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.

Provisional 2014 MotoGP Calendar Released: 19 Races, Brazil Questionable, & Laguna Seca Out

10/02/2013 @ 1:26 pm, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

Provisional 2014 MotoGP Calendar Released: 19 Races, Brazil Questionable, & Laguna Seca Out Sunday Laguna Seca US GP MotoGP Scott Jones 07 635x423

The FIM have today released the provisional version of the MotoGP calendar for 2014. As expected, there are few surprises: with the addition of Argentina and Brazil, there will be nineteen races on the calendar, though Brazil is not expected to be ready to host a race next year, the event likely to be postponed until 2015.

Laguna Seca is gone from the calendar, leaving just two US races on for 2014. And once again, there are four Spanish rounds on for next season, although Jerez is marked as being subject to contract.

The season opens with the night race in Qatar on March 23rd, though this decision is likely to face criticism from the riders. Moving the race two weeks earlier increases the risk of the evening dew which settles on the surface hitting earlier, while the bikes are still out on track.

That was the case in previous years, when the race was held earlier, with some major crashes as a result. The dew settles quickly and is impossible to see under the lights, but renders the asphalt extremely slippery within a very short period.

Two more flyaways follow, to Austin and Argentina, before the series heads back to Spain for the first European race in Jerez. Jerez is still marked as subject to contract, the circuit in continuing to be in difficult financial straits, but it is expected that race will happen.

The Argentina/Jerez pairing is the first of two Transatlantic back-to-back races, with Indianapolis and Brno also just a week a part, on the 10th and 17th of August. The three Pacific flyaways are the only three-race back-to-back, starting in Malaysia on 12th October, before heading to Motegi in Japan, and then to Phillip Island.

The schedule looks broadly similar to this year’s calendar, with Mugello taking place in early June, Barcelona mid-July, and Silverstone on the last weekend of August, a move which proved very popular and successful this year. This year has seen attendance at races increase almost everywhere by between five and fifteen percent, part of which is down to better scheduling.

Everywhere, except the US, that is. Though total attendance for all three races combined is up, attendance at the two races from last year is down by around ten percent. That is one of the reason why Laguna Seca has been dropped from the calendar, as the Red Bull US GP at the Laguna Seca track has not been profitable for the past four years, according to a report in the Monterey County Herald.

As a non-profit organization, SCRAMP, the organization which runs the track, has been unable to find the investment of the two other US tracks. The Circuit of the Americas receives $2 million in state tax credits, while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has received a $100 million grant for improvements to the facility, including a new layout for the road course inside the Speedway.

The sanctioning fee Laguna Seca paid to hold the MotoGP race is believed to be lowest on the calendar, and was the main reason why Moto2 and Moto3 (and previously, the 250cc and 125cc classes) never joined MotoGP at Laguna Seca.

Though the race was popular with many in the paddock, mainly for the setting, there was criticism too. Prices for accommodation in Monterey were extortionate, and the event never resonated in the local area. Compared to the lively downtown happenings at Austin, or the huge and well-organized evening events in downtown Indianapolis, the events on Cannery Row were rather small scale.

Most of all, though, there were concerns over safety. Though Turn 1 was one of the most impressive corners on the calendar, the wall was still very close, despite the hill having been moved back after 2005. Other sections, such as Turn 4 and the climb up the hill towards the Corkscrew, faced similar criticism. If something went wrong, it could have been very nasty.

One team manager told me that every time MotoGP raced at Laguna Seca, he crossed his fingers on Friday morning and didn’t uncross them until he left on Sunday night, with all of the riders still in one piece.

But to lose Laguna Seca is a shame, as it remains an iconic circuit which has produced some fantastic racing. The Corkscrew remains one of the most memorable corners in racing, and Turn 1 among those requiring the most bravery.

The 2014 Provisional MotoGP Calendar appears below:

DateGrand PrixCircuit
23 MarchQatar*Doha/Losail
13 AprilAmericasAustin
27 AprilArgentinaTermas de Rio Hondo
04 MaySpain(STC)Jerez de la Frontera
18 MayFranceLe Mans
1 JuneItalyMugello
15 JuneCatalunyaBarcelona- Catalunya
28 JuneNetherlands**TT Assen
13 JulyGermanySachsenring
10 AugustIndianapolis GPIndianapolis
17 AugustCzech RepublicBrno
31 AugustGreat BritainSilverstone
14 SeptemberSan Marino & Riviera di RiminiMarco Simoncelli Misano
21 SeptemberAragonMotorLand
28 SeptemberBrazil(STH)Brasilia
12 OctoberMalaysiaSepang
19 OctoberJapanMotegi
26 OctoberAustraliaPhillip Island
09 NovemberValenciaRicardo Tormo-Valencia

* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
STC (Subject to the Contract)
STH (Subject to the Homologation)

Source: Monterey County Herald; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. George says:

    I love how it is Spain, Catalunya, Aragon, Valencia instead of
    Spain, Spain, Spain, Spain… its all good I guess they called Indianapolis
    Indianapolis instead of America.
    Still Four rounds in Spain. I suppose it is relevant.

  2. Alex says:

    Argentina here I come! I can’t wait for the new track! I always wanted to go there … now I have a better excuse. :-)

  3. smilo998 says:

    Dorna is a Spanish organisation based in Madrid. It “manages” MotoGP and has recently contrived to incorportate the Spanish Motorcycling Championship (not MotoGP) into the FIM to make it an important feeder championship to MotoGP.
    There are 27 Spanish riders in 2014 in MotoGP, though almost none in any other motorsports championship. This has nothing to do with those championship not being run by Dorna.

    The biggest sponsor is Spanish and has 2 spanish riders. The race before last saw an all Spanish podium. The last race would have had an all Spanish podium but for 2 spanish riders crashing into each other and allowing another Spanish rider into 2nd place and allowing a token Italian onto the podium for old times sake and because he still brings in $$$ for Dorna.

    There are 19 rounds in total. Laguna, one of the best tracks has been dropped but there are still 4 Spanish rounds. Next year another 2 rounds will be held in new countries. One in a former Spanish colony, the other in a former colony of Spain’s neighbour, Portugal. Though the economies of these 2 new nations are in serious trouble and faltering. 20% of races are held in Spain and 30% in Iberian related countries.

    The Rookie rule brought in to ensure that riders new to MotoGP were given an apprentice year, was dropped for a Spanish rider, who has had ten accidents this year, ruined the title hopes of his team mate in his first year, is consiered dangerous by his colleagues, looks like the little brother of his team mate but fortunately for Dorna, is leading the championship. Marco Simoncelli or the other hand, a rider as successful but more mature than the spanish rider was forced to live under the rookie rule and died trying to get onto the podium .

    Pol Paella, the current 2nd placed man in Moto2 is signing a 2yr deal with Yamaha, one year in Tech 3 and the next year where? Coincidentally, Rossi, An Italian, will retire at the end of 2014. So who will partner Lorenzo again? At least 3/4 of the top seats will be Spanish.

    In order to ensure intense interest, better sponsorship sponsorship and young riders coming through from other contries, Dorna signed a 5 yr deal with BT to show MotoGP in the UK – a company whose satelite TV no one watches. Dorna did however say thanks for the huge cheque.
    To ensure more riders from the US, Laguna Seca, the most entertaining circuit in the US, top 3 on the calendar & AMA finale track has been dropped in 2014.
    Fortunately there have never been any famous MotoGP riders from California. Kenny Roberts 1&2, Wayne Rainey and Eddie Lawson who came from Dornafornia, a former Spanish colony.
    Fortunately the local track of Kevin Schwantz and Freddie Spencer is included, though Dorna did thank its alumni, Kevin Schwantz for all his hard work by giving him a good shafting. Texas was, at one point, part of Mexico which was part of Spain.

    The replacement track, Indianapolice is the 16th wealthiest state in the US. It is in the midde of nowhere & its 2 biggest industries are argriculture & mining, well known as breading grounds for future world championship motorcycle riders. Texas and California (not Dornafornia) are the 1st & 2nd richest states and have produced no world class riders at all. The track facilities and road surface would do a Siberian car park proud and as such have ensured it has seen more accidents than any other track. Of note:
    2010 – 8 Moto2 riders crashed in the 2nd corner on the first lap in 2010.
    2012. The most highsides at any MotoGP event ever.
    2012. Hector Barbera broke three vertabrae highsiding onto his head in the infield. Silly billy.
    2012, Nickyn Hayden gets knocked out at home track.
    It also ended Stoner’s chances when he crashed and broke his ankle.

    Coverage of MotoGP in the US is on the world famous Speed TV, it also covers trackor pulling and WWE. To bolster motorcycling interest in the US and ensure the AMA as a feeder for MotoGP, The AMA 2013 finale at Laguna was a ticket only event, mobile cameras providing the coverage…for youtube.

    In other news. Carlos Checa, the Spanish former MotoGP and Dorna WSBK rider who has never been to or competed in the Isle of Man TT, says” I’m completely against that race”. Dorna have thanked him for his contribution.
    Dorna have no interest in Italy because Silvio Belusconi is doing a far better job of preventing Italy from dominating anything. A much better job than Dorna could ever do.

    This is of course a conspiracy theory with no grounding in reality or is it?

    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/16/39/77/16397759240a2f218daff13f950672d2.jpg

    (Carmelo Ezpeleta – CEO of Dorna, when asked what he felt about non spanish riders in MotoGP and their fans).