During the 1960s, Honda planted its brand in America with the slogan, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” It was an advertising campaign like no other ever seen in the motorcycle industry, and it flew in the face of the negative opinion that most Americans had about people who ride motorcycles.
Honda’s products were also unlike anything previously seen in American motorcycle dealerships. They, and other Japanese brands, brought new standards of quality and ease of operation that made many Americans take a fresh look at owning a motorcycle.
By following a new path, the Japanese brands brought in new customers, and by 1974 had driven sales to an all-time high of more than 1,500,000 units a year. They created a flood of enthusiasm for motorcycling that benefited all brands, provided they were willing to learn the lessons of product improvement and quality control. It was a phenomenon described by the Japanese word “Kaizen,” meaning “beneficial change.”
But what happened to all those nice people?
They’re still here, and many are still riding Japanese motorcycles in addition to Harleys, Ducatis, BMW, Triumphs, and on and on. The Japanese not only created a bigger market; they set higher quality standards that have kept men and women aboard motorcycles as they aged, matured, and adopted higher expectations for safety and comfort.
Join us at the Motorcyclepedia Museum to see Kaizen, the first exhibit anywhere dedicated exclusively to classic Japanese motorcycles. Kaizen opens September 7, 2012. For times, directions, and more information, go to www.motorcyclepediamuseum.org/.
Kaizen is a creation of the Antique Motorcycle Foundation. For more information, click www.antiquemotorcyclefoundation.org.
by Tracy Hagen
A resurgent Dani Pedrosa rode his Repsol Honda to a convincing win in the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday. The win was the Spaniard’s second of the year and reduced the championship points gap to Jorge Lorenzo from 23 to 18 with seven races left to run.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo finished second, 10.823 seconds behind. The 2010 world champion popped a wheelie at the start and was never near the front for the duration of the race.
Finished third for the fifth time this year was Monster Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian rode a solid race and came out on top of the Honda’s of Casey Stoner, Alvaro Bautista, and Stefan Bradl.
Stoner’s fourth place deserved applause after an ugly crash on Saturday that placed the Australian in the hospital with torn ligaments in his right ankle. The Australian left Indianapolis 39 points behind Lorenzo but determined to finish his final season in MotoGP on a high.
Valentino Rossi finished seventh on the factory Ducati, 27 seconds behind Bradl. It was the Italian superstar’s first race after announcing he was leaving Ducati for Yamaha, as well as his worst race of 2012 in terms of distance back from the winner.
Indianapolis proved to be cruel to the Americans. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden high-sided in qualifyin, cracked two bones in his hand, and opted to sit out the race. Colin Edwards battled Ivan Silva in the CRT race but slowed on the final lap to finish thirteenth. Steve Rapp finished fifteenth and earned two championship points to go with the kick from Jorge Lorenzo for staying on the racing line too long. Aaron Yates MotoGP debut ended in sixteenth place and thee minutes behind Pedorsa.
But the cruelest blow of all was to the hapless factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies. The Texan got a tearaway start from the second row and surged to the lead by Turn 2. Pedrosa passed Spies briefly at the start of lap 3, but Spies re-passed and held the lead. Pedrosa’s identical attack on the following lap held but Spies stayed in touch. Then, just as Spies was crossing the bricks to start lap 6, the engine belched a great white plume of smoke. Fortunately no one crashed though the on-board videos from the bikes that followed evidenced that riders were going 200 mph blind. Yikes.
Next race: Brno, August 26.
Pedrosa charges to second victory of season at Indianapolis
It was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who recorded a dominant victory at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in an eventful race ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Read more.
Pedrosa wins as Stoners battles to fourth in Indianapolis
The Repsol Honda Team has completed the second American race of the season with another fantastic performance, this time at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. Read more.
Podium for Lorenzo as Spies suffers engine failure
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo was back on the podium today, taking second place in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Read more.
Podium joy for Dovizioso at Indianapolis
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Andrea Dovizioso’s outstanding form in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship continued today, with the Italian collecting his fifth rostrum in seven races in baking hot conditions at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Read more.
Márquez extends lead with dominant Indianapolis win
At the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix it was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who recorded a dominant win in the Moto2™ race in front of Pol Espargaró and Julian Simón to extend his championship lead. Read more.
Salom storms to first-ever victory at Indianapolis
In a Moto3™ race with drama until the end at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix it was RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom who stormed to his first-ever victory ahead of Sandro Cortese and Jonas Folger, as Maverick Viñales crashed out in the final turn. Read more.
Rossi seventh at Indianapolis, Hayden doubtful for Brno
Valentino Rossi had a difficult weekend at Indianapolis. In both the qualifying session and the race, he couldn’t manage to match his times from the cooler free-practice sessions, when he lapped at the pace of the second group. Read more.
Bautista delighted with fifth place at the Brickyard
A weekend of hard work from Team San Carlo Honda Gresini paid off this afternoon with a fifth place finish for Álvaro Bautista at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. Read more.
Bradl disappointed with sixth in Indianapolis
The eleventh round of the season at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway was an eventful race with LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl ending the 28-lap American round in 6th position after an entertaining battle at the front in the early stages. Read more.
Fixed fortunes for Aspar duo in Indianapolis
Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet were riding excellently over the course of the weekend, but a spanner was thrown in the works for one of them come race day. Read more.