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  • EXCLUSIVE: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team – paultan.org talks to Franco Morbidelli ahead of Brno

    Coming off a decent fifth place during the 2020 MotoGP season opener in Jerez, Spain, sadly followed by a Did Not Finish (DNF) the following weekend, Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) remains confident and positive. Going into a consecutive third weekend of racing, this time at Brno, Czech Republic, Morbidelli, along with team mate Fabio Quartararo, have done a Petronas SRT one-two in free practice and favours his chances of a podium finish.

    “Yes, this is a different type of season for everyone with not many races but it’s not better, it’s not worse but it is different and everybody has to adapt to this kind of championship and just ride,” said Morbidelli, in an exclusive interview with paultan.org. Speaking on his DNF, Morbidelli did not lay the blame on any quarter, save bad luck.

    “It was a thing that could happen to anybody, a technical problem. I cannot blame anybody for this, just a little bit the luck,” he said. Putting a positive spin on things, Morbidelli said, “it was unfortunate but we have seen that I was able to fight for the podium in (the first race) at Jerez and I was there fighting for the podium in (the second race) in Jerez.

    Morbidelli believes a good start could have put him in a better position to gain better results. “Both weekends were really encouraging for us and is proof the work we have done this winter and this lockdown was good work and it paid off in this first two race weekends,” explained Morbidelli.

    Asked about race settings on the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP race bike, with reference to riders who prefer to use their own settings as opposed to those dictated by the technical personnel in the team, Morbidelli laughs and says, “I don’t, I do my business, I try to setup my bike the best and do my job in the best way.”

    Speaking on Brno, Morbidelli is aware it is a very different track to Jerez. “It has a little bit less slow acceleration which we were suffering a bit in Jerez. So, I’m really curious to see how we can be in (Brno). There are a little more long straight but not too long actually,” Morbidelli said.

    Asked if he favours his chances against team mate Quartararo who currently sits at the top of the leader board with 50 points in two races and the rest of the Yamaha riders, Morbidelli was a little more cautious. “The answer is, I don’t know (laughs). I will try.”

    However, Morbidelli is confident about his own performance. “The zero we did in the Jerez (second race) was a big shame. If we had finished the race just in the place where we were, which I find unlikely because we were coming up real fast (through the grid), we would have been third in the championship right now,” said Morbidelli.

    “Points are really important in such a short championship. We are facing this championship race by race, we have to do our best to make a spot on weekend and we we will see where we are after this weekend,” he said. “We will not make any calculation about the championship right now, we just have to do the maximum in every race we can,” Morbidelli explained.

    Talking about the possibility of a certain multiple world champion coming into Petronas SRT next year as his team mate, and the likelihood of being faster than the said rider, Morbidelli has a bit of chuckle and says, “I try to be faster than everybody. I try to do the maximum that I can. As I told you before, I try to do my business, I do my thing, I do the best work I can do.”

    As a new rider to MotoGP, at the start of his top flight racing career, Morbidelli is aware many other riders have an edge over him in racing experience. “I try to play my cards right, use my strong points in my favour. Yes, I have less experience than some other riders in the field but it does not necessarily mean I will lose the fight to them in the race,” says Morbidelli.

    “Experience is not something you can get in a short time, but you can get in a shorter in time if you can learn from your mistakes. I’m trying to consolidate every step I do on the bike. I try to learn and know why and how I did it. I believe I have some strong cards against the other riders,” he continues.

    Coming off practice in Brno, Morbidelli is second fastest in the timings with some testing on tyre compounds in FP2. “I didn’t have any engine problems today and hopefully not in this weekend and we will see what happens,” Morbidelli said.

    Touching a little on his personal life, Morbidelli says he is lucky to have his friends and family close to him where he lives in Italy. “I spend my time with my family, my friends and that is important. There is nothing better.

    Morbidelli also confesses to liking both cats and dogs. “That is a difficult question for me to answer,” when asked about whether he prefers dogs or cats, “I have both and I like both.”

     
  • Shell Helix Power and Helix Protect – fully-synthetic engine oils aimed at different driver requirements

    Shell has officially launched its new Helix Power and Helix Protect engine oils, doing so via a digital launch on Facebook earlier this evening.

    The fully-synthetic Helix oils are distinctly aimed at drivers with different needs and requirements, but the way they are pitched focuses more on the benefits to users and less on technical specifications. The company says this simplifies the process for customers to choose the right product, based on their driving style and needs.

    According to Shell, engine oils are traditionally “low involvement” products, and while Malaysians are known for their love for cars, the majority of users don’t care for technical terms and tend to leave vehicle maintenance to their workshops or service centres.

    “With the new Shell Helix Power and Shell Helix Protect, we aim to return the important engine oil decision making to the car owners. Simply choose one that suits your driving style or needs,” said Nyon Kam Yew, Shell Lubricants GM for Malaysia and Singapore.

    Both new oils, which carry an API SN Plus classification, feature Shell’s PurePlus Technology, in which a 99.5% ultra-pure base oil is derived from natural gas via a gas-to-liquid (GTL) production process. They differ only in terms of their weight and chosen additive package.

    Helix Power is a 0W-40 weight oil that features special performance-focused additives to maximise engine power and deliver faster acceleration for smoother drives on highways, hilly terrain and open roads. The recommended retail price for Helix Power is RM280 for a four-litre pack.

    Meanwhile, Helix Protect is a 0W-30 formulation which incorporates engine protection-focused additives to clean the engine and prolong engine life. It is the ideal choice for cars that operate under stressful stop-start, urban driving conditions. Helix Protect is priced at RM240 for a four-litre pack.

    In conjunction with the introduction of Helix Power and Helix Protect, Shell Malaysia is offering a free replica Scuderia Ferrari race car with the purchase of a 4L pack of each oil from any participating workshop or service centre. The company added that buyers should look out for the “Untuk Pasaran Malaysia” logo on the packaging to ensure they’re getting a genuine product.

     

  • August 2020 week two fuel price – all prices down; RON 95 to RM1.63, RON 97 to RM1.93, diesel to RM1.79

    It’s Friday, which means another weekly fuel price update. Good news for motorists, because the retail price of all fuels are set to be cheaper in the coming August 8 to 14 week.

    The ministry of finance has announced that the price of Euro 4M RON 95 petrol has been lowered by five sen to RM1.63 per litre (RM1.68 per litre last week). The same goes for RON 97, which is five sen cheaper for the coming week at RM1.93 per litre (RM1.98, previous week).

    As for Euro 2M diesel, the fuel gets a four sen reduction to RM1.79 per litre (RM1.83 last week). This means that Euro 5 diesel, which costs 10 sen more than Euro 2M diesel, will be priced at RM1.89 per litre.

    These prices will remain in effect until August 14, when the next fuel price update is announced. This is the 31st edition of the weekly fuel pricing format for 2020 and the 83rd edition in total for the format, which runs from Saturday until the following Friday.

     
  • 2020 MV Agusta Superveloce 800, RM93,272 in Europe

    After the issue of a photo gallery and commencement of production in November, 2019, full technical details of the 2020 MV Agusta Superveloce 800 have now emerged. While the MV Agusta brand is no longer represented in Malaysia, pricing for the Superveloce 800 is 19,900 euros (RM92,000) while the premium Serie Oro will go for 24,190 euros (RM112,000) in Europe.

    Carrying the inline-triple from the F3 sports bike, the Superveloce’s mill displaces 799 cc, putting out 148 hp at 13,000 rpm and 88 Nm of torque at 10,600 rpm with 12 titanium valves. With the optional race kit installed, along with a race exhaust the puts two pipes on the right and one on the left instead of all three exhausts on the right on the standard Superveloce 800, power takes a bump to 153 hp at 13,250 rpm.

    MV Agusta says the engine mapping on the Superveloce 800 has been completely revised, with an eye towards output flexibility and throttle response. A full suite of riding aids is standard, including four ride modes – Sport, Race, Rain and a customisable Race mode.

    Also standard is MV EAS 2.0 up-and-down electronic gearbox and eight-level traction control, which can be deactivated for rear wheel lock up entertainment. Fully-adjustable suspension is also standard, with Marzocchi 43 mm diameter upside-down forks and Sachs mono shock.

    Braking is done with Brembo, using twin four-piston callipers on the front wheel, grabbing 320 mm diameter brake discs and a two-piston calliper at the back with a 220 mm brake disc. Bosch ABS 9 Plus system with Race Mode is standard equipment and features RLM (Rear wheel Lift-Up Mitigation) to stop the Superveloce 800 from nosing over during hard braking.

    Differences between the MV Agusta Superveloce 800 and the Serie Oro include premium items such as carbon-fibre fairing, CNC-machined fuel filler cap with leather cover, Arrow exhaust and unique to the Serie Pro spoked wheels. Resembling a retro racing motorcycle, the Superveloce 800 comes with a round headlight as well as a cylindrical tail section with circular LED tail light.

     
  • SPIED: Next BMW 2 Series Coupe seen, with interior

    True to BMW’s word, the 2 Series Coupe returns for the next generation as a rear-wheel-drive platform model, one that will be built on the German automaker’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR) underpinnings that forms the basis of its larger siblings such as the 3 Series ranging up to the 7 Series.

    The panel cladding on the car conceals the front bumper, grille and parts of the headlamps, though much of the bodywork elsewhere including the rear end appears to be production panels draped in camouflage foil. The stance of the F22-generation car is apparent, owing to its longitudinal engine and RWD driveline layout. The lower edge of the front bumper that houses the radar enclosure suggests a more normal-sized grille.

    The 2 Series model line with the traditional north-south layout is a shrinking one, with the F44 2 Series Gran Coupe being based on the firm’s FAAR (front-wheel-drive) architecture, as are the F45 2 Series Active Tourer and F46 Gran Tourer.

    That does leave the forthcoming 2 Series Coupe as the sole eligible candidate for the full-on M model treatment, as BMW M boss Markus Flasch said that the front-wheel-drive platform isn’t suitable for the M division. This was confirmed by 2 Series product manager Gernot Stuhl, who said that “there will still be a hardcore BMW M2 for those that want it,” which is set to arrive in 2022.

    As for this particular development vehicle photographed here, this could be the second-from-top ‘M240i’ inline-six model, as suggested by its muscular wheelarches housing substantial wheels and tyres as well as large brakes, albeit without the M signature of a quartet of circular exhaust pipes.

    The more modest versions in the 2 Series Coupe line-up will most continue to feature a range of four-cylinder engines, along with the optional of xDrive all-wheel-drive for selected variants. Some interior images captured by our spy photographer source reveal BMW’s current interior architecture which channels that of the G20 3 Series, compared to the other FAAR-based 2 Series models.

    With the aforementioned, G42-generation M2 set to arrive in 2022, that could mean the mainstream 2 Series range would arrive a year before that in 2021, which leaves plenty of time for more 2 Series Coupe appearances in mid-development form and the accompanying gradual uncovering of more details.

     
  • Honda announces Q1 FY2021 results – sales dipped by 50.4%, operating profit down 46.9% from Q1 FY2020

    Along with Toyota, Honda has also revealed its financial results for the first quarter of financial year 2021 (FY2021), which starts from April 1, 2020 and end on March 31, 2021. The running theme continues here, as the Japanese company experienced declining demand and production due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    During the three-month period of April 1 to June 30, Honda’s operating profit dipped into the red at negative 113.6 billion yen, representing a year-on-year (YoY) decrease of 366.2 billion yen from the same period in FY2020.

    Sales revenue also declined by 1.87 trillion yen YoY to 2.12 trillion yen, with reduced sales across all its business units – motorcycles, automobiles and Life Creation (power generators, lawnmowers and others). Of the three, sales of Honda motorcycles took the biggest hit, with just 1.855 million units delivered, which is 62.3% drop from 4.921 million units in Q1 FY 2020.

    Honda automobiles saw the second largest decline at 40%, with 7.92 million cars delivered compared to 1.321 million units, while sales of Life Creation products shrunk by 15.4% to 1.083 million units.

    Looking ahead, Honda expects an operating profit of 200 billion yen by the end of FY2021, or 433.6 billion yen less than in FY2020. Meanwhile, it expects sales revenue to peak at 12.8 trillion yen, down 2.1 trillion yen from 14.9 trillion yen in FY2020.

     
  • VinFast President officially revealed – limited-edition V8-powered SUV based on the LUX SA2.0; 6.2L, 455 hp

    Vietnamese carmaker VinFast has announced a new model called the President, which is sure to stand out from its other offerings. The limited-edition SUV was first previewed by the LUX V8 at the Magna Steyr booth during last year’s Geneva Motor Show and is based on the existing LUX SA2.0.

    Unlike that SUV, the President gains a number of distinct visual cues, including a vented bonnet, a mesh front grille, large 22-inch wheels and quad tailpipes. There’s also plenty of gold accents, as seen on the wheels, roof rails, window trim, side rocker panels, bumper trim and badges.

    However, the main party piece is what’s going on under the sporty bonnet, as the President packs a V8 engine instead of a lesser 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder found in a regular LUX SA2.0. The company did not provide any details about the eight-cylinder mill, although it is reported to be sourced from General Motors.

    The LUX V8 featured a 6.2 litre LS V8 rated at 455 hp and 624 Nm of torque, and this is likely what is powering the new President – the show car was also claimed to hit a top speed of 300 km/h. As the LUX SA2.0 shares the same underpinnings as the F15 BMW X5, the chassis should be more than capable to cope with all that added grunt and forces acting on it.

    For now, there are no photos of the President’s interior, but VinFast has said it will carry quite a bit of suede and carbon-fibre items to suit the SUV’s sporty nature. The company also stated that production of the vehicle will be for a limited time, although it didn’t reveal for how long. Reports claim the President will only be sold within 2020, but no pricing has been revealed so far.

    GALLERY: VinFast LUX SA2.0

     
  • 2020 Honda CBR600RR set to debut on August 21

    Coming to the middleweight super sports class is the 2020 Honda CBR600RR, shown in a teaser video on the Honda Japan website. As can be seen from the video, the 2020 CBR600RR retains the underseat exhaust from the previous models but now sports a front end and graphics reminiscent of the 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R.

    From the scant details on the website, the CBR600RR derives power from a 599 cc, liquid-cooled inline-four as before, but Honda says the electronics, by which we assume riding aids such as ride modes and traction control, are upgraded. This could also mean stuff like cornering ABS and slide control, features found on the bigger CBR.

    LED lighting is obvious from the RR-R derived front end as well as the central air intake between the headlights. The rear end is very much the same as Honda’s racing machines in MotoGP and the World Super Bike Championship.

    As befits a race oriented machine, the road-going bits such as turn signals, mirrors, tailpiece and passenger pegs are easily removable. More details will come to light on August 21, and we can’t wait to see what Honda has in store for the super sports class.

     
  • Toyota reveals Q1 FY2021 results – 31.8% decline in sales, operating profit down 98.1% from Q1 FY2020

    Toyota has released its financial results for the first quarter of financial year 2021, which runs from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021, and they aren’t very promising. The Japanese carmaker has clearly been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic that saw reductions in both production and sales, and the figures reflect that.

    During the period of April 1 to June 30 this year, the company’s operating profit plunged by 98.1% to 13.9 billion yen, a far cry from the 740.6 billion yen that was recorded during the same period in the previous financial year (FY2020).

    Sales revenue also took a 40.4% hit from 7.7 trillion yen in Q1 FY2020 to just 4.6 trillion yen in Q1 FY2021, which was attributed to 31.8% decline in sales. The company sold a total of 1.8 million cars (including models from all divisions) during the three-month period this year compared to 2.7 million cars in Q1 FY2020.

    With recovery initiatives currently in place, the company remains realistic with its forecast for the current financial year, as it expects operating profit to come in at 500 billion yen (its weakest in nine years), while sales revenue is projected to be at 24 trillion yen.

    The company ended FY2020 with an operating income of 2.4 trillion yen and a net revenue of 29.9 trillion yen. As for sales, Toyota has revised its projection of 8.9 million cars as of May 2020 to 9.1 million cars, which is still its lowest in nine years and represents a 13% decline from 10.46 million cars in FY2020.

     
  • 2020 Honda City teased again ahead of M’sia launch

    Honda Malaysia has dropped yet another teaser for the fifth-generation City on its official Facebook page, and this latest post continues its strong stance towards its competitors. They don’t mind you staring at its rear end, so the caption goes, and the accompanying image depicts the B-segment sedan’s tail lamp with a distinct U-shaped signature, following the previous teaser of the car’s full-LED headlamps.

    Details of the forthcoming sedan’s local specifications remain tightly under wraps, though its debut in Thailand saw the fitment of safety kit such as ABS, EBD, BA and VSA as standard across the range, as driven by the country’s Phase 2 Eco Car regulations. There, the 1.0 litre turbo three-cylinder DOHC engine is the sole selection available, producing 122 PS at 5,500 rpm and 173 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm.

    A continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven virtual speeds is also the sole choice available, with no manual option. Chassis layout is unchanged from before, comprising MacPherson struts in front and a torsion beam for the back end. Ditto the brakes, with ventilated discs and drums for the front and rear respectively.

    India, however, gets an upgraded 121 PS/145 Nm 1.5L i-VTEC petrol, where it can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a CVT. Also available for India is a 100 PS/200 Nm i-DTEC turbodiesel. The current and previous generations of the City in Malaysia have been 1.5 litre petrol units.

    The Thai-spec car gets projector headlamps, 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, keyless entry and start, cruise control, manually adjustable front seats (six-way driver, four-way passenger), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and a Honda Connect telematics system, the latter comprising remote start, vehicle locator and remote locking functionality.

    The City sold in India is the only one to get LaneWatch, where a passenger-side mirror includes a camera to provide the driver with a better view of the far side of the vehicle; this is found on Honda’s larger models such as the Civic and the Accord.

    Competition for the Honda City – whom its teaser campaign is meant for – includes the Toyota Vios and the Mazda 2 Sedan, the former being its closest rival in the market. This was reflected in Toyota Malaysia’s own response to the first City teaser, too, playing ‘timelessness’ against the first Honda salvo calling time on its competition.

    Also due to make its Malaysian entrance soon is the 2020 Nissan Almera, which has been sighted driving in Kuala Lumpur, ensuring the B-segment sedan market in Malaysia is not short of choice among the volume players. Which of these will be your pick? Sound off in the comments section below.

    GALLERY: 2020 Honda City, Thailand debut

     
 

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Latest Fuel Prices

PETROL
RON 95 RM1.68 (0.00)
RON 97 RM1.98 (0.00)
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Last Updated 01 Aug 2020