“Many people came to support me… I almost cried”

2024 was always going to be a season to remember but already, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has showcased a mega opening three rounds and nine races. At Assen, we had a second maiden winner of the season in extraordinary circumstances, a new Championship leader and huge passion from the fans, making this week’s hot headlines echt pittig from the Netherlands.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I almost cried! Many people come to support me… I felt the power so I needed to win this race to give them a present”

A massive Turkish following came to Assen to support Toprak Razgatlioglu, who was nearly moved to tears when he gave them a win in Race 2: “Everyone started to sing ‘Toprak, Toprak’ and I almost cried; many people come to support me and not just from Turkey but from all of Europe. The Turkish guys come and it’s family but it’s really important because I feel the power, so I needed to win this race to give them a present. I was just fighting for this. After the race, I was almost crying because of people shouting ‘Toprak’. Germany is close to Assen and a lot of people came from there; I’m happy for this and I think it’ll be bigger in the future. It’s good for the Championship too with everyone enjoying it. It’s been a very special weekend for me to win here and with BMW.”

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) “I think it’ll be a three-rider fight”

Talking about where Toprak is better compared to last year and where he’s weaker, Alvaro Bautista said: “Watching from the outside, Toprak was stronger on braking and entry to the corner last year, leaning with more confidence. This year, he brakes hard but on corner entry, it’s not the same; I don’t know if he hasn’t got the confidence or the bike doesn’t allow him to do it but for sure, on acceleration and top speed, he’s much better than last year. If he had the same top speed of last year with this bike, he’d be worse because in the flowing areas, he’s slower than last year. I think that Bulega, Toprak, myself – and other riders in some races – but I think the Championship will be between us. In all conditions, we’re strong so I think it’ll be a three-rider fight.”

Nicholas Spinelli (Barni Spark Racing Team): “The team made the decision… lucky with the red flag!”

Speaking after his epic race win on Saturday, Nicholas Spinelli was rather humble: “I’m very, very happy because on Friday, I tried the Superbike for the first time. It’s incredible with a lot of power! With my team, before the race, I asked them whether I should do slicks or intermediates. The team made the decision as I don’t have any experience but it was very good as in the first laps, it was raining in the first sector, so I could get a good gap. However, when the gap started coming down, I was thinking ‘when will the race finish?!’ but I was lucky with the red flag! Top ten would be a good result but this is better!”

Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) “What a f*****g idiot I am for leaving the door open to Alex…”

Despite a podium in the Tissot Superpole Race, Gardner was frustrated to wait a race extra for a maiden WorldSBK podium: “I said to my girlfriend before the weekend that if we’re going to get a podium, it’ll be here. I was a bit doubtful after yesterday and this morning… what a f*****g idiot I am for leaving the door open to Alex this morning! I as kicking myself big time… I managed to get it back on the box in the afternoon but I think the bike just works well here, I’ve been enjoying the track and the front end has felt good. Everything’s working, feeling good with the team and experience, putting it all together and that’s about it. Winning races in Moto2™ and the Championship, you expect yourself to be at the front anywhere you go. It’s not that easy to come from a completely different Championship with a completely different concept and go fast on a completely different bike. More than anything, what’s been hard has been understanding the tyres and what tyres work when. If I didn’t have the experience, I would have gone for the SC0 perhaps.”

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “Every time I get a podium, it’s a surprise”

Nicolo Bulega maintained a bright mindset with P8: “Every time I get a podium, it’s a surprise. It’s difficult to get to a new track without testing, bad weather and be first for almost the full Superpole Race and stay in the front group in Race 2. We have to take the positives from this weekend; I know I won in Australia and in Barcelona, I did a good weekend with two podiums and here it seems it’s not very good. However, it’s been a difficult month with the operation and I wasn’t able to train like always. Assen is a difficult track physically too, so I take the positives and try again at Misano.”

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven): “We received support from Ducati but I need more”

Without a prior test for the first time in his WorldSBK career, Assen’s tricky weather didn’t help Andrea Iannone’s title charge, whereas he also called for more support from Ducati: “With one practice in normal conditions, we’d have arrived on the podium because we learnt. It was a complete disaster in the Tissot Superpole Race, the tyres went immediately and I finished without rubber; I arrived on ice! In the end, we recovered and it’s a great point to start at the end of Race 2. I think we can win but we need to work; we need to test and work. I don’t have the bike at 100%, especially on the electronics side. For this, I think to win and always get the podium, we need to work and improve my feeling. At Misano and Cremona, we’ll try to work a little bit more. We received a bit of support from Ducati but I need more. Well go to the test to try and improve but I hope I can have a little bit more support. I spoke with Gigi, Marco and everybody and they all support me but it’s the last details, it’s different. I felt like we can win. I need that everything is perfect and I push for that. It’s possible, we have a chance to win and I want to achieve.”

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “It was a mistake trying to pass”

Talking about the crash with ex-teammate Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes held his hands up: “Jonny was doing the opposite to me in terms of he had a good start and was coming back whereas I struggled and went back at the beginning before coming back into it later on. Our bike’s been working great but it’s not the easiest to pass people on as we haven’t got the best acceleration. I got a really good run off the last corner compared to Jonny and broke later to try and pass him. Turn 1 was the best chance to pass but it’s easy for both to go wide or I go wide and then the other rider passes you back. So I tried to stop the bike a bit more at the apex so not allow him back through but as it got tighter, I crashed, all by myself but because I was passing him, where could he go? So, he hit me as he had nowhere to go; I didn’t smash into him or anything like that. It would’ve been another good chance for a solid performance but it was a mistake trying to pass.”

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha): “I expected to be more competitive”

A weekend with a first Yamaha pole, Jonathan Rea wanted more in the races: “Certainly, I expected to be much more competitive but a sixth and a fifth, I got taken out in the last race but it’s racing. What really sucks is that we’ve got four days testing planned but due to the resting restrictions, I can’t use all the days and we have to be clever with how we budget that too. I need time on the bike, the crew and the crew needs time to understand. We need to make steps forward with the bike in all areas; a chassis point of view, electronics and step by step, understand each other more. At Assen, I understood the feeling but riding the R1 round here, it’s really nice but like a completely different track. Different gear patterns at different corners but as you could see with ‘Loka’ and Remy, they did a really good job, so I just need to find that last bit of being competitive. To be competitive and win, I think we need to make a step as a team, manufacturer and a rider myself, everyone has to take responsibility for that. When you see how serious manufacturers are taking World Superbike, I feel like we need to take that next step now.”

YOU CAN’T MISS THIS SEASON! Enjoy the new era of WorldSBK with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

“My fault, I’ve apologised to him… Don’t need to be kicked when you’re down” – Lowes, Rea on Race 2 clash

Sunday at the TT Circuit Assen was a mixed bag for Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with another MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rostrum added to his collection in the Tissot Superpole Race before a crash with Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) in Race 2 ended his race and dropped his former teammate down the order and out of the points-paying positions. It was Lowes’ first retirement of the season after he’d enjoyed a strong start including at the Pirelli Dutch Round.

STARTING ON A HIGH: third place in the Superpole Race

Lowes started the Superpole Race from fifth on the grid but was soon in the podium fight. He started the final lap in fourth place, behind Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), but ended it in third. He passed the #87 at the final chicane to claim his third rostrum of the season and start his Sunday in style, pulling off the typical Assen overtake.

Reflecting on the podium, Lowes said: “We used the SCQ tyre and obviously there wasn’t much dry track time this weekend. I felt great at the start, I was able to make some passes and the speed on the bike was good. Like everybody, I think the tyre didn’t quite last. I was having a good battle with Jonathan, and I just managed to look after the tyre enough to do the famous Assen last corner attack on Remy. It was nice to be back on the podium and a solid way to start the day. I think he expected me to not be there, he passed me quite easily a couple of laps before. He opened the corner right up and it would’ve been rude not to have a go!”

FINISHING IN THE GRAVEL: a collision with Rea ends their hopes

After securing a front-row start for Race 2, Lowes was hoping to utilise that for another podium. With rain starting to fall in the early stages of the race, it provided another layer of complexity to the battle, and Lowes was close to the podium fight. However, he came down at Turn 1 after a crash with Rea, with the #22 forced to retire while his former teammate was able to continue albeit well out of the points, finishing in 19th.

Explaining what happened at Turn 1, Lowes said: “It wasn’t really an incident for him. I crashed up the inside trying to pass him. I could see he was dropping from the group a little bit and I struggled at the start on the SCX tyre, I couldn’t really get it going, but after three or four laps I felt strong, and I was going forward. I tried to pass into Turn 1. It’s a corner that really tightens up if you’re not careful you run wide, you can take both riders wide or leave the door open for the guy to pass back. I was trying to squeeze the brake a bit to make the apex. I crashed by myself and obviously, because I was in a position where I was trying to make the pass, he had nowhere to go. Nothing for him, my fault, I’ve apologised to him. He’s a good friend of mine. It was a mistake from me. I crashed and he had nowhere to go, sorry to him.”

REA’S VIEW: “Frustrated because you don’t need to be kicked when you’re down”

Six-time Champion Rea also gave his view, saying: “I was off the group. I lost the tow from Iannone, then Alex tried to make a pass at Turn 1. He stuck the pass, to be fair, but unfortunately for him he tucked the front right on the apex and I was just there so his bike collected mine. Down I went. I’m frustrated because you don’t need to be kicked when you’re down. It just feels like it’s hard to catch a break, but we can take some positives from the weekend.”

© Photos by Thomas Seidenglanz

Watch more thrilling WorldSBK action throughout 2024 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
Arai XD-5 helmet in the Discovery Blue graphic. (Action photos by Align Media)

My how time flies! It’s been 30 years since Arai launched its DS (dual-sport) helmet, which had a chinbar like a dirtbike helmet, a clear faceshield, and the round shell Arai is known for. When the first Arai XD arrived in 2004, it had the sun-blocking peak visor that has since been a signature feature of the dual-sport/adventure helmet.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
New features on the Arai XD-5 include a more aerodynamic peak and a rear spoiler.

Arai’s XD-4 made its debut in 2012, and it has been a popular choice among ADV riders ever since. With a steadfast adherence to its “glancing off” philosophy, whereby the spherical shape of its helmets helps redirect impact energy, as well as its “priority for protection” prime directive, Arai does not release new helmets often nor does it chase fads. It’s been a long wait, but the new XD-5 is finally here.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
The Arai XD-5 has a PB-cLc2 fiberglass shell with a super-fiber belt along the forehead.

The XD-5 begins with a Peripherally Belted Complex Laminate Construction (PB-cLc2) fiberglass shell, which has a super-fiber belt along the forehead to reinforce the area above the eyeport. The XD-5’s shell flares out an extra 5mm around the opening to make the helmet easier to slide on and off.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
The Arai XD-5 has a new toolless shield/peak attachment and removal system.

The XD-5 has the latest version of Arai’s variable-axis faceshield system and the Pinlock-ready VAS-A, which maximizes surface area to improve its ability to glance off objects. Above the forehead is a new logo vent that was adapted from the Contour-X and enhances ventilation in a critical area. Also, the XD-5’s chin vent is twice as large as the XD-4’s, bringing much more air to the rider’s face. All vents on the XD-5 are adjustable, but the faceshield no longer has integrated vents.

Related: Arai Contour-X Helmet Review

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
The Arai XD-5 in the off-road configuration (peak on, faceshield off for use with goggles).

On the XD-4, removing the peak visor and faceshield required the removal of four plastic screws, two on each side. The XD-5 simplifies the process with a new toolless visor/shield attachment system, which makes it easy to switch between three configurations: adventure (visor on, shield on); off-road (visor on, shield off for use with goggles); and road (visor off, shield on). The peak visor, which is rounder in front and has less overall surface area, can also be adjusted up or down on the fly.

See all of Rider‘s helmet reviews here.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
The Arai XD-5 in the adventure configuration (peak on, faceshield on).

Inside the helmet is a one-piece, multi-density EPS liner and a removable, washable comfort liner with adjustable pads at the cheeks, temples, and rear of the head. The cheek pads, which have an emergency-release design, have a new hook-and-loop fastener piece to facilitate easier installation of headset speakers in the ear pocket. There’s also a wire pocket in the neck roll.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
The Arai XD-5 in the road configuration (peak off, faceshield on).

For everyday use, the factors that matter most are comfort, weight, and ease of use. My initial test of the XD-5 was two full days of street and off-road riding. As with other Arai helmets I’ve worn, comfort was good right away with no hot spots. The XD-5 has an intermediate oval interior head shape, which suits my noggin just fine, and the helmet is secured with a tried-and-true double D-ring chin strap.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
The Arai XD-5 is more aerodynamic than the XD-4.

At 3 lb, 13 ounces for the size Medium I tested, the XD-5 isn’t the lightest ADV helmet on the market, but its average weight didn’t cause any fatigue. What was immediately noticeable was how much more aerodynamic the XD-5 feels thanks to its smaller, reshaped visor peak and new rear spoiler. There is much less buffeting, and the helmet slices through the air more cleanly when looking left or right at speed.

Arai XD-5 Helmet Review
Thad Wolff gives the Arai XD-5 a thumbs up.

Overall, an already impressive premium ADV helmet has been made even better. The Arai XD-5 is available in XS-XXL in solid colors for $839.95-$859.95 and graphics for $949.95.

The post Arai XD-5 Helmet Review appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801 Preview

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801
2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

Since Husqvarna’s motorcycle division was acquired by KTM in 2013, the brand has produced some interesting-looking streetbikes with KTM components under the model names of Vitpilen (“white arrow” in Swedish) and Svartpilen (“black arrow”), both in 401 and 701 sizes. For 2024, the Husqvarna 801 Svartpilen naked bike upgrades the lineup with a 799cc parallel-Twin, a new frame, performance components, and new rider aids and technology.

Related: Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 | Road Test Review

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

The 401 and 701 models have used KTM engines, and that remains the case with the Svartpilen 801, which is powered by the liquid-cooled 799cc parallel-Twin LC8c with DOHC also found in the KTM 790 Duke and 790 Adventure. It has a bore of 88mm, a stroke of 65.6mm, and a compression ratio of 12.5:1, and Husqvarna claims the engine weighs only 114.6 lb without oil, contributing to the bike’s dry weight of just 399 lb. Also included are throttle-by-wire, a PASC slipper clutch, and an Easy Shift quickshifter, which can be deactivated. 

Related: 2024 KTM 790 Adventure Review | First Look 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

The tubular chromium-molybdenum steel frame uses the engine as a stressed member to reduce weight and allow a lower seat height (32.2 in.), and the subframe is cast from aluminum with integrated air intakes located under the seat. Wheelbase is just 54.6 inches. 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

The WP APEX 43mm inverted fork offers 5.5 inches of travel and is adjustable for compression and rebound via easy-access five-step click dials located on top of the fork tube. In the rear, a WP APEX shock absorber provides 5.9 inches of travel and is adjustable for rebound and preload. 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

Braking is provided by J.Juan. Up front are dual 300mm discs paired with 4-piston, radially-mounted calipers, and in the rear is a 240mm disc with a 2-piston floating caliper. Bosch ABS comes as standard. The bike rides on 17-inch cast alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli MT60 RS tires in 120/70-17 front and 180/55-17 rear sizes. 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

All these components are fitted into a scrambler-styled package with slim bodywork. A key design feature of the Svartpilen is the “split” that separates the frame and subframe, contributing to the bike’s unique appearance. Another interesting design feature is a light ring around the headlight, and all lighting is LED. The two-piece seat is narrow in the front to provide easy ground access, and the 3.7-gallon fuel tank has a stylized cover.  

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

Standard equipment on the Husqvarna Svartpilen 801 includes the Easy Shift quickshifter, Bosch cornering ABS with Supermoto ABS Mode, cornering traction control, and three ride modes (Street, Sport, and Rain). Optional rider aids include a user-customizable Dynamic mode, an anti-wheelie mode with five levels, motor slip regulation, and cruise control. 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

Instrumentation includes a 5-inch TFT display, which automatically adapts to changes in environmental light. The TFT’s configuration can be rearranged for rider preference, and all ride modes and ABS settings are visible on the screen. The display also connects to the Ride Husqvarna Motorcycles app to access turn-by-turn navigation and phone and music functions. A USB-C charging port is also included. 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

The 2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801 has an MSRP of $10,899, and bikes will begin to arrive at dealers in April. 

For more information, visit the Husqvarna website

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide. 

The post 2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801 Preview appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 Kawasaki Z500 Review | Video

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
The Z500’s ergonomics allow for both upright riding when wanted and a somewhat tucked-in stance for sportier riding.

The 2024 Kawasaki Z500 is upgraded from the Z400 with a larger-displacement engine, sharper styling, new technology, a new seat shape, and more upgrades. The naked bike is now powered by a 451cc parallel-Twin with a claimed max 51 hp and 31.7 lb-ft of torque. It has a trellis frame and features a short-wheelbase/long-swingarm configuration, and it’s light weight at 366 lb for the standard and 370 lb for the SE version.

We got the chance to test the Kawasaki Z500 in and around San Diego and came away impressed with the bike’s nimble handling, extra torque, and comfortable ergonomics. Watch the video below to see the 2024 Kawasaki Z500 in action, and read our full review here.

2024 Kawasaki Z500 (SE) Specifications 

  • Base Price: $5,599 ($6,299) 
  • Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
  • Website: Kawasaki.com 
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOCH w/ 4 valves per cyl. 
  • Displacement: 451cc 
  • Bore x Stroke: 70.0 x 58.6mm 
  • Horsepower: 51.0 hp @ 10,000 rpm (factory claim) 
  • Torque: 31.7 lb-ft @ 7,500 rpm (factory claim) 
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch 
  • Final Drive: Chain 
  • Wheelbase: 54.1 in. 
  • Rake/Trail: 24.5 degrees/3.6 in. 
  • Seat Height: 30.9 in. 
  • Wet Weight: 366 lb (370 lb) 
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal. 

Gear Up

The post 2024 Kawasaki Z500 Review | Video appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2025 Indian Scout Review | First Ride

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Indian Scout gets a major revamp for the 2025 model year. Five models are available, including the Scout Bobber pictured here, with prices starting at $12,999. Photos courtesy Indian Motorcycle.

The Scout is incredibly important to Indian Motorcycle. It’s the brand’s top‑selling platform, with more than 110,000 sold since its 2015 debut. It comprises more than 40% of Indian’s total sales volume and more than 50% of its international sales. And, crucially, it’s the entry point for Indian, with 93% of Scout customers being new to the brand.  

So when Indian decided to give the Scout a full make‑over treatment, it wanted to avoid screwing up a successful formula. No surprise, then, that evolution of the Scout was a better approach than revolution. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Scout’s principal designer, Michael Song, sweating the details over a digital sketch.

“We needed to make sure we didn’t mess it up,” explained Ben Lindaman, product director for the Scout platform. “People love it, so that’s what made the development process challenging.”

That said, the Scout’s new frame goes far beyond evolution. The former cast‑aluminum frame was cast aside for a tubular‑steel design, similar to what was done to the Chief platform in 2021. Chassis geometry remains similar, with a 29‑degree rake, 4.8 inches of trail, and wheels spread 61.5 inches apart.

Related: West Coast Cruiser Motorcycle Battle: Harley-Davidson Low Rider S vs. Indian Sport Chief

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Ben Lindaman, product director for the Scout platform, peruses the clay model used in development. Lindaman was the project manager for the first‑generation Scout.

The Scout’s new frame, while seemingly backward in technology, provides a much cleaner chassis design than the bulkier aluminum structure that looked blocky and awkward in the area behind the front wheel. Surprisingly, Indian says the weight of the steel frame is similar to the former aluminum one. 

Ola Stenegard, Indian’s director of industrial design, explained the guiding principles of the Scout redesign: timeless; keep it simple and clean; customizing is key.

Stenegard noted how the “S” line from the steering neck to the frame’s downtubes was patterned after the original Scout, which debuted in 1920, as well as even earlier Indians. And by using a steel frame, the modification process for custom builders was simplified: “Customizing is the cornerstone of what we’re doing,” he said. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Most of what you need to know about the 101 Scout is found in its front end sourced from Indian’s FTR but with revised tuning. The dual‑disc Brembo brakes are in a different league from the other Scouts.

Some of the best design work is invisible. The subframe area below the seat remains aluminum, but it’s a new casting that now encloses most of the Scout’s electronics and supports the modular electrical system. This enables shorter wiring and prevents components from being scattered around the motorcycle, resulting in a cleaner overall appearance.

The subframe casting also ties together the chassis behind the engine for optimum rigidity, and it’s now common among all Scout models. So instead of model‑specific seat pans and bracketry, all Scout seats and fenders can be used across the platform, simplifying things for customers, dealers, and the aftermarket. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The inspiration for the new 101 Scout was the legendary 101 Scout from the 1920s.

Less revolutionary is the Scout’s rolling stock, with wheels, brakes, and suspension largely carried over from previous Scouts. Indian says the Scout’s 25.6‑inch seat height is the lowest in its class. Tank‑empty weights range from 522 lb (Bobber) to 571 lb (Super Scout). 

All five models are equipped with antilock brakes, full LED lighting, and self‑canceling turnsignals. Versions with analog gauges now include fuel level and fuel economy readouts. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Limited +Tech trim level includes Indian’s touchscreen TFT instrumentation. It’s equipped with Indian’s Ride Command system and offers configurable gauges, ride stats, turn‑by‑turn navigation, and optional Ride Command+ connected services.

To further expand customer choice, the Scout is available with different trim levels. The Limited package adds cruise control, traction control, selectable ride modes (Sport, Standard, and Tour), and a USB charging port for an extra $700. 

More features are included in the $1,700 Limited +Tech trim level, which adds keyless ignition and Indian’s 4‑inch round touchscreen TFT instrumentation. Thus equipped, riders can access navigation and additional ride info, plus it can be configured to view alternate layouts. It’s standard on the Super Scout and 101 Scout.

Indian Scout SpeedPlus 1250: Engine & Tonic

The Scout’s liquid‑cooled 60‑degree V‑Twin received a comprehensive overhaul. At first glance, the SpeedPlus 1250 appears to be just a simple overbore, punching out the cylinders from 99mm to 104mm and retaining its 73.6mm stroke to displace 1,250cc (76.3ci), up from the previous 1,133cc. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Meet the SpeedPlus, the 1,250cc V‑Twin providing the motivational force behind every new Scout. Pictured here is the 101 Scout, which is said to produce 111 hp and is highlighted by special badging. The louvers on the heat shielding over the headers are a tasteful touch.

However, there are myriad internal changes for the SpeedPlus – Indian says it’s at least 70% new. A fresh cylinder‑head design ups the compression ratio and contains bigger valves operated by new camshaft profiles. At the bottom end, the crankshaft is 5.8 lb lighter, contributing to the motor’s significant 10‑lb weight loss. Importantly for servicing access, the valve covers can now be removed without splitting the frame, and checking oil levels is made simpler with a new sight‑glass window.

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The left side of the engine shows a tight induction area, and Indian engineers admit there’s top‑end power on the table for anyone who dares to open it up. Just below the seamless fuel tank is the power button to activate the keyless ignition module.

The old 2‑into‑2 exhaust system has been ditched in favor of a single large muffler. It looks bulkier, but it’s designed to be much easier to replace with aftermarket systems. The bike’s catalytic converters are contained in the junction prior to the muffler, so a simple swap to a slip‑on exhaust retains clean emissions even if noise might exceed regulations. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Behind this cover is the Scout’s new slip/assist clutch, which reduces lever effort and allows the clutch to slip in the event of high‑rpm downshifts.

Horsepower has been boosted from 100 to 105 hp. More important to regular riding duties is the engine’s 14% torque bump, jumping from 72 to 82 lb‑ft. Torque reaches its peak at 6,300 rpm, while peak ponies arrive at 7,250 revs, long before the 8,500‑rpm rev limiter kicks in. The 101 Scout has special electronic tuning that nudges its peak output to 111 hp, a tune that other Scouts can get via a dealer reflash for $219.99. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Scout’s new 2‑into‑1 exhaust system is a sure sign you’re looking at a 2025 model.

Transmission duties are handled by a new slip/assist clutch that reduces lever effort and prevents rear‑wheel hopping during sloppy downshifts. The engine’s drive sprocket has its tooth count reduced by one, yielding slightly shorter overall gearing for punchier acceleration. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Advanced fluid dynamic testing allowed Indian to design a radiator 22% smaller to fit neatly between the frame rails yet retain the bike’s cooling capabilities.

Indian Scout Test Rides

Now it’s time for the fun part of motorcycle journalism – riding the new bikes! We set off on the Bobber, Classic, and Super Scouts for a trip through San Francisco and then south to oceanside Santa Cruz for an overnighter. 

Read all of Rider‘s Indian Motorcycle reviews here.

The next day, we took a return journey along twisty roads on the Sport Scout before a stop at the famous motorcycle hangout Alice’s Restaurant. After a quick lunch, we mounted up on the headliner of the platform, the 101 Scout, and tore up some more twisty roads before jumping on the freeway for our return to San Fran. 

Indian Scout Bobber: The Rebel

The Bobber looks imposing with its fat front tire, low handlebar, and blacked‑out trim, so it’s easy to see why it has been the Scout’s best‑selling model. Its appearance is augmented by short‑cropped fenders for an aggressive look, and its headlight is capped with a minimalistic nacelle. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Bobber cuts a dashing profile in the cut and thrust of the city. The low handlebar puts a rider in a gunfighter forward stance that will suit some but not all. Bar risers, available from Indian on other models, will bolt right on.

Our test bike was equipped with the Limited +Tech package, so no key was needed to fire it up. The 60‑degree V‑Twin sounds deep and authoritative, but it lacks the loping cadence of narrower vee angle motors like Indian’s Chief and most Harleys. 

The new slip/assist clutch in the Scouts is an impressive upgrade. Pulling in the lever is an action repeated hundreds of times during a ride, and the Scout’s requires only minimal effort. Additionally, its slipper function kept the rear wheel turning even when dumped at obscenely aggressive revs during downshifts. 

Once underway, the Bobber feels similar to the previous version, as its weight and geometry have barely changed, and its suspension, brakes, and tires haven’t at all. While I appreciate the butch look of the chunky Pirelli MT60RS tires, the tall sidewall of the 130/90‑16 front tire attenuates front‑end feedback. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Scout Bobber looks undeniably tough. Starting at $12,999, it’s great value for an American‑made cruiser.

The underslung bar‑end mirrors were out of eyeshot without looking downward, and they’re in danger of scuffing the fuel tank at full lock. Happily, they can be easily switched to locations above the handlebar by swapping sides. Either way, you’ll be looking at empty perches above the bars where mirrors are mounted on the Classic and Super Scouts. 

Riding through town didn’t allow for delving deep into the powerband, but the SpeedPlus impressed with its beefier reactions to small throttle inputs. The Scout now has the mid‑rpm juice to feel like it has even more than 76ci at its disposal. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Tackling Lombard Street in San Francisco, “the crookedest street in the world,” featuring eight hairpin turns on the steep one‑block section. It supposedly attracts 2 million visitors annually, but they all must go downhill on the one‑way road. We’re special.

The fuel‑injection tuning was mostly good, but some of our pre‑production bikes occasionally stalled while mired in traffic. Indian promises a more finely tuned EFI map in its production models. Otherwise, throttle response was excellent. 

The Bobber is a fun ride, but it comes up short – literally – in terms of rear‑suspension compliance. To achieve its low‑slung look, it is fitted with shocks that deliver just 2 inches of travel; every other Scout model has 3 inches of stroke. It’s true what some say: Even 1 inch can make a big difference in performance. 

Indian Scout Classic: The Traditional One

If you’re a rider who hasn’t yet warmed to dull colors and matte‑black trim, turn your head toward the Scout Classic. Instead of the Bobber’s tough‑looking colorways, the Classic responds with brighter paintwork and plenty of chrome accents. Full fenders – rather than bobbed ones – are gracefully old‑school. Prices start at $13,999.

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Scout Classic glistens with chrome finishes and bright colors. Also note its traditionally styled flowing fenders and perch‑mounted mirrors.

Both bikes use 16‑inch front and rear wheels, but the Scout Classic substitutes 40‑spoke wire wheels for the Bobber’s cast‑aluminum hoops. And rather than the dirt‑track‑inspired Dunlops on the Bobber, the Classic is fitted with Pirelli Night Dragon tires that proved to be more responsive and easier to steer. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Scout Classic I rode was fitted with a windshield and saddlebags from Indian’s accessory catalog.

I found the riding position of the Classic preferable over the more compact arrangement on the Bobber. Its bars are placed higher, which makes the bike slightly easier to steer and maneuver in tighter spaces at low speeds. 

The Scout Classic (and every other Scout) proved that 3 inches of travel is considerably better than the 2 inches on the Bobber. Meanwhile, the SpeedPlus drivetrain continued to impress, and for some reason, the engine never died on me like the Bobber’s. 

Indian Super Scout: The Versatile One

The Super Scout takes its inspiration from the Super Chief, as they’re both equipped with a windshield, saddlebags, and a passenger seat to make them suitable for two‑up travel. And on a warm day the windshield quickly detaches for wind‑in‑the‑face riding.  

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Super Scout looks like a traditional cruiser but can really scoot when prodded.

Like the Scout Classic, it has chrome finishes, longer fenders, a higher handlebar, and wire‑spoke wheels. And that appreciable extra inch. All that adds up to the heaviest Scout model, scaling in at 571 lb. Prices start at $16,499.

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Significant others will appreciate the passenger accommodations and the roomy saddlebags accessed with quick‑pull tabs. Indian says the previous Scout bags can fit inside these new ones.

The handlebar placement felt neutral to my hands, and the seat felt good to my…seat. Chrome mirrors on perches aren’t my style, but they kept my rearward view unobstructed. The Super Scout’s windshield produced more noise than the accessory shield fitted to the Scout Classic I rode. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Super Scout is a smaller‑scale version of the Super Chief and is suitable for light touring duties. It’s fitted with saddle-bags, a quick‑detach windshield, and a rear seat.

Like the Bobber, the Super rolls on the same chunky Pirelli MT60RS rubber, and again I didn’t warm to their duller responses as compared to the Night Dragons. Also feedback from the brakes was dull, the front in particular. While braided‑steel lines provide a firm lever, the Scout’s brakes are average at best.

Indian Sport Scout: Going Rogue

Remember the Scout Rogue introduced in 2022 (see our June issue), which was equipped with a quarter fairing, drop‑down mirrors, and a 19‑inch cast‑aluminum front wheel? Well, that formula can be found in the new Sport Scout, which reprises an Indian model name from the 1930s. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Sport Scout provides a terrific balance of style and sport. Note the side‑mounted license plate holder that cleans up the bike’s tail and neatly folds sideways for parking in tight confines.

This new model also receives different ergonomics. Machined triple‑clamps fitted with 6‑inch risers and a moto‑style handlebar put riders in an aggressive posture. A sport‑style seat has a taller rear section to keep riders aboard when accessing the strong power available from the SpeedPlus.

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Sport Scout is blacked‑out like the Bobber, resulting in a menacing appearance augmented by the Rogue‑like quarter fairing.

On the road, the engine and transmission feel well‑suited to the Sport Scout. Although down on ponies compared to the 121 hp of Harley‑Davidson’s RevMax in the Sportster S, the Indian motor generates more vibration and exhibits a character more in line with a cruiser. 

The Sport Scout’s best asset is the neutral steering feel provided by the 130/60‑19 Metzeler Cruisetech front tire. Going to a shorter‑profile tire enhances the feedback felt at the bars, and this arrangement was preferable over the chunky 16‑incher on some other Scouts. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Like the other Scouts, the 528‑lb Sport Scout retains its composure while leaned over in corners.


With prices starting at $13,499, the Sport Scout has the potential to topple the Bobber from the top of the sales charts – it would be my target if walking into an Indian dealership. Sure, its quarter fairing provides more style than wind protection, and I’d have to dig out extra dollars for the extra tech features I’d want to have, but it has the best capabilities‑per‑dollar ratio of any American motorcycle. 

Indian 101 Scout: A Legend Reborn

The 101 Scout is perhaps the most revered Indian motorcycle ever made, so reviving the historic nameplate wasn’t taken lightly. With a special tune claimed to deliver 111 hp, the result is the highest‑performing Scout to date. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
I found my happy place on a twisty road while riding the new 101 Scout. The Pathfinder LED headlight on the 101 leads the way.

In a nutshell, the 101 Scout is a Sport Scout with the front end of an Indian FTR bolted on. That not only brings the security of an inverted fork with a full range of adjustability, but also a front‑brake setup that shames the capabilities of the other Scouts. Instead of a single disc with a 2‑piston caliper, the 101 has dual 320mm discs bitten by a pair of 4‑piston Brembo radial‑mount calipers. The increase in power and feedback is astonishing. 

Like the Sport Scout, it has black 6‑inch risers with machined highlights and a moto‑style handlebar, providing purposefully aggressive ergonomics. Unlike other Scouts, the 101 has piggyback shocks that are adjustable for preload and rebound/compression damping. It also sets itself apart with a custom‑stitched gunfighter‑style solo seat and exclusive 101 Scout badging, paint, and graphics.

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The new 101 Scout is the fastest production Scout ever offered from the factory. It retails for $16,999, the exact price of Harley‑Davidson’s Sportster S.

I wish I could tell you that the 101’s engine tuning felt much more powerful compared to its lesser siblings, but the difference is felt only at the top of the rev range, a zone rarely accessed on public roads. I couldn’t tell the difference when riding at casual revs. 

There is a more notable improvement with the 101’s suspension, especially at the rear end. The fully adjustable shocks provided extra control, and bump absorption got even better after I dialed up their rebound damping via the hand‑adjustable clickers. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
Rear suspension is provided by ZF shocks with gold-anodized piggyback reservoirs that are topped by hand‑adjustable compression‑damping adjusters. Rebound damping is adjusted via a knurled knob at the bottom end of the springs.

The only negative to the 101 Scout is that the extra brake caliper and rotor adds weight to the front wheel, causing the bike to steer slower than its brethren and feel slightly less agile. I believe a single‑rotor Brembo setup would provide significantly improved braking performance relative to the other Scouts, but Indian contends that customers for a bike like this demand dual discs. 

Indian’s goal with the 101 Scout was to reset the bar for American V‑Twin cruisers, and it succeeded. It offers more performance than any production Scout, and it does so with unrivaled capability and style. 

Talent Scout

If you’re gonna proudly yell “Made in America” when buying a mid‑size cruiser, your choices are limited. Indian makes a solid case for itself with these new Scouts, and it intends to become the market‑share leader in the  segment. After riding the new Scouts, that seems likely.

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The Scout’s 3.4‑gallon fuel tank gets a makeover, featuring nicely sculpted surfacing and a new console. Note the spin‑off fuel cap that replaces the previous hinged design for an old‑school touch.

Harley‑Davidson’s 975cc Nightster has a starting price of $13,499, $500 more than the Scout Bobber. But with 91 hp and 72 lb‑ft of torque, it’s significantly down on power. The MoCo’s Sportster S has 10 extra horses over the 101 Scout and is priced identically, but its 2 inches of rear suspension travel comes up short – there’s that extra inch again. 

2025 Indian Scout First Ride Review
The revamped Scout lineup features an all‑new frame and a comprehensively revised engine.

The new Scouts improve on the previous admirable Scouts in every important aspect: performance, style, execution, and desirability. Lindaman, the Scout’s product director, said this redesign should extend the Scout platform for another 10‑year run. 

Somewhere along the line I’d like to see a cheaper version of the 101 Scout with a single‑disc Brembo brake setup and a pair of shocks with 4 inches of travel, which I was told would fit without further modifications. Until then, I’d be thrilled with a (very) long‑term 101 Scout loaner.

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

2025 Indian Scout Specs

  • Base Price: $12,999 (Bobber); $13,499 (Sport Scout); $13,999 (Classic); $16,499 (Super Scout); $16,999 (101 Scout)
  • Website: IndianMotorcycle.com
  • Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse V-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
  • Displacement: 1,250cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 104 x 73.6mm
  • Horsepower: 105 hp (111 hp on 101 Scout) @ 7,250 rpm (factory claim)
  • Torque: 82 lb-ft @ 6,300 rpm (factory claim)
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
  • Final Drive: Belt
  • Wheelbase: 61.5 in.
  • Rake/Trail: 29 degrees/4.8 in.
  • Seat Height: 25.6 in.
  • Wet Weight: 542 lb (Bobber); 548 lb (Sport Scout); 549 lb (101 Scout); 555 lb (Scout Classic); 589 lb (Super Scout)
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gal.

The post 2025 Indian Scout Review | First Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Brilliant Nativi takes first win of season in Assen, rookie Kitzbichler victorious in Race 2

Alongside the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the legendary TT Circuit Assen was the Northern Talent Cup, as the Cup launched its 2024 campaign in style. It was as dramatic as you’d expect at the incredible circuit combined with ever-changing weather conditions, with Antoine Nativi (Racing Nativi Team) taking the Race 1 victory and Tobias Kitzbichler (Racingteam Kitzbichler) winning Race 2.

RACE 1: Nativi storms to opening win of 2024

Antoine Nativi (Racing Nativi Team) won the first Northern Talent Cup race of the weekend in Assen, his maiden victory in the category. The Frenchman was fastest ahead of polesitter Thias Wenzel (Kiefer Racing) and local hero Jurrien van Crugten (BB64 Academy) in the wet race interrupted by a red flag.

The NTC grid were all on wet tyres, but without Kyano Schoo (KS-Racing) and Delano Greven (DG Motorsport), both Dutchmen having failed to meet the minimum qualifying time, so it was just 22 drivers who started the thirteen-lap race.

Fast as lightning off the line, Thias Wenzel opened a gap immediately ahead of teammate Binder (Kiefer Racing) and Kitzbichler (Racingteam Kitzbichler) behind. On lap 3, Anakin Zelenak (Mass Sports Racing by JRP Motorsport), having made up six positions, crashed out of third place. Rider OK. With seven laps to go, Van Crugten was up to second behind Wenzel, but with a three-second gap to the leader.  Just as it looked like Van Crugten might make a push for the lead, Irmscher (Racingteam Irmscher) crashed out of eighth and the race was red-flagged. Rider OK.

On the restart of five laps, it was Wenzel and Binder with good starts off the line, with the Swiss taking the holeshot. The teammates battled it out until the German asserted his place at the front, though he couldn’t make a gap to the rest of the field. Van Crugten, who got a terrible start that saw him outside the top ten had risen through the field quickly and within a few laps was on the back wheel of the race leader.

On the last lap, a fierce four-rider battle raged behind between Nativi, Van Crugten, Phommara and Wenzel. In the final sector, Phommara went with an audacious move around the outside of Van Crugten and Nativi that almost saw him take the lead into the final chicane. It wasn’t to be though, as Nativi held his line and in a close finish took the chequered flag ahead of Van Crugten, Wenzel & Phommara. Van Crugten was adjudged to have exceeded the track limits on the last lap at Turn 17, following contact with Phommara (Phommara-Racing), so Wenzel was classified second and Van Crugten had to settle for third, and the final podium place.

Phommara, Kitzbichler and Binder completed the top six in this five-lap race. Local rider Tom Kuil (Zelda People Racing) finished 11th in the first race of the weekend.

RACE 2: rookie Kitzbichler shines in the Netherlands

Race 2 was won by Tobias Kitzbichler (Racingteam Kitzbichler) in stunning fashion, having led from the first lap until the end unchallenged. The Austrian crossed the finish line first after fourteen laps at the TT Circuit Assen, ahead of Dutchman Van Crugten (BB64 Academy) and Frenchman Nativi (Nativi Racing Team).

With the same grid as Race 1, in similar conditions, and with each rider that much more experience on the new Honda and in the tricky weather, the stage was set for an exciting rematch. The two Kiefer Racing teammates Wenzel and Binder made great starts and seemed to yet again establish themselves at the front of the race. Would it be a repeat of Race 1? Not exactly. On lap 1 the Kiefer teammates were left in the dust of a charging Kitzbichler who roared past and disappeared into the distance, 1 second a lap faster than his nearest rival for the first 10 laps.

Behind the Austrian, and with 10 laps to go, a battle for second place was shaping up between Van Crugten, Antoine Nativi and Ferre Fleerackers (Junior Black Knights). The Dutchman, struggling with the clutch at the start, had dropped as low as 21st, but like a rocket ship, he weaved his way through the field so that within five laps he had already joined the group fighting for second place.

In the end it was Van Crugten who came out on top of the compelling battle for second place. He finished just over six seconds behind Kitzbichler, but just ahead of Nativi and Fleerackers. Behind this trio, though at some distance, and completing the top seven, were Binder (Kiefer Racing) in fifth, Phommara (Phommara-Racing) in sixth and polesitter Wenzel (Kiefer Racing) in seventh place.

At the end of a successful first weekend for the NTC Frenchman Antoine Nativi sits atop the standings with 41 points ahead of Kitzbichler & Van Crugten, tied for second with 36 points each.

The Northern Talent Cup now looks forward to Round 2 at the Sachsenring in just under two weeks.

Source: WorldSBK.com

“We want and need to try to fight for victories” – Iannone happy after P4 but still aiming higher

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) continued to shine in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, even if the sun didn’t too much at the TT Circuit Assen. Fourth place in Race 2 was the highlight for ‘The Maniac’ during the Pirelli Dutch Round but his pace when the rain started to come down during that race was phenomenal, as the Italian hauled himself up the order to fight for the podium places.

With conditions all weekend inconsistent, even during races, it was hard for riders and teams to understand setups and tyres as they would have in a completely dry or completely wet weekend. Iannone’s Tissot Superpole result on Saturday was P9 – just over a second off the pace – with this his first visit to Assen in WorldSBK, and no prior testing at the venue unlike Phillip Island and Barcelona. Iannone showed strong pace in Race 1 before a Turn 3 crash forced him out of the race.

On Sunday, with the skies a little brighter for WorldSBK despite some rain hanging in the air, Iannone dropped to P15 in the Superpole Race before fighting back in Race 2. As he dropped outside of the top nine in Sunday morning’s race, he started from 11th with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) taking tenth after he also fell out of the top nine. However, in mixed conditions as the rain fell in the second part of the race, Iannone surged through the field to claim fourth place.

Reflecting on his weekend, Iannone said: “It was a really strange weekend because the weather was crazy! In any case, we tried our best. On Saturday, we made a mistake unfortunately because we had really good potential. I thought we were better than Sunday. Saturday was important for Sunday because we learnt. I think we closed the round in a good way with a good feeling. In the Superpole Race, I destroyed the tyres immediately on the first lap, so in the second race we finished well and fought for the podium and victory. We are competing with the factory teams, this is good. We achieved a great result.”

The WorldSBK rookie was also asked about his feeling in the wet but drying track conditions, or when a small amount of rain was falling, with Iannone happy with how he performed in the challenging conditions despite still learning on his Panigale V4 R. He said: “My feeling was good, also on Saturday, with the half and half conditions, so the feeling with the bike is really good. Sometimes we feel a bit more inexperienced because we don’t have data like everybody, it’s my first year in WorldSBK and everything is new. We’re learning every day. We want and need to try to fight for victories. In the end, it’s important we always remember that this is my first year.”

Watch all the WorldSBK action throughout 2024 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

950 RACES OF WorldSBK: history, battles, emotions and a new era that keeps on giving

950 races, which therefore means 950 stories, battles, winning celebrations and magical moments, coupled for some with ‘what could have been’, disappointment and dejection. Race 2 marked a big moment in the history of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, with the 950th race being an absolute belter from start to finish at the TT Circuit Assen. In this feature, we’ll break down the eras in a different way, with particular focus on the modern era and the current generation of riders. 

BACK TO THE START: those early beginnings

Fred Merkel, Raymond Roche and Doug Polen were early dominators of the Championship, clinching the first five titles between them as WorldSBK found its feet in the world of motorsport. This new attractive brand of racing went across the world from the UK to New Zealand, Canada to Australia and everywhere in between. Come the end of this five-year period, one rider emerged onto the scene and a new era was about to begin with Carl Fogarty.

AFTER 100 RACES: the ‘Foggy’ era begins

Carl Fogarty became a poster boy not just for World Superbike but for motorcycle racing; one of Ducati’s first legends and one of Britain’s biggest sporting names, the Englishman packed out grandstands, raced harder than anyone before him and had some of the spiciest rivalries in the sport’s history, such as with Aaron Slight, John Kocinski and Pierfrancesco Chili, to name all but a few. The first ‘Golden Era’ of World Superbike, Fogarty took four titles with Ducati in 1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999, whilst the likes of Corser and Kocinski stopped him in 1996 and 1997 respectively. By the end of 90s, WorldSBK was nearing to 300 races with it being some of the purest motorsport around but new breed was coming at the turn of the millennium. 

PROJECT 2000: the start of new era

Whilst Colin Edwards, Noriyuki Haga, Corser, Chili and the like had been around for a while, the 2000 season saw them all go head-to-head for the title on new bikes and a new sound of Superbike. Troy Bayliss was the new kid on the block though and ripped up the form guide as soon as he landed full-time to replace Fogarty, who’s career ended after a crash in Australia. Bayliss’ addition to the Championship would form one of the great rivalries of all time with Edwards, with them duking it out in style, building to the crescendo of Imola and 2002 – one of the Championship’s most famous races. In this period, Neil Hodgson found a second wind and would go onto become 2003 Champion, whereas James Toseland became the youngest ever to be crowned in 2004. Troy Corser was back to his best as huge manufacturer support returned in 2005, picking up the title with Suzuki. After a spell in MotoGP™, Bayliss was back and took the title in 2006, Toseland doubled up – for Ten Kate Racing – with the title in 2007, whilst Bayliss took a third and final title in 2008, retiring. 

NEW LOOK: Spies, Biaggi, Checa, Sykes and Rea

2009 was a huge generational change for WorldSBK; Ben Spies came in as a rookie to Yamaha and with his own crew chief from America – Tom Houseworth – denied Haga the elusive first title in a classic year. A year later and it was Max Biaggi and Aprilia who once again ruled the world before Carlos Checa came good in 2011. ‘Roman Emperor’ Biaggi clinched 2012 by just half a point from Tom Sykes, who in-turn would go on and win in 2013 and finish runner-up to Sylvain Guintoli in a tense 2014 battle. However, the era of Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki loomed large form 2015 onwards, as he wrapped up title after title and won battle after battle against Chaz Davies and Ducati. A fourth title in 2018 saw him be the first since ‘Foggy’ to do so, albeit this time, it was consecutive. He also set a new win tally record but things were about to get different from 2019 onwards. 

A TRUE NEW ERA BEGINS: WorldSBK current ‘Golden Era’

In 2019, MotoGP™ star Alvaro Bautista joined the WorldSBK family and the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team; he won the first 11 races and was looking on course to take the title before a series of crashes and an injury saw him reeled back in by Rea who took a fifth title. The Ulsterman took that title at Magny-Cours, where another star really emerged: Toprak Razgatlioglu. Already a STK600 Champion and WorldSBK podium finisher, Razgatlioglu won an epic last lap battle in both Race 1 (WorldSBK’s 800th race) and the Superpole Race – new since 2019 – to win from 16th on the grid. A monster had been unleashed and Toprak was soon on his way to Yamaha where the gloves really would come off.

Winning his first race for the Japanese manufacturer in Australia and Race 1 at Phillip Island in 2020, Toprak wouldn’t mount a title charge as he adapted to the bike but was back on-song for the end of the year. After parting ways with Ducati, Alvaro Bautista struggled at Honda, whereas Scott Redding replaced him at Ducati and took the title fight until the last round, ultimately being beaten by Rea and Kawasaki, who took a sixth title – and last – together. 2021 however, was different, with Toprak and Yamaha re-writing what was possible in terms of battling. An emotional showdown in Indonesia saw the Turkish rider crowned for the first time after a season-long fight with Rea, who saw his streak ended. One of WorldSBK’s greatest seasons and fiercest rivalries, who knew what was to come.

TITANIC TRIO ERA BEGINS: the greatest three-way rivalry ever

Alvaro Bautista back at Ducati, Razgatlioglu and Rea staying at Yamaha and Kawasaki respectively, we were in for a proper treat. All three knocked spots off each other like we’d never seen before, with Estoril in 2022 being a particular highlight of ruthless fighting and ‘never say never’ racing. Hitting the 900th race in Race 1 at Mandalika, Razgatlioglu won again to keep his title hopes alive but it was Bautista who was crowned Champion at long last in Race 2, 16 years after his first title in the 125cc Championship. 2023 and Bautista wore the #1 plate and successfully defended against Razgatlioglu, with both battling harder than we’d ever seen before. MostPortimao and Jerez all pulling at the emotions of all as the two provided some of the best motorcycle racing ever seen in this Championship and beyond. At the close of 2023, it was all change to halt Bautista. 

2024’s NEW ERA: new rules, new look, new line-up, new stars

With weight rules coming to balance performance, Toprak making a bold switch to BMW and Rea, after an unprecedented amount of success with Kawasaki, swapping to Yamaha, 2024 was always going to be spectacular. Add into the mix the return of Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven), the graduation of Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and the addition of Sam Lowes and the ELF Marc VDS Racing Team), it was impossible to see how it could play out. So far, we’ve had five different winners, eight different riders on the podium, three last lap battles for victory, new race winners and a return to the top for BMW – and we’ve only had three rounds and nine races. WorldSBK is off the charts in 2024 with some of the most emotional stories, hardest racing and craziest finishes we’ve ever seen. Six points split Championship leader Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, with rookie Nicolo Bulega in third. We’re in for a truly unmissable grandstand finish. 

Watch Assen from wherever you are and whenever you want with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

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