MRW Issue 39

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ISSUE <strong>39</strong><br />




660<br />

TESTED<br />

KTM 1290<br />

SUPER<br />


SPLIT<br />








BACK ON<br />

TRACK<br />



As the 2024 MotoGP season approaches,<br />

the anticipation in the air is undeniable.<br />

Team launches unveil new riders and<br />

vibrant liveries, igniting the excitement for<br />

what promises to be an exhilarating year.<br />

In this issue, we spotlight the teams that<br />

have revealed their line-ups and colors, with<br />

the spotlight firmly on Marc Marquez and<br />

his daring venture with Gresini Ducati. The<br />

shift from Repsol Honda colors adds an<br />

intriguing layer to the upcoming season.<br />

On the World SBK front, testing has kicked<br />

off with a shakedown, revealing early<br />

surprises. Bulega showcases prowess<br />

on the Ducati, while Toprak impresses on<br />

the BMW, and Rea smoothly adapts to<br />

the Yamaha. Andrea Iannone’s return to<br />

racing keeps gaining momentum, and Sam<br />

Lowes’ transition from Moto2 to World SBK<br />

adds to the excitement. Champion Bautista<br />

grapples with the Ducati’s added weight (6<br />

kilos), aligning with the new rider/weight<br />

limit rule. World SBK 2024 is poised to be<br />

a spectacle!<br />

In this issue, we pay tribute to the late<br />

Anthony Gobert, a rider whose natural talent<br />

and controversial spirit left an indelible mark<br />

on the circuit. His legacy as “The Go Show”<br />

will forever be remembered.<br />

On a personal note, my tenure as editor of<br />

<strong>MRW</strong> concludes as I embark on an exciting<br />

new role in the UK. While I’ll maintain a keen<br />

eye and involvement behind the scenes,<br />

I’m thrilled to pass the everyday running<br />

and editorial responsibilities to my capable<br />

brother, Shaun Portman. It’s been a joy<br />

leading this motorcycle media company,<br />

and I now look forward to the next step in<br />

my career. Although you won’t find me as<br />

the editor, catch me on our Talking MotoGP<br />

shows as the host.<br />

Thank you for the unwavering support, and<br />

I urge you to continue spreading the <strong>MRW</strong><br />

word far and wide. Here’s to the thrill of the<br />

ride and the exciting chapters ahead!<br />

Cheers,<br />

Rob Portman<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

Beam Productions<br />

Adam Child “Chad”<br />

Sheridan Morais<br />




Rob Portman<br />

082 782 8240<br />

rob@motoriderworld.com<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

072 260 9525<br />

shaun@motoriderworld.com<br />

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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 />








In the challenging landscape of South Africa’s motorcycle industry,<br />

where iconic Italian brands have faced setbacks, there emerges a<br />

beacon of hope for enthusiasts. Following the closure of Aprilia and<br />

Moto Guzzi importer IMI in 2023, the news of MV Agusta finding a<br />

new home under the umbrella of Pierer Mobility Group, the parent<br />

company of KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas, brings a wave of<br />

optimism.<br />

Pierer Mobility Group’s Controlling Interest: A Catalyst<br />

for MV Agusta’s Resurgence<br />

Last year, the announcement of Pierer Mobility Group acquiring a<br />

controlling interest in MV Agusta hinted at a promising future for the<br />

renowned Italian manufacturer. With KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas<br />

forming a robust global dealership network, MV Agusta was poised for<br />

a rejuvenation that would extend its reach far beyond Italian borders.<br />

FAST KTM: The New Home for MV Agusta in South Africa<br />

In South Africa, the torchbearer for MV Agusta’s revival is none other<br />

than FAST KTM. Situated in Alberton, south of Johannesburg, FAST<br />

KTM has become the esteemed custodian of the Italian brand. Cape<br />

Town will soon follow suit, with the second dealership expected to join<br />

the ranks later this year. For MV Agusta enthusiasts in South Africa,


this partnership promises not just a new home<br />

but an assurance of unparalleled customer<br />

service.<br />

A Showcase of Excellence: MV Agusta<br />

Showrooms at FAST KTM<br />

The Alberton branch of FAST KTM has unveiled<br />

the first of the new MV Agusta showrooms,<br />

offering a glimpse into the world of Italian<br />

craftsmanship. Cape Town FAST KTM is set to<br />

follow suit, expanding the reach of MV Agusta<br />

in the region. Within the coming months, the<br />

complete range of MV Agusta models will grace<br />

these showrooms, with limited edition models<br />

available on special order.<br />

Service Excellence: Factory-Trained<br />

Technicians and Prompt Spare<br />

Parts Delivery<br />

FAST MV Agusta in Alberton boasts factorytrained<br />

technicians ready to tackle any servicing<br />

or maintenance tasks for MV Agusta owners.<br />

With spare parts sourced directly from Austria,<br />

where MV Agusta spares manufacturing has<br />

been centralized, customers can expect swift<br />

deliveries within two weeks for any parts not<br />

readily available. This commitment to efficiency<br />

underscores FAST KTM’s dedication to<br />

providing top-notch service.<br />

Demo Rides and Part-Exchange<br />

Options: A Customer-Centric<br />

Approach<br />

Enthusiasts can now experience the thrill of MV<br />

Agusta firsthand, as FAST MV Agusta offers<br />

test rides on two demo models—an F3 800 and<br />

a Brutale 1000 RS. Moreover, the dealership<br />

welcomes part-exchange considerations for<br />

used MV Agusta motorcycles, with plans to<br />

offer a selection of pre-owned models for sale.

A Celebratory Milestone for<br />

FAST KTM and MV Agusta<br />

As FAST KTM marks two decades of excellence<br />

in sales and service, the addition of MV Agusta<br />

to their portfolio becomes a celebratory<br />

milestone. The 20-year commitment to putting<br />

customers first aligns seamlessly with MV<br />

Agusta’s ethos, making FAST the ideal home<br />

for the iconic Italian brand. The collaboration<br />

promises a new era for MV Agusta enthusiasts<br />

in South Africa, where the spirit of two-wheel<br />

excellence is in capable hands.**







In a resounding revival, the legendary Triumph Daytona 660 makes<br />

its grand entrance in 2024, poised to redefine the landscape of<br />

supersport motorcycles. Embracing the shift towards more roadfocused,<br />

user-friendly machines, the Daytona 660 boldly steps into a<br />

new era, challenging the dominance of screaming inline four-cylinder<br />

track weapons.<br />

Competing in a New Realm: The Road-Focused<br />

Supersport Sector<br />

Bid farewell to the era of track-dominating four-cylinder beasts; the<br />

Triumph Daytona 660 is here to vie for supremacy in the repositioned<br />

supersport sector. The battleground now includes contenders like the<br />

Yamaha R7, Honda CBR650R, Aprilia RS660, and Kawasaki Ninja 650,<br />

all emphasizing a road-focused sports approach. What sets the Daytona<br />

apart is its distinctive heartbeat – an inline three-cylinder engine.<br />

Under the Dress: Unveiling the Upgrades<br />

Closely linked to Triumph’s Trident 660 and Tiger Sport 660, the<br />

Daytona 660 shares its basic engine block and casings with its<br />

siblings. However, meticulous modifications distinguish it from<br />

the Trident 660, aligning it more closely with the road-focused<br />

Trident. The engine receives a substantial upgrade, featuring three


individual throttle bodies, larger exhaust valves,<br />

a revamped valvetrain with higher lift cams, new<br />

pistons, a redesigned combustion chamber, and<br />

a new crank.<br />

The result is an impressive power output of<br />

93bhp and 51lb ft of torque, with 80 percent of<br />

torque available above 3,000rpm. This positions<br />

the Daytona 660 as a road-biased sports bike,<br />

steering away from the track-centric pedigree<br />

of counterparts like the Yamaha R6 or Honda<br />

CBR600RR. The gearbox has also undergone<br />

refinements, with slightly longer ratios and a taller<br />

final drive, contributing to the bike’s road-friendly<br />

characteristics.<br />

Suspension and Chassis Evolution:<br />

Taming the Road<br />

The Daytona 660’s chassis undergoes significant<br />

revisions, featuring 41mm Showa Separate<br />

Function Big-Piston forks at the front and a Showa<br />

Balance Free rear shock. Tuned for road riding,<br />

both are non-adjustable, except for a remote<br />

pre-load adjuster on the rear shock. The new<br />

geometry includes a steeper rake, reduced trail,<br />

and a rider-weight-forward positioning, providing<br />

enhanced control and responsiveness.<br />

Braking duties are handled by four-pot radiallymounted<br />

calipers at the front and a two-piston<br />

sliding caliper at the rear, delivering precise<br />

stopping power. While Triumph remains discreet<br />

about the braking system’s manufacturer, the<br />

standard two-channel ABS ensures stability<br />

without the need for intricate IMU controls.<br />

Rider Experience: Balancing Comfort<br />

and Aggression<br />

The riding position of the Daytona 660 strikes a<br />

harmonious balance between aggression and<br />

comfort. With clip-on bars mounted above the<br />

top yoke and higher, more rear-set footpegs<br />

than the Trident 660, it offers an exhilarating yet<br />

manageable stance. The launch of the bike is<br />

scheduled for March, promising a comprehensive<br />

review detailing the on-road experience.


Technology Integration: A Fusion of<br />

Standard and Optional Features<br />

Technologically advanced, the Daytona 660<br />

comes equipped with three standard riding<br />

modes – Rain, Road, and Sport, each tailored<br />

with a bespoke throttle map and traction control<br />

intervention level. For those seeking an extra<br />

thrill, the traction control system can be disabled<br />

through the hybrid TFT/LCD dash. Optional extras<br />

include additional technology features, elevating<br />

the riding experience.<br />

The Triumph Daytona 660’s triumphant return<br />

marks a pivotal moment in the world of supersport<br />

motorcycles. Armed with a potent inline threecylinder<br />

engine, refined chassis, and a blend of<br />

cutting-edge technology, it’s set to captivate riders<br />

seeking a thrilling yet road-friendly experience.<br />

As the Daytona 660 gears up for its launch,<br />

enthusiasts eagerly await the full review, promising<br />

insights into its prowess on the open road.




Bulega’s Dominance: A Rookie on Fire<br />

Nicolo Bulega, the reigning WorldSSP Champion,<br />

stole the headlines with an extraordinary testing<br />

performance, leaving seasoned competitors<br />

in his wake. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider<br />

showcased his prowess by lapping more than a<br />

second clear and approaching the outright lap<br />

record. Bulega’s mastery came to the forefront,<br />

especially in the final hour, as he exploited the<br />

SCQ tire to set the track ablaze, finishing day one<br />

on a high note.<br />

Mixed Feelings for Ducati: Bautista<br />

Trails Behind<br />

While Bulega reveled in success, teammate<br />

Alvaro Bautista faced a challenging day, securing<br />

the tenth position on the time sheets. The reigning<br />

champion, returning to the track after recovering<br />

from injuries sustained in November testing,<br />

grappled with finding optimal strategies under<br />

the new weight rules. However, Bulega’s stellar<br />

performance and Ducati’s overall presence in the<br />

top ten hinted at a promising season ahead.<br />

At the test, Bautista spoke about how adding<br />

7 kilograms to the bike made it different for<br />

him to ride as he first tried adjusting to the new<br />

rules. During the current test in southern Spain,<br />

Zambenedetti revealed that around 6kgs have<br />

been added to Bautista’s bike for the weight rules.<br />

Zambenedetti also explained that the double<br />

Champion had his training to try to gain more<br />

mass, while also talking about how Ducati were<br />

adapting to the rules.<br />

Discussing how much weight has been added,<br />

and where on the bike, Zambenedetti said: “It’s<br />

quite easy, we’ve added 6kg more or less. Alvaro<br />

changed his training system, tried to get a bit<br />

more mass. The point is it’s 6kg. About where is a

lot more complex. We are testing something that<br />

moves. First, we’d like to give him back the best<br />

feeling. The bike isn’t last year’s bike, we must<br />

forget about this, but try to give him a ballast<br />

configuration that isn’t so bad. We are working<br />

on this. We haven’t defined it at this moment.<br />

On the other side, we’re also working on engine<br />

configuration with fuel consumption and biofuel<br />

which is another big, important area to work.”<br />

Speaking at the end of Day 1, Bautista said<br />

there were two directions the team were going<br />

in terms of the ballast added and he had a<br />

preference about which one to go in. This was<br />

put to Zambenedetti on Thursday at Jerez, who<br />

went on to explain that there isn’t yet a ‘clear<br />

idea’ about the direction to go and this might<br />

be decided when the WorldSBK paddock hits<br />

Australian in just under a month for the season<br />

opener. He also explained how, on Thursday,<br />

they were only working on one of the directions<br />

previously mentioned.


He added: “We have a lot of ideas and theories,<br />

but we are here just to test this. At this moment,<br />

we haven’t got a clear idea which is the best.<br />

Before Australia, or in Australia, we will close<br />

this experiment and we’ll start to work on a<br />

particular configuration. Today, we’re not testing<br />

both directions. We are improving a bit one<br />

direction, but we need to make a double check<br />

also in Portimao. It’s important that we have a<br />

reference at different tracks.”<br />

Kawasaki’s Resilience: Lowes Leads<br />

Despite Health Woes<br />

Despite battling health issues, Alex Lowes of<br />

Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK demonstrated<br />

remarkable resilience. Claiming the second<br />

position on the time sheets, Lowes completed<br />

82 laps and delved into testing new components,<br />

setting the stage for further developments<br />

at Portimao. Teammate Axel Bassani and<br />

Independent Kawasaki rider Tito Rabat<br />

showcased determination, highlighting the<br />

team’s commitment to gathering crucial data.<br />

BMW’s Busy Day: Razgatlioglu and<br />

van der Mark Shine<br />

BMW had a bustling and impressive day with<br />

ten bikes and six riders on the track. Toprak<br />

Razgatlioglu secured the third position,<br />

surpassing his previous lap times and seeking<br />

optimal setups for the M 1000 RR. Teammate<br />

Michael van der Mark claimed the fourth spot,<br />

emphasizing BMW’s strong presence in the top<br />

positions. Garrett Gerloff, part of the Bonovo<br />

Action BMW squad, added depth to the team’s<br />

performance, securing eighth place.<br />

Yamaha’s Solid Display: Gardner<br />

and Rea Shine<br />

Yamaha showcased a solid performance, with<br />

Remy Gardner leading the Yamaha charge in

fifth place, closely followed by six-time<br />

champion Jonathan Rea in sixth. The<br />

GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team and<br />

Pata Prometeon Yamaha demonstrated<br />

their competitiveness, securing topten<br />

positions and leaving a positive<br />

impression on the testing days.<br />

Honda’s Challenges: Lecuona and<br />

Vierge Face Struggles<br />

Honda faced a challenging testing<br />

period, with Team HRC’s Iker Lecuona<br />

and Xavi Vierge outside the top ten.<br />

The CBR1000RR-R machines required<br />

adjustments as both riders aimed to refine<br />

their strategies and adapt to the new<br />

configurations, hinting at the work ahead<br />

for the Honda camp.<br />

Andrea Iannone: A Quest<br />

for Mastery<br />

In the pursuit of understanding the potent<br />

Ducati Panigale V4 R, Andrea Iannone of<br />

Team GoEleven showcased determination<br />

and resilience. Capturing the seventh<br />

position on the time sheets, Iannone<br />

completed an impressive 67 laps, delving<br />

into the intricacies of his Panigale. As the<br />

team fine-tuned the machine, the rider’s<br />

quest for mastery echoed through every<br />

turn of the Jerez circuit.<br />

Danilo Petrucci: Lowering the<br />

Seat, Elevating Performance<br />

For Danilo Petrucci, donning the colors<br />

of BARNI Spark Racing Team, the<br />

testing days at Jerez became a canvas<br />

for experimentation. Determined to<br />

enhance the centre of gravity and extract<br />

performance benefits, Petrucci took a<br />

bold step – lowering his seat. The #9<br />

rider’s endeavor bore fruit as he secured<br />

the ninth position with a lap time of<br />

1’<strong>39</strong>.773s. A total of 66 laps marked<br />

Petrucci’s relentless pursuit of the perfect


setup, a testament to the meticulous approach of<br />

the BARNI Spark Racing Team.<br />

Sam Lowes: Bridging the Moto2 to<br />

WorldSBK Transition<br />

In the midst of the pack, Sam Lowes of ELF<br />

Marc VDS Racing Team continued his journey of<br />

adaptation from the intense Moto2 landscape<br />

to the equally challenging WorldSBK arena.<br />

Occupying the 15th position on the time sheets,<br />

Lowes displayed unwavering resolve, completing a<br />

staggering 82 laps. His best lap time of 1’40.133s<br />

was a testament to the gradual assimilation<br />

of skills, marking a promising stride towards<br />

competitiveness in the WorldSBK domain.<br />

Conclusion: The Road Ahead<br />

As the Jerez testing days concluded, Nicolo<br />

Bulega emerged as the undisputed star, setting<br />

a scorching pace and leaving a lasting impact.<br />

While some teams celebrated successful trials,<br />

others faced challenges that signaled the need<br />

for further adjustments. The season’s anticipation<br />

builds, with the promise of fierce competition and<br />

thrilling battles on the horizon. WorldSBK 2024 is<br />

gearing up to be an unforgettable spectacle.




A wheel might not have even turned in 2024,<br />

but already there’s a lot of talk and speculation<br />

surrounding the makeup of the 2025 MotoGP<br />

grid. In a huge year for contracts, with only three<br />

riders seeing their deals extend beyond the end<br />

of the season, Spanish paper El Periodico are<br />

reporting that Ducati have made the first move, and<br />

a significant one too, by snapping up arguably the<br />

hottest prospect on the Moto2 grid.<br />

Fermin Aldeguer romped his way to four straight<br />

wins at the end of 2023, becoming the first rider to<br />

achieve that since 2010 and all at just 18 years of<br />

age, resulting in very strong links between himself<br />

and some of the vacant premier class seats in the<br />

final weeks of the season. However, team boss<br />

Luca Boscuscuro refused to release the Spaniard<br />

from his Speed Up contract, meaning he would<br />

return to Moto2 in 2024 with the sole target of<br />

winning the World Championship.<br />

Now, experienced Spanish reporter Emilio Perez<br />

de Rozas is reporting that Aldeguer was present<br />

at Ducati’s head office in Bologna last week to<br />

sign a deal that would see him promoted to the<br />

premier class in 2025. It is uncertain at this time<br />

what team he will ride for next year, but there’s<br />

expected to be a vacant space in the Prima<br />

Pramac Racing squad.<br />

2023 runner-up Jorge Martin has made his<br />

intentions very clear throughout the off-season,<br />

saying that he won’t accept anything other than a<br />

full factory ride in 2025. That means the upcoming<br />

campaign will be his last with the Independent<br />

Ducati squad. Therefore, Aldeguer could replace<br />

his good friend next season in a move that was<br />

reported at the end of last year.<br />

Nothing has been formally announced by any of<br />

the 11 MotoGP outfits as to their 2025 line-ups<br />

as of this current moment, but expect the first<br />

dominoes to fall before too long. As ever, stick to<br />

<strong>MRW</strong>’s channels to be the first to know.





The highly anticipated 2024 Gresini Ducati livery,<br />

marking the beginning of a new chapter in Marc<br />

Marquez’s MotoGP journey, has been revealed.<br />

The dynamic racing colors were unveiled at<br />

the Cocoricò disco in Riccione, Italy, echoing<br />

the celebratory atmosphere near Marc’s recent<br />

MotoGP victory at Misano in 2021.<br />

The latest livery maintains the distinctive light<br />

blue and red hues, a signature of Gresini for<br />

the past two seasons, which saw remarkable<br />

success with former riders Enea Bastianini and<br />

Fabio di Giannantonio securing five race wins.<br />

Notably, Marc Marquez’s presence adds a new<br />

dimension, with personal sponsorship deals<br />

taking precedence over a title sponsor or Red<br />

Bull branding.<br />

While Alex carries the blue #73 on his bike,<br />

Marc’s iconic #93 is highlighted in red. Both<br />

Marquez brothers, akin to VR46 riders Marco<br />

Bezzecchi and Fabio di Giannantonio, will race<br />

year-old GP23 machines. In contrast, world<br />

champion Francesco Bagnaia and others in the<br />

factory and Pramac teams will command the<br />

latest GP24 bikes.

Marc Marquez, opting for a change<br />

after a challenging period with Honda,<br />

joins Gresini following his brother Alex’s<br />

notable success with the team last season.<br />

Alex’s swift adaptation and positive<br />

performance likely influenced Marc’s<br />

decision. After a promising test at Valencia<br />

in November, Marc’s enthusiasm for the<br />

new Desmosedici and the Gresini project<br />

is evident.<br />

As the bookies’ favorite for the 2024 title,<br />

Marc remains pragmatic, emphasizing<br />

the need to focus on race wins rather<br />

than historic achievements. Expressing<br />

excitement for the new venture, he<br />

acknowledges the importance of<br />

rediscovering motivation and racing spirit.<br />

Alex, entering his fifth year in the premier<br />

class, looks forward to being teammates<br />

with his brother once again. The launch<br />

event at the historic Cocoricò disco,<br />

a place of personal significance for<br />

Gresini Racing, reflects the uniqueness<br />

of an independent team with eight-time<br />

champion Marc Marquez and a combined<br />

ten world championships between the<br />

Marquez brothers.<br />

The 2024 livery sets the stage for an<br />

exciting year, with the Marquez brothers<br />

testing their bikes at the official Sepang<br />

test from February 6-8. The launch event<br />

captured the essence of anticipation and<br />

dreams as the Gresini team eagerly awaits<br />

the upcoming season.




TEAM’S 2024 LAUNCH<br />

Pure light on the Palariccione stage for the launch<br />

of the new MotoGP season of the Pertamina<br />

Enduro VR46 Racing Team. Milestone of the<br />

tenth year (2014-2024) for the VR46 Racing Team,<br />

sealed by the three-year partnership with the<br />

Indonesian giant PT Pertamina Lubricants which,<br />

through the brand Pertamina Enduro, gives the<br />

new naming to the Team. New synergy between<br />

two already established companies in motorsport<br />

ready to become a true point of reference in<br />

performance, endurance and technologies.<br />

A 2023 to remember behind us, the best year ever<br />

in the Top class, with the fulfilment of a collective<br />

dream: the first victory in MotoGP and the third<br />

place in the Riders standings (Marco Bezzecchi<br />

ed.). Sacrifices, a big legacy and a long path over<br />

the years for achieving three victories, a total of

nine podiums and ten placements in the Top 3<br />

in the Sprint on Saturday. Consolidated goals<br />

for a 2024 to be discovered: on the one hand,<br />

Marco Bezzecchi, true revelation and absolute<br />

protagonist of the last Championship, on the other<br />

Fabio Di Giannantonio ready to debut with the<br />

neon yellow of the Tavullia Team at the MotoGP<br />

test in Malaysia, next February 6th, and then in<br />

Qatar for the first race (8-10 March).<br />

Both on the Ducati Desmosedici GP and<br />

supported by a close-knit crew – working under<br />

the watchful eyes of its Team Owner, Valentino<br />

Rossi - and led once again by Alessio Salucci,<br />

Team Director and Pablo Nieto, Team Manager.<br />

A technical package of the highest level, which<br />

bears the Made in Italy signature of Ducati, World<br />

Champion motorcycle in the two-year period<br />

2022/2023.<br />

A real stroke of light illuminates the ambitions of<br />

the Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team with a<br />

modern and cutting-edge graphic design, which<br />

brings back our memories, with its neon soul, to<br />

Tavullia. Aldo Drudi and Drudi Performance dress<br />

the fairings of the Ducati with ‘Fluo Stream’. Vale’s<br />

yellow, which goes beyond the mere concept of<br />

colour and becomes FLUO. Black disappears to<br />

make room for a shading from fluorescent yellow to<br />

white: a spark, electricity, a new concept of lifestyle.<br />

In front of all the actors of the 2024 season, the<br />

Riccione stage shines. A luminous effect creates<br />

the right atmosphere to welcome the entire<br />

board of PT Pertamina Lubricants to Italy from<br />

Indonesia, in the person of Mr. Werry Prayogi<br />

(President Director of PT Pertamina Lubricants),<br />

and thus renew our trust to all the realities working<br />

on this project, as the VR46 Agency, and the<br />

partners who support us, among others, eBay,<br />

Comoli Ferrari and Monster Energy.


Valentino Rossi, Team owner Pertamina<br />

Enduro VR46 Racing Team:<br />

“These 10 years have flown by since we started<br />

working on this project. At the beginning I was<br />

convinced that MotoGP was not our real goal, people<br />

around me pushed a lot, Uccio among the first ones.<br />

Things went well right from the start and last year was<br />

unforgettable, fantastic, everyone raised the bar. The<br />

first MotoGP victory in Argentina means the fulfillment<br />

of a collective dream.<br />

“A lot of new things await us in 2024: a new title<br />

partner, a new rider together with Bez, Fabio, and<br />

a technical package of the highest level. I am very<br />

happy with the partnership with Pertamina Enduro,<br />

the Indonesian fans have always had great affection<br />

and respect towards me. Marco and Fabio are a new<br />

couple, but they are two very fast riders and two good<br />

guys. It’s been a very long winter and I can’t wait to<br />

see them on track in Malaysia and then in Qatar for the<br />

start of the season.”<br />

Alessio Salucci, Team Director, Pertamina<br />

Enduro VR46 Racing Team:<br />

“I remember the winter of 2013 when we started<br />

working on this project. It was a beautiful journey,<br />

it required a lot of commitment, but in 10 years we<br />

have achieved goals we can be proud of. We have<br />

always had the desire and motivation to do well and<br />

we celebrate this first decade with the arrival of a new<br />

partner. I’m very happy because Indonesian fans have<br />

always had great affection and admiration for Vale. I<br />

like to think that it is not a coincidence that we signed<br />

with Pertamina Enduro, there is a lot of enthusiasm<br />

and we will all give our best.<br />

“In 2024 we will be to the track with the livery designed<br />

by Aldo Drudi who revolutionized the graphic soul of the<br />

team with the inclusion on the livery of our fluorescent<br />

yellow DNA. The best hope for starting this new<br />

adventure. From a technical point of view, with Ducati<br />

we have the best available package on the grid and<br />

Marco and Fabio are very fast. I know we’ll have fun!”

Marco Bezzecchi, Pertamina Enduro<br />

VR46 Racing Team:<br />

“It will be my third season in MotoGP and I am<br />

happy to be to the track once again with the same<br />

crew at Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team<br />

and riding a Ducati. I would like to do something<br />

similar to what we did in 2023: be competitive,<br />

consistent, get on the podium and have good<br />

races. I also really like the new livery, completely<br />

different, something that has never been seen in<br />

MotoGP. I expect a hard-fought Championship, of<br />

the highest level and with many strong riders and<br />

bikes. We can do two things: have fun and try to<br />

being among the protagonists.”<br />

and off the track. Wearing this yellow is a great<br />

honor for me. It will be an interesting start, there<br />

have been a lot of changes in terms of the lineup,<br />

riders and bikes. We all have to get settled, but it<br />

will be a great show!”<br />

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Pertamina<br />

Enduro VR46 Racing Team:<br />

“I’m really excited, I can’t wait. For me it is the first<br />

year at Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team:<br />

we met at the Valencia test at the end of the year,<br />

when we tried the Ducati package that we will use<br />

this season and the feelings were immediately<br />

positive. We have a great potential to achieve our<br />

ambitions. The livery is crazy, you can notice it on




For the second consecutive year, the enchanting<br />

snow-capped Dolomites served as a backdrop<br />

for the official presentation of the Ducati Lenovo<br />

Team. This morning, at the Palacampiglio in<br />

Madonna di Campiglio, the squad from Borgo<br />

Panigale unveiled the liveries of the Desmosedici<br />

GP machines with which they will participate in<br />

the 2024 MotoGP World Championship.<br />

The livery, predominantly Ducati Red, features a<br />

fluorescent graphic detail that recalls the curve<br />

in the Ducati logo. This design element is also<br />

present on the fairings of the Panigale V4 R<br />

Superbike of the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team<br />

and on the new motocross bikes of the Ducati<br />

Corse R&D – Factory MX Team, which were<br />

unveiled on stage alongside the MotoGP bikes.<br />

Reigning World Champion Francesco “Pecco”<br />

Bagnaia is geared up to defend his Title as he<br />

proudly displays the number 1 on the fairing of his<br />

Desmosedici GP. Bagnaia will again be partnered<br />

with compatriot Enea Bastianini, who is entering<br />

his second year with the factory team.

During the presentation, held at the “Campioni in<br />

Pista” event organized by Ducati in collaboration<br />

with Trentino Marketing and the Azienda per il<br />

Turismo Madonna di Campiglio (a location linked<br />

to Audi since 2013 for the enhancement of the<br />

area), and featuring the support of Lenovo, Aruba.<br />

it, Audi Sport, Monster Energy, and Shell, the new<br />

Ducati Corse Sporting Director, Mauro Grassilli,<br />

was officially introduced. Paolo Ciabatti, the<br />

new General Manager of Ducati Corse Off-Road<br />

Division, took the stage to present for the first<br />

time the Ducati’s new motocross bikes, which will<br />

be entrusted to the nine-time Motocross World<br />

Champion Toni Cairoli and Alessandro Lupino.<br />

Everything is set for an exciting start to the new<br />

MotoGP season from 6th-8th February in<br />

Malaysia, where the Ducati Lenovo Team riders<br />

will make their first track appearance for 2024 in<br />

the official test session at Sepang.<br />

Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse<br />

General Manager):<br />

“I am delighted to be back in Madonna di<br />

Campiglio to present our MotoGP and WorldSBK<br />

teams as World Champions. 2023 was truly an<br />

unforgettable year, and now we’re here to kick off<br />

the new season and embrace the challenges that<br />

lie ahead in 2024. In MotoGP, the Ducati Lenovo<br />

Team will feature World Champion Pecco Bagnaia<br />

alongside Enea Bastianini again. Unfortunately,<br />

Bastianini couldn’t showcase his full potential<br />

last year due to numerous injuries, but we are<br />

optimistic about his performance this season.”


Francesco Bagnaia (#1, Ducati<br />

Lenovo Team):<br />

“I’m thrilled to kick off my fourth season<br />

with the Ducati Lenovo Team. The<br />

last test in Valencia provided positive<br />

feedback, giving us a solid foundation<br />

for the upcoming season’s development<br />

work. I’m eager to hit the track and pick<br />

up where we left off. It’s bound to be a<br />

challenging season, but we’re ready to<br />

face it with our usual determination. As a<br />

close-knit team, we’ll give our best to aim<br />

for the Championship once again.”<br />

Enea Bastianini (#23, Ducati<br />

Lenovo Team):<br />

“2023 was a challenging year, and I<br />

look forward to redeeming myself in the<br />

upcoming season. We have an exciting<br />

2024 ahead of us. Despite participating<br />

in only a few Grands Prix last year, I’ve<br />

learned valuable lessons that I’ll carry into<br />

the new season. I have great confidence<br />

in my Team, and I know we have all the<br />

potential to do well. I can’t wait to hit the<br />

track and start the new season.”



MOTOGP 2024 IS GO!<br />

Trackhouse Racing MotoGP headed to Southern<br />

California and the bright lights of Los Angeles to<br />

show the world the first color scheme of its Aprilia<br />

RS-GP motorcycles in front of a select crowd of<br />

US racing legends and industry elite.<br />

Trackhouse Entertainment Group owner Justin<br />

Marks announced, back in December 2023,<br />

that his organization will field a MotoGP World<br />

Championship team in 2024, a move expanding<br />

its reach across the global motorsports world and<br />

building on its success in the NASCAR series.<br />

Just six weeks later the Team is pulling back<br />

the curtains on its season-opening design with<br />

two of its Aprilia MotoGP prototype bikes and<br />

introducing Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez in<br />

team colours.<br />

Evoking a strong American theme in its livery, the<br />

team is aiming to represent the next chapter in the<br />

USA’s long and successful relationship with the<br />

premier class of road-racing – legends like Kenny<br />

Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne<br />

Rainey, Randy Mamola, John Kocinski, Kenny<br />

Roberts Jr. and the late, great, Nicky Hayden all<br />

blazed a trail that Trackhouse seeks to continue.

A strong shared vision for the development of<br />

on-track performance reflects Trackhouse’s<br />

championship focused culture which<br />

extends to its vibrant and dynamic<br />

approach in NASCAR. Together with<br />

Aprilia Racing and its parent<br />

company Piaggio Group, they<br />

look to unlock wide-ranging<br />

opportunities worldwide.<br />

At the core of any racing team are its<br />

riders and Trackhouse enters its first season<br />

in the World Championship with a strong, wellbalanced,<br />

line-up:<br />

#88 Miguel Oliveira joins the Trackhouse<br />

Racing MotoGP Team as an established star<br />

of MotoGP. He marked himself out for future<br />

success in Portugal from his earliest days on<br />

track and has shown his prodigious talent and<br />

intelligence throughout the Championship<br />

battles he has fought in his career to date on<br />

the world stage. His five race wins since he<br />

arrived in the premier class have marked<br />

him out as a man to watch, particularly<br />

when he can run at his own<br />

rhythm, or rain falls. His 2023<br />

season was disrupted<br />

by injuries suffered largely through no fault of<br />

his own and so 2024 will be all about staying fit,<br />

working on finding the sweet spot with the new<br />

Aprilia RS-GP bike and making his proven pace<br />

count throughout the year.<br />

Miguel Oliveira: “I’m obviously super happy to<br />

be in the US launching this American team in<br />

MotoGP. It’s a great pleasure to be a part of the<br />

Trackhouse family. I can’t wait to get started with<br />

the new season, new colors, exciting colors, very<br />

racy and competitive ones. I can’t wait to get on<br />

the new bike during the test in a few days and get<br />

the season started.”<br />

#25 Raul Fernandez arrives in the Trackhouse<br />

Team as one of the youngest, most exciting, riders<br />

in the MotoGP World Championship. Since<br />

the age of 11 years old, when he learnt his early<br />

racecraft on the tracks around Madrid, he has<br />

been ‘one to watch’. No rookie has shaken up the


intermediate Moto2 class like Raul in 2021, when<br />

he blitzed the field with eight victories and only<br />

missed out on the Championship crown in his<br />

rookie year, injury preventing him from securing<br />

vital points towards the end of the campaign.<br />

2023 ended strongly with a top 5 finish in the<br />

final race and 2024 will be a year that Raul looks<br />

to stamp his speed on the timesheets from the<br />

opening race in Qatar through to the final round in<br />

Valencia.<br />

Raul Fernandez: “Today you saw our livery for<br />

this year. For me it’s really nice and it’s a great<br />

opportunity to show the American flag. I think it’s<br />

great that America will have a MotoGP team, so<br />

for me it’s a huge pleasure to be here and show<br />

this flag. I really like the US and its people. The<br />

presentation was just amazing. To be here in Los<br />

Angeles is just a dream! I’m really happy and have<br />

a great feeling for this season. I think I’ll enjoy it a<br />

lot. See you on track!”<br />

Trackhouse Entertainment Group is the owner<br />

of Trackhouse Racing’s NASCAR team, which<br />

operates out of Concord, North Carolina. After<br />

a full-time driving career in sports cars and<br />

NASCAR, Justin Marks founded Trackhouse<br />

Racing in 2020 and started fielding Chevrolets in<br />

the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021.

The new team has enjoyed success on track.<br />

Daniel Suárez became the first Mexican driver to<br />

win a Cup Series race when he visited victory lane<br />

in 2022, New Zealander and three-time Supercar<br />

champion Shane van Gisbergen won at Chicago<br />

in his debut Cup race on July 2 and American<br />

Ross Chastain finished second in the standings in<br />

2022 and posted four victories including the 2023<br />

Cup Series season finale.<br />

Marks brought 2007 Formula One champion<br />

Kimi Raikkonen to NASCAR and Trackhouse<br />

Racing in 2022 and 2023 as part of the<br />

team’s PROJECT91 program created to give<br />

international stars a chance to compete in the<br />

sport. It was the same program that led to van<br />

Gisbergen’s win in Chicago.<br />

Off the track, Trackhouse Racing as a brand has<br />

proven itself as a progressive, marketing-minded<br />

team, reimagining how the sport is presented<br />

to its fans, media partners and sponsors. It<br />

brought in international entertainment superstar<br />

Pitbull as a team partner, created a new style<br />

of team clothing, increased digital presence to<br />

fans and created live entertainment at racetracks<br />

throughout the season.<br />

Justin Marks: “This launch is an incredible<br />

moment. It’s the combination of an incredible<br />

amount of work that everybody at Trackhouse,<br />

MotoGP and Aprilia have put together in a very<br />

short period of time to make a little bit of magic<br />

happen. That’s basically in the space of two or<br />

three months, we set up a MotoGP team, ready to


compete and to be able to do something great on<br />

the racetrack. We’ve got a group of people that<br />

are all very, very talented and passionate about<br />

the season ahead of us. It’s also special, because<br />

we are an American team. We are a global brand,<br />

but an American company and to be able to<br />

celebrate the formation of this team and debut<br />

these incredible bikes in an iconic American city<br />

like Hollywood is truly a special, special thing. I<br />

look forward to the season.<br />

We don’t really know what to expect, I think as<br />

far as performance on the racetrack. All I know<br />

is that we’ve got great equipment with Aprilia,<br />

great people and very, very motivated, healthy<br />

and happy riders. Typically, that equals speed in<br />

this type of sport, so it’s going to be a big learning<br />

experience for me and Trackhouse Racing that is<br />

used to working in Nascar, but we’ve got a group<br />

of people that are very experienced in MotoGP,<br />

two great riders, a bunch of great mechanics and<br />

incredible partners in Aprilia. So, I really think the<br />

sky is the limit for this team.”<br />

The key Partners joining Trackhouse Racing in<br />

the MotoGP World Championship are Aprilia<br />

Racing – the racing department for Piaggio<br />

Group, Sterilgrada Alimenti – pioneering<br />

producer of milk and fruit based beverages and<br />

foods, GoPro – turned the world of personal<br />

video on its head and has driven shared<br />

experiences ever since.

R179 950<br />

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rider aids, plus stunning looks with a smart price<br />

that’s a statement to your brilliance.<br />


HJC RPHA-1<br />

Red Bull Jerez<br />

For decades, the HJC RPHA 1 (Rapid<br />

Performance in Helmet Advancement) has<br />

stood as a pinnacle in the realm of premium<br />

full SBK motorcycle helmets. Trusted by riders<br />

worldwide, including South Africa’s own Brad<br />

Binder and Isle of Man Champion A.J Venter, the<br />

RPHA 1 continues to dominate the international<br />

motorcycle racing scene, making it the<br />

preferred choice for enthusiasts who push their<br />

limits on weekends.<br />

Setting itself apart from its predecessor, the RPHA 11,<br />

the RPHA 1 introduces key enhancements, making it a quieter<br />

and more compact helmet. The snugger crown and cheek<br />

pad area contribute to a streamlined design, maintaining<br />

the HJC Helmet’s sizing standards. Notable improvements<br />

extend to the inners, featuring the innovative SILVER COOL<br />

LINING. This cutting-edge lining accelerates drying on hot<br />

tracks, providing a more comfortable experience for riders.<br />

Crafted with precision, the hardshell of the RPHA 1 is<br />

constructed from a Premium Integrated Matrix (PIM). This<br />

advanced material comprises a Carbon and Carbon-Glass<br />

Hybrid with a 6-layered laminate structure, ensuring the<br />

helmet’s robustness and durability. The Multi-Layered inner<br />

EPS (Polystyrene) shell, characterized by varying densities,<br />

adds an extra layer of safety, creating a snug, lightweight, and<br />

aerodynamic helmet.<br />

As the helmet of choice for champions and thrill-seekers alike,<br />

the HJC RPHA 1 embodies a legacy of excellence, offering riders<br />

an unparalleled combination of performance, safety, and style.<br />

Elevate your riding experience with the epitome of helmet<br />

innovation.<br />

New to the SA market is the helmet featured here - the HJC<br />

RPHA-1 - Red Bull Jerez MC21. A spectacular looking helmet<br />

bringing that MotoGP look and feel to the mass market.<br />

Now available from BATT Tech Specialized Helmet Division.<br />

Contact Max on 082 897 7711 or email max@batt-tech.co.za

Words & Pics: Bridgestone<br />



BOUND<br />


In the heart of the exotic Kyalami circuit in South<br />

Africa, Bridgestone, a pioneer in the world of premium<br />

motorcycle tyres, unveiled its latest masterpiece—<br />

the BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S23. A thrilling sequel to<br />

the legendary S22, this cutting-edge tire promises<br />

to redefine the standards of sports riding. As we<br />

celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bridgestone’s<br />

BATTLAX range in 2023, the S23 steps into the<br />

limelight, delivering unparalleled performance<br />

improvements and setting a new benchmark in the<br />

world of high-performance motorcycle tyres.


Unveiling at Kyalami Circuit<br />

Bridgestone left no stone unturned in introducing<br />

the BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S23 to the world.<br />

Against the backdrop of the beautifully exotic Kyalami<br />

circuit, where 27 motorcycles from six different<br />

brands eagerly awaited their moment on the track,<br />

the S23 showcased its prowess. A gathering of 150<br />

Bridgestone dealers, 25 journalists, and our very own<br />

Gripping Stories reporter witnessed the unveiling of<br />

the S23, as it took center stage in the spotlight.<br />

Challenges Await: Safari, Golf and Riding<br />

But before the tyres hit the tarmac, an unexpected<br />

twist awaited the participants—a round of golf. As a<br />

prelude to the adrenaline-packed days ahead, the<br />

Bridgestone team and participants engaged in a<br />

friendly game of golf, using brand new Bridgestone<br />

golf balls. A unique way to loosen up before the<br />

upcoming riding sessions, this unconventional<br />

approach showcased Bridgestone’s commitment to<br />

providing a complete experience.<br />

Day of Testing: Riding at the Limit<br />

The following day, under uncertain weather<br />

conditions with rain looming over the South African<br />

mountains, 27 motorcycles equipped with the<br />

BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S23 tyres lined up in the<br />

pit lane. Undeterred by the potential rain, the tyre test<br />

became an ideal opportunity to evaluate the S23’s<br />

performance in varied conditions. Over three intense<br />

days, the S23 tyres were put through their paces in 21<br />

riding sessions, reaching temperatures exceeding 35<br />

degrees Celsius.<br />

Riding on the Edge<br />

The Kyalami circuit, with its 16 turns, smooth corners,<br />

and high top speeds, provided the ultimate proving<br />

ground for the BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S23. With<br />

superbikes effortlessly tapping speeds of 270<br />

km/h, the S23 showcased its exceptional dry grip<br />

performance, a result of the newly-designed compound<br />

in the edge portion of the tread. The Pulse Groove<br />

Technology-infused pattern ensured superior handling,<br />

even in challenging road conditions and wet weather.

From Lion power<br />

to horsepower - the<br />

Bridgestone launch<br />

had it all.

A Triumph of Man, Machine, and Tyre<br />

As the superbikes, guided by MotoGPexperienced<br />

riders like Jeremy McWilliams<br />

and Sylvain Guintoli, conquered the track, the<br />

BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S23 held its ground.<br />

Despite the high-speed maneuvers, knee<br />

downs, wheelies, and slides, the tyre wear<br />

proved remarkably minimal. A testament to the<br />

tyre’s durability, the four mechanics overseeing<br />

the testing sessions couldn’t help but laugh in<br />

amazement.<br />

Verdict: Setting New Standards<br />

Post-ride, the journalists and riders expressed<br />

nothing but praise for the BATTLAX HYPERSPORT<br />

S23. Superb grip, excellent stability, and an overall<br />

sports package that outshines its predecessor—the<br />

S23 picked up where the S22 left off, raising the<br />

bar yet again. With satisfied faces, a touch of sweat,<br />

and a unanimous desire to stay longer on the track,<br />

the BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S23 emerges as the<br />

undisputed champion, ready to dominate the world<br />

of sport riding. Bridgestone has done it again.

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Pieter Botha & Zephnie Botha<br />



SPLIT<br />

ALITY<br />


For riders confined to a one-bike garage, the quest for the ultimate<br />

all-rounder becomes paramount. The dilemma of choosing a<br />

cruiser, commuter, superbike, off-road, or adventure bike narrows<br />

down when considering KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure S. Regarded<br />

as a hooligan’s dream, this motorcycle stands out among the<br />

multitude of options, and my curiosity led me to revisit KTM’s<br />

behemoth for a week of comprehensive exploration.

Derived from the robust previous foundation of<br />

the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S, engineered<br />

for conquering diverse terrains, the 2023 model<br />

received a facelift and several refinements.<br />

Positioned as the ideal all-rounder for a singlebike<br />

garage, it was time to assess its capabilities<br />

on road, dirt, and track. The heart of the machine<br />

remains the 1,301cc LC8 V-Twin, boasting 160 hp<br />

and 138Nm of torque, paired with a 6-speed Pankl<br />

transmission and a PASC slip/assist clutch.<br />

Enhancements for 2023 include a 10kg chromoly<br />

stainless-steel frame, vertically stacked LEDs<br />

with sequential illumination, a re-engineered<br />

windscreen with adjuster, a versatile seat height<br />

(850mm or 870mm), and a lightweight aluminum<br />

side stand. The Bosch 6D IMU regulates essential<br />

features like ride height, ABS, ride modes, tirepressure<br />

monitoring, and the WP semi-active<br />

suspension damping. Optional upgrades include<br />

WP Suspension Pro and Quickshifter+. A little<br />

gripe that I have with the 1290S is the lack<br />

of heated grips and seats as standard. Okay,<br />

granted, you can get away with no heated seats,<br />

but no heated grips? Why should you have to fork<br />

out more money on something that I consider to<br />

be a necessity on an Adventure bike, especially<br />

when forking out R350 000 of your hard-earned<br />

money on said bike?<br />

POWER<br />

160 bhp<br />

TORQUE<br />

138 Nm<br />

TANK<br />


23 L<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

849mm<br />

DRY<br />

WEIGHT<br />


Navigating roads is now simplified with augmented<br />

navigation software, and the 7-inch TFT display<br />

offers Turn-by-Turn+ guidance, waypoint markers,<br />

and improved utility for audio tracks and phone<br />

calls via the KTMConnect App. The KTM<br />

PowerParts collection provides additional gear and<br />

protection options, while a stock-looking Remus<br />

slip-on exhaust adds character.<br />

The redesigned chrome-molybdenum stainless<br />

steel trellis frame, a forward-rotated front engine<br />

mount, and an extended swingarm contribute to<br />

improved cornering behavior and stability. The<br />

latest version of WP’s Semi-Active suspension and<br />

optional Suspension PRO package enhance ride<br />

quality. Braking is managed by twin 320mm discs<br />

with four-piston calipers in the front and a single<br />

267mm disc in the rear, complemented by Bosch<br />

ABS. Custom-developed MITAS Terra Force-R<br />

rubber on alloy wheels optimizes handling, grip,<br />

and stability as standard, however, for this test, we<br />

went one step further and fitted a set of BATT HPII<br />

Adventure Series tyres.<br />

The onboard electronics suite sets the 1290<br />

Super Adventure S apart, offering adjustable ride<br />

height, multiple ride modes, ABS settings, and<br />

adaptive cruise control. The cockpit, equipped<br />

with an illuminated switch cube and adjustable<br />

footpegs, ensures rider comfort.

Additional features include LED lighting, a<br />

new windshield, and revised bodywork and<br />

ergonomics. Everything is of superb quality, neatly<br />

laid out, and easy to see and navigate.<br />

To showcase the impressive versatility of the<br />

1290S, I embarked on a journey to Redstar<br />

Raceway in Delmas, eager to reconnect with<br />

the Austrian powerhouse. At first glance, the<br />

1290S may appear hefty and formidable, but its<br />

true nature reveals a lightweight marvel, tipping<br />

the scales at a mere 220kg – making it one of<br />

the lightest in its class. What sets it apart is the<br />

centralization of weight, eliminating the top-heavy<br />

feel typical of larger adventure bikes.<br />

Settling onto the plush and accommodating seat,<br />

I found even the longest rides to be a breeze. The<br />

adaptive cruise control, a remarkable feature,<br />

added to the joy by seamlessly adjusting to my<br />

preferences. I appreciated the ease with which I<br />

could gear up or down without disengaging the<br />

cruise control. The broad handlebars struck a<br />

perfect balance, providing an upright and sporty<br />

feel without compromising the ability to lane split.<br />

Both rider and passenger are treated to a<br />

luxurious ride, rivaling the comfort of a BMW<br />

GS. While not identical, the KTM 1290S came<br />

impressively close. Wind protection was<br />

exceptional, and the adjustable screen allowed<br />

on-the-fly customization with a simple reach of<br />

the hand. Navigating the electronic suite was a<br />

breeze, with the ability to modify riding modes,<br />

traction control, and ABS settings with a quick<br />

letting go of the throttle. As a rider, the 1290S<br />

adapted seamlessly to my desires – whether<br />

cruising or unleashing the hooligan within,<br />

reaching speeds of up to 260kph. Taking it to the<br />

track, the 1290S surprised me with its exhilarating

performance. It felt like a motard on steroids, offering power<br />

comparable to a race-prepped 600cc superbike with an extra<br />

kick out of the turns. With 60 laps completed in a day, the semiactive<br />

suspension handled well, though it remained a tad soft<br />

even on its stiffest settings.<br />

The bike showcased its agility around bends, almost scraping<br />

the center stand at times. Sure-footed and responsive, the<br />

suspension adapted seamlessly to the challenges thrown its way.<br />

Turning off the Traction Control for some spirited riding, I found<br />

that lap times improved with sub 2:08.00’s being achieved.<br />

After a full day on the track, I transitioned into my Adventure gear<br />

for some off-road exploration. Familiar with this terrain, the 1290S<br />

transformed into a dirt bike on steroids. Nimble and confidenceinspiring,<br />

it craved more, even with the road-biased BATT tyres.<br />

The suspension, now set in off-road mode, adeptly responded<br />

to changing conditions, complemented by ABS adjustments for<br />

optimal rear brake control.

IT’S A BOLD<br />

BUT I WILL M<br />

IT..... THE KTM<br />


S IS ONE OF<br />

BEST ALL-R<br />




GARAGE!<br />

The bulky 23L fuel tank struck the right balance,<br />

providing ample control and sturdiness. Off-road,<br />

the power at my disposal, even in off-road mode,<br />

proved more than sufficient. The throttle response<br />

was direct and manageable, allowing me to<br />

maximize input without feeling overwhelmed.<br />

The 1290S demonstrated not only its prowess on<br />

the track but also its capability to conquer varied<br />

terrains, solidifying its status as a versatile and<br />

thrilling adventure companion. For 2023, the KTM<br />

1290 Super Adventure S debuted in orange and<br />

black or a graded gray color scheme, showcasing<br />

a departure from KTM’s typical color choices.<br />

The amalgamation of performance, versatility, and<br />

aesthetic upgrades solidifies its position as a top<br />

contender for those seeking the perfect all-round<br />

motorcycle, especially for your one-bike garage.<br />

It’s a bold claim, but I will make it..... The KTM<br />

1290 Super Adventure S is one of the best allround<br />

bikes available at present, for that perfect<br />

one-bike garage!

CLAIM,<br />

AKE<br />

1290<br />

ENTURE<br />

THE<br />

OUND<br />

ABLE AT<br />

R THAT<br />



FIT<br />

TYRE<br />

In the heart of South Africa, where the<br />

open road calls to adventurers and<br />

the thrill of the track beckons to motor<br />

enthusiasts, there exists a tyre that<br />

defies expectations. The BATT’s HPII<br />

Series Adventure tyre, a dual compound<br />

marvel, promises not only great<br />

versatility and value for money but also<br />

exceptional grip for those seeking to<br />

push the limits of their adventure bikes<br />

on the road or even the track.<br />




SERIES<br />

Curiosity was piqued, so we decided to put these<br />

tyres through the ultimate test at the renowned<br />

Redstar Raceway, one of the most technical<br />

tracks in South Africa. With the BATT HPII Series<br />

Adventure tyre mounted on a mighty KTM 1290<br />

Super Adventure S, we embarked on a journey<br />

that would challenge the very essence of these<br />

road-focused wonders.<br />

Six sessions, each comprising 10 laps, unfolded<br />

on the asphalt ribbon of Redstar Raceway. The<br />

KTM, equipped with the HPII Series Adventure

tyres, roared to life, unassisted by tyre warmers, as it<br />

rolled onto the track with front and rear tyre pressures<br />

set to 2.1 bar and 1.8 bar respectively.<br />

From the first twist of the throttle, the grip was nothing<br />

short of supreme. The tyres warmed up swiftly,<br />

allowing me to confidently lean into corners and even<br />

drag a knee after just a few turns. Despite being an<br />

Adventure road tyre rather than a supersport variant,<br />

the BATT HPII Series demonstrated remarkable<br />

corner entry and lean grip consistency.<br />

Surpassing all expectations, the adventure bike<br />

clocked sub 2:08.00 lap times, a feat rarely achieved<br />

on a track by a bike of this genre. The tyres, resilient<br />

and seemingly unfazed, endured 60 laps around the<br />

challenging circuit, showcasing their durability even<br />

under the immense torque and relentless abuse of<br />

the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S.

But the adventure didn’t end there. True to their<br />

road-focused nature, we decided to take the<br />

BATT HPII Series Adventure tyres off the beaten<br />

path, onto surfaces far more demanding than<br />

a mere dirt road. Sand, grass, rocks, and even<br />

the occasional jump were no match for these<br />

versatile tyres. The front remained planted,<br />

offering a stable ride, while the rear, influenced<br />

by the KTM’s torque, spun in a manageable and<br />

surprisingly enjoyable manner.<br />

The BATT HPII Series Adventure tyre, with its<br />

dual compound and steel belt radial technology,<br />

proved to be a confidence-inspiring companion,<br />

whether navigating the twists and turns of<br />

the road, or track or venturing off-road on an<br />

adventure bike. Its wide central spine ensured<br />

maximum grip during acceleration, contributing to<br />

the overall performance that left an indelible mark<br />

on the track and beyond.<br />

For those seeking a tyre that seamlessly<br />

transitions between daily commuting, track<br />

day excitement, and the occasional dirt road<br />

exploration, the BATT HPII Series Adventure<br />

tyre stands out as a beacon of reliability and<br />

performance. Priced from only R3600 fitted, it<br />

beckons adventurers and thrill-seekers alike to<br />

experience a new level of riding. Call BATT-Tech<br />

at 073 777 9269 for more information and embark<br />

on a journey where longevity and grip converge in<br />

perfect harmony.








THE GO<br />


Today, the motorsports community<br />

mourns the loss of former Superbike and<br />

500cc grand prix rider, Anthony Gobert.<br />

His passing is attributed to illnesses<br />

exacerbated by his struggles with<br />

addiction to alcohol and other substances.<br />

Gobert’s racing career was marked by<br />

brilliance, making him shine as one of<br />

the most vibrant riders of the past few<br />

decades, paralleling the charisma<br />

of Valentino Rossi. His rock-star<br />

persona extended beyond the<br />

racetrack, earning him the<br />

affectionate nickname ‘The<br />

Go Show,’ a testament to<br />

his entertaining spirit and fan<br />


SHOW<br />


Hailing from Australia, Gobert’s journey into<br />

motorcycling began as a teenage motocross<br />

sensation, clinching numerous national junior<br />

championships and senior Supercross titles.<br />

Transitioning to road racing at just 17, he swiftly<br />

caught the eye of Honda Australia’s superbike team.<br />

Gobert was starting to<br />

show some real form<br />

on the Suzuki 500, but<br />

a failed drugs test put<br />

an end to it.<br />

The world took notice of Gobert during the 1994<br />

Australian World Superbike round when he made<br />

a dramatic switch from Honda to Kawasaki on the<br />

eve of the event. Despite the last-minute changes,<br />

he secured pole position and claimed his first World<br />

Superbike victory. Subsequently, he enjoyed two<br />

WSB seasons with the factory Kawasaki team, adding<br />

five more wins to his name. In 1997, Gobert joined<br />

Suzuki’s 500cc GP team, earning praise for his<br />

natural talent from crew chief Stuart Shenton.<br />

Shenton regarded Gobert as the most talented rider<br />

he had worked with, emphasizing his innate ability<br />

to ride without demanding significant changes to the<br />

bike. However, Gobert’s career was marked by tales<br />

of high-spirited antics, reflecting his love for the high<br />

life and the challenges of addiction.<br />

Gobert was a treat to<br />

watch on track. His<br />

riding style was pure<br />

entertainment, hence<br />

why he was called<br />

“The Go Show”





Despite his potential, Gobert faced setbacks<br />

due to his struggles with substance abuse. Team<br />

efforts were made to address the issue, including<br />

a memorable encounter with psychic Uri Geller<br />

arranged by team manager Garry Taylor. However,<br />

Gobert’s battle with addiction continued, leading<br />

to failed drug tests and lost opportunities.<br />

After spells with various teams and a triumphant<br />

return to WSB with Bimota, Gobert’s racing career<br />

concluded, marking a turning point in his life.<br />

Unfortunately, without the adrenaline of racing,<br />

he faced personal challenges, including legal<br />

troubles and a violent assault in 2019.<br />

Today, we remember Anthony Gobert for his<br />

undeniable talent, unbridled spirit, and the<br />

indelible mark he left on the motorsports world.<br />

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family,<br />

friends, and loved ones as they navigate this<br />

difficult time.

Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Pieter Botha & Zephnie Botha<br />

ENCO<br />



The current trend in the middleweight<br />

sports bike market is all about<br />

going naked, and the Japanese have<br />

recently thrown their hat into the ring.<br />

Honda entered the scene not so long<br />

ago with their new CB750 Hornet,<br />

aiming to compete with established<br />

players from England, Austria, and<br />

Italy. Not wanting to be left out, Suzuki<br />

has joined the party with a bang,<br />

introducing their latest contender,<br />

the GSX8-S. Now, we had the luxury<br />

of testing the new GSX8-S a couple of<br />

months back at the official SA launch<br />

but wanted more time on Suzuki’s<br />

latest naked offering to see if it is as<br />

good as we first believed it to be.


Built from the ground up, the Suzuki GSX8-S<br />

promises the renowned Suzuki quality coupled<br />

with unparalleled value for money – or as we say<br />

here in South Africa, exceptional bang for buck.<br />

Joining the popular GSX-S lineup of streetfighters,<br />

the GSX8-S is poised to make waves in the naked<br />

middleweight segment. What truly stands out<br />

about this bike is its price point, a mere R179,950-<br />

00, and no, that’s not a typo. Compared to its<br />

closest rival, the Hornet at R179 999.00, you won’t<br />

be saving much, however, the Suzuki comes with<br />

a range of additional features not standard on the<br />

Honda, including a Bi-directional quick-shifter, a<br />

180-width rear wheel, and the sought-after Easy<br />

Start & Low RPM Assist systems.<br />

While Suzuki has been known for recycling<br />

motors in their newer models, the 776cc, 4-stroke,<br />

liquid-cooled, DOHC parallel-twin engine in the<br />

GSX8-S is entirely new. Generating 82HP and<br />

78NM of torque, it delivers power from as low as<br />

2000rpm, with a robust drive from 3500rpm to<br />

7500rpm. During this test, we had the opportunity<br />

to put the Suzuki through its paces on the race<br />

track, providing a thorough and safe evaluation<br />

and out on the road, where the 8S belongs.<br />

The engine boasts a longer stroke, smaller-bore<br />

throttle bodies, and longer intakes, giving it instant<br />

and smooth throttle response. Acceleration is<br />

surprisingly good and torquey, taking the 8S to a<br />

top speed of just over 220kph. The Bi-directional

quick-shifter, although slightly clunky on<br />

downshifts, adds to the overall riding experience.<br />

While the GSX8-S may lack some top-end pull<br />

compared to the Hornet, it still embodies the<br />

expected spirit of a bike in this category.<br />

Performance is complemented by good manners,<br />

with three torque maps or riding modes catering<br />

to wet/slippery conditions (C), general riding (B),<br />

and sportier/fun use (A). Easily switchable via a<br />

handlebar switch, these modes are a common<br />

feature on modern Suzuki motorcycles. Traction<br />

Control can also be deactivated for a more<br />

spirited ride. The GSX8-S features a distinctive<br />

short muffler design that produces an exciting

exhaust note without being an eyesore. The<br />

majority of the exhaust system is strategically<br />

located under the chassis, optimizing centralized<br />

weight distribution for enhanced handling.<br />

Weighing in at 202kg, the GSX8-S may not<br />

be the lightest, but it feels nimble when<br />

maneuvering through turns. The KYB 41mm fork<br />

with approximately 130mm of travel in the front<br />

and the rear KYB shock, adjustable for spring<br />

preload, provides solid suspension that reacts<br />

well and offers excellent feedback through turns.<br />

The steel-tube double backbone frame shared<br />

with the 800 V-Strom, strikes a balance between<br />

rigidity and flexibility, making the bike forgiving<br />

and easy to ride. The riding position is upright<br />

and comfy, with narrow handlebars making the<br />

everyday commute through traffic a breeze.<br />

The controls are laid out neatly with buttons<br />

big enough and positioned in a way that makes<br />

pressing them while riding with gloves easy.<br />





WITH THE GSX8-S,<br />




Seated at 810mm, surrounded by a slim tank and<br />

sharp bodywork, riders experience a nimble and<br />

comfortable yet sporty riding position. The upright<br />

handlebars and low footrests cater to riders of<br />

all sizes, although they may scrape occasionally<br />

during aggressive cornering.<br />

Braking is handled by Nissin four-piston calipers<br />

with dual 320mm discs up front, offering sharp<br />

and fade-free performance. Although it cannot<br />

be disengaged, the ABS is unobtrusive, allowing<br />

riders to focus on the road while keeping<br />

a watchful eye in the background. Suzuki’s<br />

renowned build quality is evident, ensuring that<br />

the GSX8-S inherits the brand’s typical reliability.<br />

Impressive fuel economy from the 14-litre tank<br />

guarantees a range of over 250km, even with<br />

spirited riding. Suzuki may have arrived late to the<br />

parallel-twin party, but with the GSX8-S, they’ve<br />

made a substantial entrance.<br />

The bike, wrapped in unique styling and eyecatching<br />

colors, exudes an aggressive, massforward<br />

look that is slim, compact, well-balanced,<br />

and ready for action. This particular bike from<br />

Suzuki was fitted with a host of genuine Suzuki<br />

accessories such as a fly screen, belly pan,<br />

and saddlebags, further enhancing the riding<br />

experience and practicality of the new 8S.<br />

Positioned as the top choice for street riders of all<br />

experience levels, the GSX8-S invites enthusiasts<br />

to visit their nearest Suzuki dealer, take it for a<br />

ride, and make their own statement.

Dakarher<br />



Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel<br />

o<br />

S FOR HERO<br />



450MX<br />



NEXX<br />

X.WED3<br />




00PRCNT®<br />

D<br />

1<br />

2<br />

G<br />

00PRCNT®<br />

024 COLLECTION<br />

OGGLES—<br />

MMXXIV<br />


SINCE—82<br />

ICKY<br />

RABEC<br />

WINS<br />

DAKAR 2024

A<br />

Moment<br />

Ricky Brabec Wins Dakar<br />

The ARMEGA Goggle<br />

The Choice Of Champions<br />

AKAR—2024<br />


100PRCNT®<br />

2024 COLLECTION<br />

GOGGLES—<br />


GOGGLE<br />

2024<br />



DUCATI<br />

DESMO<br />

450 MX<br />




It’s been almost three months to<br />

the day since Italian bike maker<br />

Ducati announced it would expand<br />

its business into the motocross<br />

segment, and we’ve been on the edge<br />

of our seats waiting for updates on<br />

the bike to do that. And now, finally,<br />

we know a few more things.

A very lucrative segment for other bike makers,<br />

KTM especially, motocross has never been<br />

something of interest to Ducati. That changed<br />

for one reason or another last year, when the<br />

company announced the birth of not only a new<br />

bike for the segment, but also a team of racers to<br />

put it through its paces.<br />

We’ve first learned a thing or two about the team<br />

at the end of last year. It’s to be headed by a new<br />

division of the bike maker dubbed Ducati Corse<br />

Off-Road, which is in turn led by the Sporting<br />

Director of Ducati Corse, Paolo Ciabatti.<br />

The name of the team itself was unveiled this<br />

week during an event hosted by Ducati in the<br />

Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio. The<br />

team will be known in the motocross competition<br />

world as Ducati Corse R&D – Factory MX and<br />

will comprise this season riders Antonio Cairoli<br />

and Alessandro Lupino.<br />

Together with the team, Ducati also gave us the<br />

first actual photos and details on the brand new<br />

motorcycle itself, meaning the name of the thing:<br />

the two-wheeler is called Desmo450 MX.<br />

Ducati shared no other details about the bike<br />

apart from that and the fact that it was shown in<br />

the racing livery it will wear as part of the Italian<br />

Motocross Pro - Prestige MX1 Championship,<br />

where it will be first fielded. We expect more<br />

details on the ride’s mechanical prowess in the<br />

days and weeks ahead.

Only two prototypes of the Desmo450 MX have<br />

been built, one which will be used by Alessandro<br />

Lupino in actual motocross races, and the other<br />

by Antonio Cairoli for testing purposes.<br />

Ducati has not set a goal for itself to win anything<br />

this year, and only plans to use the time to<br />

“acquire data and information.” Whatever it learns<br />

this way will be used to fine-tune the bike further.<br />

The Italians plan to start production of the twowheeler<br />

next year, with the Desmo450 MX not<br />

to birth a single competition bike, but an entire<br />

range of them that will be widely available over<br />

the next few years.<br />

The first time we will get to see the Ducati<br />

Desmo450 MX in action is on the weekend of<br />

March 16, when the Ducati motocross team<br />

and their bike will make their debut during the<br />

opening stage of the Italian Motocross Pro<br />

Prestige MX1 Championship in Mantua.<br />

Claudio Domenicali (CEO Ducati)<br />

“It is a great pleasure to inaugurate another<br />

Ducati racing season in Madonna di Campiglio,<br />

a location that perfectly expresses the values<br />

of ‘Made in Italy’ of which we are proud<br />

ambassadors and which last year represented<br />

the starting point of an unforgettable season.<br />

The path that has led us to be the best in the<br />

world in racing is undoubtedly made up of the<br />

hard daily work of these years, but also of our<br />

ability to work as a team and have fun while<br />

putting our maximum effort into what we do. One<br />

of the strong elements of our brand is the ability<br />

to create a system and today we demonstrate<br />

this by jointly presenting the official teams for the<br />

2024 racing season: the Ducati Lenovo Team,<br />

the Aruba.it – Racing Ducati Team and the<br />

novelty represented by the Ducati Corse R&D -<br />

Factory MX Team. Seeing the three bikes next to<br />

each other was a great emotion for me because,<br />

although different from each other, they are part<br />

of a single project. This belonging is underlined<br />

by the basic colour of the liveries, Ducati Red,<br />

the same for all, and also by a completely new<br />

graphic sign that recalls the curve present in the<br />

Ducati logo, inspired by the most exciting part of<br />

riding a motorbike: the bend. At the same time,<br />

these bikes are also an expression of the path<br />

that Ducati has taken in recent years, investing in<br />

its future. The entry into motocross is in fact the<br />

clear example that our will to improve and our<br />

desire to win have no limits. In these two days<br />

we will have the opportunity to give ourselves<br />

the right energy for a season that promises to be<br />

full of challenges, in which we will try to confirm<br />

our leadership in the main track racing world<br />

championships and demonstrate our capabilities<br />

in a new terrain such as specialist off-road.<br />

Challenges have always encouraged us to bring<br />

out the best and we feel absolutely ready.”

9<br />

BRABEC<br />

12<br />

STAGES<br />

4903<br />


46th<br />



WINNER<br />


RICKY’S<br />

2024<br />

REVENGE!<br />

Ricky re-takes rally glory;<br />

Honda CRF450 Rally wins constructor’s crown.<br />


OBEY THE LAW AND READ YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL THOROUGHLY. CRF ® is a registered trademark of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. ©2024 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (1/24)

DAKAR<br />

2024<br />

The 46th edition of the Dakar, the 5th to<br />

be organised in Saudi Arabia, has finished<br />

after more than 4,700 kilometres of<br />

specials and a total distance of almost<br />

8,000 kilometres, which tested the riders,<br />

drivers, co-pilots and crews, from the<br />

ancient city of AlUla to the shores of the<br />

Red Sea, passing through the oceans of<br />

dunes in the Empty Quarter.

The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally has<br />

ended after a thrilling duel between Ricky<br />

Brabec (Monster Energy Honda powered<br />

by Motul) and Botswana Off-Road legend<br />

Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports Team<br />

Rally powered by Motul) in the Motorcycle<br />

category that saw the pair chase each<br />

other all the way to the finish in Yanbu,<br />

Saudi Arabia, where Brabec emerged<br />

victorious. Brabec and Branch stayed in<br />

close contention throughout the event by<br />

getting onto the overall podium from Stage<br />

1, with Branch leading the rankings until the<br />

48-hour Chrono on Stage 5. Brabec took the<br />

lead on Stage 6, and that’s the way it stayed<br />

until the 12th and final Stage, with Branch<br />

ending a mere 10”53 behind the American<br />

for his first ever Dakar podium.<br />

It was an incredibly close race for the entire<br />

2-week duration; at the end of Stage 7, the<br />

overall gap between the two riders was 1<br />

second after more than 32 hours of racing.<br />

They didn’t have it all their own way though,<br />

Brabec’s Honda teammate Adrien Van<br />

Beveren also joined the fray from Stage 9<br />

and put pressure on the pair all the way to<br />

the end, eventually ending up just over a<br />

minute behind Branch in third, resulting in<br />

a podium lock out for Motul and their 300V<br />

backed riders.

Brabec’s performance was a showcase for<br />

consistency, though: he only won one stage of<br />

the entire event, but he made sure he stayed in<br />

the running on every stage and was never off the<br />

podium. It was a very successful event for the<br />

entire Monster Energy Honda team who won 9<br />

out of the 12 stages, with each member of the<br />

5-person team winning a stage at some point,<br />

proving just how capable the Honda effort was<br />

this year.<br />

The race for the Rally 2 podium was no less<br />

exciting, and while all bets were on the reigning<br />

Rally 2 champion Romain Dumontier taking the<br />

victory after dominating the first part of the race,<br />

it was an incredible charge to the front from<br />

Sherco powered by Motul star, Harith Noah, that<br />

got everyone talking and made him one of the<br />

revelations of this year’s event. The off-road star<br />

from India is the first competitor from his home<br />

country to win a Bike category overall and he<br />

can add another astounding achievement to<br />

this year’s event, because he did not look at the<br />

standings or social media once throughout the<br />

entire event. He preferred to go out and do his<br />

best every day, and this approach paid off with a<br />

highly coveted victory in the Rally 2 class. South<br />

Africa’s Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM) suffered<br />

from early navigational challenges which held<br />

him back, but he put in an incredible effort<br />

towards the end of the Rally, almost pipping<br />

Dumontier (Dumontier Racing) to the post in the<br />

process, but the Frenchman managed to secure<br />

2nd place overall by a mere 2.8 seconds over<br />

Cox who finished in third.

The Original by Motul Class was a masterclass<br />

by Austrian Dakar Rookie Tobias Ebster (Kini<br />

Rally Racing) who led from the start and ended<br />

up almost 2 hours ahead of Frenchman Jerome<br />

Martiny (Anquety Motorsport), followed by<br />

Spaniard Albert Garcia (Pedrega Team). The<br />

top 3 in the toughest class of the Rally had race<br />

times of over 60 hours for this year’s event and<br />

considering that they race with no assistance, to<br />

be on the podium is a remarkable achievement.



Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of<br />

the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and<br />

scooters - Hero MotoCorp, has created history today<br />

becoming the first ever Indian manufacturer team to<br />

finish on the podium of the legendary Dakar Rally.<br />

Ross Branch finished the Rally at the second place<br />

for the team. His consistent performance over the 12<br />

stages saw him at the first and second spots in the<br />

overall rankings throughout the Rally.<br />

For the Indian manufacturer this is a phenomenal<br />

achievement and a solid validation for the many years<br />

of effort put into their racing program. The growth<br />

curve for the team has also been steep in the last<br />

few years - raking up a first Stage Win at Dakar 2022,<br />

doubling it to 2 Stage Wins in 2023, and eventually<br />

finishing on the podium in this edition. The team<br />

achieved two stage wins during this edition.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally was formed in 2016 and<br />

it participated in its first Dakar Rally in 2017. Over the<br />

years, the team has achieved multiple podiums, wins<br />

and stage wins at top rally-raids across the world. This<br />

edition of the Rally was extremely grueling and saw<br />

three of the four Hero riders drop out of the race during<br />

the first week - Joaquim Rodrigues and Sebastian<br />

Buhler suffered injuries, while Joan Barreda who<br />

displayed a fantastic performance in the first week,<br />

exited due to an unfortunate mechanical failure in<br />

Stage 6. The pressure on Ross Branch to continue in<br />

the race and continue in the top order was tremendous.<br />

However, the Botswanan Hero made it look easy -<br />

conquering every mile with a broad smile.<br />

In its fifth year at Saudi Arabia, the 2024 edition was<br />

undoubtedly the toughest Dakar so far – longer stages,<br />

extreme terrains, and confusing navigation right from the<br />

start. Two new formats of racing were also introduced<br />

by the organizers to add more spice – a marathon stage<br />

early on in the race, and a 48H chrono stage during<br />

which the competitors were split across several bivouacs<br />

- away from their teams, and surviving on bare minimum<br />

essentials. As many as one-third of the competitors<br />

who started the race retired from the rally across the<br />

14 days of grind. To get to a Dakar podium is no small<br />

feat - a thousand things need to be right, and yet, each<br />

kilometer of these many thousands can destroy a result<br />

with a tiny mistake. 8,000 kilometers at the world’s<br />

toughest rally conquered with a top-2 result – Hero has<br />

made it clear they’re here to stay.<br />


“Finally finished the Dakar!! It was a really tough Dakar 2024, and I’m so<br />

thrilled to be here! Finishing on the podium was always the goal, and today<br />

it’s a dream come true. I’m really over the moon to achieve this goal for Hero.<br />

And a big thank you to the team for developing a highly competitive machine,<br />

for the sleepless 3 weeks here, and for everything they’ve sacrificed to reach<br />

to this point. I’m really proud of my team. We’ve got some more work to do to<br />

be on the next step, so we’ll look forward to that in the next year. A big thank<br />

you to everyone for your continued support from all around the world!”

BRAD COX<br />



GRUELLING 2024<br />


Described by even the most hardened<br />

competitors as one of the most challenging races<br />

on record, South Africa’s Brad Cox (25) was<br />

undeterred, putting on an impressive performance<br />

on the back of a stellar 2023 season to place 3rd<br />

in the Rally2 category and finishing 13th overall in<br />

the Bike Category at this year’s Dakar Rally. Brad<br />

was also the only South African to make it to the<br />

Top 20 overall in the contest.<br />

Running from 5 to 19 January 2024 in Saudi<br />

Arabia, this was the 46th edition of the Dakar<br />

Rally which saw 2<strong>39</strong> vehicles – 96 of which were<br />

bikes – competing over almost 8,000 km from<br />

the ancient city of AlUla to the shores of the Red<br />

Sea, passing through the oceans of dunes in the<br />

Empty Quarter.<br />

Competing for BAS World KTM Racing on his<br />

KTM-450 motorcycle as a privateer rather than<br />

a factory rider, Brad Cox was elated with his<br />

3rd year at the Dakar Rally – although his 2023<br />

experience was short-lived. The resident from<br />

Cato Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal said this was an<br />

opportunity to ‘set the record straight’.<br />

“Dakar this year was amazing. I came in with big<br />

expectations and quite a bit of pressure because<br />

I’d done really well at the end of the 2023 season<br />

and the World Rally Championship rounds,”<br />

enthused the young rider, who shares his passion<br />

for the sport with his father, the ex-KTM factory<br />

rider, Alfie Cox. “The setback in 2023 – crashing<br />

and dislocating my elbow on day one – meant I<br />

was coming to set the record straight, which I did.<br />

I put good stages together where I was fighting<br />

inside of the top 10, finishing 3 times in the top 10<br />

overall stages, and once in the top 5 overall stage.”

Brad said he had lost a bit of time with navigation<br />

issues and bike problems in week 1, but a hard<br />

year of training saw him overcome this to achieve<br />

an amazing result – despite incredibly difficult<br />

conditions.<br />

“It’s two long weeks of racing and was the<br />

toughest Dakar I’ve done and the toughest some<br />

of the more experienced competitors have done.<br />

We did massive mileage – over 8,000 km racing<br />

for over 53 hours – so it was super long days,<br />

tough terrain… it was relentless. As a privateer,<br />

I also have to fund my way but am lucky I have<br />

amazing sponsors that back me, but at the end of<br />

the day, you have to put a result on the board so<br />

they can continue backing you!”<br />

Brad’s Dakar Rally performance continues his<br />

impressive streak, having won the last two rounds<br />

of the World Rally Championships in the Rally2<br />

division, placing 8th overall. He also clinched his<br />

10th South African Championship in 2023.

“This has set me up nicely for the rest of the year.<br />

My goal is to continue competing in the Rally2<br />

World Championships and hopefully take the<br />

top spot. Although I’ll have to miss Abu Dhabi<br />

because of funding, I will be in the next three<br />

rounds after that. The main goal is to get into a<br />

factory team!”<br />

Commenting on Brad’s performance, Bart van<br />

der Velden, the BAS World KTM Racing Team<br />

Manager commented:<br />

“It was really impressive to see the strides he<br />

has made in the past few years. From the first<br />

rally, we knew that he had riding skills – the only<br />

difficult thing for the fast riders is that they have<br />

to slow down to learn the navigation and that was<br />

challenging. But it was great to see the strides<br />

he has made and I see a good future for Bradley.<br />

He’s a great guy to work with, it’s a pleasure to<br />

have him around.”<br />

Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing at<br />

Toyota SA, a Dakar Rally event sponsor, added:<br />

“We are immensely proud to be associated with<br />

Brad. His third place in Rally2 at the 2024 Dakar<br />

was incredible. Toyota SA has been involved with<br />

Dakar for 13 years and we know the commitment<br />

and effort it takes just to get there, let alone<br />

finish and achieve success. We are lucky to have<br />

partnered with such a young star and believe that<br />

Brad will continue to succeed in his career. We<br />

are happy that we can assist him realise his goals<br />

and can’t wait to see what the future holds.!”<br />

Brad was able to compete with the help of<br />

generous sponsors who were committed to<br />

backing his racing dream. These included Toyota<br />

Gazoo Racing, ASP international rope access,<br />

Bas World KTm Racing Team, Leader Tread,<br />

Trollope Mining, Face First Media, PSlaser Racing,<br />

KTM South Africa, Airoh Helmets, Gaerne Boots,<br />

Shot Racing, TRP Distributors, 100%, USN,<br />

USWE, and Red Bull.





HELMET<br />




A Journey of Innovation and<br />

Endurance In the world of<br />

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Ente<br />

a<br />

pr<br />

fir<br />

of r<br />

ro<br />

ki<br />

Central to this relentless pursuit of adventure is the<br />

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the next-generation<br />

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oduct born from the<br />

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iders who are on the<br />

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One rider reflects on the pre-production helmet that<br />

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It’s a testament to the team’s dedication to rider<br />

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The new NEXX X.WED3 adventure helmet will be<br />

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