Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yamaha Race Report ~ Sunday Silverstone MotoGP 6/20/10

Jorge Lorenzo ran away with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this afternoon, storming home to win by 6.743 seconds to take his first UK win in the Premier Class. The Fiat Yamaha Team's sole representative in the absence of the injured Valentino Rossi, Lorenzo led from the first lap to come home ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies, who took his maiden podium in MotoGP.
The Mallorcan got a strong start from pole position and led out of turn one but it was not all plain sailing as he became embroiled in a feisty first-lap battle with Dani Pedrosa. The pair traded the lead several times but it was Lorenzo who eventually led over the line and he was unchallenged from there on in, gradually extending his lead lap-by-lap and leaving his rivals trailing in the wake of his blue and white M1. With two laps remaining the gap to Dovizioso stood at more than eight seconds but Lorenzo slowed down on the final two laps to ensure he came home safely, which he duly did to the delight of the 70,000 British fans who are quickly adopting the spirited Spaniard as one of their own.
His third win of the season and another 25-point haul extends Lorenzo's lead to 37 points over Dovizioso in second, with Pedrosa now third. The absent Rossi falls to fourth in the championship but Lorenzo's consistency ensures that the Fiat Yamaha Team still leads the Teams' standings and Yamaha the Manufacturers'. The MotoGP paddock now faces a quick turnaround in order to get to Assen in time for next weekend's Dutch TT, which is as always a Saturday race.

Jorge Lorenzo - 1st, 41'34.083

"This was an important day for me and an important win, because I felt so strong and I enjoyed riding my Yamaha so much. I had a different feeling today; I felt that it was going to be a good race. It was quite hard to be fast at the start and the first lap with Dani was difficult, but once I got past him I felt very relaxed and comfortable. I thought he would follow me for a bit longer but he didn't and then I was on my own, so I just had to focus on myself; I didn't even know who was behind me! I never dreamt of taking three wins from five races but here we are and I am feeling very strong mentally at this moment. I want to thank my team, Yamaha and Bridgestone for this victory. The Beatles celebration was something fun for the fans, I love their music and I thought it was nice to make homage to them, since we're in England!"
Jorge Lorenzo

Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager Jorge Lorenzo

"This was a great performance by Jorge. The start was a little bit interesting, with us on the hard Bridgestone and some of the others on the softer one, but Jorge rode so well, kept his head and brought it home safely. Our bike is working very well and it was great to see Spies taking a podium on the Yamaha too, well done to him. It is impressive to have a 37-point gap at this stage but now we have four more races in very close succession so we can't relax. Well done to Jorge and to everyone for today."
Spies storms to maiden Silverstone podium
Ben Spies stormed to a stunning debut MotoGP podium for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team this afternoon after a thrilling battle at the spectacular Silverstone circuit.Competing in only his ninth MotoGP race, Spies was locked in an early battle with fellow rookie Marco Simoncelli for sixth place before he became embroiled in an epic fight for second place.

Spies passed Dani Pedrosa on lap nine and then launched a brilliant pursuit of the group in front dicing for second that included Andrea Dovizioso, Randy de Puniet and fellow American Nicky Hayden. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider stalked the trio befo re he began a breathtaking late attack, firstly overtaking de Puniet for fourth place on lap 17. That clinical pass left Spies hounding Hayden's Ducati and the 25-year-old timed his crucial attack to perfection, the Texan ignoring the discomfort of a small fracture in his left ankle that he aggravated in a big qualifying crash yesterday.
Spies produced a daring overtake on Hayden at the fast Abbey Corner on the final lap and then defended supremely under immense pressure to claim third and his first premier class rostrum. The result moved Spies into seventh place in the overall world championship standings with 36-points and helped the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team close the gap on fourth place in the all-important Team World Championship classification.

Texan team-mate Colin Edwards rode a determined 20-lap race after a difficult w eekend where he never found the optimum setting with his YZR-M1 machine. He also encountered a repeat of the arm pump issue that hindered him at the last round in Mugello, but he was satisfied having rode to a creditable ninth position to maintain his record of scoring points in every race so far in 2010.
Ben Spies

Ben Spies - 3rd +7.097 sec.

"I didn't expect to get my first podium so quickly, especially after yesterday which wasn't the best for me. I got a decent start but once I got by Dani and Simoncelli I just tried to stay on the back of the group battling for the podium. Once I realised I could stay in contention I just tried to save the rear tyre as much as I could and it all worked out. The last few laps I pushed as hard as I could and made some good passes and it is great for Yamaha and the Monster Tech 3 Team. I'm also pretty happy about it too and this is good for my confidence. That last lap was difficult to pass Nicky but I got a really good drive onto the back straight and tried to pass him at Stowe Corner but he came back by. On the next straight I managed to get by him and then had to ride quite defensively on the last part of the lap. I was on the edge but I had to go for the podium and it worked out. It will be hard to duplicate this but right now I'll let it sink in and make the most of it. But on this day I can say I was the third best rider in the world and it is a good feeling."
Colin Edwards

Colin Edwards - 9th +27.954 sec.

"I don't want to be finishing in ninth at all but honestly I'm reasonably happy with the way I rode and it was a lot better than I expected after what has been a tough weekend. I'm still a fair way behind the top group but I had so many problems this weekend that even a top ten was looking lik e a difficult result to achieve. I didn't leave anything out there and I went better than I did in qualifying but it was still not easy. The bike isn't agile enough and having to muscle it around gave me a small arm pump problem, but not as bad as Mugello. If I could get the bike to go where I want it to go I could save lots of time, but we've got some ideas for the future. It was a bit of a lonely race but I rode as hard as I could for as long as I could. I want to congratulate Ben though because he did an awesome job and I've got nothing but admiration for him. He showed today what a great rider he is and it is great for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team to be back on the podium."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager

"We knew Ben really liked this circuit and we thought he could do a good race. But he rode an incredible race because he didn't get a fantastic start but he was v ery aggressive in the first two laps and got himself into contention. He never let that group in front of him go away and we know his strength is on worn tyres, so we expected him to hang in until the end. He was quickest on track at one stage but I was worried a little bit because Casey was catching quite quickly. But he kept his cool and made some good passes and the best was on the last lap to beat Nicky.
It his first podium in MotoGP and certainly not his last because he is such a bright talent for the future. I'd like to say thanks to Yamaha and to Bridgestone and also to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because since the start of the season it has been a little bit up and down. But we've never stopped trying hard and today we got a big reward. Colin rode a steady race and as always he never stopped trying to improve his situation and we know better results will come for him soon. Now we look forward to Assen that both Colin and Ben like a lot and we are confident of anot her competitive weekend."

Circuit Length: 3619
Temp: 17
Crowd: 70000
Weather: Dry
Lap Record: 1'56.459 (Chris Vermeulen, 01/01/2003)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1'56.096 (Jurgen van den Goorbergh, 01/01/2003)

2010 MotoGP Great Britain - Silverstone 6/20/2010

Race 1 - 20 Laps
Pos.RiderManu.Nat.Total Time

1Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP41'34.083
2Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA0'06.743
3Ben SpiesYamaha USA 0'07.097
4Nicky Hayden Ducati USA0'07.314
5Casey Stoner Ducati AUS0'07.494
6Randy De Puniet Honda FRA0'09.055
7Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA0'14.425
8Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP0'15.313
9Colin Edwards Yamaha USA0'27.954
10Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP0'42.394
11Hector Barbera Ducati ESP0'43.365
12Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP0'43.408
13Mika Kallio Ducati FIN0'43.580

Rider Standings 6/20/2010


1.Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP115
2.Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA78
3.Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP73
4.Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA61
5.Nicky Hayden Ducati USA52
6.Randy De Puniet Honda FRA46
7.Ben Spies Yamaha USA36
8.Casey Stoner Ducati AUS35
9.Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA32
10.Marco Melandri Honda ITA32
11.Colin Edwards Yamaha USA26
12.Hector Barbera Ducati ESP24
13.Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP22
14.Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN18
15.Mika Kallio Ducati FIN15

Manufacturer Standings 6/20/2010



Saturday, February 13, 2010

2010 Kawasaki Z1000~ Can it compete against the "naked" European market?

With a history that can be traced all the way back to the early 1970's, with its archetype KZ900, Kawasaki is surprisingly reintroducing the Z1000 after a one year absence from their sportbike line-up. A resurrection that could make former Zed owners and those alike, a believer once again!
Kawasaki took that year to do a complete redesign by mirroring the same ideology as the original Yamaha FZ1 and the auspicious ZX-10R, in an attempt to provide the customer with a superbike-class performance in the new innovative 5 piece aluminum chassis, that doesn't require yoga-like contortion to enjoy!
Even though there has been an obvious passion for naked bikes by motorcyclist world wide, the prosaic sales from the Japanese market compared to the European competitors gives a clear indication what riders are universally asking for in a naked bike. To actually deliver a retro naked bike with full-on state-of -the-art technology and engine performance that will look the part as well as act it and not some dumbed down speedster that just looks fast! Clearly the European market has the edge, with manufacture Success stories like Ducati, with their Monster line up, Triumph's Speed Triple and Aprilia's Tuono, to name a few. Could it be Kawasaki has finally stepped up to the plate and quite possibly created the perfect contender for a "naked" competition!

Even though the truth remains, that I have only sat on this bike, but not gone so far as to personally ride this seemingly impressive machine. I cannot ignore the repetitive grand reviews on the obvious transformation of the Z1000's past customary performance!
So why do I, as well as so many other reviewers think the 2010 Kawasaki Z1000, a Japanese heritage naked bike, can contend with the European market?
Lets start with the Chassis and suspension; from years prior, Kawasaki has drastically improved the handling, with an all new five piece aluminum chassis, which is over 8 pounds lighter and 30% more rigid than the former steel frame. The Zed also has a removable 3 piece die cast aluminum subframe that was designed to be an integral part of the bikes retro style. But the main theme in the design was to infuse a mass centralization to the chassis, with a wheelbase of 57 inches, 24.5 rake and 4.1 trail, it does the job nicely.

Kawasaki engineers back-linked the suspension system that places the Showa shock and shock linkage horizontally, above the swing arm, an added feature to make the preload and rebound damping adjusters easily within reach. The Z1000 offers a cushy and controlled ride that doesn't phase the rider even with small bumps to large potholes, reinforcing the "fun" factor in a smooth ride.
Gone are the days of a "mushy" braking system, now the 2010 Z1000's have been fitted with dual Tokico four-piston radial mount calipers on the front wheel, and single Tokico piston caliper on the rear wheel, allowing the braking action to be strong, without being "grabby". A five spoke cast aluminum rim houses the Dunlop Sportmax D210 tires (front:120/70ZR17 and rear: 19050ZR17) that are squire to this particular bike, with precision machined edges and holes in the spokes to enhance the look of the wheel and tire.

With a 6 speed, chain driven, 1043 cc displacement and a 16-valve in-line 4 and almost 50 pounds of torque at 2250 rpms, the Zed will generate plenty of excitement for the rider when rolling on the throttle! The Kawasaki engineers also placed the crackshaft lower in the engine to allow the use of longer rods while maintaining the engine height, delivering a bore and stroke of 77.0 x 56.0 mm. The engine also features a secondary balancer in front of the crankshaft to reduce engine vibration.
The Z1000 exceeds in eronomonic comfort with narrower bars, a smooth clutch action and a seat that forces the rider to lean just a bit further forward for a more comfortable fit for longer rides. Even with a 32in seat height, it's as comfortable for a tall person as well as a shorter stature person. But, not so for the passenger seat, Kawasaki went to great lengths to streamline the look of the Zed's tail section by integrating the grab rails into the tail and purposely making the rear seat white to appear smaller. Based on passenger comfort, you will probably be riding solo a lot more often than two-up!

On the down side, the side mirrors are set to far inward offering a minimal view and mainly of the riders shoulders! the spoiler on the headlight is more of a decoration than a working deflector. And while the 3 point adjustable digital speedometer is easy to read, it's bar graph tachometer is a waste of time, offering more of a "modern" look than a functioning analog tachometer.
I gotta tell ya, even though the right-side "quad" muffler exhaust system is unique in it's design by creating a pre-chamber, routing spent gases from the four head pipes into two pipes, then into it's two "radically" shaped shorty mufflers, keeping the "Z" clean as well as green, it's still blazing ugly!!
But, lets face it, the down side reasons for not purchasing the Z1000, with it's edgy looking character and a razor-sharp powerhouse performance, are few and most definitely not worth mentioning if you base your purchase purely on handling and engine performance. This bike has what you're looking for.
As a strong European contender, you get a lot of bang for your buck, reveling in the euphoria of it's monstrous mid-range torque, frolicking to and fro in it's featherweight handling in the twisties, while simultaneously inflicting a powerful, yet smooth braking action and plush controlled suspension, all for a sticker price of $10.499 msrp.
Kawasaki, consider your proverbial European bar raised!
Footnote: If you are interested in another hypothesis on the 2010 Kawasaki Z1000, I would highly recommend you check out Further on Down the Road, a blog by @Reyzie, who is a former owner of a 2006 Z1000 and impressive when it comes to motorcycles.