A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

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.

2014 MotoGP Rider Line Up Announced, But The 24 Rider Grid Still Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

11/20/2013 @ 4:08 pm, by David Emmett6 COMMENTS

2014 MotoGP Rider Line Up Announced, But The 24 Rider Grid Still Leaves Many Questions Unanswered Tuesday Valencia MotoGP Test Scott Jones 18 635x423

Though most of the contracts were settled some time ago, there were still a few question marks on the 2014 MotoGP grid. The official entry list released by the FIM today answers some of those questions, but the answers it gives may yet turn out to be wrong.

The list features 11 entries to be run under the Factory rules, which means 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season and the freedom to use proprietary software on the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. The remain 13 bikes will be run as Open entries, which gives them 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines per season, but forces them to use the Dorna-controlled spec software on the Magneti Marelli ECU.

The 2014 season looks set to follow the pattern established in 2013, with Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo likely to dominate.

Of interest is the fact that Marc Marquez has been entered with number 93, rather than the number 1 which the world champion is allowed to use, but this may yet change before the start of the season. Marquez would dearly like to retain 93, but Honda is keen to see him run the number 1 plate.

Whether Valentino Rossi can challenge the leaders again will depend in part on how he meshes with his new crew chief Silvano Galbusera, and on whether Yamaha can improve the braking stability of the bike. Rossi will also fear the reduction in fuel, as Yamaha were already struggling to make the bike last the race on 21 liters.

Much attention will be focused on the newcomers, with Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding both stepping up from Moto2. Espargaro made an impressive debut at the Valencia test, ending the three days a second and a quarter behind Marc Marquez, and not far off the times of Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista.

Among the Open entries, all eyes will be on the battle between the Honda RCV1000R production racer and the Yamaha FTR open class entry. Nicky Hayden and Aleix Espargaro will be the benchmarks, with the first meeting going to Aleix on the Yamaha.

The 2013 M1 is already a strong package, and the Valencia test showed that the spec software did not appear to slow the bike down too much. The RCV1000R looks to be slower than expected, suffering most of all from the lower revs the engine runs. Top speed figures showed that the Honda was over 10 km/h down on the factory bikes, where the difference with the Yamaha was negligible.

The provisional entry lists are still a long way from being final. Although Niccolo Canepa appears on the list as riding for Ioda Racing, Canepa has already told GPOne that he will not be racing in MotoGP next season, and Ioda issued a press release saying that no agreement had been reached with Canepa, and the search for a second rider continues.

The provisional list shows Ioda’s choice of machinery as to be announced, but the choices are between the Aprilia ART and Ducati Open projects. The final choice will depend on the financial package available, with Ioda one of the poorer teams in the paddock.

If an agreement cannot be found, Ioda can always race the Suter BMWs they already own, though the bike has had no development this year.

The PBM team is also listed as participating, but Paul Bird is believed to be holding off on entering depending on support. PBM, like Ioda, are fishing for stronger support from Aprilia in a bid to make themselves more competitive. This has become a financial necessity, as Dorna will now only be offering the top 22 riders financial support, leaving the weakest team without support.

The idea is to send weaker teams back to Moto2 at the end of each season, and tempt the strongest Moto2 teams into stepping up into MotoGP. On the basis of results from 2013, PBM and Ioda are the teams in the danger zone.

Looking at when rider contracts run out, it is clear that 2014 will be a crucial season for everyone. 16 riders have their contracts up for renewal at the end of the season, including both factory Yamaha and both factory Honda men. The summer is likely to be a very busy period for riders and managers, as they look towards their options for 2015.

The provisional 2014 MotoGP Entry List:

No Rider Nationality Bike Factory/Open Contract until
Factory Yamaha
46 Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha M1 Factory 2014
99 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha M1 Factory 2014
Repsol Honda
26 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda RC213V Factory 2014
93 Marc Marquez SPA Honda RC213V Factory 2014
Factory Ducati
4 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati GP14 Factory 2014
35 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati GP14 Factory 2015
Tech 3 Yamaha
38 Bradley Smith GBR Yamaha M1 Factory 2014
44 Pol Espargaro SPA Yamaha M1 Factory 2015
LCR Honda
6 Stefan Bradl GER Honda RC213V Factory 2014
Gresini Honda
19 Alvaro Bautista SPA Honda RC213V Factory 2014
45 Scott Redding GBR Honda RCV1000R Open 2015
NGM Forward
5 Colin Edwards USA FTR Yamaha M1 Open 2014
41 Aleix Espargaro SPA FTR Yamaha M1 Open 2015
Pramac Ducati
29 Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati GP14 Factory 2014
68 Yonny Hernandez COL Ducati GP13 Open 2014
Cardion AB
17 Karel Abraham CZE Honda RCV1000R Open 2014
PBM
70 Michael Laverty GBR PBM/ART Open 2014
To be confirmed PBM/ART Open 2014
IODA
9 Danilo Petrucci ITA Aprilia ART/Ducati Open
59 Niccolo Canepa ITA Aprilia ART/Ducati Open
Aspar
7 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Honda RCV1000R Open 2014
69 Nicky Hayden USA Honda RCV1000R Open 2014
Avintia Blusens
8 Hector Barbera SPA FTR Kawasaki Open 2015
63 Mike Di Meglio FRA FTR Kawasaki Open 2014

Source: FIM; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. KSW says:

    I must say, the idea of running WSBK (open entries) with factory MGP bikes seems Fooked to me. Look, I love racing but what is it proving to have two classes running under one MGP banner? Honestly. Since there is no way the 13 “Open” bikes can compete with the “Factory” class which is allowed to run proprietary on top of the Magnetti while the others can’t just proves the point that it is two classes in one race. I would just like MGP to be the no holds barred, best that a manufacturer can be class and let the chips fall where they may. IF it can’t be that then Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati et al should just all meet once a year for such a race and whomever wins is the best at making a two wheeled racing bike, period. Why do they really need MGP to prove that? The private equity boys of Bridgepoint/Dorna should run WSBK for the lesser classes and hope the two series of MGP and WSBK can pay back there over leveraged, self induced debt situation or liquidate both at basement prices and take the right off on there other gains. Then allow those who are passionate about racing not VIP lifestyle have MGP again.

  2. smiler says:

    Dorna have done well to get 7 spanish riders into the field. 30% of the riders are Spanish in 22% of races being held in Spain. Honda supplying well over 30% of the bikes.

    Another season of three level racing.

    Factory bikes 0-0.6 seconds a lap, satelite factory bikes 0.6 – 1.0 secs, 1.0 secs + the rest.

    Someone really needs to oust Dorna.

    Back to WSBK for next year before they ruin that.

  3. claudia says:

    I completely agree w/KSW. Isn’t that the reason we have superstock? I’m all for putting out the most money for the best bike with the best rider. I will say that these single manufacturer rules are starting to get old. I know money is always the factor in these races but if that is the cases add an “open” class race to GP without combining them into the premier because let’s face it, they aren’t premiere bikes. But what do I know, I’m just a girl…

  4. John D'Orazio says:

    This issue is MONEY. Only a few of the manufacturers in the world can afford to field a bike of “Factory” spec. When Dorna tries to reign them in, the protest and threaten to leave. So, we have two classes on one grid. Nothing more to it than that.

  5. KSW says:

    John,

    Exactly, mate. I’m certain it’s been said and debated but to me the MGP series should really be, Factory Spec Bikes fully open class bring what you can and push the envelope even if that is a limited bike class of say 12-14 riders. WSBK/CRT whatever with a full field of riders and then Moto2 with a full field. It saves everybody heaps of money from the teams to Dorna with the added benefit to fans of knowing that on one weekend they can get there total racing fix. BSB, AMA, Spain, those are the feeder classes from which the best riders are promoted including what is now Moto3. This one change would solve many of the problems facing racing. Without the national series competing with WSBK for very tight sponsor and television dollars it could really do a lot to save racing. Just remember though, my 2 cents isn’t worth $37.50.

  6. claudia says:

    @ John D
    I was speaking more along the lines of the premier class loosening the reigns (i.e. do away with dumb crap like single tyre rule) open up the specs a little more and let the factory bikes have at it like a virgin on prom night. Don’t get me wrong. The CRTs are cool and all but them racing with the premier bikes is like watching nascar race with formula one. I don’t mind seeing less bikes on grid. There’s potential.