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 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.

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Alvaro Bautista – 7/10

01/08/2014 @ 5:16 pm, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Alvaro Bautista – 7/10 Sunday Laguna Seca US GP MotoGP Scott Jones 06 635x423

In part six of our series looking back at 2013, we reach Alvaro Bautista. Below is our view on Bautista’s season in MotoGP. You can catch up with the rest of this series here: part 1, Marc Marquezpart 2, Jorge Lorenzopart 3, Dani Pedrosapart 4, Valentino Rossi; and part 5, Cal Crutchlow.

Alvaro Bautista is arguably MotoGP’s most under-appreciated rider. A former 250cc champion, the Spaniard has been on a downward trajectory since moving to MotoGP, through no real fault of his own. First, he signed with Suzuki, making him a factory rider with MotoGP’s weakest factory.

After Suzuki left, Bautista moved to Gresini, where he rides for a pittance, and is forced to earn his keep as a test rider for Showa and Nissin. Left to fight against the industry standard Ohlins and Brembo on his own, Bautista does not get the recognition he deserves even when he is punching above his weight.

Bautista seemed all too aware of the challenge he faced in the early part of the season, off the pace of Cal Crutchlow, the man he should have been battling with given their relative positions in Yamaha and Honda. The first-lap incident with Valentino Rossi at Mugello, then another first lap crash two weeks later at Barcelona left him floundering.

But a strong test at Aragon after Barcelona helped him find an improved setup, and Bautista made strong progress in the second half of the year. He spent the latter part of the season locked in battle with Valentino Rossi, a fight he was always destined to lose. He came close to the podium on several occasions, though he never could quite make it, being trumped by wily veteran Rossi at the end of the race.

In 2013, Alvaro Bautista showed he still has plenty of potential. But he also showed the importance of a good setup and a strong mind, and the interaction between the two. Bautista allowed his head to hang a little too often last season, but the improvements at the end of the year, and the added development input from the Honda production racers in 2014 should see him improve his chances.

With so many strong Spanish riders in MotoGP at the moment, he will need an outstanding season if he is to remain in MotoGP beyond 2014.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Alvaro Bautista – 7/10 Saturday Laguna Seca US GP MotoGP Scott Jones 04 635x423

Bautista’s season had started to turn around after Barcelona, where Showa brought new forks and his team found a setting that solved some of the problems he’d been having.

At both Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, Bautista was close to the front, just missing out on a podium at Laguna, and being beaten back to sixth at Indy. Both times, it was Valentino Rossi who got the better of him, and both times, Bautista was so close he could smell it.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Alvaro Bautista – 7/10 Friday Phillip Island MotoGP 2013 Scott Jones 11 635x423

If the crash at Mugello was bad – colliding with Valentino Rossi at the Italian’s home circuit temporarily made Bautista the most hated man in Italy – the crash two weeks later was worse. The incident at Mugello was debatable, two riders on different trajectories meeting at the same point on the circuit.

But at Barcelona, the fault was all Bautista’s, going down after outbraking himself in an attempt not to take Rossi out in two consecutive races. Crashing in your home race is a bad idea. Just ask Cal Crutchlow.

Photos: © 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.


  1. CrankyHippo says:

    Another great write up, thanks for doing these, it’s hard to get my GP fix during winter. Watching from the sidelines at Laguna this year, where i worked turn 3, as the riders hit the same corner over and over, my list would be, 1. Marquez, 2. Lorenzo 3. Rossi 4. Pedrosa 5. Bautisa 6. Bradl 7. Crutchlow. Watching those 7 hit that turn you could see they were on another level

  2. smiler says:

    He is dangerous but not in a good way.

  3. vman says:

    Not a Bautista fan but I can respect his pace.

  4. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I have always liked Bautista.

    I see two camps of riders in MotoGP: those who fearlessly (often foolishly) find the limit and then eagerly seek out how to exceed the limit (e.g., Bautista, MM, Crutchlow, DiPuniet, and Hayden if it involves beating Dovi to the finish line or vice versa); and the other camp of riders like Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Bradl, and Rossi.–which is not a knock on them at all. They respect the limit.

    Bautista is underrated and he did have inferior goods. Period.

    He was also damn entertaining all season long.

  5. Mia says:

    Like the glasses but I want mine to say “(GO)&(FU)n

    Hes a good entertaining fun rider also.

  6. Frank says:

    @Chaz – I’m with you. Alvaro has been involved in some high profile incidents for sure and part of me still clenches up on the first lap when he charges into a corner. But I that like I’m on the edge of my seat watching the races. MM makes me feel this way too. When he barges up behind someone, you tend to hold your breathe waiting for something unexpected to happen.

    Bautista definitely cleaned up his ‘ragged edge’ a bit at the end of the season and was still pushing it enough to provide us with some of the best racing all year. I look forward to what he will do next year.

  7. n/a says:

    He was beginning to come good at the end of his last season with Suzuki.

    I hope he can become more competitive and fight for podiums at least. You can only get better, by racing those who are better than you(?). In this case, number forty-six.