offering an<br />

exhilarating riding experience that reflects Aprilia’s<br />

racing heritage and dedication to performance.<br />

With its arrival, enthusiasts can look forward to<br />

experiencing this technological marvel on both<br />

the road and the track. Launch is expected soon.


NEWS DESK<br />

THE CRAZIEST WORLDSBK<br />

SILLY SEASON EVER<br />

Seats are filling up fast for the 2024 season<br />

and Yamaha have become the latest to lock<br />

in their line-up after announcing Jonathan<br />

Rea’s arrival…<br />

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World<br />

Championship is now in its second half,<br />

meaning that whilst the title race is well<br />

underway, 2024’s grid is taking shape.<br />

From futures hanging in the balance and<br />

at a crossroads to the majority of the field<br />

looking to strike a deal for next year, we<br />

summarise the situation with what we<br />

know so far.<br />

SIGNED. DEAL. DONE DEAL: Rea,<br />

Razgatlioglu headline MAJOR shake-up<br />

to factory line-ups<br />

Let’s take a look at whose future is secured.<br />

The latest is Jonathan Rea who, despite<br />

having a contract for Kawasaki Racing<br />

Team WorldSBK for 2024, will race for<br />

the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK<br />

squad alongside Andrea Locatell who<br />

remains with the team until the end of<br />

2025, like Rea. Of course, Rea’s bombshell<br />

move was only made possible by Toprak<br />

Razgatlioglu’s (Pata Yamaha Prometeon<br />

WorldSBK) shock switch to the ROKiT<br />

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team for next<br />

season, with two of the ‘Titanic Trio’ on the<br />

move for 2024. The third member of that<br />

illustrious group, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it<br />

Racing – Ducati), has his future secured and<br />

he was one of the first factory riders to be<br />

confirmed for next year. His 2024 teammate<br />

was confirmed in early September to<br />

be WorldSSP star Nicolo Bulega, as he<br />

graduates straight to the factory Ducati<br />

team. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team<br />

WorldSBK) also has a contract in the bag. A<br />

couple of Independent outfits have at least<br />

one rider signed up for next year. Garrett<br />

Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) confirmed<br />

he had a 2024 contract and would remain<br />

with the team, while a new squad will make<br />

their debut next year. Marc VDS Ducati are<br />

bringing Sam Lowes across from Moto2<br />

with the Brit able to race against his twin on<br />

the world stage. Finally, Dominique Aegerter<br />

and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha<br />

WorldSBK Team) will have places on the<br />

grid next season with Yamaha, staying with<br />

the GRT squad.<br />

TOPRAK’S TEAMMATE: a battle for a<br />

BMW in 2024<br />

It’s clearly a battle for BMW’s second<br />

factory bike; both Scott Redding (ROKiT<br />

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and<br />

current teammate Michael van der Mark<br />

have stated their desire to continue with the<br />

team and manufacturer, but as it stands,


NEWS DESK<br />

only one bike is available. We analysed<br />

the whole situation here. Redding had<br />

previously stated he “has to consider his<br />

options”; comments which came after his<br />

first non-score weekend in WorldSBK back<br />

in Barcelona. Redding confirmed that he<br />

has until July 15th to decide whether he<br />

takes up his clause to remain in the team or<br />

not, whilst not holding back on his thoughts<br />

about Toprak joining the team, saying “he<br />

doesn’t know what he can bring” and that<br />

he was “surprised” at the move. Redding<br />

had said an announcement would come<br />

on Sunday after Imola, but that never<br />

came and instead, he took to Instagram to<br />

confirm that he’ll be on the grid in 2024,<br />

but he didn’t say where. Redding’s future<br />

is seemingly linked to Loris Baz’s (Bonovo<br />

Action BMW) too, with the Frenchman<br />

stating “everything is in Scott’s hands”.<br />

From what we know, the deal for Redding<br />

to go to the Bonovo BMW team on a<br />

factory M1000RR is done, but the official<br />

announcment is yet to come.<br />

WHO MOVES TO KAWASAKI? A seat<br />

suddenly available…<br />

It had looked like the KRT seat was off<br />

the table for 2024 once Lowes’ renewal<br />

was announced, but September came<br />

around and a seat did become available.<br />

Plenty of eyes up and down the paddock<br />

will be looking at that seat with so many<br />

futures not yet sorted. As mentioned above,<br />

Bassani’s future for 2024 is not yet secure<br />

and he’s said before he hopes a factory<br />

team notices him while Rinaldi says he<br />

has other options. With Rinaldi knowing<br />

his future lies away from the factory Ducati<br />

team, is a change of manufacturer on the<br />

cards for the #21? Then, there’s the curious<br />

case of Redding, who had a July 15th<br />

deadline to trigger an extension with BMW,


NEWS DESK<br />

teased an announcement on the Sunday<br />

of Imola and then… silence. Shortly after<br />

that, Redding addressed this and said<br />

he’d be on the grid in 2024, but his future<br />

is still unknown. Will the Brit be making<br />

a shock move to Kawasaki? Rather than<br />

an established WorldSBK rider, is there<br />

a chance KRT take on a WorldSSP star<br />

like Yamaha did in 2021 with Locatelli?<br />

Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) tested<br />

for the team at Aragon and impressed<br />

the paddock, including Rea and KRT, so<br />

maybe he’s thrown himself into the hat…<br />

HONDA’S 2024 PLANS: quiet so far<br />

At Team HRC, both Iker Lecuona and Xavi<br />

Vierge are yet to have their futures secured<br />

with the Japanese manufacturer, but both<br />

will race with Honda at the Suzuka 8 Hours.<br />

It’s worth noting that, in 2021, Lecuona and<br />

Vierge were announced for the following<br />

season in October and it was another late<br />

announcement for the complete line-up for<br />

2023, coming in August. The latest update<br />

from team boss Leon Camier ahead of<br />

Most at the end of July and ahead of the<br />

summer break was that they’d like to<br />

keep both riders, but a “plan B” has been<br />

drawn up if not. Iker Lecuona meanwhile<br />

spoke about his future, saying he’d know<br />

more during Most; the Spaniard heads to<br />

MotoGP for Silverstone with LCR Honda<br />

in place of Alex Rins.<br />

INDEPENDENTS: almost everyone<br />

up for renewal; Iannone’s Ducati<br />

future confirmed<br />

Besides Garrett Gerloff, all Independents<br />

are up for renewal. Motocorsa Racing’s<br />

Lorenzo Mauri would like to expand the<br />

team to two bikes for 2024, potentially<br />

adding another seat at a team that have


NEWS DESK<br />

become podium contenders with Bassani<br />

at the helm. Team boss Mauri also said<br />

that he’s waiting on a decision from<br />

Bassani, whilst “several riders”, including<br />

MotoGP stars, are looking at riding for<br />

the team. Marco Barnabo, team owner<br />

of the Barni Spark Racing Team, said a<br />

two-bike team could happen, potentially<br />

with Andrea Iannone. The Italian is also<br />

being linked to Team GoEleven, with Denis<br />

Sacchetti – the team manager – not ruling<br />

out Iannone as a possibility. Speaking at<br />

the Catalan Grand Prix, Ducati’s General<br />

Manager Gigi Dall’Igna rvealed that he was<br />

“really happy that Iannone will join one of<br />

our Independent teams”, and, although<br />

no specific teams were named, it seems<br />

Iannone’s future lies within Ducati in<br />

WorldSBK. Don’t forget, as the motorcycle<br />

racing season evolves, riders from various<br />

Championships will be linked to WorldSBK,<br />

potentially joining the grid from MotoGP,<br />

British Superbikes, MotoAmerica, MotoE<br />

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NEWS DESK<br />

GRADUATING TO<br />

WorldSBK: Bulega to<br />

Factory Ducati<br />

A new name will make his debut on the 2024<br />

MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship<br />

grid next year as Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it<br />

Racing WorldSSP Team) gets the nod to race<br />

alongside Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing –<br />

Ducati). The current WorldSSP Championship<br />

leader has long been linked with the seat<br />

next to the #1 and his future is now secure<br />

as Ducati puts faith in their World Supersport<br />

star. He will take the place of Michael Ruben<br />

Rinaldi whose future with the Ducati squad is<br />

coming to an end after three seasons, three<br />

wins and 16 podiums to date.<br />

BULEGA’S STORY: from JuniorGP<br />

Champion to factory Ducati WorldSBK star<br />

in the making<br />

The Italian was the first rider signed for<br />

Ducati’s World Supersport comeback in<br />

2022, the manufacturer’s first WorldSSP<br />

appearances since 2007. Bulega switched<br />

from the MotoGP paddock after competing<br />

in 50 Moto3 races, taking two podiums and<br />

two pole positions, as well as three seasons<br />

in Moto2 where he was unable to showcase<br />

his potential. Prior to that, the 23-year-old<br />

competed in the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior<br />

World Championship (now JuniorGP) and<br />

claimed the title in his second season in 2015,<br />

taking one win at Jerez.<br />

However, his World Supersport success<br />

has been one of his main career highlights;<br />

2022 promised a lot but a first race win<br />

eluded him all-season. A strong start to the<br />

year welcomed him into the class with eight<br />

podiums in 15 races, but then just one more<br />

podium was achieved in the final nine, leaving<br />

him fourth in the Championship with three<br />

fastest laps and a total of nine rostrums.<br />

For 2023, Bulega was the second-highest<br />

placed returnee to the class from the year<br />

before, with Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti<br />

Racing) set to challenge him hard. However,<br />

a majestic start to the year saw him storm<br />

to a Phillip Island double, whilst Oncu and<br />

Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team)<br />

fought back in Indonesia at Mandalika. Four<br />

wins in the next five races came Bulega’s way<br />

however, whilst it was now Stefano Manzi (Ten<br />

Kate Racing Yamaha) who was his main threat<br />

after Oncu’s injury. A double by Bulega at<br />

Donington Park saw his lead extend but fellow<br />

countryman Manzi retaliated with a double<br />

of his own at Imola, with his lead down to 41<br />

ahead of Most.<br />

ON CLOUD NINE: “This is a dream<br />

come true”<br />

Speaking about his move up to World<br />

Superbike for 2024, Bulega’s is delighted<br />

of what is a dream chance: “I want to be<br />

honest: this is a dream come true. Racing for<br />

an official team is the desire of every rider.<br />

Therefore, before I talk about my emotions<br />

and expectations, I want to thank Ducati and<br />

Aruba.it Racing. And I am also extremely<br />

grateful for the opportunity I was given<br />

already last season by Aruba.it and Feel<br />

Racing and especially by Stefano Cecconi,<br />

Serafino Foti and Daniele Casolari. They<br />

chose me to ride a fantastic Ducati Panigale<br />

V2, on which I felt immediately comfortable.<br />

I know how important this opportunity is and<br />

I will always give my best to improve myself,<br />

day after day, with the only goal of getting the<br />

best possible results. I say it again: thank you<br />

for the trust. Thinking about the history of this<br />

team, where great champions have always<br />

raced, I feel proud to be able to defend the<br />

same colours. Also, I am very happy to be<br />

able to share the box with Alvaro Bautista.<br />

Having him as a teammate will be a big plus: I<br />

will try to absorb every information I can learn<br />

from him.”<br />

DUCATI ON THEIR LATEST STAR: “Fast,<br />

talented… potential to compete with the<br />

best riders in WorldSBK”<br />

Stefano Cecconi, the Team Principal at<br />

Aruba.it Racing – Ducati, added: “Nicolo<br />

is a choice that makes us proud because<br />

it confirms the quality of the project,<br />

we undertook two years ago in World<br />

Supersport. His growth has been steady,<br />

and we expect him to continue this path<br />

riding a Panigale V4 R, as he has proven he<br />

can be very fast with this bike during testing.<br />

From the beginning, we have believed in the<br />

talent of Nicolo who, moreover, in this year<br />

and a half has shown great professionalism<br />

and attachment to the colours of the team.<br />

I would also like to address a big thank you<br />

to Michael Ruben Rinaldi with whom the<br />

professional and human relationship has


NEWS DESK<br />

always been very strong. Even if our paths<br />

separate, he will always be part of our family.<br />

Good luck Michael!”<br />

Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General<br />

Manager, said: “We are pleased to welcome<br />

Nicolo Bulega to the official Superbike team.<br />

Since last season, Nicolo has been able to<br />

give us immense delight. He is a very talented<br />

rider, and his experience, despite his young<br />

age, could be a determining factor in facing<br />

this fascinating and demanding challenge.<br />

During the test held with the Ducati Panigale<br />

V4 R machine, he has shown that he has<br />

the potential to compete with the best riders<br />

in WorldSBK, and sharing the garage with<br />

Alvaro Bautista will only help him grow.<br />

However, it will be important for him to stay<br />

focused on his WorldSSP season. The Aruba.<br />

it Racing team had the merit last year to think<br />

about Bulega and involve him in a completely<br />

new project that Ducati cares so much about.<br />

We hope he can wrap up his last season in<br />

Supersport in the best possible way.”<br />

ITALIAN RIDERS WITH DUCATI: it’s been<br />

poetic, emotional and very successful<br />

The 23-year-old from Montecchio Emilia has<br />

high hopes of joining famous Italian names<br />

who have gone on to succeed with the Borgo<br />

Panigale factory. Marco Lucchinelli, Giancarlo<br />

Falappa, Mauro Lucchiari, Pierfrancesco<br />

Chili, Lorenzo Lanzi, Michel Fabrizio, Marco<br />

Melandri and Michael Ruben Rinaldi have<br />

all won races for the Italian marque, with<br />

90s legends Chili and Falappa tied at the<br />

most for Italian riders at 13 each. Chili, who<br />

finished fourth in the Championship in 1998<br />

and 2000, sports 43 podiums for the brand,<br />

more than any other Italian rider. In terms of<br />

podiums, Davide Guigliano has 12 for Ducati,<br />

the manufacturer’s most successful without<br />

winning a race.<br />

Of course, most of the riders mentioned<br />

above have been in factory teams and<br />

Independent teams, but there are also plenty<br />

of other Italians from Independent teams that<br />

have achieved a fair amount of success. On<br />

the current grid, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa<br />

Racing) is the second-highest Ducati in the<br />

standings, whilst Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark<br />

Racing Team) became a podium finisher<br />

at Donington Park this year. In 2008, Max<br />

Biaggi’s only season with Ducati gave seven<br />

podiums, whilst in 1994 and 1995, Fabrizio<br />

Pirovano took four rostrums. Ayrton Badovini,<br />

Baldassarri Monte and Davide Tardozzi are<br />

the other home-grown Ducati stars to take at<br />

least one podium.<br />

WHAT NEXT FOR RINALDI? Staying in the<br />

Ducati family, or time for a new challenge?<br />

Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s pace is unequivocal,<br />

whilst is consistency isn’t quite there. After<br />

three seasons in the factory red of Ducati,<br />

the #21 will move over, but does he have to<br />

move out of the Ducati family? Whilst unlikely,<br />

Motocorsa Racing haven’t announced plans<br />

for 2024; current rider Axel Bassani has<br />

out-performed Rinaldi in 2023 and is at the<br />

heart of the team’s decisions. There’s no love<br />

lost between the two Italians either, making<br />

any possible expansion to accommodate<br />

Rinaldi unlikely. The four-time WorldSBK race<br />

winner has ridden for Barni Ducati and Team<br />

GoEleven in the past, perhaps there’s an<br />

option at one of those? Denis Sacchetti stated<br />

that Rinaldi is a “big friend” of the team and<br />

that “every team” should be interested in him.<br />

Outside of the Ducati possibilities, there are<br />

a few seats still available. There’s a newlyvacated<br />

factory Kawasaki seat that Rinaldi<br />

could put his name forward for, while Team<br />

HRC are yet to announce their line-up and<br />

BMW have already got their own situation<br />

with Michael van der Mark and Scott<br />

Redding angling to be teammate to Toprak<br />

for 2024, although no announcement has<br />

been made yet.


NEWS DESK<br />

BASSANI OPENS UP:<br />

“Isn’t easy to explain not<br />

having a factory bike...”<br />

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) has<br />

made a name for himself since MOTUL FIM<br />

Superbike World Championship debut, and<br />

he’s become a rising star within the paddock.<br />

Often getting amongst the ‘Titanic Trio’ in<br />

races and showing no signs of backing<br />

down when fighting with them, the Italian<br />

continues to impress. Now in his third season<br />

with Motocorsa Racing and still collecting<br />

podiums, the Italian sat down for an interview<br />

to review his 2023 so far, looking to end the<br />

campaign strongly and not yet securing a<br />

factory seat.<br />

BASSANI’S FUTURE: “Difficult to speak<br />

about… it’s a strange world”<br />

Bassani’s future has come into question since<br />

he started fighting at the front of the field and<br />

he was being linked with the factory Ducati<br />

seat in the last couple of years. Michael<br />

Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)<br />

kept it for 2023 and Nicolo Bulega will ride<br />

the factory Panigale V4 R next year. It means<br />

Bassani – for the moment – does not have<br />

a factory seat in WorldSBK although there<br />

are some available for next year. The six-time<br />

podium finisher revealed his thoughts on<br />

not having a factory team and discussed his<br />

future, with his eyes firmly on doing the best<br />

job he could.<br />

He explained: “The future is always difficult to<br />

speak about. I don’t know what will happen<br />

in the future. I’m doing what I need to do. I<br />

try to put in 100% when I’m on the track to<br />

try to finish at the front and out of the track<br />

it’s the job of my manager to speak with the<br />

teams. It’s not easy to accept but this is the<br />

situation. How I feel about not having a factory<br />

bike isn’t easy to explain. It’s a strange world.<br />

Sometimes you don’t have what you deserve.<br />

It’s not good for me but also, I feel like people<br />

are scared of me because I’m a fast rider and<br />

I say what I want to say. It’s not easy to have<br />

me in a team! It’s a strange situation.”<br />

2023 IN REVIEW: “A good season… Misano<br />

was special, Imola was a different feeling”<br />

The Feltre-born star came into 2023 on<br />

the back of three podiums last season<br />

and finishing seventh in the Championship<br />

standings, and this season has proven to be<br />

similar. He currently has two podiums but has<br />

found more consistency, moving him into fifth<br />

in the standings and in a battle with Jonathan<br />

Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and<br />

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon<br />

WorldSBK) for third. Bassani also fought for<br />

victory at his home round at Imola but lost<br />

out to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha<br />

Prometeon WorldSBK) in the final few<br />

laps. Despite the first victory still alluding<br />

him, Bassani spoke positively about his season as<br />

well as how he feels when he fights with riders like<br />

Razgatlioglu and Rea.<br />

The #47 explained: “I think my 2023 season has<br />

been a good season. We’ve done a really good job<br />

and I’ve fought for the podium. I’m happy for the job<br />

we’ve done with the team and for the job I’ve done.<br />

The best moment of this season was Race 2 at Imola.<br />

We fought with Toprak for the victory, and we weren’t<br />

far away. Misano was special, but Michael crashed<br />

in front of me, so I finished third, but I was fourth.<br />

At Imola, we fought for victory, so it was a different<br />

feeling. When I fight with the front guys, Jonny or<br />

Toprak, I feel like I’m in the right place. I feel good and<br />

I enjoy battling with them because they are the best<br />

guys in the world with a motorbike. It’s a really special<br />

moment for me and I feel good.”<br />

AIMING HIGH: “We are close to the victory… I think<br />

we can fight for the podium or win at Magny-Cours”<br />

24-year-old Bassani is still looking for his first win in<br />

World Superbike, but he was as close as ever at Imola<br />

in mid-July, missing out in the final few laps of Race 2<br />

as he finished behind the 2021 Champion. Despite not<br />

winning yet, Bassani is aiming to secure his maiden<br />

victory in the final four rounds of 2023, and he outlined<br />

Magny-Cours as a track where this could potentially<br />

happen after he took two podiums there last year.<br />

He also set his sights high in the Championship<br />

standings.<br />

Outlining his goals for the final four rounds of 2023,<br />

the Italian stated: “The goals for the last part of the<br />

season are to finish in the top three at the end of the<br />

Championship. I want to win races and continue to<br />

enjoy the moment. To win, we need to wait. We are<br />

doing a really good job and we are close to the victory.<br />

We have a lot of races where I like the track and the<br />

layout. I’m trying to fight for victories, but it isn’t easy.<br />

We are close. Before the end of the season, we’ll<br />

arrive there. Magny-Cours is a really good track for us.<br />

Last year, we had two podiums. I think we can fight for<br />

the podium or for a victory, but we will see. It’s a good<br />

track for me.”


NEWS DESK<br />

STEVE ENGLISH ON REA’S<br />

SWITCH TO YAMAHA AND<br />

THE QUESTIONS IT POSES<br />

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team<br />

WorldSBK) is ruthless; we’ve seen it time and<br />

again on the track when he’s cut through on<br />

a rival and now we’ve seen it off-track with<br />

confirmation that the six-time FIM Superbike<br />

World Champion will switch from Kawasaki<br />

machinery to Yamaha for the 2024 campaign.<br />

With only two wins to his name over the<br />

last 15 months, Rea has been reminded<br />

constantly that the glory days are over. In<br />

Rea’s mind, Kawasaki are a spent force and<br />

the fact that he was willing to pay a reputed<br />

€800,000 to get out of his commitment for<br />

2024 gives that viewpoint an exclamation<br />

mark. Rea’s been the reference for so long<br />

in WorldSBK but for the first time in his<br />

career, he now faces questions. Can he be<br />

successful at Yamaha? Can he stack up to<br />

Toprak Razgatlioglu’s success on the blue<br />

machine? Can he make it work next year?<br />

MOTIVATION STILL THERE: a new<br />

approach to challenging for title #7<br />

Rea is still an elite rider and competitor and<br />

he will have total belief in his ability to prove<br />

that he is still the best rider in Superbike<br />

racing. Motivation won’t be a problem over<br />

the winter and he should adapt to the Yamaha<br />

quite easily. So many riders have jumped onto<br />

that bike with totally different styles and been<br />

successful so there’s little reason to suggest<br />

Rea won’t adapt quickly to it.<br />

For Rea, the change of scenery will be a shot<br />

in the arm. He’ll have new challenges and new<br />

relationships to build, he’ll have to galvanise<br />

a team around him in a similar way to when<br />

he joined Kawasaki in 2014 and there’ll be<br />

familiar faces in the Yamaha pit box, such<br />

as his former electronics engineer Davide<br />

Gentile. There’ll be a long queue of engineers<br />

looking to work with Rea but the queue will<br />

start with his current crew chief, Pere Riba.<br />

WILL RIBA MOVE? A new dynamic for one<br />

of the most successful crew chiefs<br />

Riba has been instrumental to the success<br />

of Kawasaki’s WorldSBK programme. Going<br />

back to the early days of Provec with Joan<br />

Lascorz it was Riba that was at his side. The<br />

Spaniard has developed a reputation as<br />

one of the best in getting the most out of his<br />

riders. Whether it was Lascorz or Loris Baz<br />

in those early days, Riba gave the rider the<br />

confidence to push to their limit. It was the<br />

same with Rea from the outside. The only<br />

difference was that Rea wasn’t a raw rookie,<br />

he was already the finished article. That talent<br />

and experience matched perfectly with Riba.<br />

Will they rekindle their relationship in blue?<br />

That remains to be seen and no doubt, this<br />

weekend at Magny-Cours, there will be<br />

negotiations to force Riba to make a decision.<br />

It’s no guarantee that he’ll leave to sign with<br />

Rea either. Closer to the end of his crew chief<br />

career than the start, would Riba run out<br />

of a safe contract with Kawasaki just to be<br />

alongside Rea for what is likely to be the final<br />

two years of his contract?<br />

REA’S REPLACEMENT: multiple names<br />

in the frame<br />

A big deciding factor could be who Kawasaki<br />

replaces Rea with. Scott Redding, Axel<br />

Bassani, Xavi Vierge and Adrian Huertas were<br />

the names being talked about the paddock<br />

before Rea’s announcement. Huertas is the<br />

interesting one. He stepped onto Rea’s bike<br />

for a day at Aragon and impressed with his<br />

speed. His times were aided by Superpole<br />

tyres at the end of the day but he has<br />

impressed in the Supersport class this year.<br />

YAMAHA’S STATEMENT OF INTENT: they<br />

want the title back<br />

The signing of Rea is one that also shows<br />

Yamaha are willing to push the boat out.<br />

Having spoken so often about their bLU cRU<br />

development programme and bringing riders<br />

through the ranks, it was a surprise to see<br />

that they would leave that approach for 2024.<br />

However, it’s also obvious that they had no<br />

chance of replacing Toprak with a sure-fire<br />

replacement unless they hired the six-time<br />

World Champion. Winning races and titles are<br />

what Yamaha expect and they didn’t feel that<br />

the other riders in their ranks offered them the<br />

same opportunities.<br />

WHEN CAN WE SEE REA’S FIRST TEST?<br />

We already can’t wait<br />

With Rea and Razgatlioglu in different colours<br />

for 2024, the opening round of the season<br />

is one that can’t come soon enough. Their<br />

first outings on their new machinery will also<br />

be a massive moment for WorldSBK. It’s<br />

expected that Rea will be released from his<br />

Kawasaki commitments and ride the Yamaha<br />

in November whereas Toprak will have to wait<br />

until January. The silly season for WorldSBK<br />

this year has been the craziest we’ve ever<br />

seen. The hope is that next season will be one<br />

to remember.


NEWS DESK<br />

FIRST WORDS SINCE SHOCK<br />

SWITCH: “One of the hardest<br />

decisions of my career”<br />

Just days after a bombshell announcement,<br />

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team<br />

WorldSBK) spoke to the media for the first<br />

time since confirming his departure from<br />

Kawasaki at the close of 2023, joining<br />

Yamaha in 2024. In what is being widely<br />

considered as the biggest move in FIM<br />

Superbike World Championship history, the<br />

36-year-old Ulsterman – who has achieved<br />

six consecutive World Championships and<br />

amassed over 100 wins with Kawasaki – will<br />

go into the final four rounds of the year being<br />

his last appearances in green. That final third<br />

all starts at Magny-Cours, one of his and<br />

Kawasaki’s most successful circuits, where<br />

the microphones were relatively toasty.<br />

“IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THE FACT THAT<br />

I NEED SOMETHING NEW” – Rea on<br />

decision to leave KRT<br />

Addressing his recent announcement to<br />

break up one of motorsport’s most successful<br />

collaborations in pursuit of a new challenge<br />

and a return to title-contending form, Rea<br />

said: “As you can imagine, after six World<br />

Championships, nine years working together<br />

and so many memories, it’s been one of<br />

the hardest decisions in my career. In the<br />

end, it all boils down to the fact that I need<br />

something new, a new challenge and I had<br />

the opportunity somewhere else to find that.<br />

It’s mixed emotions because it was a very<br />

emotional time to leave such a family and a<br />

place where I’ve created so many amazing<br />

memories, not just on the track but off of it.<br />

The time is right to make the next chapter in<br />

my career and we’ll deal with that later, but it<br />

was a very hard decision.”<br />

The six-time World Champion has always had<br />

humility and gratitude towards KRT and indeed<br />

the Provec Racing force that steers Kawasaki’s<br />

WorldSBK ship. It was the team that allowed<br />

him to achieve a childhood dream of becoming<br />

World Champion, whilst both would go handin-hand<br />

as they ripped up previous records like<br />

a hurricane. The first rider to win three straight<br />

titles would go on to make it six; the first rider<br />

to take 100 wins in WorldSBK would go on to<br />

win more than 100 races in green and beyond<br />

that, would become synonymous with the<br />

brand the world-over.<br />

“I’LL NEVER FORGET MY FIRST WORLD<br />

CHAMPIONSHIP” – the childhood<br />

dream achieved<br />

Recapping some of the success, the first title<br />

remains the sweetest: “Of course, I’ll never<br />

forget my first World Championship or the<br />

first feelings with the team, pleading my team<br />

manager Guim to give me a chance on this<br />

bike. Rolling up to the first test, working with<br />

my mechanics and creating that bond inside<br />

the garage. There’re things I’ll take with me in<br />

life, such as dealing with people and creating<br />

an atmosphere. The team helped me with that<br />

and my childhood dream was to be World<br />

Champion and I’ll always remember my time<br />

with Kawasaki as the people who gave me the<br />

chance to fulfil a childhood dream.<br />

memories; I could go on for hours but it made<br />

it even tougher.”<br />

“WE FEEL A BIT SAD; IT’S A REALITY WE<br />

HAVE TO ACCEPT” – Guim Roda on<br />

Rea’s departure<br />

Team boss Guim Roda shared his thoughts<br />

too, with it being a hard pill to swallow but<br />

remaining philosophical that it’s racing and<br />

anything can happen – on or off the track:<br />

“We feel a little bit sad. It’s been a long<br />

journey that we’ve been on together. It’s a<br />

reality we need to accept, keep working and<br />

we will continue our way and try our best. It’s<br />

difficult to find one moment because we have<br />

so many, but I’d like to mark the moments<br />

people can’t see because it happened<br />

between races. Those chats, meetings and all<br />

this time where he’s been working and talking<br />

about how to improve the team, the package,<br />

the bike. All these conversations and all this<br />

effort, all the mechanical situations with how<br />

to improve, all the training programmes…<br />

all these things happen between races that<br />

people don’t see is maybe one of the key<br />

points we’ll keep apart from the success,<br />

winning and Championships.”<br />

“Taking the chequered flag at Jerez in 2015<br />

was incredible and the story we created after<br />

that is beyond not just my wildest dreams<br />

but you literally couldn’t dream it up. To win<br />

six World Championships on the bounce,<br />

continuing racing and to win races every year<br />

has been phenomenal. There are too many


NEWS DESK<br />

MARQUEZ: THEY’VE PUT<br />

MY NAME ON ALL THE<br />

BIKES. SOMEONE WILL GET<br />

IT RIGHT, WON’T THEY?<br />

Undeniably one of the big stars of the<br />

World Championship, Marc Marquez is<br />

never far from the headlines. With eight<br />

world titles to his name, the Repsol Honda<br />

star has experienced more than most could<br />

dream of achieving in the sport, though<br />

recent times have seen him encounter a<br />

barren spell aboard the RC213V.<br />

The #93 current contract runs through<br />

until the end of 2024, but following an<br />

underwhelming campaign to date, many<br />

have questioned whether he would see out<br />

the rest of his deal. Marquez though has<br />

responded to the rumours and spoke to<br />

Spanish broadcaster DAZN in a one-to-one<br />

interview.<br />

“Yes, I know where I will be racing in 2024.<br />

As of today, I have a contract with Honda,<br />

but they have put my name on all the bikes.<br />

Someone will get it right, won’t they?<br />

“Of course, there have been calls. When<br />

you notice that someone is in a difficult<br />

moment and you bet on them, there are<br />

calls, of course. Whether they were from<br />

one or the other, whether one rejected<br />

or not, out of respect for all the brands, I<br />

won’t say who, how, or how it happened.<br />

But there have been contacts, obviously,”<br />

he added.<br />

Marquez also touched upon the upcoming<br />

Misano Test, which is of major importance<br />

to a number of teams, though the Spaniard<br />

says it isn’t critical to his own plans.<br />

“I have never said that my future depends<br />

on the Misano Test from my own mouth.<br />

We have to look for the best solution<br />

for the project. And this is based in<br />

Austria; we’re testing new aerodynamics.<br />

It’s different, okay, but we are trying<br />

something different.”<br />

“In Misano, you already start to see a little<br />

bit of the 2024 project, and how it will go.<br />

Whether it will go better or worse. You<br />

begin to sense how 2024 will go. We have<br />

to keep working on the project to find<br />

the best solution in every sense,” says<br />

Marquez, emphasising one idea: “When<br />

you’re in a situation like this, you have to<br />

work together. Otherwise, it’s impossible to<br />

get out.”<br />

Reflecting on his earlier expectations for<br />

the season, Marquez discussed how he<br />

had wanted to compete for the title, but<br />

after a series of crashes and injuries, he<br />

feels, “You slow down the beast I have<br />

inside with a series of blows.”


MOTOGP APPROVED HJC<br />

RPHA-1 - NOMARO<br />

When watching a MotoGP race on TV you will notice<br />

some of the biggest names in the sport wearing the HJC<br />

brand - Brad Binder and Fabio Quartararoto name a<br />

few. The helmet model they wear is the new HJC RPHA-<br />

1, and you too can now wear it.<br />

The HJC RPHA-1 is a top-flight racing helmet with FIM<br />

homologation, PIM Plus shell and an aerodynamicoptimised<br />

design for first-class racing performance.<br />

MC1<br />

Following their previous renowned RPHA models, the<br />

RPHA 1 was designed and developed after several years<br />

of focused efforts and crucial feedback from top worldclass<br />

athletes in MotoGP. In fact, the RPHA 1 is the<br />

same model used by HJC’s riders in both MotoGP and<br />

WorldSBK and is FIM approved (FRHPhe-01) to compete<br />

at the highest level out of the box, and designed<br />

specifically for the track.<br />

Certified to the latest ECE 22.06 safety regulations, the<br />

RPHA-1 uses HJC’s Premium Integrated Matrix (PIM+<br />

shell) for a complex laminate construction of carbon<br />

glass fibres for superior shock resistance, comfort<br />

and lightness. The wind-tunnel developed shape has<br />

been moulded to cut through the air, and a transparent<br />

racing spoiler is included for track days.<br />

MC21<br />

The advanced channelling ventilation system, dubbed<br />

ACS, has been optimised to provide full front-to-back<br />

airflow, dispel heat and humidity generated at top<br />

speeds, and better reduce visor fogging.<br />

The enhanced dual-locking visor system is optimised<br />

for high-speed use, features a larger field of view,<br />

and comes standard with the highest-grade anti-fog<br />

pinlock 120. The SilverCool interior lining wicks away<br />

moisture and the emergency release cheek pads are<br />

interchangeable from 2XS to 2XL.<br />

Now available from all Powered By<br />

Autocycle Centre accredited stores. Visit<br />

poweredbyautocycle.co.za for full dealer listing.<br />

Price: R14,995 SRP (inc vat)<br />

The Nomaro comes in 2 graphics - MC1 & MC21.<br />

Included with the helmet is a TRANSPARENT<br />

RACING SPOILER, PINLOCK 120 & TEAR OFF FILM


LOOK AND FEEL LIKE A<br />

KTM FACTORY RACER<br />

Do you dream of being like Brad Binder, racing in<br />

the MotoGP championship for KTM alongside the<br />

fastest racers in the world on the best machines<br />

ever created? Well, dream on. What is possible is<br />

getting the Brad Binder “Factory KTM” look and<br />

RAD KTM can make that come true with a variety<br />

of products now available.<br />

When watching Brad Binder on MotoGP race<br />

weekends you will see him, along with other<br />

members of the KTM team wearing very bright<br />

orange Puma sneakers. Well, you too can now<br />

stand out from the crowd and wear the exact<br />

same sneakers as Brad, Jack Miller, and the rest of<br />

the team. The new KTM Replica Team Shoes have<br />

just arrived and they are awesome. Produced in<br />

partnership with Puma, the replica team shoe will<br />

have you looking and feeling like a Factory KTM<br />

racer in no time.<br />

But wait, there’s more. Complete the “Factory KTM<br />

Brad Binder” look with an official replica team cap,<br />

shirt and softshell jacket or hoodie. And, to help<br />

carry it all why not splurge on a KTM Replica Team<br />

9800 Travel Bag? Go on, you know you want to...<br />

For these and many more “KTM Factory Replica”<br />

items visit RAD KTM in Sandton JHB, or RAD Paarl<br />

in CPT for the full range of goodies available. While<br />

you there buying your new gear, make sure you<br />

complete the full look with a new KTM motorcycle<br />

- they have the full range in stock so take your pick.<br />

RAD KTM: 1 Wall St, Cnr Rivonia And Witkoppen<br />

Rd, Johannesburg, South Africa<br />

+27 11 234 5007<br />

info@radmoto.co.za<br />

RAD Paarl: Paarl Junction Business Park, R101<br />

Old Paarl Road 7646, Paarl, South Africa<br />

+27 21 879 4630<br />

info@radpaarl.co.za


FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

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

KTM 890 SMT<br />

JEKYLL<br />

& HYDE<br />

The original KTM 990 SMT was released in 2009 and combined<br />

supermoto performance with adventure bike comfort and<br />

functionality. Since doing away with their 990 platform and<br />

models there has been a void in their model line-up, especially<br />

since doing away with the 990 SMT in 2013. I am happy to<br />

announce though that, now, ten years on, KTM has released a<br />

new SMT to the market, this time an 890 SMT and we collected<br />

it from RAD KTM to put it to the test and see if that SMT<br />

charisma and charm is still present.


The SMT has always been categorized as a<br />

sports tourer, essentially a semi-naked sports bike<br />

with supermotard traits, capable of touring but<br />

also general hooliganism. Essentially a strippedback<br />

adventure bike that KTM has injected with<br />

supermoto prowess. At its heart now, however,<br />

is KTM’s second-generation 889cc variant of the<br />

multipurpose parallel twin LC8c motor, which can<br />

be found in their 890 Adventures and Dukes in their<br />

current line-up. Although it shares the same motor<br />

as the 890 Dukes, the characteristics have been<br />

altered. The 890 SMT produces 103hp and 100NM<br />

of torque which is significantly less than the 890<br />

Duke R’s power of 121hp but more than its torque of<br />

92NM. This is what the SMT has always been about,<br />

low down grunty torque, and it’s good to see that<br />

KTM hasn’t strayed away from this mantra. The new<br />

KTM 890 SMT in-corporates a well-blended mixture<br />

of midrange grunt and free-revving spirit, exactly<br />

what a supermoto with an eye on sports touring<br />

requires justifying KTM’s claims of the SMT being a<br />

“longrange supermoto weapon”.<br />

The overall geometry of the 890 SMT has been<br />

developed for sharp handling without compromising<br />

on comfort. The 2023 890 SMT’s Chromium-<br />

Molybdenum-Steel frame still uses the engine<br />

as a stressed element but mimics that of its 890<br />

Adventure siblings and not the Dukes, being light,<br />

agile, and predictable especially when ridden<br />

aggressively. The rear shock has been angled<br />

differently to reduce the seat height, now 860mm,<br />

as much as possible and to accommodate the<br />

longer swingarm which also aids in stability and a<br />

more frontal riding position. The wheels are both<br />

17” for a more familiar road experience plus radialmounted<br />

KTM-branded calipers and 320mm discs<br />

plus Bosch cornering ABS, while the suspension,<br />

being a KTM is obviously, yes you guessed it, WP. A<br />

special Supermoto mode allows you to lock the rear<br />

wheel while keeping the ABS active on the front- a<br />

feature I always kept activated. The brakes work well<br />

despite a lack of feel at times but are consistent and<br />

fade-free. On the front, you have a tweaked version<br />

of WP’s 43mm Apex upside-down forks, fully<br />

adjustable while on the rear WP’s Apex momoshock<br />

both with 180mm of travel, also fully adjustable<br />

and also tweaked specifically for the SMT. Out on<br />

POWER<br />

104 bhp @<br />

8,000 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

100 Nm<br />

@ 6,500rpm<br />

TANK<br />

CAPACITY<br />

15.8 L<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

860mm<br />

DRY<br />

WEIGHT<br />

194kg


the road, the SMT is familiar to its older self, with<br />

the same aspects shining through, only now the<br />

handling is lighter, quicker, and more direct. The<br />

890 SMT is forgiving and offers great feedback<br />

thanks to its aggressive, upright yet comfortable<br />

riding position. You can ride it in many ways, with<br />

the same outcome. Laid back or aggressive, kneeout<br />

or foot-out making sure every day or weekend<br />

riding has never been more fun. Its wide bars<br />

and a classic up-front supermoto riding stance<br />

encourage you to throw the bike around and ride<br />

it like you stole it, while the standard Michelin<br />

Power GP rubber warms up quickly and gives<br />

great feedback and grip from the get-go.<br />

The SMT, as it always has just loves the twisties<br />

and the new one is no different. If anything it loves<br />

the twisties even more than before thanks to being<br />

4kg lighter than the 990 SMT at 194kg dry. Wet,<br />

including a tank of fuel, the 890 SMT clocks in<br />

at 206kg, which to give reference is some 9 kilos<br />

less than the 890 Adventure in the same state. It<br />

might not sound like a massive decrease in weight<br />

on paper but in reality, the difference felt when<br />

riding is day and night. Fuel capacity is 15.8 litres<br />

and riding in a normal manner you should see<br />

over 300km on a tank, something I never did - it’s<br />

an SMT. Need I say more?<br />

The 890 motor is orgasmic and this particular<br />

demo unit from RAD KTM was also fitted with an<br />

Akropovic slip-on exhaust which further enhanced<br />

the standard raspiness of the LC8 power plant.<br />

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

with the optional Tech Pack so there was no<br />

Quickshifter, Cruise Control, or additional riding<br />

modes to play with. A quick fix by adding the<br />

Tech Pack which I still feel should be a standard<br />

feature. The quick-shifter and auto-blip were<br />

greatly missed and not having it on this bike is<br />

much like bubble-wrapping Mike Tyson’s fists in a<br />

fight- you don’t get the full experience!<br />

Testing out the<br />

Supermoto side of the<br />

SMT - it’s so much fun!<br />

The 890 SMT is<br />

forgiving and offers<br />

great feedback<br />

thanks to its<br />

aggressive, upright<br />

yet comfortable<br />

riding position. You<br />

can ride it in many<br />

ways, with the same<br />

outcome.


As always the KTM’s on-board system is easy to<br />

navigate and operate onboard the crystal clear 5”<br />

TFT dash. There’s a full house of riding modes:<br />

Rain, Street, and Sport, with the option of a Track<br />

setting. The power delivery is managed by a<br />

cornering traction control system which works<br />

well. Turn off the traction control though which<br />

can be easily done on the fly and wheelies will be<br />

as easy as 1,2,3, just as they always were on the<br />

original SMT. The addition of modern electronics<br />

is by far the biggest advancement over the oldergeneration<br />

SMT and will be appreciated by many,<br />

however, for me an SMT needs to be raw and<br />

un-cut, with no electronics other than the aid of<br />

a quick-shifter and auto blip. Despite all this, I<br />

do feel that the new SMT has stayed true to the<br />

original 990 SMT’s DNA, despite all the modern<br />

advancements in electronics.<br />

Away from all the fun and character, the SMT is<br />

accommodating in all the areas that matter. The<br />

footpegs are mounted relatively low giving plenty<br />

of leg- and knee-room for all but extra tall riders,<br />

and the seat is as supportive as it is sporty. The<br />

shape of the fuel tank slides the rider even further<br />

‘into’ the bike with a wide and comfy contact<br />

patch but still compact enough for free and<br />

flowing movement. The 890 SMT is a nice place<br />

to be and although it looks like a modified 890<br />

Adventure, nothing could be further from the truth<br />

as the 890 SMT is in its own right a modern take<br />

on a truly iconic bike-the 990 SMT!<br />

Starting from just R245 999.00 the 2023 KTM<br />

890 SMT will make a great everyday companion.<br />

Reliable and efficient but when you need it to be,<br />

aggressive and raw.<br />

Away from all the<br />

fun and character,<br />

the SMT is<br />

accommodating<br />

in all the areas<br />

that matter.


FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

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

SUZUKI GSX8-S<br />

SIMPLY<br />

THE<br />

BEST?<br />

The naked middle-weight sports bike market seems to be the<br />

latest craze at the moment, with the Japs coming to the party<br />

recently by introducing a new CB750 Hornet to take on the<br />

likes of the English, Austrians and Italians. Not wanting to feel<br />

left out, another Japanese mark has joined the party in a big<br />

way, Suzuki with their brand new GSX8-S. Can the new 8S be<br />

simply the best, better than all the rest?


POWER<br />

82 bhp @<br />

8,500 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

78 Nm<br />

@ 6,800rpm<br />

TANK<br />

CAPACITY<br />

14 L<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

810mm<br />

WET<br />

WEIGHT<br />

202kg<br />

Engineered from the ground up, the new Suzuki<br />

GSX8-S promises to provide typical Suzuki quality<br />

with un-rivaled value for money or bang for buck,<br />

as we say here in South Africa. The GSX-8S joins<br />

Suzuki’s popular GSX-S line-up of streetfighters and<br />

is set to take the naked middleweight segment by<br />

storm with its desirable features as standard and<br />

unbeatable value for money. The most impressive<br />

thing about the GSX8-S is most definitely the price<br />

point which is set at only R165 950-00 and no that<br />

is not a typo. When you compare this to its closest<br />

rival, the Hornet, you will be saving around R14 050-<br />

00. If this isn’t enough with the Suzuki you also get<br />

a nice host of additions that aren’t standard on the<br />

Honda like a Bi-directional quick-shifter, 180-width<br />

rear wheel, and the popular Easy Start & Low RPM<br />

Assist systems.<br />

It’s no secret that Suzuki has been known, especially<br />

over the last 10-20 years to recycle motors of years<br />

gone by into their newer models, however, there is<br />

no denying that the 776cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled,<br />

DOHC parallel-twin, which also finds a home in the<br />

new 800 V-Strom is all new. For the 8-S it produces<br />

82HP and 78NM of torque, which make it feel gutsy<br />

from as low as 2000rpm, with strong drive from<br />

around <strong>35</strong>00rpm through to 7500rpm, before tailing<br />

off. Now, unfortunately at this launch, we only got to<br />

sample the latest offering from Suzuki around the<br />

race track, but this allows you to get a better taste<br />

for it and put the bike through its paces properly and<br />

more importantly safer. The motor itself has a longer<br />

stroke, with smaller-bore throttle bodies and longer<br />

intakes than you may expect to see on an engine of<br />

this size, and details like the side-draft inlets appear<br />

to be misplaced when you consider down-draft<br />

inlets have been the norm since the mid-1990s on<br />

most semi-sporty engines. The throttle response<br />

is instant and smooth and the Bi-directional quickshifter<br />

is a nice touch as standard, a little clunky<br />

on downshifts but still better than not having one.<br />

The motor is everything you expect of a bike of<br />

this nature although it does lack the overall pull,<br />

especially in the top end compared to the Hornet.<br />

The performance is infused with good manners – it<br />

has a choice of three torque maps or riding modes if<br />

you prefer, which amount to wet/slippery conditions


(C), general riding (B), and sportier/fun use (A)<br />

as is a common sight with most modern Suzuki<br />

motorcycles nowadays. The modes are easy to<br />

alter via a switch on the handlebar, although I<br />

generally only used the A mode, as you would<br />

around a track. The same goes for the Traction<br />

Control settings, which can be easily de-activated<br />

for general hooliganism. The GSX-8S has a new,<br />

distinctive short muffler design that produces<br />

an exciting and unique exhaust note and more<br />

importantly, isn’t an eye sore. Most of the exhaust<br />

system is located under the chassis in an optimal,<br />

centralized location that benefits handling.<br />

The bike isn’t a lightweight, tipping the scales<br />

at 202kg, but having said that, it feels light<br />

when flicking it from side to side. Up front, you<br />

have a KYB 41 mm fork with around 130mm of<br />

travel, while on the rear, you have a KYB shock,<br />

adjustable for spring preload with the same<br />

amount of travel as the front. The suspension<br />

reacts well and feels solid, offering great<br />

feedback from turn to turn with limited front-end<br />

dive going into corners. The steel-tube double<br />

backbone frame is shared with the 800 V-Strom,<br />

amongst other fittings, and offers great rigidity<br />

with the right amount of flex to make the whole<br />

package forgiving and easy to ride. Nimbleness<br />

is the name of the game with the 8-S and this<br />

is highlighted even more when you sit on the<br />

810mm high seat, surrounded by a slim tank<br />

and narrow, sharp bodywork. The handlebars<br />

are upright making for a comfy yet sporty riding<br />

position while the footrests are low, ensuring<br />

even tall riders won’t have an issue riding the<br />

GSX8-S. They do scrape from time to time<br />

around corners but this won’t be an issue for<br />

most riders, especially out on the road.<br />

The bike isn’t a<br />

lightweight, tipping the<br />

scales at 202kg, but<br />

having said that, it feels<br />

light when flicking it<br />

from side to side.


The Nissin four-piston calipers with dual 320<br />

mm discs work like a treat and are sharper than<br />

the sharpest knife in your drawer with no fade<br />

whatsoever. The ABS is also not that intrusive and just<br />

lets you get on with riding while keeping a watchful<br />

eye on you in the background. As with most Suzuki’s,<br />

build quality is great, even though it has not really<br />

been tested as yet, you can be sure the GSX8-S will<br />

inherit that typical Suzuki reliability.<br />

Fuel economy from the 14-litre fuel tank is impressive<br />

and you will be hard-pressed to see less than 250km<br />

on a tank, even with spirited riding. Suzuki has arrived<br />

late to the parallel twin party but it is safe to say that<br />

they have finally arrived and in a big way. Wrapped<br />

in unique styling and eye-catching colors, the GSX-<br />

8S features an aggressive, mass-forward look that is<br />

slim, compact, well-balanced, and ready for action.<br />

The new GSX-8S is set to become the best choice<br />

for street riders of all experience levels, so get to your<br />

nearest Suzuki dealer, take one for a ride, and make<br />

your own statement.<br />

Hats off to Suzuki on a great<br />

machine. Some will complain<br />

that Suzuki’s bikes and<br />

mentality are too basic and<br />

simple, and we could agree<br />

with that in many ways, but<br />

what Suzuki is producing is<br />

motorcycles for the market<br />

to enjoy at prices that allow<br />

customers to buy them, and not<br />

just dream of one day winning<br />

the lottery to be able to<br />

afford one. Yes, it’s great<br />

having the latest, greatest<br />

tech with wings, etc.<br />

but only if you need it.<br />

If you don’t, and simple,<br />

effective, and affordable is<br />

more your cup of tea, then the<br />

new 8S and most of Suzuki’s<br />

current line-up tick all boxes.


Words: KTM Blog (Adam Wheeler) | Pics: Polarity Photo & KTM Images<br />

RACING FEATURE<br />

THE MOTOGP<br />

EYE OF<br />

EXPERIENCE<br />

It takes a racer to see a racer and tell a racer:<br />

Mika Kallio holds a unique role in the company’s<br />

MotoGP Grand Prix project so we asked him about<br />

his work and how it helps the pursuit of success…


Mika on the KTM<br />

250cc GP bike.<br />

He also raced<br />

the 125cc GP<br />

machine.<br />

The early days of the<br />

KTM MotoGP project.<br />

Mika has been there<br />

from day 1.<br />

Mika Kallio is a winner of 16 Grands Prix and<br />

holder of almost 50 world championship race<br />

podium trophies (33 of those with KTM twostroke<br />

technology). The 40-year-old Finn has<br />

been implicit in the KTM MotoGP program since<br />

becoming the main development rider in 2016<br />

and then combining his testing role with 13<br />

wildcard or ‘fill-in’ starts up until 2020.<br />

From the beginning of 2022 Mika has been an<br />

official ‘Rider Coach’ for the company and the<br />

four individuals charged with control of the RC16.<br />

This means he spends more time watching and<br />

observing rather than twisting the throttle of a<br />

prototype KTM, but it still makes demands of his<br />

particular skill set…<br />

Being a Rider Coach might not be quite<br />

what you think…<br />

…because we know the level of the riders and<br />

they know how to ride the bike! It is more about<br />

support and letting them know what I see on the<br />

track and in specific places. If we are having some<br />

problems then I will see if there is something I<br />

can spot, and sometimes also help with a setup<br />

decision or a judgement on tires. I have a rider’s<br />

perspective, but I can also be analytical. I will<br />

overlay Jack and Brad’s data and will see where<br />

they might be faster or where they can improve.<br />

Also, it’s about correlating what they feel on the<br />

track with what the data says. I cannot bring any<br />

magic but with MotoGP so tight these days then<br />

I add what I can to help them achieve a better<br />

lap-time. From the team I am the only one who is<br />

really watching the bikes out on the track so I can<br />

sometimes communicate the visual side to go<br />

with the riders’ feelings. A few times it can help<br />

with decision-making, or for comparing set-up with<br />

the other bikes.<br />

An example might involve…<br />

…sometimes I will see the difference when<br />

someone is riding in a different gear or shifting<br />

in a different way. Occasionally it will be racing<br />

lines, but it will be half a meter this way or that.<br />

Lines are not easy to see because many of the<br />

bikes behave quite similar these days and there is<br />

only one fast line that they need to hit. Of course,<br />

riding style makes a difference and the way a bike<br />

needs to be ridden is also important as well as<br />

the set-up because sacrifices might have to be<br />

made in some places to reach gains in others. It’s<br />

something I need to understand: why is the rider<br />

riding the way he does? Is it because of the style,<br />

the set-up, or the character of the bike in general?<br />

That’s why it is not easy to say to the rider “just<br />

open earlier and brake later”, you need to<br />

somehow prove your feedback will help. It cannot<br />

only be with words.


From the beginning of my career, I’ve been<br />

focused on the technical side, the riding style<br />

and how I can bring improvements…<br />

…that meant watching other riders a lot and seeing what<br />

I could learn. I was always looking at the data from my<br />

teammate and if I could copy or improve on some things;<br />

even if I was the fastest guy on the track that day there<br />

was always a corner or a section where someone else was<br />

very good. I wanted to find those small things in my riding.<br />

In the end this was a good thing to bring: to have more<br />

knowledge and to want to keep learning. It’s also why KTM<br />

also chose me to be a test rider at the beginning of the<br />

MotoGP project and now as a Rider Coach. It is a longterm<br />

thing that I’m still learning about.<br />

The differences between Jack and Brad’s styles<br />

are quite interesting…<br />

… and there are differences! In the end it is better for us as<br />

a team and a company that each rider has his own style…<br />

although the truth is that they are not too far apart. They<br />

like to ride in a similar way in terms of being aggressive<br />

on the brakes and aggressive with the bike. They slide a<br />

lot into the corners. This means they like similar things for<br />

the set-up. If we compare them to the GASGAS guys then<br />

they are riding in a completely different way. Jack and Brad<br />

are close and that’s somehow easier for us as a team to<br />

understand the setup to get to a good level for both. The<br />

balance now is very good.<br />

Talking to the rider can sometimes involve<br />

delicate moments…<br />

… but I think this responsibility also belongs to other<br />

people in the team. You need to see the mood of the rider<br />

and, of course, people are not always in a good mood<br />

everyday so you might need to bring him ‘up’ and try to<br />

make him feel more confident. Sometimes the riders might<br />

be a little too excited for some reason and a bit too ‘hot’;<br />

we need to calm them down then, but this is quite normal<br />

and something the crew are used to handling. Luckily in<br />

our case at KTM, Jack and Brad are level-headed guys.<br />

Every rider has ups-and-downs and good races and bad<br />

races but the good riders across a season know how to<br />

find a way of being ‘level’ and making sure the bad days<br />

can be, or feel, as close to the good ones as possible.<br />

The really good riders know how to push on bad days<br />

Jack and Brad are close and that’s<br />

somehow easier for us as a team to<br />

understand the setup to get to a good level<br />

for both. The balance now is very good.


and that’s when the crew around them really help. The<br />

crew plays its part, but the rider has to find a way to be as<br />

consistent as possible with his mind.<br />

Testing?! Ha! I’m travelling a lot now and that<br />

means I cannot have so much time on the bike…<br />

…I’d like to do more but it’s not always possible. I like to<br />

get a feeling of the bike and to understand the spec the<br />

guys are racing, that’s important for my understanding<br />

and knowing immediately what the riders mean if they are<br />

having some problems. Dani [Pedrosa] is riding a lot more<br />

as I stepped into the coaching role in 2022 which meant<br />

I had to skip tests and the reason why Jonas [Folger] has<br />

been hired to be on the track as well with the test team. I<br />

would say for the last ten years testing has been important<br />

but even more so since the rules changed, and the racers<br />

could not do it that much. The test program becomes<br />

even more important. The test team is always a little ahead<br />

and to be part of that was cool. You get the satisfaction<br />

from having some influence that eventually pays off [at the<br />

Grand Prix].<br />

I did some wildcard race appearances, and you<br />

never know what will happen in the future but…<br />

…I hope our guys stay fit and healthy. I hope I won’t need to<br />

replace them but…I still need to be ready. Honestly, I have<br />

the feeling that this chapter of my life has finished, and I<br />

have given everything I had for MotoGP. I was ready to test<br />

in my first years with KTM and I enjoyed being on the bike<br />

but lining up on the grid and being with the other guys and<br />

dealing with…I would not say ‘pressure’ but having to have<br />

that mentality when you close the visor to risk everything,<br />

was not that easy anymore. I felt that in my last few races,<br />

and you need to have it if you want to be on the grid. In<br />

the past to go to that level felt easy: you took risks without<br />

thinking…but step-by-step you see that you need to push<br />

yourself to be that way. I don’t have the same motivation<br />

to be in the races now as I used to. I know how difficult<br />

it would be, even just to be on the level I knew I used to<br />

be. I don’t like to be at the bottom of the [results] list. It<br />

would be frustrating! And I know that would be the case<br />

if I can back for one or two races. What Dani did at Jerez<br />

this year to match his lap-times with our current riders was<br />

outstanding. We knew he could do it though because he<br />

had the motivation. It’s not easy and for that he has my full<br />

admiration.


It’s quite crazy to see the difference in<br />

the KTM MotoGP project compared to<br />

when we started at the end of 2016…<br />

…but then MotoGP has also changed in that<br />

time with all the developments and the riding<br />

styles. There is so much knowledge involved. We<br />

were a factory team from the beginning but the<br />

level of knowledge that we had in the first year<br />

or two was very different to what we have now!<br />

We still managed to do quite well in a few races<br />

at the beginning of the story but to compare the<br />

bikes from the time when we made our debut in<br />

Valencia and it is a completely different world. As<br />

a rider then it has always been hard to be at the<br />

top, in any era, but now there is so much going<br />

on [with the bikes] that you really need to take<br />

care. Year-by-year, you need to understand more<br />

about the bike and how to keep the tires in a good<br />

condition. Every year there is more understanding<br />

and experience of how to take performance and<br />

potential from the tires and the bike and the aero.<br />

The team improves their knowledge and brings<br />

it to the rider, who must then also improve and<br />

understand. There is more to consider now. In the<br />

past it felt more like ‘pure’ racing; you just tried to<br />

maximize the lap-time and always be on the limit.<br />

Rider against rider. Now you need to take care<br />

of other aspects. Think about many things. The<br />

technical side has more influence on the result.<br />

It’s something special to see when KTM is on<br />

top, of course. We’ve had a special relationship,<br />

even from the two-stroke days so, it’s been like a<br />

family for me for a long time. I am not on the bike<br />

anymore, but I still get the satisfaction of being<br />

a part of it, especially when I can give the guys<br />

something and help somehow.


Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel<br />

hardcore<br />

FIRST LOOK<br />

final<br />

test<br />

TRIUMPH’S NEW 250CC<br />

MOTOCROSS BIKE<br />

Making<br />

sense<br />

Part 2<br />

rally<br />

FIRST LOOK: 2024 KTM<br />

890 ADVENTURE R RALLY<br />

FIRST<br />

RIDE:<br />

SUZUKI<br />

DL800 DE


FIRST<br />

LOOK<br />

FIRST LOOK<br />

hardcore<br />

rally<br />

2024 KTM 890<br />

ADVENTURE R RALLY<br />

It’s not hard for the maker of probably the world’s<br />

best rally motorcycles to use the experience it<br />

gained over the years with this kind of bike and<br />

expand the same capabilities to more segments.<br />

Like, say, create a rally-adventure bike the likes<br />

of which we rarely get to see.


At least that’s what the Austrians from KTM are<br />

promising with the 2024 model year incarnation<br />

of something called the 890 Adventure R Rally.<br />

Or, as the company would like us to know the<br />

bike, “the most performance driven Adventure<br />

motorcycle yet.”<br />

It was only yesterday when we got word of the<br />

2024 KTM 450 Rally Replica, a bike built for<br />

privateers racing in national and international<br />

rally competitions with the components deployed<br />

in the bike maker’s Dakar-winning bike. We’re<br />

told that the new 890 is also building on the<br />

experience gained with Kevin Benavides’ 450.<br />

The bike uses KTM’s 889cc parallel-twin engine<br />

for a heart, a beast capable of developing 105<br />

horsepower and 100 Nm of torque. It breathes<br />

through an Akrapovic slip-on line exhaust system<br />

not unlike the one used on the factory race bikes.<br />

The engine spins heavy-duty Excel wheels<br />

sized 21 inches at the front and 18 inches at<br />

the rear, backed in their mission by a monster<br />

of a suspension system, comprising a WP Xplor<br />

fork and shock. The two offer 270 mm of travel,<br />

allowing the 890 to be just as nimble over harsh<br />

terrain even with large amounts of luggage on it.<br />

Sporting the same combination of colors we’re<br />

used to from all other KTM bikes, the 890<br />

Adventure R Rally will become available on<br />

September 20, when the<br />

order books open. Pricing<br />

has not been announced<br />

yet, but you should<br />

know there will only<br />

be 700 units of the<br />

thing made. And for<br />

34 of its buyers,<br />

it comes with an<br />

incredible perk.<br />

To make sure the 890 Adventure R Rally is<br />

noticed and will forever be remembered, KTM will<br />

hold in March next year, all the way in Morocco,<br />

something it calls the Ultimate KTM Desert<br />

Experience.<br />

What that means 34 of this bike’s buyers will be<br />

sent, in two groups, to the African desert for three<br />

days of riding in the harshest of conditions, in the<br />

same place where the KTM Factory Rally team<br />

conducts testing.<br />

The experience is not free, as KTM will charge<br />

4,900 euros (R100,000) for it. In that buyers of the<br />

890 Adventure R Rally get luxury accommodation<br />

for a three-night stay, but also one night of<br />

camping in the desert.<br />

For daytime activities, the bike maker throws in a<br />

fully prepped bike to be taken out in the desert<br />

(no, people won’t use their own bikes for this),<br />

all the necessary technical support, and a fully<br />

guided route. The cherry on the cake, several<br />

off-road legends will be on site, including two-time<br />

enduro champion Johnny Aubert.


FIRST<br />

LOOK<br />

FIRST LOOK<br />

final<br />

test<br />

TRIUMPH’S NEW 250CC<br />

MOTOCROSS BIKE<br />

Triumph Motorcycles has released the last in its series of<br />

films, ‘Vision to Reality’, in which Ricky Carmichael performs<br />

the final test of Triumph’s new 250cc motocross bike.<br />

Ricky is joined by amateur motocross sensation, Evan Ferry,<br />

who has been involved in the testing programme of the new<br />

bike, alongside numerous professional riders, as it reached<br />

the final stage of development.


In the latest film featured on the Triumph<br />

Motorcycles YouTube channel, Ricky<br />

Carmichael said: “It’s really balanced, it’s<br />

good how it pulls coming out of the corner,<br />

it’s very nimble. When you see a line,<br />

boom, you can do it.”<br />

Evan Ferry added: “They found something<br />

special with the frame. I don’t think I’ve<br />

ever felt something like that.”<br />

The films have been released by Triumph<br />

in the run-up to the reveal of the new<br />

250cc bike, and go behind the scenes to<br />

meet the team, share details of the all-new<br />

aluminium chassis and engine and witness<br />

the final test. In 2021 Triumph announced<br />

their forthcoming entry into the Motocross<br />

and Enduro worlds as well as a new<br />

factory racing effort, with a commitment<br />

to top tier championship racing in both<br />

Motocross and Enduro series.<br />

In 2022 Triumph revealed their partnership<br />

with Thierry Chizat-Suzzoni, one of the<br />

sport’s most experienced and successful<br />

team owners, who will field two of<br />

Triumph’s all-new 250cc 4-stroke MX bikes<br />

in the 2024 MX2 class and will add an<br />

entry into the 450cc MXGP class in 2025,<br />

and with Team Principal Bobby Hewitt and<br />

Team Manager Stephen ‘Scuba’ Westfall<br />

to field its all-new Triumph 250cc 4-stroke<br />

MX bikes in the 2024 SuperMotocross<br />

World Championship, which is comprised<br />

of the Monster Energy Supercross World<br />

Championship, and the Pro Motocross<br />

Championship, with three season-ending<br />

SuperMotocross rounds. For the 2025<br />

season Triumph will additionally field its<br />

new 450cc bike in the SuperMotocross<br />

World Championship.<br />

Very exciting times ahead for the British<br />

manufacturer who will no doubt ruffle a<br />

few feathers with their new MX bikes.


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

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

SA LAUNCH TEST<br />

making<br />

sense<br />

Part 2<br />

SUZUKI V-STROM 800DE<br />

It hasn’t been that long since Suzuki released a<br />

revitalized version of their V-Strom 1050, and<br />

they are at it again by introducing a younger,<br />

smaller sibling to truly complete their V-Strom<br />

family. We were invited out to Redstar Raceway<br />

in Delmas to sample Suzuki’s latest offering in<br />

the Adventure bike segment at Suzuki’s recent<br />

South African media launch.


well, offers great feedback, and is predictable,<br />

on the road or out in the dirty stuff. As standard<br />

the front suspension is very soft which made for<br />

excessive front-end diving while riding the 800<br />

hard out on track which did almost catch me out<br />

once or twice. However out where the V-Strom is<br />

happiest, in the dirt, the suspension felt plush and<br />

predictable, more so than it did out on the track.<br />

The new mid-range V-Strom shares most of its<br />

chassis and other bits and bobs with the GSX8-S.<br />

It has been made out of rugged steel and has<br />

been designed and engineered around the motor<br />

to provide the perfect blend of performance<br />

while not lacking in comfort. It has a dedicated<br />

geometry, a long wheelbase, and a long rake<br />

which aid in stability. The rear sub-frame is also<br />

detachable which is handy for any motorcycle on<br />

the market to have meaning if you for whatever<br />

reason bend or break the subframe, it can easily<br />

be replaced. The chassis and ergonomics of the<br />

800 feel solid and offer great straight-line stability<br />

and Suzuki is adamant that this is the same when<br />

carrying loads or a passenger. The new parallel<br />

twin motor means the whole chassis feels more<br />

compact and the bike, in general, feels less too<br />

heavy than the 1050 V-Strom with a better center<br />

of gravity contributing to this. The 21” front wheel<br />

and 17” tubed rear is a nice addition for the avid<br />

At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking<br />

that all Suzuki has done with the 800 is take a<br />

1050 and change the sticker on the side but you<br />

couldn’t be more wrong. At its heart, it has an<br />

all-new 776cc DOHC 270° crank parallel twin<br />

engine, with four valves per cylinder and a longerstroke<br />

configuration that delivers a balance of<br />

punchy low-down grunt, usable mid-range drive,<br />

and a free-revving pull, all the way to the top-end.<br />

It produces just over 83HP and 78NM of torque<br />

making it extremely comparable to its naked bike<br />

sibling with which it shares a motor, the GSX8-S.<br />

Also equipped with a bi-directional quick-shifter,<br />

5” colour TFT display, traction control with<br />

gravel mode, and switchable ABS the V-Strom<br />

800DE is ready for anything. ANY TERRAIN. ANY<br />

HORIZON. ANY ADVENTURE.<br />

For the price of R195 000-00, you get a very<br />

capable and well-specced bike, ready for any<br />

adventure whether it be on the road or off the<br />

beaten track. The suspension for instance is fully<br />

adjustable on the front and rear. On the front, you<br />

have an inverted Showa front fork which provides<br />

220mm of travel which provides a smooth,<br />

controlled ride with damping characteristics<br />

suitable for adventure riding. Preload,<br />

compression, and rebound can all be adjusted on<br />

the front while the rear Showa mono shock with a<br />

piggyback remote gas reservoir assists in stability<br />

and agility and is also adjustable for preload,<br />

compression, and rebound. The spring pre-load is<br />

also easily adjustable by simply turning the dial on<br />

the rear shock, quite handy if you have a load or<br />

are carrying a passenger. The suspension works


adventurer and dirt riding but the front was a little<br />

nervous out on the track, once again not where<br />

this bike belongs, but it didn’t back down from the<br />

challenge it was given, and if anything thrived by<br />

putting a massive smile on my face as I whizzed<br />

past other journos on sports bikes.<br />

The Nissin 310mm dual disc, two-piston calipers<br />

up front, and 260mm single piston caliper on the<br />

rear work well and offer great stopping power<br />

despite fading after getting abused around the<br />

track. The ABS works well and isn’t intrusive and<br />

more importantly, can be switched off.<br />

The riding position is upright and well-balanced,<br />

standing up or sitting down everything felt just<br />

right allowing me to adjust my body position and<br />

alter it as the terrain and circumstances changed<br />

around me. When standing up on the pegs, as<br />

you do when things get a little hairy, your weight<br />

is nicely placed over the front wheel, aiding in feel<br />

and performance. Agility is what comes to mind<br />

with the 800, weighing in at 230kg the V-Strom<br />

800 feels lighter than what the specs translate.<br />

Ground Clearance at only 220mm isn’t the best<br />

as it made contact with the ground, even over or<br />

down the simplest of obstacles. The seat height is<br />

still rather tall at 855mm but manageable even for<br />

my shortness.<br />

Fuel consumption from the 20-litre fuel tank<br />

seemed to be good although we couldn’t test it<br />

properly on the day. Even so, you should expect to<br />

see more than <strong>35</strong>0km on a tank. The 5” TFT dash<br />

is clearer than the brightest day while the plethora<br />

of riding aids and electronics are impressive,


especially for Suzuki’s asking price. These include<br />

an adjustable throttle response or the typical<br />

Suzuki A, B, and C riding modes, 3-level traction<br />

control(with gravel mode which reduces rear wheel<br />

slip), switchable ABS, and LED lighting all around.<br />

Standard features also include hand guards as well<br />

as the previously mentioned spoked wheels. No<br />

heated grips as standard and no cruise control which<br />

is a little gripe I have, especially on a motorcycle that<br />

will be used on long trips and will no doubt make<br />

those long days in the saddle, even longer.<br />

Overall though the new V-Strom 800DE is a solid<br />

well-built machine that is great fun to ride. Quick<br />

enough to powerful enough to both get you into<br />

and out of trouble as I found out while braking late<br />

from 180kph down Redstar Raceways back straight<br />

which was only 11kph slower than I managed on the<br />

8-S. The V-Strom 800 is a capable, all-around, and<br />

well-rounded machine that is definitely worth your<br />

consideration when looking for your next adventurer.<br />

We also got to sample the new Suzuki V-Strom<br />

250SX which we did have on test a couple of<br />

months back and featured on our YouTube<br />

channel. We just couldn’t resist the opportunity to<br />

take the new 250 around the track. As you can see<br />

by the pictures, we had a lot of fun and all of this<br />

for just R59 950-00!!! Need I say more?

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