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Archive for May, 2014

10th to 1st: Marquez Wins French MotoGP @ Le Mans

18 May

Photo: Dorna Communications

MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) produced another masterclass at Le Mans to win from pole again, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) also on the podium.

Marquez produced a fantastic fight back after an early mistake to lead by a second on lap 16 having been 10th on lap one. Rossi demonstrated his competitiveness again to lead for several laps in the first half of the race but ultimately could not hold off the rampant Marquez.

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Whilst Rossi achieved his tenth premier class podium at Le Mans and his 150th in the top category, Marquez became the first rider to win five successive premier class races from pole since Mick Doohan in 1997.

Meanwhile, it was Bautista’s first podium since 2012 and a great reward for the determination he has shown since his three DNFs at the start of the season.

An excellent ride from rookie Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) saw him hold off Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) for fourth. Pedrosa appeared to be riding in significant discomfort after recent arm pump surgery.

Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished three seconds behind Pedrosa in the unfamiliar territory of sixth for the 2010 and 2012 MotoGP World Champion.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) recovered from his recent arm operation for seventh, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) also in the top ten.

Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) crashed on the first lap after contact with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), only for the Italian to go down shortly afterwards. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) was also an early crasher, though none of those three were seriously affected by the incidents.

1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
3 Alvaro Bautista Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RC213V
4 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
6 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
7 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda RC213V
8 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati GP14
9 Aleix Espargaro NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
10 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
11 Cal Crutchlow Ducati Team Ducati GP14
12 Scott Redding Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RCV1000R
13 Yonny Hernandez Energy Ti Pramac Racing Ducati
14 Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
15 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R
16 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport PBM
17 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
18 Broc Parkes PBM PBM
19 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing Avintia
 
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Marquez Demolishes Lap Record By Taking Pole for French MotoGP

17 May

MGP235Photo: Dorna Communications

Marc Marquez broke Dani Pedrosa’s six year old qualifying lap record (achieved using qualifying tyres in 2008) on nearly his first flying lap in this session. Throughout the session Marquez looked the picture of measure and calm, slowly getting off the bike in the pit lane, walking–not rushing–to his mechanics. Back on the bike he lowered his lap time until he was nearly in the 1:31s and more than a half second faster than anyone else. Marquez’s slowest lap in the qualifying session was still faster than any of the riders, even Pol Espargaro’s 2nd place couldn’t come close to the World Champion’s first blistering lap.

1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:32.042
2 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 1:32.734
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati GP14 1:32.755
4 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda RC213V 1:32.846
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 1:32.873
6 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 1:32.899
7 Alvaro Bautista Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RC213V 1:33.006
8 Aleix Espargaro NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:33.015
9 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:33.023
10 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 1:33.058
11 Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing Ducati 1:33.102
12 Cal Crutchlow Ducati Team Ducati GP14 1:33.315
13 Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R 1:33.859
14 Yonny Hernandez Energy Ti Pramac Racing Ducati 1:33.999
15 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:34.203
16 Scott Redding Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RCV1000R 1:34.233
17 Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R 1:34.457
18 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R 1:34.880
19 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing Avintia 1:35.499
20 Broc Parkes PBM PBM 1:35.795
 
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Nikon Announces AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

14 May

NIKON Corporation has unveiled its latest addition to lens line-up – the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR; which is the company’s very first Nikkor super-telephoto lens that comes with a new SPORT Vibration Reduction mode.

As per Nikon’s tradition, each new high-end Nikkor comes with a long name designation, and the new 400mm is no exception. E stands for Electronic, FL for Fluorine-coated (an idea copied from Canon’s) and the usual ED and VR for Extra-low Dispersion and Vibration Reduction.

AF-S 400mm f2-8GVR

Crafted to deliver precision at any speed, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and advanced optical features, this lens is ideal for news and sports photographers who demand no less than exceptional sports and press images. Lighter and more rugged than its acclaimed predecessor, the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR frees professionals and passionate shooters to capture the thrill of sports, action and wildlife with staggering clarity and precision, even when shooting handheld in challenging lighting conditions.

A fast f/2.8 maximum aperture paired with Nikon VR technology delivers exciting new low-light capabilities and beautiful bokeh, while a specialized diaphragm maintains consistent exposure during high-speed shooting. Pro-grade dust- and moisture-sealing and a fluorine coated front meniscus glass element protect the lens’ superb Nikkor optics on tough assignments while Nikon’s advanced lens technologies give you every advantage for catching the shots that matter.

 
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Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM & EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lenses

13 May

EF 16-35mm f4L IS-USM

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is Canon’s first ultra-wide L-series lens to feature image stabilisation. The lens’s optical structure includes two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) elements to minimise chromatic aberration. Super Spectra Coatings reduce ghosting and flare, while fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements prevent dust and water drops sticking to each element. The newly-designed IS system features a number of additional improvements, including gyro sensors for greater accuracy in traditional shooting or when capturing panning motion. The EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM will be available from June 2014.

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is a new ultra wide-to-wide zoom for DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors. Offering a 35mm equivalent focal range of 16-29mm, the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM features both a UD lens element and a range of optimised lens coatings, as well as a quiet STM focus motor, 4-stop image stabiliser and a circular iris diaphragm. The EF-S 10-18mm IS STM will be available from May 2014.

Canon Press Release on EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM & EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lenses

Canon today introduces two new high-performance, wide-angle zoom lenses to its EF range – the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM and EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. Designed for experts and enthusiasts, the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is a professional quality L-series lens, offering exceptional performance throughout the zoom range. The compact and lightweight EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is for Canon’s consumer range of APS-C sensor EOS DSLRs, and ideal is for people who want to expand their view and get more into each shot – with both optical IS and STM technologies helping to deliver consistently sharp and crisp wide-angle stills and HD movies.

High-precision, high-performance, wide-angle view – the  EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
The EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM provides greater versatility for professionals and keen enthusiasts who regularly capture wide-angle perspectives – such as landscape or architecture photographers – or those who typically shoot in confined spaces. The lens offers wide-ranging flexibility, with first-class optical construction and a fixed f/4 aperture providing clear, sharp results even in the most challenging situations.

The new EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is Canon’s first ultra-wide L-series lens to feature Canon’s signature optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, which offers a four-stop advantage over non-IS lenses and helps to ensure that shots are always captured with precision detail. The newly-designed IS system also features a number of additional improvements, including gyro sensors for greater accuracy in traditional shooting or when capturing panning motion.

First class optical technologies and design 

Photographers can quickly achieve focus using the powerful, fast and silent autofocusing (AF) performance of Canon’s pioneering ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM) – ideal when shooting in AI Servo AF mode. Complete control over image composition is also possible using the lens’s full-time focus ring in manual and AF modes, giving photographers the freedom to fine tune focus on demand.

Designed to deliver the highest image quality, the lens’s optical structure includes two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) elements to minimise chromatic aberration and eliminate colour blurring. Super Spectra Coatings reduce ghosting and flare, while fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements prevent dust and water drops sticking to each element. Photographers can also enjoy beautiful background blur and bokeh thanks to the lens’s 9-blade circular aperture.

The lens’s exterior is optimised to provide exceptional ease-of-use and professional performance. The high-grade design includes a compact and lightweight shape that’s comfortable to hold, whilst providing intuitive access to the zoom and focus control. A leather-texture coating also provides a professional feel.

EF-S 10-18mm IS-STM

See more, capture more – the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
The new EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is the ideal lens for people looking to widen the range of their existing kit and get more into every shot. The lens’s impressive ultra-wide 10-18mm focal range provides the freedom to capture a diverse range of scenes, from holiday snaps of vast, sweeping landscapes and cityscapes, to wide group shots in confined spaces at parties and celebrations. Using Canon’s expertise in optics, the wide focal range is packed into an impressively compact and lightweight lens, which can comfortably fit into kitbags, or even small handbags and backpacks when travelling.

Consistently sharp and steady handheld results are provided by a four-stop optical Image Stabilizer. Additionally, Canon’s STM technology ensures high-performance AF when shooting stills, and near-silent AF when capturing movies. Combined with EOS DSLRs that support AF during movies, STM technology provides fluid continuous focus, ideal for tracking moving subjects, and providing smooth transitions as focus shifts between subjects. Quiet focusing also prevents unwanted noise interfering with movie soundtracks, ensuring that recorded sound is both crisp and faithful to the original scene. The EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM features both a UD lens element and a range of optimised lens coatings to deliver outstanding image performance at all focal lengths.

 
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Nikon Cameras Win Honours in TIPA 2013/14 Awards

08 May

Nikon-TIPA-2014Nikon Corporation has won 4 Honours of Europe’s 2013/14 prestigious Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Awards : ‘Best D-SLR Entry-level’ for the Nikon D3300, ‘Best D-SLR Professional’ for the Nikon D4S, ‘Best Rugged Camera’ for the Nikon 1 AW1 and ‘Best Premium Camera’ for the Nikon Df.

 
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Spotted: 3 Miss Astro/Chinese International Busy Texting

07 May

It is not very often you come across 3 beauty queens having fun at the same time during a public appearance, and that’s exactly what Miss Astro/Chinese International pageant winners for Year 2011, 2012 and 2013 were snapped in a candid moment doing what most people everywhere have been pre-occupied with – texting with the smartphone.

MissAstroTrio

They are (L-R) Denise Tan (Miss Astro 2012), Zhiny Ooi (Miss Astro 2013) and Lenna Lim (Miss Astro 2011). They were among the local celebrities invited to grace as well as taking part in local designer Keith Kee’s Spring/Summer showcase held in conjunction with Paradigm Mall’s annual Fashion Week 2014.

 
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All-New Shell Advance AX 5 Lubricant for Scooters

06 May

SCOOTER owners will be happy to know they now have a new option in lubricant for their bikes with the launch of the Shell Advance AX 5 oil, made especially for motorcycles with automatic transmission.

SHELL-AX5-GALS

No worries, though despite its space-age designation, it won’t launch your scooter to orbit when it is used on the bike. Neither will it give your scooter a turbo boost or something to that effect. It just does what it is designed to do – smoother auto gear transmission and superior engine protection.

The new Shell Advance AX 5 is a 15W 40 scooter lubricant that is designed to protect scooter engines operating in high-stress, stop-start city commuting environments. It features Shell’s innovative technology that promises reliable oil performance, better control via smoother gear changes and higher enjoyment through a low vibration and quieter ride.

The Shell Advance AX 5 15W 40 Scooter Oil completes the Shell Advance line-up of motorcycle engine lubricants available in the Malaysian market. It retails for RM21.50 per 800ml pack in Peninsular Malaysia and RM22.00 for Sabah and Sarawak.

ADVANCE_4T_AX5

 
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First Ride Onboard the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

05 May

SOLO-08

I have heard a lot of Kawasaki’s title-winning Ninja ZX-10R superbike even before Briton Tom Sykes won the 2013 World Superbike (WSBK) Championship. Today happened to be my first ride on the Ninja ZX-10R and I took it for a spin with a distance of nearly 250 km (planned route) but abandoned it after heavy clouds start to form in the horizon at the areas where the ride’s final segment is located. The Ninja Zx-10R reigns supreme over its 3 Japanese rivals in the same class in most comparison (up to 2013 models) tests done by motorcycle magazines elsewhere but great as it is, it still lose out to the Continental brands’ models, namely Aprilia’s RSV4 Factory and BMW Motorrad’s S1000RR & HP4, all of which are also 1,000cc machines that can be used for WSBK racing.

SOLO-09All 3 bikes (except HP4) are street versions of their respective WSBK homologated units, cramped with electronics to make riding safer for bike enthusiasts, such as Traction Control (TC) and engine mapping/power levels. The HP4 go one step further by providing electronics adjustments to the suspension system when the bike is used on different types of tarmac. The Ninja ZX-10R’s electronics are tame in comparison with what HP4 has but it does most of the work quite efficiently. It has 3 levels of power mapping – Full, Medium and Low. Its KTRC has the usual Level 1 (Sport/Track), 2 (Intermediate) and 3 (Wet/Slippery). Level 2 is more touring and city riding while 3 is for rain and wet tarmac after a downpour. It is also effective for roads which tend to be slippery due to dirt and early morning, misty atmosphere. The Ninja ZX-10R is very compact, and nice to ride. It is very agile and quick on twisty roads. The only limitation is since it is a sports bike/WSBK special, it can be quite tiring after 90 minutes of riding continuously as its seating position and handlebar distance mean the rider has to crouch when riding, unlike a sports tourer or naked sports.

Fully electronics system like what the HP4 offers is nice but a true rider will want to have some aspects of riding in his control, and the ZX-10R provides that. Like the 2013 Ninja ZX-636R and the 2014 Ninja 1000, the KTRC system can be switched off, and you can rely on your own “TC” (read: right hand throttle control) when negotiating the corners at high speeds. Today’s ride was mostly set to Medium Power and KTRC-2, and this combination is already fast and agile. After the late evening thunderstorm, it was set to Low Power and KTRC-3 for the journey home from Seremban.

It is still too early to gauge its fuel consumption (FC) as it’s only the first day of riding. And the bike was already filled-up with approximately 14 or 15 litres of RON95 when I collected it from Kawasaki Motors Malaysia. After 147 km of mileage, the fuel gauge started to light up and the LCD speedometer began flashing “FUEL” replacing the mileage number. The bike has a 17-litre tank. The bike’s sensor indicates an FC of approximately 15.3 km per litre (at cruising/touring speed) – 10 litres are good for 153 km of mileage, and 260 km to the last drop of fuel!

Today’s route started right off from KMM HQ into Persiaran Jubli Perak in Shah Alam and headed straight to Kesas bike lane for the ride all the way till the Langat/Banting exit near Klang. From there it was all the way till the Y-Junction where right turn was to go to Banting and left was to Jenjarom, Dengkil, KLIA, Cyerjaya and Putrajaya. I took the left turn as the Dengkil/Kajang highway was part of the planned route. Once there, the next road was B48 passing thru Salak Tinggi and Kg Jenderam Hulu before taking a tour into Taman Enstek and Kota Seriemas prior to Kg LBJ in Felda. From there, it was to proceed to Seremban town via Jalan Sg Ujong, and towards Mantin, Lenggeng and Broga towns thereafter. After reaching Seremban, the remaining routes were abandoned as thunderstorms already lashing the areas where the last 3 towns are located.

SOLO-10

 
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Marquez Clinches First Ever Win in Jerez Circuit

04 May

Photo: Dorna Communications

A huge crowd of more than 117,001 fans saw Spaniard Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) take a fourth premier class victory in a row at the Gran Premio bwin de España, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) also on the podium at Jerez.

MGP234

With victory in the south of Spain in his 100th Grand Prix Marquez becomes the first rider to win the opening four premier class races of the year since Mick Doohan in 1992. Marquez had never previously won at Jerez in the World Championship.

No-one could live with Marquez in the heat of the afternoon in Andalusia as he built up a four second lead by lap 12 and never looked back, eventually crossing the line comfortably ahead of Rossi.

Indeed it was also another superb performance for Rossi as he returned to the podium for the first time since Qatar, holding off Pedrosa on the final corner. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had to settle for fourth at his 200th GP, crossing the line 8.5s behind Marquez on his 27th birthday.

Behind the factory Honda and Yamaha riders Andrea Dovizioso was the top man for the Ducati Team in fifth, whilst there was disappointment for his teammate Cal Crutchlow who retired early on his comeback and wild card test rider Michele Pirro who crashed out in the initial laps.

There was relief for Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) as he picked up his first points of 2014 in sixth, finishing just 0.112s behind Dovizioso.

Meanwhile, Bautista’s compatriot Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was seventh and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) eighth, the pair of them also reaching the finish line within 0.5s of Dovizioso.

The top ten was rounded out by Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP).

The were retirements for Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing) after some tyre issues and Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) due to a technical problem, whilst crashes for Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) ended their respective point scoring runs.

1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati GP14
6 Alvaro Bautista Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RC213V
7 Aleix Espargaro NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
8 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
9 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
10 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda RC213V
11 Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
12 Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
13 Scott Redding Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RCV1000R
14 Yonny Hernandez Energy Ti Pramac Racing Ducati
15 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing Avintia
16 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport PBM
17 Broc Parkes PBM PBM
 
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Final Weekend Ride with the Kawasaki Ninja 1000

04 May

Day #45 with the 2014 Ninja 1000: Breakfast @ Titi New Village (famous for its fine pineapples) before resuming ride towards Kuala Klawang and then to Seremban. The routes for today’s weekend ride were Petron R&R @ Cheras <–> Lekas Highway <–> Hulu Langat Pekan Bt 14 <–> Jalan Sg Tekali (B116) <–> B19 to Simpang Peras <–> 24km N32 twisty <–> Titi New Village <–> Kuala Klawang <–> Seremban <–> Lukut <–> Sepang town <–> Bandar Salak Tinggi <–> Tmn Mawar <–> Tmn Kenanga <–> Kg Jenderam Hulu <–> Dengkil/Kajang highway <–> UKM <–> Kajang <–> Cheras <–> Kuala Lumpur.

The ride started off at 7.30am from the Petron R&R in Cheras, with fellow bikers Terence and Danny,  riding the 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 and Honda ST1300 respectively. From Cheras, we rode to Hulu Langat’s Pekan Batu 14 via the Lekas Highway. It was still early and the atmosphere as well the roads were still damp and slippery. We came across a lot of cyclists along Jalan Sg Tekali, B19 route and the 24 km-long N32 twisty roads towards Titi New Village.

BAGSTERS-07

We stopped for breakfast at Titi New Village. Prior to ordering our food, we realised it only took us an hour to reach Titi at 8.30am sharp. There were 2 near misses along the 24 km N32 route for the Ninja 1000 – wrong gear taking a corner over a puddle of water and later the front tyre went over a brown stone that was mistaken for a leaf, and shook the bike momentarily.

Since this was the first time the Ninja 1000 was subjected to the N32 route on a clockwise basis – previous ride with it was done on anti-clockwise way from Seremban town towards Hulu Langat town and back to Cheras and KL, the ride was going uphill, with 2nd gear needed to negotiate some of the slow corners instead of 3rd and 4th gear when on anti-clockwise ride as the steeper segments were toward downhill instead.

After breakfast, we resumed our ride towards Kuala Klawang and Seremban towns. The “fun” began soon after we entered Seremban – thanks to the misleading signage for direction to Port Dickson, we ended up going in circles until we came across a familiar path and found the correct route to get out of the town and towards Lukut/Sepang/Port Dickson.

The idea was to take the old road to Lukut town (same as to Port Dickson) but again, those misleading road signs made us took a wrong detour and we ended up in Seremban-PD highway instead. Wasn’t so bad as the highway also leads to Lukut but we would have preferred the older, twisty road to the town.

The turning towards Sepang town is just at the entrance of Lukut town itself. This route is approximately 15 km to Sepang town. From there, it’s another 4-1/2 km ride before reaching the T-junction to Felda LBJ. We didn’t take that route to LBJ but proceed straight to Jalan Kuaters KLIA traffic lights junction. From there, it was a smooth ride on 2 more batches of older twisty roads that passed thru several small towns like  Bandar Salak Tinggi, Tmn Mawar, Tmn Kenanga and Kg Jenderam Hulu before reaching the T-junction that goes into the bumpy Dengkil/Kajang highway.

From there, it’s all the way past UKM towards Kajang and into the Lekas highway again to go back to Kuala Lumpur. Total mileage for the whole ride was close to 220 km (from Petron R&R), and the fuel consumed by the 2014 Ninja 1000 was approximately 14 litres (of 19-litre).

 
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