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THE RIDERS Rhys Boyd, 47, Virgin Limobike rider Rhys has been riding for 40 years and has ridden professionally for Virgin Limobike for the past 12 years, riding the company’s Yamaha FJR1300. He started racing in 1987 and rode an R1 in last year’s National Superstock championship.

John Lawrie, 50, firefighter In recent years John has owned a Suzuki TL1000S, 2002 Honda Fireblade, Benelli Tornado 900 Tre and now rides a BMW K1200 R Sport. With 25 years experience under his belt, John rides for pleasure at weekends and does regular touring holidays to Europe.

Bruce Dunn, 43, professional road tester Bruce has been a professional road tester for 14 of the 26 years he’s been riding. He carries out all MCN’s performance testing and practically lives at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire, where we did our comparison test. He races a 2008 Yamaha TZ250.

In our tests, ABS Blade (front) braked from 80-0mph in 14.35 metres less than non-ABS bike

NO. The C-ABS system isn’t a performance aid, it’s there to bail you out in an emergency. The system gives you bags more confidence in your bike’s stopping abilities, but you’d be daft to lean on it on the road to catch up with your mates. It only works in a straight line – if you brake when the bike is leant over, you’re on your own.

VERDICT RHYS and John both preferred the C-ABS Blade, especially in the damp test conditions. Most telling was what happened when the test was finished and we let the riders have a play around the test track – they both walked to the C-ABS Blade and were nearly fighting over it. Although Bruce found the behaviour of the more stable C-ABS bike different at the limit, we all agreed that, cost

aside, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t have the C-ABS version because it doesn’t detract from the fun of the bike, even though you can feel the extra weight of the C-ABS system.

RHYS “I was very sceptical this morning. I’ve ridden ABS bikes in the past, and with the experience of being on the track and stuff like that, I was a bit cautious of the

whole thing. But I think Honda have got something that works. I’d definitely have the ABS Blade; I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I would. “This is not ABS as we know it; Honda have created the next generation and it’s a revelation for the experienced rider.”

JOHN “THE ABS bike does everything that the non-ABS bike

TEST TWO: THE EMERGENCY STOP, HOW IT FEELS FOR THE RIDER THE riders did one emergency stop on each bike, with no practice. We got them to ride to an indicated 80mph, hit the brakes and stop as quickly as possible. We then measured the stopping distance and datalogged the results. Some riders backed off before the braking zone, so we used our datalogging figures (right), although the video of this test on www. shows the manual measurements. In this simulation, John panicked and pulled the clutch in instead of braking for his go on the ABS Blade – a good demonstration of how we react in a panic and why having ABS as a back-up is so

RHYS Non-C-ABS Blade: 63.02m (206ft) C-ABS Blade: 58.02m (190ft) “Braking on the non-ABS Blade was predictable – I expected it to slide in the wet. On the ABS bike, I could feel the whole bike pulsing, as opposed to the lever. It’s a strange feeling, but it works and it stopped a lot sooner and is safer.” Manual measurements and datalog info were logged


important. Remember, the Highway Code gives a typical stopping distance from 70mph of 96m (315ft). Conditions: 8°c, wet track on cold tyres.

Non-C-ABS Blade: 105.198 metres (344ft) C-ABS Blade: 78.232 metres (255ft) “I felt very little confidence on the non-ABS bike because of the weather and I expected

does. It’s a little bit heavier, but then it inspires me with a little bit more confidence. I would have no hesitation in recommending it as my choice between the two, because it will allow you to stop quickly and safely in any situation that you may find yourself in. “You only need to lock your brakes up once for it to be well worth the money, but Mr Honda, please make it a bit cheaper.”

“THE C-ABS Blade isn’t worse than the non-C-ABS bike. The way the system works is less intrusive than other types of ABS. You’d have it, but there’s the expense to consider. “We haven’t had ideal conditions to test the bikes to the limits, but for me the C-ABS would probably be a bit intrusive; it changes the dynamics of the bike at that level, but I think it’s some-

thing you could adapt to. “The system works more smoothly than a conventional ABS set-up and it doesn’t detract from the joy of riding a full-blown superbike.”

ONLINE WATCH THE VIDEO See video of this test at www.motorcyclenews. com/abstest


the bike to slide, so I applied the brakes very progressively to avoid it. On the ABS bike, I put as much pressure as I could on the lever. The bike felt like it wanted to weave very slightly, but you could feel the braking system take over. That inspired confidence and encouraged pressure on the lever.”


N Honda C-ABS 80

N Honda Non C-ABS


N Non-ABS Blade took 14.35m (47ft) longer



N From 80mph, C-ABS Blade needed 64.06m (209ft)



BRUCE Non-C-ABS Blade: 59.30m (193ft) C-ABS Blade: 56.08m (183ft) “It’s easy braking on the ABS Blade. You just crack the front brake on as hard as you can and the back, too. You don’t have to think about it, which is the best thing.”





Dunn did the datalogging 10

THESE are the ultimate stopping distances for the non-C-ABS and C-ABS Blades. Carried out by Bruce Dunn in wet conditions on warm tyres with unlimited practice. The C-ABS Blade





30 40 Distance (Metres)

stops sooner: from 80mph, it required 64.06m (209ft) to come to a halt. The non-ABS bike needed 78.41m (255ft).





The 14.35m (47ft) difference in stopping distances could be vital in a real-life emergency.



Electric GSX-R tops 80mph on TT lap Our tester rides the battery-powered TX01 on a lap of the Isle of Man’s legendary Mountain circuit – in near silence By Stuart Barker

HE throttle is fully open and I’m tucked in tightly behind the screen as I head up to the Creg-ny-Baa pub on the Isle of Man TT course – and it’s impossible to guess how fast I’m going. The bike runs almost silently and only now do I realise how much noise plays in the perception of speed. My mount is the battery-powered TTX01 built to promote the zeroemissions TTXGP, the world’s first clean emissions motorcycle race to be held on the island on June 12. The photographer following me in his car later reveals that I was doing 80mph although I’d been told it was good for more than 100mph. It didn’t feel that fast. This is a whole new world and it’s going to take some getting used to. If the bike looks familiar


that’s because it’s a 1997 Suzuki GSX-R750 – chosen by the bike’s makers for cheapness and availability. It packs two 11kg batteries instead of a four-cylinder engine and is proof that an electric motorcycle can travel at speed and still feel and ride like a ‘real’ bike. But the news of the future is mixed. As with a twostroke, close the throttle and you carry on at near the same speed. Brakes are everything with the TTX01. Imagine approaching a corner on an R1 or Blade then whipping in the clutch and cruising round and you’ll get some idea of what it’s like. It was disconcerting at first. And so was the lack of gyroscopic effect through the corners. The effect of the spinning crank, which can give a rider the feeling of a bike being ‘planted’ to the road as it corners, was totally absent – another result of

The electric TTX01 is based on a 1997 Suzuki GSX-R750

having a battery placed where an engine normally is. A full charge can take up to two-and-a-half hours but as I was keen to get on the bike and get photographs in the bag before we lost the day-

‘I BUILT IT’ STEVE ALI LABIB created the TTX01 demonstrator in just six weeks. “It was an incredibly intense build with a tight deadline” he says. He runs the Peacehaven Electric Vehicle Workshop in Peacehaven, East Sussex, and has also built a batterypowered Aprilia RS125 which closely matches the power and speed of the original two-stroke engine model. It’s good for 80mph, but even better is the

running costs. Labib has clocked up 1000 miles on the bike at a total cost of £5.70 in electricity – that works out at just £0.0057 per mile! If you never want to pay for petrol again, Labib can convert your current road bike but initial conversion costs are not cheap. He says: “Pricing for a smaller single-motor bike (capable of 80mph max) would be from about £8000, and for a dual motor capable

of 100mph-plus, it would be from £15,000.” These prices don’t include the donor bike, and are dependant on range, batteries being the expensive part. For someone with the ability and a well-kitted workshop wishing to do the conversion themselves, it would probably cost around £6000. Info: http://www.jozzbikes.

light, I settled for a 40-minute plug-in. That, I was assured, would be enough to get me to Cregny-Baa and back no matter how fast I rode With no engine noise you pick up on other noises you wouldn’t normally hear – clunking and rattling besides wheel noise. How much this was due to the GSX-R750 being 12 years old and the less-than-perfect fit of all the new components (after all, the chassis wasn’t designed

‘It was an intense build with a tight deadline’ STEVE ALI LABIB, ELECTRIC BIKE BUILDER 1 Steve handcrafted this under-tank aluminium box to house the bulk of the batteries.

2 The cells to be fitted into the box are clamped firmly by plastic sheeting to avoid damage by vibration.

3 Cells connected in series via heavy copper buss bars, then paralleled with other cells via smaller red wires.

‘I have ridden 1000 miles at a total cost of £5.70 for electricity’ STEVE ALI LABIB

4 The TTX01’s twin Agni Lynch motors kick out 43bhp each.

5 The complete set of three power packs ready for installation.

around a battery), was difficult to tell. But it wasn’t the most reassuring feedback as I wound the throttle on. Azhar Hussain, the man behind the TTXGP race, said: “I normally ride a Honda VTX1800 which is massively loud. Since I started riding the electric bike my VTX seems even louder and it seems to tire me more. With the lack of noise on the electric bike you just enjoy the ride more.” The motor isn’t completely silent – at least when you begin to pick up a little speed

– it makes a noise not unlike a hyper milk float. But by the time I rode up the newly-changed Governor’s Bridge section, up though the Nook and past Bedstead and Signpost Corner, I was amazed at how much this felt like riding a real motorcycle. Maybe it was because the GSX-R donor bike was so familiar. With its heavy engine stripped out, the Gixxer should have felt much lighter than standard but that was never an overriding impression, even though at 165kg, the TTX01 is a full 11kg lighter than the original Suzuki. After a few passes for photographs at Creg-ny-Baa I remember what I was told about keeping an eye on the amps that I’d used. What was it? “If you go over 10, you’d better head home.” Shit. I’m on 14.5. I tell the photographer we’d better call it a wrap. A minute later the battery died on me. Reserves of power from somewhere surged through intermittently and by a combination of pushing and free-wheeling, I made it back to Glencrutchery Road. My own technology is lagging behind. Does Azhar Hussein’s claim that machines like this will be doing 130mph laps within five years seem incredible now? Sure, but at the first TT in 1907, riders of single-geared machines had to pedal up the steeper hills on the course, and within a few years they were lapping the island at speeds which were incomprehensible at the time.

BUT THIS IS THE RACE BIKE THE TTX01 looks purposeful enough to race, but it’s just a demonstrator for the TTXGP. Its maker Steve Ali Labib says the bike he’ll actually be entering will be even more potent. “I wanted to enter the event to showcase our technologies and to make sure there is a serious British entry in there,” said

Steve. He’s chosen a Ducati 600SS as the race bike, into which he’s slotting twin electric motors, 30-40% more powerful than the TTX01’s, and with twice the range. That means it should be good for 100bhp and a 130mph top speed. “The 600SS has a lot of racing pedigree thanks to the



BMW K1300R NEW for 2009, BMW’s weird and wonderful inline fourcylinder super naked gets a bore and stroke increase, taking capacity from 1157cc to 1293cc. Power is up from 163bhp to 173bhp. Our test bike comes with factory fitted, next generation Electronic Suspension Adjustment. It also has traction control, ABS, an upgraded shaft drive and for the first time, a conventionaltype indicator switch.



172bhp BMW takes on best nakeds Does BMW’s new K1300R overpower rival nakeds Triumph’s Speed Triple and Honda’s CB1000R?

HONDA CB1000R ABS LAUNCHED last summer, this is Honda’s take on the super naked, which features an inline four-cylinder 998cc motor, making a claimed 123bhp at the crank. The Japanese don’t normally do hot, Italian-style super nakeds, but the Honda comes close with its aggressive, supermoto-style riding position, light weight, powerful engine and cool design touches. The bike on test is the ABS version.

TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE THIS is original super naked – and an undefeated winner of previous MCN group tests. Its grunt-filled inline threecylinder 1050cc engine howls like a NASCAR on acid and goes like a greyhound on speed. Out of the crate the Triumph handles superbly on UK roads, offering up lots of poise and stability and its radial brakes urge you to pull stinking great stoppies. It’s born to wheelie and, best of all, it’s affordable and British.

THANK YOU Thanks to Pidcock Triumph, Long Eaton (01159-462220) for the loan of the Triumph Speed Triple.


OT everything goes to plan. At MCN, when we undertake a road test, we do our utmost to project motorcycling as fun and pleasurable because these words explain exactly what motorcycling is about. Our passion for these bikes is portrayed through words and in pictures of dry roads, sunshine, open countryside and the occasional spot of circuit testing. But today is one of those rare days when all planning goes out of the window at broadband speed. The lady on early morning TV smiles while telling me that the weather is going to be overcast with sunny


‘The BMW has a torque-laden motor between its six-foot wheelbase’ spells. Despite this happy announcement, my mood darkens like the clouds outside my living room window. It’s peeing down and there’s about 150 miles to cover before reaching our destination: the Cat and Fiddle run. Arguably, this is the choicest stretch of tarmac in the UK for motorcyclists. Not only that, this could well be our last chance to ride massively powerful bikes like BMW’s new K1300R on this

mythical route before the imminent introduction of speed cameras to rigidly and digitally enforce the 50mph speed limit. It is still raining as we pile on to the A1 aiming north. From the outset it’s obvious that the BMW has a torqueladen motor between its six-foot-long wheelbase. The Triumph Speed Triple seems to have more instant grunt, but the BMW revs longer in throwing out its healthy dose of power. It delivers the goods to the rear wheel accompanied by an awesome amount of windblast and a rapidly-lifting speedometer needle. Honda’s CB1000R is keeping pace with the other two bikes with a similar display of simple low-to-midrange

drive – except it feels faster because its tiny headlight cowling has no wind-cheating properties whatsoever. The BMW’s screen and outer edges of the mini-fairing work surprisingly well at keeping the wind off the rider’s upper torso. All the way up the A1, surprised and inquisitive faces peer at us through car and lorry windows; is it because three blokes on bikes are riding in appalling conditions, or the bikes are unusual looking? Believe it or not, even though they are all classed as super-nakeds, each bike is as individual as a human face. Honda’s CB1000R is stylish, compact and visually stunning in white. On the other hand, the Speed Tri-

ple’s streetfighter-style twin headlights jutting out from under the accessory cowling could scare children and old folk if it gets any darker. ‘Butch,’ ‘masculine’ and ‘stripped ready to fight’ are comments I hear at the first petrol stop. It’s the BMW which evokes comments from good to bad and back again, ranging from: ‘it looks pre-crashed… BMW! Must be good,’ to ‘did you leave half the fairing behind?’ The unplugged mounting holes in aluminium stays that are utilised on other models (K1300S and GT) don’t do the BMW justice. The worst part is the bright steel heatshield material halfway along the exhaust’s length. Phrases such as half-baked and un-

finished spring to mind. Off the A1 and heading north-west along A-roads, it becomes immediately obvious that the BMW works so much better the harder you work it. Above 20mph its heavy feel disappears completely. At 40mph-plus, the Duolever front forks start to deliver that all-important feel from the front tyre. At the maximum speed limit, the engine feels settled. Its mechanical throbs and whirrs smooth out enough to suggest an autobahn-like 85-95mph would be this motor’s ideal pace. The Triumph sits pretty at 70mph and over, with 85mph being the maximum speed for prolonged high-speed runs. Above this, the rider cops a cricked neck and the


The bikes line up, ready to take on the famous Cat & Fiddle run

Triumph’s Speed Triple is all attitude and hooligan fun

CB1000R is a typically well-packaged effort from Honda

BMW’s K1300R is both fearsomely powerful and technologically advanced front end goes light, causing it to bang off raised surfaces. Considering that the flat bars/upright seating position on all three bikes lends itself to riders firmly gripping the bars, nothing upsets the han-

‘The Speed Triple isn’t happy on some sections of the Cat & Fiddle’ dling of these machines. The Honda is the most adept at bend swinging. It falls into turns with the grace and ease of a veteran ice skater and sniffs out gaps in traffic with the ease of a pen-

sioner getting to the front of a queue. Balanced in every sense, the Honda makes short work of the Cat and Fiddle run. The rippled and pock-marked road surfaces covered in dampness and criss-crossed with small rivers of run-off water fails to faze the Honda. Its supple suspension takes out most of the road damage and returns a feeling that all is well. That triangle of comfort – the one that connects rider to seat, handlebar and footpegs – is spot on. Anybody can jump on the Honda and immediately feel at home. As one rider put it: “The Honda is like baby bear’s porridge: not too hot, not too cold; just right.” As a fan of the Speed Triple, I’m surprised to find the

bike isn’t happy along certain stretches of the Cat and Fiddle, namely tight secondgear corners. ‘Cumbersome’ came to mind, with the bars set forward and the suspension erring on the firm side. The triple-cylinder lump puts a lot of engine braking through its drive chain and makes careful throttle control a necessity. Back off slightly to alter the line through a turn and the bike staggers and steers into a turn rather than peeling in. Get out of the nadgery sections where the triple can make use of its gutsy lump and it all falls in place. The BMW’s length and weight isn’t a problem as such. Roads need to be read like an Xbox player needs to Continues over



Braking power to speed GPs Car-style environment-friendly electronic power boost could be heading to MotoGP By Neil Spalding

HERE’S a new technical challenge in all forms of motorsport: to take the energy generated in braking that would be otherwise be wasted, find a way to store it, then re-use it to either boost horsepower or make the machine more fuel efficient. It’s called ‘kinetic energy recovery system’ (KERS) and KTM scored an unlikely first in motorcycle racing with their KERS-equipped Grand Prix 125 at Valencia last October – way ahead of Formula 1 who are allowing KERS this year. KTM use a simple system with a combined generator/ motor unit attached to the gearbox with a rubber drive belt. When the rider shuts the throttle going into a corner, the generator is activated – the energy required to turn it is just like having additional engine braking. The generator charges ‘super capacitor’ batteries. The whole system weighs in around 4.5kg, and when fully charged is capable of delivering about 2.7 additional bhp for about 10 seconds. KTM is working hard to discover where the rider can deal with more engine braking, calculate where the use of the additional power would be most beneficial and put the weight of the unit where it doesn’t upset the


handling. There are other problems too. One example is the amount of charge that can be held in the batteries. If they are already fully charged as the bike approaches a corner, it is impossible to turn on the generator without damaging them. It means that sometimes the batteries have to be discharged on a short straight just to make sure the

‘The weight and power trade-off is a close-run thing’

minimum weight requirement for bike and rider of 136kg. The MotoGP minimum weight limit is 148kg, but there is nothing in the rules that says you can’t ballast an underweight bike by adding a KERS device. But additional weight might have to go somewhere an engineer wouldn’t normally want to add it – and extra weight affects handling and speed. At present the trade-off between adding weight and extra power is a close-run thing. But as these technologies improve, components will weigh less and add performance.

ENGINE BRAKING system always works in the same way at every corner. But is the KTM system a one-off or the start of a whole new technological shift in motorcycle racing? The thinking in MotoGP right now is that KERS could be used to get MotoGP 800cc engine performance levels back close to the 990cc bikes, or maybe it would let teams stretch their 21 litres of fuel that bit further. Several issues have to be considered…

THE entire slipper clutch industry is based on reducing engine braking to an acceptable level for optimum rear grip. It means that any KERS, based on charging through the rear wheel like the KTM 125, is going to be severely limited by how much braking you can do at the rear. On street bikes it

isn’t such a problem but on race bikes it’s a big issue because 90% of its weight is loaded on to the front wheel under extreme braking. So if it was possible to drive the KERS unit from the front wheel it would be far more effective. The question then is how to do it?

FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE? KTM now offer a twowheel-drive off-road system, employing an electric motor in the front wheel hub. If that motor could act as a generator making power for a KERS unit, the device could work a lot harder than any system that operated through the rear wheel. The top F1 electric engines weigh in at around 4 to 8kg, but they can make a massive 80bhp. A smaller 20bhp bike system might come in at 2kg, still a lot of weight to add to a front wheel but it would at least be in the hub. Using the generator/motor housing as the disc hubs (a bit like the big, but light, hub on a

Ducati Multistrada), the net extra weight of about half a kilo would be acceptable. For the best grip, powerout could be through a secondary motor and driven through the rear wheel.

MIXING ABS AND KERS IF the batteries are full, or the flywheel is already spinning at maximum rpm, there is nowhere for the energy to go and either the batteries would be cooked or the flywheel over-revved, in both cases with potentially catastrophic results. So the original brake system has to be retained and a control unit has to decide whether to use the old-fashioned discs or the KERS system, depending on how much capacity there is in the energy store.

SPIN CONTROL IT may be possible to use KERS to control wheelspin. In current traction control electronics, the system cuts engine power by shutting

WEIGHT UNDER GP125 rules, thanks to having signed superlight jockey Marc Marquez, KTM have to carry 7.5kg of ballast to meet the

KTM’s technicians have to decide when the KERS system will be charged and discharged

throttles or cutting the spark to one cylinder. A KERS unit, attached to the gearbox, could soak up the excess power by speeding up its flywheel, or charging a battery, but it would need to be attached to the gearbox to work.

ENERGY STORAGE. KERS batteries are called super capacitors and charge

‘Most of the technologies needed are almost in place’ and discharge very quickly. They are based on lithium ion technology but currently have a life of just two hours. The KERS flywheel idea, either spun up by an electric motor or a ‘Flybrid’ direct drive makes a lot of sense, but on a bike there are problems of gyroscopic precession and torque reactions. Anything that changes the way bikes pitch and turn has to be consistent or the bike handles differently. Rossi’s Yamaha M1 has a reverse turning crankshaft for a very good reason. It cancels some of the gyroscopic stability generated by the wheels making the bike easier to turn. Adding a flywheel revving at up to 65,000rpm is going to complicate things. It would help if engineers could find a way to keep it revving at the same speed in all the corners to create a consistent effect. Its sideeffects could then be dealt with more easily. Ironically, they might even discover there’s no longer a need for a reverse-turning crank because the KERS flywheel does the same job.

SPACE CONSTRAINTS THE batteries and electric engines of a KERS unit aren’t small. KTM showed the way with a small battery pack replacing the steel ballast required by the 125 regulations. Over the last seven years, MotoGP has dropped its fuel capacity from 25 to 21 litres, so theoretically that should free up space.

IS IT WORTH IT? IN our CO2-conscious world, it doesn’t make sense to heat up disc brakes and dispense with the energy. Equally, it isn’t easy to collect and re-use that energy either. KTM’s KERS unit weighs 4.5kg but generates 2.6bhp (that’s 1.7 kg per bhp). In the near future an 8kg unit, including the motor and the batteries taking up four to five litres of space could generate as much as 8bhp, for maybe 10sec a lap. But it’s a question of whether the hassle and sideeffects of the weight and storage issues are worth overcoming. When you look at road bikes, most of the technologies we need are almost in place. ECU-controlled braking, front-wheel electric motors and battery technologies will all evolve and improve. The weight issues aren’t nearly as important on a road bike either. But all this technology means once simple motorcycles are going to become ever more electronically complex.

ONLINE FIRST FOR SPORT For all the latest sport stories go to www.

KERS AND ABS: HOW IT COULD WORK THIS assumes this is an electrical KERS system with batteries. And that a KERS generator causes drag - not enough to be a full-on brake but enough to add a noticeable braking force. It also assumes it has Honda-style ABS with the rider brake lever being an electric switch and the brake actually being applied by an ABS computer-controlled pump. If the KERS batteries are uncharged the braking force at the front might be 15% KERS and 85% disc. If the batteries are full they can’t take any more charge so it would be 100% disc.

When braking. 1. ABS/KERS control unit starts front-wheel generator/motor operating. 2. Super capacitors charged. 3. As wheel approaches lockup, ABS unit reduces brake but keeps the front wheel KERS on. 4. Coming off the brakes the control unit reduces pressure on brake pads and switches off the KERS Unit.



Rider using engine flat out. 1. If wheelspin occurs, the rear wheel-driven KERS unit generates power. 2. Drag reduces power to the rear wheel. 3. If the wheelspin continues after the generator is fully switched on the normal traction control measures, like shutting the throttle or misfiring cylinders get used too.

2 1



Accelerating in third gear or above while nearly upright. 1. The rear-wheel KERS uses battery power so saving the main engine from using fuel and improving consumption. 2. Flat out at the end of the straight the rear-wheel KERS uses battery power so saving the main engine from using fuel again. But at this stage it’s not known how much fuel will be saved.


Flat out near end of straight completely upright. 1. KERS control unit senses it has available power in the batteries. KERS unit adds power to rear wheel. 2. To reduce the risk of rear wheelspin, KERS control unit reduces power to the rear wheel and feeds some power to front wheel.

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Slipper clutch Engine (right, clutch side) could incorporate a new ultra-high slip, slipper clutch so that all engine braking is developed by the generator

This is how a KERS system might be fitted to Valentino Rossi’s M1 MotoGP bike

Casey Stoner and rivals face test ban from April to November

2-day MotoGP action in 2010 MOTOGP track action will be cut to two days in 2010, with nearly two hours less track time already enforced for 2009. Friday morning’s free practice session for all three Grand Prix classes has been scrapped as part of costcutting measures agreed by the Grand Prix Commission in Geneva last week. As well as the loss of an hour’s track time on Friday morning, the remaining two free MotoGP practice sessions and Saturday’s qualifying session will be slashed to 45 minutes. But MCN has learned that Friday practice will be abolished for the 2010. Other measures sanctioned last week for 2009 include banning electronic and hydraulic launch control and electronics suspension systems. And from the Czech Republic GP in Brno in midAugust, each MotoGP rider will be limited to the use of five engines for the final

eight races of the season, as exclusively revealed by MCN earlier this month. There can be no changing of engine parts except for daily maintenance. And the likes of Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner will now be banned from testing from April to November.

‘2010 bikes may be seen as early as next June in Catalunya’ Two post race tests immediately after Catalunya and Brno will now only permit manufacturers to test 2010 prototype bikes. That means a host of new bikes for the 2010 campaign could be seen as early as June 15 in Catalunya. Factories will only be allowed to use designated test riders and not their full-time contracted Grand Prix riders.

REVISED ’09 GP SCHEDULE FRIDAY 1.05-1.45pm 125cc practice one 12.05-2.50pm MotoGP practice one 13.05-13.50pm 250cc practice one KERS generator Some room on the left side of the engine (opposite the clutch) for a generator/ motor driven off the front sprocket (which is linked to the rear wheel by the chain)

Control boxes Control boxes for combined braking system – that also allows front-wheel generator to be part of the braking system – could be located behind the fuel tank, almost in the tail

Fuel tank Fuel now goes back under the rider’s seat, leaving space immediately above the engine for the heavy battery pack. Latest bikes have 21 litre tanks – old ones had 25 – so there is theoretically four litres of free space

Sensors Front and rear wheel speed sensors for combined ABS generative braking system

Front wheel Enlarged front hub contains generator. Construction has to be kept as light as possible with discs now mounted directly to the outside of the hub, dispensing with the need for disc carriers (like a Multistrada) to keep weight down

SATURDAY 9.05-9.45am 125cc practice pwo 10.05-10.50am MotoGP practice two 11.05-11.50am 250cc practice two 1.05-1.45pm 125cc

qualifying 2.05-2.50pm MotoGP qualifying 3.05-3.50pm 250cc qualifying

SUNDAY 8.40-9am 125cc warm-up 9.10-9.30am 250cc warm-up 9.40-10am MotoGP warmup 11am 125cc race 12.15pm 250cc race 2pm MotoGP race


James Toseland, Davide Tardozzi and MCN’s Michael Guy rate the chances of our brilliant Brits… michael.guy

N 2009, the WSB paddock has been flooded with fast, hungry British riders. In Superbikes, five of the UK’s best will go head to head to with some of the best riders in the world in what promises to be the most hotly contested season in history. BSB champion Shane Byrne leads the way on the factory-supported Sterilgarda Ducati and if his test form is anything to go by he poses a major threat to the series regulars. Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes are both on top form and riding for two of the best teams on the grid – Ten Kate Honda and the Yamaha World Superbike squad. Leon Haslam has the task of bringing his undisputed pace to the fore on the newto-WSB Stiggy Honda team. And Tommy Hill is charged with rebuilding his career at Altea Honda following breaking his right femur in 2007 and again in 2008. In Supersport, there is more chance of glory with Cal Crutchlow and Eugene Laverty both emerging as genuine title contenders.


Crutchlow’s pace in testing on the factory Yamaha has been seriously impressive and he even has the dominant Ten Kate Honda team worried. Laverty has made a slower start but it’s simply a matter of time before he’ll be challenging for race wins on the fast developing Parkalgar Honda. MCN has spoken to the seven contenders for their

‘Byrne leads the charge and will pose a major threat to the series regulars’ appraisal of the year ahead. And expert judges James Toseland and Davide Tardozzi join MCN’s Michael Guy in giving their predictions.



The Magnificent

WSB is all about having cut his teeth in the series. He arrived in WSB at the age of 19 so he knows what it’s going to take for the British rookies to be up front and the challenges they will face. He’s ridden against most of the WSB old guard, making his opinion on this year’s Brits invaluable.

DAVIDE TARDOZZI THE Xerox Ducati team boss won eight world titles in a career spanning two decades. He’s been a WSB race winner and is now the most successful WSB team manager in history. The straight-talking Italian masterminded WSB crowns for Fogarty, Hodgson and Toseland and is perfectly placed to judge if the current influx of Brits is good enough to be contenders.

MICHAEL GUY THE JUDGES JAMES TOSELAND THE double W o r l d Superbike champion and c u r r e n t MotoGP rider knows exactly what racing at the front of

MCN’s WSB reporter has been working in the paddock since 2002. In the last seven years he’s travelled to every race and test around the world, giving him unrivalled insight.

SHANE BYRNE STERILGARDA DUCATI DUCATI 1098RS09 STRENGTHS MY obvious strength is that I’m staying on a Ducati. I rode the Airwaves bike last year and had a great year and now I’ve already jumped on the Sterilgarda bike and it’s going well. I’ve come to a great and knowledgeable team, albeit a private one. I’ve wanted to be in WSB for two or three years now. In terms of timing, for it to happen now, it is absolutely the perfect scenario for me. It’s ideal – apart from choosing one of the hardest seasons ever in WSB to make my debut!


the bike will be at Phillip Island in Friday free practice. We’ve still got some work to do with the bike, but I’ve tested at the track so at least I know where it goes. A lot of the other teams are testing the week before which will definitely help them, and I would have liked to have done that test too. This year it’s going to be important to make my mark early on in the season. I’ll be on a bike I know and there are riders on new manufacturers’ bikes, plus some of the top guys have switched bikes and that means they will take some time to get used to them. I’m confident I can hit the ground running.

WEAKNESSES There are about five tracks I don’t know – which could be a weakness. I’m riding for a private team, which again could be a disadvantage but I’m not looking at it like that. It’s important for me to feel happy and to have good people and good support behind me and I’ve definitely got that at Sterilgarda.

ARE YOU READY? Well it’s far too early to get excited just because I was fast at two tests. I’ve had about two days of dry track time in total, and the next time I ride

TARDOZZI SAYS: I think that Shane can play for the championship in 2009. He is that strong. With his personal set-up, family and age he is very well placed and because his brain is a little bit older it works for 24 laps. The last three corners of a race are as important as the first three and he knows that. While he is not in the factory squad I hope he will not feel any disadvantage. He is one of the very top guys and can be a regular podium man and a race winner.

Byrne topped the timesheets every day at tests in Portimao last month on the privateer Ducati

TOSELAND SAYS: He’s been quick in testing and he’ll be the strongest of all the Brits, especially in the first half of the year. He’s staying on a 1098 which is going to help him a lot to be consistent. I just hope that he gets good support from Ducati because I don’t know how much Xerox will like it if he beats the factory guys. He can ride a Ducati as well as anyone, but if he’s too fast the development could stop. It will be tough for him

on tracks he doesn’t know, but on the ones he does, he’ll be a really strong contender. If Ducati support him and he has no reliability problems he can be top three.

GUY SAYS: His testing form has been sublime but it’s unlikely he’ll have it his own way when the racing starts. Being on a fully developed and familiar bike will be invaluable and if he wants to fight for the title he needs to be winning straight

out of the box. His team is good and his bike is clearly competitive but he’s already a step behind the factory Ducatis as he has no fly-bywire electronics and is unlikely to get them. Byrne has the experience to put a championship together but as his rivals’ bikes develop he could find race wins harder to come by in the second half of the year.

RATING: „„„„„

A LOT of people have said that I have an old head on young shoulders. I feel that I can make fast and calculated decisions and I know that sometimes you have to settle for a result rather than push and end up feeling the consequences. Scoring well at every round is going to be so important. Ever since I got on a Superbike I’ve felt at home. Having that much power to play with is right up my street and plays into my hands. The team have a lot of experience in the world championship and I’m confident they can use this knowledge to help me become a regular frontrunner. I’m riding for the factory Yamaha team so I’m at the top of the pecking order. The new R1 is proving to be very consistent over a full race distance, not just half or two-thirds the distance.

WEAKNESSES I’m a rookie in the championship so everything is new. I’ll be going to a lot of new circuits and I’m only going to have practice and qualify-

ing to learn them. The travelling is going to be a new thing and the first trip to Australia and Qatar is the biggest because I’m away for four weeks, but I’m looking forward to it – it’s in my character to explore.

ARE YOU READY? I’m ready now. I’ve had three tests and I’ve got one more test the week before Phillip Island where I’m hoping that with a few tweaks we can really make this bike mine. The South Africa test was difficult for a number of reasons but the second Portugal test went well. We ended up fourth fastest and 2/10ths off the fastest time, and I’m confident that we have very strong race pace.

TARDOZZI SAYS: He has huge potential to grow and it is up to him. He is in the right team with Yamaha who are very good, very experienced and very competitive, just like Ducati. This is the best way for him to start his world championship career. With Ben Spies as his team-mate, who can be a potential champion, it gives Tom some time to relax. There is not the same pressure which is the best way.


Brit invaders, from left, Leon Haslam, Cal Crutchlow, Eugene Laverty, Tom Sykes, Shane Byrne, Tommy Hill and Jonathan Rea



Rea is one of Tardozzi’s favourites and MCN’s Guy was seriously impressed by him last year

STRENGTHS THE good thing for me is that I’m in a world championship-winning team. I know the guys really well from last year and I’m really happy in the team. I’m also going to be on a bike that has been developed for one year by my team-mates Checa and Kiyonari. As a rider I never, ever give up, I never say die and I’ve got the ability to ride around problems. I’ve been working really hard on my training and I can honestly say that I feel the best I ever have. Racing is everything to me. It’s far too important for me to fail so I just have to get it right.

YAMAHA WORLD SUPERBIKE YAMAHA R1 This year he will have some nice results but I don’t think he can fight for the championship. It will be possible for him to take some podiums. Winning races will be very difficult, but never say never because the talent is there.

TOSELAND SAYS: Out of the five Brits I think Tom has got one of the strongest packages being on the factory R1. But it is a brand new bike and it will take some developing. He has been unfortunate in testing to lose track time, but I believe he can do a similar job to Spies this year. He needs to work together with his team-mate because they are both inexperienced in WSB, but the fact that they are both young means they have a lot of motivation. He’s proved he’s got the natural talent and was unlucky not to win at Donington last year. He can definitely fight for the podium, especially at tracks


Former BSB frontrunner Sykes has shown in tests what he’s capable of on all-new Yamaha R1 where he knows he could win. If he can finish top six in the championship in his first year it will be a great result.

GUY SAYS: Sykes showed he has the pace to be at the front of WSB by pushing Bayliss for

the win at Donington, and, as a rider, seems to improve every time he steps on the new R1. Having signed for the factory squad he’s in one of the best teams in the paddock and on a bike that appears to work exceptionally well. His testing has

been disrupted, but the pace is there for podiums and maybe a race win. I hope he doesn’t get treated as a No2 rider in the team because of team-mate Ben Spies’ testing pace.

RATING: „„„„

I haven’t ridden a full season in WSB and I don’t know the Salt Lake City or Imola circuits. I’ve got a new crew to work with and at this stage we’re still learning. I’m not sure if I have the experience to carve out a championship. I was only 22 a couple of weeks ago, so maybe I got to this position of being in the world championship on a top bike a little bit quicker than expected!

ARE YOU READY? I’m confident that I can race at the front and this is what I want to do because it’s excit-

ing. For the last three years I’ve been at the front of each championship I’ve been in and I want to do that again. I know it’s a case of working really hard from the first session on Friday to get a package that will work throughout a 24-lap race on Sunday. I know and really like both Phillip Island and Qatar. I’m ready but I can only go as fast as the bike beneath me so it’s up to me and the team to get that right.

TARDOZZI SAYS: Jonathan is one of my favourites, I really like this guy. We came close to signing him at Ducati and I would love to have him. He proved his talent on a 600 by nearly winning the championship and showed that he could be fast on unknown circuits. You can see his mental strength when you look him in the eye. He is mentally very strong. However, it will be a difficult year for him and he needs to make sure that he is not too hard on himself. Like all the English guys he will be fast. I think he can manage podiums but winning races will be hard. However, in the rain I think he will be difficult to beat.

TOSELAND SAYS: He proved what he was capa-

ble of when he jumped on the Superbike in Portugal at the end of last year. I think his level of talent is very similar to Tom Sykes’ and he has a great opportunity this year with Ten Kate. He took a step back last year when he went from BSB to WSS and, fair play to him, he did an amazing job. He gets on well with the team and everyone there is behind him, which is important, so I think he can do a similar job to what he did last season. In the past he’s been a little bit hot under the collar, but he’s older now and if he can keep being consistent he can fight for wins, podiums and be top six at the end of the year.

GUY SAYS: Rea seriously impressed me in the second half of 2008 with his focus and consistency that nearly saw him win the World Supersport title. As a rider, he’s already stepped up to the level of competition in the world championship, and he is arguably a better Superbike rider than he is Supersport. He has a strong dedicated team behind him, but will have to keep a cool head and remain patient if he wants to win because compared to his rivals he lacks experience.

RATING: „„„„ Continues over


MCN 25th February  
MCN 25th February  

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