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No. 57, Wednesday August 30, 2000

Italjet Grifon on-line

Italjet Grifon   Italjet has just shown the first pics of the production Grifon, a 900cc naked bike built around Triumph’s older-generation 300-series triple-cylinder powerplant. Details are scant, though we know the Triumph engine is comfortably capable of producing 98 horses and the factory says the machine is now in production.

  Meanwhile the Australian end of the firm has launched the first of a new generation of big-wheeled scooters, the Torpedo 150 4T. The four-stroke scooter runs a 16-inch front wheel and 14-inch rear in place of the more customary scooter 12-inch size. It has a stepless auto transmission and retails for $5995 plus on-road costs.

Suzuki is said to have prepared two new bikes for this month’s Munich Show: the long-awaited GSX-R1000, plus a DR1000. The latter machine will feature a TL1000 engine.

Australian engineer Ian Drysdale has a new project underway - this time it’s a 990cc, V-eight, four-stroke race bike intended to run in the prototype class for the 2002 GP season.

Drysdale built a two-wheel-drive, two-wheel steer, prototype off-road machine some ten years ago. More recently he has been working on a V-eight road bike.

His latest project is on the internet at, and visitors to the site are invited to become shareholders in the project.

Kawasaki is said to be working on a new naked bike, based on a 1200cc version of its brilliant ZZ-R1100 powerplant and featuring strong styling influences from the classic Z900.

Blackbird Japanese magazine Auto-by has published a computer-generated guess at what the 2002 model Honda Blackbird may look like, said to be due for release late next year.

Current speculation pitches the engine capacity at 1300cc, with 180 horses and a top speed electronically limited to 300kmh. The machine is said to have revised bodywork to gain some aerodynamic efficiency and to be on a weight loss program to reduce its current 223 claimed dry figure.

  An interim 2001 model is said to be ready for release, remaining at 1100cc and featuring some minor changes.
Our thanks to the unofficial HRCAustralia newslist at for the tip.

GP Preview from MotoGP: Two sons of famous riders chase the World 500cc title going into round 12 of the 16 round MotoGP World Championships at Estoril in Portugal on Sunday. Kenny Roberts, whose father Kenny Senior won three 500cc World titles, leads 21-year-old Italian Valentino Rossi, who father Graziano was a grand prix winner, by 42 points with five rounds of the title chase remaining. Both fathers will be at Estoril on Sunday to watch their sons battle it out at the first-ever motorcycle grand prix to be staged at the circuit which is situated west of Lisbon.

  Rossi, riding the Nastro Azzurro Honda, moved into second place in the championship after finishing second in the previous round, the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno. It's his debut season in the 500cc class after winning both 125 and 250cc World titles and he's secured one win and two second places in the last three races. Roberts, riding the Telefonica Movistar Suzuki, finished fourth at Brno in the race won by Italian Max Biaggi. The American increased his championship lead, by four points, to 42 over Rossi who moved into second place ahead of Spaniard Carlos Checa.

  "I was fastest at the pre-season tests at Estoril and so I'm hoping that will give us a good set-up for the race," said Roberts, who's won three grands prix this season. "We're now racing at circuits that I think will suit the Suzuki and so I'm looking to win at least two or three of the remaining races."

  Although most of the teams attended a pre-season test session at Estoril it's almost a step into the unknown for the riders when they set out on the modified 4.190km (2.603 miles) Autodromo Fernanda Pires Da Silva circuit for the opening practice session on Friday morning. The circuit is well known for Formula One car racing and testing but has staged rounds of the World Superbike and Endurance Championships in the past. There have been two Portuguese Motorcycle Grands Prix but both were staged in Spain and both 500cc races were won by American Eddie Lawson, riding the Yamaha. Jarama hosted the race in 1987 and Jerez in 1988.

  Not only will these last five races decide the outcome of the championship but also the fate of many of the riders next season. Australian Garry McCoy celebrated agreeing a new two-year contract with the Gauloises Red Bull Yamaha team by finishing third in Brno and is looking forward to the last part of the season. After winning the opening round in South Africa he struggled mid-season but is coming back to form which is great news for spectators who enjoy his speedway sliding style. World champion Alex Criville has disappointed in his battle to retain his crown with only one grand prix victory to his credit. He re-signed for the YPF Repsol Honda team for 2001 last week and will be looking to salvage something from this season. His team-mate Spaniard Sete Gibernau, who finished sixth at Brno and Tadayuki Okada may not be so lucky and lose their rides.

  Carlos Checa may be third in the championship but his season has hit a major crisis. After finishing second four times in the opening six races his confidence has been shattered by a series of crashes and he's slipping down the table. His Marlboro-Yamaha team-mate Biaggi is going the opposite way after securing his first victory of the season at Brno and more grand prix victories are scheduled for the former four-times World 250cc Champion.

  Italian Loris Capirossi will be glad of the two week break after collapsing following his fifth place in Brno. He was riding with a broken bone in his right hand, sustained in a practice crash. Eight weeks earlier he finished third in the Dutch Grand Prix after breaking a bone in his left hand in the morning warm-up. His Emerson Honda Pons team-mate Alex Barros will want to forget Brno after crashing in both the race and qualifying . He's won two grands prix this season and will want a successful build-up to his home Rio Grand Prix next month.

  The 250cc World Championship is turning into a battle between two team-mates who next year hope to be riding in the 500cc class. Just seven points separate Frenchman Olivier Jacque and his Chesterfield Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Shinya Nakano who won his fourth grand prix of the season in Brno. Jacque finished third in the Czech Republic but it's consistency that puts him at the head of the table. Not only has he won two grands prix but has finished on the podium eight times and finished every race. Realistically the only rider that can catch them is Tohru Ukawa who is also being tipped to ride a 500 next season. Riding the Shell Advance Honda, Ukawa has won two grands prix and finished second at Brno.

  Daijiro Katoh is having a brilliant debut full season and lies fourth in front of German veteran Ralf Waldmann and teenagers Australian Anthony West and Italian Marco Melandri who has switched from number 13 to 35, seeking a change of luck.

  Italian Roberto Locatelli scored a vital victory at Brno to close to within five points of 125cc Championship-leader Youichi Ui. It promises to be an equally close battle on Sunday between the Aprilia of Locatelli and the Derbi of Ui who has already won five grands prix this year. Sharing third place, 39-points adrift of the leader, are Honda riders world champion Emilio Alzamora and Italian Mirko Giansanti.

South Australian Andrew Caldecott won the two-wheel division in a time of 25-hrs 9-mins 41, secs, finishing 2-hrs 10-mins 2-secs clear of second-placed American Casey McCoy on a Honda XR400, who was followed by South Australian Tony Tervoert on a Husqvarna TE610E.

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Article by Guy Allen

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