With but eight points separating the top five riders, MotoGP storms into Jerez on fire, happy to be back in Europe, the contenders looking for a little separation as Round Four is upon us. Jerez is one of those beloved tracks – along with places like Mugello, Assen and Valencia – where riders aspire to join the great ones. With almost a dozen legitimate podium threats starting the race, of which only four have ever won here (in the premier class), the odds of a fifth rider from this grid finishing Sunday standing on the top step of the podium has never been better. Paging Cal Crutchlow.
The 2018 edition of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas will not be remembered as one of the best tilts of all time. Truthfully, it might not make the Top 100. But for defending world champion Marc Marquez, today’s walk in the park restored some order in the championship and washed away the ashes of Argentina. The series, picking up speed, now heads for Europe with the top five riders separated by eight points. Tight as tree bark.
Now that we’ve had 10 days to assess the Argentinian misadventure, a consensus seems to have formed around the BS being widely peddled by a petulant Valentino Rossi that Repsol Honda head case Marc Marquez should be put in front of an Italian firing squad and summarily executed. Marquez, it is true, may need to reconsider his approach to racing. This weekend could offer the opportunity he needs for a solitary retreat off by himself for a while, to ruminate on the sport and his place in it, and take the checkered flag when he’s done.
They’re both Open-class Japanese transverse inline four-cylinder standard bikes, a pair of motorcycles that have followed that divinely ordained orthodoxy since Saint Soichiro carried the streetbike tablets down from Mount Fuji nearly 50 years ago. One of them wants to transport you all the way back to relive that era; the other wants to take you back only ten years with its 2005 GSX-R-derived long-stroke engine. Many MO readers (and some MO writers) have already pledged their undying love for the Kawasaki Z900RS, and all of us agree the Suzuki GSX-S1000Z is no slouch. In fact, if horsepower is your measuring stick, the Suzuki buries the retro Kawasaki – but you have to work for it a bit more. Our question becomes, then, just how much performance are you giving up if you go retro, and is it worth it in the real world?
Today’s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina had something for every taste and budget, even after the laughable theft of the pole on Saturday. Wait-a-minute weather? Check. Chaotic, delayed start? Check. Seat-of-the-pants rulemaking? Check. Quadruple MotoGP world champion having a mental Mardi Gras? Check. Riveting finish that shakes up the world standings? Check. Satellite teams kicking posteriors? Check.
Haojue, Suzuki‘s Chinese partner, has filed a design patent for a new naked motorcycle to be called the “HJ300“. Considering the fact Haojue manufactures the GW250, GSX-250R and V-Strom 250 for Suzuki, the HJ300 may provide a preview of what a potential GSX-S300 may look like.
As a lifelong supporter of the underdog and a proponent of keeping things cheap and stupid simple, I was a big fan of the Suzuki GSX-S1000 right from the start. Basically, we’re talking 2005 GSX-R1000 with much improved ergonomics, more supple suspension, EFI, and other conveniences of modern life that make deploying 144 screaming inline-Four horsepower a kinder, gentler and more comfortable experience every time you leave the house.
Nothing like the start of a new racing season to turn the iron in a man’s blood into the lead in his pencil. All the speculation, all the testing, all the contingencies will become moot once the lights go out in far-away Qatar. The Alien class – Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales – is sharpening their fairings in anticipation. Another handful of riders dream of getting their tickets punched in 2018.
Suzuki has filed multiple patent applications for a semi-automatic transmission system that may find its way on the next generation Hayabusa. Suzuki has filed three patents dealing with different aspects of the technology, filing each in Japan, the U.S. and in Germany.
Somehow I forgot to take this one back to Suzuki after we tested it in late July. Whoops. I bonded with this cute little Suzuki immediately – little being what we’ve come to completely inappropriately think of as a 750cc motorcycle now that we’ve been so spoiled by 1000cc naked bikes.
We’re not big fans of the extended-swingarm sportbike scene, as such modifications have deleterious effects to a motorcycle. And yet these kinds of bikes remain relevant to many riders, especially to those in parts of the country with a dearth of twisty roads. And, if your preconceived notion is that riders of bikes with extended wheelbases don’t know how to ride, you might need to reevaluate.
Yes, $10,000 is still a lot of money, but it’s not 1973 anymore and you really do get a lot of motorcycle for that much now. No, buying new is not the most economical way to go, but a lot of people have no choice. Besides, interest rates are at historical lows, and the fact is that brand-new bikes are about as easy to take care of as a Toyota Camry. For every old guy who misses carburetors and “wrenching,” there are five or 10 young ones out riding around happily oblivious to what they’re missing. Listen, I’m wearing socks older than most of you, but when it comes to motorcycles, new is good. Here are are my personal top 10, from least to most expensive.