Master Bike 2007

Master Bike 2007

Ten years of full throttle

Since 1998 the Spanish colleagues of the magazine Motociclismo have been holding a racing party. And more participants than ever before accepted the invitation to Jerez this year to choose the fastest production motorcycle.

When 16 editorial offices from all over the world send their fastest testers and racers to vote for the fastest sports motorcycle, then it is clear what is going on: Master Bike. Full throttle, no slack swaying around the curves.

Fuchs, Mamola, Chambon, Penzkofer, Guareschi, Riba, van den Goorbergh ?? the list of pilots who compete either in the service of the manufacturers or for magazines, some to get set-ups, others to get lap times, is as long as illustrious. In addition, a group of more or less experienced test editors. They come from Australia, Japan, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Greece, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, England, Germany, Portugal.

What began ten years ago as an intimate, small, full-throttle party has now blossomed into a global event and shows the importance of the master bike. Even if Honda officially did not want to provide a test motorcycle. But sooner or later we get them ?? all. And so 13 machines including two Hondas competed in Jerez ?? and 18 riders to choose the fastest bike.

But before the apocalyptic horsemen attacked the route and the material, two days of hardworking hands were at work. It took a good 50 men to prepare. 26 motorcycles, two of each type, need to be taken care of. Refuel, measure, weigh, change tires. And of course test bench runs. Trust is good, control is better. If nature or the series distribution meant something particularly well with a little motor, outliers are quickly sorted out. Then all machines move to the Parc Ferme. end of working day.

Tea next day is all about looking for the perfect set-up. Just before nine. The pit gates creak like drowsy eyelids, and the air in the pit lane is still pleasantly cool. The mood is correspondingly happy and impatient. Mostly at least. Kawasaki’s Supersport World Cup crack Pere Riba, who is responsible for voting for the Greens, has been stuck at the airport since four in the morning? without luggage. And Rico Penzkofer, who is supposed to pull the cable for the MOTORRAD sister magazine PS, got tangled in a monster traffic jam in France. Somewhere between Le Mans, where the day before he was still on the road for BMW in the World Endurance Championship, and the Paris airport, where his plane has long since taken off. "I can ?? puke …", so his frustrated management report via SMS.

Unaffected by this, the hustle and bustle on the slopes is already in full swing. A Ducati 1098 and an MV Agusta F4 312 R. The competition between the Italian factories has always been
its own explosiveness, a matter of honor.

Ex-GP professional Jurgen Fuchs, at the start for MOTORRAD, is trying to get on a green branch with a ZX-10R. "Nothing fits there," he gasps after his return. "I feel ?? no grip condition, hit ?? no corner, and it’s rocky too.” So there’s still plenty of work for the Kawasaki crew, who, with wrinkles on their foreheads, push the tens into the box and beg for Pere Riba. Not the only construction site that day. Rebound and compression levels click from soft to hard and back again, the rear and front sections are raised and lowered in search of maximum traction and steering precision.

A search that is not made easier by the street-legal Continental Race Attack, on which all machines are deployed. They do offer good grip. But when dancing on the very last groove, there are also very special driving characteristics, for example in terms of steering behavior and feedback. And pilots find it hard to get used to. The fact that Fuchs undulating an Aprilia RSV 1000 in the gravel bed shortly afterwards is more likely to be due to the 2.6 bar air pressure in front, which the mechanics overlooked. It shouldn’t be more than 2.1 bar.
Shortly afterwards there is again dust. The Spaniard Óscar Pena is also lubricated over the front wheel with the GSX-R 750. Rider okay, except for a few bruises and broken honor, bike is a bit more battered. "It starts early this year," grins photographer and master bike veteran Markus Jahn, surprised.

It takes some time before the drivers begin to pull the gas more freely. Jurgen Fuchs, meanwhile, with a dusty leather suit and an undamaged Triumph 675 regains confidence. "Everything works on the thing, you can even trust the tires," he beamed. Tell me something about butterflies in the stomach when flying low over the curbs. Hair-sharp along the sward, back there, in an ultra-fast double right. And disappears into the MV box. "Well, what is the air pressure at the front?" He greets the mechanics. Apparently the right one. He puts on his helmet and burns out onto the slopes with the MV.
Time is running, the shadows are getting longer. Ducati head tester Vitto Guareschi has the 1098 raised at the front and lowered at the rear in search of traction. And Kawasaki is studying that for lack of test drivers
ZX-10R set-up from the MOTORCYCLE comparison by Calafat earlier this year.

Apparently with success, the expressions relax. And finally Pere Riba arrives. Hey also looks satisfied after his rounds. Red flag, it’s over. The session is over, the training time is over. One last check of the machines, fresh tires for everyone? Did Continental bring 130 sets, ten per motorcycle? and then there are only three days left to fight the clock. The search for the last tenth of a second, this small, elusive monster can finally begin.
The conditions for this are perfect the next day. Not a cloud in the sky, hardly any wind, 19 degrees early in the morning, the knives are being sharpened. The motorcycles are divided into three classes: Supersport, Japanese and Italian Superbikes.

It all starts with the 600 super athletes. Tea rules: All 18 pilots drive five laps on each motorcycle. After every three rounds there are new tires. The decisive factor is not a quick chaos lap, but the average of the six fastest lap times. Just as important for the rating: how many drivers achieved their personal fastest time on a motorcycle. And finally, the drivers rate each motorcycle using a points system. Only everything together gives the final grade. Sounds complicated, it is. But ultimately, only the stopwatches are of interest. Especially since only the six fastest drivers compete in the final, which ?? logo ?? is ridden among the winners of the three classes.
All of a sudden, racing fever spreads. "Like the pre-start," jokes one.

Randy Mamola, meanwhile, demostratively swallows cough syrup and speaks verbatim about a bad cold. Nervous? In any case, racing professionals are only human.

The flag falls, the first pilots move out. Twenty seconds apart. After all, it shouldn’t be a race. Mechanics, drivers and testers pounce on the pit wall like iron filings on a magnet. And in the blink of an eye you won’t find a single stopwatch. Tea drivers have five laps to squeeze out the maximum.

That works well until shortly after the first tire change. Then there is work
for the Triumph crew. While fleeing from the red lantern in the drivers’ standings, the Brazilian colleague was caught by gravity and handed the Daytona over to the Spanish gravel. Fortunately, the damage is kept within limits, the 675 is fit again in no time. After all, the mechanics have taken precautions in such cases and have a magazine ready for the usual fall parts and, in the worst case, a replacement motorcycle.

The interruption therefore only lasts for a short time, but there is already a threat of new adversity. The Spanish sun seems to have decided with all its might to cook the asphalt of Jerez soft on this day. Almost 30 degrees air temperature, 50 degrees track temperature. That makes every road tire melt under racing stress. At the end of the turn, the tire technicians measure a borderline 85 degrees on the treads of the rear wheels.

Everyone who doesn’t have to drive has long since withdrawn into the boxes and surrounds the freezers with drinks. Ex-Supersport world champion Stephane Chambon seems to leave that cold. This little bundle of energy with all kinds of nonsense apparently has a lot of fun with its Supermoto roots. With the rear tires whimpering miserably, he lets the machines slide adventurously across the end of the home straight while braking.
But regardless of how the Japanese barrel organs are pressed, it doesn’t help. The three-cylinder Triumph gives them a juicy rubdown. It was in the air after last year’s victory that she could win her class. That it would be so clear right away, not. Eleven pilots alone do their fastest lap on it. And ManU beats Milan in the Champions League. "Now England has two weeks to celebrate," grins Trevor Barton, model developer at Triumph.

The second fastest, the Honda CBR 600 RR, was only four tenths behind her. That surprises then. Just like the last place the Suzuki took. Despite the phenomenal slipper clutch. The unanimous opinion was that the engine was too weak. While the Honda is best of the rest with its great engine and powerful brakes, despite its much too soft chassis
the R6 and the ZX-6R, which are too dependent on speed and restless in the braking zones, with their blunt brakes ?? "Wooden brakes" noted Michael Neeves dryly ?? take a seat in midfield.

Shortly afterwards, the pit lane is like being in the school yard when there are classwork returned. Victor Gancedo, the organizational head of Master Bike, holds a stack of papers in his hand. “The evaluations, gentlemen.” In no time the lists are out of stock, manufacturers, drivers and journalists gather in small groups, heads are put together. “Why do we have so few points … How fast were they? Show me, it can’t be … "Hardly anyone is in the mood to jump into the saddle again for photo, film and DVD recordings. So please, life is not all about full throttle, gentlemen, in front of the lenses . In addition, rain is announced for tomorrow.
And really, cool and cloudy the next day begins. Instead of sunglasses and shorts, sweaters and turned up collars are all the rage. Brief change to the plan: no photo drives, but lap times pop, whatever works. It will be exciting, the Japanese superbikes are in the starting blocks. Radio paddock trades the GSX-R 1000 as a favorite. "Maybe the R1," ponders Randy Mamola, while the bold GSX-R 750 ?? she is allowed to get involved in the 1000s for lack of suitable colleagues? certainly allow outsider opportunities.
The Honda Fireblade, on the other hand, is not really on the watch. Wrongly. Because it not only flies around the course as fast as the much more powerful ZX-10R, but five pilots also manage their personal fastest lap on it. In addition, it receives brilliant reviews for its problem-free nature, its balance, which brings the Honda in second place ahead of the Kawasaki. Despite a lot of traction on the rear wheel, the green gives away this space, mainly due to declining brakes and an extremely unhappy seating position. “The biggest problem with so much power is finding support. Go for a quick lap,
But much too strenuous in the long run, ”complains Chambon.

Nobody has any problems with that on the R1. Like the Honda, it posted five fastest laps, but with 1.53.6 minutes it put three tenths of a second between itself and the pursuers. The Yamaha will no longer take victory in the prestigious 1000 category. And the Suzukis? Beaten off at the end. The GSX-R 1000 can only save two tenths of a lead over the 750. Half of all
Pilot is even faster with the 750 than with the 1000, which lands at 1.54 minutes.

“Not faster? Yes, lick me. “Jurgen Fuchs has no words. “It felt good. It’s also great fun. Relaxed sitting, precise feedback, handling, braking performance, everything is right. ”But the grip on the rear wheel doesn’t fit at all. And that just takes time.
That was the first bang of this event. In the meantime the sun has reported back and the drivers have to work an extra shift to catch up on the photos that were postponed from the morning.

The last day. Two finalists have therefore been determined. The third will come from Italy. The day of the Italians begins with the appearance of a Japanese woman. The shock absorber of the GSX-R 1000 got rid of all damping overnight. The tail hops helplessly up and down on the spring. It remains to be seen whether the strut began to weaken during the time trial. However, no driver complained about the shock absorber, and the mechanics didn’t notice anything when changing tires.

In any case, it is not possible to drive the laps again. The conditions are not comparable with those of the previous day, the competitors would rightly demand the same for themselves. And time and tires are simply too short for that. So this is how the Italian phalanx rolls to the start. Ducati and MV Agusta have upgraded properly. Does last year’s winner Aprilia have anything else to order? The subject is dealt with relatively quickly. Because the pilots lack the ultimate trust in the front tires, hardly anyone hits the fast corners with ultimate consistency. What was the absolute strength of the RSV last year and with which it was able to make up a lot of time, its incredible cornering speed, is missing. And thus every chance of victory in your group. "Last year the Ducati suffered a lot from the tires, this year the Aprilia, maybe that is a balancing act," says Jurgen Fuchs.

So will the Ducati 1098 with its impressive engine save the twin honor? The tension is palpable, mechanics, company representatives, everything is dancing restlessly on the pit wall. But the Duc is also subject to the MV Agusta. The F4 R 312 is much faster around the course, and ten drivers set their personal best with it. The Ducati just pulls brutally at the exit of the curve, which brings the rear tire into trouble time and again. In addition, the tail-heavy set-up brings losses in handling. Nevertheless, the drivers give everything. Oriol Fernández, the fast Spaniard, bends with the knife between his teeth onto the home straight, tears the tap open and, despite his hindquarters, he resolutely loads the next gear. Still, it’s not enough. "You mean that was a slide? "He grins afterwards," you should have seen me two curves before, I was already hanging next to the box … "

However, driving fast on the MV is not that easy either. Because "in connection with the tires, their behavior at the limit range is somewhat common at the rear," admits Jurgen. In return, the engine goes according to the flag, the fork works perfectly, the rear only wobbles slightly when braking. “This thing is just too big for me, I can hardly get hold of the handlebars,” Stephane Chambon jokes. And pushes afterwards with a mock expression of suffering: "Please don’t do another five laps on the MV." Jurgen, as always well trained and in top shape, shows the first signs of fatigue. "It’s getting tough." Sweat drips from his nose. After all, the cracks have almost three days of full throttle in their bones.

So on to the final: Triumph D.aytona 675 against Yamaha R1 and MV Agusta F4 R 312. First Chambon moves out with the MV. And does not return after two laps. A little later it rolls along
dusty wheels to the pits. "Tea thing just didn’t brake properly anymore, so I’m straight ahead. "A statement that made the MV mechanics quickly disappear into the pits and check everything. Findings: negative. So the second pilot moves out with her. And finished his rounds as planned. Then it is Oriol Fernández’s turn. He comes back after the penultimate lap with a truckload of gravel in the fairing keel. "That thing just didn’t brake properly, so …" Yes, off to the gravel. In the meantime, the R1 has completed its program and added a few more briquettes in 1.52.9 minutes. It is no shame that Triumph cannot counter this. After all, their lap time drops again by 1.8 seconds compared to the preliminary round. With which she occupies much more than an extra role. And Jurgen Fuchs ?? Summary ?? "In terms of chassis technology, there is currently no other bike on this level" ?? may well be viewed as an accolade.
Because Stephane Chambon, of all people, is not the fastest pilot yet
has completed a sufficient number of laps on the MV, the Frenchman may move out again with the replacement MV.

This time everything is going well. And a head-to-head race develops
between F4 and R1. The hand-stopped lap times do not give any clear information. First the result from the electronic timekeeping: The R1 can take home the Blue Ribbon with an average of 1.52.9 minutes. However, the MV is only slightly slower at 1.53.0. And because four of the six final riders achieved their personal best with the R 312, it is the winner on points and thus Master Bike 2007. The thing about the brakes? Doesn’t count here ?? that’s racing. MOTORRAD stays tuned, however. A matter of honor.

Master Bike 2007

Ten years of full throttle

Supersport 600

No other received as much praise across the board as the Triumph 675. Deserved class win for the three-cylinder. “The worst thing about her? The color. “Stephane Chambon sums it up. "Fan-tas-tic." It’s not just the French who say.

Japanese superbikes

Despite average brakes and moderate feedback from the forehand, the Yamaha R1 fought for the finale with fine handling and a lively, powerful engine. The Honda shows that performance is not everything, but a balanced overall package is all the most important. And this is where the Kawasaki and Suzukis fail.

Italian superbikes

All three have show talent. But in the end, only the stopwatch counts. The exhausting MV Agusta dominates despite its narrow limit area on the rear wheel with its elegant fork, very good braking stability and its biting, powerful marching engine.


The Triumph Daytona 675 cuts an extremely good figure in this final. But there is simply a lack of power compared to the superbikes. Nevertheless, this time the fastest does not make the race. The R1 is a blink of an eye, a tenth of a second, in front of the MV. But it tipped the scales in favor of the Italian: most of the drivers were the fastest on her.

The mean of the three fastest lap times in the finale gives the best time for each motorcycle. The time points are calculated from this. The driver points are calculated from the number of drivers who have achieved their fastest lap on a motorcycle. To do this, the drivers rate the motorcycles using a points system. It all adds up to the total number of points. So the MV gains more points in the best times per motorcycle than she loses by being one tenth behind the R1? and wins.

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