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.

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.

TT Zero Ousts TTXGP for 2010 At The Isle Of Man TT

01/28/2010 @ 1:34 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

TT Zero Ousts TTXGP for 2010 At The Isle Of Man TT TT Zero logo

The Isle of Man announced today that they will be adding the TT Zero clean emissions class to the historic Isle of Man TT race program. The Zero TT, like the rest of the IOMTT, will be run by ACU Events, Ltd and will use the FIM rules concerning electric motorcycles. Additionally, promotions for the Zero TT will be handled by the Department of Tourism and Leisure. Of particular note in this announcement is the Isle of Man’s dropping of TTXGP, which will not be involved in the 2010 series, but the DTL’s Martyn Quayle said in the press release that he acknowledges TTXGP’s hard work in the first zero emissions race at Isle of Man in June of 2009.

Early indications surrounding the announcement suggest that the decision by the Isle of Man to setup the TT Zero racing class stems from the Isle’s desire to distance itself and the historic race from the TTXGP brand, which has been in controversy both publicly with its split from the FIM, and privately with members of the motorcycle community. Given the TT’s heated history with the FIM, it is also of particular note that they will be adopting the international organization’s rules and regulations for the running of TT Zero, which could be a further indication from the Isle in distancing itself from the influence of TTXGP.

Despite this news and the rumors surrounding it, TTXGP still has three series they are running in the United States, UK and Italy that culminate in one Championship race in Spain. To-date, TTXGP has signed up a number of riders to compete in their races, and has begun opening-up their rulebook for 2011 in a wiki-style collective.

The announcement today further fractures the electric motorcycle racing world, and it remains to be seen where teams will flock to in order to race against each other. With 2010 shaping up to be mostly a local racing affair, the IOMTT provides an opportunity for teams around the globe to meet for one race where they compete against each other (similar to the premise behind TTXGP’s Championship set to be held in Spain). While the Spanish Championship round will feature only the top teams from each local series, the Isle of Man continues to provide a platform where all teams can race against each other.

What remains to be seen is how these two race series will affect each other and the budding industry, and also what this announcement means for teams that have signed an exclusivity contract with TTXGP. Will they be precluded from taking part in the TT Zero? Only time will tell on this one. More news as we get it.

Press Release from The Isle of Man Department of Tourism:

Following the success of the inaugural clean emissions motorcycle race on the Isle of Man in 2009, the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure has confirmed that a clean emissions race will be part of the 2010 TT.

The clean emissions race in 2009 has been widely credited with accelerating the development of clean emissions transport and many of the technical innovations that were introduced in the Isle of Man are expected to become an integral part of future mass market transport. The event was conceived with the support and involvement of numerous departments of the Isle of Man Government as part of the Island’s Freedom to Flourish programme.

The 2010 clean emissions race has been renamed ‘TT Zero’ and will become part of the core TT programme. It will feature riders who are also competing in the other TT classes. The one-lap race will be open to clean emission motorcycles and will take place on Wednesday, June 9th, at 4.30pm, following the Royal London 360 Superstock and Supersport Races. There will also be qualifying sessions on June 5th and 7th.

As with the core TT Races programme TT Zero will be run by ACU Events Ltd, using the latest FIM regulations. However TTXGP Ltd, who promoted the 2009 event, will not be involved and the DTL will become the race promoter for the clean emissions race as well as the core TT Races programme.

As well as the usual prize money available to teams and riders, the Isle of Man Government has also created a £10,000 prize fund for the first TT Zero Race team to record a 100mph lap (160.93kph) around the 37.73-mile course. This landmark was achieved for the first time by a conventional bike in 1957, when Scotsman Bob McIntyre lapped the TT Course in 22 minutes 24.4 seconds for an overall average of 101.03mph. Rob Barber and Team Agni recorded a fastest lap time of 25 minutes 53.5 seconds (87.434mph) in the 2009 clean emissions race.

Tourism and Leisure Minister Martyn Quayle said:

“We have enjoyed a very successful partnership with TTXGP Ltd and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work last year. We look forward to welcoming many of the electric bike teams and riders back to the Isle of Man in 2010 as well as to seeing new challengers pitting their wits against the Mountain Course.”

He added:

“We are delighted that the Isle of Man was the first country to run an electric bike race and the fact that there are now events scheduled around the world is a tribute to the Island’s entrepreneurial, innovative spirit and shows what an achievement it was for the Isle of Man to run the groundbreaking inaugural event. We are now building on this fantastic start by properly integrating the clean emissions class into the race programme – this really does send a clear signal that electric motorsport is fast evolving and that the TT Races remain at the forefront of motorcycle sport.”

Regulations and entry forms for the TT Zero Race will be released on Friday January 29th and will be available to download from this site. The closing date for entries is Friday, March 26th.

Source: Plugbike.com

Comment:

  1. Harry Mallin says:

    “the Isle’s desire to distance itself and the historic race from the TTXGP brand, which has been in controversy both publicly with its split from the FIM, and privately with members of the motorcycle community.” So, let me get this right: TTXGP is “in controversy” with members of the motorcycle community? Other than you? Do tell.

  2. Yes. I’ve had few people tell me so on the record, and a few who have told me similar sentiments off the record. Given how much the climate has changed with today’s announcement and from earlier events, I’m not so certain what they’d be willing to be held to at this point, so I’ve left them out of the discussion.

  3. Ecosse says:

    Aside from the spat between IOMTT and the FIM I’d like to nit pick some. By calling the series the “TT Zero clean emissions class” implies the often repeated misconception that electricity is by default zero emission/ zero pollution. Unless all or most of the juice originates from wind and solar this “zero” business is just a bunch of greenie hype.

    I guess it’s less PC to say my racing motorcycle is powered by electricity supplied by a nuke plant that will leave radioactive waste for future generations, thousands of years from now, to deal with or that my racer gets its power from dirty coal and oil. But hey if Ewan digs it count me in!

  4. TT Zero Ousts TTXGP for 2010 At The Isle Of Man TT http://bit.ly/b0Yvli

  5. Ducati Desmo says:

    TT Zero Ousts TTXGP for 2010 At The Isle Of Man TT http://bit.ly/bR37jV

  6. TT Zero Ousts TTXGP for 2010 At The Isle Of Man TT – http://bit.ly/cNecUp #motorcycle

  7. Matthew says:

    Does “TT Zero clean emissions class” mean they are allowing other forms on non petrol based propulsion, or is it just a mislabeling of an all electric race?

  8. Matt Hubbell says:

    I think that sucks. The TTXGP started it all and is trying to build something new and interesting. They have inspired so many, and things look to be moving along well for the TTXGP. If the IOM is confused this year and sold out to the FIM, I am sure they will change their minds in the near future.

  9. Harry Mallin says:

    @Matthew, I don’t know about the TT Zero, but the TTXGP recognizes in its technical rules that other classes of vehicles may someday race, but given the realities today, we’re talking electric. The rules state:
    “All classes shall be powered by zero carbon-based fuels and have clean emissions. (For all purposes these particular technical rules are for Electric Class)”

  10. rob says:

    Matt, TTXGP did not start it all. There’s been an electric series in Italy for many years under the FIA. The IOM hasn’t sold out to the FIM. The ACU will be running the event, as they do with all the others. Anyway, what’s wrong with the FIM?