It is no secret that FP4 is my favorite part of a MotoGP weekend. Every Saturday afternoon I watch the live timing carefully for signs of which MotoGP rider has the best race pace, usually pinging comments back and forth with Neil Morrison over WhatsApp.
Once the results PDF is published, I pore over the Analysis timesheets(link is external), showing times and sector times for each lap, as well as which tires were used, and how fresh or used they were.
Based on that information, plus the outcome of qualifying, listening to what riders have to say and discussing the day with others, I try to make as informed a guess as possible of what might happen in the race.
I try to estimate who looks to have the best race pace, based on lap times set in longer runs on very used tires. And if a rider hasn’t used older tires – switching between two different rear tires, for example – I try to estimate whether their pace on used tires drops off more than the times in FP4 show.
Is all this effort worth it, or am I wasting my time? I felt it was time to put my hypothesis that FP4 is the most important and instructive session to the test. Is the outcome of the race closely correlated to the results of FP4? Or is there another session which is more useful to that extent.
After much expectation and waiting, the Honda Transalp returns to Big Red’s lineup. Officially dubbed the 2023 Honda XL750 Transalp, the bike shares its 755cc parallel-twin engine with the new Honda CB750 Hornet.
This means power comes in at 90hp (67.5 kW), with torque at 56 lbs•ft (75 Nm). That should be plenty to appease those shopping in the middleweight ADV segment, and the 458 lbs (208 kg) wet weight means that the Honda Transalp competes nicely against even the latest crop of machines in this category.
Last week, the debate over the role of rider weight was reignited by a post on Instagram by BMW WorldSBK rider Scott Redding, comparing his own weight to that of Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista, and asking whether there needs to be a minimum combined rider/bike weight in WorldSBK.
To back up his claim, he posted some video clips and sector analysis from the San Juan Villicum circuit in Argentina. “I just think it should be as fair as possible for all of the riders,” Redding wrote.
Though the sentiment is admirable, the thing about motorcycle racing is it is fundamentally unfair.
Somebody else’s bike will always be better than yours. Some other rider will be lighter, stronger, have it easier than you in one way or another. That is of little comfort to those racing in a particular class at a specific event, but it remains true nonetheless.
The way this has traditionally been dealt with is through what is usually called “the package”. The combination of bike, team, and rider is different for each competitor, and rule makers have attempted to create space in each class to allow riders and teams to find multiple ways to be competitive.
In addition to leaking us a plethora of photos and details about the Bimota BX450 enduro model (the first dirt bike from the Italian brand), our Bothan spies tell us to expect another debut at EICMA from this iconic motorcycle brand.
As such, we are getting indications that the third pillar to Bimota’s on-road lineup will be more of an adventure-sport machine, and use the supercharged inline-four engine found on the Bimota Tesi H2.
With semi-active suspension, a variable ride height, and probably more horsepower than you can shake a stick at, the Bimota Tera has the ingredients to be the King Kong of the ADV space.
Another EICMA show is on the horizon in Italy, so that means no sleep for the wicked and our Bothan spies, as they scour the corners of Milan for information about next year’s bikes – ahead of their official release.
Already it seems that Bimota is going to be the talk of the show, as the boutique Italian brand is making a foray into the off-road world, first with a limited-series Kawasaki-powered enduro.
Dubbed the Bimota BX450, this enduro model is an intriguing offering. The power plant comes from the 2023 Kawasaki KX450X “cross-country” dirt bike, and we can see that much of the chassis comes from the green machine as well.
That makes sense considering Kawasaki’s sizable investment in Bimota, and the obvious ability to tune an already stout package. Bimota takes the trail bike and adds a proper headlight, tail light, and larger fuel tank to the offering.
Looking beyond the surface, we understand that Bimota has also added a robust electronics package to the green machine, offering an adjustable traction control setup and selectable throttle maps.
A fatter 140/80 profile 18″ rear tire is another change, and it is mated to 80/100 profile 21″ front tire – both featuring Metzeler 6 Days Extreme rubber.
For more details, we will have to wait for Bimota’s official unveiling at the 2022 EICMA Show, but if our report of a possible ADV model is true, then it is an exciting day to see the Bimota brand getting its feet dirty.
Source: Bothan Spies – More photos and analysis available below to our A&R Pro readers.
Spanish petroleum giant Repsol has announced that they have extended their sponsorship of Honda’s factory team for two more seasons.
The Spanish corporation will continue to sponsor the Repsol Honda team through 2024, which will mark the 30th anniversary of their deal, the longest running sponsorship backing in history.
The Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Cheste, a short drive past an endless array of industrial estates heading west out of Valencia, is fairly unloved in the MotoGP paddock.
Unfairly, perhaps: the race is (barring pandemics and other disasters) the last of the season, and comes after the flyaways, a period in which much of the paddock has spent 8 weeks away from home.
The various titles are usually already wrapped up, so the last round feels very much like going through the motions.
The BMW M1000RR was the first motorcycle from BMW M Motorsports, and while the machine was a carbon-fiber upgrade to the BMW S1000RR superbike, it failed to excite the segment, due in part to its hefty price tag and close resemblance to its more “normal” sibling. That changes for 2023.
While the 2023 BMW S1000RR gets a number of needed upgrades to bring the liter-bike onto par with the rest of the segment, BMW Motorrad has stretched things further with the M1000RR, giving this super “superbike” some uniqueness of its own.
For the 2023 model year, BMW is adding to its M Motorcycle lineup, adding an M1000R streetfighter to its now updated M1000RR superbike. And on that same vein, BMW Motorrad is bringing some real substance for its “motorsports” models.
Whereas the current generation BMW S1000R is a bit…let’s say bland…when compared to a segment filled 200+ horsepower streetfighter road bikes, the new 2023 BMW M1000R is a no-compromises offering from the German brand.
With 205hp on tap, the BMW M1000R debuts with the big horsepower numbers that consumers are looking for, along with a litany of premium pieces that fill this high-end space.