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No. 42, Thursday May 11, 2000

Yamaha is likely to introduce a dressed-down version of its successful R1 performance flagship, called the S1. It runs a bikini fairing and bellypan, and is likely to feature a retuned powerplant designed for a broader and less peaky delivery. The final decision on whether it actually makes it to market has yet to be made, however if it does, it could be on the road early next year.

The company is also said to be working on an FJ1300 sports-tourer, though most likely to be watercooled rather than persist with the air-cooled XJR1300 donk. The talk is that it will run big horsepower numbers, akin to the loopy figures for Hayabusa and ZX-12R, though it may not be out after the intergalactic top speed record.
Website: <http://www.yamaha-motor.com.au/>

Kiwi world champ superbike contender Aaron Slight may be riding at this weekend's round at Donington. International sources say he performed well at a track test last Monday, circulating within two seconds of the lap record. He undergoes a final medical examination today.
Superbike website: <http://www.worldsbk.com>

After the weird and wonderful antics caused by rain at the recent Spanish GP, several race identities are pushing the idea of going for pit-stop tyre changes rather than stopping the race altogether. Kenny Roberts junior is among them, suggesting it would add to the excitement of a race.
GP website: <http://www.motograndprix.com>

Aprilia is said to be close to releasing its RSV1000-powered all-road bike, to compete with the likes of Cagiva's Navigator and BMW's GS1150. Look for it later this year. The firm also has a 400cc scooter on the development list.
Website: <http://www.aprilia.com>

Moto Guzzi, which was recently bought by Aprilia, is said to be on the verge of producing a replacment for the California - its top-selling model. The bike will feature an updated version of the trad air-cooled powerplant.
Web site: <http://www.motoguzzi.it>

Is Laverda looking for a new buyer - again? The troubled Italian firm, which has a design for a new hi-po triple road bike waiting in the wings, seemed on the verge of a buyout/rescue from international financier George Soros. That gent tubed big-time in last month's e-commerce stockmarket crash, to the tune of around $5 billion. We suspect Laverda may now be a long way down his list of priorities.
Website: <http://www.laverda.it/>

French GP preview: motorcycle grand prix racing this weekend returns to one of the world's oldest circuits, Le Mans in France, after a five-year absence and will
present a new challenge for the new top trio of 500cc competition - including Australia's Garry McCoy.
American Kenny Roberts and Spaniard Carlos Checa, the two riders ahead of McCoy in this year's world championship, raced 250cc bikes at the last two-wheel GP at Le Mans in 1995, while McCoy rode a 125cc machine there in 1994 but had split from his team by the following year and missed a start.
The 500cc lap record for the Bugatti course at Le Mans, a short version of the famed track that hosts the annual 24-hour sports car classic, is held by Australia's Mick Doohan - ironically from 1991, three years before he won the first of his five world titles.
There have been changes since 1995, with the spectacular flat-out sweeping right-hand first corner gone in the name of safety. Unlike the sports car circuit, the 4.3-kilometre Bugatti course comprises mainly slow corners and short straights - a combination that could favour McCoy.
The French GP is the fifth in the 16-round world championship which will end with the Qantas Australian Motorcycle GP at Victoria's Phillip Island on October 27-29.

In what seems like the craze for things retro gone mad, "Rocket" Ron Haslam, a 43-year-old British rider who has not competed in a GP for seven years, will substitute at Le Mans for injured South African rider Shane Norval on a 500cc V-twin Honda. Haslam rode his first GP in 1977 but has never won. He was second once in 1985, has been third eight times and was seventh in Australia's first world championship GP at Phillip Island in 1989. His best season was 1987, when he was fourth in the world championship won by Australia's Wayne Gardner. He may be best remembered for his brave efforts competing on the Elf centre-hub-steered prototype machines in the eighties. Haslam's 16-year-old son, Leon, will race in the 125cc GP at Le Mans.

Want the latest from the "what's Harley doing next" rumour files? Okay, here goes. The Sportster is in for a major update, including the powerplant, which remains air-cooled. That engine will be at the heart of a new Buell range which features totally new styling.
As for the big chaps, the long association with Porsche is now targetted at developing a 1400cc liquid-cooled engine, apparently, which might power a new range of toys aimed at a market sector that the company so far doesn't address effectively. Sounds like sports tourers to us...we got that lot from UK Motorcycle News.
Website: <http://www.oz.harley-davidson.com>

Suzuki has released a new domestic-market-only trailie called the Grass Tracker. thew 250cc bike ios a complete retro effort, with wire wheels, chrome instrument pods, fork gaiters and the like. We're told it weighs 124 kilos and puts out a humble 18hp (13.4kW) from its air-cooled powerplant.
Website: <http://www.suzuki.co.uk>

Kevin Schwantz has been training on a Suzuki DR-Z400 in the USA in preparation for his crack at the upcoming Australian Safari. The event starts on August 20.

Oz GP contender Garry McCoy recently took delivery of a Ferrari 348 sports car, which he drove from his home in the tiny principality of Andorra on the border of Spain to Barcelona for F1 qualifying. "Usually it's about three hours in a rental car, but it's about two hours in the Ferrari," McCoy said. "It's really fun ... handles like a go-kart."

World superbike championship leader Noryuki Haga recently failed a drug test. The substance turns out to be ephedrine - commonly found in weight-loss compounds. Haga has lost a lot of weight recently, so there may be a connection. However his team is disputing the reading and wants a second sample analyised.

New websites worth looking at:
Wayne Gardner - former world GP champ and currently contesting the All-Japan Touring Car Championship.
See <http://www.waynegardner.com>
Hand-painted silk ties - no, we're not making this up. Alessandro Giovannini will paint your favourite bike scene on a silk tie.
See <http://www.handpaintedties.com>
"Best damn tyre warmers in the business," says Terry.
See <http://www.hotperformance.com.au
"We run West Australian Motorcycle Adventures and Big Boyz Toyz Hire, basically hire and tours on current model road & off road motorcycles," says Brian.
See <http://www.motorcycletours.to>


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Article by Guy Allen

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