Track test: Masterbike 2007

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Track test: Masterbike 2007


Track test: Masterbike 2007

Track test: Masterbike 2007
The fat booty of madness

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Just on the slowdown lap at the 24-hour race in Le Mans, then already on the express way to Jerez. Racing all-rounder Rico Penzkofer definitely didn’t want to miss his first masterbike. A week of emergency, pumped full of adrenaline. And with a happy ending.

Matthias Schroter


No, that just couldn’t go well. A classic rookie mistake. Paris is a huge traffic jam, especially on a Monday morning. Paris connoisseurs know that. Outside everything was planned meticulously: a direct flight from Paris to Seville, from where the friendly colleague Behr immediately follows the ragged long-distance hero Rico Penzkofer

Jerez would have chauffeured onto the GP track. If, yes, if Rico hadn’t got stuck in this traffic jam. Who could have guessed that the factory BMW would actually last 24 long hours? That there could actually be something to celebrate afterwards?

So a very happy Penz reaches the location of the tenth edition of the Masterbike at least as late as without a shower and also quite exhausted. The class-winning sparkling wine from Le Mans sticks to him? metaphorically speaking ?? still in the hair. There, Penz drove an almost historic race with a very special boxer in the service of the aforementioned motorcycle works from the Bavarian capital.

In Jerez, this success is only marginal. Much more important: Rico missed the training day, couldn’t get used to the demanding route and, above all, to the 13 partly very different motorcycles. “After the Le Mans marathon, I wouldn’t or couldn’t have driven much on Monday anyway”, Penz puts the problem into perspective. ?? I’ve been to Jerez before. I can remember exactly. I just don’t know for sure when that could have been. ?? In short: he takes it calmly. He’s been in business long enough. In addition, he is not the only one who is behind in training: Randy Mamola, GP legend, and Stephane Chambon, ex-Supersport world champion in early retirement, also reach Jerez late.

The competition is stronger than ever. Old hands like Mamola and Jurgen Fuchs, hardened by many years in the Grand Prix business and many years in the masterbike; the top dogs. In addition, very young and wild, such as the 23-year-old and lightning-fast Alessio Aldrovandi from Italy, among others in the Supersport World Cup. A masterbike novice. Like Penz.
The ancestors greet such newcomers in a fair and friendly manner, but with a noticeable distance. The subliminal message arrives quickly: ?? Guys, nice to have you with us. Nobody was waiting for you here. Everyday racing driver

Track test: Masterbike 2007


Who will it be? Which country does the gold medal go to??

Wrong world for Rico

Tuesday April 24th. Day 1. Traditionally the supersport day. Everything starts something
sedate. 9 a.m. meeting on the racetrack, briefing, sipping sloppy instant coffee (Amigos, as a side note: a real shame for Spain!), Small talk. It starts at 10am. ?? All the riders, please! ?? For years, colleague Victor from the Spanish sister paper Motociclismo has been the friendly, but if in doubt, very determined master of ceremonies. Rico still has time. He is a blank slate, therefore not with the fastest six, the laws. They always start with new tires. He doesn’t, has to queue up at the back, sometimes in the second, sometimes only in the third turn. Then the tires have already exceeded their maximum. He’s waiting for his first turn, his first five laps with the Honda CBR 600 RR. Highly praised, highly decorated. Test winner. On the way to making World Supersport history. Rico probably doesn’t care a lot about that at that moment. He drives awkwardly, cautiously. And makes switching errors. No wonder: he has been in first-up mode for years? reversed circuit diagram. The day before yesterday burned into the hard drive for over eight hours at Le Mans. The fast guys are out of reach. He’s not in the fastest six. His time with the Honda is not used to calculate the average lap time. But he doesn’t really care. ?? Fine motorcycle, super-comfortable, engine has a lot of pressure out of the middle. Plus great handling. But much too soft for my driving style. So for me nothing to drive fast ??, his first, still very tight judgment falls out.

That differs greatly from those of his 17 colleagues. Apart from the lap times, tastes are very different. Jurgen Fuchs and Rico are with them “Riders Points”, the personal driver rating (10 for the best, 0 for the worst property rating, for example brake or seat position). So it’s fair that this very personal assessment only counts 20 percent of the overall rating. Ultimately not decisive, cosmetic results. What really counts, what decides about victory or disgrace, is the mentioned average of the fastest six laps and the deviation from this. This should be as low as possible, otherwise in the worst case there will be 0 so-called “Time points”, Points in time.

Track test: Masterbike 2007


A festival for fans of slopes.

Penz lies across

The Honda is doing well. Surprisingly good. But she too must face the overwhelming triumph Daytona 675 give up. 11 (!) Personal bests, one of which is contributed by our hero from Bohlen, speak for themselves. Even if things are traditionally incredibly close in the super sports class: the bottom line is just 7 tenths of a second between the winner and the last, the Suzuki GSX-R 600. The Englishwoman dominates almost at will. It goes without saying that Penz has his IDM motorcycle at the top of the rating slip. He loves the inherently high, front-facing seating position and the high-torque three-cylinder. Basically everyone likes it. Although Rico misses the last bite on the 675 in the upper speed range. He’ll find it at the Kawasaki ZX-6R. It did it to him. Pressure in the boiler, tuned tight enough. That’s how he likes it. “If there’s a fast man on it, it’s a real weapon”, he pays the Greens respect. It didn’t help her much: just before the Suzuki GSX-R 600 she ends up on the penultimate place. It doesn’t help that the handling of the Suzuki is highly praised, that the horsepower man has absolutely nothing to complain about it. Too little standard pressure is immediately reflected in too many tenths of a second on the stopwatch.

Highly traded in advance, their extreme performance characteristics in combination with only average braking stability is also the Yamaha YZF-R6 to doom. Although it was consistently designed for the racetrack from the start, it could have scored points with even more cornering speed. But the men and a fast lady, the Spaniard Eva Blánquez, take it easy in the corners on the first day, because the day before some people paid for an overly optimistic turn-in point with slips.

Conti Race Attack

This year the masterbike organizers have allied themselves with Continental as the supplier of the standard tire. Conti Race Attack is the name of the official tire. A rock-solid, street-legal sports tire with loads of racing genes. But not a pure-bred reindeer. The Conti specialists were well aware of this. But firstly, the Masterbike specification for tires is always based on the attribute? Unrestricted street legal ?, secondly, Markus Klass, Conti front man in Jerez, would have liked to have had thoroughbred Race Attack in different mixtures in his luggage. However, since the adventure of building racing tires is only just beginning in Hanover, there were no 50 mm cross-sections available for the rear wheels of the thick 1000 series, but only the 55 mm variants that are more common on the racetrack. The dimensions would not have corresponded to the original equipment of most superbikes.

The standard Race Attack, on the other hand, liked the above-average asphalt temperatures on the first day of the test at the peak above 50 ° C ?? not 100 percent. By no means with dramatic effects, but ultimately this circumstance led to the lap times ?? and who is this event primarily about ?? were below the level of the previous year.

A point that primarily concerns professional racing drivers. Everyone deals with it in their own way. Jurgen Fuchs, ambitious and nasty fast as ever, even completely changed his driving style. From ?? round and very oblique ?? on? hard on the brakes, briefly flip it and straighten up again quickly, while being on the gas? Penz, on the other hand, had one thing in mind above all: drive as fast as possible, yes, but for God’s sake don’t fall on your face. After all, his personal highlight of the week was on the program: the IDM season opener at the Lausitzring (see also page 88). Colleague Fuchs, on the road for the sister paper MOTORRAD, was motivated by this in the evening with a beer after work: “Now I’m ironing the official PS-Racer again this year.” Penz countered casually: “Jurgen, old man, you have nothing more to lose either.”

Track test: Masterbike 2007


An intense week in which there was a lot to see and hear.

Man or coward?

The super athletes are also very traditionally the starter. The superbikes follow on the second day. The matriculation examination. The lap times of the driver field differ a little more clearly. Favored, how could it be otherwise, the new models Suzuki GSX-R 1000 and Yamaha YZF-R1. Or play the hoops of the highly traded GSX-R 750 in the cards? Totally wrong. The 750, the 2002 masterbike winner in Almería, goes down with waving flags. Zero chance. Even if the gap to the 1000s is not great; only 8 tenths are missing. After all, there are three personal bests on record, but the three-quarter Gixxer is mercilessly sorted into last place. Too little pressure. And also too cool. The Contis like lower temperatures much better, the lap times go down in unison, the faces of the drivers brighten. A tough fight breaks out, everything seems possible. The Honda CBR 1000 RR gives a terrific farewell performance at the masterbike. Oldie, but Goldie. You are the wide, fluid radii in Jerez. There is a lack of power at the top, but in the middle it plays well. A sensation is in the air. Unofficially, the R1 is just ahead, the semi-illegal cell phone stopwatch timekeeping service lets know from the pit wall. And that’s how it is. The Yamaha mechanics are in each other’s arms. Disappointed faces among the guys from Kawasaki Germany, who bring finely prepared motorcycles to the masterbike year after year with great commitment. Your bomb-powered ZX-10R was missing the last bit of luck. Her lap times average is identical to that of the Honda, but the number of personal bests decides against the Greens. She becomes an honorable third party.

The Suzuki crew, on the other hand, is almost emotionless. Although the drivers praise the fantastic engine of the Gixxer across the board, some of the top drivers miss traction when accelerating out. The next morning the 1000cc Suzuki stands lonely and rather sad in the pit lane. She wanted to give everything, for sure. But she probably couldn’t show everything. As it turned out on the evening after the superbike test round, the shock absorber of the GSX-R was defective. No rebound damping noticeable. In retrospect, it is difficult to find out whether the defect already occurred during the test drives. The fact is that Rico almost at the end, at the end of his turn, also with ?? old ?? Tire, at least was able to do a high lap of 54, but also complained about a lack of grip on the rear wheel. In any case, a lot of bad luck for the Suzuki.

Due to time constraints, it is not possible to repeat the GSX-R 1000 laps. “It would also not be fair to the others,” says head of organization Victor. Reproducible. No comparable external conditions are a convincing argument at such an event.

Italy, you are better off.

Sometimes anyway. Day 3. Eagerly awaited. There is always an extra portion of passion in there. Three Italian superbikes are on the program. Penz ?? Eyes sparkle. He earned a lot of respect from his colleagues the day before and is qualified for the final of the six fastest racers. That means promotion to the Champions League? and fresh tires.
He’s pretty disaffected with his turn on the Aprilia RSV 1000 R Factory back, last year’s winner. Doesn’t help him. Doesn’t help her. She is experiencing a disaster. They act overwhelmingly Ducati 1098S, which Penz attests to never having felt V2 power, and his personal favorite, the MV Agusta F4R 312.

Almost traditional, too: There is probably no other manufacturer that takes the masterbike as seriously as the small luxury forge from Varese. In the past two years there was already a sensation in the air. 2007 again: With its uncompromising chassis and a powerful, hoarse roaring four-cylinder, the 312 carries 10 drivers on their personal fastest lap in this field. Despite the great performance, the Ducati crew only has to congratulate them in a fair sporting manner.

Track test: Masterbike 2007


A dangerous tightrope act.

The big showdown

Day 3 is dragging on. Before the final freestyle, there is a compulsory exercise on the program, the photographers insist on their right: photo trips. One of them is sitting there as if on hot coals: Rico Penzkofer. At 8 o’clock in the evening he has to catch his flight in Málaga, 230 kilometers away, no matter what the cost. The first IDM training session is scheduled for Friday morning at the Lausitzring. So with a heavy heart he foregoes the final. Colleague Nunio Oliveira from Portugal is moving up and is very happy.

The showdown. A duel between Japan and Italy. England is fine: Aside from any chances of victory, the Daytona 675 uses every lap for a carefree run. Incidentally, Stephane Chambon falls in love with the Englishwoman and is eagerly planning to retire from the Supersport World Cup. Between the Yamaha and the MV Agusta, a duel unfolds on a knife edge. With consequences: The Italian’s front brake system fails twice; no pressure point, no braking effect. The adventure ends twice with palpitations in the emergency exit. The replacement motorcycle is used. Not every observer sees this uncritically. Especially not because of the story with the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 shock absorber. Ultimately, it is at the discretion of the organizers. In principle, the regulations do not provide for any sanctions in such a case. It happens as it has to: almost, but ultimately an MV Agusta deserves the masterbike title for the first time. May the braking problems cast a shadow over victory; Overall, the 312 is convincing. It doesn’t help the Yamaha YZF-R1 that it turns the absolute fastest lap of the finals. In terms of personal best times, the 312 is four to two. There is nothing to be said about that, after which masterbike titles are awarded. Has also internalized PS hero Rico Penzkofer. His first appearance in Spain was a lot of fun for him. “It was a great honor for me to ride with people like Fuchs, Mamola and Chambon. Randy is my former idol, after all.” Former? “Yes. Until Mick Doohan came. “Incidentally, Penz actually caught the flight without any problems. He then got his very own happy ending at the IDM run at the Lausitzring. Ultimately, no wonder: Compared to the entire Supersport field, the racing Saxon had an undeniably clear training advantage after the 24-hour race in France and the demanding interlude in Jerez.


Rico Penzkofer: “It’s a great honor for me to race with racers like Mamola, Fuchs and Chambon.”

“Mon Dieux. Next year I’ll be back to the World Cup. With the triumph. Then shit eush shut the fireplace!” Stephane Chambon

“Estoy amorada with this penz. Smells so animal. And this wonderful BMW station wagon.” Eva Blánquez

“Desperately looking for a helmet for my big face. Please contact Oriol Fernández. Thank you!”

“I gave Penz-san my miracle gloves. Will now be German champion.” Kei Nashimoto

“This was my last trick, but the next one will follow soon.” Super penz

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