2002 NEC SHOW GUIDE WE MOURNED THE ‘DEATH’ OF THE TWO-STROKE

His­lop was head­ing for GPS, we were sports­bike mad and Du­cati’s V4 jour­ney was just start­ing ‘It was the first model on the mar­ket to have real Mo­togp in­flu­ence’

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Bike sales were soar­ing and with a main­stream mo­tor­cy­cling pub­lic in their late 30s and early 40s, sports­bikes were the or­der of the day. Man­u­fac­tur­ers couldn’t make enough of them, with the bi­en­nial up­dates and new mod­els be­ing de­vel­oped all the time. MCN had an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for them, too. Each week there was news of scoops fea­tur­ing the lat­est bikes un­der de­vel­op­ment and head-to-head shootouts of com­pet­ing mod­els.

Most pop­u­lar were mid­dleweight sports­bikes – which at the time were cheaper and largely more prac­ti­cal than their 1000cc broth­ers. But that was about to change though – our cover bike was the CBR600RR, the first of the revvy, minia­turised 600s and it was just about to be joined by the sim­i­larly-lairy Kawasaki ZX-6R B1H. As ex­cit­ing as all this it was, it was to prove the death-knell of the class – the bikes got mad­der as the riders got creakier…. the We were get­ting very ex­cited about packed forth­com­ing NEC show – which was of the with ex­cit­ing new ma­chines. The star show was Honda’s CBR600RR – de­vel­oped project, in par­al­lel with Honda RCV Mo­togp to have it was the first model on the mar­ket one up real Mo­togp in­flu­ence. You can pick now for £3000.

Du­cati told us the se­crets of their new­for-2003 Mo­togp racer. The bike, which was to be rid­den by Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss, which had a 220bhp V4 and was ex­periement­ing with a V-twin-ap­ing ‘twin-pulse’ en­gine set-up. With a steel trel­lis frame, too, dif­fered from ev­ery­thing else on the grid. But the orig­i­nal Des­mosedici was a suc­cess – Loris was on the podium first-time out.

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