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15 drivers, 13 motorcycles ?? At the annual showdown of the best sports motorcycles, this time World Championship driver Max Neukirchner was supposed to go hunting for lap times for MOTORRAD. It turned out differently.
Sunday, April 24, 2005, 2 p.m., Circuit Ricardo Tormo near Valencia. First race of the third round of the Superbike World Championship: Max Neukirchner starts from the second row in fourth. And falls in after a brutal highsider
the first round. It sails in a high arc through the air for more than twenty meters. The serve is hard. He bruises his back, right forearm and right thumb. Max Neukirchner, currently the most successful German motorcycle racer, gets up and kicks
on again in the second run. He brakes himself and finishes the race in twelfth place. It is anything but his day.
Damaged, he is on the same course 24 hours later and is supposed to be on a time hunt for MOTORRAD with standard sports motorcycles as part of the Masterbike 2005
walk. Business as usual, you should
say. But everything is new for Max. Because: Either he has tire warmers, open ones
Horns, slicks, around 210 hp and around
the 160 kilograms with a full tank? Superbiker ?? s Heaven, so to speak ??, or Max drives a car. The reality of the masterbike: no tire warmers, emission tests, indicators, rear-view mirrors, horn, side stand, lights and a maximum of 178 hp. One
Insane reality, nevertheless: 15 well-known motorcycle magazines from all over the world want to participate in this
Don’t miss the event and send a super-fast representative.
Tuesday morning, April 26th, nine o’clock. Not a cloud in the sky, 20 degrees, light wind. Neukirchner has his thumb in
Packed with ice, holds it tightly. The 22-year-old Saxony’s gaze wanders over the circuit. 4005 meters long. 14 curves, five left, nine right. Two slight crests. The start-finish-
It currently measures 876 meters. In the Superbike World Championship, that’s enough for almost 300 km / h
Top speed. “The best times,” sums up Max, “are on Saturday morning
fetched. The asphalt was still cool then and had a lot of grip. ”He drove there for 1.35.676 minutes and thus secured the
fourth starting place. How close are they
Production bikes at these times?
The masterbike is held in three classes: Supersport ?? four Japanese women plus one British woman between 600 and
650 cubic. By the way: hats off to that one
as small a team as Triumph wants to compete with the giants from the Far East. Maxisport ?? Or in other words: four-cylinder up to 750 cubic, two-cylinder up to a maximum of 1000 cubic. And finally the open class. Here the four Japanese 1000s duel with the Italian from the traditional MV company.
This year the performance density of the drivers is extremely high. World class level. Johan Stigefelt, a former 250cc GP rider, is supposed to pull the coals out of the fire for the Swedish magazine Bike. Kicxstart, the Dutch magazine, sends Barry Veneman. Both drivers fought for points in the Supersport World Championship on the Valencia Circuit at the weekend and, like Neukirchner, bring the bonus of fresh track knowledge with them.
11 a.m., free practice, set-up runs. First exchange of blows, first sniffing. Max knows the series machines
only from pictures. After three turns with the MV Agusta F4 1000 S he comes back
into the box: “Tachometer tuned,” he smiles. The instrument in the cockpit shows 285 km / h. “If that’s true,” says Max, “it would be
the MV in series trim is almost suitable for the Superbike World Championship. «Neukirchner hammers it Kawasaki ZX-10R as well as the Yamaha
YZF-R1 over the narrow course. His first
Assessment is hesitant: “1.40 times are possible.”
1.40s times. That would make him five seconds slower than the world’s top superbikes on a production motorcycle. You have to extrapolate that. 40 hp less. 40 kilograms heavier. Sports tires instead of slicks. Five seconds ?? Galaxies for racing drivers. Five seconds ?? Absolutely nothing when you compare the effort: a sinfully expensive bike with mouth-sucked screws and champagne-hardened gears versus a motorcycle that is waiting in the shop window of every dealer. Applied to the automotive sector, it would be as if there were only five seconds between a lowered C-Class Mercedes and a DTM car that had been tuned with enormous effort.
Misjudgment? We are excited. It turns out differently. Max can barely take off his glove. The thumb is badly swollen. The blue, which had been weakened to a delicate pink by vigorous cooling overnight, is darker than the day before. Monday morning after the start, the newcomer had his hand x-rayed. Diagnosis: nothing broken. The racing doctor on site examines the x-rays, squints his eyes and says: “The thumb is a
Part blasted off. ”He gave Neukirchner a steel rail. “Everything,” says the doctor, looking as if he had to convey a death message to someone, “everything, just don’t go on now.”
It’s over The currently best German racing driver crouches down
in a plastic chair. His gaze probes the concrete floor. In nine days he has to
at the start in Monza. Superbike World Championship, fourth run. What now? Motorbike warrior Markus Barth is flown in overnight. He will do the test job for Max.
Wednesday mornings. Supersport class. On the program: four Japanese
Speed artist against a British
Underdog. Why does triumph occur against the
Asian supremacy? “Learning by doing,” says press spokesman Uli Bonsels. »The bike that we will be competing in next year will be competitive. Not just on the chassis side. «The bike that you will come with in 2006? “Sure, three-cylinder, real pressure, great chassis. The rest will not be revealed. “
They are already competitive now. Everyone who whips the Daytona 650 across the course is completely enthusiastic about the set-up, handling, accuracy and stability of the machine. In terms of performance, the British rider has measured 109 hp
in the lower midfield. The lower limit marks the Suzuki with 103 hp. The Honda powers 111 that Yamaha 114 and Kawasaki really strong 121 hp. It remains to be seen whether the entry into the final will only be guaranteed by power. Firstly, it has to be implemented, and secondly, the fastest lap time only accounts for 40 percent of the overall rating. White-
A higher 40 percent depends on how
many riders on the respective motorcycle
set her fastest lap time
to have. The remaining 20 percent is decided by the grade point average: the meticulous and exact evaluation of the 15 riders for the respective bike.
Ready to race. The ultra-grippy Michelin Power Race is mounted on all super athletes (see box on page 22), and transponders ensure precise timing. Each driver has to complete five laps, the fastest counts. After three turns of five laps each, i.e. only 60 kilometers, fresh skins are put on. The Valencia Circuit is a technically demanding and very selective course with many tight radii. Long braking in an inclined position dominates? the direct nerve between the hand and the front tire is just as important as controllable performance.
That shouldn’t be a problem with the 600 super athletes. Because their performance does not start suddenly and underhanded, but increases like a siren. Speeds of up to 15,000 rpm are the order of the day. Of the 15 riders, nine believe that they can set the fastest lap with the Yamaha R6. It offers the best overall package without serious weaknesses. Has power in the middle, too
down and up. Sure, has more strength
the kawa. The Honda is even handier. The Triumph has the better chassis. But the intersection of everything is greatest with the R6, and that makes it easier
less fast drivers such as hobby racers and MCN man Michael Neeves, to master the course stress-free and still dynamic.
Away from prediction to reality: Ten out of 15 drivers shoot around the course with the ZX-6R the fastest. Only three with the Yamaha. Nobody sets a personal best on the underperforming ones
Triumph or Suzuki. Just one on the Honda. Why can the CBR 600 RR
not play their handiness joker? Barry “Bazza” Veneman, who slams the 600 best time of 1.44.088 minutes on the R6: “The double R is too long. The connections don’t fit, you always have to turn the cart over 10,000 rpm, otherwise nothing works. Also is
the fork is too soft. ”Sure, that doesn’t just bother professionals. For the »Lumpler« (technical term of a well-known photographer for slower drivers) applies: Here
in the super sports class, power is everything.
Zef Enauld from France: »With the ZX-6R
It is particularly easy for weaker drivers to compensate for their weaknesses, to iron out driving errors again. ”And so the 636 cm3 Kawa lands in the final.
Maxisport class: this is where the Suzuki GSX-R 750 against the two twins Ducati 999 S and Aprilia RSV 1000 R
Factory claim. But at 4:33 p.m. the engine of the 750 Suzuki goes up. Head gasket burst. Three pilots would still have to do their laps on it. Nothing works anymore. But: would the Suzuki have made it to the final? Clear no! First: the 750, like its 600 and 1000 sister, was anything but optimally tuned to the track on the chassis side. The reason: On Tuesday, the day of training, the Suzuki team left almost no one on the bikes apart from their own very lightweight test driver
ride ?? which is why the demand for a
tougher, more fair voting was not loud.
In the Maxisport class, this means that only five pilots set their personal best on the “hot tip” 750. Arne Tode, for them
MOTORRAD sister magazine PS in action: »The 750 is the worst tuned of all. Too soft at the front, much too rear-heavy overall. That’s right
neither braking points nor feedback. It would have been more. Because the engine pushes superbly, the gearbox is
top notch, and the translation goes perfectly with the Valencia course. “
Arne drives his on the Ducati
personal best time, which is also the new record for this event: 1.43.559 minutes. Eight more pilots turn
with the 999 also her top lap. The Italian diva seduces? for safe driving at high speed. The hypersensitive Ohlins chassis is perfectly coordinated and provides optimal feedback. The two-cylinder buzzes like a dragonfly, and the 141 hp can be dosed in a miraculous and drift-friendly manner. The following applies to the Duc: out of the box
the slope ?? a crystal clear hit that is actually too good for parking at the meeting point. Such an outrage should be punished with three points in Flensburg.
And how did the Aprilia fare? Pressure and feedback from Mille are also there
great, as are the brakes. What unsettles the pilots is a lack of steering precision. Markus Barth: »When you accelerate, the rear pulls itself into the spring and pops out again in an uncontrolled manner? highest highsider danger. In addition, the machine understeers. As soon as you pull the cable, the motorcycle wants to move outwards, a larger curve than planned. «Conclusion: The 999 S is in the final. Bravissimo to Italy.
Superbike class. The ZX-10R won the last Masterbike. This year the GSX-R 1000 as a favorite. “Against this weapon from today are the rest of the bikes from yesterday,” said Bazza at the beginning of the event. But after the first few meters, the advance praise crumbles because of the unsuccessful vote. The Yamaha, on the other hand, is
perfectly adapted to the course and also stands well in the feed. 164 measured PS at 12750 revs ?? Pressure in all positions. Digital for throttle position. Max Neukirchner, who was able to do a few laps on the training day: “That thing is
predestined for the best time. The R1 turns up so energetically and has immensely controllable power? some switching operations are omitted because you can simply leave the gas on. “
The Kawa is completely different. Up to 7000 rpm is knife fight. Then comes the sword. The 10er shoots off in a flash. And easily releases 167 horses at 11750 rpm. The professionals have respect. Lumpler
have tails. “This monster separates the boys from the men,” says Sam MacLachlan, the Australian. Sprinkle up, and the front wheel is already at eye level. A machine that just wants to throw you off in the first three gears ?? actual-
Lich only for experienced racing drivers.
Here is a 1000 Ballermann in a delicate, extremely handy 600 holster. However, meeting needs to be learned. Because the Kawa hits pretty hard with the handlebars every now and then.
With the Fireblade, Honda is clearly focusing on drivability. In addition, the promised 171 HP remain on the test bench only 151. It’s on the highway
»Tame«, easy-to-pilot 1000 series has an advantage because it does not stir up the potential for aggression due to performance? That means: You can drive 100 km / h without thinking that you are standing. On the track, however, that’s counterproductive. Markus Barth: »Here, on the kilometers of truth, the philosophy of the best compromises does not work. One day Honda will bring a V5 monster with 260 hp and it’ll eat out of your hand. ”He’s right. Only one driver, namely the Japanese Kei Nashimoto, sets his best time with the Fireblade. The big surprise: Six drivers punch their fastest lap with the MV F4 1000 S.
in the tar. They praise the easily controllable power output and, above all, the crisp, ultra-stable chassis that tells them in an easy-to-understand way what is happening among the Michelins? Third place in the 1000 ranking. The Suzuki is fighting its way to fourth place with its poor suspension setup, just ahead of them
Fireblade. But what’s going on at the top?
Of course, the masterbike is secondarily a test. First and foremost, however, nothing more than one thing counts: lap times. “20,000 years ago it was about who
killed the mammoth. ”Original sound from Leo Schlueter, Kawasaki’s hunting representative for Europe. “Today it’s about who can do the fastest lap and build the fastest motorcycle for it.” The masterbike is nothing more than a race with individual starts.
And turns out to be a fight between Arne Tode from PS and the Dutchman
Barry Veneman from Kicxstart. Arne burns with the Kawasaki the ?? so far ?? fastest lap time of this event, 1.42.672 minutes. He still has to drive Honda and MV. There are still two dangers for Kawasaki: Barry can lift both the R1 and the GSX-R onto the podium. All that is necessary is that
Throttle valve a little longer
leave open to extend the brake pistons a touch later.
Tire change. It is 4:39 p.m. when Barry pulls out on the R1. It suits him. Nothing has been decided yet. Arne is sitting
on the MV. Light headwind, asphalt temperature 43 degrees. We remember:
The best times were in the morning
drove, Neukirchner had said. Kawa trembles. Will Barry be able to crack Arne’s top time? He’s flying along the pit wall. Tremble. Amazement. Ask. The Spaniards only announce all times in the evening, when all subjects have been beaten over the course. Stopping is officially prohibited. But also
the act of reproduction could well be banned worldwide.
Barry drives 1.42,833 ?? a blink of an eye slower than Arne with the kawa. And moves next with the GSX-R
the end. Markus Barth predicts: »Veneman is sponsored by Suzuki and is now burning a deep 42, any bet. If he does something else, then there will be a saddle that has washed. “
OK. One could interpret it that way. The danger would also have been there with Honda driver Neukirchner. The only problem with this theory is: for three
For days the world is a circuit, only four
Kilometer long. Pulse 180, eyes open
Attack, hand throttle to victory. The laws of gravity and liability are up
Demanded to the utmost. Love, friendship and brand loyalty have returned to sleep mode. No consideration. Only respect. The mammoth is
back there. Kill it! Barry gives everything. 101 percent, prances with the Suzuki
the fine line between liability and take-off: 1.43,383, that’s all there is to it. The ZX-10R is now in the final.
Friday, 10:39 a.m. Warm up, clean visors, fill up with fuel, fit fresh tires. Now applies. It is clear that the
Kawasaki ZX-6R won’t win. It is also clear that the Masterbike will be among the two fastest riders on the Duc and the Kawa in 2005.
Quasi Germany – Holland, final. At 11.27 a.m. there is no wind. It is very warm. And it’s 6: 5 for Holland. Let’s go.
Arne Tode increases from lap to lap on the 999 S. Ultimately punches
an incredible 1.42,436 for the Reds from Bologna in the annals. A time that no longer seems to be undercut. green
is alarmed. Because Tode warned of brilliant performances on the Kawa: »The ZX-10R is for hard rockers. I, on the other hand, want to waltz. The 999 S suits my well-rounded driving style: wide curves, high cornering speed, slides are perfectly controllable. «Arne goes out, gives everything ?? and falls on the third turn. The prohibitions-
Usually hand-timed times are unreliable. Was he actually a hundredth faster with the Kawa than with the Duc? Are the 1.42,315 correct? Or did the finger tremble?
All eyes are on the Dutchman and the stopwatch. Can the time of the German be topped at all? Barry is excited. Why did Arne fall? Arne: »I’m on the second left
the curbs came and had extreme kickback. From steering stop to steering stop. That pushed the brake pistons back, I’m on the next bend
to, I pumped two or three times into the void, then suddenly the brake is full
seized. The fork locked, the front wheel is folded in, and I’m straight ahead into the gravel at 160 km / h. “
It is 12:51 p.m. when Barry meshes with the ZX-10R. He breathes deeply, doesn’t seem so relaxed anymore. “The ZX is way too nervous,” he says. »It should be possible to hit a super-fast time within five laps, a lap in which everything fits, no handlebars hit, your rear wheel only slips in a controlled manner. Five quick in a row is almost impossible. ”The animal, sure. But we already had that.
Barry pulls through. Again she has
ZX-10R convincing arguments to oppose a new record. The Dutch give 100 percent. Maybe even two more. And lands gently in the gravel bed in the fourth turn. His best time: 1.42.774. This makes Arne Tode the fastest rider at the event with a lead of around four hundredths and the ZX-10R is the Masterbike of the year for the second time in a row.
And what does Kawasaki say about that? Leo Schluter: “Our development goal was to design an uncompromising bike that would knock everything down on the racetrack. We achieved that. ”Thanks for talking to us. But next time with a steering damper, please.
Buy complete article
15 pages) as PDF
Supplied for the masterbike 2005
Michelin all bikes with the Power Race. There are three different mixes
Medium, Medium Soft and Soft. Depending on
The tire is mixed in what is called
2CT process (Two Compound Technology), a development based on the
MotoGP sport comes from. The lap times of the Masterbike were exclusively on the
Medium Soft, a single-compound tire with just one mix of front and rear wheels. This one has on throughout
works perfectly on all bikes. It gave the drivers an optimal feeling for the limit area. Slides were very easy to control,
the guidance of the front wheel almost perfect.
The Power Race made an excellent impression, especially with the extremely strong braking maneuvers in an inclined position. In addition, it shone with its neutral, manageable steering behavior and enormous grip.
Max Neukirchner takes the reader with him on his round
Max Neukirchner takes the reader on his tour (total length: 4005 meters).
At the end of the start-finish, there are around 290 km / h, hard braking, then 180 through the first left, the fastest corner there is on this circuit. Because Valencia is actually a stop-and-go course. Brutal braking on the Doohan corner (1). She is approached sharply? Highsider danger. In the following slight left bend
hold inside by the curbs. The following applies to the narrow right (2): drive in late, get up very early ?? if you can, you should then take the curve in drift. She is ideal for that. Take a lot of momentum into the long left turn that follows? Drive in late, accelerate out sharply. Otherwise there will be no momentum for the straight. the
The following links (3) are marked with approx
Drive through 160 km / h. At the end of the straight, professionals arrive at around 260 km / h and stay inside. The following sector (4) actually consists of three different ones
Radii, but is passed through in one. Because: Who here several times
erects to correct course, loses time. Attention: hilltop ?? Risk of front wheel slides. In the middle of the next right bend, take the gas back slightly and then enter the tight right bend (5) late.
Let it drift very far to the outside and then drive out again very sharply. Do not stay too long in an inclined position, but straighten up quickly and then accelerate. Lots of speed on the straight
take, prepare for the long left-hand bend (6) in the following right-hand bend.
It’s insidious, has a crest where you can slide quickly over the front wheel and has very little grip on the rear wheel. Now it’s a little downhill, very sharp
Take the last left before the start and finish to take all the momentum with you on the straight.
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