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.

Fuel or Electronics? Where Are Nicky Hayden & Scott Redding Losing Out on the Honda RCV1000R?

The news that Honda would be building a production racer to compete in MotoGP aroused much excitement among fans. There was much speculation over just how quick it would be, and whether it would be possible for a talented rider to beat the satellite bikes on some tracks. In the hands of active MotoGP riders, the gap was around 2 seconds at the Sepang tests. Nicky Hayden – of whom much had been expected, not least by himself – had made significant improvements, especially on corner entry. The difference in performance and the big gap to the front has been cause for much speculation. Where are the Honda production racers losing out to the Factory Option bikes?

AMA Tech Director Suspended for Chastising Backmarker for “F’ing up the Show” at Mid-Ohio

07/23/2009 @ 1:43 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

We don’t even know where to begin with this…The AMA Pro Racing has announced that it has indefinitely suspended Al Ludington for his interactions to Johnny Rock Page during Race 1 of AMA’s stop at Mid-Ohio. Page was accused by Ludington for not abidding to a blue flag (over-taking rider approaching), as Aaron Yates looked to get around the slower Page. Pretty standard stuff in racing, especially in the AMA where there can be a wide gap in lap times of teams and riders.

The issue here though is the handling of the matter, as Ludington goes off his rocker, threatening and cursing Page, all while misquoting the rule book. During his rant, what becomes clear is Ludington’s lowly perception of privateer riders. He also sheds light on how the AMA perceives roadracing in America. It’s a sad state we live in folks.

Without seeing the incident, we can’t say for certain that Page was in the clear. We’ll let others who follow the AMA series comment on that, but clearly Page seemed to think he was within the rights of the rule book.

What bothers us the most about this video though, is clearly Ludington’s perception of what AMA Sportbike racing is all about, and what the value of ALL the riders on the grid are in his eyes. Quotes like “You raced the leaders, and fucked up the show” and “What were you? 28th?…you’re not ‘it’ [the show]” make us cringe. Page is right, every rider counts on the grid, and what place he was running in the series shouldn’t matter on how the rules are applied to him. All an over-taking rider can ask of a lapped rider, is to stick to the rules, and hold their line as they get around them in a corner.

For the record the rules are as follows (Al, you might want to read these), Section 7 (Race Rules And Procedures 7.14 Flags/Lights) of the AMA racing rules states that:

“Blue Flag: Indicates to a rider that they are about to be overtaken. Riders are advised to keep their line and allow the faster rider to pass. Riders disregarding this flag may be blackflagged at the discretion of AMA Pro Racing.”

This incident is sadly an inside look of what the AMA racing series has become (and why we don’t cover it…well, sorta). It’s sad when a Technical Director treats the riders in a purely dollars and cents fashion. We can barely handle it when we see it from the marketing/advertising folks, but you want to think that someone in the Race Director’s office still loves the sport of roadracing for what it used to be. You stay classy AMA.

Al Ludington’s Written Apology on the Matter:

To the AMA Pro Racing Community:

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to the fans of our sport, all AMA
members, competitors, AMA Pro Racing officials and Johnny Rock Page for my
behavior in the Tech Garage at the recent AMA Pro Road Racing event at Mid-
Ohio.

My actions were out of line and detrimental to the well being and the growth of
the sport that we all love. Mr. Page is a professional racer and should have been
reprimanded for his actions in a professional manner. He was not, and the blame
is entirely and solely my own.

I am regretful for offending anyone’s sensibilities, and I vow never to conduct
myself in this manner in the future. We expect cordial dialogue and behavior from
our competitors and, in turn, they should expect the same from us. I failed to live
up to this code of conduct.

Once again, I am offering my sincerest apologies to everybody that was affected
by my poor decision to conduct myself in a non-professional manner.

Sincerely,

Al Ludington
AMA Pro Racing
Technical Director

Source: Motorcycle-USA; Thumbnail: CornerSpeedPhoto

Comment:

  1. Gezond Verstand? says:

    If AMA are serious about getting racing more interested, maybe they should look at the German IDM-series. Their categories are based on superstock rules, allowing very little modifications to the bikes and thus keeping cost down. And it will probably attract the manufacturers since it is an interesting class for them to train riders. Current Ducati MotoGP rider Nicolo Canepa is a former European 1000cc Superstock Champion.

  2. AMA Technical Director Gets Fired for Chastising Backmarker for “Fucking up the Show” at Mid-Ohio – http://bit.ly/uxqhm #mot …

  3. Like the signature modification :-D

    JRP did what he was supposed to do. Yates himself has been taken out by lappers moving over to get out of the way. That is why the rulebook says to stay on your line if shown the blue flag. A predictable slow rider is far more safe than an unpredictable rider doing evasive maneuvers off the racing line. Especially in the tightest, windiest portion of the track, where this was going on.

    Oh, and did anyone mention that there were still 4 laps to go when this happened?

    Josh expertly timed his pass to use JRP to block Yates, if anything LOL

    Luddington threatening to abuse his powers should be grounds for termination. (He was the tech director, and said in the video something to the effect of “if they don’t suspend you, you won’t have a bike to ride” meaning he will fail his bike in tech inspection if his bosses didn’t suspend him). I have no doubt if that had not been caught on tape, Luddington would have denied that to his grave.

    Here is some of the video:

  4. mxs says:

    Where do they find clowns like Luddington?

  5. Patrick says:

    AMA, and DMG have ruined the experience of watching roadracing in the U.S. The second class environment they provide leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There is no love for the sport felt when watching these events. They are looking for $$$ first, then putting on quality races second. Ironically its this order of priorities thats to blame for the whole system failing. For this reason I choose not to watch these races on TV for free, but rather pay subscription fees to watch racing abroad. I feel bad for the privateer riders as I feel they are most negatively affected by this poor leadership.

  6. Chance Gray says:

    AMA is Pathetic, Thanks Al for showing your true feelings for privateers! Your a sad man.

  7. Patti Anderson says:

    Clearly Mr. Ludington is wrapped way too tightly. He reminds me of a mall security officer who never made it on the real Police force. A wannabe. These kind of people never really understand until they get caught with the right proof and even then he can’t bring himself off his pedestal. I love the quote in his letter “I am regretful for offending anyone’s sensibilities…” In other words, if you think I’m an ass, it’s still your fault. How dare he use his power like that.

  8. Joe says:

    Alright, so far everyone here is posting up in JRP’s defense. I won’t. Sure he did stick to the rules about holding his line…but he also did everything he could to stay in front of the leaders! Holding your line is one thing, but allowing faster riders by is another. For those of you that did not actually see what happened on track, you can not comment about JRP being in the right or wrong. Sure you can say Ludington was in the wrong, because he was. He was suspended, but will more than likely be back in the series and being watched like a hawk. Indefinite does not mean permanent. Remember, Jamie Hacking was also suspended indefinitely, but was back a race or two later.

    JRP, nor anyone else with that video should have posted it. JRP should have brought the video to the AMA first to try to get the problem resolved. Instead, being the guy out for attention that he is, he has helped tarnish AMA racing even more than what they have done on their own. Respect is a two way street. To me it is clear that JRP has no respect for the organization that he is racing in just as Ludington had no respect for him. It is a shame, but it happens. JRP should pack up his AMA bags and go race in another series where he has a chance at doing something other than cause an issue. His reality show is clouding his judgment as a racer.

  9. Fernando Ortega UTAH ama privateer team tech says:

    The show…, The f’ing show, whatever happened with racing, politics and dmg are gonna kill the “sport” very soon, bunch of clowns…

  10. Bill says:

    Joe apparently works for ama/dmg. Backmarkers are a racing reality. You get by them. He did what the rule book says. HOLD YOUR LINE. End of storey.
    Joe ,there is a new paradigm here. Expect to see people screwing up on youtube.
    As for ”racing the leaders” , thats what he payed his money to grid for and was succesful in gaining a position,however lowley, on it.
    The ama/dmg are in this for the money. They have no other concern.
    I am boycotting any race that has to do with these idiots. To be quite plain : The ama / dmg are bad for motorcycle racing. They are car people. And the screwed up nascar as well.
    Fortunately real racing exists elswhere. You should watch some Joe just so you have a different perspective if nothing else.

  11. LutherG says:

    Suspended? That guy should be fired. Racing needs entrants, berating entrants for following the rules and enjoying a brief moment of dicing with the leaders isn’t the way to ensure racers spend the fortune it takes to fill the field. That racer followed the rules. As a result he was threatened. Saying you shouldn’t publish this is like saying publishing police beatings hurts the morale of police. Hey, big deal. Don’t abuse your power and you won’t have an issue.