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.

Casey Stoner Tests the Honda RCV1000R Production Racer

10/03/2013 @ 2:39 pm, by David Emmett12 COMMENTS

Casey Stoner Tests the Honda RCV1000R Production Racer Casey Stoner HRC test 2014 Honda RCV1000R RC213V 21 635x423

While the 2013 MotoGP season has been favored with fair weather, Casey Stoner’s testing duties for Honda have been severely hindered by rain.

The previous test was a washout, and most of the last two days at Motegi were also badly affected by rain. However, the Australian managed to cram the better part of two days’ work into a single day on Thursday, riding both the 2014 RC213V and Honda’s production racer, the Honda RCV1000R.

Stoner was impressed with the progress made on the factory machine, speaking of ‘big modifications and improvement’ in the press release issued by Honda. It was also the first opportunity Stoner had to ride the Honda RCV1000R, a moment which had been highly anticipated by followers of the sport.

Stoner’s impression of the bike was very positive, saying in the press release that it felt like a factory Honda with less power and a slightly different feel in engine braking. Though no lap times were revealed for Stoner – all Honda personnel sworn to secrecy, and no other factories present at Motegi to leak times – the press release said that he circulated at “high average speeds worthy of the RC213V.”

When put next to reports that test rider Takumi Takahashi lapped half a second slower on the RCV1000R than on the RC213V, that would put Stoner’s time within a few tenths of his time on the factory bike. That would make Honda’s production racer a very competitive package.

That could be one reason why Aspar is considering a switch from Aprilia to Honda’s production racer. According to reports on GPOne, the Aspar squad have spoken to HRC principal Livio Suppo about purchasing two of Honda’s production racers. Aspar’s main concern are the rumors that Ducati is trying to tempt Aprilia technical chief Gigi dall’Igna to the Bologna factory.

Dall’Igna has been the driving force behind development of both Aprilia’s RSV4 WSBK machine, and the ART bike raced in MotoGP. So far, Dall’Igna has shown no interest in a move to Ducati, however. One source close to Aprilia suggest that Dall’Igna could have started the rumors himself, to strengthen his hand inside Aprilia.

But perhaps Aspar’s interest in the Honda is born of a more practical and pressing need. With the loss of Power Electronics as a sponsor, Aspar is in a more precarious financial position than they have been for a while. That makes them more dependent on Aprilia as a supplier, to the extent that Aprilia looks to be underwriting both riders in the Aspar squad.

Honda, on the other hand, have three production RCV1000Rs which are in the process of being built, but which have not yet been sold. A persistent rumor in the paddock insists that Honda could be tempted to part with them at a knockdown price, and selling them to a team with a proven track record would be an attractive choice.

That, however, would leave Aspar without riders. If both Nicky Hayden and – most probably – Eugene Laverty are being paid by Aprilia, then Aspar would have no one to put on the bike. Likewise, Aprilia would have two riders under contract, and no team to put them on. Despite the clear potential of the RCV1000R, the chances of Aspar actually racing them look relatively slim.

Below is the press release from HRC after Stoner’s test at Motegi

Stoner tests Honda Production Racer after bad weather again causes delay

HRC test rider Casey Stoner today tested the Honda RC213V works machine currently racing in the MotoGP class, and the “MotoGP Production Racer” as part of Honda’s development tests at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in Tochigi, Japan.

Casey was unable to ride yesterday on the first day of scheduled testing, due to poor weather, but testing commenced as planned today under cloudy skies. In the morning, Casey tested the RC213V MotoGP works machine, and in the afternoon he also tested the Production Racer, a machine being developed based on the RC213V. Despite it being his first ride on the test model, Stoner lapped the circuit with high average speeds worthy of the RC213V. Honda is developing the track-only Production Racer to enable teams and riders to race in the MotoGP class in 2014 with a reasonable budget.

At 15h45 local time bad weather once again brought proceedings to an end.

Casey Stoner

“Unfortunately the weather played a big role in this test which was a little frustrating not to be able to share the workload over the two days. We tried to do everything today but it was a little difficult, and we also had the threat of rain again. We started with the current RCV, trying to find a base setting and then work from there. We had two variations of chassis’ to try and some big modifications and improvements in my opinion. We also tried the production bike which was more impressive than I predicted. It had a similar feeling to the RCV but with a little less power and a different feeling in engine braking. With some small modifications I believe this bike will be competitive and I look forward to the next test with it! In general it was a good, but busy day!”

Source: HRC, MCN & GPOne; Photo: Repsol Media

Comment:

  1. TexusTim says:

    Interesting, It’s not confirmed Hayden has signed with Aprila is it? I hope he held but if he did sign with Aprilla someone will put something together…both bikes should be fast right out of the box.
    ironic that we may see Honda and Aprilla got at it in the CRT class and push eahc other in development :thats win win.

  2. Anvil says:

    Crash.net did an exclusive interview with Hayden last week, during which he indicated that the production Honda is still under consideration. I’m suprised that none of the other press outlets asked him about it when they had the chance. It totally flew under the radar.

    We all know that American Honda and LCR were pretty eager to put a package together for him, but the rumors were that that option was all but dead. Maybe this is what he was referring to.

    It’s pretty clear why there’s been no announcement in any case. I would imagine that even if Hayden has already signed with Aprilia, he’s probably got a clause in there that requires him to be placed with Aspar (since he was very impressed by the team) or an equivalent. And being that there might not be an Aspar, and there’s no equivalent yet, there might not be an executable contract, either.

  3. MikeD says:

    ” Stoner’s impression of the bike was very positive, saying in the press release that it felt like a factory Honda with LESS POWER and a slightly different feel in engine braking. ”

    LOL, it all sounds like paying top $$$ for sloppy seconds. WELL PLAYED HONDA, WELL PLAYED.

    Throw them a TASTY morsel but keep the four course meal to yourself. I don’t blame you, this is a competition after all, RIGHT ? ! B.S. !

  4. pooch says:

    MikeD, what Rubbish you talk. Look at the price for an Factory RCV and look at the price for the Proddie racer, then examine what is said to be a few tenths slower and you have an extremely good option that is not a Piece of rubbish CRT. Honda and Yam Prod racers will be far more competitive than ALL of the CRT bikes and that will mean closer, and better racing, and that’s what everyone wants to see.

  5. 2ndclass says:

    Yeah, because it’s not as though that’s what every factory that’s been involved in Grand Prix racing since its inception has done or anything.

  6. coreyvwc says:

    Desmosedici destroyer, plain and simple. Very dark days ahead for the the boys from Bologna next year…

  7. MikeD says:

    @Pooch:

    LMAO. Yes we all want the CRTs gone. But none of that changes the fact that anything else but “the originals” (FACTORY MACHINES) are truly the ones with the real chance and the sharpest edge.

    ANYTHING ELSE IS JUST FILLER and ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR. THAT IS A FACT.

    Look a your “home-boy” Crutchlow and his latest comments about is fancy M1′s engine conspiracy theory . . . and his bike is not some CRT but a full M1, just not a factory. Smoke and screens ? All in his head ? Making excuses for broken talent ? Who knows ? But his nowhere near the Factory Hondas.

    Any and ALL production racers will always be the Maids but never Bride Material (Hardware Wise).

    The only way you’ll see it win would be in the hands of a Super Alien that can ride circles around the current ones and their top spec tools and then some bad luck “showers” on said current Aliens.

    Is it better than a CRT ? I want to say YES. Time will tell.

  8. smiler says:

    “That would make Honda’s production racer a very competitive package”. It will never be as competitive as the factory bikes but more competitive than the current CRT bikes. So MotoGP will remain a 3 tier championship. Honda are not stupid enough to make it as competitive as the factory and satelite bikes running factory bikes.

  9. Kirk says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see all motogp bikes heading in the direction of the production racers. This may just be a first step.

  10. 2ndclass says:

    The rules for 2014 would very much indicate that is the direction the series is being taken: http://motomatters.com/news/2013/08/28/the_2014_motogp_rules_a_minor_modificati.html

    The rules are now making the full-factory bikes the exception rather than the rule.

  11. Anvil says:

    @pooch

    The RCV1000R will be decent. That’s it. It’ll never be allowed to be anything other than a third-tier bike.
    Same goes for the Forward FTR-M1s, although at least they’ll eventually be able to play with the chassis.

    The Aprilia is not beholden to finish behind any other bike. It’s the only non-factory option bike that has a prayer of finishing anywhere closer to the front. Aprilia is behind the program and looks to be quietly assembling a factory-type effort. A long shot is better than a guaranteed loser.

    The production packages offered by Honda and Yamaha are only a way to appease Dorna for the next couple of years while ensuring the factory caste system stays in place. In 2017, you may see all the “factory option” bikes go away, like Kirk mentioned.

    What you’re rooting for is Honda placing as many lame ducks on the grid as possible in the meantime so they can ensure that their prototypes finish as high up the order as possible.

    Honda wants this: 1. Repsol Hondas beat the factory Yamahas, factory Ducatis and everthing else on the grid, 2. LCR and Gresini beat the Tech 3 Yamahas, Pramac Ducatis (and probably factory Ducatis, too!) and all the “MotoGP” (non “factory option”) bikes. 3. The RCV1000Rs beat the other “MotoGP” entries.

    Aprilia is a wild card that is currently the only hope of disrupting this plan.

    Incidentally, of course Honda is claiming the bike is fast. They’d like to sell the three that they don’t have buyers for and maybe knock some Aprilias off the grid.

  12. Twoversion says:

    Factory based racers are probably the future for motogp. As great as pneumatic valves are they likely won’t be brought into the production space with weight considerations and price. Personally it looks like they are going to phase out wsbk for the step ladder they have created in gp racing.