Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MotoGP: Ben Spies Announces Retirement From Racing

Photography by Gold & Goose

Former AMA Superbike and World Superbike Champion Ben Spies has announced his retirement from the sport, the Texan making the announcement in a joint statement with Ducati.

“I had such high hopes for racing for Ducati and Ducati has been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging year, so I am tremendously disappointed that I have not been able to fulfill my personal goals and team goals with Ducati,” Spies said in the release. “I want to thank everyone from racing organizations, factories, teams and all my fans for helping me and supporting me throughout my career. I never dreamed that I would reach the level of success that I have over the past 20 years of racing, but the time has come to stop and I do so with great sadness.”

Spies signed a two-year contract with Ducati at the end of last season to race in MotoGP in 2013 and 2014. The two parties reached an agreement to resolve that contract and the 29-year-old has elected to retire due to the shoulder injuries – the first from the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix and the second from the Red Bull Indy Grand Prix this season.

 “The resulting operations on both shoulders have left Spies feeling that his physical ability to ride next year remains in question and a decision was jointly made by Ducati and Ben to release Ben from any requirement to race in 2014,” the statement said.

“We had high expectations when Ben joined Ducati in MotoGP this year and we really hoped that he would fully recover from his Indianapolis crash injuries and continue to race for us in the future,” said Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati’s MotoGP project director. “However, we understand the reasons for his decision and respect them. It is really a shame for our sport that Ben will not be racing anymore because in our opinion he is one of the most talented riders in the world. We will miss him and wish him all the best for his future life.”

Spies mother, Mary, who is also his manager, added: “Wherever Ben has raced over the years - from AMA Superbike to World Superbike to MotoGP - he has always felt the warmth and appreciation of the organizers, circuits, teams and fans. We are so grateful to them for their support.”

Spies won 45 races in various classes of AMA racing with his first victory coming in the 750cc Superstock class at Pikes Peak Raceway in Colorado in 2001. His list of victories in AMA racing included 28 wins in the premiere Superbike class and three AMA Superbike Championships (2006, 2007 and 2008).

In 2009, Spies headed to the World Superbike Series with Yamaha and won the title in his rookie season with 14 victories and 11 pole positions – on circuits he’d never seen before.

In 2010, Spies joined Yamaha’s satellite Tech 3 team in MotoGP, racing in the final Grand Prix of the 2009 season for the team as a wild card and finishing seventh.

In 2010, Spies finished sixth in the MotoGP World Championship, earning rookie of the year honors. The highlight of that season was a second-place finish in the Indianapolis Grand Prix, which came after his first-career MotoGP podium at Silverstone in England.

Spies was moved to the Yamaha factory team in 2011, earning a podium finish in Catalunya and then scoring his first MotoGP victory at Assen in Holland. He ended the season with a mixed bag of results that featured the highs of winning and the lows of crashing.

In 2012, Spies returned to the factory Yamaha team and had a miserable season with injuries and mechanical problems pushing him all the way down to 10th in the series final standings.

This year was Spies’ first and only season with Ducati and it ultimately ended with the two shoulder injuries, the final one coming during practice for the Indy Grand Prix.

Article By Cycle News Staff

Monday, October 28, 2013

Team Green vs the Bumblebee

I just thought this was a great little article - enjoy.  
Ever wondered how racing Kawasakis ended up green, or where Yamaha’s “bumblebee” graphics came from?

Well I have found the answer!  A long time Kawasaki and race team employee named Steve Johnson shed some light on the story when he spoke about origin of the of the famous Kawasaki Green in an early issue of Motorcyclist Retro, now called Moto Retro Illustrated.

Here is the extract as it appeared in the mag.

“We’d sent some H1-R [a Kawasaki road racer based on the H1 triple] bodywork to a local painter by the name of Molly near Kawasaki R&D’s Santa Ana, California, shop, ” Johnson said. “This was probably in 1970, when Kawasaki R&D was basically Kawasaki’s service division. Molly had painted plenty of race bikes and prototypes for us, and he called back saying he had a cool green colour used by AMC (American Motors Corporation) for their Pacer that he wanted to use. We were after something different, something that would stand out, so we said, ‘sure.’ “The parts came back in what is now known as Kawasaki green, and they looked pretty good. “The colour obviously stuck,” Johnson said, “as it’s remained in Kawasaki’s line up till this day.”

Molly’s California based  business is still going strong, trading as Molly Designs and is equally famous for creating the black and yellow Yamaha paint scheme used to great effect in the 70s and 80s.  Molly’s success was not limited to bikes, as he also created the yellow, orange, and red color scheme that was used by Toyota racing cars for over twenty years.

Nice work Molly!

Article from Motorsportretro.com 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Suzuki Recalls 210,000 GSX-Rs

If you have a GSX-R listen up - Suzuki is recalling its GSXRs.

Suzuki Motor of America has issued a recall for as many as 210,000 units of its 2004-13 GSX-R sportbikes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The bikes are being recalled because of corrosion of the brake piston (in combination with older brake fluid) inside the front brake master cylinder that generates gas that may result in reduction of fluid pressure transmission to the front brake. As a result, front braking power may be reduced and increase the risk of a crash.
The bikes being recalled include certain model year 2004-2013 GSX-R600s and GSX-R750s and 2005-2013 GSX-R1000s.
Suzuki will be contacting owners of the affected units, who in turn can take their GSX-Rs to Suzuki dealers for a free replacement of the front master cylinder. The recall will begin on November 4.
In a letter dated October 18, 2013 Suzuki Motor of America said: “After a long-term service life of the motorcycle without changing the brake fluid, the brake fluid can deteriorate and absorb moisture. The brake piston inside the front brake master cylinder may not have uniform surface treatment. This combination of conditions can lead to corrosion of the brake piston.” This corrosion contributes to the generation of gas and due to the side position of the reservoir, may not be “adequately purged from the master cylinder.”
As the gas accumulates the front brake lever “may develop a ‘spongy’ feel and stopping distances may be extended, increasing the risk of a crash.”

By Cycle News Staff

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Harley-Davidson Recalling 29,000 Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson is voluntarily recalling 29,046 motorcycles that are equipped with a hydraulic clutch system that may pose a safety issue for riders and/or passengers. The recalls include a “Do Not Ride” notice to owners and a “Do Not Deliver” notice to Harley dealers until the motorcycle is fixed.

The recalls affect 25,185 Touring motorcycles, models FLHTCU, FLHTK, FLHTP, FLHX, FLHXS, FLHTKSE and FLHRSE, and 3861 Softail CVOs and Trikes, models FLHTCUTG, FXSBSE and FLSTNSE, built between May 3, 2013, and October 14, 2013.

“The safety of our customers is our highest priority,” said Tony Wilcox, Harley-Davidson General Manager of Motorcycle New Product Delivery in a press release. “We have identified potential safety issues and are moving quickly to notify our customers and dealers. The inspection and repair of these motorcycles is extremely important, so it’s critical that our customers with affected vehicles contact their dealers immediately. We apologize for this circumstance. The company is committed to correcting the issues and providing customers with the quality experience and service they expect.”

Some of these motorcycles may exhibit a condition in which the hydraulic clutch system may lose the ability to generate enough lift to disengage the clutch, Harley says. If the clutch does not disengage as intended, the rider may have difficulty slowing or stopping the motorcycle, which could result in an accident. Harley-Davidson has initiated these recalls to correct the affected motorcycles.

The company is taking the additional measure of issuing a Do Not Ride notice to riders given the potential safety issues. Harley wants owners of the affected motorcycles to contact an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer immediately to arrange for an inspection. The dealer will pick up, inspect and make the necessary repairs at no cost to the owner.

The repairs have been identified and should take less than one hour.

 Although the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is closed as a result of the partial government shutdown, Harley-Davidson is proceeding with these voluntary recalls consistent with NHTSA’s process, according to Harley.

By Cycle News Staff

Monday, October 21, 2013

James Stewart Captures Monster Energy Cup Victory

Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart went home with $100,000 dollars after winning two of the three main events in the 2013 Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas. It’s Bubba’s first ever MEC win and he outpaced many of the best riders in the sport on his way to the top-step.

“You don’t understand how special this is for me,” said Stewart. “I am speechless right now; this is a huge win for me and I am pretty damn happy. I know we are making the right steps to get our program to where it needs to be.”
Villopoto was on track to win the million dollars after his win in the first main event  but a crash in ME2 spoiled his chances.
Villopoto was on track to win the million dollars after his win in the first main event, but a crash in ME2 spoiled his chances. At the beginning of the night, things didn’t look so good for JS7. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto tore off the start to earn the Toyota Holeshot and led for much of the contest until Lap 9 when he turned off to ride through the Joker Lane. Each rider must complete one lap that includes the Joker Lane in each main event, though there’s no set time during competition to take it. RV lost the lead to Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey when he attacked the Joker and it appeared he wouldn’t be able to regain the front, but Dungey failed to take the lane on his final lap and was given a five-position penalty for the miss.

“It is definitely a chance (to win the $1 million),” said Villopoto after Main Event 1. “I still need to get two more good starts and it’s not going to be easy. “On the last lap, I thought he (Dungey) had already rode through the Joke Lane, but, apparently, he did not.”

Marvin Musquin finished ME1 in second-place followed by Villopoto’s teammate, Jake Weimer in third. Ken Roczen took fourth followed by GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac in fifth and Dungey in sixth.

In the second Main Stewart got a great jump off the line and secured the Toyota Holeshot ahead of Villopoto. The two battled hard through the remaining laps and swapped position a handful of times. JS7 went on to win ME2, the first Monster Cup Main Event win of his career, while Villopoto ran into trouble. RV failed to take the Joker Lane during the second contest and then on his final lap the Kawasaki hit the dirt and was unable to finish the race. He was unable to return to compete in the final event of the night.

Honda’s Justin Barcia took second in Main Event 2 followed by Dungey in third and Roczen in fourth. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson rounded out the top-five.

Roczen found fire in Main Event 3, blasting to the head of the pack to earn the Toyota Holeshot. Stewart was back a few positions, but was quick to pass by Dungey to move into the runner-up spot. By Lap 4 Bubba had caught Roczen and made the move to the front, where he would remain to the checkers.

Dungey finished the final contest of the night in second-place followed by Tomac in third, Roczen in fourth and Troy Lee Designs’ Cole Seely in fifth.

Overall Stewart’s 8-1-1 finish earned him the top-step and cash prize. Dungey took second with his 6-3-2 result followed by Roczen who went 4-4-4 on the night.

RJ Hampshire took the top-spot in the Amateur All-Stars class ahead of Zachary Commans and Jordan Smith. Austin Forkner had a perfect night in the Super Mini class for the overall win, followed by Chase Sexton in second and Michael Moisman in third and Matthew Leblanc finished first in KTM Junior Supercross.

Monster Energy Cup Results 2013:
1. James Stewart (Suzuki) 8-1-1
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 6-3-2
3. Ken Roczen (KTM) 4-4-4
4. Eli Tomac (Honda) 5-6-3
5. Marvin Musquin (KTM) 2-9-8
6. Cole Seely (Honda) 13-7-5
7. Broc Tickle (Suzuki) 10-8-9
8. Justin Barcia (Honda) 7-2-18
9. Dean Wilson (Kawasaki) 20-5-6
10. Josh Grant (Yamaha) 15-10-7

Article by Byron Wilson  MotorcycleUSA.com

Friday, October 18, 2013

Daytona Tragedy: Rick Shaw And Eric Desy Killed At Speedway

By Larry Lawrence | 10/18/2013 10:33 AM - Via Cycle News
Veteran road racer Rick Shaw was killed at Daytona International Speedway while instructing at a racing school.
Photography by Brian J. Nelson

Former AMA Superbike racer and Team Hammer Advanced Riding School instructor Rick Shaw and student Eric Desy died yesterday as a result of injuries suffered after the two collided in an accident coming off the East Banking at Daytona International Speedway.

The 65-year-old Shaw was a retired Miami/Dade police officer, who raced AMA road race Nationals for nearly 30 years. He was perhaps best known for breaking Warren Sherwood’s longstanding Daytona 200 mileage record in 2003. He also held the record number of starts and laps completed in the 200.

In an interview after that 2003 race Shaw talked about his emotions of breaking the mileage record in America’s oldest motorcycle race.

"I wanted to celebrate [on the record breaking lap], but I was trying to keep my head down," Shaw said. "I tried to get my hand up there and I just about lost it on the second lap trying to celebrate. Boy was that stupid. I put my head back down and went for it. It was an exciting lap. I felt it. Finally, the weight was lifted off me after the second lap and I could go out and race. I put some more pressure on myself to get this done."

Shaw's first Daytona 200 start was in 1981. He retired in 2006. Shaw fell in love with the heritage of the Daytona International Speedway, which made the mileage record a special moment in his life.

"I love it,” he said in a 2005 interview. “I'm very proud to be listed with the veterans and the pros, the people who made this sport the greatest sport in the world. It's an honor. I hope I can live up to their image. I appreciate having the record. It's been a thrill and an honor to be able to race here against all of the people. If you think about all the champions who have raced here in the Daytona 200 the past 25 years, I've had the honor to race with some of the best in the world and the best that motorcycle racing has seen in a truly golden era of superbike and Formula One racing."

Shaw amassed 3728.33 miles in three decades of racing the Daytona 200. Ricky Orlando broke Shaw’s mileage record in 2011.

Shaw had been an instructor for years with not only the Team Hammer School, but also the Penguin School and the Track Day School.

A statement by John Ulrich of Team Hammer Advanced Riding School read:

“Everyone at Team Hammer Advanced Riding School is saddened following the tragic loss of student Eric Desy and long-time instructor and former professional racer Rick Shaw at Daytona International Speedway. Rider safety is at the very forefront of all we do and our track record at Daytona speaks for itself. Over the last two decades more than 5000 students have gone through our advanced riding school program at the Speedway, without major incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out for the families of Eric and Rick. Eric was a passionate motorcycle enthusiast and amateur racer who was very excited to be riding at Daytona. Rick was an excellent instructor and a great friend. His riding resume at Daytona was outstanding, and for many years he held the record for the most miles raced in the Daytona 200. He really enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experience, and he was very popular with our students. We are fully committed to providing a safe, thrilling and unforgettable riding school for our students and will carefully review our processes and procedures closely to see if there is anything we can improve in the future.

Godspeed, Eric Desy. Godspeed, Rick Shaw.”

Daytona International Speedway also issued a statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the riders and their families, and we are deeply saddened by their loss. Rick Shaw in particular had a long history of racing at Daytona, and for several years held the record for most miles raced in the Daytona 200. He was loved by many in the motorcycle community and we will miss him greatly.

“The safety of fans and competitors is always our top priority and we work closely with event officials to ensure the best safety protocols are in place and followed. Team Hammer Advanced Riding School has an outstanding track record of safety at Daytona International Speedway, hosting thousands of riders since the early 1990s. Whenever an unfortunate incident does occur at our facility, we take the opportunity to learn and refine any event procedures.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's Official: Nicky Hayden To Aspar/Honda Team

By Cycle News Staff | 10/17/2013 8:31 AM

Jorge Aspar Martinez has signed Nicky Hayden to ride his teams Hondas next year.
Four-time World Champion Jorge Martinez made it official today: Nicky Hayden will ride for his Power Electronics Aspar Team in the 2014 and 2015 MotoGP World Championships and he’ll do so on Honda’s new production MotoGP racer.
“It is great news for the Power Electronics Aspar Team to have the acquired services of Honda and a rider of the profile of Nicky Hayden,” Martinez said in a press release. “We are taking a huge step forward in terms of quality, prestige and image. We have grown a lot in a short space of time and we are all very excited about this new project with Honda. It is the factory that the ASPAR Team first started with back in 1992 and I have great memories of that period. Our objective is to continue being a reference point in the premier-class. I think the combination of Honda's MotoGP Production Racer and Nicky Hayden is going to be a very successful one. We are thrilled to be working with a manufacturer with the history that Honda has and a rider like Nicky, a World Champion with huge experience. It will be a big change for us after so many years working with Italian factories, but we have high hopes for this new project. We are up for the challenge and we will give maximum effort to making sure the Power Electronics Aspar Team continues achieving top results.”
Hayden will ride the new Honda production racer, a motorcycle based on the Honda RC213V prototype currently ridden by Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista. The team will take delivery of the new bike in time for the official MotoGP post-season test at Valencia in November.
Hayden won the MotoGP World Championship with Honda back in 2006. He also won an AMA Superbike Championship with Honda in 2002.
Martinez has yet to announce a second rider for the team, though the rider being mentioned the most is former Moto2 World Champion Hiroshi Aoyoma.