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  • 2020 MotoGP: The cost of doing business at the top

    There is an old adage which says that to make a small fortune from motor racing you first start with a large fortune. Most everyone knows the cost of racing in the top flight of motorsports – Formula 1 and MotoGP – is astronomically expensive but do you have any idea exactly how much?

    Multiple MotoGP world championship team Repsol Honda recently published on their media page a sampling of the costs of doing business at the pinnacle of two-wheeled motorsports and it is not for the faint of heart. Taking the example of a satellite team, where most racers start their career before moving into the factory teams if they’re good enough, leasing a complete MotoGP race machine costs up to 2 million euros (RM8.9 million) per rider for a season.

    This will give the team access to two race bikes plus any upgrades and improvements made to the bike during the race season but no spare parts. Should the electronics package need to be replaced, that will be 100,000 euro (RM449,237) to you, sir, including all sensors and cables with no electronic part costing less than 1,000 euros (RM4,492).

    Braking is, comparatively, not as expensive, only costing 70,000 euros (RM314,465) for a season – this figure is capped by the FIM, motorcycle racing’s governing body – and includes three pairs of calipers, three master cylinders, 10 carbon discs, and 28 sets of brake pads. If more brake parts are needed during a season, they have to be purchased at extra cost.

    As any rider knows, crashing during a race, or even a track day, racks up repair bills like no one’s business but at MotoGP level, be prepared for a heart attack. A low side crash which involves putting the bike on its side and sliding for a bit can cost somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 euros (RM67,385 to RM89,847).

    If a rider high sides the bike, this could mean the team having to fork out 100,000 euros (RM449,237) to repair or replace stuff like tyres, wheels, discs and suspension. For a slow motion replay worthy viral video high side, the cost involved can easily reach 500,000 euros (RM2.24 million) to replace the fuel tank, swingarm, chassis, engine or electronics.

    Part of what makes up the high cost of racing in MotoGP is the materials used in constructing a race bike. For example, the carbon-fibre used in the bodywork and fairings costs two euros per 100 grammes, compared to steel which is a paltry 0.2 euro per 100 grammes.

    Those ultra light weight wheels used on MotoGP bikes? The author lifted a naked magnesium rear wheel at the MotoGP round in Motegi, Japan and was astounded at the weight or lack thereof. The cost? A jaw dropping 4,000 euros (RM17,969).

    This is mere pocket change compared to what the official tyre supplier, Michelin, has to pay to support every MotoGP round. For each race, for all the teams, Michelin spends 1.2 million euros (RM5.39 million) to supply tyres, wheels and technical personnel.

    Since MotoGP is a worldwide race series, with racing carried out on five of the seven continents, supporting costs for running a team are similarly large. For a team of 19 personnel, travel costs can go up to 700,000 euros (RM3.14 million) per year excluding the team principal, manager and riders, who more than likely will travel in a higher class or on a private jet.

    Add in catering and hospitality and your yearly team expenses go up another 600,000 euros (RM2.69 million). This does not include the cost of ground logistics, transport, vehicles and other miscellaneous items which can increase the team’s yearly budget by another 700,000 euros (RM3.14 million).

    If you were thinking competing in a lower class such as Moto3, with the thought costs might be lower, they are, but compared to campaigning a production class like superbikes, are still high. A complete Moto3 race motorcycle – without engine, dashboard or transponders – costs a minimum of 85,000 euros (RM381,851).

    You will need an engine to go with that Moto3 racer which costs 12,000 euro (RM53,908) per engine. However, the engine manufacturer will lease you a Moto3 engine package costing 60,000 euro (RM269,542) that gives you six engines, two throttle bodies and two gearboxes for one season.

  • 2020 MotoGP: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

    With the 2020 MotoGP racing season almost upon us, with the first race of the year taking place at Losail, Qatar on March 8, Austrian motorcycle maker KTM has unveiled its KTM GP16 racing machine. Also shown alongside the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team were the bikes being campaigned by the satellite team Red Bull KTM Tech3.

    The racing livery for the factory team looks much the same as the previous year but the Tech3 team has a colour scheme very different from last season. In the factory team, Brad Binder, age 24 of South Africa, and Spaniard Pol Espargaro, age 28, will be leading the charge for KTM.

    Binder comes to Red Bull KTM for his first season in MotoGP having finished second in the Moto2 World Championship in 2019 with Tech3 while Espargaro now moves into his fourth season with KTM. The KTM factory team had a somewhat controversial season last year, with rider Johann Zarco leaving the team mid-season, citing difficulties in getting the KTM GP16 to perform.

    Meanwhile, in the Tech3 satellite team managed by Herve Poncheral, the two KTM GP16 seats are filled by Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira, age 25 and Spaniard Iker Lecuona, age 20. Oliveira’s career highlight was coming in second in the Moto2 championship in 2018 with Finnish team Red Bull Ajo Moto2.

    As for Lecuona, he made his Moto2 debut in 2016 with the CarXpert Interwetten team riding a Kalex before moving to the Swiss Innovative Investors team on a KTM. He then did the 2019 Moto2 season with American Racing KTM before stepping up to KTM’s satellite team.

    Four years in development, the KTM RC16 has a V-four, 1,000 cc mill that produces over 265 hp and revs up to 18,500 rpm. Weighing 157 kg, the RC16 is capable of speeds in excess of 340 km/h.

  • 2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R in Indonesia by April?

    After being unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show 2019, the 2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R might get its inaugural sales launch in Indonesia as soon as April. This is because Kawasaki Indonesia has been showing a series of detailed teaser videos on its Youtube channel, seven as of this post.

    Although a four-cylinder, quarter-litre is not a new thing for Kawasaki – Malaysian riders will fondly remember the ZXR250 four-cylinder with air intakes referred to as “washing machine hoses” – what will set the ZX-25R apart from the competition is that is uses four pistons compared to the norm of two pistons or singles in this market segment.

    From what is known, the ZX-25R uses an inline four-cylinder mill with liquid-cooling and DOHC. However, from the video, a redline of 17,000 rpm has been revealed, putting it in company such as the 1985 Yamaha Phazer FZ250 with its 20,000 rpm rev limit.

    No numbers have been revealed for the ZX-25R but from historical data, something like 45 hp and 25 Nm of torque would not be out of the question for an engine configuration like this. Kawasaki says, in the video series, the engine is designed to spin up quickly and have sensitive throttle response as well as more torque in the lower and middle bands of the rev range.

    The electronics suite on the ZX-25R is also said to be up-to-date with features commonly found on larger capacity motorcycles costing a lot more. These include a quickshifter, selectable rider modes and traction control, items not usually found below the 500 cc threshold.

    Suspension is of similar quality, with Showa’s SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork – Big Piston) 37 mm diameter upside-down fork making an appearance in the small displacement arena as well as a Horizontal Back_link monoshock at the rear. This is to give the ZX-25R optimum track performance while still being suitable for daily riding.

    With the video series being released one by one, we can assume Indonesian riders are excited about the impending release of the ZX-25R, with the determining factor being the price. In Indonesia, competition for the Kawasaki ZX-24R comes from the Honda CBR250RR, Yamaha YZF-R25 and Suzuki Gixxer SF250.

  • 2020 Yamaha YZF-R25 colour change, RM19,998

    Donning new colours for this year is the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R25, much favoured sports bike amongst the young Malaysian rider and priced at a recommended retail of RM19,998, excluding road tax, insurance and registration. The new colour schemes for the YZF-R25 are Matte Silver and Matte Blue.

    With new bodywork following the lines of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, the R25 is said to be faster by 8 km/h in top speed. Mechanicals remains the same as the previous generation R25, with a two-cylinder 249 cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled mill mated to a six-speed gearbox producing 35.5 hp at 12,000 rpm and 22.6 Nm of torque at 10,000 rpm.

    The 2020 R25 comes with upside-down forks with gold-anodised fork tubes and at the back is a preload-adjustable monoshock that delivers better performance. Seat height for the R25 is 758 mm, down 22 mm from the previous model while fuel is carried in a 14-litre tank that resembles that on the R1.

    LED lighting is used both front and back for the R25 and inside the cockpit, the LCD instrument panel displays all the necessary information and includes a shift light. Braking is done with dual-piston callipers on a single disc on the front wheel and single-piston calliper on the rear wheel.

    Weight for the R25 is 166 kg. The 2020 Yamaha YZF-R25 is available at authorised Hong Leong Yamaha Motor dealers from February 17.

  • 2020 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard launched in Malaysia – 1,746 cc, 150 Nm, RM132,400

    Now in Malaysia is the 2020 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard, priced at RM132,400 recommended retail. This standard touring cruiser strips the Electra Glide down to the essentials and omits luxuries such as the on-board entertainment and navigation system.

    Unveiled during a special media preview in Harley-Davidson PJ, the Electra Glide Standard is the most affordable of Harley-Davidson’s touring rigs. This is true compared to the similar models such as the Street Glide Special that retails for RM169,400.

    However, rider conveniences such as cruise control, preload-adjustable rear shock absorbers and 49 mm dual-bending valve front forks. Standard fitment is Brembo brakes on the 17-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels but ABS is optional to the Electra Glide Standard.

    The philosophy behind the stripped-down Electra Glide Special is to allow the owner to customise the bike to suit his or her own taste, with the only available colour choice being Vivid Black. Harley-Davidson does offer an extensive customisation catalogue, including a range of paint options, to suit every taste and budget.

    Powered by the Milwaukee Eight 107 V-twin, the Electra Glide Special’s mill displaces 1,746 cc and produces 150 Nm of torque at 3,250 rpm, mated to a six-speed gearbox. Overall, the Electra Glide Special weighs 372 kg including all fluids and fuel is carried in a 22.7-litre tank.

  • 2020 MotoGP: Repsol Honda Team – brothers in arms

    Having its first world presentation last week in Indonesia, the Repsol Honda Team presents its racing livery for the 2020 MotoGP Season. During the Winter Test in Sepang, brothers Marc and Alex Marquez, race numbers #93 and #73, respectively, showed strongly.

    However, despite what is shown in the gallery below, the Spanish brothers’ RC213V may yet change configuration ahead of the first race in Qatar, notably in aerodynamics as well as technical specification. The first race of the 2020 season takes place at Losail circuit on March 6 to 8 but there is still one more test session to go.

    For this season, reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc is joined by younger brother Alex. Alex is a two-time champion in his own right in Moto2 and Moto3.

    According to Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig, it is still too early in the season to tell how the team will do. Marc has said his wish to is win the world championship but is aware the competition has improved over the previous year and closing in on his heels.

    Marc is recovering from a shoulder operation after aggravating a shoulder injury during the Jerez test in 2019. As for Alex, Puig said he is showing daily improvement which will, from his experience, be good for a sixth or seventh place in the championship although it is early days yet.

  • 2020 Honda EX5 kapchai – new graphics, RM4,783

    Evergreen icon on Malaysian roads, the 2020 Honda EX5 is back with new graphics. Now coming in Pearl Nightfall Blue and Pearl Magellanic Black, the graphics on this year’s EX5 harks back to the previous generation EX5.

    For both versions, customers can opt between the spoked rim version at RM4,783 or the tubeless alloy rim version at RM5,009, with prices excluding road tax, insurance and registration. Main difference between the spoked and alloy wheel versions of the EX5 is the alloy wheel model comes with chrome headlight surround and passenger grab rail.

    The EX5 is powered by a single-cylinder, air-cooled, 110 cc mill fed by PGM-Fi. Mated to a four-speed automatic clutch gearbox, the EX5 puts out 8.5 hp at 7,500 rpm and 8.62 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm.

    Fuel for the EX5 is carried in a 4.3-litre tank with drum brakes front and rear. Suspension is with telescopic forks and twin shock absorbers at the back with electric and kick starting as standard.

    Pricing as mentioned earlier is recommended retail and may differ from the dealer’s offer. The 2020 Honda EX5 comes with a two-year or 20,000 km manufacturing warranty.

  • 2020 MotoGP: Team Suzuki Ecstar – 60 years of GP

    Paying homage to its history in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing is Team Suzuki Ecstar with the unveiling of the 2020 Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP race bike. Decked out in a silver and blue colour scheme, the race graphics hark back to Suzuki’s involvement in international motorcycle racing.

    2020 is the 60th year Suzuki is present in two-wheeled motorsports. It all began in 1960, when Suzuki participated in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (IoMT) with the first Motorcycle Grand Prix (GP) appearance happening two years later when Ernest Degner won the 50 cc championship.

    Fielding an all Spanish team with riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins, Suzuki hopes the GSX-RR will bring more wins in 2020. The previous season, Rins took fourth place in the championship standings while team mate Mir came in twelfth.

    “We have developed a new engine specification that is favoured by our test rider Sylvain Guintoli as well as riders Rins and Mir during our testing in Jerez. There is a great chance this configuration will be the base of the motorcycle we will test in Sepang and Qatar before the racing season begins,” said Suzuki team technical manager Ken Kawauchi.

    “During the winter season, we have come up with new solutions for the suspension and chassis, also the electronics. The fairing also plays an important role and we are testing several designs that we hope will provide overall improvement,” Kawauchi said.

  • 2020 MotoGP: Petronas Yamaha SRT shows race livery

    During the recent MotoGP Winter Test at Sepang International Circuit, Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT), showed its 2020 racing livery. After coming in fourth overall in the manufacturer’s standings, Petronas Yamaha SRT has won the accolade of best privateer team.

    The team’s two riders, Fabio Quartararo from France and Spaniard Franco Morbidelli have also stamped their mark on the grid during the previous season, coming in fifth and tenth respectively in the rider’s championship. Quartararo was also crowned best rookie in 2019 as well as best privateer rider.

    For this year’s season, SRT is looking strong with Quartararo posting fastest test lap in Sepang at 1’58.439. Meanwhile, Morbidelli was more focused during testing on detailed aspects of the Yamaha YZR-M1’s performance, notably front end vibration.

    “In general I think the testing has gone well. Although we should not be focusing too much on the lap times. Psychologically, it is good to have the fastest rider and for the other racers to see this,” said Petronas Yamaha SRT team principal Datuk Razlan Razali.

    “We are working hard to improve on the bike’s top speed and we hope in Qatar we will be taking steps forward. My target for now has changed a little; we want to be faster over race distance as we know now, for one lap, we already have the speed,” said Quartararo.

  • 2020 Triumph Street Triple 765R launched in UK

    Updated for this year is the 2020 Triumph Street Triple 765R, following in the footsteps of the 765RS, launched last year. As per the RS, the 765R now comes with revised head cowl and the same LED headlight design.

    The 765 cc, three-cylinder power plant on the 765R is now Euro 5 compliant and produces 118 PS at 12,000 rpm with torque rated at 77 Nm at 9,400 rpm. This compares against the 123 PS at 11,750 rpm and 79 Nm of torque of the 765RS version with better engine response on the 765R coming from a 7% reduction in rotational inertia.

    Also part of the 765R’s standard equipment is an up-and-down quickshifter on the six-speed gearbox plus shift-assist clutch. Braking uses Brembo M4.32 four-piston callipers clamping 310 mm floating discs on the front wheel and a single-piston Brembo calliper at the back with two-channel ABS as standard.

    While the 765RS gets Showa BPF full-adjustable forks, the 765 R comes with 41 mm upside-down Showa SF-BPF forks with compression and rebound adjustment in separate legs. As for the monoshock, the 765R uses a Showa unit with adjustable compression and rebound damping and preload.

    Inside the cockpit, the 765R uses a combination monochrome LCD display with analogue tachometer and ride-by-wire gives three ride modes – Sport, Road and Rain – along with traction control. Along with the standard fitment Pirelli Rosso III tyres, the 765R also comes with low ride height option the brings seat height down to 780 mm from the standard 825 mm.

    Dry weight is claimed to be 168.4 kg, versus the 166 kg dry weight of the 765RS and fuel is carried in a 17.4-litre tank. There are two colour options for the 2020 Triumph Street Triple 765R – Sapphire Black and Matt Silver Ice. In Malaysia, the 2020 Triumph Street Triple 765RS retails for RM67,900.


Latest Fuel Prices

RON 95 RM2.06 (+0.02)
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VPR RM3.50
EURO 2M RM2.14 (+0.06)
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Last Updated 15 Feb 2020