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.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Fabio Quartararo has taken the 2019 MotoGP Rookie of the Year title, securing the award in style with a sensational sixth podium finish of the season at the Grand Prix of Japan. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli rounded out a dream day for the squad by coming home in sixth place at the Twin Ring Motegi for another strong finish.
Quartararo rode a textbook race at Motegi to secure second position, getting stuck into the fight with world champion Marc Marquez as soon as the lights went out and trading the top spot with him numerous times. Settling into second as the race progressed, Quartararo was able to manage his tyres to the chequered flag to secure the rookie honours as well as extending his lead in the Independent Riders’ classification to 38 points and moving up to sixth in the overall championship fight.
Morbidelli was also able to get involved in the podium battle early in the race, running in third behind his team-mate in the early laps. Dropping back as the race progressed, he was still able to score his fourth top-six finish from the past five races. Morbidelli also scored valuable points at Motegi to further secure his place within the top ten in the World Championship and to help the team edge closer to the Independent Teams’ championship, where they now command a healthy 76-point lead.
It won’t be long until MotoGP action gets underway again, with next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix kicking off on Friday 25th October, before Sunday 27th October’s race at Phillip Island.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) has become the 2019 FIM*1 MotoGP World Champion at Round 15, the Thailand Grand Prix (held on October 6 at Chang International Circuit in Buriram). This is Marquez’s fourth consecutive premier class title and sixth time he has taken the MotoGP Championship in his career.
Riding Honda’s RC213V factory bike, Marquez had a solid start to his fourth consecutive title this season, finishing second in the opening round and winning Round 2. Despite missing out on the podium at the following Grand Prix of the Americas, he went on to win eight rounds, and finish second in another four, finishing on the podium and amassing points in all but one round to date. Marquez secured the championship title once again with four of the 19 rounds remaining.
Marquez became the youngest MotoGP champion after winning his first championship in his debut year in 2013, when he joined Honda’s HRC factory team Repsol Honda Team. The following year he won the first ten rounds and became champion once again with a total of 13 wins. Although he missed out on yet another championship title in 2015, he had his revenge in 2016, clinching his third title. In his MotoGP career to date*2, Marquez has been on pole position a record-setting 61 times, and has won 53 Grands Prix (4th in the history of MotoGP).
*1 FIM: Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme
*2 As of the end of Round 15, Thailand
“It is a great feeling to be World Champion with Honda again. 2019 has been one of my most consistent seasons. We fought hard when we had to and all of the team and Honda have done such an incredible job to bring us to this level. Celebrating Honda Racing’s 60th anniversary with the MotoGP title it a great honor and I am pleased I could do this for Honda. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this season and the fans who always support us.”
Yoshishige Nomura, HRC President
“Marc [Marquez] did a magnificent job once again to win his sixth MotoGP title on Honda’s 60th anniversary of World Grand Prix racing. I wholeheartedly salute his dauntless riding that mesmerizes his fans, supported by his persistent training and mature attitude towards racing. I’m grateful for all the support in winning the championship he had from the team staff, the many sponsors who support our racing activities, and MotoGP fans worldwide.”
About Marc Marquez
Birth date: February 17, 1993 Birthplace: Spain
2008 Debuts in World Grand Prix racing, 125cc class 13th 2009 World Grand Prix 125cc class 8th
2010 World Grand Prix 125cc class champion 2011 Moto2 class 2nd
2012 Moto2 class champion
2013 MotoGP class champion
2014 MotoGP class champion
2015 MotoGP class 3rd
2016 MotoGP class champion
2017 MotoGP class champion
2018 MotoGP class champion
2019 MotoGP class champion
It was a weekend of celebration for PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING as the 2019 National Enduro Championship drew a close in Port Elizabeth. For star rider William Oosthuizen the event marked a particularly significant moment as he received the first national title of his career.
Oosthuizen was recruited by the Husqvarna crew at the start of 2018. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and came painfully close to winning the E1 Championship, finishing right behind Kyle Flanagan in second place. Looking back, having come so close to victory was a turning point for Oosthuizen who bounced back with determination and entered the 2019 season swinging.
“Last season was an important learning curve for me. It was my first-time racing for a factory team and coming so close to the title made me realise what I was capable of doing with their support. I came back with more determination than ever to finish the 2019 season differently,” said Oosthuizen.
The celebrations didn’t end there. PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING teammate Brett Swanepoel crossed the finish line of what could be his most rewarding season yet.
Having overcome an injury that almost ended his career, Swanepoel showed race fans that he was back to his full competitive form as he stormed to his first E2 and overall victory in almost two years. The rider has been making steady progress with every race this season and was elated that his hard work finally paid off in Port Elizabeth.
“It’s been a long, hard year. I’m over the moon with the way I’ve progressed and I’m so happy to be back to the speed and strength that I had before my accident. This wouldn’t have been possible without my family and team, who never stopped believing in me – even in the darkest times of my injury,” said a grateful Swanepoel.
The cherry on the top of what will be an unforgettable season for Husqvarna was a podium finish from Matthew Green. Having just come off a successful season of international racing, the rising star managed to secure second place in the E1 Class on Saturday.
The Proudly Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha team attended the sixth and final round of the MSA National Enduro series hosted by the Rover Racing club, with the goal of wrapping up the National Championship titles in E2, Masters and the all-important Manufacturers award.
Kyle Flanagan, “Coming into this race I knew I didn’t have to push too hard to win the championship so my goal was just to finish the race inside the top five.” Kyle took second for the day and secured the win in the E2 Category championship on his YZ250X. “Winning the E2 championship has been a lifelong dream of mine and words cannot begin to describe how much this championship win means to me.”Lloyd Kirk came into the sixth round after having contracted flu in Turkey during the Sea to Sky event and not feeling well at all. “My goal for this race was just to finish the race and stay hydrated.” Lloyd placed a respectable seventh for the day and secured second place in the E1 championship. “This has been a rather challenging season for me and I’m really happy to take second place in the E1 championship.”
Bruce May had yet another flawless day out on his YZ250FX. Bruce placed first overall for the day and took the win in the Masters championship with an absolutely flawless season leading from round one through all the way through to the final round at Rover.Denzil “The General” Torlage had a great ride aboard his YZ250X. “The course was very physical with the thick sand stealing my momentum around almost every turn.” Denzil finished the day off in fourth place and secured third place in the Masters championship. “This season was rather challenging but I remained injury free and consistent,” Stated Torlage.
“An awesome team performance resulting in excellent results for the day. Managing the event, Yamaha also become the overall National Championship Manufacturer, yet to be confirmed, for the year,” says Peter Wilkins- General Manager of Yamaha Motorcycles.
Thank-you must be expressed to all sponsors for their support throughout the 2019 racing year: Bidvest, AMP, Shoei, Acerbis, RK Chains, Progrip, Yamalube, GYTR, PSP Racing, Metzeler Carbontech and Hayward Suspension.
To preserve the company's heritage in Europe, Yamaha Motor Europe has launched its Yamaha Motor Collection Hall. Racing heroes, Yamaha Motor Europe management, motoring journalists and key figures from the motorcycle world were in attendance, 25th September last, to mark the official opening of the hall, containing the Yamaha Motor Europe Collection.
The collection marks Yamaha Motor Europe's efforts to preserve both the racing and production history of the brand, containing a broad spectrum of significant machines from 1961 to the present day. Present alongside the historic consumer products are an impressive selection of fabled racing machines, whose histories are littered with success, from the early days of Dakar, to the tarmac tracks of the Grand Prix Championship. Stephan Peterhansel's 1991 Dakar winning Yamaha YZE750 can be seen alongside the 2009 World Superbike Championship dominating YZF-R1 that Ben Spies took to victory in his maiden year on the world stage. Motocross fans can enjoy many legendary race machines, including Stefan Everts 2006 MX World Championship winning Yamaha YZ450F, and an evolution of that machine that kept up the victory achievements, Adrien Van Beveren's 2015 l'Enduropale du Touquet winning YZ450F. The Yamaha Motor Europe Collection also provides a unique insight into Yamaha's development past, with the 2007 MT-03 concept on display, along with icons from the past, including the 1961 Yamaha MF1, 1969 YL1 and the 1968 YAS1. Add in the 1986 XJ650 Turbo amongst many others and the collection is truly a feast for a two-wheel enthusiast.
Racing legends from Yamaha's on- and off-road history, including Giacomo Agostini, Christian Sarron, Stephan Peterhansel and Stefan Everts were present at the launch alongside Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis, YART Yamaha EWC Team Manager Mandy Kainz and Yamaha Classic Racing Team founder Ferry Brouwer. Eric de Seynes, President Yamaha Motor Europe N.V."The Yamaha Motor Europe Collection Hall is dedicated to the memory of our past in racing, and to the memory of what has revved the heart of our customers. A "home" for our iconic models and it has two vocations: first to inspire our engineers and designers in their process of creating future models, and second, support the credibility and the emotional value of our novelties, in the respect of our past creations."
The Yamaha Motor Europe Collection Hall is not open to the general public. The collection units will be travelling around Europe and can be viewed at various shows and events organized by the national Yamaha Motor distributor.