Watch a MotoGP bike tackle Lombard Street

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Last night, I attended a lecture at Stanford University where LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl discussed risk, safety and technology in MotoGP racing (more on that soon). But before it started, all anyone could talk about was that afternoon’s publicity stunt, which saw the rider take his bike — the actual 2012 GP bike he’ll race at Laguna Seca this weekend, mind — up and down San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street five times. Here’s the photos and video.

One thing noticably absent from all this is lean angle. Apparently Lombard Street’s brick surface doesn’t work well with MotoGP slicks. Tire warmers were used prior to the run, but daily car traffic has polished the surface to the point where it’s actually slippery. That, plus the lack of steering lock made this pretty challenging.

Stefan, the guys from Red Bull and his team were nice enough to drop me off at the Palo Alto Day’s Inn last night. I’m flying back to LA now, then Sean, Ashlee and I are riding an Aprilia RSV4 and Triumph Tiger Explorer up to Laguna Seca for the weekend. See you at the track?

  • Chris Davis

    See you there.

    • Wes Siler

      Send me an email and let’s try to connect.

      • noone1569

        Come out to Indy next month!!!

        • Wes Siler

          Talking about it.

          • noone1569

            Let me know if you need any insight or have any questions. Indy native here. . .

  • Roman

    Thank you for posting the high-res versions of the Lombard street pics. Been searching around the internet all morning for them, figures they’d pop up here.

  • Brad W.

    I just need a taste of that bike. Just a taste.

  • Gene

    Next: Taking a Yamaha M-1 through Deal’s Gap! (though I’d pay money to see that video!)

    • Trev

      I second this, or Ducati getting Nicky or Rossi to run up and down the snake (or Deal’s Gap).

  • fasterfaster

    Cold slicks? Meh, try solid plastic wheels if you really want to impress:

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      That’s 100x more entertaining than the MotoGP video!!!!

      My brother and I went through many Big Wheels as kids — rode them downhill on our street for years, even into our early teens! And then, when we built a halfpipe in our backyard, we dropped in standing on our Big Wheels. We couldn’t actually pump to keep going due to the bearingless wheels/axles having too much friction.

    • Racetrack Style

      I didn’t see any “Green Machines” in that video.

  • Pete

    haha, he’s got the clutch in and is rolling down hill. revving the engine to keep it from stalling.

  • Tony

    See you there as well. Picking up the Diavel on Ducati Island Friday. Will have it all weekend. So we can go for some rides when we get bored?


  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    Hah! What an anti-climax!

  • wwalkersd

    Too bad the video only shows him going DOWN Lombard St., clearly coasting clutch-in and revving the engine to keep it running. The stills show him going UP Lombard, and I’d rather see that video. Presumably the palm-tree-lined street is on Treasure Island (I grew up in the Bay Area, but somehow TI was always just that funny spot with the tunnel in the middle of the Bay Bridge).

    The Ken Block video clearly blows this away.

    • mugget

      Haha, yeah I was thinking that it would have been so boring without the throttle blipping, so I was glad for that at least…

      Start him at the bottom – MotoGP hillclimb. Now that’s something I’d want to see! :D

  • Paul D

    Yeah, the palm tree lined street sequence is on Treasure Island. I was out there at my workshop and just caught the tailend of the filming. Man those bikes sound fierce out of context in an urban setting.

  • Tim

    Wait…was that supposed to be impressive?

  • cdeforrest

    So glad I have the next 4 days off work – the GP traffic’s already rolling into Monterey, this place is rapidly becoming a zoo.
    “How could I possibly be expected to handle work on a day like this?”

  • TheZakken

    Lombard is a block from my office. Haha. One time during a BARF meet up we did a night ride down Lombard with about 100 bikes. The cop on site just shook his head. I think Pennsylvania St at Kansas is way more fun.

  • Rob

    Talk about a fish out of water, that was pathetic. Pretty sure the paper boy does that route faster.

  • Rick

    An amusing bit of urban non sequitur, plus he’s got his carbon (front discs) on.