Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki XRH-1 MotoGP Bike at COTA, While Randy De Puniet Matches Pace of Open Bikes

Suzuki’s MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit, as the team had not yet tested the Suzuki XRH-1 at COTA, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015. Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday’s race.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

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 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.

Breaking: Hero MotoCorp Buys 49.2% Stake in Erik Buell Racing for $25 Million

07/01/2013 @ 9:34 am, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Breaking: Hero MotoCorp Buys 49.2% Stake in Erik Buell Racing for $25 Million erik buell racing america 635x423

A plethora of Indian Financial publications are reporting that Hero MotoCorp has bought a 49.2% stake in Erik Buell Racing for $25 million. Hero MotoCorp is India’s largest two-wheel manufacturer, and for a year now has partnered with Erik Buell Racing for technical development, as well as sponsoring the American company’s AMA Pro Road Racing team for the past two seasons.

Today’s news confirms numerous rumors we have heard about the Hero investing in EBR. Acquiring only 49.2% of Erik Buell Racing, Hero has only a minority stake in EBR, and while we cannot confirm the information, we would imagine that the odd 49.2% ownership was done to keep Erik Buell as the majority shareholder in his company.

“The equity partnership with EBR is reflective of our long-term vision of transforming Hero MotoCorp to a truly global two-wheeler major with footprints spread across continents, offering a wide range of technologically-advanced two-wheelers,” said Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal while talking to the Economic times.

As we go on spreading our footprint in new international markets, we will look at having extended centres of our own R&D at multiple locations around the world, developing two-wheelers for our global customers. Our fully-owned new overseas subsidiaries such as the one in the US and in Netherlands will play important roles in our future overseas acquisitions and investments,” added Munjal.

Making the transaction through its wholey-owned American subsidiary HMCL, Hero MotoCorp picks up two seats on Erik Buell Racing’s Board of Directors, along with one observer position. Despite those board changes, Erik Buell will remain the company’s Chairman and CEO.

According to reports from India, Hero has paid $15 million up-front, and will invest $10 million within the next nine months. The investment reportedly is to help Hero continue its R&D efforts, helping fill the void left behind from Hero and Honda’s break-up, as Hero plans to be free of Honda’s technology (and licensing fees) by 2014.

Hero must have liked what they have seen so far from its short partnership with Erik Buell Racing to make the investment, and value the company at just over $50 million. Though now the real question for Buelltisti is how do they feel about their “American sport bike brand” being largely owned by an Indian company?

Source: Reuters, Economic Times, & Business Standard; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Doctor Jelly says:

    If it keeps Buell in the game, gives him funding for his ideas, and means I may be able to put another ‘mere mortal’ priced Buell next to my 1125R one day, then I’m ok with it!

  2. Logan says:

    This day and age one had to go where the money is. I hope this helps Erik get bikes solidly on the ground instead of temporarily.

  3. alexssss says:

    this would all be so much more awesome were it not for the fact that hero motorcycles are something you’d find at walmart

  4. Logan says:

    Hero is a HUGE company even if they only sell in “walmart”. This needs to be looked at with the bigger picture in mind. This deal will help both Erik and Hero expand.

  5. motobell says:

    Good news for Buell long term – I grew up india and have lived last 20 years in the US – so I may be biased. But I also follow our sport and industry very closely to know that – Buell just cannot survive with a american market – even if they make the transition back to decent volume play.

    @Logan is right. India is a very nascent market and will be bigger in $$ in the near future. The investment makes a lot of sense for Hero – brand “America” is very strong in India – even stronger than here in the US. Even if they they sell this premium product to only the local market – they could win.

    Very happy for Erk and team – had the opportunity to chat with him at sonoma – such a cool passionate guy. Gotta love it. hero should take a page out of other similar infian moves like Tat has done with Land Rover and Jaguar – both have fierce independent design that makes german look like idiots (yes I drive german cars).

    Here is another datapoint of power of india market coming – Moto3 this weekend saw Mahindra a indian brand take pole(i know the bike is not built by them but who cares) and KTM owned by India’s Bajaj domainate the series. WSBK & WSS were won by Team Mahi India Kawasaki.

    yes on the question of a indian owned american brand – i dont think most consumers would care as long as the brand is authentic and products are good. I think the average american consumers is more intelligent than that.

  6. Stacius says:

    This is good news!

    Hero did nothing to design or engineer the bikes. So they’re still “American”.

    Hero could help sell EBR’s worldwide, making the bikes cheaper for everyone!

  7. alexssss says:

    People have a deluded sense of reality – Buell wasn’t cheated he built bikes that looked and felt cheap and not enough people bough them for HD to continue warranting their time and money when they had already corned the market on General Motorcycles.

    I’d love to see an American manufacturer make Honda quality street motorcycles, but it’s not going to be EBR – no matter how much you innovate if it looks like a blue light special there is going to be no interest.

    It’s sad that Apples success based on design and engineering is so lost on most other American companies.

  8. mxs says:

    Good news, but let’s not overplay this ….. Mahindra in Moto3 has nothing “made in India” …. chassis is Suter and engine KTM, certainly not made or designed in India.

    KTM is in India, because that’s where you can sell huge amount of small cc bikes and manufacture them inexpensively, still with a good amount of quality if managed right (certainly kTM is a proof that it is possible)

    But let’s not overestimate their contribution to the motorcycle wisdom or design so to speak.

  9. irksome says:

    Okay with less than 50% Indian ownership?

    Well golly, that whole ‘merican partnership worked out SO WELL, dinnit!?!

  10. TexusTim says:

    whatever…E.B. is either stupid or smart like a fox..but his bikes will never get anywere farther than were they are now…maybe he will sell the rest off after selling a few more 50 grand superbikes and india will end up making a simplifed street version with the ebr name and it will finally get somewere….or it will go along the same route as hd and end up with almost as much warranty cost as sales…either way I see erik suffering from the same problem as ducatti…..
    “they cant let go of some illfounded trademark enginering and cant get out of there own way to a proper line of development” so cost is high and development slow to prove it’s worth and even slower to let it go when it fails.

  11. Gonzo says:

    YAAAAAAAAAWWWWWNNNNNNNNNN…….

    I’ll start paying attention to EBR when he makes bikes that are not WAAAAAYYYYYYYY overpriced. If BMW can make bikes that perform just as good, if not better than, an EBR, for less than $20K, why can’t that dipshit? Even with finance charges figured in, I’m very happy with what I got from BMW for $17K in the form of my S1000RR.

  12. patrickracer says:

    A $50M valuation? It looks like EB took some lessons from the great Claudio Castiglioni.
    A deserved payday after the 20 year railing that HD gave him.

  13. Logan says:

    People that call names have no place in a discussion. HD held Erik back significantly. He now has a chance to design something worth a look. Low capital means higher costs. He isn’t set up to offer cheaper. And comparing Erik with bmw is silly. Multibillion dollars vs what? A million, maybe? Come on…

  14. paulus says:

    Good luck to buell/Hero… another brand in the market is good for all of us motorcyclists.
    more choice, more competition.

  15. jet says:

    I must say you got your heart in the right place PAULUS : “Good for all of us” but it’s only good to a few who really can afford to buy this some what cool bike made w/ some carbon bits w/ an engine not quite proven.$ 13 to maybe 16 would be more realistic.I think maybe this guy still thinks he working for harley….

  16. Nobody Important says:

    @TexasTim:

    If you predict business success as well as you spell……………Wate, u nead too youse spel chek before peeple taek the thangs u says seriussly.

    Dude, that is just embarrassing to read.

    I see that I am among those who hate Buell (EBR). I will show myself out.

    LONG LIVE ERIK!

  17. Norm G. says:

    re: “If BMW can make bikes that perform just as good, if not better than, an EBR, for less than $20K, why can’t that dipshit? Even with finance charges figured in, I’m very happy with what I got from BMW for $17K in the form of my S1000RR.”

    wow, i’m almost ashamed to be associated with BMW. this is some of the most ignorant thoughts ever typed and uploaded to the interweb…!?

  18. Norm G. says:

    re: “I’d love to see an American manufacturer make Honda quality street motorcycles, but it’s not going to be EBR”

    and will never be as long as Americans short-sidedly “EAT THEIR YOUNG”. you’d never see this in a million years in Europe. ie. Germany, Italy, Sweden, India, etc. it’s a “foreign” concept (pun intended).

  19. smiler says:

    Better that an Indian company buys in than the frankly cynical Chinese.

    Will we see a Royal Enfield with belt drive and underslung tank.

    Great news. Erik Buell deserves to be in business and making more great bikes. About the only innovative bike maker in the US.

  20. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I’ve owned a Buell and thought it was a great (if not bizarre) bike.

    I love what Eric Buell has done. The man is one of the last great inovators in the industry.

    It was somewhat of a tragedy that he was abused in that unholy marriage with HD. But all things considered it was probably the only path he had at the time to bring some of his ideas to market.

    With Hero I see something entirely different. I see deep pockets bankrolling Eric’s ideas with little constraint.

    I want to know where this deal with Hero will lead. Will there be affordable Buell sportbikes in American showrooms again?…bikes without out all the Harley bs., just Eric Buell’s vision. God, I hope so.

  21. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Sorry, spelled his first name wrong Erik (I know it’s a pet peeve with a lot of people).

    Anyway–Good luck Erik Buell

  22. Scott says:

    I hope this DOESN’T mean the Hero Blast II is in our future……?

  23. Faust says:

    An affordable v twin Sportbike would be nice. I was really looking forward to the Barracuda until HD pulled the plug on Buell. The EBR 1190RS is cool, but out of reach. Even if I had that kind of money to spend on a bike, I’d just buy an 1199R and save a bunch. On a side note, I can’t help but shake my head at the people who say the EBRs engine is unproven. It’s a modified Rotax Helicon…. How are Rotax twins unproven?