Ducati Keep Michele Pirro As A Test Rider Until 2027

One of the longest rider and team relationships in MotoGP will continue as Ducati keep Michele Pirro as a test rider until 2027.

The 36-year-old from San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy first joined the manufacturer in 2013, developing the Desmosedici GP for 11 years so far alongside with competing in races as a wildcard rider. He’s also a multiple Italian champion in the superbike and superstock classes, and has also been involved in developing the new Ducati MotoE machine.

Michele Pirro (#51, Ducati MotoGP Test Team): “Most of my sporting career has been with Ducati, and I can’t imagine myself in any other colour than the red of the Borgo Panigale manufacturer. I arrived here in 2013, probably during the most difficult years for Ducati Corse, but now I am also experiencing the best ones for the company. I am very proud of what we have done together. I have worked closely with the new generation of Italian riders and always learn something new from them. As always, I will work hard to continue contributing to developing the Desmosedici GP and the Panigale V4. I thank Claudio, Gigi, Paolo and Davide, and all the people who believe in me. Forza Ducati always!”

Ducati Keep Michele Pirro As A Test Rider Until 2027the death of Marco Simoncelli. He moved to MotoGP with the team in 2012, with a best place of fifth before joining Ducati as a test rider.

For more on new, classic and custom Ducati motorcycles, click here. And take a look here for all our motorcycle racing coverage.


How a Bad Timing Chain Can DESTROY Your 2.0L Turbo Audi

2015 Audi Q5 Timing Chain Issues

Known for having timing chain issues, this 2015 Audi Q5 was on the brink of catastrophic engine problems prior to this repair.

Used cars can be a major headache, as many of us are well aware, constantly needing pricey maintenance and repairs once they reach a certain point in life. This has become increasingly true in recent years, as new vehicles continue to get more and more complex and employ more electronics and fancy wizardry designed to extract both performance and efficiency while meeting emissions standards. In the case of the 2015 Audi Q5 that that recently rolled into the shop of YouTuber David Long – or the Car Wizard, as he’s otherwise known – he managed to find a major issue that could have resulted in a total engine failure before that actually occurred.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter Audi/VW engine present in this 2015 Audi Q5 certainly has its fair share of known issues, as Long discusses in this video. In this case, timing chain problems have reared their ugly head, which was diagnosed by a long cranking time, as well as the fact that the crossover ran rough once it did start. This is a common problem that Long deals with all the time, so it wasn’t difficult for him to figure out what was wrong with this customer’s Q5, at least.

2015 Audi Q5 Timing Chain Issues

Long also found that the fuel rail pressure was too high, which is yet another symptom of stretched timing chains. When it gets to a certain. point, it causes issues with the high pressure fuel pump since it’s ran off the camshaft at the back of the engine. In this particular case, the timing chains have stretched so badly that engine damage was very likely to occur soon, so the owner obviously brought it in just in the knick of time.

Luckily, this problem isn’t horrifically expensive to fix, with Long noting that it costs around $2,000 to rectify – however, rebuilding or replacing the engine is obviously a far pricier proposition. The good news is, a new timing chain kit will last an easy 100k miles, as Long notes, so if you have an Audi equipped with this engine and you’re experiencing problems starting and a rough idle, it’s probably best to get it done as soon as possible.

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The New 2024 KTM EXC Range Of Enduro Bikes

The 2023 KTM EXC range of enduro bikes has been unveiled with a trio of two-stroke models from 150 to 300cc, and four-strokes from 250cc to 500cc. Whichever you choose, they all feature a new hydro-formed, laser-cut and robot-welded frame to offer less flex, more stability and better energy absorption, along with a new lightweight two-piece subframe.

The new frame for the 2024 KTM EXC range of enduro motorcycles
The new frame for the 2024 KTM EXC range of enduro motorcycles

At the front is a new 48mm WP XACT Closed Cartridge spring fork with a new mid-valve piston to optimise oil flow, along with a new WP XPLOR PDS rear shock mounted via an updated system. And the suspension at both ends is fully adjustable for compression and damping by hand, with easy set preload adjustment at the rear.

All of your electronics are monitored by an independent OCU under the seat to replace fuses and relays, with any problems indicated via an LED light, and the components themselves are integrated into the polyamide and reinforced aluminium subgrame for access and better protection when you’re riding off-road.

The 2024 KTM EXC range includes three two-stroke bikes and a quartet of four-strokes
The 2024 KTM EXC range includes three two-stroke bikes and a quartet of four-strokes

The 2024 KTM EXC two-stroke range consists of the KTM 150 EXC, the KTM 250 EXC and the KTM 300 EXC, which get ew electronic Throttle Body Injection (TBI) technology to offer smoother power delivery and remove the need for re-jetting at different altitudes, while the read vale case has had a design update to add new plastic flaps to improve the seal around the intake tract and avoid running ruch in extreme uphill or downhill sections, and you now get two different engine maps selectable via an optional Map Select switch.

No wonder the suspension had to be upgraded for 2024...The two-strokes get new Throttle Body Injection technology, while the four-strokes get a Quickshifter...
The two-strokes get new Throttle Body Injection technology, while the four-strokes get a Quickshifter…

Finally, all of the 2024 KTM EXC range get new bodywork, with input from the Red Bull KTM factory riders. The result is a better rider triangle for improved knee contact, especially when standing, and a new front mudguard which has mud-repelling fins to protect both rider and the radiator. All of the four-strokes get an 8.3 litre transparent polythene (XPE) fuel tank so you can check your petrol level more easily, while the two-strokes get an 8.9 litre version.

The 2024 KTM EXC range will be available from authorised dealers from June 2023.

The 2024 KTM EXC Six Days range also arrives in dealers for June 2023
The 2024 KTM EXC Six Days range also arrives in dealers for June 2023

Also available is the Six Days range, which gets a list of special parts designed and built for competition in the International Six Days Enduro, which includes orange powder-coated frames along with;

  • Orange frame protectors
  • Grippier SIX DAYS specific seat
  • Handlebar with specific SIX DAYS bend
  • Anthracite coated silencer with SIX DAYS logo
  • GIANT high-strength rims with SIX DAYS logo
  • Orange-anodized CNC machined triple clamps
  • Orange front axle puller
  • Semi-floating front brake disc
  • Solid rear brake disc
  • Rear brake safety wire
  • Orange Supersprox stealth rear sprocket
  • Orange chain guide
  • Composite skid plate
  • Map-select switch
  • Radiator fan
  • Metzeler 6 Days Extreme tires

The Six Days versions will also be available in dealers from June, 2023.

Check out our other coverage of KTM motorcycles, here, with road and off-road models all featured. If you can’t stretch to a brand new KTM Enduro bike, then you can often find a bargain from the selection available via Ebay.


How to keep your dog safe in the car during hot weather

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

Skoda supporting dogs

Skoda UK has partnered with dog behaviourist Anna Webb to share top tips on keeping pet pooches cool in the car.

When it’s warm outside, cars can act like a greenhouse and trap the sun’s heat — so if it’s 23ºC outside, in-car temperatures can reach a whopping 47ºC in under 10 minutes. That’s hotter than the aptly-named Furnace Creek, Death Valley; a Californian spot known as the hottest place on Earth.

What’s more, a dog’s body temperature is consistently two degrees warmer than a human’s. Anna warns that when a dog’s temperature hits 40ºC, they are at risk of life-threatening heatstroke.

Dog behaviourist Anna Webb

Drawing on over 20 years of experience, Anna’s top tips for the nation’s dog-owning drivers include ice cubes on dogs’ gums, meaty mocktails and a cooling vest or mat to chill underbellies.

Skoda has a long-standing commitment to the care of canines, shown most recently by its sponsorship of Crufts 2023. Earlier this year, the Czech brand drew on Anna’s expertise to create a mindfulness playlist to calm anxious dogs in the car — and this remains just as relevant heading into the summer months.

A dog’s mental health has a big impact on its body temperature. According to Anna, if a hound is relaxed in the car, it’ll be less likely to feel hot, as raised cortisol levels increase body temperature and thirst.

Tasty treats combined with short acclimatising sessions in the car, along with the Skoda ‘Happy Hounds’ playlist – calming selection of songs curated especially for dogs – can prepare pooches for the stress and heat of a long journey.

“It can take under an hour for a dog to be pushed to the brink by extreme heat, and that time comes around so much faster when they are in a warm car,” said Anna. “Pet owners need to be aware of the dangers so they can help protect their pups.”

Anna Webb’s top tips on keeping dogs safe in a car during warmer weather:

  • A dog’s body temperature is always two degrees Celsius hotter than ours, with normal levels between 38.3 – 39.2 degrees Celsius. Small dogs tend to run hotter as they have faster metabolisms than larger dogs. Never leave your dog in a stationary car, even with the windows open, or in the shade, as the car turns into a greenhouse. When it’s 22ºC outside in a stationary vehicle, without air conditioning, temperatures ‘in car’ can reach 47ºC in fewer than 10 minutes.
  • De-sensitise your dog to travelling in the car before any long journey, but especially when it’s hot. Signs that your dog is feeling the heat (or going Hyperthermic) will be excessive panting, drooling and restlessness. A dog that’s relaxed in the car will be less likely to feel hot. Raised cortisol levels increase a dog’s body temperature and thirst.
  • Cooling vests and mats work to keep your dog’s underbelly nice and chilled. Make sure your dog is ‘carrier-trained’ for maximum comfort. Carriers should be well-ventilated and spacious enough for your pooch to turn around.
  • Use tasty treats to help train your dog to enjoy their cooling accessories in their carrier (or seat belt) indoors first! Make the acclimatising sessions very short and always finish on a positive note. Your dog could get stressed or bored in the car and chew the cooling mat and/or the vest — becoming more stressed and even hotter.
  • Cooling vests should be soaked in cold water before you put them on your pet. The simple process of      evaporation from the heat of the dog dries the vest, cooling them down.  They do need to be re-dampened — maybe combine this with a comfort break for the dog (or for you) at the services. Combine these indoor travel sessions with the Skoda ‘Happy Hounds’ playlist. Association with positive experiences indoors, like this calming playlist, will help your dog relax. When you’re confident your dog is  calm in their pet carrier with their cooling ‘kit’ and the playlist, transfer them to the car. Gradually extend  the time with the engine off and the engine on. At the first sign of any stress, including panting or drooling, stop! Try again tomorrow…
  • Before setting off, check that your air-conditioning is reaching the back seat. If not, or if your dog travels in the boot, securely attach some portable fans to encourage air circulation and cooling.
  • Take regular comfort breaks in the shade so your dog keeps cool. Avoid tarmac and concrete paths — both absorb heat and can burn bare paw-pads. Be mindful to park your car in a shady spot and think of windscreen sun shades to help keep your car cool.
  • In summer months, travel in the cooler times of the day – early morning or evening. Make sure your car is roadworthy to minimise concerns of breaking down in the heat.
  • Be prepared – take your dog’s drinking bowl or a portable bowl, but check your dog will drink from it before you set off! Take a cool bag with plenty of fresh bottled water and a flask of ice cubes. Simply melting an ice cube on your dog’s gums cools them very quickly, or just offering an ice cube to lick and crunch is fun on your comfort break. Keep a wet towel in your  cool bag. If your dog overheats, wrap them in the cool towel and keep dampening it with cold water. Do this in the shade or in a cool room. Pouring water directly on your dog is ineffective as it simply runs off and evaporates.
  • Frequently, an overheated dog will refuse to drink. This is their instinct kicking in as they associate drinking with peeing, which means they would lose body fluids.  I recommend packing an isotonic hydration drink especially for dogs, or some pre-packed broth, in your cool bag.  Both contain electrolytes and minerals, along with a meaty flavour, which will get your dog drinking and hydrate them quickly.
  • When ‘staycationing’ always take familiar toys, chews and blankets with you to make your dog feel at home!

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How Software Engineering is Changing the Automotive Industry

The complexity of software in the automotive industry is changing rapidly. Today’s many vehicles are equipped with electronic control units, significantly controlled by software. The increasing number of software used in automotive has led to an increase in the demand for software engineers in the automotive industry, and experts believe it will continue to grow in the coming years.

Here’s how software engineering is changing the automotive industry.

How Embedded Software is Used in the Automotive Industry 

The automotive industry is one of those sectors seeing significant development at this time, and embedded systems are the driving force behind the industry’s innovation. Embedded systems enable car manufacturers to produce safer, more efficient, and more reliable vehicles. Indeed, the automotive embedded system is an area where demand is rapidly increasing. But alongside these new opportunities are significant challenges for software engineers to overcome.

Autonomous driving is the future of the automotive industry, and embedded systems play a critical role in making it a reality. Embedded systems monitor and control the various cameras and sensors used for autonomous driving. Another way the automotive industry can benefit from embedded systems is through electric vehicles (EVs). They control and monitor various components of EVs, from charging systems to battery management systems.

The connected car is another area where embedded systems help drive innovation in automotive. Embedded systems allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, infrastructure, and the Internet.

As more and more car manufacturing companies are developing new software for vehicles through embedded systems, plenty of opportunities are waiting for software engineers in the automotive industry.

The Increase in Use of Electric Vehicles 

As mentioned, one of the embedded software’s uses in the automotive industry is through electric vehicles, where they control and monitor the vehicle’s various components. Research suggests that electric vehicles will account for 16% of new car sales by 2025 and could rise to 50% by 2030. Such pivotal change has caused traditional car manufacturers to rethink not only the manufacturing aspect but also other significant aspects of their business, such as sales and aftersales.

The overwhelming majority of electric car users belong to three markets – the United States, Europe, and China, being the frontrunner. About 60% of the world’s electric car sales are from China. Nowadays, you will find half of the world’s EVs running on the roads of China. Europe and the United States are the other two large markets. Both have seen massive growth in the sales of EVs.

Despite seeing a concentration of EV sales in only the three big markets, some other regions are showing promising signs. The sales of Electric Vehicles more than tripled in Indonesia and India last year and more than doubled in Thailand.

The Use of Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial Intelligence has a massive impact on various business sectors but is particularly powerful in the automotive industry. Experts predict that AI in the automotive industry can lead to an annual growth rate of almost 40%, reaching approximately $16 billion in 2027. With the continued increase in the demand for connected vehicles, companies in the automotive industry should consider looking to recruit automotive software engineers who can help implement the significant changes that AI can bring into the business.

The world is witnessing a continued increase in the use of connected vehicles and smart auto technologies, such as image and voice recognition, resulting in an industry that continuously relies on AI and automation in designing, producing, and using automobiles.

For some people, the use of AI in the automotive industry conjures images of self-driving or autonomous cars. While these vehicles are among the most visible AI applications, there’s more happening behind the scenes. AI and automation are essential in designing and producing automobiles and the thousands of components in each vehicle. Automation and smart robots are crucial in the vehicle’s manufacturing process. AI has also played a significant role in the production and sale of automobiles.

New Smart Vehicles 

Smart vehicles are regular cars equipped with advanced car technology. These technologies have something to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digitalization, the Internet of Things, Connectivity, and other trends in the automotive industry. Any vehicle connected to the cloud allowing the driver to manage some aspects of the vehicle through their smartphone is considered a smart vehicle.

Smart vehicles are equipped with what they regard as a system-driven form of AI or vehicles with high-tech technology. These vehicles have advanced components beyond the usual hybrid fuel and Bluetooth connection. Smart cars allow drivers to control some aspects of the vehicle from a mobile phone.

The idea of having a smart car or making your vehicle smart comes with the desire to operate your car control through airbag systems, anti-lock brakes, and keyless entry systems. It can also mean having a climate and entertainment system. For racers, it can mean controlling the car’s idle speed and automatic transmission.

New Autonomous Vehicles  

Perhaps, the most popular integration of smart car technology is autonomous driving – a car that runs without human assistance. However, these fully autonomous vehicles are still in the development phase and are yet to be released to the general public. While there are already semi-autonomous cars, the technology is still in its infancy stage and has a long way to go before they become a reality.

Autonomous cars rely on actuators, sensors, complex algorithms, powerful processors, and machine learning systems to execute software. They create and maintain a map of their surroundings, relying on the sensors installed in the vehicle’s various components. Radar sensors are responsible for monitoring the position of nearby vehicles. Meanwhile, video lidar is a sensor that bounces pulses of lights off the car’s surroundings to determine the distances and road edges and identify street markings.

Autonomous cars have sophisticated software that processes the sensory input, plots a path, and gives instructions to the vehicle’s actuator, the component of the car that controls acceleration, steering, and braking. Technologies like obstacle avoidance algorithms, object recognition, and predictive modelling help the software adhere to traffic rules and avoid obstacles.