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.

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?

Audi Bought 100% of Ducati’s Stock

04/19/2012 @ 2:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Audi Bought 100% of Ducatis Stock ducaudi 635x485

With the Volkswagen Group’s Board of Directors meeting done, ahead of the company’s shareholder meeting which is also now complete, details of Audi’s acquisition of Ducati are starting to emerge.

Paying €860 million ($1.1 billion) for the Italian motorcycle company, perhaps the biggest shocker to come from Audi’s acquisition is not the price, but the unconfirmed reports that Audi AG has bought 100% of the Ducati’s stock, meaning Borgo Panigale will now come under complete German control.

This news means that Audi not only bought out the 70% ownership of Investindustrial, but also the 30% remainder that was held by private equity fund BS, the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan, and other minority shareholders.

Unsurprisingly, this also means that Audi has assumed all of Ducati’s financial liabilities, estimated to be in the €180 million to €200 million range. This adjusts Audi’s valuation of Ducati to somewhere just shy of $1 billion, likely in the $850 million to $900 million range, which is considerably less than the $1.3 billion valuation Investindustrial placed on Ducati earlier this year.

Converting into euros instead of dollars, the valuation of Ducati Motor Holding’s business comes out to be €650 million to €685 million, which is a tidy sum for a company that did only €480 million in revenue last year. Some gorilla math pegs this purchase price multiple at around 1.5x Ducati’s revenues, a tad higher than the .9x multiple typically seen in manufacturing, though inline with assessments of Ducati’s intangible brand value.

According to Investindustrial, Ducati posted earnings before interest and taxes of only €51 million, a stark contrast to the €5 million the company was earning when Investindustrial first took ownership of the Italian brand. This figure largely is due to the fact that Ducati had a break-out year, and sold over 42,000 motorcycles in 2011, which helps the Italian motorcycle manufacturer account for 11% of the over-600cc market.

With European anti-trust regulators not expected to stop the acquisition, this week marks the starting point for Audi’s ownership of Ducati. It will be interesting to see what the German brand can do with its new Italian motorcycle company, both strategically and financially.

Source: Infomotori & Investindustrial


  1. Afletra says:


  2. Dan says:

    and this is how the Germans rule the world….

  3. Ken C. says:

    Maybe Audi can tell Ducati what to do to get Rossi winning again. :P

  4. Halfie 30 says:

    Everybody still on board with Audi’s acquisition now!? I think not. Bad news!

  5. SPEKTRE76 says:

    Maybe we’ll get those cool looking Audi LED headlights for next years Panigale as seen on the 2012 A4.

    We also may see a V-4 in the future too.

  6. Umm…the Panigale already has LED headlights…

  7. 76 says:

    There will be alittle culture shock from those at Ducati, but as long as both parties involved can weather the storm short term I can see a positive outcome for both the bikes & companies in the long. VW has already proved they can take small exclusive/exotic brands and employ structure and a know how to take what DNA makes that brand special and build on it (On a automotive level). This change will also will come with more structured and formal level of R&D / production. Ducati will also enjoy access to a pool of both designers and engineers on a more advanced concept level I’m betting.

    Honestly I think VW’s motive is simple, continue building the Audi reputation as a top tier exclusive brand by linking the worlds most exotic and well know Superbike brand with their own. I see it like marrying a supermodel, these unions are normally short lived but of course when you marry a supermodel you dont get 100% of her stock (she actually gets alittle more access to yours), that little detail could really put alittle more emphasis on the T in team for Ducati.

  8. +1 to what 76 said. I suspect that the marriage will be a good one for Ducati, as it will benefit from deeper pockets and possibly technology that will make its production and distribution more efficient. Those are both aspects that can only help Ducati in capturing further market share.

  9. Westward says:

    Providing they stay in MotoGp, I wonder, does this mean we could see Bradley or Cortese on the Ducati…

  10. Damo says:

    That’s it I am buying a Triumph!

  11. paulus says:

    I would rather see the owners be automotive than an industrial venture capital group and a pension plan…. wait for the fruits of the union and then decide.

  12. SBPilot says:

    I cringe at Audi buying Ducati because I like Ducati but dislike Audi. Audi as an automaker IMHO is unoriginal and always playing catchup to BMW. Ok, I admit, I am a BMW fan, but I like older Audis too. However, Audi will never stack up to BMW in cars since they are more or less hopped up VWs and never could/will in bikes because BMW has been building bikes for a long long time where Audi has not motorbike history. Of course Audi wants to rival BMW in the bike segment so hey, why not snag a financially troubled iconic Italian brand. Admittedly I think it will do well for Ducati as it did (very) well for Lamborghini. However, it definitely turns me off a bit towards Ducs now that Audi owns it…

  13. coolbiker says:

    Ducati should consult with Husqvarna ( bought by BMW ) to find out more about the Germans running their life

  14. TJ says:

    “BMW has been building bikes for a long long time where Audi has not motorbike history”
    Actually, they have a “history” in the two wheeled business. Look up NSU and DKW.

    Anyhow, the question emerges – whether it is important to have such history or not. BMW was new for bikes in the 1920′s, Ducati started motorcycle business only after WWII. Both came far so long…

  15. BikePilot says:

    I doubt it’ll go anything like the BMW-Husqvarna abomination. BMW built crappy dirt bikes and had no brand value with dirt bikers so needed a sticker with some off road cachet to slap on its crappy dirt bikes and some help making its bikes slightly less crappy, and it got that plus some. In the future it might even make a good dirt bike, its proven with its superbike that it can make something that’s light and fast.

    Audi doesn’t make bikes, but wants to make money. It’ll be in its best interest to see to it that ducati continues to build its bikes and brand in the way that’s lead to their fantastic recent success. With Audi’s cash, business knowledge, manufacturing IP, etc., it outta be able to do awesome as long as it doesn’t meddle too much with the Ducati designers and engineers.

  16. Jake says:

    With German precision and Italian passion, what’s the worst that could happen?

  17. BikePilot says:

    The worst? German passion and Italian (strike that, Chinese) precision =p

  18. Ryan says:

    A lot of the comments I read on this blog and other automotive blogs contain similar sentiments to what SBPilot has shared. Unfortunately, believing that Audi being German or having little two-wheel experience will at all affect Ducati is pretty simple minded to say the least. What two-wheel experience do venture capitalists have? How would you describe the product nationality of the investment firm that sold Ducati?

    TLDR: Don’t be daft. Audi’s acquisition makes sense for both parties and will not affect the soul of the new Ducatis.

  19. SPEKTRE76 says:

    @Jensen Beeler

    I know my good sir. I mean t I hope that we get them so that the have that little white outline wrapped around the headlamp assembly.