Can Andrea Dovizioso Win the 2017 MotoGP?

As we approach the halfway mark of the MotoGP season, some may say we are in a similar position to when we started – trying to decide between the three main protagonists – Andrea Dovizioso doesn’t count as one of these… doesn’t he?

Only, actually, we do have some answers to a lot of the questions we were wrestling with a few months ago. Maverick Vinales does feel pressure and does make mistakes. Any notions of him running away with the title have now surely been dismissed. Marc Marquez can muscle decent results out of the unruly Honda RC213V and Valentino Rossi can still be a force. It is Andrea Dovizioso that remains the most difficult question to answer: can he really threaten for the title?

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The Royal Enfield Continental GT as Art

Back in 1964, Royal Enfield’s first Continental GT was a very good-looking motorcycle. Legend has it that Royal Enfield management was terrified by the success of the new wave of Japanese 250cc’s, but didn’t have the development budget to replace its very ordinary Crusader 250. It asked its young apprentices for ideas on making the Crusader more popular and the workshop boys turned it into a cafe racer.

Fifty-three years later, you can walk into a Royal Enfield showroom and spend not much on a motorcycle that captures the spirit of the early motorcycle without having to carry any of the Crusader baggage.

It uses a larger-displacement (535cc) EFI Bullet engine in a frame designed by England’s legendary Harris Performance.

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The 2018 Yamaha Star Venture Deluxe Cruiser Unexpected Bike

Yamaha has made a surprise move into the luxury tourer segment with a new high-tech V-twin.

The 2018 Yamaha Star Venture might be based around a development of the old 1854cc pushrod V-twin from the XV1900, but it’s heavily revamped and slotted into a motorcycle that’s otherwise completely new and packed with technology.

Engine changes include a new six-speed shaft-drive transmission and a complete electronics overhaul, including ride-by-wire, traction control, ABS, multiple riding modes and cruise control.

A new Sure-Park system provides an electronically powered, walking-sped forward and reverse gear so you never have to push the Yamaha Star Venture’s heft unaided.

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Valentino Rossi Rallies to an Astonishing Win in Assen

Yamaha MotoGP Team's Valentino Rossi brought his A game to the Motul TT Assen race today. The nine-time World Champion completed a challenging weekend due to mixed conditions with a superb win, giving him the longest winning career through all classes, spread over 20 years and 313 days. Teammate Maverick Viñales fought his way up from eleventh on the grid and was heading towards the leading group, but his efforts ended in a DNF after an unlucky fall.

The Yamaha YZR-M1 from Valentino Rossi was first, Danilo Petrucci on a Ducati was second and Marc Marquez came in 3th on his Honda RC213V.

Valentino Rossi kicked off the Dutch Grand Prix from fourth position as darker skies loomed. He quickly slotted in behind Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez in third place and was quick to respond as his rivals attempted to break away, setting a provisional fastest lap of the race on lap three and four, with Danilo Petrucci tagging along. The Doctor piled on the pressure with 17 laps to go and overtook Marquez a lap later in the first corner, making the fans cheer. He duplicated this manoeuvre on the next lap to take over the lead from Zarco, which was followed by a touch between the two in turn 4, but the Italian kept the lead. Four laps later the Factory Yamaha man inched away as his pursuers battled for second place. The Doctor increased his lead to about a second, but with 8 laps left white flags came out as rain started to fall. Rossi was forced to lower his pace, allowing his rivals to close up. Adrenaline levels reached an all-time high for the VR46 fans as their hero fought tooth and nail to hold off his rival. Petrucci passed him with five laps to go, but the nine-time World Champion wasn't going to let the win slip away that easily. A lap later he used his nimble Yamaha YZR-M1 to charge past his compatriot in the chicane to regain the lead. The last laps were filled with drama as the pair had to deal with backmarkers, but Rossi held firm, taking a sensational win with a 0.063s advantage.

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The Slipper-Assist Clutch

While we are all aware of slipper clutches, a lot of confusion comes with a slipper-assist clutch. So what does a slipper-assist clutch do?

A slipper-assist clutch’s main purpose in life is to reduce the weight of the lever action. It achieves this through using fewer springs to push the clutch plates together – the fewer the springs the lighter the action required to pull them apart and disengage the clutch.

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The Fake Spark Plug and Bearing Problem

Poorly manufactured motorcycle parts have long been a problem for motorcycle owners. Now counterfeit bearings and spark plugs are an issue.

Swedish bearing manufacturers SKF recently seized and destroyed 1.5 tons of know-off bearings with a export destination in Europe and the problem is world-wide: 15 tons of counterfeit bearings were seized in a port in Europe.

Passing off fakes is both damaging for manufacturers and dangerous for end users. SKF’s brand protection manager Saim Manto said, ‘Counterfeit industrial products are present in all markets across the globe and we see cases from all sectors, from power generation to high-performance motorcycles. We have had cases in all markets around the world.’

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Flat Tire Repair be Prepared

‘O no, I’ve got a flat tire!’ said the adventure rider at the start of an new day in the middle of nowhere. Yes, it was flat, but his having been a good boy scout, the adventurist was prepared to make a fix. What he wasn’t prepared for was that time had dried the soft glue in his tube tire patch kit, making even the best of use pray for redemption for not having checked the tire repair kit for a couple of years.

The same happened to a tubeless tire rider on one of those long road between towns up north when his deflated tire would not plug with the dried out rubber snakes in his repair kit. After blowing through his three CO2 containers he was at wits end until a friend helped him with a fresh patch snakes and CO2 tubes.

If your adventure riding is from petrol station to petrol station, not to worry.

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Motorcycle Made of Wood and Running on Algae Oil Developed

A motorcycle made of wood and powered by burning algae oil has been developed.

The motorcycle is the work of designer Ritsert Mans and scientist Peter Mooij. The two friends hatched a plan to produce an algae oil powered wooden motorcycle to highlight one of the options for moving away from traditional fuels. Ritsert Mans developed the wooden motorcycle while Peter Mooij grew algae and harvested it for fuel. The chassis is made of wood, including its single-sided front end.

The motorcycle was built to accompany Peter Mooij’s new book, titled De Dikke Alg (or ‘The Thick Algae’) which examines the role algae could play in a sustainable future.

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Characters in MotoGP Racing

There is a wide array of characters in MotoGP. I’m not just talking about the character of the riders here – there is obviously much to be said about that – but the motorcycles themselves can be said to have personalities that vary a lot across the paddock. We’ve heard riders talking about their motorcycles and the mounts of their opponents often, so let’s look into this.

The most convivial machine prize has to go to the Yamaha YZR-M1. Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales on the factory Yamaha motorcycles and Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger on the Yamaha satellite team Tech3 machines enjoy what is considered the best-balanced machine out there. The crossplane in-line four is easy to use and delivers smooth and predictable acceleration that makes good use of the grip available most of the time, at the price of maybe not being the most powerful.

The Yamaha chassis is stable yet nimble and the all-important front-end feel is among the best there is. The Yamaha YZR-M1 is a superb-handling machine that shines in fast sweepers and in high-speed direction changes. Just like the YZR500 of a bygone era, when Wayne Rainey and Eddie Lawson were the heroes of our racing weekend, the DNA shows through in the current Yamaha YZR-M1.

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Bigger Royal Enfield Himalayan Confirmed

Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lai was asked the question ‘will they produce a larger capacity Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike’ his answer was ‘Yes, we will’. ‘We have selected which models we will be making bigger and more powerful versions of than we have today, and they Royal Enfield Himalayan is one of those.’

Siddhartha explained that the move was a strategic one designed to help Indian-owned Royal Enfield achieve its goal of becoming number one in global sales in the middleweight segment by 2022.

‘That’s the playing field we’ve set ourselves for many different reasons,’ he said.

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Do you like MotoGP racing? Which team do you like?

  •  Yamaha
  •  Honda
  •  Ducati
  •  Apriiia
  •  Suzuki
  •  KTM
  •  No Specific Team
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