Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Road Racer X Tuesday Conversation: Blake Young

Road Racer X's Tuesday's Conversation with Dainese' Blake Young.

Blake Young was a 2009 newcomer to both the AMA Pro American Superbike class and the Rockstar/Makita factory Suzuki team, but that didn’t prevent him from making the podium four times, placing top-ten at all but three races, and finishing sixth overall in class points. His superbike foray impressed many in the paddock and gave Young a chance to learn from riders like Mat Mladin and Kevin Schwantz. We asked the Wisconsin native for his thoughts on his rookie season.
Brian J. Nelson photo
Brian J. Nelson photo
Was the season harder than you thought it would be?
The season went really good for us, I think. As far as if it was as hard as I thought it was going to be, I think working with a new team, a new crew chief, and being back on Dunlop tires…. It was a lot, and I think it was a pretty good season having had all that stuff thrown at us.
It was your first year on a factory team; how would you describe that experience?
You know, there’s obviously a really high level of expectations to do well over there. The Yoshimura team has been winning numerous championships and it was a relief to get over there and see how it works, and to start working with some of the guys. It was one of my goals last year to ride for a factory team and now that I’m here, one of my goals is to hopefully win a championship for them. Now that Mat is gone, the expectation will be even higher for me to do well.
How was working with Mat, and do you wish he’d stuck around for another year?
Yeah, absolutely, it was great and it’s kind of a bummer to see him go. I think that only being able to ride with him and be his teammate for a year, there was only so much I could learn, but I definitely still learned a lot. I wish that I had been able to learn a lot more, and I would have liked him to stick around another year, for sure. Racing against him was good, and having him there was really speeding up the process of learning as quickly as possible how to win the superbike championship.
What did you learn this year?
It’s hard to place a finger on one thing, but one thing that I learned from Mat is how to be a champion off the racetrack. I think that if you look at Mat, there’s really nobody else better out there in our paddock that has won seven championships.  He’s probably one of the best teachers to have riding on the same truck, so to speak. It’s a big honor.
Brian J. Nelson photo
Brian J. Nelson photo
How did you get along with the ’09 factory GSX-R1000?
It’s great. We got a new bike that came out this year, but we didn’t get on it right away. We had to go three races on the 2008s, but once we did [switch to ‘09s], it was great. Suzuki always puts out a bike that keep getting better and better. We had kind of an up-and-down season working with it, but I think that things will only get better for me.  There were a lot of firsts this past year, things that I won’t have to go through next year. So, I’m looking forward to testing on the bike this November.
What kind of goals do you have for the 2010 season?
For next year, it would be to win a superbike race, and then to win a whole lot of them, and then a championship will come with those wins. I’d like to definitely pick up the ball that Mat has left behind and run with it, and hopefully keep that championship streak going for Suzuki.

AGV Dainese stars shine at WSBK Imola

What an incredible World Superbike weekend at Imola! Both races saw amazing racing throughout the field with strong battles for the podium spots.
This was a first for AGV Dainese's Marco Simoncelli who was replacing Nakano on the Aprilia RSV4. Marco showed that he's very much ready for the move to the big bikes of MotoGP. Marco came back from about 11th to 4th in Race 1 before he low-sided and crashed out of the race.

In Race 2, Supersic started around 10th, coming back on the leaders mid-race to battle with Dainese teammate Max Biaggi and Yamaha's Ben Spies for the 3rd, celebrating his first podium in WSBK, at "home" in Imola. Congrats Marco, bellissimo!!

The Roman Emperor wasn't on top form at Imola too. Max lead most of Race 1, racing Ducati's Haga and Fabrizio. Biaggi took 2nd in Race 1, passing Fabrizio in the last corner.

Great weekend for the two AGV Dainese boyz!

WSBK standings after round   of  :
Haga - 391 pts
Spies - 388
Fabrizio - 330
Rea - 263
Max Biaggi - 257

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dainese MTB returns at Interbike 2009

We are back with a completely new MTB collection, including lots of gravity protective apparel, new XC and Freeride as well as an intro to road cycling.
With such a line (distributed in the US by BTI), look for a stronger Dainese involvement in MTB racing, DH and more.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Marco Simoncelli test Aprilia RSV4

Marco tested the Aprilia WBSK machine yesterday at Mugello, will he race the WSBK round at Imola?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Making of Valentino Rossi's 'Donkey' Helmet

Cool video found on www.twowheelsblog.com about Drudi and the team working on Vale's "Donkey" helmet for Misano.

Pics of Joanna Petterson's World Cup season

Congrats to Jojo Petterson for her podiums and great effort this season, representing Dainese on the MTB circuit. Here's a few pics from some of her best races.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

OTT Video: Kevin Schwantz Rides His 1993 Suzuki RGV500 During The MotoGP Weekend At Indy

Kevin Schwantz took his 1993 500cc World Championship-winning Suzuki RGV500 on a demo ride at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP weekend.
Dan Lo of CornerspeedPhoto shot some pics for the absent OTT video crew.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jason Primore racing the 73rd Bol d'Or at Magny-Cours this weekend

American Dainese racer Jason Pridmore of STAR Motorcycle schools is racing the famous 24 hour Bol d'Or. Photo from today's practice.
For the 2009 AMA Pro Racing season Jason was riding the National Guard Jordan Suzuki 2-up bike, taking guests and media representatives around the tracks.

AGV Dainese's James "The Rocket" Rispoli lands speed record

AMA National landspeed record holder James "the Rocket" Rispoli posing with his sponsor Charlie Benton of Cycle Dynamics at ground zero on the Bonneville Salt Flats!  Average Speed 149.100 MPH on a 650 Kawasaki twin!!!  Photo courtesy Philip Rispoli 
Hi everyone;

What insanity!  I just finished my mile race at Indy and hopped in the van to head to St. Louis to catch a morning flight out to Salt Lake.  You see I had a date with a ten foot black beauty and a chase for a new landspeed record.
I was tired but quite excited at the same time.  The flight was non-eventful as we rented a car and headed out on 80 west.  This is an all familiar road I had just traveled on a few weeks earlier on my way to Lodi Cycle Bowl. This time however the race discipline I was about to do was one I never tried before. The bike, was one I never sat on, and the record, one that stood tall for a lot of years.  My dad flew out with me and I was going to meet up with my sponsor, Charlie Benton, an incredible guy and someone who believes I have what it takes no matter what I do.  Charlie is a quiet guy but an engineer who not only can build an awesome motor but is a world class fabricator as well.  He built the bike in his work shop in North Carolina and start to finish it took him three months.  In those three months Charlie kept me and my dad up to speed on the development as well as the testing.  Charlie was concerned about the stability of the bike and personally performed the initial tow in airport runs as well as the power runs with a stock motor.  It wasn't until he was satisfied with the bikes handling that he gave me the OK that we were going to Bonneville 100 percent.

When we arrived at the hotel I rested and prepared myself for the next morning.  It was 5 AM  when the alarm went off and we headed down to meet Charlie and Jim his helper in the lobby.  It would be our morning meeting place for the next four days. We headed out to the salt flats which were several miles away and waited till 6 AM when they released a line of cars, trucks and rigs out on to the salt.  It was amazing as we followed each other out for what seemed like 10 miles until a small city of  trailers, trucks and cars started to appear in the middle of the salt bed.  The sun was just coming up and I was in awe of the whole thing.  My dad, who was driving was flipping out because this was the first time he was ever at Bonneville.  I had a chance two years earlier to be part of a team that built the record breaking NASCAR machine so some of this was familiar.  All and all it was cool because for the next (4) days I would be on the salt with over 250 other record seeking competitors from (8) countries from around the world.

We checked in and I went to the riders meeting at 7 AM.  I stayed a little afterward so I could ask some additional questions and then I headed out for a short walk around the pit area.  I went over to Chris Carr's BUB number 7 pit and Chris gave me a some input about the salt and what it was like to ride on it.  It was helpful but his streamliner vehicle is way different then what I was about to do.  After our little chat I headed to my pit and worked with Charlie and my team to ready our bike.  In about an hour later we were on line waiting our turn to head down to the zero starting point.  We chose to go on the "run what you brung" short course first so I could get a feel for the bike, the shifting points as well as a feel for the salt before I went all out for a record.  When it was my turn to go out I staged and awaited the green flag.  Once I took off it was incredible as I headed down slowly shifting trying not to spin up the wheels and eased it into higher gears as I went along.  I ended the first run at a speed of 136 MPH without trying and the bike was as stable as a rock.  I was mentally ready to do a record run.

The team was excited that we did so well without really trying too hard and we brought the bike back and readied it for another run.  At Bonneville you can make as many runs as you can, as long as you get in line and wait your turn.  Sometimes it would take 2-3 hours of sitting on line before you got a shot at a run, so getting in three or four runs a day is about as good as it gets.  That makes for a long day and at times a frustrating one as well, especially if you get close to a record, but don't go over it like I did.

We set up for the second run on the AMA short course and got the call to the line.  The bike and I were ready and I headed out.  I went through the gears clean but had a head wind that I could feel start to push me around a little bit. I steadied the bike and headed through the time traps. My time was 143 MPH and the record for the 650cc class I was in was 147.471.  I thought I did everything right but the top speed escaped me.  We adjusted some things on the bike and went out one more time getting to 144 MPH before we called it a day.

Our second day on the salt went as good as our first.  We did a total of (4) runs and came as close as .001 MPH to the record but just couldn't get over it. It was crazy and I was starting to feel this whole record thing might be a silly idea.  On Thursday we all vowed we would get it and made some gearing changes, and actually took some components off the bike that were hanging out in the wind, maybe adding some extra drag.  It was our third run on Thursday when I got a start with almost no wind, and the salt was really starting to get hard from four days of sun.  My down run got us over the record with a 148.250 and I was super excited, however a record is not real unless you can back it up the opposite direction.  The problem was it was already 5 PM and the course shuts down at 6 PM.  We had an hour to prepare our bike and make a run the opposite way on the course with a speed above the record again.  This was getting close and we all rushed around to get everything in order.  We drove the bike down the other end of the course and waited our turn.  When we got the OK to go I was a little nervous since this was the first time all week I was on this course and the salt felt a little different since not that many bikes went on it.  I took off and squeezed the throttle and went through the gears being careful not to spin up the tires.  I got the bike up to full speed and shifted into sixth gear as I went through the mile marker.  I came out the other side and new from my speedo and tach that I backed up the record.  The official speed was 149.950 MPH and I couldn't have been happier. We stayed around for Thursday and were going to test to see if we could break the partial streamline record as well which stands at 152MPH.  We did one run at 151.500 MPH and then called it quits.

I want to say it was an incredible week of land speed racing.  The salt is like nothing you ever raced on before, and their are so many factors that cause you to lose a little speed here and a little speed there.  I found that we need to think through tire spin, cross winds and its effects on my distance to the finish line and drag.....that funny thing that slows you down fractions of a second all the way through the mile markers.  I also can't thank my friend Charlie Benton enough for thinking of me when he thought he wanted to go for a land speed record.  Charlie and I won the Daytona Moto-ST when I was just 16 years old and now at 18 years old we have a land speed record together as well.  I look forward to working on new projects and challenges Charlie comes up with and promise I will do whatever it takes to continue to put us in the record books. At the end of this season I promised Charlie I would autograph the helmet I used to break the record and give it to him to place with the bike which will eventually end up in a museum for sure.  Also, a huge thanks to my dad who helped worked through the details and coordinated this week long event. I love you!

 Till next time...do what I like to do GO FASTER...  

James"the Rocket" Rispoli

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dainese and Gore make new leather suit for Valentino Rossi

 Dainese and Gore, the manufacturer of Gore-Tex, have partnered again to produce The Doctor's new race suit: Leather, vented, water-proof! Outstanding display of technology for the 2 manufacturers.
Rossi used the suit for the first time during the British MotoGP.

Italian version at motociclismo.it

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kevin Schwants rides 500cc again!

Kevin Schwantz went around the Indy track riding his 1993 World champion 500cc bike again. For this celebration  of Kevin's title and years in 500cc GP, we made a replica suit of his 1993 leathers. Pretty cool.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2009 U.S. Red Bull Indy MotoGP Highlights

Kevin Schwantz on track at Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP

Kevin Schwantz on track at Indy with the BQR's Moto2 during the Moto2 exhibition. You will note the Dainese's Laguna Seca leather suit in platinum color. Although a custom-made 1993 replica suit was built for Kevin's parade lap on his 1993 500c GP bike, he decided to use this off-the-shelf suit for the Moto2 ride.