MotoGP News - Zarco outlines top 10 target for debut Ducati MotoGP season
Johann Zarco says his "main target right now" is to establish a "base" of top 10 finishes in the early part of his first MotoGP season on the Avintia Ducati
Motorcycle Racing News
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February 29, 2020 at 10:14AM
F1 News - Teams 'shocked' and 'angry' at Ferrari engine inquiry 'settlement'
Formula 1 teams are considering next steps after some were left "shocked" and "angry" by the conclusion to last year's Ferrari engine controversy.
Governing body the FIA said it had "reached a settlement" with Ferrari after an investigation into their 2019 engine.
Teams have expressed their unhappiness at what they see as an unsatisfactory and opaque decision.
They are considering their responses to the verdict.
No teams were prepared to express their views on the record, but some did so on condition of anonymity.
They are concerned that the FIA's attempt to draw a line under the matter does not make it clear whether Ferrari's engine was legal at all times last year or not.
A FIA statement issued on Friday said it had concluded a "thorough technical investigation" into the Ferrari engine and that "the specifics of the agreement (reached) remain between the parties".
The statement added that "the FIA and Scuderia Ferrari have agreed to a number of technical commitments that will improve the monitoring of all Formula 1 power-units for forthcoming championship seasons".
Teams believe fundamental questions are raised by the way the FIA has chosen to end the Ferrari investigation:
Ferrari declined to comment beyond the specifics of the FIA statement. The FIA was not immediately available for further comment.
The issue arose during last season when rivals - particularly Red Bull and Mercedes - began to have doubts about the level of superiority of the Ferrari car in straight-line speed.
Discontent rumbled throughout much of the season and the issue came to a head at the US Grand Prix in October when the FIA issued a rules clarification in response to a detailed series of questions from Red Bull.
These centred on whether it was possible to interfere with the mandatory fuel-flow meter in ways that made it bypass the regulation limit of 100kg per hour.
The FIA clarification made it clear that any intervention with the mandatory fuel-flow meter that could lead it to exceed the maximum permitted fuel flow would be against the rules.
In F1's complex turbo-hybrid engines, the fuel-flow limit works to promote efficiency and is effectively a ceiling on the amount of power an engine can produce.
It means teams cannot increase power simply by increasing the rate of fuel flow through the engine, and must do so instead via efficiency savings, in other words increasing the amount of power extracted from the available fuel by advances in the engine/hybrid system.
The FIA clarification was issued on the morning of qualifying in Austin, and later that day a run of six consecutive Ferrari pole positions came to an end. The team did not set a pole position in any of the remaining two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi either.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the two matters were not related, and that apparent differences in the car's straight-line performance seen by rivals were caused by the team changing the way they ran it and adding more downforce and therefore drag.
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February 29, 2020 at 06:58AM
Motorcycle News - MotoGP 2020 Season Preview – Part One
Repsol Honda phenom Marc Marquez is, as per usual, the early favorite to make it seven world championships in eight tries in 2020. Sure, there are a lot of fast challengers – Yamaha NKT (new kid in town) Fabio Quartararo, Ducati #1 Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha’s inconsistent Maverick Viñales topping that list – and Marquez is coming off right shoulder surgery. Sadly, the result is likely to be the same. If you’re planning to wager on anyone other than ReMarcAble Marc, best get yourself some odds.
The subtext to the season deserves some exploration. Several high-profile riders are approaching the end of the chain, career-wise. Names like Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow, even Andrea Dovizioso. Jorge Lorenzo has already called it quits (though he’s hanging around as a Yamaha test rider). Likewise, as usual, there is a crop of dynamic young pretenders looking to get in on the big money. Guys like Fabio, the Suzuki duo of Alex Rins and Joan Mir, plus Ducati’s Jack Miller. Now that Marquez is a true legend, mid-career, he will be the target of all these fast movers, young and old. Heading into a contract year, typically a two-year-commitment (unless you’re #93 – more on that later), means plenty of musical chairs. Young guns on the way up versus grizzled vets with surgical scars on the way out. Twenty rounds of grueling travel and high-stakes riding. Hidden agendas. Palace intrigues. No real off-season – always testing, testing, testing.
All of which takes place in a breathtakingly expensive pursuit of second place. And less than that for the two manufacturers, KTM and Aprilia, who have yet to deliver the results envisioned by them and for them a number of years ago. Hope springs eternal for their riders, the Espargaro brothers, Pol (KTM) and Aleix (Aprilia) as both factories are looking to become the next Suzuki alongside Honda, Yamaha and Ducati. Top tier. They appear to have taken another step forward but don’t appear to be there yet.
Marquez wields a heavy-enough bat that he was able to get HRC to sign his little brother Alex, the reigning Moto2 world champion, for the #2 seat on the team. His contract for 2021-22 is already done. He has skills well beyond those of mortal riders, and he loves what he does. He has a powerful motorcycle built to his specifications that only he can ride, as young Alex is about to discover. The world, in 2020, is his oyster. You can cut the tension with a feather.
Management has insisted on a complete MotoGP season preview, despite the likelihood of another Marquez title. I have agreed but am limiting my comments and observations to things about which I’m relatively certain, which, as many of you know, are few and far between. Despite my suspension by FIM, and having been blackballed by Dorna, Motorcycle.com wishes that I continue to submit “racing news.” Beginning now, the deal is I submit articles when there’s real stuff going on. Maybe 15 or 20 columns tops per season. I’m happy, getting out of the October grind. Evans is happy for some relief on his ‘subcontractor’ budget. Now, if someone would just send me to Finland.
You, the reader, however, are stuck, because I still have a few things on my mind.
In an effort to illuminate the fact that MO is getting a great deal from me, I am dividing the 2020 preview into two parts: 1) Most of the Stuff, and 2) The Stuff I Left Out of Part One. This should give you, the reader, the greatest collection of news you can use from the world of MotoGP, even if the organization thereof is rather incoherent. ‘We’ here at MO are tired of the predictable old formats and are seeking ways to bill management without having to do actual research or check specific boxes. Our goal is to become the Jack Kerouac of motorcycle journalism. As an aside, have you ever seen a more schizophrenic use of the editorial “we?”
This, Then, is Most of the Stuff
As of Valentine’s day, subsequent to the Sepang test, we had an idea what’s in store for each of the teams, the easiest way to compare prospects of riders and machines. In keeping with our Dharma Bums approach to 2020, they are presented in no particular order, mostly as an exercise to see if I can remember them all. My most vivid recollection of the recent off-season was how Karel Abraham, after years of loyal, if not productive, service, gets unceremoniously hoisted from his Avintia Ducati seat in favor of downtrodden journeyman Johann Zarco. This change damages the future of the Brno round, as Karel’s dad owns the track and much of the country, and may react poorly to his son, the attorney, getting publicly ejected from his chosen profession, etc. Anyway, here goes.
MotoGP Teams and 2020 Prospects
Repsol Honda: Marc and Alex Marquez
The good news about this new familial partnership is that dad Julià Márquez can now have both of his usual mental breakdowns simultaneously. And while everyone knows about Marc, young Alex, the unexpected Moto2 champion in 2019 despite several mediocre years there, rode his brother’s coattails to a MotoGP ride on the baddest premier class team in existence. He has been presented with a 2019 RC213V and told to go to work.
It could easily be a long year for Alex, on a steep, painful learning curve while big bro is taking home all the hardware. A long couple of years, now that you mention it. Perhaps it’s genetic, and young Alex takes to the Honda as a fish to water and finds himself some early top tens. It is easy to envision Marc in the role of mentor, as they truly seem to get along. It can’t be easy being Marc Marquez’s little brother, but give Alex credit for standing in there and letting the comparisons shower down while he learns his trade at the top of the world.
One recent bit of news is that Marc will not be 100% when the lights go out in Qatar, rehabbing from surgery on his right shoulder for three months instead of the prescribed six. Not sure why he waited until January to have the surgery. The single, solitary pinpoint of light at the end of the 2020 tunnel is if Marquez gets off to a slow start, not returning to full strength until, say, Jerez. That pinpoint of light would be in the form of an Alien rider, a Viñales or Quartararo, say, getting off to a quick start, winning two or three, and creating a gap to Marquez leaving Argentina. A 60 or 70 point gap. Then, we might have us a horse race.
Of course, none of that is going to happen. But it paints a pretty picture, Marquez finishing third for the year, still in all the podium pictures, but the dream having received a dent due to injury which must, one assumes, be expected in this sport. Having largely escaped serious injury since 2011 in Sepang, one could argue he is overdue. He’ll probably laugh off the shoulder and win the opener and win in Austin and head back home fully healed and ready to rumble again in 2020. #93.
The bad news, for the rest of the riders, is that Marquez’ new contract with HRC is a four year deal, twice as long as a “normal” contract. The somewhat contrived notation that Rossi, for instance, won titles with two different manufacturers, so there, gets flushed willingly by Marquez, who essentially has an entire division of a major international industrial conglomerate devoted to keeping him happy and on top. And no Andrew Luck nonsense for our boy Marc, who still keeps very little titanium in his person. For a guy who pushes the limits of adhesion for fun, he’s had surprisingly few bone-shearing crashes in his career. More hair-raising saves than wrecks.
Factory Movistar Yamaha Team: Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales
Perhaps the most intriguing team in the 2020 championship, for a host of reasons. Yamaha has already committed to Viñales and Quartararo for 2021, while Rossi will see how he does in the first seven or eight rounds (which, conveniently, would be around the Mugello) before deciding on his future.
This may turn this season into the nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi’s farewell tour, blowing kisses to legions of yellow-clad screamers amidst clouds of fluorescent yellow smoke, fright wigs in place, wanting to be able to tell their kids and grandkids they saw the great Valentino Rossi during his final appearance at [insert track name here]. Rossi, on an improved Yamaha, settling for top-tens during what could be his last season, which should have probably been 2017.
Anyway, Rossi will be an absolute marketing machine in 2020 before taking over a MotoGP slot and going after more championships as an owner/operator. Some of the luster has come off his ranch, as a number of his fast young protégés have failed to launch in Moto2; for a while there it seemed like most of the young fast movers were all coming through Rossi’s academy. Rossi will not be a factor in the 2020 championship. He will, however, factor positively into the bottom line at Dorna, which will ride him hard this year. For me, the notion that he would accept a contract with a satellite team for 2021, even with Yamaha, is unfortunate, since doing so would make him just another top ten rider. Not good. Stop at the top.
Maverick Viñales, once considered championship material, now considered by most to be contender material, recently signed for 2021-22 with Yamaha, positioning himself as the unquestioned #1 rider on what was once the best bike in the business, pre-Marquez. The 2020 M1 has impressed management enough to sign Viñales to a new deal, confident he will be able to compete for a title on the latest iteration. Maverick Viñales will battle for second place this year – you heard it here first.
Factory Ducati Team: Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci
Early rumblings from Petrucci suggest the 2020 Desmosedici has surrendered the advantage it enjoyed as recently as last year on tracks with long straights, lowering expectations. He turned in a credible performance at the Sepang test while Dovizioso dawdled in the teens, just not really into it. Dovizioso, who entertained dreams of world championships as recently as three years ago, has probably reached the conclusion shared by many others that this is not going to happen. He will settle for the money, the notoriety, the top-five finishes, the celebrity. Not a bad way to earn a living. Capable of scoring a win here or there.
Danilo Petrucci is, to put it bluntly, too normal-sized to win a title in MotoGP. He regularly rides the wheels off his Ducati only to finish seventh, the victim of rear spin and tire wear. Seems like every team owner wants to get rid of him, and that Gigi was shopping his seat to Viñales this past winter. Dude came from nothing, riding an Ioda-Suter in 2013, to within fractions of a second of fame and glory, a story shared by other riders in The Marquez Era. Paging Dani Pedrosa. Now, his size still a factor, he contends, especially at friendly tracks, such as Mugello, where he recorded his first career premier class win last year. I find myself pulling for Danilo; not sure why. Local boy makes good, perhaps. They are going to take away his factory seat next year, pretty sure. Very Darwinian around here.
So, I figure Dovizioso fourth for the season, Petrucci eighth. Does that constitute a successful season for Ducati Corse? I think not. I think the racing division needs to ask itself some serious questions about the bike and the riders. They do not appear destined to factor in the championship to any great extent. And a hypothetical 2021 team of Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia would not be expected to threaten Marquez.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR: Alex Rins and Joan Mir
The 2020 Suzuki team, one of the few outfits without a satellite team, does have itself a young pair of badass riders. As has been the story ever since the factory returned to MotoGP in 2015, the Suzuki GSX-RR handles like a dream but still lacks sufficient top-end to compete for the full-season podium. These two guys are IMO prime candidates to switch teams heading into 2021, as they may both believe their careers are being stifled by the hardware. Doing so may be the answer to their dreams or the stuff of nightmares. Paging El Gato.
Rins, beginning his fourth premier class season, has shown steady progress, going from 16th to 5th to 4th last season, certainly capable of a top three finish as long as the creek don’t rise. Smooth and fast, he continues to make unforced errors in races that cramp his overall results. In between crashes, he is a consistent top four threat, and had his first two career wins last year.
Mir, a blur in Moto3, a fast learner in Moto2, enjoyed his rookie season enough to place 12th for the year with 92 points, three DNFs and two DNS. His second time around should be majorly improved; he was truly remarkable in Moto3 and has that same extra something that #93 has. Cat quickness. An internal gyroscope turning high RPMs. Rins, I believe, will enter the Alien ranks within three years. Just probably not on a Suzuki.
While We’re on the Subject
Without wishing to get ahead of ourselves, we need to keep one eye on the teams that will have open seats at the end of the 2020 season. Not the factory Honda or Yamaha teams. Petronas Yamaha will have at least one. Suzuki may have two, as could Ducati. KTM and Aprilia, almost certainly, depending upon how the year goes. Riders seeking greener pastures in 2021 will not likely find them on the top two teams.
Check back here on Motorcycle.com next week for Part 2 of Bruce’s 2020 MotoGP season preview.
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February 28, 2020 at 05:27PM
Motorcycle News - Retro Rumble Redux: Kawasaki Z900RS vs Suzuki Katana
Lately, it’s like time travel around here. A couple years ago we put the then-new Kawasaki Z900RS up against the Suzuki GSX-S1000 in a slightly apples-to-oranges comparo, Retro or Not(ro), which the Kawi won by a hair. Now that Suzuki has their own retro based upon the GSX-S in the Katana, we felt like we had to do it again. Our duty.
It’s kind of a generational thing, and a Boomer bonanza, though more enlightened youngsters also appreciate these bikes’ looks. So does Ryan Adams:
I guess I should say somewhere in here that I’ve never been a huge fan of the Z900RS. Looking at last year’s model, all I could think was that it looked like a more mass-produced cheaper version of what Triumph does so well with its modern classic line of motorcycles. It wasn’t until I saw the 2020 model at EICMA, in Candytone Green, that I gave it more than a passing glance. The rich green paint chock-full of gold flake stuns in sun and still manages to look show-stopping in low light. The yellow stripe reaching back to the ducktail fender accents the color superbly.
The original Z1 Kawasaki got here in 1972, but the first one I remember seeing was the striped version of year two production – just like the second-year Z900RS we’ve got here, which caused the eyeballs to fall out of my still-loose 13-year-old head in 1973. In that year, the Beatles might still get back together, flower power was still in full swing, and my long-haired bell-bottomed cohort might be actually changing the world for the better.
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By the time the Katana appeared in 1981, we’d got straight: Nancy Reagan just said no, John Lennon had been shot dead, Keith Richards was approaching 40, and Gordon Gecko and AIDS were right around the corner. It was time to party in a more hardened, self-centered way, and the Hans Muth-styled Katana was on the cutting edge of hep, like a bike you might see in an MTV video.
Which era do you prefer? 1973 was a kinder, gentler time, and the Kawasaki is a kinder, gentler motorcycle than the Katana. These two couldn’t be a better match for each other on paper, with nearly identical weights, wheelbases and engine architectures – but they’re way different at the same time. The Kawasaki’s seat is about an inch lower, and when you climb onto it, the suspension sags a tad more. Passengers are happy on both motorcycles, but they’re happier farther and longer on the Kawasaki, which has less of a step from rider to passenger sections. Free, bareback love.
You’re sat just slightly more upright on the Kawasaki, which also offers lower footpegs and more legroom than the Katana.
Meanwhile, the Suzuki reflects ten years of evolution, with ergonomics tuned to offset a decade of horsepower gains. You really don’t sample it much when you’re toddling around town, but when you get to the fun roads, the Katana’s dyno chart advantage begins to reveal itself. To counter that, it leans you a bit more into the wind: At 80 mph you’re holding on to the Kawi’s handlebar to keep yourself in place, on the Suzuki your body’s angle of attack offsets the windblast just right. Its vestigial flyscreen blocks about as much wind as the Kawi’s headlight – but the aftermarket’s already after the Katana with a bunch of taller options should you so desire.
Ryan says: On the freeway riding into a headwind, the Z900RS’ lack of wind protection coupled with its upright ergos had me feeling like my head was going to be blown off my shoulders and sent bouncing down the freeway. Although the Katana doesn’t provide much wind protection, the shape of the front fairing and canted forward riding position made the Suzuki much easier to deal with when slabbin’ it.
On the way to where the fun roads begin, the Katana passes a bit more four-cylinder tingle through its grips, footpegs, and seat than the Kawasaki, really only noticeably above about 6000 rpm, and so for most of us, it’s not really a problem. The Kat’s tapered aluminum handlebar is mounted solidly and its footpegs are aluminum sportbike pieces. Its stiffer suspension also conveys bumps to the rider more than the Kawi.
The Kawi’s chrome handlebar, on the other hand, is mounted in rubber, and its footpegs are topped with it; the Z remains serene however hard you flog its 948 cc four-cylinder. You can hear its mechanicals down there working, but you seldom feel it – and the Z’s more compliant suspension better insulates you from life’s bumps.
Running on the Backstreets
Backstreets was a song on Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 breakout boomer-anthem Born to Run. On our favorite tightish backstreets, the Kawasaki uses its superior low-rev power to keep up with the Katana, at first anyway, when you’re just getting into it and warming up the tires a bit. Once the cudgels are fully erect and the Katana pilot begins to feel his oats, though, it’s not long before that bike begins to use its firmer suspension, more committed ergonomics – and far superior top-end power to gap the Kawasaki.
Ryan says, The Kawasaki never feels lacking in power around town thanks to its mid-range, it’s only once the pace starts to pick up on canyon roads that you blast through its mid-range into a slightly pallid top end, and that’s just where the Suzuki’s ol K5 motor keeps pulling. The Katana delivers strong torque down low coming into a steady mid-range, then keeps screaming past the Kawi up to its 11,000-something redline.
It’s entirely possible to have an epic blast on our favorite roads without ever exceeding 7000 rpm on either of these bikes, but dropping down a gear in the 138-horsepower Suzuki’s excellent six-speed gearbox, or clutching it a smidge, opens up a realm of Chewbacca-style acceleration the 97-hp Kawasaki just doesn’t possess. The longer the straights, the more the Suzuki says sayonara.
On our short-straight favorite roads, the Kawasaki sticks surprisingly close anyway, even with its softer suspension and sparking footpegs. Inputs need to be a bit more deliberate on the Kawi, but feeding in throttle from closed in those second-gear corners always results in smooth, confident drive off the corner.
RA: The Z900RS’ peg feelers grinding permanent scars into our favorite canyon roads as the pace picked up hint at the Kawasaki’s more relaxed demeanor. The Z900RS will get up and go with its bulgey mid-range, but it begins to be outclassed by the Katana when the pace picks up.
At higher revs on the Suzuki in second gear, reapplying gas usually results in a sudden hit of power – luckily nothing the rear 190/50 Dunlop can’t handle, in the dry anyway. Again, that little bit of throttle abruptness bothers some more than others; dragging the rear brake a bit mostly alleviates it, and the rush of power that flows after the initial hit makes it all seem worthwhile.
Both bikes have rudimentary traction control and ABS, of the non-IMU variety. Now that Suzuki’s gone ride-by-wire on the new V-Strom 1050, which runs excellently, maybe the ol’ SDTV valves will soon be a thing of the past on the Katana too.
Suzuki tells us the Katana shares its inverted fork and shock with the GSX-S1000, the only differences being that the Katana gets 520 ml of oil per fork leg instead of 518 ml, and the standard rear preload setting is 3 of 7 in the Katana instead of 4 of 7: If that’s the case, we have to surmise its superior ride and handling, compared to both the S and the Kawasaki, must be down to the new Roadsport 2 tires Dunlop cooked up specifically for it just last year. These things feel way sportier than the previous-gen Sportmax GPR-300 tires the Kawasaki comes with, as well as the Dunlop D214 tires our last GSX-S1000 wore.
We’re back to the ten years of separation: the Katana’s GSX-R derived twin-beam aluminum frame, aided and abetted by its other components, just generally feels more solid, precise and willing than the Z’s retro steel backbone frame and assorted pieces when it comes to aggressive riding. (Heck, let’s face it. The GSX-S is nearly a modern GSX-R.) And we decided that while you could certainly take the Z900RS to a track day and enjoy a brisk session or two, the Katana would probably surprise you and quite a few other riders with its closed-course competence.
But that’s not important right now, because obviously there are better choices if track riding is in your future. These are about riding in a slightly more leisurely way down memory lane. Exactly how leisurely is up to you to decide. For rolling down the boulevard, seeing and being seen, the Kawasaki is hard to beat. It only makes 97 horsepower, but it’s also perfectly content to bimble along at just above idle speed in traffic, while you and your passenger enjoy the plush seat, compliant suspenders, and low seat height.
Once parked out front of your favorite spot and listening to the cover band butcher “Free Bird” yet again, you’ll enjoy the envy of all as they gather round to gaze into your metalflake paint and deep chrome appendages. Actually one of my only complaints about the RS is that it’s so nicely finished, it reminds me of an over-restored original Z1. They were never this nice in my day, punk…
Other than its perfection, there’s really nothing not to like about the Kawasaki, unless you’re still hung up about its 97-hp top end. For the relaxed-fit riding you’re gonna be doing in those mom jeans, though, it hardly matters. Around town the Z900RS ticks all of the boxes a runabout should. Nice mid-range power to squirt through the city is delivered with effortless clutch pull and smooth throttle response, an incredibly well-balanced and nimble chassis gives one the notion it could be the ultimate slow race champion, and upright ergos keep you free to look around as you tiptoe through traffic or cruise off into the sunset down Hwy 1, says Ryan.
Also: I was sure that the wide flat passenger seat of the Kat would earn the praises of passengers where, in fact, it was the Z900RS’ lower more cushy one-piece saddle that left both JB’s favorite friend and my wife happiest.
The Katana is a sharper-edged sword by quite a large margin, but it’s only barely less comfy than the Kawi to ride around upon every day – and if everyday riding includes freeway riding, you’ll like its ergonomics better. The original 1981 Katana was notorious and widely poo-pooed for its clip-on handlebars and torturous riding position; Suzuki went the opposite direction with this homage. In making Italian designer Rodolfo Frascoli’s dream come true, however, they made one really big sacrifice.
Once all that swoopy new bodywork was in place, there was only room for 3.2 gallons of gas. In flog mode, our Katana returned 35 mpg. In normal use, that’ll be more like 40 mpg: Still, not enough range. A serious faux pas on Suzuki’s part.
Still, not serious enough for the Katana not to win this bout by unanimous decision, 269 points to 262. In Objective scoring, the Katana used its superior horsepower to overcome the Kawasaki’s big price advantage. In the Subjective categories, the kid and I both gave the advantage to the Suzuki.
Nostalgia has its place, but when you can have retro, comfort, and 138 horses in a motorcycle that goes, stops, handles, and woos the crowd as well as the Katana, it’s a hard thing to pass up.
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February 28, 2020 at 02:42PM
Motorcycle News - 2021 BMW R18 Cruiser and Bagger Designs Leak
While we continue to wait on the slow drip of official news on BMW‘s 1800cc cruisers, we’ve gotten our mitts on design filings for what appears to be the production models of the R18 in cruiser and bagger form.
Published this week by Brazil’s intellectual property office, the designs give us a good look at both versions of the R18 from multiple angles. Key elements such as turn signals, mirrors, fork-mounted reflectors and a giant license plate mount suggest that these are indeed intended for production and not just another concept. The designs also closely resemble the bikes spotted covered by tarps in spy photographs we published back in October.
The design filings give us our first good look at the bagger version, which we’ll call the R1800B for lack of a better name. While the two bikes obviously share the same 1802cc boxer engine, we were surprised at how much the bagger and the cruiser version (which we’ll call the R1800C) differ. Overlaying the right profile images of both bikes highlight these differences.
Apart from the obvious addition of a large fairing, front fender and saddlebags, we notice some changes to the chassis. It appears BMW is using a modular chassis design, as the headstock for the bagger is significantly different from the cruiser. Beyond supporting the added weight of the fairing, the chassis change also resulted in a different rake and trail, with the R1800B bagger’s front wheel brought in closer to the header pipes.
The R1800C also has an additional frame component below the seat for mounting passenger foot pegs. The bagger also has a noticeably larger fuel tank and a significantly thicker two-up seat.
The cruiser’s exhausts end in a rather bulbous pair of silencers with fin-shaped exhaust tips whereas the bagger has straighter pipes with a slash-cut tip, likely to make more room for the side cases. The R1800C also sports wire-spoke wheels instead of the bagger’s cast wheels, giving the cruiser a more classic styling.
The cruiser has one circular instrument nacelle while the bagger’s fairing incorporates four round dials above a rectangular panel. If this panel ends up being a TFT display, it looks like the bagger will have the largest screen we’ve seen on a motorcycle to date. We spy BMW’s multi-controller dial on the left handlebar grip (absent on the cruiser), further suggesting a digital display. Flanking the instrumentation are two side panels, though it’s hard to tell if these are speakers or additional storage boxes.
We already know the engine is an air-cooled 1802cc boxer with pushrods. BMW previously claimed an output of 89.8 hp at 4750 rpm and 116.5 lb-ft at 3000 rpm, with a 950 rpm idle and a 5750 rpm redline. The engine is Euro 5 compliant and is paired with a constant mesh six-speed transmission.
BMW is taking its sweet time in teasing its R18 platform, but these design filing suggest we’re finally getting closer to an official announcement for the production models. We’ll have the latest here on Motorcycle.com as it becomes available.
2021 BMW R1800B Bagger
2021 BMW R1800C Cruiser
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February 28, 2020 at 12:42PM
F1 News - Formula 1: Ferrari reach settlement over engine investigation
Formula 1's governing body says it has "reached a settlement" with Ferrari following an investigation into the engine it raced last year.
The FIA looked into claims Ferrari had found a way to circumvent restrictions on fuel flow that are central to F1's complex turbo hybrid engines.
A statement said that the FIA had concluded a "thorough technical investigation" into the engine.
It added: "The specifics of the agreement remain between the parties."
The statement added: "The FIA and Scuderia Ferrari have agreed to a number of technical commitments that will improve the monitoring of all Formula 1 power units for forthcoming championship seasons as well as assist the FIA in other regulatory duties in Formula 1 and in its research activities on carbon emissions and sustainable fuels."
Rivals Mercedes and Red Bull had suspicions about Ferrari's engine performance for much of last season and at the US Grand Prix in October the FIA issued a clarification of the rules in response to a series of questions raised by Red Bull.
The clarification made it clear that any intervention with the mandatory fuel-flow meter that could lead it to exceed the maximum permitted fuel flow would be against the rules.
Following the clarification, a run of six consecutive pole positions by Ferrari came to an end.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto insisted the two matters were not linked.
The FIA has continued to look into the Ferrari engine since then, and Friday's statement marks an end to the investigation.
Those who believed Ferrari might have found a way around the rules will point to the fact that the FIA statement does not specifically clear the team of wrongdoing.
However, the fact that there has been no punishment will be taken by others as an indication that the FIA was not able to prove Ferrari was doing anything wrong.
Ferrari and the FIA declined to comment beyond the specifics of the statement.
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February 28, 2020 at 12:15PM
Motorcycle News - The Divisionist: Federal Moto’s first BMW bobber
So when a local film production company approached Federal to build a custom bike, they picked a genre they hadn’t yet tackled. For their seventeenth project, commissioned by Divisionist Films, the Chicago workshop created their first BMW-powered bobber.
Federal started by sitting down with their client, and going through reference material to figure out what would hit the mark.
The R80 needed some love though, so Michael and Federal staffer David Pecaro started by rebuilding the 797 cc motor, five-speed transmission and Bing carbs. The work included new seals and rings, a new electronic ignition, and NGK spark plug boots and cables.
The BMW’s running gear didn’t go neglected either. Federal grabbed the forks and six-piston Tokico calipers from a 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa, and hooked them up to an upper triple tree and steering stem from Cognito Moto.
Out back, the crew built a minimal subframe, with support for the solo seat and revised shock mounts. A new pair of 15” shocks now holds up the rear end. There are hand-rolled fenders at both ends too, attached to custom-made brackets.
Right behind the tiny tank is a scant little bobber seat, upholstered by Dane Utech, a Chicago local, using suede and leather from Relicate Leather. Dane covered the ‘passenger’ pad too and did a stellar job—but you’d need to be brave (and petite) to take a ride on the back of this bobber.
The bulky battery was replaced with an Antigravity Lithium-ion battery, which sits in a custom-made box just in front of the rear wheel. It’s been designed so that its back edge traces the radius of the rear wheel; a neat little touch.
It’s also sporting new levers, a set of OEM BMW cables, and Goodridge brake lines. A 5.75” lamp lights the way out front, and a small LED taillight is mounted to the swingarm.
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February 28, 2020 at 11:34AM
F1 News - Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas fastest as testing concludes
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas ended pre-season testing with fastest lap - both on Friday's final day and overall.
The Finn's performance underlined impressions that the world champions are in strong shape ahead of the start of the new season in Australia next month.
But rivals Ferrari and Red Bull both showed pace on the final day, and Racing Point have impressed as well.
Bottas' time on Friday was 0.073secs quicker than Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman was running tyres one grade harder than the other drivers in the list of top five fastest times, with Renault's Daniel Ricciardo third, ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
And it appeared as if Verstappen could have gone faster still when he was on a quicker lap at the end of the day, but slowed down in the final part of the circuit.
On the final day of the second week of testing, no-one got close to the 1:15.732 lap Bottas managed a week ago at the end of the first week's test.
Headline lap times in testing are notoriously unreliable guides to actual competitiveness because teams do not reveal the specifications in which they are running their cars, and fuel loads and engine settings can make a significant difference to performance.
After an unconvincing first five days of testing, Ferrari finally showed some pace, on both short runs and long, as Leclerc added a strong race-simulation run in the afternoon to his improved one-lap pace.
Hamilton said he was satisfied with his preparations for the season, but was concerned about the reliability problems with engines Mercedes had suffered.
"We've had a good winter test," Hamilton said. "It's not been perfect and we've found that we've got plenty of problems that we are trying to iron out. I don't know how long it will take to iron out but that's never a bad thing necessarily to discover them through testing.
"But otherwise I think our performance has been good in the sense of the amount of laps we've got, the mileage, and the actual processes and the things we've discovered along the way.
"I have no idea where we stand compared to others, the team will probably have a better idea than that. I don't know where everybody else is.
"I think I understand the car well so I'm comfortable and confident in terms of getting in the car for Melbourne and knowing that I'll be able to attack and extract the most from it but whether that's going to be enough to be ahead of others, we'll find out."
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto reiterated his belief that they were behind main rivals Mercedes and Red Bull at this stage.
"We are certainly not the fastest car during winter testing," Binotto said. "Our main competitors are faster but it is only the start of a long season. There will be time to address development where we are weak."
Fastest times, second pre-season test, day two
1 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:16.196 U
2 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:16.269 S
3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:16.276 U
4 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:16.360 U
5 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:16.410 U
6 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 1:16.433 S
7 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:16.634 M
8 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:16.820 S
9 George Russell (GB) Williams 1:16.871 U
10 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Alpha Tauri 1:16.914 M
11 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:17.037 S
12 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 1:17.415 M
13 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:17.495 S
14 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:17.803 H
Key: U = ultra-soft tyre; S = soft tyre; M = medium tyre; H = hard tyre
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February 28, 2020 at 11:22AM
F1 News - Formula 1 livery concept designs - check out some of the more unusual ones
It's that time of the year in the racing calendar when F1 fans get to see this year's fresh batch of livery designs. We've rounded up each team's new design here.
In the meantime, over on that there internet, a creative community of designers, unbound by corporate briefs and stakeholder input, are playing about with new, high-concept designs.
What might this year's McLaren or Mercedes cars have looked like, re-imagined? And what would a Formula 1-meets-football-World-Cup car look like?
We chatted to a few designers whose hobby is to spend hours making these things that exist for their own sake only and not for any commercial gain - to say, "good job guys" but, also, to ask: "Why?"
Tim Holmes, 37
Tim is a web design professional and massive motorsport fan. This is what this year's liveries might have come out like, had he been let loose.
He says he's "always trying to come up with new ideas that others haven't tried or thought of".
One of his ideas, back in 2018, was to create a host of liveries inspired by that year's World Cup kits.
"The series did really well and was shared globally, including by F1 themselves on their social platforms," he tells us.
Another idea he came up with was to design a set of liveries based on drivers' helmets, including the likes of Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, plus classics including Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen.
"The designs were done to highlight the decreasing level of driver personalisation in Formula 1 and that it is possibly now harder than ever to identify individuals on track, especially for viewers trackside," Tim explains.
Sean Bull, 26
Designer Sean is living his (and maybe your) best life. Two years ago, he got himself a job designing liveries for Renault Formula 1, having studied automotive design at university and gone on to work as an automotive car stylist.
He tells us joining Renault was "a bit like a footballer growing up to play for their boyhood club".
He still makes livery designs as a hobby.
Some of his concepts play around with what 2021 liveries could look like, with a retro treatment.
"I started off just posting retro liveries on Instagram just over three years ago," he tells us, "simply because I loved scouring Formula 1 books and the internet to find obscure and unique liveries, then using my Photoshop skills to re-apply them for the modern day."
Other concepts include stuff like how Ford or other manufacturers' cars could have looked as a 2020 Formula 1 livery.
"Concept liveries allow myself a way of expressing in the virtual world what I would love to achieve in the real one, but without any of the restrictions that come with it," he tells us. "I know a lot of people seem to take issue at the feasibility of some of them, but to me it doesn't matter as I can save all my feasibility for the real world."
Adam Oates, 21
Adam is a graphic design student at the University of Cumbria.
His designs include his own suggestions for what a Lamborghini livery could look like in Formula 1.
Some of his other designs are fairly high concept.
He tells us the first idea he played about with was a livery inspired by Liverpool FC.
After making that first design, he tells us he started creating two or three a day.
"I went through secondary school wanting to be an F1 mechanic and worked in a garage from the age of 13-15 on Saturday mornings," Adam tells us, adding that when he "fell out of love" with working on the tools, livery concept design allowed him another way to get back into cars.
Now then, if someone could just make these happen, that would be super.
via BBC Sport - Formula 1 https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
February 28, 2020 at 09:13AM
F1 News - Williams says team's struggles are 'not because I have a child'
Deputy principal Claire Williams says her Formula 1 team's struggles are "not because I have a child".
Nine-time constructors' champions Williams endured their worst season in 2019, and have not won a race since 2012.
Claire Williams, who has run the team since 2013, said it has been suggested to her that the issues coincided with her becoming a mum in October 2017.
She said people "maybe give me a rougher time because I am a woman".
Williams added: "I have had someone say to me that a lot of people in the Formula 1 paddock think that the team started doing badly when I fell pregnant and had a baby.
"Am I not allowed a child because I am a woman running a Formula 1 team? It is a disgraceful attitude, and a very 19th-century attitude."
Williams said she wants to "use the fact I am a woman in this male-dominated world" to change attitudes within the sport.
"I would love to walk down the paddock this year having taken the team to a better place, to show that I can be a wife, I can be a mother and still run a Formula 1 team in a successful way," she said.
Williams assumed the day-to-day running of the team from her father Sir Frank in 2013, and oversaw a third-placed constructors' finish the following season.
But the team finished bottom last year having scored just one point with a car nearly 1.5 seconds slower than the next slowest on the grid.
Williams said that, because of her role, she had "rightly" taken "a huge amount of criticism".
"I am not on social media, I don't engage and I don't read the coverage as to whether people are saying Claire Williams should go," she said.
"It is about what you do as a human being when you are on your knees that counts. I know the job I do and the value I bring to this team."
She said "fundamental changes" are needed - not only in F1 - as to "how we address women in the workplace" because "it is so far behind the times".
Her comments come in the same month six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton used his Laureus Sportsman of the Year speech to highlight the lack of diversity in F1.
The first race of the new season is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 15 March.
via BBC Sport - Formula 1 https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
February 28, 2020 at 07:15AM