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 Buying Only Part of Ducati? Daimler Bows Out

04/03/2012 @ 6:05 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Audi Buying Only Part of Ducati? Daimler Bows Out ducati superquadro 635x475

More reports are starting to surface about Audi’s pending purchase of Ducati Motor Holding from Investindustrial. Said last month to have offered the private equity firm somewhere in the neighborhood of €750 million, Reuters is now reporting the figure to have been closer to the €870 million to €875 million range, which is closer to the original rumored offer of €850 million by the German automaker. What is most interesting in the report by Reuters is the notion that Audi is not making an offer to buy all of Investindustrial’s financial position in Ducati Motor Holding, which accounts for about 70% of the company.

Instead, Audi would seemingly be buying a controlling interest in the company, with Investindustrial reportedly looking to sell its remaining interest to another party. With rumors circulating that Daimler could be the second party to that purchase, the Stuttgart-based firm has denied any further interest in owning Ducati.  ”We have no interest in a takeover of Ducati,” succinctly said a spokesman for Daimler in response to a report in Italy’s Corriere della Sera, which had suggested that the owner of Mercedes-Benz was looking at Ducati.

Despite AMG’s joint marketing effort with Ducati, Mercedes-Benz is said to have bowed out of the bidding on Ducati late last year, and it seems unreasonable to think of a situation where Daimler would co-invest with rival German car manufacturing group Volkswagen, who in turn owns Audi. With Daimler said to have passed on making a better offer to Investindustrial than Audi’s, it would seem the number of avenues for the Italian motorcycle company’s ownership are slowly converging to one path.

The news that Audi may not purchase all of Investindustrial’s position could still leave open the possibility for a public stock offering, though one has to ask the question whether Ducati is the right company to take its stock public. Even with the company selling exceptionally well last year and moving over 40,000 motorcycles worldwide, it still struggles with profitability at those volume figures.

Source: Reuters


  1. AK says:

    I don’t care who own Ducati or control them… as long as they produce cool and innovative products I will continue my business with them.

  2. RJ says:

    The problem with Ducati is the hole they are in is sooo big, that even with record sales years they STILL are in the red (no pun intended).

    It’s a good example at how it takes more than a good product to sustain a business.

    Good luck to the boys in Bologna, in GP’s and in the future.

  3. Westward says:

    Maybe Lapo Elkann will purchase the rest. Fiat and Audi are not direct competitors, though VW is. Not sure if it will make much of a difference as Mercedes feels it is. I guess this means AMG will no longer sponsor them in Motogp. Audi is not a bad logo to have on ones livery…

  4. Lapo Elkann isn’t a serious purchaser, just some Italian egomaniac looking to make headlines.

    I mean come on, Audi makes a fair offer on Ducati, and this guy comes along and says “well Ducati, if you come down on the price I’d make a bid.” Yeah, me too…

    There’s a snowball’s chance in hell of a private equity company selling to the lowest bidder, but Elkann gets some press and gets to play the “Italians owning Italian companies” card.

    I rolled my eyes at every publication that ran with that story. Donald Trump called, he wants his schtick back.

  5. mxs says:

    Hold on a second … are you denying that the same dude was the guy behind Rossi’s massive Fiat support when he was riding Yamaha? If you don’t, whether the you like it or not, the guy has some power behind him. Secondly, what if he’s right that the price is too high? Many people would agree with him.

    BTW, he has never said sell to the lowest bidder …. yes sometimes the lowest bidder is the way to go for reasons unknown to you or me.

    Why does it feel that there’s more to it than you are saying … spill the beans.

  6. Tom says:

    Is Ducati’s racing efforts what is putting them into the red? Selling 40,000 bikes should be enough volume to remain profitable. As an outsider, it looks like they are in more a need of a good accountant because who wants to buy a company perpetually in the red for $1billion+?

  7. Westward says:

    Methinks the price was too high also. Let me get this straight, $875 Million, and Audi still would not own 100% of the Ducati, a company that sells 40k bikes in a good year..?

    I’d take Elkann over Trump, any day, and twice on any day…

  8. Singletrack says:


    I think that’s how the the Germans pronounce Ducati already ;)