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?

Michael Lock Officially Leaving Ducati North America

07/16/2010 @ 10:45 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Michael Lock Officially Leaving Ducati North America Michael Lock Think electric car

UPDATE: Michael Lock has announced that he has taken on the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Think, an electric car manufacturer.

Asphalt & Rubber broke the news last week that Michael Lock was leaving Ducati North America before the company even knew it, and now the news that Michael Lock is leaving Ducati North America is finally official. Leaving the company in two weeks at the end of July, Lock will be moving on to pursue other interests.

Ducati Holdings Vice President of Sales Cristiano Silei will takeover at Ducati N.A. in the interim, as the company looks for a new CEO. With such short-notice on Lock’s departure, we’re left pondering why the successful CEO is leaving the company, more as we find it. Press release after the jump.


Cupertino, Calif. (16 July 2010) – Ducati Motor Holding announces today that Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America, is leaving the company at the end of July.

Michael joined Ducati in 2002 in the UK, and in early 2003 moved to the USA to head up the management team at Ducati North America’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Over the next seven years Lock’s team made many changes to Ducati’s organization, distribution, marketing and service operations.

Lock’s hard work culminated in Ducati achieving its highest ever US market share in 2009, increasing Canadian sales four-fold between 2003-2009, and taking over responsibility for the brand in Mexico earlier this year. As well as setting sales records, Lock transformed DNA’s communication strategies and delivered numerous highlights including the Monster Challenges, high profile retail promotions with brands such as Oakley and Puma, and the successful conquering of Pikes Peak with the Multistrada 1200 just this past June.

“I have experienced and participated in an amazing journey at Ducati. In a few short years we have been able to transform our brand into the most feared and admired European motorcycle by competitors and enthusiasts alike. It has been a privilege to be involved and I look forward to watching the brand soar to new heights over the coming years.” Said Lock from his office Cupertino, CA.

“Michael has been the driving force behind the great success Ducati has enjoyed in North America this past seven years.  His ambition, passion and his unwavering determination has established our beloved brand as the object of desire for any motorcyclist.  He has nurtured the brand, developed the dealer network and put together an outstanding team in the US, Canada and Mexico alike.” Said Cristiano Silei; Vice President Sales at Ducati Motor Holding in Bologna, Italy.

While Lock moves on to pursue other opportunities, Ducati North America is looking to finish a challenging year strongly. The much-admired Multistrada 1200 has been winning awards, while the recent arrival of the Monster 796 to dealer showrooms has spurred sales even further.

Cristiano Silei will assume the position of CEO of DNA for the interim while retaining his current position as Vice President of Sales at Ducati Motor Holding.

“North America is the most important international market for Ducati and the one I personally know the best.  I am excited to be supporting DNA’s Senior Managers to set and implement policy for the new season.  Our goals are to support our dealer network and keep improving our market share thanks to an ever expanding product line-up, innovative branding and sound commercial policies”.

Source: Ducati North America


  1. emd says:

    Yes, I’d like to know why.. nice job in breaking that one, your right you knew before bologna.

  2. V2 Lust says:

    Quite the shake-up and props for calling this one early! I wonder who will end up taking the reigns next? Any word on if its just Mr. Lock leaving or if the departure is of a larger portion of the management team? I think there might be a certain former Bologna executive bouncing around the states who could be well suited for the job.

    Ducati would also do well to hire or consult with a certain motorcycle industry blog editor as well ;)

  3. CZ says:

    shouldn’t be too surprising. Lock did the same thing with Triumph. He joins a company, shares his genius, gets it working and moves along to a new challenge. I talked to him briefly when he made a dealer visit, his intellect is disturbing. But he seems to have a short attention span, he’s probably bored now.

  4. BikePilot says:

    The big question now is where is Mr. Lock headed next?

  5. Greg says:

    Maybe he can help Fiat turn Chrysler around….

  6. Steve N. says:

    Perhaps he’s going to Aprilia.

  7. Jason H says:

    I agree about him wanting a new challenge… I predict he’ll head to one of the e-bike start-ups like Brammo or MotoCysz. He has the branding, logistics and dealer network development experience, and he has probably figured out that e-technology will grow exponentially now. He’ll grow this company until he sees a bigger prize ahead. Lord knows no one wants to return to England after living in Cupertino :)

  8. Lowell Goss says:

    Don’t be too quick to praise Mr Lock. The inside scoop is that his departure is NOT voluntary. He has simply been given an opportunity to save face.

    His relationship with the dealer network was extremely strained. Sales in North America have dropped dramatically with the economy, which is true for most brands. Michael rode a great wave of consumer spending up and now back down. Rather than collaborate with his top dealers, he treated them as adversaries. Innovation in marketing was seen as a threat, instead of an opportunity to cultivate enthusiasm.

    Michael interpersonal and attitude issues didn’t end with dealers. Instead of building relationships, he made enemies. In Italy and among Ducati’s employees in North America there will be many toasts celebrating the end of his tenure.

  9. BREAKING: Michael Lock Officially Leaving Ducati North America – #motorcycle

  10. Just another lesson that you shouldn't believe everything a PR rep says to you. –

  11. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: BREAKING: Michael Lock Officially Leaving Ducati North America – #motorcycle

  12. Todd says:

    @Lowell: That’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. I’m not insulting you personally, I’m just saying that based on where I stand you’re totally off-base.

    This is not intended to be a sycophantic rant deifying Lock (even if it ends up reading like one :) )

    My previous employer was being courted to become a Ducati dealer for a number of years. We were hung up in red tape because there was this total crap-house Ducati “dealer” inside what would be our AOR.

    I bring this up because over several years I had a chance to attend numerous Ducati dealer events and see Lock and team do their thing even before I was part of the dealership network and thus “drink the cool-aid.”

    I was blown away by what I saw. That type of drive, vision, professionalism etc. does not happen unless there’s someone at the top that’s pushing it. Period. We’re not talking about some kind of genius emergent behavior that “just happens.”

    Yes, I’m positive that there’s a large part of DNA’s success over the years that has happened because of the individual efforts and blood sweat and tears of the people that Lock brought on. Maybe even in spite of day to day politics, etc. But there’s still only one captain.

    Before I came into the powersports industry I was in high-tech, and then in the dot-com days I’ve had **plenty** of chances to work for Naked Emperors. Trust me… Successful dot-com entrepreneurs… what a f’ing oxy-moron that was. From my point of view, Lock is not that.

    Granted, I never worked for him so I’m sure that folks that did may have a different POV. However, if you look at the leaders that have lead organizations that have been able to historically achieve the type of results that DNA has, you will find a personality type that coincidentally fits what you seem to think is a negative profile that you ascribe to Lock.

    Face it. The powersports industry is an enthusiast good-ol-boys club with few-and-far-between legitimate leaders when it comes to vision and execution.

    Our industry would be soooo different in the USA if the execs at the NA branches of OEM’s were not content to just float along on the inertia of the market and existing brand equity.

    But look at what DNA has been able to accomplish. Take a periphery brand in the USA that for some crazy-ass reason was demanding a premium price and manage to create a brand identity that became a legit premium and sought after brand that no longer demanded such out-of-line premium prices. And that was with a f’ing Italian parent company!!!

    I dare anyone that has worked for Vespa/Piaggio/Aprilla etc. to say that Italians are business geniuses and are a pleasure work with. With a straight face.
    The fact that Lock was able to do what he did, with an Italian parent is like a cosmic bonus!

    I’m not saying that Lock was able to do it himself obviously. He had some amazing and impressive people working to make sure that the machine was able to really scream. And like I said, I never actually worked for him, but face it, execs like Ellison, Cuban, etc. that have the goods to demand perfection can really piss off people that can’t make the cut.

    I’ve been working in the trenches of the powersports industry long enough to know that saying that Lock was able to piss off a lot of dealers is proof in my eyes that I’d bet on him more than I’d take pity on the dealers. I’d give Lock $1,000 of my own money to invest before I’ve give 10 dealers $100 each to invest.

  13. Johnson Stars says:

    Nice job breaking this one! You guys are a great source of motorcycle news. I really enjoy your site – it doesn’t have a ton of crazy ads like other motorcycle news sites.