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WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 2009 kkk"achcfWmW`YbYkg"Wca

News Pirelli Angel ST launch

24 hours, 3209 miles and

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Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli broke the 24-hour non-stop world tyre endurance record last week, by running a Suzuki Hayabusa continuously over 3209 miles at 143mph – on the same set of tyres. Pirelli assembled a team of 28 test riders and assorted journalists to pilot the standard Hayabusa at 12.30pm on Saturday 14 March on the 7.8-mile speed bowl at the Nardo Ring proving ground, near Gallipoli in southern Italy. Each rider’s stint on the bike was governed by a full tank of fuel – around 35 minutes. Pirelli test rider Michele Corrallini crossed the finishing line 24 hours later on the ’Busa, his team having averaged 134mph once fuel stops and rider changes are taken into account. Achieving this feat on a single set of tyres is impressive as Suzuki’s mighty hyperbike is known for showing little mercy to rear tyres, often destroying a rear in as little as 1500 miles (for sports tyres and aggressive riders). This secures Pirelli the Non-Stop World Record in the A11 category – for motorcycles between 1000-1350cc. The Italian manufacturer also attempted the A12 non-stop record – for bikes between 1350-2000cc – on a Kawasaki GTR1400, but a terminal engine failure wrecked the attempt after 12 hours – see right. Despite this, Pirelli still managed to secure the 12-hour record, covering 1564 miles at an average speed of 130mph, including fuel stops and rider changes.

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laps it took to empty the 18-litre tank at 143mph.

+)$$ $' is engine speed in rpm on a ’Busa at 143mph.

minutes 20 seconds = one 7.8-mile lap of Nardo Ring.


hours until the GTR1400’s engine blew up.


miles. The distance to push the stricken GTR back.


hours. The time taken to push the GTR 4.4 miles.


WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 2009 kkk"achcfWmW`YbYkg"Wca

Road test RC8R v 1198S

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There’s no getting away from it, Ducati’s 1198S and KTM’s RC8R are sex on wheels. Ohlins and WP suspension, Marchesini forged aluminium wheels, Brembo’s latest crotch-killing brakes… all the big names figure on these two bikes. In fact, the cycle parts specification alone arguably justifies both bikes’ high price tags. I mean, go buy these components and see how cheap your GSX-R750 is then! But the main reason for the high ticket price is that these two bikes are the cream of the 2009 V-twin crop – essentially monster-capacity engines bolted into track-ready chassis. Everything is there to make the Duke and KTM stand out and provide a decent footing for superstock and higher levels of racing: awesome looks, awesome claimed 175bhp horsepower, awesome torque output. Taking all the above into account, they should be awesome road-going implements, too. But in the case of the

H\Y%%-,ÈgZfcbh k\YY``]ZhgW`YUfcZ h\Y[fcibXk]h\ giW\ZYfcW]hm ]hÈgUg\cW_ TREVOR FRANKLIN Ducati, as a wide-eyed MCN road tester commented: “It’s a 14lb sledgehammer to crack a dry peanut”. The way the 1198S reacts to quick throttle openings is violent. In first gear it rears up like a wife looking for an argument. The front wheel lifts clear of the ground with such ferocity it’s a shock – even though its predecessor the 1098 did the same. But the 1198’s extra capacity means second gear is no different and, with the front wheel pawing air at 70mph, you begin to wonder ‘is this necessary?’ Nudge third to drop the revs and pray for a calmer life. Hold a steady throttle to keep on the happy side of legality and you get it. But pin the throttle open again and your senses are bombarded with sheer power forcing the rear tyre to dig into

chippings, prompting further ‘is this too much?’ questioning. Traction control a gimmick? Not on this bike it isn’t. The 1198S delivers the goods as the Bologna boys intended. In experienced, slightly psychopathic hands, the Ducati is fun. Big fun from a bike which is the closest thing to an ‘affordable’ world superbike and there really isn’t much point in traction control. But for the many who will buy the Ducati because of its pedigree, status or £16k price tag, they ain’t gonna have a bloody clue what to do with it, traction control or not. Ducati would be better off taking a leaf out of the supercar world’s book and subsidise an advanced riding course with every 1198 sold. Or it could take note on how KTM’s RC8R works. Hoon along some A-roads on the 1198S and you’d swear from 3000rpm to 10,000rpm the Ducati’s Evoluzione engine is pumping 200bhp to its rear Pirelli. In comparison, the KTM feels flat, giving maybe 135-140 horses, maybe less. It doesn’t wheelie like a bastard in second or third gear and there’s no panic when given its head out of a turn. ‘Oh dear,’ thought I after just three miles. But the truth is, the KTM isn’t slow and it isn’t so underpowered. Side by side from standstill on Bruntingthorpe’s two-mile straight, the KTM pulls away from the bucking Ducati. An appointment with BSD’s dyno was in order. Until the performance testing, we genuinely believed the KTM’s RC8R was lacking and wondered why it’s easy to make easy meat of open roads. Pile into a corner, hit the brakes, tip in and nail it. No dramas, just instant, usable drive. The ‘no drama’ bit includes the revised RC8R’s gearbox – no longer does it have a dead feel at the gear lever and neither did it miss a gear. Our RC8R had the race throttle tube installed rather than the optional roadbiased throttle. This race unit pulls the throttle cable instantly and wholeheartedly, whereas the road one doesn’t move the cable as far for the same amount of twist in the early stages of the throttle being turned. It wasn’t a problem. Sure, the KTM kicks off the moment the throttle’s turned, but that’s the nature of the beast. KTM has obviously been hard at work sorting out the ignition and fuelling maps for the RC8R, because in heavy traffic or town use the bike is perfectly

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happy to trundle along at 2500rpm. I could count on my fingers the number of bikes which have felt so good through corners when ‘on a mission’. The new Fireblade was the last bike to float MCN tester Bruce Dunn’s boat, and mine. The RC8R manages to do the same thing. Ducati’s trellis frame is straight from the hard school of racing and is brilliant. KTM’s frame is the sweepings of a site plumber’s first visit. Undernourished of apparent strength, it shouldn’t work, simple as that. But with the engine rigidly held as a stressed member, it does – brilliantly. With its WP suspension set to base level (midway between comfort and track), it’s firm at the rear to give an abundance of feedback – fine, although

MCN March 25 2009  

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