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BENNETTS BIKE INSURANCE *Based on Dec 08 prices.



Not a girl’s bike! Suzuki’s all-new Gladius will cosset the inexperienced but the 650 twin has a lively side, too… adam.child

HE original SV has been a little success story for Suzuki. It’s sold well in both the UK and Europe, to a wide spectrum of riders – from first-time bikers to city types (and even dedicated racers, as the little SV even arguably inspired its own UK race series – the Minitwin series). But, with pressure growing from both Japanese and Italian competition, the SV was starting to show its age. Like a 60-year-old film star, it was


in need of a facelift and an injection of modern style. But Suzuki has gone one better than that with the new Gladius – this replacement for the naked SV is an allnew machine. Competing against the stunning Ducati 696 and recently launched Kawasaki ER-6 meant Suzuki had to be bold – style and image are hugely important factors for naked middleweight bikes.

IT’S A STYLE THING WITH the Gladius, Suzuki has pulled out the stops and is now on par with the sexy

Gladius is easy to ride and should prove a hit with learners Handling is faultless for a bike of this class – unintimidating for the inexperienced but great fun for older hands, too

Italians in terms of style – a huge achievement. This bike is light years away from the old SV – and the colour choices are brave, too. Personally I really like the blue and white version, especially as the blue trellis frame really stands out. The green and white version looks good, too, as does

‘The bike is light years away from the old SV650’ the black (although this colour is not yet confirmed for the UK market), but I’m unsure about the pink (or ‘Ruby’, as Suzuki calls it) and white colour scheme. I don’t think I’m brave enough to turn up to Sherburn in Elmet with my buddies on a pink motorcyle. The overall style of the bike is a winner, as far as I’m concerned. That trellis frame is obviously designed to take a leaf out of the

Funky looks give more than a little nod to Ducati’s Monster – especially the trellis frame Ducati Monster’s book, while the new headlight is not too dissimilar from the Kawasaki ER-6. Obviously Suzuki were keeping a weather eye on the hottest competition. The tank is of metal construction, with two plastic side covers, giving the bike a

distinctive look and should be replaceable if damaged in a low-speed spill. However, the tank is 2.5 litres smaller than the SV’s, so will cut down its fuel range radically. The SV’s old ‘rocket launcher’ exhaust is gone, replaced on the Gladius by sexy twin-exit pipes with a

single end can. Even though the engine shares the same basic architecture as the SV650, Suzuki has tidied it up with a new clutch cover, so it’s much sleeker. Another nice touch is the radiator shrouds, which are colour-matched with the bike’s paintscheme. The whole back end is all new – seat, grab rails, footpeg mounting brackets – all done with a sense of style that blends with the overall design of the bike, rather than just bolted on as an afterthought. The Gladius is a class act on looks alone. And it’s not a case of design dominating practicality to the expense of the latter – everything is well thought-out and perfectly functional. Take the new clocks, for example; they’re easy to read – a digital speedo with analogue rev counter, with a useful and functional gear position indicator – a perfect combination for new riders.

SO HOW DOES IT GO? THAT’S the visuals dealt with, but can the new Gladius continue the SV650’s tradition of attracting a wide spectrum of riders with the way it goes about its business on the road. Jumping on the bike for the first time, it feels very different to an SV650. Obviously it gives you a much more modern feel, with its new clocks and so on, and only the mirrors are reminiscent of the old bike. The new tank shape and



‘We hope the Gladius will continue the success of the old naked SV’ GEORGE CHEESEMAN, SUZUKI UK We asked George Cheeseman, Marketing Manager of Suzuki UK, about the new Gladius. How important is the Gladius to Suzuki and how successful was the SV? The SV was a key bike to Suzuki – a feather in our cap, if you will. It had a huge audience from new riders to racers in the Minitwins race series in the UK. We hope the Gladius will continue the success of the old naked SV. Suzuki seems to have a lot of bikes in the same area of the market – middleweight machines at the same price to attract new riders. It is important for Suzuki to attract new riders – we are directly aiming at new riders with the Gladius. We are offering the new bike in restricted form for free and insurance will only be £99 for new riders with Suzuki. Once again, this is aimed at breaking down the barriers to allow new riders to enter motorcycling.

‘The engine is much more refined, with extra midrange’

Beginners bike? There’s no denying the Gladius is easy to ride but it loves to scrape it’s hero blobs too

bars make the Gladius feel more purposeful and more solid. They also make it feel larger and wider. Don’t be fooled by the girly optional colours – this is more of a man’s bike. The riding position feels natural, the seat is still low and it’s not an uncomfortable stretch to the bars like the Ducati 696. The Gladius’ engine, an eight-valve, double overhead cam, 645cc V-twin, just like the SV650, sounds quieter on tickover than it did in its predecessor. On the move, though, the revvy little water-cooled motor seems to have found some bark, along with some extra power.

But are you not standing on the toes of other models in your range, like the Bandit or GSX600F? We believe the Gladius will attract a slightly different audience to our other models, as its unique in terms of design and uses a small V-twin as opposed to an inline four engine. We’ve always found the SV had a small following and hopefully the Gladius will continue this. Who is your direct competition? In terms of style, we are looking at Ducati’s 696 Monster. We are also competing directly with Kawasaki’s new ER-6 and Yamaha’s XJ600 Diversion. Is there a plan to produce a faired model, like the SV? There are no plans. We will continue to produce the SV650S, which is exclusive to the UK market. Will the V-Strom 650 receive similar upgrades? There are no plans to upgrade the V-Strom with the new modified engine. Will ABS be an option? We don’t plan to bring ABS models into the UK in 2009. ABS is an option in Europe but not at present in the UK. Are there any plans to race the Gladius, in the way the SV is raced in Minitwins? We know from dealers and feedback there has been lots of interest from the Minitiwins race series. I can see the engine and handling improvements being beneficial on track; it would be great to see a few out racing in the series. But Suzuki are not officially entering a bike in 2009.

The new airbox gives a distinctive, deep, Ducati-like growl when you fully load up the engine from low revs. It will still pull cleanly from virtually zero revs, but now it’s much smoother, with far less vibration – and it wants to spin up quicker, too. Suzuki have simply played around with an already good engine – they haven’t changed the bore and stoke or the capacity, but the difference between the power delivery of the Gladius and the old SV is obvious after the first mile you ride on the new bike. It’s much more refined and smoother, with added midrange – but it’s still keen to be bounced off its rev limiter if the mood should take you. The new engine will easily loft the front wheel in the air in the first few gears, on the clutch. In fact, Suzuki has created a fun mini stunt bike here without realising it. Continues over



New 675 raises the standard

Better engine, better chassis, more style. How Triumph’s new Daytona betters even its 2008 forerunner

‘Pull quote in here please hjkh jkhkhjk h hjkh jkhjk hjkh’

2009 bike (left) has sharper styling on the fairing and a new treatment for the headlight


IAN JUBB Charging into turns it’s always the new Daytona, right, that leads the way

R I U M P H ’ S Daytona 675 caused a small ripple in the sports 600 pond of 2006. Up against the likes of Yamaha’s 130bhp R6, the 123bhp Triumph looked to be outgunned. As a newcomer, the Hinckley bike was an unknown quantity next to the long and successful history of the Japanese CBR, GSX-R, ZX-6R and so on. Not that Triumph was worried. The Daytona 675 flicked a blatant two-fingered salute at the rest of the world before it startled and upstaged the old hands. A sorted chassis, tractable engine and modern styling won many fans. Notable high positions and praise during 600cc shoot-outs the world over also ensured success outside of the UK. Among the heavily supported racing bikes of Honda, Yamaha, et al, the Daytona 675 won the 2008 British SuperSport championship and its German equivalent. But that’s enough history. The Daytona 675 has made its mark and is here to stay. But can the new-for 2009 Daytona 675 lift the Union Flag higher than the original?


POWER UP IF the sound of the Daytona’s triple-cylinder motor at full chat doesn’t make you smile in appreciation, then easy, accessible drive most defi-

nitely will. We make no bones about it: both old and new Daytonas are endowed with serious low-to-midrange grunt, the sort of stuff that doesn’t need a throttle wound open while fingers strain from keeping the clutch lever reaching its full span. Santa Pod dragstrip launch technique isn’t necessary for a rushed getaway. There’s a good reason for this and it’s all torque – the word used to describe how much work the engine has to do to get the bike moving. It doesn’t take a rolling road dynamometer to tell


2009 Triumph peak power = 112.80bhp 2008 Triumph peak power = 111.50bhp 100

POWER/TORQUE (bhp/ftlb)






2009 Triumph peak torque = 50.70ftlb 2008 Triumph peak torque = 49.61ftlb 0 0




8 RPM x 1000





‘Power is up with the best of the 600s we have tested’ you these 675cc Daytonas have strong, flat torque curves – but we put them on the dyno anyway. Both bikes produce a shade under 40ftlb torque at 4000rpm, which then climbs to a healthy 50ftlb peak at 10,500rpm. This is good. To put it into perspective, the Japanese fours struggle to hit 45-46ftlb along their rev range and have done so for years. True to Triumph’s word, the 2009 Daytona shows a nip more torque in the midrange and continues to make decent torque for longer at the upper reaches of the revs. Horsepower, the off-shoot of torque, achieves a similar

Continues over

MCN testers Adam Child and Trevor Franklin deafened at dyno flow. With the new engine netting an extra 400rpm (redline now 13,900rpm), nigh on 113 horses appear at 12,500rpm, some 500rpm higher and 1.3bhp stronger than the old bike. You might think these power and torque figures are not major improvements for a new model. But then consider this: Kawasaki’s latest ZX-6R produces 115bhp/46.6ftlb and is the

most powerful production 600cc machine MCN has tested to date. It’s not all good news, though. The 2009 bike used in this test showed it was down on power, in comparison, over a greater part of the dyno curve – 4bhp at 10,000rpm being the biggest margin. The simplest reason for this could be that the 2009 bike had only covered Continues over

On the dyno the new bike pumped out 113bhp at 12,500rpm – 1.3bhp more than the old model



GP switch ‘not about money’ matthew.birt

OTOGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has denied his decision to move the British GP back to Silverstone for the first time in over 20 years was motivated by money. MCN understands that Silverstone paid around £3m to Dorna to win the rights to host Britain’s biggest motorcycle race from the 2010 world championship onwards following the signing of a five-year deal. That figure is believed to have dwarfed the fee paid by Donington Park, whose management had been locked in negotiations with Dorna over an extension to its current deal, which expires after this July’s race. Donington management had intended to retain the rights to stage the British GP, which now regularly attracts crowds of over 80,000 fans, to make the Leicestershire circuit the premier motorsport venue in the UK. Having added the British Formula One Grand Prix to its calendar from next year as part of a huge £100m redevelopment of Donington, boss Simon Gillett was reeling when he lost the MotoGP event. What made Dorna’s decision peculiar was its timing. For years, Dorna and lead-


ing MotoGP figures have derided Donington’s facilities as arguably the worst on the premier class calendar. While the track was universally praised by riders for its technically demanding layout, the facilities were constantly under attack. Yet as soon as planning permission was granted for Donington to undertake a multi-million pound upgrade to host F1, Ezpeleta opted to move the race to Silverstone. Speaking exclusively to MCN, Ezpeleta denied money played a part in the decision. Instead, he said it was because Dorna wanted to see Britain have more


Speaking exclusively to MCN, MotoGP boss explains decision to move race to Silverstone

Rossi at Coppice, from 2010 the GP will move to Silverstone

‘There could have been problems sharing with F1’ CARMELO EZPELETA, MOTOGP BOSS

than one circuit homologated for MotoGP. He said: “If we had stayed in Donington then it was possible that Silverstone wouldn’t have made any changes and we would have had only one UK track homologated. In my opinion, with Donington already having signed an agreement to host Formula One and World Superbikes, I would like to have more than one

opportunity to race in one country and Silverstone gave us that opportunity. We never asked Donington for more or less money. We took the decision because we think if everything is moving to Donington when Silverstone is ready to make the necessary works to homologate the circuit, it is interesting for me to keep open competition.” Silverstone will shortly

embark on a £5m redevelopment of its own to bring the Northamptonshire circuit up to MotoGP standard. But Ezpeleta denied that the decision to quit Donington after 23 years was strange given the imminent revamp of the Leicestershire track. “It is not because of commercial reasons or that Silverstone wanted to pay more money. We prefer to have another venue open for events like we have. We think it is better that we can be in different circuits. Also because normally we use the same part of the year as Formula One, there could be problems being at the same circuit. We think it is better for MotoGP to be in Silverstone.”

GREEN LIGHT FOR ROSSI/BAYLISS CLASH VALENTINO ROSSI’S desire to race Troy Bayliss has not angered MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta. The Italian’s preChristmas comments that he wanted to take on triple World Superbike champion Bayliss in a special shootout gave WSB a massive publicity boost. Rossi had stated his intent to clash with Bayliss after he branded the final MotoGP race of 2008 dull and boring. But Ezpeleta said he has no problem with Rossi’s WSB intentions. He said: “The only thing Valentino said is that he wanted to make one race in World Superbikes. For me this is not a problem and I have said it many times that I do not have a problem with

World Superbikes. If Valentino wants to race there then that is his decision and I have no problem with that. Valentino is racing in MotoGP, he is a contracted rider and he is the world champion and he will continue to do that. If he wants to make a race like he did with world rally then that’s his choice. World Superbikes is not our enemy.”


Rossi wants to take on WSB champion Bayliss (above, left)

All the latest from Scott Redding and Bradley Smith’s start to 125GP testing in Spain . Visit www. bradley

WATCH THE VIDEO Video and news from Valentino Rossi and Fiat Yamaha’s 2009 MotoGP team launch. Visit www. fiatlaunch to hear what the world champion has to say.

STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST MOTOGP NEWS All the latest MotoGP news including previews to the start of 2009 pre-season testing in Sepang. Visit


Glory days: Barry Sheene hunting down Kenny Roberts (1) at Silverstone in the 1979 500GP race


Stoner has a frosty relationship with fans FORMER world champion Casey Stoner doubts his frosty relationship with British fans will ever recover – despite the British GP moving to Silverstone. The factory Ducati rider found himself facing a barrage of criticism from a section of fans at Donington in June, with his victory greeted with verbal abuse and taunting. He was also given hand gestures on the slowing down lap and back in 2007 a minority of fans booed Stoner when he took to the stage at the Day of Champions charity fundraiser. Stoner’s popularity in the UK has bombed since the start of 2007, even though he set himself on the road to stardom by beginning his road racing career in Britain. Stoner said: “Last year and this year when I won the race they were out on the track giving the finger and w**ker signs and being rude, so if it’s like this I have no interest in having a relationship with them. I have no interest in impressing these people.”

Stoner was booed after winning at Donington

Fourth Brit in 125s as Hoyle signs for Maxtra BRITISH interest in the world 125GP championship will be swelled to four riders with the new Chinesebacked Maxtra team finally confirming the signing of Matt Hoyle. Hoyle, who has impressed during his spell in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, will join Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Danny Webb in the 125GP series having agreed a deal to partner Austrian Michael Ranseder. Hoyle, 17, will make his official debut for the Maxtra team, spearheaded by British motorsport legend John

Toseland needs results to guarantee his ride into 2010

Hoyle with Taylor (left) and team manager Howard Plumpton Surtees, in Spain next month with the team missing the testing double-header in Jerez and Valencia this week. Hoyle said: “I’m delighted to be making the move up to

GP racing. I’ll be working with some real legends.” Maxtra team boss Garry Taylor said he had been impressed by Hoyle’s attitude and enthusiasm.

British teens in action at Jerez

Scott Redding – Britain’s first 125 winner for over three decades last season – made his 2009 debut in Jerez on Monday. No times were available as MCN went to press.

Bradley Smith kicked off his preparations for a serious 125GP assault when he made his 2009 Aprilia debut in Spain. Smith is a favourite for the title having finished sixth in 2008.

JT: no certainty over ride JAMES TOSELAND has been told he must prove to Yamaha that he is worthy of a contract extension into the 2010 season. With many expecting Colin Edwards to retire from MotoGP at the end of 2009, Yamaha chief Lin Jarvis hasn’t ruled out the Tech 3 squad retaining its line-up into 2010 if next season is a big success. But Jarvis told MCN that each would be judged purely on his results. He said: “I wouldn’t rule out either riders for 2010, but I wouldn’t guarantee that both will stay the same for 2010. We expect results and it’s as simple as that. They will be judged on their performance throughout next year and their performance for the future. Colin is at the back end of his career and he’d admit that. James has only had his rookie year, so let’s see how the results are. We want to see four Yamahas performing well. During 2008 we saw that, certainly at the start of the year.” Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies are already strong contenders for a Tech 3 ride after next season, with Yamaha confirming both have already been contacted about 2010. Toseland’s contract with Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 squad expires next season, and the British star is obviously reluctant to lose his place in MotoGP after just two seasons away from the World Superbike arena. Toseland impressed during his rookie campaign last season with six top six finishes and a front row start as he took on the mammoth learning curve of adapting to the Yamaha YZR-M1, while learning several new tracks.




Honda quit Suzuka Eight-Hour Financial crisis knocks factory team out of world’s most prestigious race michael.guy

HE Suzuka EightHour, once the most important celebration of motorcycle racing in the world to Honda, is now looking nothing more than a national superbike race, following their announcement that they have withdrawn from this year’s event. Honda this week con-


firmed that there will be no official HRC team racing in the 2009 Eight-Hour, citing budget cuts and the demise of the global economy. With the yen so strong against Western currencies, Japanese exports are being hit hard. Honda had already quit F1, put a stop to racing activities in the American Superbike series, and made cutbacks to the Honda Racing UK budget before this latest announcement. Speaking to MCN, Honda Europe boss Carlo Fiorani said: “This is not our department, but we have heard that Honda Motor are thinking of withdrawing the factory team. We understand that they will support the satellite team with material, and Honda has still a lot of teams racing at Suzuka. “It is a big surprise, but the economic situation at the moment is so difficult that we had to think about how we could reduce some costs. It is a serious situation but when the economy is so difficult, first you must protect the business and the people behind it. So from this point of view it is a very serious approach.” Withdrawal of factory support for the Eight-Hour that Honda have historically dominated is a clear indication of the extent of the

financial crisis. During the 31-year history of the race, the list of winners reads more like a list of motorcycling’s greatest riders of the past two decades, illustrating the previous status of the event. Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and Valentino Rossi have all stood on the top step of the podium in an event that was once regarded as the single biggest race in the entire

‘Honda would have had no top rider because of a WSB clash’ CARLO FIORANI calendar for the Japanese manufacturers. During the 1990s, such was the importance of the event that Honda put more effort into winning Suzuka than they did in trying to win the then 500GP crown, it is believed. It is also rumoured that each year there were 100 people working fulltime within Honda, specifically on the EightHour bikes. The reason for the huge

status of the event is that it epitomised Honda’s philosophy: it’s a team event that needs not only two fast riders but a complete team capable of faultless pit stops, re-fuelling, wheel changes and an ever-changing technical strategy to win. Past races saw huge spectator attendance – far bigger than anything seen when MotoGP raced at the track. But in recent years the status and significance of the event has been in decline. The cream of GP500 factory riders were often contracted to compete in the event and in 2001 WSB champion Colin Edwards was teamed up with 500GP world champion Valentino Rossi in what had to be regarded as the ultimate dream team. While rivals Kawasaki and Yamaha have toned down their efforts in recent years, Suzuki have continued to push for victory and ended Honda’s 10-year dominance in 2007 when Yukio Kagayama and Kousuke Akiyoshi won. The significance of the event is heightened by the fact that Honda actually own the Suzuka circuit, making the Eight-Hour a must-win event for the Japanese factory. During the last 31 years, Honda have won 22 times. The nine times they failed to take victory were deemed a disaster: losing to a rival manufacturer was tantamount to gross humiliation

of the company. Another factor in Honda’s withdrawal could be that there would be no WSB riders available due to the clash of dates with the tenth round of the World Superbike championship in Brno. This isn’t just a blow for Honda, but also for riders like Carlos Checa who are believed to earn up to half their annual salary by racing at Suzuka. Fiorani also cited this clash of dates as a possible factor in Honda’s withdrawal, since HRC would be prevented from using riders such as Kiyonari, Checa, Rea and Haslam. He said: “In my opinion the fact that there is a clash between Suzuka and the WSB race meant that Honda knew there would be no top rider available so maybe this was part of the decision. “As for the future, in the past we (Honda) have stopped racing in MotoGP and then come back so it is always possible (that Honda will once again support the Eight-Hour with factory teams), but at this stage I do not know the plan.”

Getting smaller: the Suzuka starting grid

OTHER TEAMS CONTINUE THERE may not be any factory HRC bikes in Suzuka this year, but Honda have come up with the next best thing by running their prodigy Ryuichi Kiyonari in WSB on a Honda Accessories-backed Ten Kate Fireblade. Kiyonari made his debut on a bike with a new paint scheme and HRC stickers at the Parkalgar test last Friday. Reports in the Italian press claimed that Kiyo is now riding a full-factory HRC machine, but MCN can confirm the spec of the bike remains the same as teammates Rea and Checa. The bike is still running a KR swingarm, PI electronics and WP suspension, although the team did experiment with Kayaba suspension on the final day of the test on Kiyo’s

bike (see page 46). Team boss Ronald Ten Kate said: “During the 2008 season Hannspree confirmed that they would only back two bikes in WSB and two bikes in WSS. Our team and Honda both wanted to continue to run three bikes in WSB because it gives us the opportunity to give young riders a shot. The funding for the third bike has come from Honda accessories and the paint scheme is close to the Eight Hour replica, which Honda sell in showrooms. “The reason for the HRC stickers is, because like the rest of the team, this bike uses HRC kit parts. Honda’s philosophy in WSB is to race with a mass-produced machine, which teams can tune to their own spec with HRC kit parts.”

ONLINE FIRST FOR SPORT For all the latest top sports coverage from around the world, plus views, reviews and results visit www.

Kiyonari on Honda Accessories-backed Ten Kate Fireblade


WHAT THE RIDERS SAY LAST year WSB and BSB riders entered the prestigious event for Honda, but following the news that HRC are withdrawing their factory support and the fact that there is a date clash in WSB, none of them will be racing in the 2009 event. This is what they said:

WSB faces up to crisis


Honda’s withdrawal will make the Eight-Hour nothing more than a national superbike race

“I can remember the first thing Honda said to me when I signed for Ten Kate was that they were very happy and they wanted me for the EightHour. They weren’t so interested in WSB! WSB has a race in Brno and this is the reason to stop the team. They are a very good team (Honda’s Eight-Hour factory squad) but maybe without good riders all the money spent may not be worth it.”


Ryuichi Kiyonari on his way to victory in last year’s race – he won’t be taking part this year





Carlos Checa / Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN)

Honda CBR1000RRW



Yukio Kagayama (JPN) / Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN)

Suzuki GSX-R1000


778 Shinichi Itoh (JPN) / Takeshi Tsujimura (JPN)

Honda CBR1000RRW



Honda CBR1000RRW



Tohru Ukawa (JPN) / Hitoyasu Izutsu (JPN)

Honda CBR1000RRW



Yukio Nukumi (JPN) / Manabu Kamada (JPN)

Honda VTR1000SPW



Daijiro Kato (JPN) / Colin Edwards (USA)

Honda VTR1000SPW



Honda VTR1000SPW



Valentino Rossi (ITA) / Colin Edwards (USA) / Manabu Kamada (JPN) Tohru Ukawa (JPN) / Daijiro Kato (JPN)



Tadayuki Okada (JPN) / Alex Barros (BRA)

Honda RC45



Shinichi Itoh (JPN) / Tohru Ukawa (JPN)

Honda RC45



Shinichi Itoh (JPN) / Tohru Ukawa (JPN)

Honda RC45



Colin Edwards (USA) / Noriyuki Haga (JPN)

Yamaha YZF750



Aaron Slight (NZL) / Tadayuki Okada (JPN)

Honda RC45



Doug Polen (USA) / Aaron Slight (NZL)

Honda RC45



Scott Russell (USA) / Aaron Slight (NZL)

Kawasaki ZXR-7



Wayne Gardner (AUS) / Daryl Beattie (AUS)

Honda RVF750



Wayne Gardner (AUS) / Mick Doohan (AUS)

Honda RVF750



Tadahiko Taira (JPN) / Eddie Lawson (USA)

Yamaha YZF750



Dominique Sarron (FRA) / Alex Vieira (FRA)

Honda RVF750



Kevin Magee (AUS) / Wayne Rainey (USA)

Yamaha YZF750



Martin Wimmer (GER) / Kevin Magee (AUS)

Yamaha YZF750



Wayne Gardner (AUS) / Dominique Sarron (FRA)

Honda RVF750



Wayne Gardner (AUS) / Masaki Tokuno(JPN)

Honda RVF750



Mike Baldwin (USA) / Fred Merkel (USA)

Honda RS750R



Herve Moineau (FRA) / Richard Hubin (FRA)

Suzuki GS1000R



Shigeo Iijima (JPN) / Shinji Hagiwara (JPN)

Honda CB900F



Mike Baldwin (USA) / David Aldana (USA)

Honda RS1000



Wes Cooley (USA) / Graeme Crosby (NZL)

Suzuki GS1000



Tony Hatton (AUS) / Michael Cole (AUS)

Honda CB900



Wes Cooley (USA) / Mike Baldwin (USA)

Suzuki GS100

Tohru Ukawa (JPN) / Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN)

Honda VTR1000SPW

“This year’s race isn’t possible for me because it’s the same date as Brno WSB which is really disappointing. This year it will only be Japanese riders, but with no factory support.”

JONATHAN REA “I can understand HRC’s decision to pull out because of the worldwide financial situation. Racing the Eight-Hour takes its toll because it’s not just the race it’s the testing as well and I was in Japan six times last year preparing for it. Racing there is an incredible experience but my main priority is here in WSB.”

LEON HASLAM “As an event it’s bigger for the Japanese than anything else they do. I’ve been in discussion with satellite Honda teams and HRC about going, but I can’t imagine that’s going to happen now. I’m really glad I did it last year and I’d love to ride for the factory team at some point in my career. “

CAL CRUTCHLOW “I’d have loved to have done it again, it’s disappointing that it won’t happen. I was pleased with my result last year when I finished sixth. It would have been good to do something with Yamaha which would have given me some time on the new superbike.”

Feeling the pinch in ’09? Haga leads at Magny Cours last year

DESPITE record grid numbers and manufacturers involved in the 2009 World Superbike championship, the series is almost certain to feel the effects of the global financial crisis in 2009 according to Honda team boss Ronald Ten Kate MotoGP has been hit hard due to the massive budgets needed to run in the premier class, with Kawasaki quitting. And series bosses and manufacturers have held emergency meetings to draw up plans to cuts costs. While WSB budgets are

‘MotoGP and WSB should stop fighting and unite’

us, even if the budget to run a WSB team is about 10% of the budget needed in MotoGP. “It’s clear that we are all facing difficult times. Luckily for us the championship is running on a different cycle to the current economic climate. We are still on the up and the championship is still receiving a lot of interest.” The culture of how teams operate is something that is being addressed with manufacturers like Honda already encouraging its supported teams to work closer together on costly activities including logistics and hospitality. There are also moves among rival teams to cooperate when it comes to track hire for testing, which can be a massive drain on annual budgets. Ten Kate said: “I believe we need to sit down with Infront (the Italian TV production company which now owns SBK) and other teams to look at how we can reduce

costs. This would be a sensible way to ensure that we can look to the future with real confidence. “It is clearly a time to reduce costs, every two years or so this agenda is pushed by the FIM in terms of technical regulations, but it’s never been so much of a priority, which is different from the past.” Ten Kate also supports Infront CEO Paolo Flammini’s recent comments about the future of racing as a whole. He said: “I thought Paolo Flammini’s thoughts that WSB and MotoGP should co-exist instead of fighting against each other was very true. Now is not the time to be pointing the finger at MotoGP because they are having some trouble. “My personal opinion is that there should be more synergy between the two championships and we should stop fighting and cooperate. Sometimes people need a crisis to make them unite.”

RONALD TEN KATE significantly smaller than those in MotoGP, it seems almost certain that there will be some fall-out in the paddock in either World Superbike or World Supersport. The number of races outside Europe was increased from two in 2007 to three last year and now four next season. And both classes will attend whereas in the past WSS went to only two. The increase in freight costs will play a significant part in any team’s budget. There are fears that the low-budget teams won’t be able to afford a second batch of two flyaway races. Ronald Ten Kate told MCN: “For me it is not a question of if, it is a question of when the economic climate will have an impact on

Troy Bayliss in action – teams have been urged to cooperate




Shakey puts factory boys in On-form Brit could be top Ducati in ’09. Even the factory team agrees michael.guy

HANE BYRNE’S stunning pace at this weekend’s three-day test at Parkalgar showed the Italian factory that he could be their biggest rival for the WSB crown in 2009. Even Haga’s Xerox Ducati boss was humbled. On his private Sterilgarda Ducati, Byrne broke Troy Bayliss’ outright lap record of the Portuguese circuit that the Australian set in qualifying last year. He topped the timesheets on all three days of the test with factory Xerox Ducati men Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio in third and eighth places respectively. Byrne’s performance was undeniably impressive and it was hard to go into another garage on pitlane where his name wasn’t mentioned, but the question remains whether he will be given the bike and resources by Ducati to continue to run at the front. In 2008, Sterilgarda Ducati man Ruben Xaus revealed that Ducati had lowered his rpm ceiling through the electronic engine management system. At the beginning of the year Xaus was full of praise for the new 1098 and Ducati, but as the season progressed he made it clear that the level of his machine was no longer a match for the factory bikes. Last year’s team-mate Max Biaggi also raised the same points that his bike was competitive at the beginning of the year but not at the end. Byrne will also have to contend with the fact that the title sponsor of the fac-




tory team, Xerox, won’t want to see Byrne’s Sterilgarda Ducati ahead of them regardless of whether it’s testing, qualifying or in the race. Xerox have just renewed a multi-million pound contract to sponsor the factory Ducati team, so being beaten by a privateer squad is not acceptable.

‘Byrne now has every chance of matching the factory bikes’ But Xerox Ducati team boss Davide Tardozzi revealed that this year’s factory bikes will not undergo any further development in 2009 due to financial restraints caused by the global economic climate. While that’s obviously bad news for Ducati, it could have a positive effect for Shakey’s privateer team. With no additional development planned on Haga’s and Fabrizio’s Xerox Ducatis, Byrne has every chance of being able to match the pace of the factory bikes, which is something that hasn’t happened in the past. Tardozzi said: “There will be no differences during the year because we have stopped development on the bike due to the economic situation.” Although Tardozzi made it clear that he would prefer to see his bikes at the top of the timesheets he was full of praise for Byrne and pleased that if he is that fast at least he is riding a Ducati. “It is proof that what we said was true and that a Ducati privateer bike is as

good as a factory bike. I’m not surprised at the speed of Shakey. We’d like to win, but if we can’t then I want it to be another Ducati.” Byrne has already won two BSB titles and two WSB races for Ducati (in 2003 at Brands Hatch) and clearly has friends in high places. He said: “Davide came running into my garage to say he’d just spoken to (Ducati race boss Claudio) Domenicalli and that he is still my No1 fan, which is handy. That’s the guy in charge of Ducati! He actually called me to tell me how happy he was when I signed at the end of last year! “He obviously cares and I can’t imagine Mr Honda ringing up his riders thanking them that they’ve joined one of his privateer teams. “There was a lot of support from Ducati for me to come to Sterilgarda. Ultimately, I want to be the strongest privateer and the strongest Ducati rider. “The way I see it, is that it could go one of two ways. The factory boys might have some bad luck or some crashes and I could be the guy on a Ducati with a chance so they might end up putting some extra effort into me. On the other hand they might not want me to go any further. I’ve got what I’ve got and I’ll do the best possible job that I can.” Whatever the politics, there’s no denying Shakey has had an incredible past four months, He’s been crowned BSB champion, won the final two rounds of the BSB series and been fastest at his two WSB tests. Byrne said: “I can’t say I’m surprised at the outcome of the test, but I am certainly happy. It’s all coming together pretty well.”

Byrne became the talk of the pitlane when he topped the timesheets every day


ONLINE FIRST FOR SPORT Keep bang up to date with the top stories at www.

Haga made changes to his settings after lapping with Byrne CHAMPIONSHIP favourite Noriyuki Haga continued to make his impressive transition to the factory Xerox Ducati at Parkalgar – but not without getting some *Based on Dec 08 prices.

Privateer Byrne aims to be the top Ducati rider next season

help from Britain’s Shane Byrne. Haga revealed that he was able to learn from him and make changes to his bike after lapping on track with

Byrne during the second timed session on day two in which Byrne set the fastestever lap of the Parkalgar circuit. The two men followed each other for five laps allowing each other to see their respective lines and styles around the undulating Portuguese track. Following a host of geometry and suspension changes after looking at how Bayliss rode the bike at the track, Haga later looked silky smooth on the 1200cc Ducati, ending the test third fastest. Haga said: “When I arrived here I tried Troy’s settings. He had the rear of the bike low with a steep head angle, whereas my head angle setting is more open. Shane is fast. I was behind him for

a few laps and I enjoyed it. By following him I found out what I have to do and the next step in terms of settings. “After that I came back into the pits to change something with the bike and then I improved my time. I found something from watching him but now I am worried for the races.” Byrne was full of praise for his Japanese rival after lapping with him on track and said: “It was actually really cool to be riding round with him because, at the end of the day, he is Noriyuki Haga. It wasn’t impossible to stay with him, but it wasn’t easy. We rode round together and at the end acknowledged each other, which was nice. It was cool to see what his bike did and how he rode.”


the shade!

How other Brits fared in tests TOM SYKES

Sykes set the fourth fastest time on the all-new Yamaha R1

YAMAHA ITALIA Tom Sykes finally got some serious testing under his belt on the all-new Yamaha R1 and showed just what he is capable of by setting the fourth fastest time of the test. The former BSB front-runner made consistent progress and finally showed he has the


After a frustrating start Rea finished third in Superpole

TEN KATE HONDA Jonathan Rea showed his determination by turning around what was becoming an increasingly frustrating test to leave Parkalgar on the final day satisfied with his progress. Rea set the ninth fastest time overall, but significantly


Haslam pulled off a surprise the first time out on the Honda

STIGGY HONDA Stiggy Honda man Leon Haslam was one of the surprise packages of the three-day test by running in the top 10 despite riding the newly-built Honda for the first time. With just weeks to build the Honda Superbikes, the Stiggy Honda team have


Hill had rear chatter problems before fitting new swingarm

PARKALGAR WSB LAP TIMES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

67 19 41 66 7 76 96 84 65 91 11 71 55 9 23 53 56 3 24 25 100 36 33 99 111 44 77

Shane Byrne Ben Spies Noriyuki Haga Tom Sykes Carlos Checa Max Neukirchner Jakub Smrz Michel Fabrizio Jonathan Rea Leon Haslam Troy Corser Yukio Kagayama Regis Laconi Ryuichi Kiyonari Broc Parkes Alessandro Polita Shinya Nakano Max Biaggi Brendan Roberts David Salom MakatoTamada Gregorio Lavilla Tommy Hill Luca Scassa Ruben Xaus Roberto Rolfo Vittorio Iannuzzo


ALTEA HONDA Tommy Hill had to overcome chatter and suspension problems on his Altea Honda, but he remains confident about the next round of testing in Australia. He completed 131 laps – more than anyone – to post the 23rd fastest time. He is determined to get up to the

CAL CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1098R Yamaha YZF-R1 Ducati 1098R Yamaha YZF-R1 Honda CBR1000RR Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 Ducati 1098R Ducati 1098R Honda CBR1000RR Honda CBR1000RR BMW S1000RR Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 Ducati 1098R Honda CBR1000RR Kawasaki ZX-10R Ducati 1098R Aprilia RSV4 Aprilia RSV4 Ducati 1098R Kawasaki ZX-10R Kawasaki ZX-10R Honda CBR1000RR Honda CBR1000RR Kawasaki ZX-10R BMW S1000RR Honda CBR1000RR Honda CBR1000RR

1:43.294 1:43.484 1:43.487 1:43.546 1:43.657 1:43.674 1:43.767 1:43.951 1:44.115 1:44.170 1:44.261 1:44.425 1:44.546 1:44.610 1:44.704 1:45.108 1:45.179 1:45.199 1:45.278 1:45.393 1:45.446 1:45.672 1:45.679 1:45.820 1:46.128 1:46.916 1:46.971

Crutchlow was second fastest WSS rider despite a crash

YAMAHA Cal Crutchlow finished second fastest on his WSS factory Yamaha R6. He leaves Portugal satisfied with his progress despite suffering a huge crash on the exit of turn four on day two when he hit Carlos Morillas who was cruising on the racing


Sixth place behind world champ Pitt has pleased Laverty

PARKALGAR HONDA Eugene Laverty was the biggest improver among the WSS riders. After initially struggling with the chassis set-up of his 2009 specification CBR600RR, he made big in-roads on day two and three to end the test sixth fastest overall. He said:

same level of pace as his impressive new team-mate Ben Spies who ended the test second fastest. Sykes said: “I didn’t get a chance to understand the bike at Kyalami but looking at the times, the speed trap figures and the feeling from the engine off the corners I’m really happy. We can produce the times now and it’s really exciting.”

he was able to match his day two lap time on day three of the test, despite poorer track conditions. In the Superpole Rea was third fastest. He said: “We made a big breakthrough with the set-up on the Saturday night which was good because I was starting to worry. We changed to a different linkage, shock and stiffer fork springs.”

clearly done a good job in choice of components and preparation to give Haslam a competitive package. Haslam said: “It’s been really good, we’ve had loads to test. But we’re competitive and we’ve still got loads more to come. I didn’t get to do as many laps as I wanted but we’ve still got two days at Phillip Island so all in all I’m well happy.”

speed of his rival Brits next time out. “I’ve had some problems with rear chatter and every time I shut the throttle it felt like the rear wanted to come around, which was a bit daunting. We traced it to the linkage and fitted a new swingarm and different spec link, but didn’t get time to test it properly because of the Superpole practice.”

line. Crutchlow said: “He turned round and looked at me but as he did that he swerved back on to the track and I smashed into the back of him. I went over my handlebars and then I went over his handlebars and landed in front of him. “Other than that it’s gone well. If we can improve the bike in a few areas we can be a match for the Hondas.”

“We have made a huge amount of progress during this test. “We made a big breakthrough on Friday evening and on Saturday we got the bike working more how I like it. We started going in the right direction. We have finished sixth just a fraction behind world champion Andrew Pitt so I feel happy.”

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