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.

Trackside Tuesday: Up Over Down Under

10/22/2013 @ 10:50 pm, by Scott Jones7 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: Up Over Down Under 2013 MotoGP 16 Phillip Island Sunday 0696 635x423

Whatever your opinion about Sunday’s Australian GP (a farce of mismanagement and tire failure; the most exciting race for years, or; something in between), I’m guessing you were thinking at its conclusion something like “Never seen anything like that before!”

For my own part, I have never photographed anything like that race before, simply because there has never been a MotoGP race with a mandatory, scheduled pit stop before.

When the news first broke in the Media Center that the race would be divided into two sections by a mandatory pit stop, I started imaging in the fantastic images this would make possible.

But as I considered where I would set up in pit lane to photograph the mayhem of riders coming in to swap bikes, an announcement made its way through the media center that all but the official Dorna photographers would be banned from pit lane during the race.

This received a cool welcome from the photographers, as we saw this opportunity for unique images taken away as quickly as it had appeared. But with some reflection we realized it was was clearly the right move. Had Dorna not made this decision, nearly every photographer with pit lane access would’ve been there for laps 8-11, making an already hectic scene even more dangerous.

So instead we huddled in groups to plan strategies, considering where we might go to get some perspective of the pit lane action during the bike swapping. We considered the roof that overlooks pit lane, but that was also taken away as an option because it’s used for the VIP hospitality viewing.

Across the track was no good because of distance and the fence that separates the track itself from pit lane. Neither end of pit lane offered a good vantage point, even if we could convince security to allow us to shoot from there.

In the end, only the Media Center itself seemed viable, even though we knew it would be packed with photographers as the only decent option. In fact we were all very lucky that this happened at Phillip Island, where the Media Center has floor to ceiling glass facing pit lane. Any many other tracks, shooting from this space simply wouldn’t have worked at all.

The Media Center was crowded when I came in from shooting the first third of the race. Given the pace with which the riders appeared, jumped from one bike to the other, and departed, we had to pick a garage to look down on and try to capture one bike change. The spaces over the Yamaha and Honda garages were tightly packed with shooters hoping to get something good.

I picked Marquez, and my efforts to shoot through angled, reflective, and green-tinted glass produced a couple of acceptable images, the above example being my favorite. Though Marc’s helmet and shoulders are sharp, his feet are blurred with the movement of leaping over his second bike, and the perspective of looking over the action from up above is not bad either.

From pit lane the Dorna shooter got these and I have to say I like the view from up over just fine, though I would’ve like the chance to get a variety of riders rather than having to stick with one spot and wait for the chosen rider to appear.

Once Marc left pit lane, most of us returned to the track to document the race’s conclusion, making the bike swap itself little more than a pit stop for photographers, as well.

Thus it turned out to be quite different from what I had imagined when we first heard about the scheduled pit stop. But it was also part of a memorable weekend, and from now on I will look for opportunities to shoot though the media center glass when that seems a possibility for something different.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

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

Comment:

  1. smiler says:

    We should thank Dorna for monopolising the media around MotoGP as well. With @1min of footage of the race for free every Monday.

  2. Mariano says:

    If you’re not happy with one minute FREE videos I suggest you pay a MotoGP subscription like I, and many others, do…..

  3. Norm G. says:

    re: “We should thank Dorna for monopolising the media around MotoGP as well. With @1min of footage of the race for free every Monday.”

    come off the dime.

    if you’re a TRUE race fan and not a “free lunch seeker”…? logic dictates this is what you would do.

  4. KSW says:

    Scott,

    Check your link to the horrid shots from the Golden Goose Dorna photographer. It’ going to a different gallery.

    As MotoGP is supposed to be where the best and most experienced are I’m appalled at how that went down and wonder why the “Press” tolerated that. First up, pit stops aren’t new in the world of motorcycle racing and I’ve shot more than a few races with pit stops in the past few months alone. The teams and riders are all experienced and have competed in races with pit stops so why the no access. Like to see them try that at WEC events, Real Road racing and I’m not limiting that to Ireland and the TT. As Dorna only lets a limited number of bibbed shooters in the pits anyway how bad could it have been?

    What is missing from all this is a tight shot of the track surface, tight shot of a tire which it seems both could have been done prior to Sunday as the word was rampant about the track and tires. Did no one practice pit stops and that’s why we have no images of any kind demonstrating what a pit stop takes? If I was shooting or covering the event my story on the pit stops would have been short and went like this. ” Due to restrictions put in place by Dorna we have no images or story to tell.” I can’t help but think that if a legitimate news organization gave true coverage to MGP this wouldn’t happen because it couldn’t happen with blatant disregard to news gathering and freedom of the press. When I worked for the PGA Tour the working press laughed at us when management tried putting up restrictions.

    Nice shot Scott given what you had to work with. The view from above at Le Mans is much better as you know.

  5. Peter G says:

    Thank heavens I don’t shoot motor racing anymore …. Who needs the stress and hassles.?

  6. Daws says:

    KSW – Access was restricted during the MotoGP race because the Pitlane at Phillip Island is very skinny. They even ran the bare minimum of race officials in pitlane to keep the numbers of people (and therefore the chance of a collision) to a minimum.

    Great pic Scott, but I prefer the Johann Zarco scooter wheelie photobomb ;) He was wheelying that poor bike everywhere!

  7. KSW says:

    Daws,

    Thanks mate. Funny that LaGuna was removed from the schedule (money, fans, etc. acknowledged) due to track not being up to standards as a primary reason. So, does that mean PI will also loose it’s race unless they upgrade the facilities? Uh, no.

    I too, like Scott, was expecting to have better documentation of that event. Sad that it was so restricted. If those of us who shoot full time and races with pit stops know how the “dance” is done in an active pit it surely can’t be beyond the full time bibbed photogs like Scott.

    I still think the best way to increase racing and fans would be to add a pit stop. I know that F1 must not be real racing as defined by Dani and others like my friend Mr. Parrish but honestly it would add to the racing and fan experience.