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EXHAUST PIPES AND SWINGARMS: Team HRC’s Jose Escamez reveals Honda upgrades for Misano test

The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s racing resumes in a couple of weeks and teams are utilising the tests between rounds to try to make as much progress as possible. After a challenging start to 2024, Team HRC tried new swingarms at the Cremona test and, at the Misano two-day test, will have new exhaust pipes as well as completing more work on the swingarm. At Misano, Team Manager Jose Escamez revealed more details about Honda’s upgrades and what they hope they’ll bring.

Honda’s best result this season has been a pair of tenth place finishes courtesy of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), with teammate Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) missing races in Australia and the Netherlands through injury. At the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team, Tarran Mackenzie has been in the mix with the factory Honda riders as the season progressed and the team’s best result came at Assen in Race 2 with 11th place.

With Honda looking to find gains as quickly as possible, a new swingarm was introduced at Cremona for the WorldSBK team although it wasn’t new to Honda. It’s one that’s been used by the British Superbike Honda team and, with their riders present at Cremona, it was a good chance for the WorldSBK outfit to test it – Lecuona and Vierge gave their feedback in Italy. That swingarm will be on the bikes again at Misano, as will new exhaust pipes in the hope of better power delivery while the team will continue to work on the electronics of the CBR1000RR-R machine.

Discussing the upgrades, Honda team boss Escamez said: “A test is always important, especially for us in the situation we’re in right now. After the Cremona test, we were working on some parts of the chassis, especially the swingarm. Here, we want to try again to reconfirm or decline whether it works or not for our bike. We’re also going to try a new exhaust pipe configuration. It’s a new exhaust that we expect can help with our power delivery and the connection of the throttle with our riders. Pretty much, we’re focused on that. Of course, as we’re going to work on the exhaust, we’ll need to adapt our base maps and electronics and all those things. We’re going to try again the swingarm to make sure it works as we thought or not and the exhaust. We’ll keep, as always, working on the electronics which is a topic where we are struggling.”

With mixed feedback on the swingarm so far, Escamez also explained why they opted to bring it to Misano – a track that the riders, team and manufacturer are familiar with – rather than make a decision based solely on the feedback from last week’s test. With every upgrade vital when it comes to making gains, opting to bring changes to a second test can often be crucial when making decisions about whether or not to follow a certain direction.

Explaining the swingarm re-evaluation, Escamez said: “It’s a bit confusing. At some points, it looks better, and, in some others, it doesn’t. That’s why we want to try it again here. We’re not 100% sure it’s going to be better. It’s true that, as Cremona was a new track and changeable conditions, we think here it’s going to be the ultimate test just to reconfirm if it can be better or we can decline.”

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LIVE COVERAGE: Minute-by-minute coverage from Misano WorldSBK test

9:53 – And just as we say that, Toprak tops the standings, setting a time of 1’34.253s.

9:51 – The ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team boys are back! For the first time since Assen, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael Van Der Mark are back on track. 

9:47 – Another Ducati, another fast time! This time, ELF Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes heads out on track and snatches P2, with a time of 1’34.708s.

9:44 – Danilo Petrucci heads back out on track.

9:43 – The reigning World Champion makes an appearance! Alvaro Bautista is out for his first taste of the Misano test…and immediately sets the fastest lap of the morning so far, with a 1’34.342s.

9:38 – Nice to see Danilo Petrucci back after his injury! However, the Barni Spark Racing Team rider is back into the pits after just one lap.

9:30 – Yamaha have enjoyed a strong start to their morning, with GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team riders Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter currently occupying P1 and P3. Pata Prometeon Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli continues his strong from from Cremona, currently occuping P2 after the first half-hour. 

9:00 – Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to our live blog of the official WorldSBK test live from Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Misano, Italy. The green flag is out and we are underway!


ABK Beer announced as Official Beer & Official Sponsor of WorldSBK

Nestled in the picturesque valley at the foot of the Alps in the ancient town of Kaufbeuren, ABK (Aktien Brewery Kaufbeuren) boasts over 700 years of brewing tradition and heritage. Established in 1308, ABK has been celebrated for its dedication to quality, using only the finest local ingredients, enhancing the brewery’s reputation for producing superb beers has made it a beloved brand in Bavaria and is now enjoyed internationally as ABK – Since 1308 

As part of the partnership, ABK will receive prominent track signage at all WorldSBK rounds, ensuring maximum broadcast exposure while fans attending races will have the unique opportunity to enjoy ABK hospitality in the Fan Area where they can indulge in beer tastings, experiencing first hand the tradition and craftsmanship that define ABK beers.

Additionally, ABK will host a dedicated experience program for guests, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the championship and an opportunity to savour ABK’s finest brews in a unique and engaging setting.

Both WorldSBK and ABK are dedicated to creating memorable experiences that bring people together, making this partnership a natural fit. Their shared focus on community and enjoyment ensures that fans will have even more reasons to celebrate at WorldSBK events.

“We are delighted to welcome ABK as the Official Beer and Official Sponsor of WorldSBK” said Francesco Valentino, Head of WorldSBK Commercial & Marketing Department. “This new brand partner represents a product, the beer, which is a synonym of gathering, socializing, and friendliness, all attributes which fit perfectly with WorldSBK’s spirit. This partnership not only enhances our event experience but also brings our community closer together.”

Jonathan Kendrick, Chairman of ROKiT said “Partnering ABK Beer with WorldSBK is a fantastic opportunity for us to share our exceptional beers with a global audience. We are hugely excited to extend and expand our involvement with the WorldSBK family and to engage with fans internationally.”

ABK and WorldSBK are committed to promoting responsible drinking. ABK’s range of beers include a variety of low alcohol and alcohol-free options all with the authentic taste of ABK beers. All WorldSBK attendees are encouraged to drink responsibly, prioritize safety and make informed choices about alcohol consumption.


PREVIEW: Sweet Home, Misano – WorldSBK returns to the Adriatic coast for two-day test

Three rounds in the books. Nine more to go. Already, the battle lines are being drawn for what is sure to be a brilliant season in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Before we return to our regular race programming on June 14th, we have another two-day test, this time, on the Italian coast at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” or just Misano for short. Here, we analyse the storylines for each manufacturer ahead of track action on Thursday and Friday.

YAMAHA: Japanese giants jubilant following Cremona

Yamaha enjoyed a very successful recent test in Cremona, Italy. In fact, GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Remy Gardner and Pata Prometeon Yamaha rider Andrea Locatelli finished P1 and P2 respectively in the combined standings. Both riders were extremely positive following the test and expressed strong optimism for the remainder of this season. Even Locatelli’s teammate, ex-World Champion Jonathan Rea, was emphatic with how enjoyable the Yamaha R1 was to ride although he’s still looking to make it his own – with only one and a half test days remaining too. Additionally, Gardner, Locatelli, Rea and Dominique Aegerter are all expected to be present for Misano testing, so Yamaha should have a real opportunity to further build on their new-found fortunes. 

HONDA: Can Lecuona and Vierge build on form after successful test with new swingarm?

Honda has very much been a mixed bag this season. Whilst results have not fallen their way so far, the latest WorldSBK test in northern Italy provided some cause for optimism for Team HRC and their riders. Xavi Vierge, despite finishing P14 by the end of the test, was very positive about the new swingarm developments made by Honda. Iker Lecuona, who finished just outside the top ten in Italy last week, was slightly less optimistic but emphasized the need to analyse the data to extract any potential benefit ahead of Misano. Petronas MIE Racing Honda riders Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin will also be present for testing at the Adriatic track. Misano’s test has often been a place where new parts are showcased for Honda; will 2024 be any different?

DUCATI: Full steam ahead for Bologna manufacturer

Like Yamaha, Ducati also enjoyed a successful test last week at Cremona, with three of their riders finishing within the top six. Ducati are expected to be fully represented in their home country, with Racing – Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega continuing to test the Panigale V4 R at a track they know so well. ELF Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes, who finished in an impressive P4 during Cremona’s test, will also be present, as will Team GoEleven’s Andrea Iannone and Barni Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci. For Petrucci, it’s much more of a fitness test than it is a bike test, as he returns from injury. Expect Michele Pirro to also make an appearance in red for testing at Misano. 

BMW – Bavarians hoping to make waves on the Adriatic Coast

Interestingly, Bonovo Action BMW’s Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding participated in testing last week, whilst ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael Van Der Mark weren’t present. Whilst we have not seen the latter two riders since Assen, that will not be the case come Misano, as the #54 and #60 are both present and accounted for. The Bonovo Action team, who, interestingly, will not be present at this Misano test, enjoyed a positive end to their participation in testing in northern Italy, as Scott Redding was ultimately able to round out the top five, whilst American Gerloff finished in a respectable P7. For Toprak and van der Mark, it’ll be a vital test to prepare for the round in two weeks. 

KAWASAKI: back in action and going green

Like their German counterparts, Kawasaki have not seen on-track action since the Dutch Round at Assen. Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK’s Alex Lowes has enjoyed a very impressive start to this season and he will be optimistic about enjoying a successful test in Emilia-Romagna. Likewise, teammate Axel Bassani has shown cause for promise and optimism and he too will be hoping to impress at the Adriatic facility come testing time. Don’t forget, this was Bassani’s breakthrough circuit in 2021 and the place of his first 2023 podium 12 months ago. Puccetti Kawasaki’s Tito Rabat, who completed an incredible 233 laps of the new Cremona circuit during last week’s testing, is also expected to be present at Misano to continue testing for Kawasaki, with the factory-spec swingarm seeming to help the Spaniard a great deal.

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Classic WorldSBK duels with a modern twist: Volume 5 comes alive!

Volume 5 of the WorldSBK essential races has landed so that you can enjoy more classic races from a variety of eras. So far, volume 1 showcased classics across the decades. Volume 2 gives you the opportunity to relive the 2002 ‘Showdown at Imola’ amongst others, whilst volume 3 serves up modern era classics from 2004 up to 2013. The most recent instalment, volume 4, emphasises the importance of victory with some of the closest, most emotional victories.

Now, volume 5 will complete 25 of the most iconic WorldSBK races. In this, it’s a focus on some of the fiercest battles between 2014 and 2018, starting with team orders and tactics from Race 1 at Magny-Cours, as Aprilia and Kawasaki battled for the title. In 2015, it was a last lap showdown on worn tyres between Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies in Malaysia at Sepang in Race 1. 2016 sees Tom Sykes defeat teammate Rea in Race 2 at Buriram, whilst it was last lap drama between Davies and Rea at Misano in Race 1 for 2017. Finally, 2018 saw Dutchman Michael van der Mark make history as the first Dutch winner in WorldSBK at Donington Park, before going on to complete the double.

You can enjoy more WorldSBK classics with the WorldSBK VideoPass!


Minnesota Legalizes Lane Filtering

Lane Splitting Lane Filterning
Minnesota has legalized lane filtering, allowing motorcyclists to filter through traffic. Photo by Kevin Wing.

This month, Minnesota has become the sixth state in the U.S. to pass legislation allowing lane filtering, aka lane splitting.

Along with the lane-sharing law, which allows motorcyclists to filter through traffic “at not more than 25 miles per hour and no more than 15 miles per hour over the speed of traffic,” Minnesota has also added punishments for drivers who impede motorcyclists.

As shown by reactions to our recent post about Colorado passing lane-filtering legislation last month, the topic of lane sharing remains controversial. Data indicates that lane sharing reduces motorcycle accidents and decreases the severity of injuries in collisions, especially in rear-end accidents. But some motorists in places where lane sharing is not the norm are skeptical of the practice, even though it’s common on most of the world’s roads.

For an in-depth look at the practice of lane sharing, read “Split Decision: Are Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Safe?” by Eric Trow. For more about the new legislation in Minnesota, read the AMA’s press release below.

Minnesota Passes Historic Lane-Filtering Legislation

With the signing of HF 5247 into law by Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Friday, May 24, Minnesota became the sixth state to legalize lane filtering.

Minnesota is now the easternmost state to legalize lane filtering and joins California, Utah, Montana, Arizona, and Colorado — which also signed filtering into law this year — as states that permit lane filtering.

“With this new ability to filter through slow-moving traffic and at stoplights, riders in Minnesota will benefit from increased safety on the open road,” AMA Central States Representative Nick Sands said. “The recent successes of lane-filtering legislation passing into law in Colorado and Minnesota signal excellent momentum for our efforts in that space, and the overall well-being of our road-riding members.”

As part of a supplemental budget bill — which impacted several departments, including the Minnesota Department of Transportation — motorcyclists in Minnesota will now be allowed to filter through traffic “at not more than 25 miles per hour and no more than 15 miles per hour over the speed of traffic in relevant traffic lanes.” Written by Sen. Scott Dibble (D-61) and Reps. Frank Hornstein (D-61A), Brad Tabke (D-54A), and Erin Koegel (D-39A), this section of the bill will take effect on July 1, 2025.

The legislation’s success came after AMA member and BMW MOA treasurer Phil Stalboerger told his story of being rear-ended on a motorcycle while in traffic to several legislators who wanted to find a way to prevent further accidents from happening.

“After telling my story to a lot of people and educating people on what lane filtering means for the motorcycle community, it’s very rewarding seeing this legislation pass,” Stalboerger said. “There was a nice rally cry from the motorcycle community, clubs, small businesses, and others saying that ‘yes,’ we want this. The passage of this legislation illustrates grassroots advocacy at its finest.”

In addition to the lane-filtering aspects, HF 5247 also added punishments for drivers that impede motorcyclists on the open road, stating that “an operator of a motor vehicle must not intentionally impede or attempt to prevent the operation of a motorcycle” when filtering.

The AMA remains supportive of all efforts regarding the legalization of lane filtering, as its well-documented success in other states, in addition to support from several studies, indicate that it’s an effective way to keep motorcyclists safe on the road.

The AMA’s position on lane filtering, as well as lane splitting, can be found on the AMA website.

To stay up-to-date on the latest legislative news, visit the AMA Government Action Center webpage.

The post Minnesota Legalizes Lane Filtering appeared first on Rider Magazine.


“Most productive test we’ve had!” Lecuona and Vierge shine with latest swingarm at Cremona

During last week’s MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship test at Cremona, Italy, most of the teams in the WorldSBK paddock took the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new surroundings of the Cremona track. Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), however, took the opportunity to test some new technology; namely, a new swingarm.

At the start of the 2023 season, Team HRC started out with a classic style, underslung racing swingarm. Then, during last season, the team introduced a more stock-style overslung swingarm. Interestingly, Vierge appeared to prefer the newer swingarm, whilst his teammate Lecuona preferred the more conventional, underslung swingarm.

That brings us to this Cremona test. HRC appear to have brought a newer swingarm which is unbraced, compared to the other, previous swingarms which are braced. Both riders have had slightly different reactions to this new swingarm. The swingarm tested was the same as the one used by Honda’s British Superbike team – who were also there with Tommy Bridewell and Andrew Irwin.

When asked about the new swingarm, Lecuona said: “Honestly, similar. We need to check the data. Now we need to learn what is positive, what is negative; what works and what does not.” Regardless, the #7 was positive about the test overall, as well as the general direction of Honda’s development: “Yes, yes 100%. During the tests here, we have had several more Japanese engineers. But this is the most productive test we’ve had, and we’ve learned a lot. We are happy with the job, and we need another two days at Misano. So, let’s see in if we can keep that positive and interesting form for us.”

Contrastingly, teammate Lecuona was extremely positive about the new developments from the Japanese manufacturer. Speaking about his experiences with the new swingarm, Vierge said: “One of the most positive tests with Honda…if we analyze it well, we can take a big step!” Speaking about the new swingarm, Vierge said: “Yes, I tried the new swingarm, but not enough time unfortunately! The feeling was really good, and we also tried many different things with some big changes.” You can watch the #97 rider’s full reaction to the Cremona test here!

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Rea reacts to Cremona outing: “I love the bike, but I still need to put my stamp on it”

Friday saw the curtain brought down on the first MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at Cremona, Italy. Yamaha were among the big names missing from the opening day of testing, but they certainly made up for it by the end of the day on Friday. One rider who got valuable track time under his belt was ex-World Champion Jonathan Rea. Despite finishing P12 in the combined standings, Rea took a lot from the test, and saw it as a key opportunity to build further momentum for the remainder of the season.

Speaking about only having one day to test at Cremona, Rea said: “It’s nice to get back on the bike. It was important to test out this track before we race here in September. We tried to start finding the limits with the R1 and get more comfortable. Some of the settings worked a lot better compared to what I’ve been using from the start of the season.” Following on from this, Rea further elaborated on next steps, saying: “I think the next step is to get me even more comfortable on the bike, in order to get a little closer to that feeling of being on the limit. It’s frustrating, but it’s also positive because I know that there’s margin to improve.”

Ulster native Rea was also very transparent about his need to get more time onboard the Yamaha R1. Rea said: “Yeah, I need laps. It’s so positive that the other Yamahas are fast…but it’s not my bike. I love the bike, and I love riding the bike, but I still need to put my stamp on it. I want to use all the benefits of the Yamaha R1, but also use all of the benefits of my riding style, so we’re just trying to find that match right now. The team are working really well and are trying to push it along further.”

The Yamaha rider offered a further fascinating insight into the technical aspects of riding his new Yamaha R1. The #65 rider outlined that: “It’s hard to explain. It’s as if you have to ride the bike hard, but then you almost have to massage the bike around the track. But you can see from Remy and Locatelli that the bike has so much potential.”

Lastly, the ex-World Champion had a special message of thanks for the hundreds of fans who commuted to Cremona for testing. The Yamaha man said: “Yeah, it’s really nice. Even in difficult moments, especially in this day and age of social media, it’s the fans who give me the energy to keep pushing. Thanks to everyone and hopefully we see a great turnout here in a few months’ time.”

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“Not so bad, not so good”: Bulega searches for improved feeling ahead of Misano

Friday brought the curtain down on two days of testing for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at Cremona, Italy. One rider who featured heavily on Friday was Nicolo Bulega, with the Factory Ducati rider putting together a time of 1’29.223s during the afternoon of Friday’s session. Whilst this was ultimately enough to secure sixth place in the combined standings, Bulega was far from buoyant.

When asked how he felt testing went, the #11 rider said: “I feel not so bad, but also not so good. I didn’t have my 100% feeling. I was missing something in the front. We have to work on it to try and improve this part of the bike. I want to stay focused on the next test, and then I hope to have a better bike/setup for the next time we test here in Cremona.” Interestingly, Bulega attended a track day at Cremona the week before on a stock bike. When asked if there was much difference between the stock bike and the Superbike, the Italian said: “Yes, because this bike is a bit faster. With this bike, the circuit seems a bit smaller. We have to adapt, because this is maybe the smallest circuit that I ride on with this bike.”

Switching gears, Bulega discussed the upcoming Misano test. Following Assen, where he struggled (and coincidentally, it was the first track with no prior testing), Nicolo was more positive about the prospect of being able to test at Misano, saying: “Next week, we have a very important test. It will also be my home race. We are very lucky to have this test before the race…I will do my job as always, to try to improve the feeling of the bike and to have fun.”

Lastly, Bulega discussed having fans present during the Cremona testing, especially the positive impact that they had over the course of testing at Cremona. The #11 rider said: “Today was like a Sunday race with a lot of people. It’s always nice to have fans. In Italy, we have a lot of support, so it’s nice!”

Make sure to keep up to date with all of the action from Misano and beyond with the WorldSBK VideoPass!