Read this, then go and hibernate for a few months
Sure, any year has to be better than the one we've just had, what with the loss of Marco Simoncelli, thin grids and an off-form Valentino. When GPs switched from 990 to 800, everyone knew it was going to be a bad step and let's face it, it was. However, the 1000cc machines will be back on the grid in 2012 and sure, they won't quite be sliding like Garry McCoy, but the larger capacity machines should bring more entertainment, especially if a certain C. Stoner of Australia has anything to do with it. Let's just hope the CRTs can get up to speed and not be another bad decision for Dorna.
It's the bike BMW are worried about. Triumph have been on a roll over the last five years, shaking up established sectors and bending the rules. Take the Rocket III, Daytona 675, Street Triple and Tiger 800 as just a few examples. It's clear Triumph aren't messing around with the new Explorer, with the addition of traction control, switchable ABS and a fly-by-wire throttle. They're sticking with the successful three-cylinder formula and building on the already popular Tiger 800. You can bet it's going to be a belter.
BSB bosses have taken the controversial step to ban some of the clever electronics that have seen road-going superbikes leap forward in terms of technology over the past couple of years. Gone is traction control. Gone is launch control. Gone is anti-wheelie. A £10,000 road-going superbike will have smarter electronics than the bikes on the BSB grid. A step backwards, perhaps? The control ECU will take some of the 'my bank account's bigger than yours' from the results sheets, but it'll still be the same hugely talented riders up against each other pushing as hard as they can. Expect to see the racing as close as ever, but unfortunately there are going to be some big crashes too, which is where, when it comes to winning championships, the bank accounts come back into play.
Incase you hadn't noticed, the war between Suzuki and Kawasaki over who's got the fastest production motorcycle still rages on. And for 2012, Kawasaki haven't so much as added more fuel to the fire, more crashed a fuel tanker into it. The new ZZR-1400 (zee-ex fourteen as they call it in the States) has already been billed by Kawasaki as 'the world's fastest accelerating production bike' and who are we to call them liars; the ZZR-1400's engine has been bored out to 1439cc and the rumours are that it's putting out 200bhp at the rear wheel. Kawasaki, pulling no punches, teased a video of the new bike destroying a Hayabusa in the 1/4 mile. We are so glad this sort of silliness still exists. Bring it on!
Now stop giggling at the back. Norton attempted the TT in 2009 but ended up getting the ferry back to Liverpool with their tails between their legs and a truck full of broken rotary engines. Norton's Stuart Garner is either a glutton for punishment, a fool or a very determined man. Or all three. Because he's promised to be back in 2012, this time running a 1,000cc V4-engined bike. In what looks like a 'death or glory' move, a win at the TT could put Norton firmly back on the map, but anything else could prove terminal. Best of British!
Yes, the arrival of Moto2 also means the departure of two-strokes from the MotoGP paddock. Everyone's upset, but if the new Moto3 class provides us with the close racing, mad four-into-one-corner action and a packed grid just like Moto2, then who are we to complain? The arrival of Moto3 also marks the return of some manufacturers to the GP paddock, including KTM and also the arrival of a new bunch of upstarts who may well be tomorrow's next big thing.
Hell. Freezing. Triumph Press Office. Revealing. You get the picture. There's no chance of Triumph admitting that some small capacity machines are on the way but some smaller unidentified bikes have been spotted testing alongside other Triumph 2011 and 2012 models. Triumph already makes motorcycles and components in Thailand, so it wouldn't be too mad to think a new model would be aimed at the massive Asian market. Whether or not this small-capacity Triumph makes it to Europe is something we'll just have to wait to find out. Let's hope they've seen KTM's 200cc Duke and want a slice of that action.
None of the Japanese manufacturers could have ever admitted that Triumph's three-cylinder spanner-in-the-works Daytona 675 was something they wanted to build. It's not in their culture. So it's fallen upon MV Agusta to take Triumph on at their own game. MV have waded into the fight with the same sort of subtlety as a League 1 football side wearing replica Arsenal shirts on their way to play Arsenal. With a Daytona-alike 675cc three-cylinder engine but with MV's classic lines that are so achingly beautiful, it might make grown men cry. It'll be the smallest production bike to feature traction control and will cost as near as dammit exactly the same as the Triumph. Now who are you going to put your money on?
Eugene Laverty is always British when it suits us, but the young Irishman could be stirring up everyone's biggest rival, Max Biaggi in World Superbikes in 2012. Laverty tested the Aprilia RSV4 under the PATA team and was instantly fast. Aprilia then anounced he was going to be Max's team mate at the factory Aprilia squad. Laverty then topped the times sheets at the nest test at Portimao, setting an unofficial lap record, just ahead of a certain Mr M. Biaggi. Laverty must have forgotten to read the Alitalia Aprilia code of conduct; you just know sparks are going to fly. Go on Norge!
At last, Ducati's new superbike has broken cover. Rumours of a new Superquadrata have been flowing around forums for over two years and Ducati's alleged new V4 is actually a V-twin. Surprise surprise. Developed by Troy Bayliss, the new 1199 Panigale boasts the highest power to weight ratio of any production motorcycle. Its engine features titanium valves, an over-square bore and a claimed 195bhp. It's going to rev like mad. The most interesting point is the bike's new monocoque frame; a formula that hasn't worked for the Ducati GP team but may well make the 1199 more precise than a sniper rifle for mere mortals like you and me. It'll run rings around the £40,000 Desmosedici and promises to be the bike to beat in 2012.
Bring on next year already, we're bored of 2011 now!
Posted: 19/12/2011 at 21:59
Posted: 20/12/2011 at 14:24
Posted: 29/12/2011 at 21:38
Posted: 03/01/2012 at 12:39
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