Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Talk About First MotoGP Race of 2011

Ducati_TeamFor the team and for Ducati, tomorrow is doubly important because March 17 is when Italy will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. Since January, the fairings of Valentino Rossi’s and Nicky Hayden’s Ducati Desmosedici GP11s have worn the official logo created for this event: three waving Italian flags representing the three Jubilees of 1911, 1961, 2011 , a link between generations.

 

VALENTINO ROSSI:

“For the first practice session in Qatar, we’ll start with the settings that we found on the last day of the test, because our final lap time notwithstanding, they weren’t bad. In fact, I think I could have gone faster if the strength hadn’t left my shoulder almost without warning before I had even tried the soft tires.

“The race weekend has sessions of 45 minutes and one hour, so it should be easier from that point of view. Naturally, my shoulder isn’t the only issue: if we want to have a good race, we know that in addition to me being physically ready, we’ll have to find some solutions that will help us be faster and improve our pace.

“In any event, the debut with Ducati brings a lot of motivation, and Sunday will definitely be very emotional. A greeting to all the Italians who will be celebrating the 150th year of Italy’s unification tomorrow: we know there are a lot of you supporting us, and although we probably won’t yet be at our best by Sunday, we’ll give it our best effort.

“I’m also thinking of everyone in Japan who is living through this very difficult moment. What happened is truly frightening, but Japan’s people are very strong and capable of reacting. We’re all behind you.”

NICKY HAYDEN:

“Well, it’s time to go racing now! We obviously wouldn’t have minded a bit more testing, but I’m looking forward to starting another season. We’ll have four days here for the race weekend, so there’s still time to check some more options. During the test, there were parts of the track where I was pretty fast, and a couple of long, fast corners where I was losing a pretty good chunk of time.

“Our focus will be to try and get the bike to steer a bit better through those spots. Hopefully as the track gets cleaned up more, it will help us a bit more than some of the others. Everyone is really tight on times, and I think that’s pretty cool. I like how competitive it is, and we know it’s going to be like that all season.

“Finally, I’d like to let everyone in Japan know the world is with them in this difficult time. I’ve worked with many Japanese companies over the years, so I have a lot of friends and fans there. Stay strong; we’re thinking of you”.

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager:

“Tomorrow, practice starts for the Grand Prix, and we’ll try to apply everything we’ve learned during winter testing. With Valentino, we weren’t able to completely use all of the days at our disposal, and because of that, we still haven’t found all the solutions for an optimal setup for him.

“He still won’t be at 100% physically for a couple more months, but we know that when the starting light goes off, he’ll give everything he has and more! In the meantime, we’ll continue working without pause to improve the bike, because the others have made a lot of progress and the level is very high. Nicky is progressing and compared to Malaysia, he has found some promising solutions here in Qatar that we can work on for the race. Sunday will be very important and emotional for us and for all motorcycle racing enthusiasts—Italian and otherwise—and that gives us even more motivation and desire to do well.”

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Ducati Corse]

Bridgestone Gives Preview of 2011 MotoGP Opening Round in Qatar

Bridgestone_MotoGP_ReportNow established as the curtain-raiser for the MotoGP season, Qatar’s Losail International Circuit again heralds a return to action on March 20th for motorcycle racing’s top category and for Bridgestone who return as the Official Tire Supplier to the premier class for the third year.

Following the Tohoku earthquake last week, Bridgestone has pledged support to the relief and recovery of its home nation and to those affected by the events of last Friday. At the moment, Bridgestone is doing its best in this difficult situation to ensure that the MotoGP tire supply will be uninterrupted.

The Qatar Grand Prix, the season’s only night race, presents unique and unusual challenges for Bridgestone’s tyres. Night-time temperatures are relatively cool at around 25 degrees, meaning that softer tyre compounds are required to generate good grip and feeling for the riders, however tyre wear is relatively high because of the nature of the tarmac. Being located in the desert outside Qatar’s capital Doha, sand blown onto the circuit makes it very abrasive, demanding harder tyre compounds in order to provide sufficient durability.

Bridgestone’s approach to these challenges remains unchanged from last year when tyre performance and rider feedback was good. This means the medium and extra hard compound slick tyres have been selected alongside the medium and hard rear slicks to provide a balance of cool-weather performance and good wear resistance.

The circuit conditions also change throughout the course of each evening as the temperature starts to drop and the track becomes more slippery. The temperature differential can be sufficient to create high humidity and damp patches on track, and this is one of the main reasons that the race this year will start one hour earlier than in 2010, at 2200hrs local time. This year the MotoGP schedule has returned to three 45minute free practice sessions and one hour of qualifying, and at Losail the first practice session gets underway on Thursday 17 March at 1955hrs local time.

Mikio Masunaga, Vice President and Official Member of the Board, Bridgestone Corporation said:

“We send our deepest condolences to the people suffering from last week’s terrible Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake Disaster. We sincerely hope that quality of life and a sense of normality can be restored for all those affected by this tragedy and Bridgestone group promise to help with the all-out relief and recovery effort. At this moment in the current situation we are working hard to ensure our MotoGP tyre supply is unaffected and I am confident that we will achieve this. Many Japanese manufacturers and personnel are involved in MotoGP and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families at this time. We will continue to provide our best support to all MotoGP teams and riders throughout 2011.”

Hiroshi Yamada, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department said:

“This is perhaps the most publicised start to a season in recent times because of all the rider and team changes and I think we are in for a very exciting opening race and whole year. Last year our tyre allocation process worked fairly and was well supported by everyone so we will keep it the same this year, and pre-season testing has gone well so I am confident of another strong season as the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP in which we hope to continue playing our part in making the racing exciting and giving the riders safe and predictable tyres.”

Hirohide Hamashima, Director, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development said:

“The Qatar GP is a totally different challenge for us because it is the only race of the year to be run at night and in the desert. By the time the bikes are on track under the spotlights, the track temperature is around the lowest of the year in dry conditions but the desert sand often blows across the circuit. The sand is not like you’d find on a beach but more closely resembles a powder which makes the surface slippery yet very abrasive which is a difficult situation to deal with. It is very tough for our tyres as they have to be soft enough to provide grip with the low track temperature but hard enough to resist wear and graining and have sufficient strength to cope with the heavy braking points.

“This is the reason that we have selected the medium and extra hard compound front slick tyres for Losail instead of the usual consecutive pair of compounds. The medium compound gives good grip in the cool conditions when the track is clean, but when the track gets sandy the additional hardness of the extra hard compound provides the necessary durability and wear resistance to consistently cover race distance without graining.”

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Extra Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard.

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Bridgestone]

The 15 Best Motorcycle Roads in America

Motorcycles-roadsThe results are in. The AMA has just surveyed its members to find out where to go when you want to ride a really fantastic motorcycle road.

So where do you go? California has four of the greatest motorcycle roads in America, and Montana and Tennessee tie with three each. According to the survey, there are also fantastic motorcycle roads in Oregon, Ohio, Idaho, Mississippi, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and Wyoming.

“When it comes to the best places in the country to ride motorcycles, no group of riders is more knowledgeable than AMA members,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “No group puts in more miles, samples more asphalt or rides more roads.

“By publicizing our favorite roads in American Motorcyclist magazine, AMA members will seek out these destinations and bring tourism dollars into local communities through the purchase of food, fuel, lodging and more.”

The AMA asked its 230,000 member community to help identify the greatest motorcycle roads in America. Members were able to nominate new roads, or to vote for existing nominations. The AMA said that nearly 100 roads made the official ballot, and that the “honorable mentions” will be published in the April issue of American Motorcyclist.

“Some of these roads are familiar to motorcyclists, and others may not be,” said Managing Editor James Holter. “They all have one thing in common: They’re the best roads in the country, as chosen by AMA members.”

The 15 Greatest Motorcycle Roads in America

  1. Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming.
  2. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.
  3. U.S. Route 129 — The Tail of the Dragon — on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
  4. U.S. Route 550, from Ouray to Durango, Colo.
  5. California Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway.
  6. Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana.
  7. Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina and Tennessee.
  8. California Route 36.
  9. U.S. Route 12, Lolo Pass, Idaho and Montana.
  10. Angeles Crest Highway, California Route 2.
  11. Natchez Trace, from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn.
  12. U.S. Route 33, Harrisonburg, Va., to Seneca Rocks, W.Va.
  13. California Route 58, McKittrick to Santa Margarita.
  14. Ohio Route 170, Calcutta to Poland.
  15. Washington Route 129 and Oregon Route 3, Clarkston, Wash., to Enterprise, Ore.

So what do you think about the list? I think I just found my Summer schedule.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Moto For Japan: It’s Time to Ride, It’s Time to Help

moto_for_JapanThe earthquake, and consequential tsunami, that struck Japan last week left the nation devastated. Thousands of people have died, businesses have been destroyed, and homes have absolutely vanished.

There are many people who need help and many more who want to help. But what do you do when you’re on the opposite side of the world?

Greg Hatton and Jon Bekefy started a group on Crowdrise, a website that organizes charities, in order to bring motorcyclists together to donate to Japan.

Japan is such an important country in the motorcycle world, and now, more than every, they need help.

“The Japanese people have contributed to our passions and our livelihoods, and we believe, both as motorcyclists and regular humans, that we have an obligation to aid and assist them in this time of disaster and terrible loss,” wrote Hatton and Bekefy on Crowdrise.

“Whether you’re a rider, a racer, an industry employee, or a fan of any of the Big Four, this is your opportunity to give back to one of the most important nation-contributors of all things riding and racing.”

The money donated to MotoforJapan will go directly toward funding the Red Cross.

You can visit MotoForJapan here, or you can donate directly to the Red Cross here.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

AGVSport Topanga Men’s Leather Jacket

Topanga – Men’s Leather Jacket ($349.00-$374.00)

redThe Topanga leather jacket from AGVSPORT is modern with a classic twist.  Added features such as an inside waterproof media pocket that has a cell phone pocket and a MP3 player pocket with an earphone wire opening and tab for tangle free use brings the jacket into the twenty-first century.

blackThe details and shape give the jacket a sporty look.  The Topanga consists of a 1.2mm (body) to 1.4mm (impact areas) premium, top-grain leather construction for optimum protection, durability and comfort.  Two front warmer pockets and inner horizontal and vertical pockets with YKK zippers and custom zip pulls give the jacket more usability.  It also features a full mesh lining and zip front and rear exit vents for maximum ventilation.  A vented version with perforation in the front and back is also available.  The jacket comes in different colors including, black, red/black, and blue/black.

blueSafety is not overlooked in this leather jacket.  The Topanga features a 1cm thick memory foam back protector and CE approved removable shoulder and elbow protectors.  It also features a waist connection zipper for pant attachment.  The multiple stitched main seam construction enables for maximum tear resistance.

Comfort is highlighted with several features.  The jacket has pre curved arms for a perfect fit and for maximum riding comfort.  It also has moisture wicking neoprene in the collar and adjustable Velcro waist tabs.  The AGVSport Topanga leather jacket is available in sizes US 40-56.