by Dr. Iain Corness
Zero to 100 clicks in 2.5 seconds - and it’s a motorcycle
Kawasaki Ninja H2
According to Kawasaki, they have just unveiled a motorcycle that is so fast even
daredevils are wondering if it is too powerful.
With a design inspired by Formula One motor racing cars and a supercharged
engine that uses aerospace technology, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 covers from 0 to
100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.
It can accelerate as quick as an F1 racing machine - if riders can hang on to it
- because the supercharged engine has almost as much power as a Volkswagen Golf
GTI hot hatch, but the Kawasaki Ninja H2 weighs barely one-fifth as much as the
The supercharger technology is so sophisticated it has been banned from
international motorcycle racing since 1946, but has returned to a modern,
road-going motorcycle in the search for more power from smaller engines.
The Ninja H2 is expected to comfortably overtake the previous titleholders of
the world’s fastest bike including the Kawasaki Ninja ZX14-R from 2012, the
Ducati Diavel from 2011, the Yamaha VMAX from 2010, and the Suzuki GSXR-1000
The official slogan “built beyond belief” may also go down in history as the
most honest in advertising; even Kawasaki admits the Ninja H2 is “not for
everyone, nor is it designed to be”.
When it comes to performance the Ninja H2 is so powerful Kawasaki has fitted a
range of electronics that limit power to enable it to be ridden safely in wet
weather or in slippery conditions, as well as a “launch control” mode to get the
The brakes are bigger than those fitted to a mid-size V8 sedan.
Contrary to expectations, the motorcycle insurance industry in Australia is not
up in arms over the supercharged superbike.
“There are already motorcycles on the road that can accelerate at racing car
levels and many that can do more than 300 km/h,” said Swann Insurance research
manager Robert McDonald.
“Generally most motorcycle owners only use these speed capabilities on organized
track days. There are also many cars on the road currently that can do more than
The insurer said it was important to note the Kawasaki Ninja H2 had the latest
available safety equipment, including intelligent anti-lock brakes, as standard.
“We don’t anticipate higher than normal claims rates with this motorcycle
compared to other high-powered sports bikes on the road,” said Mr McDonald. (Mr
McDonald has obviously not see the way they ride motorcycles round here, but the
purchase price will be beyond almost everyone here.)
Kawasaki Ninja H2
Engine: Supercharged 998 cc in-line four-cylinder
Power: 154.5 kW at 11,000 rpm (210 horsepower)
Torque: 140 Nm at 10,000 rpm
Weight: 238 kg (ready to ride)
Brakes: 330 mm discs (front), 250 mm (rear)
0 to 100 km/h: Less than 2.5 seconds (estimated)
Top speed: 299 km/h (electronically limited, but racetrack H2R version can reach
What did we learn from the Brazil GP? Or do you have to be nuts?
Well, we learned that Rosberg has the mental strength to
resist Hamilton and that the two Mercedes drivers are streets in front of the
opposition. And when I write “streets ahead” I mean it. Third placed Massa
(Williams) was 41 seconds behind the Mercedes duo.
The battle at the front was interesting, without being nail-biting, quite
frankly. It was obvious that Hamilton could catch Rosberg, but was never so
close as to make a pass anything but optimistic.
Massa was given a five second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, and at that
point it looked as if the diminutive Brazilian’s hopes of a podium were dashed.
However, he recovered and continued, and then survived going into the McLaren
box instead of his own, but this was probably because he couldn’t see over the
dash? Whatever, it was a very popular podium for the Brazilian crowd.
With the driver pairings at McLaren still not made public, Jenson Button, now an
old man in F1 terms, has been trying very hard and has bested his team mate
recently, and his fourth place was the result of an intelligent drive. Whilst
Kevin Magnussen has done a sterling job, he has been eclipsed by the very
experienced Button, and if one has to go to make the place for Alonso, results
would say to keep Button. However, how much does Button think he is worth,
compared to how much he will accept?
Vettel, who is off to Ferrari next year, had a steady drive without being
switched on at all. He seems to be just stroking it home and ready to say
goodbye, if he hasn’t done so already.
Alonso put in his normal 110 percent drive, but it was noticeable that the
Ferrari pit wall did nothing to help him when he was bottled up behind
Raikkonen. If they had made Kimi move over Alonso could have challenged Button.
Fernando is no longer the shining light at Maranello.
Raikkonen woke up for Brazil and tried for the two stop strategy, which almost
worked. How will he go next year with Vettel alongside? I predict it will be
back to sleep again. Enzo would not have put up with such flouting of the
The last driver on the same lap as the leaders was Nico Hulkenberg in the Force
India, coming in behind the two Ferraris. When will someone give this driver a
What was noticeable was the lack of penalties for having four wheels off the
racing surface. There was one particular corner where everyone was cutting off
the apex with all four wheels off the racing surface. Stewarding not consistent
Finally, tyres again. With the soft tyres not lasting, most drivers had to come
in and change for the more durable compound after only five laps. Race rubber
that lasts five laps? Give me a break, Mr Pirelli. That is ridiculous.
So the WDC goes on to the final race at Abu Dhabi with the very contrived points
available for the last GP of the year. Hamilton is in the box seat with a 17
point advantage, and he only has to finish one place behind Rosberg and the
title is his. With the Mercedes dominance, it is almost a foregone conclusion
that they will return with a 1-2, which again gives Hamilton the title, even if
he is second.
So now we go into fortune telling mode, trying to work out who will have the
best car for 2015, and who will be sitting in it? Looking at this year, you
would have to say that Mercedes has the best platform to work from - but we
During the three month layoff, the powers that be (read B. Eccles) and the FIA
have to work out what to do about the dwindling number of teams being financed
by the dwindling number of sponsors with dwindling purses. The free lunches are
well and truly over, gentlemen.
Toyota steamrollers the others
Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s largest auto manufacturer, is looking at a
record full year profit. How much? $17.5 billion. This represented a 3.3 percent
increase. Total sales for 2014 is estimated as 10.22 million vehicles.
However, Honda claimed 19 percent profit, but Nissan trumped them all with a 25
percent half year increase in profit. Some of the increase in profits has come
from the lower Japanese Yen in the money market, making exported cars relatively
The marketplace in China remains a problem for the Japanese automakers, as the
anti-Japan sentiment is still strong, while the total Chinese market has slowed
(as has the Thai market).
It will be an interesting time ahead for the local vehicle and parts
Mazda MX-5 one make series
Mazda has announced that the upcoming fourth-generation MX-5 will form the basis
of a new global race series starting in North America, Europe and Asia in 2016.
The track-prepped MX-5 racer was previewed at this week’s SEMA show in the US,
with the show car wearing a discreet aero body kit, single outlet exhaust and
larger wheels than the road going example revealed in September.
The interior has also been stripped out to make room for a race-spec roll cage,
steering wheel and instruments, along with a racing seat and harness for the
What is shown may not be the final form that takes to the grid in 2016. Further
development will occur over the coming months, with the final specifications
confirmed when the car goes on sale in 2015.
Mazda has confirmed that the Global MX-5 Cup racers will use the 2.0 liter
Skyactiv-G petrol engine destined for the road car in some markets.
Each regional series of the Global MX-5 Cup will run identical production-based
machinery, and the season will culminate in with a Global Shootout grand finale
at the end of the year held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the US.
The prize for winning the Shootout will be a one-day test in Mazda’s Skyactiv-D
LMP2 prototype racer, which competed this year in the Tudor United SportsCar
Championship in the US.
Single-make global series like this are not new, with Porsche’s Carrera Cup
running in Asia for a decade and in Germany since 1986. However this is Mazda’s
first tilt at a factory-backed single-make series.
Previously, their involvement has been limited to the US-based MX-5 Cup and Spec
Miata series. There was also an MX-5 Challenge held between 2011 and 2013, which
pitted motoring journalists from Australia and Europe against each other in
conditions not typical of the topless sports car. It was indeed a snow
challenge, and I would have certainly put my hand up for that one, as I am a
great fan of the MX-5, having had one as a daily drive car for three years.
They also make very good track cars with Brian Farrabee, a friend of mine in
Australia, running a fleet of older MX-5’s as rent-a-racers.