PETER GODDARD may have picked up just three points at Brands today, but as he raced a bike only three events into its World Superbike career, British fans were lapping up their first real glimpse – and sound – of his Benelli Tornado. And if their reaction is anything to go by, the bike will be a sellout when it hits British shores.
So far the only time the bike has run on British soil was at the Isle of Man TT last year. Since then it has undergone some serious changes both inside the engine and on the chassis, and crucially changed its engine note to the surprise of anyone who heard the distinctive 900's note at the Island in 2000 as engineers altered the three-cylinder engine's firing order to get more power. It still sounds like nothing else on the grid, however.
Chris Catlow from Blackburn was blown away by the bike's looks and sound, and said he'd have one – if the price was right. He said: "It sounds brilliant and looks really different, it is a nice change from the Japanese bikes. I have a Honda SP-1 and would definitely swap it for one, if I could afford to. "
Bill Bayney from Newcastle-upon-Tyne agreed. He added: "It's damn smart, gorgeous, a really lovely machine. There is nothing like it on the grid, and the sound is amazing."
Dutch fan Vincent Siero said he liked it, but wished it was fast enough to compete with the established marques of the series, while Robert Huntingdon from Accrington said: "I think the designers have got it spot on. It sounds the best, and looks different too."
So far the release date or price for the bike are not known, but it surely won't be long before Benelli try to convert the interest shown by fans into hard cash and showroom sales.
You'll be able to hear what the Benelli Tornado sounds like by checking back to Motorcyclenews.com soon and downloading our exclusive audio files of the bike.