Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

Living the Dream – A Photographer’s Story: Qatar

Imagine if just for once you didn’t have to stick to your usual nine-to-five job. Instead you were able to do the one job you’ve always wanted to do, but any number of things (it’s usually money) have stood in the way. This is exactly the situation I found myself in six months ago when the company I had worked at, for the last 14 years, decided to close, making everyone redundant. This decision did not come as a surprise; in fact, I had been hanging around for the last few years hoping that it would happen, as I had a plan. Fast-forward six months and I have just finished photographing the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar. The plan is starting to unfold.

Up-Close with the Ducati 1199 Superleggera

11/05/2013 @ 10:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

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The highlight of the 2013 EICMA show has to be the Ducati 1199 Superleggera, which Ducati formally introduced to the press last Monday night. The “super light” street bike may not have the dynamism of being a completely new machine, as was the case with the Desmosedici RR, but the 155kg (dry) Superleggera is just as impressive when you pause to take a moment and examine all of its details.

With only 500 units being made, Ducati says roughly only 50 are unspoken for as of Sunday morning — a pretty impressive figure considering that up until that moment, only a handful of people had actually seen the Ducati 1199 Superleggera in the flesh. Once the 500th bike is sold, that will be it for the Superleggera, Ducati having learned its lesson from the Desmosedici launch.

The most obvious part about the Superleggera is its orange-red paint scheme, which matches the Rosso Corsa paint found on the Ducati Desmosedici GP13. If you only examined the Ducati 1199 Superleggera skin-deep, this would be your big takeaway from the experience, but the beauty really resides in the details.

Claudio Domenicali emphasized at the press conference that every component on a stock Panigale had been examined and lightened in order to make the Superleggera. He held up a radiator cap to prove this point, as the fairly mundane part had been extensively reworked to drop a mere 6g from its mass — a small amount, but it adds up over the aggregate.

Throughout the bike you can see titanium fasteners and bolts, and where plastic once was, there is now carbon fiber. Taking the fairings off of the Ducati 1199 Superleggera, and the methodical work of Borgo Panigale becomes even more evident. The magnesium alloy front frame dominates, though the solid carbon fiber rear subframe attempts to balance things visually.

Öhlins suspension pieces were chosen for their mass as well, thus Ducati went without the WSBK-spec FSGR units, opting instead for the Öhlins FL916 and custom machined-billet fork bottoms. Not the titanium spring on the TTX36 rear shock.

Just about the only decision that doesn’t center around the Superleggera’s “essence of lightness” mantra is the LED headlight, which weighs more than its base-model counterpart. But, you can hardly fault Ducati for wanting to avoid omitting one of the Panigale’s signature pieces, and newest pieces of tech.

Most art looks great standing still, though I would offer the philsophy that when it comes to motorcycles as art, the object in motion is just as important. To that end, Ducati says that test rider Alessandro Valia put down a jaw-dropping 1’54”900 lap time at Mugello, on street rubber. Move over Picasso.

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Photos: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Norm G. says:

    re: “Claudio Domenicali emphasized at the press conference that every component on a stock Panigale had been examined and lightened in order to make the Superleggera.”

    except for the swingarm. it should be Mg. if you see any of those suits runnin’ around, tell ‘em Normstradamus has an inquiring mind and asks what the dilly-o…? for $65k its not an unreasonable expectation in future year 2014. if they balk…? say…

    “5 words… 1999 MV Agusta 750 Oro.”

  2. paulus says:

    As much as I wanted to find fault with this machine… it is exquisite!

    Is the Swing arm not Mg painted black?
    If not, it must be a structural/liability thing.

  3. OfficerLeroy says:

    So they reworked a radiator cap for 6 grams, but didn’t think to put shorty levers on?? 6 grams = 6 paperclips….

  4. John Mith says:

    @Norm G.

    Very interesting. Perhaps a profit motivated move? Used Magnesium swing arms for an F4 run between 2-3K depending on quality.

    Could be worse though. MV released the F3 “oro” model and instead of Magnesium wheels they opted for gold spray paint. A sign of the times for sure.

  5. SBPilot says:

    @OfficerLeroy: No real race bike or racer uses shorty levers, they are cheap aesthetic mods that street guys pounce on once they get a bike.

    I wonder how much the lights weigh, because once those are removed it’d be even lighter. Of course all this lightness is probably negated by fat riders with a gut, wearing cowhide suits that weigh 35lbs alone.

    I wonder what someone like top MotoGP riders can do on this bike, since they all weigh like 140lbs.

  6. Kenny says:

    I wanna know what it would do to Mugello with some race rubber on it. MotoGP qualifying is in the 1:47′s?
    Also I can smell trickle down parts for next year’s Panigale R & S models

  7. Rossopuro says:

    Swingarm isn’t mag because to do it in mag and retain the same stiffness etc. would have necessitated a change in dimension that would have negatively affected the bike.

    Removing the lights drops a kilo. So, with track kit installed and lights removed the bike is 2.5 kg less than the WSBK minimum weight :)

  8. dc4go says:

    Beautiful bike not big on the GP color scheme though. Good base for the 14 Pinagale racebike , remove the lights, license plate and add weight to meet the minimun limit in WSBK. Is the motor going to be legal in WSBK, can Ducati run this beast under the EVO and WSBK rules?

  9. Every time a Superleggera comment mentions race homologation, God kills a kitten. Please think of the kittens.

  10. Patric says:

    LED headlights negate a ton of weight savings, but they sure look good.

  11. Potreroduc says:

    Has Ducati created their own in-house ECU map for the Akra system? I know they do for the Termis. I’ve heard the Akra system was designed to work with the stock map, but it would be cool if Ducati started making custom maps for more than one exhaust brand.

  12. Dc4go says:

    @ Jensen Beeler.. I’m allergic to cats . Lol…. Sexy bike can wait to ride it!!

  13. MikeD says:

    Is it ok if i feel nothing for it and all for the new Monster 1200 ? I even feel more attracted to the one without plastics than the dressed one. (o_O)’

    Beautiful photos Jensen. Keep up the good work. (~_^)

  14. Norm G. says:

    re: “Is the Swing arm not Mg painted black?”

    not so much.

    re: “it must be a structural/liability thing.”

    and the first ever Mg “front bone” responsible for connecting the front half of the bike to the rear half of the bike, while absorbing all the braking forces (transmitting them into the cases) isn’t…?

    unlike Mg SSA’s for which their is plenty of data on from both racing and the aftermarket, there is ZERO data on the use of Mg in this application. they’re in uncharted waters.

    re: “Perhaps a profit motivated move? Used Magnesium swing arms for an F4 run between 2-3K depending on quality. ”

    you know what i’m about to ask next right…?

    $2k-3k means what to the discerning Ducatisti shelling out $65 grand…? when you have a 10+ digit bank balance, increasing the MSRP by $10k is neither a deal maker nor a deal breaker for the person holding one of the 500 invites.

  15. Norm G. says:

    re: “Every time a Superleggera comment mentions race homologation, God kills a kitten. Please think of the kittens.”

    OMG THAT’S HYSTERICAL…!!! LOL

  16. Norm G. says:

    re: “to do it in mag and retain the same stiffness etc. would have necessitated a change in dimension”

    right then, which dimension…?

    re: “that would have negatively affected the bike.”

    ok how…? talk to me goose.

  17. John Mith says:

    @NormG

    “re: “Perhaps a profit motivated move? Used Magnesium swing arms for an F4 run between 2-3K depending on quality. ”

    you know what i’m about to ask next right…?

    $2k-3k means what to the discerning Ducatisti shelling out $65 grand…? when you have a 10+ digit bank balance, increasing the MSRP by $10k is neither a deal maker nor a deal breaker for the person holding one of the 500 invites.”

    Norm. Good point on the extra cost.

    I’m not sure though that your perspective is correct on the target customers for this bike. Like a lot of other exotic bikes many of the people buying these will be financing them. You don’t have to have a 10+ digit bank balance to make monthly payments. I’m sure some of them will be paid for in cash but that’s probably the exception rather than the rule.

  18. Norm G. says:

    re: “I’m not sure though that your perspective is correct on the target customers for this bike.”

    no worries, I’m sure.

    re: “You don’t have to have a 10+ digit bank balance to make monthly payments.”

    but you do need the credit score. anyone with access to financing for a non-essential recreational item (high risk) like this, by definition already has the cash to pay for it. this is not a unit your going to put thru VW credit along with your Veyron.

  19. So full of gas and oil about 390 lbs? It looks like a spaceship without its bodywork. I think I might go for one of these over the Aprilia.

  20. VW Group, stealing my idea to use a motorcycle V-twin engine to power an automobile. Using this motor in one of their high mileage vehicle designs.

    http://www.carscoops.com/2013/11/vws-ducati-powered-xl1-may-debut-at.html

  21. Valendino says:

    Hope it goes better than the current “NANGALE”

  22. Valendino says:

    ops, “NANAGALE” Great looking machine though!