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 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.

Brembo Joint-Venture to Bring Cheap Carbon-Ceramic Brake Discs

06/04/2009 @ 12:08 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Brembo Joint Venture to Bring Cheap Carbon Ceramic Brake Discs brake 560x372

The Braking gods at Brembo have formed a new joint venture with carbon-fiber supplier, SGL Group, with the specific intent of bringing mass-produced, lower-cost carbon brake discs for widerspread application. Read: beyond the world for Formula1, MotoGP, and $200,000 Porsches.

Carbon-ceramic brakes have all the checks in the right box, except the price tag associated with them. They are light weight, dissipate heat quickly, and are resistant to fade, but they cost an arm and a leg…if you can even get someone like Brembo to sell you some in the first place.

Here enters the Brembo/SGL joint venture, which aims to remedy the cost factor by streamlining the production of the rotors so that they can be implemented across the automotive, and presumably also the motorcycle, industry with greater ease and efficiency. Continue on for the full Brembo press release.

Brembo Press Release:

Brembo and SGL Group Join Forces in Carbon Ceramic Brake Discs 

  • Brembo and SGL Group sign a full-fledged joint venture in carbon ceramic brake discs for the passenger car and commercial vehicle markets
  • The new company will be leader in the development of carbon ceramic brake systems as well as production and sale of carbon ceramic brake discs for the premium segment
  • Significant synergies in technological development, operations and marketing
  • Development of next generation carbon ceramic brake discs for larger scale automated production as medium-term target

Stezzano / Wiesbaden, May 28, 2009. Brembo S.p.A. – a world leader in high performance brake systems – and SGL Group – The Carbon Company – announced today the contract closing of a joint venture, in the area of carbon ceramic brake discs, with each parent company owning a 50% share in the new entity. For this purpose, the current subsidiaries Brembo Carbon Ceramic Brake Systems SpA and SGL Brakes GmbH will combine their activities. The joint venture operates under the name “Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes” and will become operational effective June 1, 2009. The new headquarter will be in the Milan area. The merger of activities has already been approved by the relevant authorities. 

The objective of the joint venture is to further develop carbon ceramic brake systems as well as to produce and market carbon ceramic brake discs, exclusively for the passenger car and commercial vehicle markets. The joint venture will also focus on the automated production of the next generation of carbon ceramic brake discs for the broader car market. 

With approximately 350 employees at its sites in Meitingen (Germany) and Stezzano (Italy), the joint venture expects sales of approximately € 70 million in 2009. Brembo S.p.A. and SGL Group announced their intent in April to merge their respective carbon ceramic brake disc activities into a joint venture. The joint venture will be headed by two General Managers, Antonio Braiato from Brembo and Bruno Toniolo from SGL Group, who both have extensive management experience within each respective parent company. 

The current customer base includes, among others, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Daimler, Ferrari, General Motors, Lamborghini and Porsche. 

The merger of activities and the formation of the joint venture involved the following steps: firstly, SGL Technologies GmbH subscribed € 30 million for new shares in Brembo Ceramic Brake Systems S.p.A., as part of a reserved capital increase, thus acquiring 50% of the company. The new joint venture, renamed Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes S.p.A., then resolved to purchase for € 30 million all the shares in SGL Brakes GmbH, the SGL group company dedicated to the production of carbon ceramic discs. 

A 5 year lock-up agreement has been agreed between the parts. 

Robert Koehler, CEO of SGL Group, comments: “Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes will be the worldwide benchmark in technology, design, development and production of carbon ceramic brake discs for sports and luxury cars. After intense efforts made in recent years, the carbon ceramic disc technology is now ready to be applied on a wider scale. Brembo is the ideal partner for SGL Group to bring this innovative product to the next level of industrialization and commercialization. The joint venture is in line with our Carbon Fibers & Composites growth strategy to cooperate in the down-stream businesses with established industry partners to bundle know how and to better utilize the market potential by offering superior solutions to the customers.” 

Alberto Bombassei, CEO of Brembo S.p.A., remarks: “I am especially proud to announce this joint venture, which will give a critical boost to the next generation of carbon ceramic brake discs. The combination of our expertise in top level brake systems and carbon ceramic disc application with SGL Group’s outstanding knowledge of the materials will allow this type of product to be applied in a broader market segment. “Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes” marks a further step in Brembo’s development towards systems with even greater performance and lightweight that meet the changing requirements of the automotive world, including respect for the environment.” 

Synergies in materials, processes and product development 

The complementary skills of both companies will result in the release of synergies in areas such as materials, processes and product development. Brembo, a leader in the development and production of high performance brake systems for car and motorbike applications, has developed carbon and carbon ceramic materials for F1 and street applications, and will contribute its expertise in automated production as well as its brake system know-how. SGL Group has comprehensive experience in carbon fiber based materials and is the only European integrated supplier covering the entire value chain, ranging from precursor and carbon fiber production, to fabrics, preforms and prepregs, as well as composite components. The combined capabilities will enable Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes to serve OEMs as their development partner, which will be a key success factor for carbon ceramic brake systems in the marketplace. Joint R&D investments will ensure the efficient utilization of resources and lower development costs by avoiding duplicate work in similar areas. 

Large scale production is medium-term objective 

Carbon fiber reinforced ceramic materials have been used in aerospace applications since the 1990s. In 2001, the first cars were equipped with carbon ceramic brakes on a commercial basis, with Brembo Carbon Ceramic Brakes Systems and SGL Brakes establishing their current plants at this time. Both manufacturing facilities have sufficient production capacities to meet current market demand. Despite the present slow-down in the automotive mass market, the significant untapped growth potential for carbon ceramic brakes in the premium segment offers a potential triple digit million Euro market. However, current production technology is still characterized by several manual and semi-automated process steps. Efforts will therefore continue to develop and launch new products based on automated processes suitable for larger scale production. Ultimately, these developments aim to significantly reduce manufacturing costs to a level that justifies future investment in a new large scale production facility. 

Carbon Ceramic Discs: Green performance 

Compared to traditional cast iron discs, carbon ceramic discs offer significant weight reduction – up to 50% – and therefore lower fuel consumption. This product is more environmentally friendly, with lower CO2 emissions, a longer life span, greater corrosion resistance, avoidance of fine particle dust and performance advantages, as well as a very high level of thermal stability (fading resistance). 

About Brembo S.p.A. 

Brembo S.p.A. is the world leader and acknowledged innovator of the brake disc technology for automotive vehicles. Brembo supplies high performance brake systems for the most important manufacturers of cars, commercial vehicles and motorbikes worldwide, as well as clutches, seats, seat belts and other components for racing only. Moreover, Brembo is also a leader in the racing sector and has won more than 200 championships. Today the company operates in 14 countries of 3 continents, with 33 production and business sites, and a pool of about 5.800 employees, 8% of whom are engineers and product specialists active in the R&D. 2008 turnover is € 1 billion. Brembo is the owner of the Brembo, Breco, Marchesini, Sabelt brands and operates through AP Racing brand. 

About SGL Group – The Carbon Company 

SGL Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbon-based products. It has a comprehensive portfolio ranging from carbon and graphite products to carbon fibers and composites. SGL Group’s core competencies are its expertise in high-temperature technology as well as its applications and engineering know-how gained over many years. These competencies enable the Company to make full use of its broad material base. SGL Group’s carbon-based materials combine several unique properties such as electrical and thermal conductivity, heat and corrosion resistance as well as high mechanical strength combined with low weight. Due to the paradigm shift in the use of materials as a result of the worldwide shortage of energy and raw materials, there is a growing demand for SGL Group’s high-performance materials and products from an increasing number of industries. Carbon and graphite products are used whenever other materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, plastics, wood etc. fail due to their limited properties. Products from SGL Group are used predominantly in the steel, aluminum, automotive, chemical and glass/ceramics industries. However, manufacturers in the semiconductor, battery, solar/wind energy, environmental protection, aerospace and defense industries as well as in the nuclear energy industry also figure among the Company’s customers. 

With 40 production sites in Europe, North America and Asia as well as a service network covering more than 100 countries, SGL Group is a company with a global presence. In 2008, the Company’s workforce of around 6,500 generated sales of €1.6 billion. The Company’s head office is located in Wiesbaden/Germany. 

Source: Autoblog


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