Is this our next MotoGP champion?

Fresh-faced teenager James Weaver has been chosen by computer data to compete in the 2022 Oceania Junior Cup (OJC), the official Road to MotoGP series for young Aussie road racers.

The 13-year-old NSW Central Coast rider was chosen via a world-first method developed by motoDNA whose Digital Academy technology is used to analyse and coach riders.

MotoDNA motoCHAMPION James Weaver

Riders from around the nation were invited by motoDNA last year to compete in the first motoCHAMPION competition for the coveted prize of a $10,000 fully sponsored ride in the 2022 OJC.

MotoDNA boss Mark McVeigh says the Cup runs alongside the Australian Superbike Championship.

“If James wins the Oceania Junior Cup he gets placement to the Asia Talent Cup, the next step to MotoGP,” he says.

James is a passionate rider/racer competing from the age of five and would like to race at the highest level, like his idol and fellow central coast rider Casey Stoner.

At the age of 11, James was selected for the Oceania Junior Cup and competed in the support class to the World Superbike at Phillip Island.

He was only 12 when he won the junior North Coast Road Racing Series.

Now he is the world’s first rider to be chosen to race via a data-driven digital championship developed by motoDNA and sponsored by Bendix brakes.

James being followed by his coach

Aussie racers from 11 years old took part in the motoCHAMPION competition at racetracks and go-kart circuits around Australia using bike-mounted GoPro cameras. 

Data from the GoPros and sensors on the bike allowed motoDNA to use their unique propriety algorithms to measure a rider’s skill level, rather than their lap time.

It meant racers could compete against even though they were on different tracks. 

The motoDNA algorithms measure and grade the riders enabling leaderboards to be created for any riding skill such as throttle, braking and steering. 

Throughout the competition the leaderboard changed back and forth between James, Cameron Swain and Hudson Thompson with James winning by a whisker from Cameron, the 2021 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Champ who is moving up a class for 2022. 

MotoDNA CEO Mark McVeigh says they have been supporting young Australian riders for more than 10 years and he wished James good luck in the 2022 OJC.

motoDNA Mark McVeigh Riders Briefing
Mark McVeigh at a motoDNA riders briefing

“Our team is also pleased with how our new digital platform performed technically,” he says. 

“If the riders all lined up to race each other at the same event they would finish in the same order. 

“That’s pretty cool and now positions motoDNA to expand to other series in Australia and overseas. We also learnt heaps, refining our algorithms performance and customer experience. “

The motoCHAMPION was launched in partnership with Motorcycling Australia, who develop riders through the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup (OJC) and the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK). 

Motorcycling Australia CEO Peter Doyle says the OJC Academy is designed to open a pathway into junior road racing and, through its development academy format, lift our youngest motorcycling talent through national competition and set them on a path to international success. 

“Developing and facilitating our next generation of riders is a key focus for Motorcycling Australia,” he says. 

“We’re excited to be a part of motoCHAMPION in partnership with motoDNA which provides riders with an additional tool in their tool kit to further develop their riding technique and skills.” 

Apart from James’s sponsored place in the OJC, the next four motoCHAMPION riders will earn an automatic place in the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup selection event where they will have the chance to qualify for the 2022 season. 

The motoCHAMPION event is sponsored by Bendix which is now taking its stopping expertise to the two-wheeled category says company GM George Kyriakopoulos. 

Motorcycle riders will gradually see Bendix brake product become available for their bikes in the Australian market and also see an increased presence of the Bendix brand in the two-wheeled scene. 


Five reasons to get excited for the Sepang Test

“Top of the list has to be the rookies. Anyone that knows me, knows I’ll always stick these guys at the top. Some people don’t get excited by rookies but I think they’re making a mistake. Rookies change the Championship, plain and simple, and we’ve got some really exciting ones being thrown into the mix this year. It’s the new blood injected into the Championship. For me, seeing how they make friends with their crew chief, seeing them on the bike, seeing their face light up is so special. I suppose I feel this way about the rookies because I know how life changing this opportunity is. It’s truly awesome.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

The GP22 is here as Ducati reveal factory livery!

Taking to their social media channels, Ducati unveiled the GP22 that is set to once again be a major title threat in the hands of Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller. The release comes on the opening day of the Sepang Shakedown Test, where Test Rider Michele Pirro is putting the new bike through its paces. There are few surprises in regard to the design, with the Borgo Panigale sticking with their iconic colours which are renowned the world over. The new-look bike will be in action over the course of the weekend in Sepang, while the factory Ducati’s Team Presentation is penciled in for Monday, February 7th at 16:00 CET.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Rookies and Test Riders complete Sepang Shakedown Day 1

Ducati’s trusty Test Rider Michele Pirro was riding the GP22, which was sporting the long exhaust we saw at the tests last year. The other exhaust, that comes out by the side of the ‘salad box’, has been shortened. The Italian was continuing work on the aero package we saw at the Jerez Test too.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Pramac Racing prepare for new era with 2022 launch

In his debut premier class season, Martin claimed four pole positions, three podium finishes and one victory, which helped him take the Rookie of the Year crown. The Spaniard became just the fifth rookie to claim a race win in the MotoGP™ era after Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. Entering into his sophomore season, the number 89 will be expected to improve upon his ninth-place finish from 2021.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Quad Lock just got better-er!

Aussie-designed Quad Lock to securely hold your hone on your motorcycle has just got even better-er!

It now comes in a Pro model which is made of hardier black anodised CNC machined aluminium.

This should make it even more durable than the already tough glass-filled nylon unit I have been using for several years now.

The Pro handlebar or fork-stem models are not only tougher, but also more handsome with the blue quick-release tab replaced by a black tab.

Quad Lock fork stem m mount

Even the stainless steel mounting screw is now a matching black colour.

We spend a fortune on CNC-machined levers, mirrors and other bike hardware, so why not our phone mounts?

Both mounts feature discreet cable routing for USB charger cables and increased spacer sizes for a wider range of handlebars and fork stem tubes.

You can also fit the vibration dampener which I recommend as motorcycle vibrations can cause the camera in some iPhones to stop focusing and it’s not covered by your phone warranty.

You can also add the wireless charger.

These “Pro” items are more expensive, as you would expect. 

The original handlebar mount was $59.95, but the Pro model is $89.95, while the fork stem mount was $74.95 and Pro is now $99.95.


Barkbusters release new guards

Harley-Davidson’s first adventure bike, the Pan America 1250 Special, is among the growing range of model-specific hand guard kits available from Australian hand guard specialist, Barkbusters.

That’s great, because the standard handguards are fairly flimsy.

It will arrive in Australia at the end of March.

Harley-Davidson Pan America Special
Harley-Davidson Pan America Special

Meanwhile, the new range released now includes guards for the new Ducati Mulistrada V4, V4S and V4S Sport ($A139.95), the new Honda CRF300L ($134.95) and the latest version of the ever-faithful Kawasaki KLR650 ($139.95).

Kawasaki KLR650 Barkbusters

They come with a choice of four tough plastic wind deflectors: sleek Jet, more wind protective VPS, Storm for maximum wind and rain protection and Carbon, made with carbon fibre, of course.

I’ve used Barkbuster guards before and they are simply the toughest around to protect your hands from injury and levers from breakage in crashes or even bumping into trees, etc.

They are made for our harsh conditions with heat-treated light aluminium, with two mounting points and bar-end weights.


Eight ‘new’ Harley models for 2022

Last year represented a revolution for traditional motorcycle company Harley-Davidson with the first new water-cooled engine since the V-Rod in 1999 and their first adventure model.

This year it’s more like an evolution than a revolution with eight slightly altered models including the same line-up of Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) limited-edition models.


Low Rider ST and S

In the cruiser category there is the Low Rider S and a Low Rider ST (sports tourer) with removable luggage, frame-mounted fairing and an audio system powered by Rockford Fosgate.

The biggest change is that they are powered by the 117 cubic-inch Milwaukee Eight engine with 167Nm of torque which was previously limited to the CVO models.

They will arrive in Aussie dealerships in mid-March at $A30,750 for the Low Rider S and $35,250 for the ST.

That compares with last year’s 114-cube Low Rider S at $27,995.


Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST

In their bagger category, there are two ST model additions to the Street Glide and Road Glide, also powered by the 117.

Other features include including linked Brembo brakes with ABS, Boom! Box GTS infotainment system with colour touch screen and navigation, cruise control and Daymaker LED headlamps. 

They come with the following standard suite of hi-tech rider aids:

  • Cornering Electronically Linked Brakes;
  • Cornering-ABS; 
  • Cornering-Traction Control with modes; 
  • Drag Torque Slip Control; 
  • Vehicle Hold Control; and 
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring.

They both arrive in Aussie showrooms in April at $A44,995 which compares with the 2021 114-cube models at $39,750.

Indian Chief Riding On Highway


Street Glide CVO

At the top end are the limited-production factory custom CVO models which are usually different versions of existing models rotated every year or two.

This year it’s once again the Street Glide, Road Glide, Road Glide Limited and Tri-Glide trike that get the CVO treatment.

So they are not really new models at all but just with some new features and paintwork.

They arrive in mid-March with the Rockford Fosgate audio and Boom! Audio 30K Bluetooth helmet headset, plus the electronic rider aids added to the bagger ST models.

CVO prices are: Street Glide $58,250 (was $55,495); Road Glide $58,750 (was $55,995); Road Glide Ltd $61,750 (was $57,995) and Tri Glide $76,250 (was $73,750).


Call for urgent action on regional roads

For years riders and other motorists have been asked to report road hazards such as potholes to their state road authority.

However, local authorities seem to ignore the repot, respond slowly or respond with inappropriate measures.

In one recent instance, rider Mick Rider (no joke!) reported concerns about a section of the Hume Highway, that suffered melt damage and was covered in marble-like gravel by VicRoads, and speed reduced to 80km/h from 110km/h.

Photos supplied by Mick Rider

“This has resulted in a worse mess than when it was just melting, with VicRoads attempting to cool with water spraying the last few days,” he says.

“Insufficient speed reduction for motorcycles to navigate extremely hazardous surface now resulting in dual lane traffic showering with gravel. 

“In addition to that, the four-wheel traffic has created mounds of this gravel between wheel tracks in lanes.”

He reported the matter to VicRoads at 5.45pm on 25 January by phone. 

Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia regional spokesperson Cate Grace posted the comments on their Facebook page and another motorist posted footage on TikTok.

“Noted that one local had reported to VicRoads 5 days prior, and their response was blasé to say the least,” she says.

It’s not the first time melting tar has been an issue.

In 2018, we reported on how new roadwork immediately began melting on the Mt Glorious Road in Queensland and in 2019, sand and then water were used in an attempt to “fix” a similar issue on the Oxley Highway in NSW.

Melting tar on Oxley highway sand fix
Melting tar on Oxley highway

Over the past few years we have reported numerous cases where riders have crashed in unacceptable road conditions thanks to poor design, inferior surfacing and a lack of maintenance.

In one incident a rider successfully sued VicRoads after a crash on a poorly maintained Victorian road.

Potholes and other road maintenance issues are frequently cited in local and international studies.

A 2018 British Automobile Association survey found that while potholes cause damage to cars, they are a greater injury threat to riders with riders three times more likely to be involved in crashes caused by potholes and poor road surfaces than any other vehicle type.

A 244-page 2016 Austroads report, titled “Infrastructure Improvements to Reduce Motorcycle Casualties”, found that roads need to be better designed, funded and maintained to reduce the risk of motorcycle crashes.

And while riders are urged to report road defects, that only yields a result if the problem is promptly fixed.

Cate says five days after Mick’s complaint nothing had been done.

“VicRoads contractors and traffic management continue to ignore motorcycle riders and place them at risk, not just from the hazardous road conditions, but other road user behaviour in poor conditions not appropriately signed,” she says.

“How many times do we have to complain?  How many times do riders have to suffer damage to motorcycles, themselves, and death, before VicRoads comes down on their Contractors hard, and ensures they’re compliant?”