The Yamaha YZ450F motocross replicas

Following on from David Philippaerts' recent MX1 world title win, Yamaha have announced the 2009 specification YZ450F model. Only 100 bikes are being produced for the European market.

The YZ450F includes a larger diameter 25mm rear axle and a four-way adjustable handlebar position, and weighs in at 108.3kg.

Valentino: my toughest title win

Valentino Rossi won his sixth MotoGP title in Japan yesterday - then claimed that it will be even more difficult to win a seventh next year.

Quotes from the BBC article:

Valentino Rossi said his 2008 MotoGP title win was more difficult than his five previous triumphs, but warned that "it will be more difficult" next year.

"I think I have put more effort than in other years in trying to win the title. It was a long season with a lot of battles - next year is another story."

Victory at Motegi - his fifth straight win this season - ensured Rossi wrapped up the title with three races to go.

He won the 125cc and 250cc crowns before taking the 500cc/MotoGP elite class crown from 2001 to 2005, but Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner were champions in the last two seasons as Yamaha struggled.

"It was very important that I learned to lose in those two years. I have become stronger," Rossi added.

"I was focused on the target all year, but Yamaha did a great job with a great bike, the Bridgestone tyres worked very well and I think we deserved the championship.

"It was a great fight this year with Stoner, he was a great rival and very difficult to beat."

Famed for his post-race celebratory stunts, Rossi celebrated his eighth world title in total with a t-shirt saying "Sorry for the delay", referring to his two-year wait for a win, and also a reference to his recent troubles with the Italian tax authorities over unpaid bills.

Now aged 29, Rossi is under contract to Yamaha for two more years and is showing no sign of quitting just yet.

"I think I have some important goals in the next two years. I'll try to win more for Yamaha," he said.

"I have never had a problem with motivation in my career."

Bikers left out of pocket as UK government delays new test

It seems the new motorbike test has been delayed for six months by the DSA, who say the postponement will allow them to make the test available to more locations. Bikers who paid £80 to take the new test will now be set the old, £60 test - but will not be refunded the £20 difference.

Here's the story from BBC Newsbeat:

Bikers' groups have told Newsbeat they're being ripped off over the new motorcycle test. The tougher exam was meant to start on Monday but has now been put back six months. Despite this, the cost has already gone up from £60 to £80.

Thousands have booked in and paid for the new test.

Now they'll be sitting the old one but won't be refunded the extra £20 they stumped up.

Dave Sharp is from the Motorcycle Action Group. He said: "I think it's appalling that riders who are perhaps short of money are not going to be refunded.

"It would make a big difference to those individuals and I think it's totally unethical."

The Driving Standards Agency denies that bikers are being ripped off.

It insists the cost of taking the test was going up anyway and isn't linked to the introduction of the new exam.

But Dave Sharp still thinks it's unfair.

He said: "Twenty quid on a motorbike's a full tank of petrol.

"Depending on the bike, it might get you up to 120 miles, so it is a significant amount of money. It's a nice little earner for the government."

Malcolm Palmer also discusses this at his blog today, and here is the MAG response.

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The team

Kawasaki ZX 800cc Apr '02 review

Spotted this review by JoJo on UKB...

Having owned a Bandit 250 for 2 years (and a CZ before that), I felt it was time for an upgrade. I'd ridden other larger bikes but there was something about the Ninja that appealed. Now I own it and I have to say it really is perfect for me. Almost. The handling is solid as a rock. The bike is so easy to control - if you want to ride slowly, it's easy. If you want to go fast... it's even easier.

Bottom end and mid range power is surprisingly strong, but the bike is an absolute blast 7k upwards. The power, coupled with the induction roar makes me smile everytime. Weight is barely more than my old 250, and the handling seems even quicker in the turn in. And it looks the nuts too.

Strengths: Performance, looks, parts availability, fuel economy.
Weaknesses: Some corrosion in annoying places, yellow Ninja decals on blue paintscheme.

The all-new Ducati Monster 1100

Ducati today officially announced the new Monster 1100 and 1100S bikes - in their words:

"a family that redefines the naked motorcycle and stakes its claim as the new icon of Italian excellence"

The 1100 weighs 169kg (the S version is one kilo less), and features removable single seat covers and neat micro-bikini fairings. Both bikes deliver 95hp at 7500rpm, and torque of 10.5kgm (79.5lb-ft) at 6000rpm.

Any thoughts?