BMW HP2 Sport World Press Launch

TWO's John Hogan sends back his report from southern Spain

Hard work, this bike journalist lark..

ASCARI TEST track in southern Spain was the choice for the launch of the BMW HP2 Sport. Both are exclusive, very cool, and unfortunately, a little bit too expensive for everyday riders. This bike could provide a similar kind of turning point for BMW as the GS Adventure did, it has all the right credentials and deserves to.

The engine uses an all-new DOHC set-up that will be common throughout therange next year, for a Boxer twin it is ace, free revving, but only to an indicated 9500rpm. It isn't as quick as a litre sports bike, not even as quick in a straight line as a sports 600, but not far off. 128bhp and 178kg mean competitive rather than class leading.

The suspension is outstanding, I was never a fan of the Paralever Telever set-up before but I am now, maybe its because Ohlins have worked their magic, whatever they have done has worked, and when you couple that with Radial mount Brembo brakes the result is a front end that commands complete faith. I didn't feel the need to adjust either end of the bike during the day, in fact the only guys who did were the Japanese (tiny) and a couple of really fat journos.

BMW traditionalists will like the fact that you can still use a BMW sat nav system, even though you will be plugging it into a dashboard lifted straight from next years World Superbikes. The 2D system has to be the trickest available on a production bike. I know what percentage of throttle and brakes I used round Ascari, I know what my average speed was and how many times I changed gear. I know exactly how fast I was going at the fastest point on the circuit, and if wanted to I could plug in a datalogger and download the real nitty gritty details in all there embarrassing glory.

This bike is an absolute stunner to look at, the prettiest around in my opinion. But £14.5K is a whole lot of money and while its good, its not as good as any of the litre sports bikes out there. What it can do is take you places Ewan and Charlie (and a massive support team) never could, round a race track at a decent lick.