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: Stefan Bradl – 7/10

01/09/2014 @ 10:23 am, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Stefan Bradl – 7/10 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Qatar MotoGP Scott Jones 635x422

Continuing our look back at 2013, we come to seventh place man Stefan Bradl. Here’s how he fared in 2013. To read the rest of our reviews of last year, you can read part 1, Marc Marquezpart 2, Jorge Lorenzopart 3, Dani Pedrosapart 4, Valentino Rossipart 5, Cal Crutchlow; and part 6, Alvaro Bautista.

In his first season of MotoGP, Stefan Bradl did exactly what was expected of him, learning slowly, building speed, and getting better week after week. He impressed his team, crew chief Christophe ‘Beefy’ Bourguignon expressing admiration at his calm and intelligent approach after the first test on the bike.

He did not crash too often, finished inside the top six on a regular basis, and even got close to his first podium.

After such a strong start, he was expected to do even better in year two. The target was the occasional podium, and to be the best of the satellite riders.

Strong support from Honda meant that Bradl had the tools to do the job, though starting the season using Nissin brakes instead of Brembo put him at a slight disadvantage, the Nissins offering fractionally inferior brake release.

Though Bradl improved, consistently finishing inside the top six, it was not what he or Honda had hoped. The Aragon test in June gave Bradl a boost, trying the same forks which the factory riders had already been using, and switching to Brembo brakes, at least at the front.

The biggest improvement for Bradl was that the brakes allowed him to brake more precisely, the carbon brakes unbinding immediately on release.

Bradl reaped some of the rewards of the change at Assen, starting from the front row, though he could not hold that pace in the race. At the Sachsenring, Bradl looked much stronger, fighting for the lead in the early laps, before dropping back to fourth during the race.

The real reward came a week later, at Laguna Seca. Bradl bagged the first MotoGP pole of his career on Saturday, adding his first podium a day later, holding off Marc Marquez for the first half of the race, and coming home in second with a comfortable lead.

The remainder of the season, Bradl rode a solid season, finishing in fifth, sixth, and seventh. He never looked like threatening for the podium again, especially after fracturing an ankle at Sepang. That was a very unfortunate time to break a bone, Sepang coming as the first of three back-to-back flyaway races.

It was only once he returned to Europe for the final race of the year that he showed any semblance of a return to fitness.

Bradl still holds the unconditional support of his team manager, LCR Honda team boss Lucio Cecchinello backing Bradl to the hilt, but HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto told the media at Valencia that he had expected more of Bradl this season.

It was Cecchinello’s support that helped Bradl keep his job, HRC pushing the Italian team boss to drop Bradl and replace him with Cal Crutchlow. Cecchinello would not hear of it. Bradl will need the Italian’s support again in full next year.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Stefan Bradl – 7/10 stefan bradl laguna seca us gp motogp scott jones 635x422

There can be no doubt about the high point of Stefan Bradl’s 2013 season. That came at Laguna Seca, with his first pole – and the first ever pole for a German rider in the premier class – and a second. It was precisely the boost Bradl needed, after a weekend in front of his home crowd which left him slightly disappointed.

It also helped seal the deal with Honda, his contract extension for 2014 being signed ahead of the next race at Indianapolis. Bradl proved his mettle at Laguna Seca.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Stefan Bradl – 7/10 Saturday COTA MotoGP Scott Jones 15 635x423

Bradl’s low point of 2013 is equally clear. The German had been chasing set up ahead of qualifying in Sepang when he lost the front end at the first corner. It would have been a relatively harmless crash, but he caught his foot on the astroturf which separates the track from the gravel.

That impact was enough to fracture his ankle, forcing him to miss the Malaysian race and undergo surgery. He tried to ride at Phillip Island, but knew immediately after the first practice he could not be competitive. The Sepang crash put a serious dent in Stefan Bradl’s season.

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. dc4go says:

    For Rossi to get an 8/10 on a full factory bike and Bradl a 7 ?? I call bull on this one sorry guys. Him breaking his ankle was bad luck he rode pretty great especially after he switched to Brembo brakes..

  2. vman says:

    dc4go .. no way its bull. This a very scientific rating system.

  3. smiler says:

    “Though Bradl improved, consistently finishing inside the top six, it was not what he or Honda had hoped” – 7/10 – dc4go that is why.

  4. DC4GO says:

    Don’t believe everything you read or hear about “Factory Supported Bikes” they are not on par with the factory bikes and the differences are big especially the Honda factory bikes. They use products that are not available to other companys. Speaking to a Brembo rep. @ Indy he gave me a little insight on the “Brembo” front brakes used on the factory Hondas. Basically Honda has exclusive access to equipment the other teams can’t event purchase because they pay extra to have an advantage over the other teams. Bradl did a good job with his current bike I’d give him an 8. Good job kid!!

  5. L2C says:

    I wish Bradl had won Laguna. That would have been great.

  6. “I wish Bradl had won Laguna.”

    Indeed. I kept hoping that MM’s momentum would slow up, but it just wasn’t to be. Pole AND a win would have been sublime for Bradl that weekend.

  7. Jw says:

    I’m just happy to see a rider from another country other than Spain race a bike.