Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2002 02 06

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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CJCJ:=J ..J Chad Johnson (Hon), Damon Bradshaw (Yam) and Josh Demuth (Yam) came away with wins at the Speed Stick National Arenacross Series round in Hampton, Virginia, January 2627. Johnson and Bradshaw split the 125 and 250cc class wins on Friday night, while Demuth swept both classes Saturday night. During a heat race Saturday night, Bradshaw crashed and suffered a compound fracture of his leg, putting an end to his Arenacross Championship bid. u!JD@ 5J[f)!?DDD@ fX]f0(JJ !1iJ@[ft@fS DlifS @@@G!Jli Italian test rider Marcelino Lucchi and the team's official entry in the MotoGP Championship Regis Laconi took their first laps on the . new three-cylinder, four-stroke Aprilia RS3 Cube last week in Jerez, Spain. Among those attending the test was Ivano Beggio, the president of Aprilia. "This is truly an ambitious project for Aprilia and a key moment for our challenge in the new MotoGP Championship.' Beggio said in an Aprilia press release. "We're at an epoch-making turning point in the history of motorcycling, with a new category which is the highest expression of technological progress. I have believed in this philosophy right from the outset and this is why the project has brought us to the track today. I should like to thank all the technicians and the entire group who have been following the MotoGP project. Their work has given body, life and soul to the RS3 and their contribution in human terms has been immense. We should not forget that the project started up just two years ago and the creation of the actual experimental motorcycle only got underway last summer. Motivation and resolve are what makes Aprilia great, and the determination with which we have tackled this new project has enabled us to be ready to take up this challenge. But it is really exciting to see this fascinating new creature out there on the track: it has a great voice and is a distillation of the finest and most advanced technology." Laconi put in a total of 62 laps on the second day of testing with the new four-stroke. The test was done in five six-lap runs, with Laconi heading back to the pits after each outing in order to allow the technicians to check the bike's data. o o CJ Destry Abbott (Kaw) won the Winter Classic off-road race in Lucerne Valley, California, on January 27, topping Ty Davis (Yam) and Brian Brown (Kaw). Davis appeared to have the race won when he ran out of gas within sight of the finish line. o o o [J c c c Although Valentino Rossi still hasn't signed his contract with Honda, the situation seems to be well on its way to a solution, at least according to Italy's Gazzetta Della Sport newspaper. The paper reports that this ~eek will be the decisive week in the negotiations. "I have not had any news in the past few days,· said Carlo Fiorani, from Honda Italy, in the report. "We speak every day with Valentino, and we will do so Monday [January 281 or Tuesday [January 29J as well, to resolve the situation. We are working to meet a goal. I remain optimistic, but at the moment we haven't arrived at a concrete proposal." c c 5 o machine. Chili admitted that he found the return to twin-cylinder power peculiar, but few think that even a privateer Ducati will be less competitive than his previous Suzuki, no matter how long it takes him to re-acquaint himself with the machine he rode for the Ducati factory for several years. Second quickest, on 1:37.0, was Gregorio Lavilla, the lone 2002 Superbike rider for the Alstare Suzuki team. Former 500cc GP rider and Ducati World Superbike factory pilot Juan Borja, back on a Ducati again for the De Cecco/Spaziotel team this year, set his best opening day time of 1:37.2. These three riders and their respective teams are some of many who have given the long-haul flights to Australia a miss in favor of a European testing schedule. o c o o Road racer Jason DiSalvo recently completed testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada, riding a 250cc GP bike as well as 600 and 750cc Supersport bikes under the tutelage of Freddie Spencer and Jeff Haney. The 17-year-old has now decided to compete in the AMA 250cc Grand Prix and 750cc Supersport class. "I enjoyed riding at Las Vegas and look forward to getting our own equipment for some more testing· said DiSalvo in a press release. "The 600 felt good and was fun to ride and the 750 was a lot faster and handled well. After a couple of years of racing mainly in Europe, it's going to be great racing back home for a year." DiSalvo's team will be called Team America Grand Prix Racing, with Cruise America continuing the back the team. o o o o o o o o o o c c o o o o o In the Supersport category, Stephane Chambon was on excellent form at Valencia as he took the step down from Superbikes, and both he and his fellow Suzuki rider Katsuaki Fujiwara set a best lap of 1:38.7. Next closest came Paolo Casoli on 1:40.4, only a 10th faster than his Belgarda Yamaha teammate James Whitham, a reversal of the positions the Yamaha riders held after their first preseason test at Cartagen before Christmas. Piergiorgio Bontempi, one half of the NCR Supersport team, set a best of 1:41 .1 on his return to Ducati power after a single season on an R6 Yamaha. Pier-Francesco Chili impressed many in his NCR Ducati debut at Valencia, Spain, on January 25, setting a best time of 1:36.4 and totaling 50 laps in the process. "I was happy with the time considering that I was out to set up the chassis, suspension and fuel injection and did not try to set times. The bike feels really good and tomorrow we will start on the 2002 998RS," Chili said. Chili has access to one all-new 2002 RS (generally a copy of the 2001 factory bikes) and a 2001-spec ex-Ben Bostrom 2 FEBRUARY 6, 2002' cue World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss, haVing his second day of track I • n • vw s "A hard day's work, but successful," Laconi said. "No, I'd say it was magical too. I'm really getting the feel for the RS3 and this means I'm getting to know its true qualities. We've worked hard and my performance has improved no end next to yesterday, eventhough I'm not taking it flat out yet because we're concentrating entirely on studying the way the bike behaves, providing the technicians with the data they need. The 'drive by wire' system is more and more interesting: it responds to the slightest change of calibration and gives the rider a really special sensation of managing the power distribution." action during Michelin tests at Kyalami in South Africa last week, set a best time of 1:42.2, according to local reports, equaling that of Colin Edwards from the day before. Edwards, the lone Castrol Honda hopeful in the 2002 series, was believed to have gone faster than Bayliss on the second day as well, but no times were released. Edwards used his first taste of Kyalami action, one day before Bayliss and Xaus appeared, to check out some new Showa forks and shocks, and was reputed to be under a second faster than the lap record after his third day of riding. Ruben Xaus, who crashed on his first day after only 15 laps, made up for his spill by putting in 85 laps on his second day, in temperatures that almost hit 90 degrees, with the tarmac almost 120 degrees. "I just took it very easy,· said Xaus, who according to local reports set a best of 1:43.4. Bayliss, feeling he was somewhat off the pace the day before due to a relatively long riding layoff, said: "That was better than the first day of the test and I feel more up to speed on the 2002 machine now. I was happy to go much faster than I did on qualifying for the 2001 race. The bike feels fast even with the high altitude.· Edwards is the only full-factory Honda rider in World Superbike this season, although there are other private and semi-supported Honda entries, and Ben Bostrom was not in attendance because he is supported by Dunlop. The next stage of the Foggy Petronas race bike development has been taken, with the official appointment of Suter Racing Products (manufacturer of clutches to Virtually the whole race paddock, plus other high tech eqUipment for Aprilia and the like) as the company who will canry out • the ongoing manufacturing development of the GPI engine.· The main significance of this move is that the design/redesign stage of the project is complete, and in conjunction with Petronas engineers, actual manufacturing can now take place. Rumors of a rift between Fogarty and SPE were rife, especially as Fogarty has make some veiled public comments regarding the progress of the engine redesign from GPI bike to Superbike, according to World Superbike contributor Gordon Ritchie. "This is the best of both worlds for us,· stated Fogarty. "We have had the best engine designers involved and now our backers Petronas have chosen the best engine developers to tum our bike into a competitive machine. This way, we retain the Fl expertise while also calling on the experience of Eskil Suter, who has an impressive background in the world of motorcycling and is very positive about the whole project. It makes me very comfortable to know that the engine will now be developed by people who know motorbikes inside out.· Foggy reiterated that he still intends to be on track at the Laguna Seca round of the championship, and came out with a proposed deadline for the first public appearance of the road bike.• He [Suterl will be working

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