Started from the plateau of Giza in Egypt, with the pyramids as background, the 130 teams of the 10th TOTAL Pharaohs International Rally took the cap to the South on the track of the oasis, direction Baharija. This is the first stop on the way to the Libyan desert. At the finish line of this stage and its 316 km, the Spanish rider Marc Coma (KTM Repsol) on his motorbike is the first motorcycle winner of this first stage of the 10th edition of the Pharaohs International Rally.
The wind blowing out on the heights of Baharija barely cooled down the atmosphere. Arrived very sparingly at the finish line of the stage, the competitors hurry themselves to lay down in the shadow of the bivouac, accompanied by a well deserved meal and a cold drink. For this very first stage of the 10th TOTAL Pharaohs Rally, Marc Coma (KTM Repsol) honored his level.
Saturday at the Paris Motorcycle Show, BMW Motorrad introduced the third motorcycle in its HP2 (High Performance two-cylinder) series, the Sport, a highly-modified version of the R 1200 S, which is raced in the MOTO-ST endurance series.
The HP2 Sport keep the 1170cc (101.0 x 73.0mm bore x stroke), air-and-oil-cooled, opposed Twin ("Boxer") engine of the R 1200 S, but the engine has been fitted with chain-driven, double overhead cams in place of the High Cam and push rod configuration of the R 1200 S.
Each of the horizontal camshafts actuates one 39.0mm (up from 36mm) intake and one 33mm (up from 31mm) exhaust valve via a "drag lever." Shims under the "drag lever" are used to adjust valve clearance. The four valves in each cylinder head are arranged in a radial fashion. The new cylinder heads also get revised intake porting and carbon covers with replaceable, hard plastic slider/protectors. New forged pistons and new connecting rods are used in the HP2 Sport, but compression ratio remains 12.5:1. While the use of higher-octane fuel is required, only a single spark plug is needed for ignition for each cylinder.
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi won the first race at Vallelunga today, much to the delight of his legions of fans who had packed the 4.110 kilometre circuit, then followed that up with a hard-fought for runner-up spot in race two to move into second place in the World Superbike Championship.
Biaggi overtook Bayliss after three laps of the first race and then immediately began to extend his lead lap by lap. He took the chequered flag by a comfortable margin with Troy Bayliss (Ducati) second and James Toseland third.
In race two, the Italian once again battled Bayliss for the lead and looked as if he was going to pass the Australian at the two-thirds distance mark, but he ran wide at one of the turns and lost ground. That was the breathing space Bayliss needed.
In a day of dramatic racing, Yamaha came away with both their rider and manufacturer championship still hopes alive. Haga came third and fourth in today's races with Corser finishing in fifth in the second race after a DNF in race one.
Race one had a spectacular start as Corser lost the front and crashed out on the first lap while Haga almost crashed but managed to move into third in front of Toseland. He then proceeded to take the fastest lap three times to catch Bayliss and Biaggi who were battling for first. Having caught Bayliss, Haga tousled and swapped places with him many times before Bayliss made it stick on lap 17. The battle up front had given Toseland the chance to catch up and challenge Haga for third position; a challenge which he eventually won.
Race two was equally exciting with the usual suspects of Bayliss, Biaggi, Haga, Toseland and Corser up front and challenging for position. Bayliss took an early lead but Haga was quick to chase, along with Biaggi.
It's time to get on the road, the Yamaha YZF-R125 2008 model introduced 12 days ago. Now it is time to grab the maximum fun out of life with the Yamaha YZF-R125. This radical, high-revving, fuel-injected 125 is the work of the same engineers who created our YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 supersport legends and is packed with MotoGP tech. The YZF-R125 is here to deliver stunning R-Series styling and exhilarating sports performance because life is a sport, to be enjoyed to the max.
The Yamaha YZF-R125 is smallest member of the R-series, with all aspects this bike including its engine and chassis technology feels like its a racer.
The Yamaha YZF-R125 is equipped with liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 4-valve, single cylinder, SOHC 124.66cc engine. The engine is a 52mm bore and 58.6mm stroke with a impressive 11.2:1 compression ratio.
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi set the fourth quickest time in Superpole at Vallelunga and will start tomorrow's pair of 24-lap races from the front row of the grid.
His team mate Yukio Kagayama failed to make the 16-rider Superpole shoot-out, due to pain in his right hand and knee - a legacy of his crash just two weeks ago at the Eurospeedway Lausitz. But tomorrow morning he will try and ride in the warm-up and see if it is possible to race.
Superpole was full of drama, with series leader James Toseland (Honda) crashing out when he was on course for the fastest lap. In the end, reigning champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati) just managed to beat his fellow countryman Troy Corser (Yamaha) to take Superpole. Third fastest was Spaniard Ruben Xaus (Ducati), with Biaggi fourth.
Corser will start from second on the grid in tomorrow's races, having been beaten by Bayliss at the last minute to the top slot by 0.126 seconds. His team mate Haga took fifth position in a day of set-up challenges and Superpole drama.
This morning's qualifying session was an unremarkable affair with both riders focusing on finding the best set-up for the race. Corser started top of the leader board and remained there until towards the end of the session. Despite improving his own time by 0.009 seconds he was marginally beaten to the top slot by Bayliss and Xaus. Haga went eighth fastest in qualifying, concerning himself with his settings rather than grid position.
It was in Superpole that events got exciting. Haga was first of the Yamaha Motor Italia riders out of the box and he was the first rider in the session to set a 1'36 time, despite suffering with vision problems caused by his visor.
Wichai Suwankhajit, 35, the Managing Director of D.D. Sprocket (Thailand) Co., Ltd and Sprocket Specialist (Thailand) Co., Ltd., runs one of Southeast Asians leading motorcycle sprocket factory and is regarded to be in the top list of motorcycle spare parts manufacturers in Thailand.
He started in the sprocket manufacturing business about 11 years ago, with a relative small budget, which he saved while working with his fathers construction company. In that time motorcycles where in Thailand a very popular transportation and he was thinking that it was a good idea to start a business to supply motorcycle spare parts.
While researching the market, for information about motorcycle spare parts manufacturers. He was introduced to an established motorcycle sprocket factory what was for sale by one of his friends; Mr. Wichai studied the possible domestic and exports market to analyze the market potential. Mr. Wichai believed that buying an established sprocket factory would create market advantage over building a business from scratch.
The first day of qualifying at Vallelunga went well for the Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team today, with Corser claiming provisional pole and Haga just behind in third.
The day started off wet and quite cool following overnight rain, with temperatures only hitting 19°C compared to the scorching 50°C experienced during testing here in July. The difference in weather conditions meant that the data gathered in the test proved less helpful than hoped during this morning's free practice. But both Corser and Haga didn't let this faze them and got on with the job of finding the best set-up for the conditions. By the end of the session Corser was fastest with Haga in fourth.
This afternoon's qualifying session was a dry affair, giving the team the chance to find a dry set-up.
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi ended the first day of qualifying at Vallelunga in Italy with the fourth fastest time, even though he was not really pushing hard.
He spent most of the day working on a good bike set-up so that he could get comfortable on the bike as team mate Yukio Kagayama was still feeling the effects of his crash in the last round at the Eurospeedway Lausitz where he broke a bone in his right hand. Despite the pain and discomfort, he managed to post the 14th quickest time of the day.
Aussie Troy Corser (Yamaha) set the fastest time in today's qualifying with a lap of 1:37.537 just ahead of his fellow countryman Troy Bayliss (Ducati) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) third.