Stretching back in an unbroken series of models over nearly fifty years to the iconic and ground-breaking Super Four model Z1 of 1972, Kawasaki has an enviable Z heritage in the naked class.
Kawasaki is not looking back with its latest top level Z though. Instead, it encourages riders and fans to look to the future and anticipate meeting the most radical, most technically advanced and most powerful Z ever; the Z H2. Harnessing Kawasaki’s considerable in-house experience with the Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R, the Z H2 forces the world of motorcycling in a new direction with the ultimate Hypernaked machine.Being at the pinnacle of the 2020 Z family is a huge responsibility which calls for a machine with a feature list satisfying the wants and needs of even the most demanding rider, delivering a specification that exceeds those demands thus creating “The Ultimate Z”. Echoing the core spirit of Kawasaki’s unique “Sugomi” design philosophy – where each styling innovation is matched equally by an engineering feature - the Z H2 literally bristles with interesting rider focused facets.Of course, most attention will initially be focused on the majestic 998cc four-cylinder engine equipped with Kawasaki’s in-house developed and manufactured integrated balanced supercharger. With a targeted heady peak of 200PS, the virtues of the design are a controllable yet invigorating flow of power building to a satisfying crescendo matched to more down to earth subtleties such as a rider friendly character that results in an eminently manageable ride. So whilst the Z H2 will be attractive to highly experienced riders, its all-round manageability makes it accessible to the wide potential audience.Exterior clues to the special nature of this “ultimate Z” abound with a new take on Sugomi styling and visual updates such as all LED lighting including indicators and licence plate illumination. The easy to read TFT meter panel is instantly recognisable and – upon closer inspection – the up/down quick shifter is apparent plus, on the left bar cluster, adjustment for the standard fit cruise control and a host of other rider-centric features. Kawasaki’s much praised trellis type chassis as used on previous supercharged models is updated for the new Z while Brembo M4 calipers appear attached to the Showa BPF front forks attesting to the high-quality specification of this class leading naked machine.Deeper inside, Kawasaki engineers have worked hard to ensure a dynamic balance between performance and durability making a supercharged streetbike a practical yet exotic reality. With its assist and slipper clutch plus dog ring gearbox technology, clever use of oil as a coolant to eliminate the need for a bulky intercooler and manifest oil jets playing on key components, KHI engineers have married reliability to rideability in a way only they know how.
A large number of electronic rider aids via the Bosch IMU such as traction control, intelligent anti-lock braking, cornering management function, selectable rider and power modes, anti-wheelie control are matched in the tech league table by Bluetooth connectivity which – via the Kawasaki Rideology Smartphone app – allows riders to interface with their machine and discover more about their ride and machine status, all via the screen of their mobile phone. Allied to practical information such as fuel economy and journey facts, there are also features such as a lean angle meter recorder that are sure to be a popular function.From its asymmetric supercharger air intake to one side of the menacing twin LED headlamps, via the reverse embossed “Supercharged” icon on the impeller unit to the aggressive Sugomi stance and dramatic colour coded trellis chassis with its imposing bodywork, the Z H2 is a symphony of sensation. Much anticipated, much talked about and perhaps most eagerly awaited of all 2020 Hypernaked machines, the Z H2 is here and ready to take its place at the head of the Z family and to take charge of the popular naked class.
KTM South Africa completed its dominance of the National Cross Country Championship in Bronkhorstspruit on Saturday. Not only did the orange brand walk away with the 2019 Manufacturers Award, but a total of five national titles.
It was a nail-biting end to the season with almost every one of the championships coming right down to the wire. In the OR1 Class, Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Louwrens Mahoney entered the double-header event just three points ahead of teammate Ross Branch.
In what was described as one of the most physically demanding races of the season, Branch was forced to retire from the event after sustaining an injury. With the 2020 Dakar Rally looming, the rider was relieved to discover that he will be able to get back into the saddle after two weeks of rest.
From the moment Mahoney set off from the start line, it was clear that he was prepared to pull out all the stops in his pursuit of victory. It was an emotional moment for the multiple national champion as he stormed to a hard-fought victory on Saturday onboard his KTM 450 XC-F machine where he was crowned 2019 National Cross Country king.
Fans soon discovered that this would be Mahoney’s 7th and last national title when he officially announced his retirement from racing.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish the year than taking one more national title. This is a massive blessing for me, especially because I have decided to hang up my racing boots. As the new marketing manager of KTM South Africa, I have stepped into a new season of my career. I can’t thank my wife and the Brother Leader Tread KTM team enough for the opportunity they’ve given me to pursue my dreams,” said Mahoney.The celebrations at the orange camp didn’t stop there. In the OR2 Class Jarryd Coetzee managed to close the seemingly insurmountable gap of 13-points to the top step of the podium.
Coetzee snatched victory at both rounds of the double-header season finale, but the championship title would only be decided by the number of riders that finished between him and his championship rival Gareth Cole.
One of the riders that helped bridge the gap was Coetzee’s own teammate, Louw Schmidt, who raced his heart out to finish the event in third place in class. After minutes that felt like hours at the finish line, it was an unforgettable moment for Coetzee when he realised that he would officially take the 2019 OR2 crown.
“Like they say – it’s not over until the fat lady sings. The chance of winning the championship was so slim coming into this round, but there’s a lesson I took from this – never, ever give up no matter how impossible the situation looks,” said Coetzee.
It was a ground-breaking victory for Bradley Cox in the OR3 Class as he received the first National Cross Country title of his career.
Like Coetzee, the chance of an overall victory was uncertain as Cox entered the double-header event. He’d received a DNF at the previous round of the series after breaking his collar bone and was 9 points behind fellow KTM rider Haydn Cole.
Cox managed to take the win on both days of the event. It was not only a proud moment for the rider, but for his father and motorsport legend Alfie Cox.
“I started my career with a motocross dream, and never imagined that I’d be experiencing a moment like this. I have unbelievable support back home and couldn’t ask for a better mentor than my Dad,” said Cox.
Rounding out the list of national victories for Brother Leader Tread KTM was Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen, who for the sixth consecutive time managed to defend the Senior title.
“Victory always gets sweeter, but it definitely doesn’t get easier!” joked van Rooyen.
A cherry on the top of a day that will not soon be forgotten by KTM South Africa was an impressive performance from Ryan Pelser who won the High School Championship.
“What an incredible season we can look back at as it all came down to the wire at this last round of the championship. This is not just any other team you’ve ever seen, the Brother Leader Tread KTM squad and their stable mates are one big orange family and some of the toughest riders who are never afraid to battle it out on the track. To see all the efforts come to fruition and taking home and array of championship titles this past weekend is just the cherry on top. A huge ‘thank you’ goes out to all the sponsors and supporters, to the mechanics and families behind the scenes and to the organisers who give us the platform to do what we do best. 2019 has been one hell of a season and we are looking forward to what 2020 will hold in store for us.”, says Franziska Brandl, Managing Director KTM South Africa.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team will field two A-Spec Yamaha YZR-M1 machines in 2020 thanks to additional commitment from PETRONAS and Yamaha.
The team has fielded one A-Spec and one B-Spec Yamaha YZR-M1 for its debut MotoGP season in 2019. Heading into its home race, the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, the team sits in fourth position in the overall Team standings as well as leading the Independent Team classification by 58 points. Over the course of 2019, the team has started from the front row of a GP fourteen times, with four pole positions and six trips to the podium.
This new agreement means that both Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will run with equal machinery next year.
Honda announced its plans for participation in motorcycle motorsports world championship racing for the 2020 season and the Dakar Rally 2020, at EICMA 2019 in Milan, Italy.To date, Honda has participated in numerous categories of FIM*1 motorcycle racing world championship with its factory teams*2 operated by Honda Racing Corporation (HRC).
2019 marked the 60th anniversary of Honda participating in the 1959 Isle of Man TT for the first time. 2019 was also the year in which Honda won the riders championships in the premier categories of the FIM MotoGP World Championship, FIM Motocross World Championship, and FIM Trial World Championship.In 2020, HRC factory teams will aim to defend their crowns in MotoGP, Motocross and Trials. Furthermore, Honda's HRC factory team will continue to compete in the Dakar Rally which moves from South America to Saudi Arabia from next year.
From the 2020 season, Honda will also bring its HRC factory team "Team HRC" to the FIM Superbike World Championship, with Álvaro Bautista (Spain) and Leon Haslam (U.K.) riding factory bikes based on the new CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP. MFJ*3 All Japan Road Race Championship 2017 winner Takumi Takahashi will be also be participating in the FIM Superbike World Championship, riding for satellite team "MIE Racing Team".Numerous Honda teams will also be competing in the world championships: F.C.C. TSR Honda France will continue its quest for dominance in the FIM Endurance World Championship, while Team Honda HRC (American Honda Motor Company factory team) will continue to fight for the 450SX class title in the AMA*4 Supercross Championship.
Racing is Honda's driving force, and through competing in various races, hones its technologies and its people. The racing spirit and technologies gained are part of many Honda products. Honda will continue to realize "The Power of Dreams" with its customers, in its products, services and racing activities.
*1 FIM: Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme
*2 Factory teams: Teams operated by motorcycle manufacturers
*3 MFJ: Motorcycle Federation of Japan
*4 AMA: American Motorcyclist Association
Honda's 2020 Participation in Motorcycle World Championship Racing
FIM Road Racing World Championship Series (MotoGP)
Repsol Honda Team
LCR Honda CASTROL
LCR Honda IDEMITSU
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
Andi Farid Izdihar
Honda Team Asia
FIM Superbike World Championship Series (SBK)
MIE Racing Team
FIM Endurance World Championship Series (EWC)
F.C.C. TSR Honda France
Mike Di Meglio
FIM Motocross World Championship Series (MXGP)
AMA SuperCross World Championship Series (450SX)
Team Honda HRC
FIM Trial World Championship Series (TrialGP)
Repsol Honda Team
The Dakar 2019
Monster Energy Honda Team:
José Ignacio Cornejo
After teasers and prototype, the final version of the most fierce BEAST yet has officially emerged from the darkness.
The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is leaner, meaner and more menacing than ever before. Like all great predators, this new BEAST was born naked. This is not a stripped-down sports bike.
This a purpose built super naked bike, designed from the ground up.
Having shed its skin, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is now a leaner, meaner and an even more menacing hyper-naked bike than ever before. Mounted into an all-new chassis, beats an updated version of the renowned 75 degree, 1301 cc LC8, V-Twin heart, taking THE BEAST to the next level.HEART OF THE BEAST
If it ain't broken, don't fix it. But by all means, make it meaner! Boasting 177 hp and 140 Nm, the 1301 cc LC8, V-Twin has undergone a subtle yet impactful development. Optimized to be lighter but retaining its torquey character, this powerhouse is the benchmark of V-twin evolution. And with new engine and linkage mounts that add to the overall structure of the entire package - it quite literally is the part that holds THE BEAST together.
SPINE OF THE BEAST
A new frame concept, which uses the engine as a means to increase torsional rigidity, has resulted in the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R being 3 times stiffer than its predecessor. This allows for an effortless, confidence-inspiring riding position which translate into an ultimately faster ride. This is achieved by maximizing the feedback from the chassis and the front tire. The frame also makes use of wider diameter tubes with thinner walls, which is the single biggest weight saving measure on the bike - saving 2 kg compared to the previous model.DROP THE ANCHORS
Reigning in THE BEAST comes courtesy of 4-piston BREMBO Stylema monobloc calipers clamping onto 320 mm floating discs up front, and a twin piston floating caliper biting a 240 mm disc at the rear.
Learn more: https://ktm.com/en/naked/1290-super-duke-r/
Kawasaki’s new Z H2 could be a supercharged supernaked missile with nearly 200bhp and over 100ftlb of torque on tap.
At the heart of this armwrenching weapon is the H2 SX’s super-smooth 998cc motor, although it’s been retuned for the Z to give more mid-range thrust, making its whopping 101ftlb of torque at just 8500rpm (1000 less revs the H2 SX requires).
There’s a stack of IMU controlled electronics to stop the Euro5-friendly engine tying everything in knots including three riding modes, lean-sensitive traction control, ABS… oh and launch control, just in case that Porsche is giving you a bit of bother at the traffic lights!
There’s also a quickshifter and cruise control as Kawasaki leave no stone unturned in their bid to be king of the super naked segment…
The new Z also weighs a significant 17kg less than its H2 SX brother (239kg claimed kerb weight against 256kg for the SX) with much of that saving coming from the obvious lack of bodywork.A new exhaust design now houses a larger catalyst while Kawasaki claims new, longer manifold tubes improve low-down power. These modifications, as well as a smaller exhaust end-can, have also helped with the Zed’s diet.
The steel trellis frame looks similar to the H2 SX’s but has been redesigned to accommodate a shorter (by 35mm) wheelbase and a double-sided swingarm.Brakes are slightly lower-spec Brembos, with relatively affordable Showa suspension front and rear also showing signs of the beancounters getting involved.
Fuel capacity stays at 19 litres, and there are no signs the supercharged motor is any more frugal.
As well as the now almost obligatory TFT LCD clocks, the Z H2 comes with Bluetooth connectivity that links to an app on the rider’s phone to store all sorts of information, much of which can be accessed on the screen.
Riding modes can be set remotely through the app, too. Although the styling remains undoubtedly Z, with its front end grimace, this super naked bears much more resemblance technically to its H2 SX brother.
The third generation of Honda Africa Twin has finally matured into the bike that so many of its fans hoped it would be from the outset. Armed with enough of the latest electronic technology and a bit more go in its super-sized motor, it is a serious contender in the adventure bike market. But is Honda’s decision to move the stock bike more towards the off-road side the right one?
It may be more agile than the 2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, but I can’t help but feel riders will be swayed by the practicality offered by the Sports over the stock model’s rugged outlook on life and lighter overall weight.Out of the two models available on launch, the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports is certainly the one to opt for if you are a road rider who wants a mile-muncher and has limited interest in off-road riding.
The new engine injects a boost in performance that while not R1250GS topping, is certainly a noticeable improvement. The lower seat height and narrower waist mean it feels less intimidating at slow speed and the electronic suspension delivers a plush ride quality.Showa’s Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment (EERA) is linked to the six-axis IMU as well as stroke sensors and has three road settings and an off-road setting and can have its shock’s preload adjusted while the bike is stationary to suit two-up or riding with luggage.
On the road the system responds extremely well with a noticeable difference in damping between settings and a feeling of compliance. While lacking any self-levelling function, it delivers a plush ride quality and is a worthy addition. The Sports’ lowered seat height (dropped 50mm for 2020) and narrower waist makes it more reassuring at slow speed as your feet are planted on the ground and the five-way adjustable screen gives good shelter.The parallel twin has received an increase in capacity from 998cc to 1084cc for 2020 through a 6.4mm longer stroke, boosting peak power and torque by 6.8bhp and 4.4ftlb respectively while also delivering increases throughout the rev range. Honda’s parallel twin has certainly benefitted from a very welcome bit of extra pep without losing its overall feeling of refinement. It’s not going to blow your socks off, but it is a definite improvement and certainty fulfills a touring brief with little vibes, a good throttle connection and slick gearbox.
Also new for 2020 is a 6.5-inch touch screen TFT dash as standard. Incorporating Apple CarPlay, it is Bluetooth ready, can display navigation apps, has a USB charging point and can be accessed with a gloved hand, however the touch screen is only available when the bike is stationary and Apple CarPlay requires a Bluetooth headset to be linked to function, which is annoying. An ES version of the Adventure Sports adds Showa’s semi-active suspension for a premium.
Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Randy Krummenacher, was crowned as the 2019 Supersport World Champion, after an eventful race in Qatar that he finished in fifth place. Teammate Federico Caricasulo's challenge for the title was effectively ended on the opening lap, when he experienced a technical issue that dogged him throughout the race. The final race of the season was won by Lucas Mahias, with GMT94 Yamaha's Jules Cluzel and Kallio Racing Yamaha's Isaac Viñales joining the Frenchman on the podium.
It was Cluzel who made the early running at the front, closely shadowed by Corentin Perolari, who rode a superb race and sacrificed his own ambitions in support of his teammate's title aspirations. However, the GMT94 Yamaha pairing were unable to fend off the challenge of Lucas Mahias, the eventual race winner.With Mahias pulling a gap at the front, Cluzel was embroiled in a battle with Viñales, as Perolari dropped back into the clutches of Caricasulo and Krummenacher, who were involved in their own battle for fifth place. The Italian eventually passed Perolari for fourth, with Krummenacher following him shortly afterwards to take fifth, which was enough for the Swiss rider to claim the 2019 Supersport World Championship title.
Fourth place for Caricasulo was enough for him to retain second place in the championship, six points behind his teammate, with Cluzel finishing third, a further seven points back.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (YMUS), is pleased to announce a partnership with Attack Performance to field a two-rider team in the 2020 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship. The new Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha Racing team will be headed by four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier and multi-time support class champion Jake Gagne, both riding YZF-R1s.
Following a World Superbike team structure model used by Yamaha Motor Europe (YME), YMUS reached a two-year agreement with Attack Performance, which is one of the sport’s leading manufacturers of high-performance components and services for modern sportbikes. Together, Yamaha and Attack Performance will work towards the goal of winning championships in the MotoAmerica Superbike Series. Along with key sponsorship from Monster Energy, the team will receive the full support of both YMUS and YME.
Attack Performance principal Richard Stanboli brings a wealth of technical experience to the program. He and his company have scored multiple championships and race wins in professional road racing in the U.S., and during the past two years, Attack Performance’s privateer effort with the YZF-R1 platform was a top contender in MotoAmerica’s Superbike class.
Reigning MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Beaubier returns with Yamaha in 2020 for his seventh season in the premier class and looks to defend his title. The Californian showed great fortitude this year with his dramatic come-from-behind victory in the closing moments of the season to secure his fourth Superbike title with a pair of wins at the finale. He currently sits third on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list with 38 victories.Joining Beaubier is the 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Champion, Jake Gagne. The 26-year-old, viewed by many as one of the top talents in the U.S., returned to the MotoAmerica Superbike Series this past season after a year abroad in the World Superbike Championship. In addition to his 2015 title aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1, Gagne was crowned AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Champion in 2014 on a Yamaha YZF-R6, and he looks to continue his championship success with the brand.
It’s that time of year again…
South Africa’s hard enduro riders are preparing for the ultimate test of man and machine - the highly-anticipated Roof of Africa. The event renowned as the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ takes place in Lesotho from 4-7 December.
Lining up with the long list of elite riders this year is Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Bradley Cox, who will be entering the Gold Class for the first time in his career. While the multi-disciplined rider is more widely known for his cross country and motocross skills, he is fast making a name for himself in South Africa’s world of hard enduro.Proving that he has the pace to keep up with the frontrunners in this sport, Cox stormed to his first ever E1 victory at the final round of the National Enduro Championship in Port-Elizabeth last month. The rider mentioned a long list of goals he’s been wanting to tick this season, and snatching enduro victory was one of them:
“I want to be one of the best enduro riders in the country, and I think I’m slowly on my way up there. I’ve always been known as the ‘motocross or cross country kid’, but I want to start building a reputation as the ‘enduro kid’ too,” said Cox.
Cox had his first introduction to hard enduro when he entered the Silver Class of the Roof of Africa in 2017. Not only did he finish the unforgiving route, but managed to finish in an impressive second place.
Having recently returned from America after racing in the popular GNCC Series, Cox has set a laser focus on preparing for Lesotho’s grueling terrain.
“I spend a lot of time with my trainer, William Gillitt, who helps me with the extreme stuff. I have a fitness trainer too - so everything is in place and I’m going to push super hard in the month and a bit I have left to get ready for Roof,” said a determined Cox.