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MOTORREADS: Tuesday 13 January 2009


Still Wondering

africarace-live.com: The Africa Race ends at the Lac Rose



Victory Motorcycles will launch a prototype sport bike at the NYC Motorcycle
Show according to Spanish site SoloMoto30.com. No detail on the concept but it is a radical interpretation much like their Vision release two years ago.


hemmings.com: Monouh, duowheelcyclething

motorcycledaily.com: will we see a new Ducati Super Sport?

On the other end of the performance scale Honda launches an extension of the Cub line.
world.honda.com: Honda launches all new Wave 110i

motoblog.it: GSR-treffen 2009

webbikeworld.com: Shark Evoline DOT helmet

This is not the first time MotoGP has found itself in financial trouble. The U.K. site MCN has an article written during past trouble times when Team Roberts was king of the track.
motorcyclenews.com: The future of MotoGP

KawasakiÔÇÖs MotoGP withdrawal announcement included a statement that it would continue to support racing production based bikes. This story confirms Kawasaki Europe is committed now if Kawasaki would commit to racing in the US it would be nice.
visordown.com: BSB [British SuperBike]: Kawasaki to field two teams in 2009

bbc.co.uk: Silverstone signs MotoGP contract


canadiandriver: Fisker reveals Karma S conceopt hardtop convertible

autobloggreen.com: Meyrs Motors officially enters the Auto X Prize

motorauthority.com: RORMaxx working on wind powered Formula AE sports car

wheels.ca: Chrysler may outsource new car




I have a crush on Helen Hunt.

Maybe that isnÔÇÖt what I really mean. I have a crush on how Helen Hunt portrays the characters in most of the rolls she takes. It is not the rabid fan that turns into a stalker kind of crush. ItÔÇÖs the kind of crush on a character that makes you happy and lets you see something in others. I enjoy watching her act.

About ten years ago I found myself in the Laguna Beach area on business. I had a great room on the ocean. My internal clock was screwed up most of the time I was there. I would find myself walking the beach before the crack of dawn. After a long walk on an empty beach I would head up a set of stairs that took me to US 1 and a great coffee shop. I learned to time my walk to arrive just after opening and in time to order my double espresso while the bakery case was filled with fresh warm treats. Armed with a morning paper I would head to the outdoor dinning area to enjoy my double espresso and a flakey roll while reading. This morning ritual ended with a walk down the highway a few blocks to my hotel. I would shower, shave and dress then head down to a breakfast meeting to start the business day.

But I digress.

Crash.net asks a simple question and puts forward a novel idea to help improve the health of MotoGP; require all manufacturers to sell production versions of their grand prix prototype.

crash.net: Should MotoGP bikes be sold?

The GP divisions of motorcycling and cars have been looking at ways to save money. MotoGP and F1 have looked at extending engine life by reducing allowable engine rpms, cutting back on track time by limiting practice. For the bikes eliminating carbon fiber rotors would save a chunk of money and in both cases looking at what materials would be allowed to build and fuel the two and four wheeled prototype missiles. (Oops, Ducati is fielding a carbon fiber frame for 2009) At the same time they have been looking at cutting costs the promoters and manufacturers have been looking at ways to generate sponsor and TV revenue and how to share that revenue.

In both cases concerns have been raised that rules changes not destroy the ÔÇÿDNAÔÇÖ of class and in turn the sport. But what is that?

MotoGP bikes are purpose built bikes. Manufactures rationalize spending 30 plus million dollars each year as either test beds for technology or the ultimate marketing statement. Either way you wonÔÇÖt see one of these on the street. That is unless either of Crash.netÔÇÖs ideas was adopted.

In one version specific technological developments on this yearÔÇÖs bike would need to show up on at least 3,000 street bikes the following year or there would be penalties. This gives a tangible point to the technology trickle down argument. But would it put revenue in the builderÔÇÖs pockets? Or, would the customers for these bikes be cannibalized from their existing superbike customer base?

In the other version the manufacturers would be required what they do best, manufacture. The builders would be required to build 100 street versions of their MotoGP bike. At high end prices and exclusivity there could be a buck to be made on first blush. Take a second look and the cost to make these 100 bikes comply with DOT regulations could eat up a big chunk of time and money.

What does either option do to the sport of prototype purpose built bike racing? The separation between MotoGP 250GP and World SuperBike has been disappearing with each passing year. We look at MotoGP bikes as magical characters in the motorcycling pantheon.

If I remember right it was a Sunday morning. There was a bit of a fog hanging around with a chill in the air. I headed north on the beach for my morning walk. With the fog the birds were in the tree branches shrubs and on the ground along my path. This was great because as a very amateur bird watcher I was able to ad a couple of birds to my life list while making some bad sketches documenting the markings of my finds.

I was disappointed when I arrived at the top of the stairs. The outside tables were full of people waiting for the coffee shop to open. These were the people that were in and out to their cars during the week. Now I would have to share my morning treats and read with a bunch of chattering interlopers. I stood at the cross walk trying to decide if it was worth crossing over or should I head back to the hotel and drink a pot of their brew on my balcony.

A black 3 Series BMW pulled in to park just to my left as I was debating. A guy and a girl got out and were having an animated morning conversation as they crossed the street. I found myself following them like they were the pied pipers of coffee shops. Shortly I found myself waiting in line for my espresso and roll while having a conversation with the driver of the BMW and a couple of people that had come in after we had. It was not great conversation but the kind of chit chat people stuck in lines find themselves having.

The aroma of coffee fresh baked goods and the anticipation of much needed caffeine had everyone in a jovial mood. When we finally made it to the order area the female with the BMW driver, who had been engaged in a conversation with a lady ahead of us, turned and asked what he was going to have. It was Helen Hunt.

In the time it took us to tell the server what we wanted and receive our orders we continued our line conversation. Yes, during that time she did autograph one of my bird sketches for me. The orders arrived and they were out the door back to their car and down the road. I found a table drank my espresso ate my roll and read my paper.

I like Helen Hunt. If we traveled in the same circles I would like to think we would be friends but I donÔÇÖt think I would ask her out. I have a crush on how Helen Hunt portrays the characters in most of the rolls she takes. My only problem when I see her in a show now is being conflicted about the difference between the woman I would like to have as a friend and the one I have a crush on.

I find the Crash.net idea for MotoGP intriguing, yet I hope the manufacturers and rules makers donÔÇÖt adopt it. I have no illusions that I could afford either one of the 100 replica bikes or the 3000 production bikes that would be endowed directly with MotoGP performance they propose, but I donÔÇÖt want to read about it in an exclusive magazine or internet road test. There are some illusions I want to hold on too.


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