Kawasaki on the Second Row Sepang Malaysia


Today's qualifying practice at Sepang ended with Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet heading up the second row with his team mate, Anthony West right behind him on the grid for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix.

In the afternoon's nail-biting session, the Frenchman crashed out, rode his spare bike for much of the allocated hour, then rode home his hastily-repaired, primary Ninja ZX-RR to fourth place on the leader board in the very final moments. He clocked his best qualifying time of 2'02.107 with a top speed of 296.5kmh, just behind Marco Melandri who snatched the last place on the front row in the closing seconds by the tiniest margin of 0.163 seconds.

De Puniet began the day with another scorching free practice, which saw him coming second on the results sheets with a time of 2'02.534, just 0.243 behind Casey Stoner. Having notched up such consistently good lap times on race tyres throughout all sessions, de Puniet feels confident for tomorrow's 21-lap race.

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Secondhand Ducati 748 Biposto


Ducati 748 Biposto, this motorcycle is the best 750cc I've ridden. The Ducati was manufactured from 1995 to 1999. Although the Ducati 748 Biposto, as a model, remained available until 2003.

At first sight it's your poor men's Ducati 916. But have another look and you discover that the chassis is, with exception of a narrower 180-section Pirelli Dragon and a lighter chain, identical to the exquisite bigger Duke. Same chrome-molly trellis frame, Showa suspension and top quality Brembo brakes; same adjustable head angle geometry and dimensions.

The eight-valve 90-degree angle V-twin Desmo is no sleeve-down job either. The Ducati 748 Biposto has lighter flywheels and a shorter stroke, new cylinders, pistons and conrods with a compression ratio of 11.5:1, were cunningly installed to make it rev 2000rpm harder, all the way up to 11,000rpm, transforming it, in Ducati terms, into a thrash-happy nutter.

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Rossi and Edwards struggle for grip in Sepang


The Malaysian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the 2007 season, got off to a poor start for Fiat Yamaha Team riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi today, the pair finishing the day a lowly 14th and 16th in the standings. The combined time-sheets were topped by Randy de Puniet after a best lap of 2'02.917.

With the track having been completely resurfaced since pre-season testing the riders spent this morning's session getting a feel for the new surface, with Rossi and Edwards 7th and 15th fastest at the close of the hour. Rain at lunchtime meant this afternoon's session began on a wet track, with the asphalt drying steadily in patches throughout the practice. Rossi and Edwards worked hard on set-up and tyres but lacked grip throughout and neither rider was able to come up with a magic formula, leaving the team with work to do overnight if they are to be in a position to challenge during tomorrow's qualifying.

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The Honda VRX400, retro 1995 Sportster


The '95 Honda VRX400 is, spiritually at least, a cross between traditional Japanese roadster, such as the 400 Bandit, and the classic Harley-Davidson Sportster.

At its heart is a liquid-cooled V-twin from the in Asia popular Honda Steed 400 Custom. But, Honda being Honda, it has re-engineered the enigne in a bid to create more character - in a similar way to when it redesigned its VT1100 Shadow Ace to emulate classic Harley feel

At low revs it's rough and tough, with both bar-ends visibly shaking, but is also respectable torque for a 400cc. Then, in the midrange, the V-twin pulses smooth out to develop regular and smooth power all the way to 8000rpm. According to Honda, irregular, or plain lack of vibration can induce tedium of fatigue, and the VRX's deliberately engineered pulses are, it claims at the time, more comfortable and relaxing, in the same way as birds singing, waves, winds and the human pulse.

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Suzuki and Alstare part company with Max Biaggi


After a good season and the great results this season, Team Alstare have dropped Max Biaggi as team member.

With Team Alstare losing their long time Corona Extra sponsorship the team don't have the budget to meet Max Biaggi big wage demands and there was always some doubt whether the team would stay in WSB. Here's what Alstare has to say...

With reference to the current situation Team Alstare is facing regarding sponsorship, it is with regret and sadness that the team announces that it will not be renewing its contract with Max Biaggi for 2008.

Suzuki and Team Alstare would like to thank Max Biaggi for his great performances and results achieved during the 2007 season, and also for his technical contribution.

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Yamaha Royal Star, Yamaha Thinks Big Bike


In a casual conversation with one of the Yamaha people, we found that Yamaha has introduced in the line of expectation, a whole line of biker motorcycles. One model in particular got our attention. Yamaha Thailand is now officially selling the Yamaha Royal Star in Thailand.

The Yamaha Royal Star is a best described as the best of two worlds, stripped-down street cruisability and plush long-distance touring capability in one motorcycle with the quick-change windshield and passenger backrest. The DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder 1294cc liquid-cooled 70 degree V-four engine, with a 79mm bore and 66mm stroke producing 10:1 compression ratio push you back and reminds you why they invented big bikes. This baby gives you 97hp at 6000rpm with a good throttle response from four heated Mikuni 32mm carburetors with TPS delivering seamless throttle response and greater power across the entire rev range where ever you go.

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Honda India introduces the new 150cc Hunk


India's largest motorcycle manufacturer Hero Honda on Wednesday launched its newest 150cc bike the 'Hunk'. The introduction was not unexpected, rumorers about the Hero-Honda 150cc Hunk could be found on the Internet for weeks.

Hero-Honda has launched two model variants of the Hero-Honda Hunk motorbike one with kick-starter and one with electronic starter. While the kick-starter model would be available, Hero-Honda expects that most motorcycles sold would be with electronic starter, as the Hero-Honda Hunk with electronic starter is not that much more expensive.

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Kawasaki Return to Malaysia


Fresh from the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, the Kawasaki Racing Team this week heads to Sepang for the penultimate round of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship.

Randy de Puniet enjoyed many a top ten finish at the Sepang International Circuit, near the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in the years he rode in the 250cc world-level series and is looking forward to the battle this weekend. The 5.55km track will host Sunday's 21-lap race and the Frenchman will be aiming to improve on the 13th place he managed there last year which, considering his recent form, shouldn't be too much trouble.

Riding the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR, the 26-year-old has consistently shown himself to be among the fastest racers in the championship this year and he is feeling positive after a healthy sixth in Australia. His ongoing improvement as a rider, and increasing skill at developing the bike, make him ever more a man to contend with.

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Looking at the Suzuki Raider 150R bike


The Suzuki Raider 150R, or Suzuki Satria FU150 as it is called in Indonesia, is one of the most powerful 150cc motorcycles in the market. The Suzuki Raider 150 is a comfortable motorcycle to ride on. It is fast it has more then enough power, 16 horse power at 9500rpm, it looks good and the telescopic front and rear mono-shock swing-arm suspension make the Suzuki Raider 150 one of the best road handling bikes.

If we compare the Suzuki Raider 150R with a Honda CBR150r, we find that the Suzuki beats the Honda on power performance, the Suzuki is lighter then the Honda and performance is equal. Also a good point is that the Suzuki Raider 150R is almost 10,000 Baht cheaper then the Honda*.

The 4 Stroke, Twin-cam 4 Valve, Air Cooled 147.3cc engine with electronic DC-CDI ignition, delivers the performance of a sporty bike the throttle response is good, thanks to the Mikuni BS 26-187 carburetor.

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Fiat Yamaha Team return to happy hunting ground in Malaysia


The Fiat Yamaha Team head straight from Australia to Malaysia this week as they contest the second Grand Prix in just seven days, with the penultimate race of the season set to take place at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in MotoGP at the ultra modern circuit, taking three victories from eight visits, and their strong record in Malaysia stretches back to the first ever race in the country back in 1991, when John Kocinski took 500cc honors at Shah Alam.

The most recent Malaysian Grand Prix was also won by Yamaha, with Valentino Rossi taking his fourth premier-class win at Sepang following a stunning battle with Loris Capirossi last season. Rossi is keen to repeat that performance this weekend as he aims to become the first MotoGP rider ever to score 100 career podiums in the class - his third place finish at Phillip Island last Sunday having taken his tally to an unsurpassed 99.

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