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?

MotoGP: Rain Threatens Racing at the Catalan GP

06/05/2011 @ 12:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MotoGP: Rain Threatens Racing at the Catalan GP 2011 MotoGP Catalunya Marco Simoncelli Scott Jones

When the Catalan fans’ eyes weren’t on polesitter Marco Simoncelli, they were looking up at the clouds in Barcelona, to see if they would rain on the Spanish track during today’s MotoGP racing action. With the Catalan track damp in some sections, riders started out on slick Bridgestone tires, hoping for the best in what would fall from the heavens in the coming laps.

Disappointing for American fans, was the news that Colin Edwards had broken his collarbone on Friday, and unfortunately MotoGP medical would not let the Texan start today’s race, thus making the 2011 Catalan GP the first time the Texan Tornado has missed a race since 2003. Edwards seemed confident he’d be back for Silverstone though.

Also absent from the grid was the injured Dani Pedrosa, who broke his shoulder in an incident at the French GP with Simoncelli, making the Italian persona non grata in Spain this weekend. Luckily for Spanish fans, Jorge Lorenzo was on the front row for the start and appeased the masses, but he was behind Casey Stoner who had been consistently quick all week long.

At the start of the Catalan GP, it was the Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo with the best start, leading into Turn 1 with Casey Stoner, Ben Spies, Valentino Rossi, and Marco Simoncelli in-tow. It would only take a few corners though for that order to shuffle, as Simoncelli continued to drop back in the field, and as Dovizioso moved forward. Going down the straight away into the second lap, Dovizioso would continue to build up steam as he slipped-in behind Nicky Hayden and passed him with the aid of the slipstream.

Onto the second lap, Stoner would clear Lorenzo, and never look back as he rode his Honda RC212V to victory lane. The race wouldn’t be as easy for the other riders though, as Valentino Rossi found a very fast Andrea Dovizioso nipping on his heals, and eager to get into fourth place. Though the Ducati has shown strong straight-line speed, Rossi’s Desmosedici GP11 was no match for Dovi’s Honda, as the Repsol Honda rider was past the G.O.A.T. going down the straight-away into the third lap.

During the fourth lap, we’d see the only crash of the race, despite the threat of rain, as Hiroshi Aoyama took out Randy de Puniet. Luckily both riders were ok, and Aoyama apologized to the A&R patron saint for the incident. Avoiding that incident was Toni Elias, who stayed in the points, but finished last again this weekend, despite the new 2011 chassis for his satellite Honda bike.

With 13 laps to go, it seemed the clouds were finally ready to dump there water on the circuit halfway through the race, as MotoGP went under flag-to-flag racing, meaning riders could come in and get their back-up bike with rain tires on, should they wish to do so. This would prove to be unnecessary though, as the rain didn’t fall at a meaningful level, and no riders came in to the pit lane to swap bikes.

At this point in the race, the riders up front had essentially found their finishing spots, but the battle for ninth continued all the way to the finish line. In that melee were Loris Capirossi, Karel Abraham, Hector Barbera, and Alvaro Bautista, with MotoGP rookie Abraham giving the oldest man in MotoGP, Loris Capirossi, a run for his money. Capirex would see the Czech rider go past him and challenge him several times, but the Italian was able to take his fellow Ducati rider to the mattresses, and just hold him off at the finish line.

With his win today, Casey Stoner is just seven points behind Jorge Lorenzo, who leads the MotoGP Championship standings with 98 points. Consistency seems to be the key this year, which seems to be Andrea Dovizioso’s strategy, as he moves up into the third slot on the points standings.

Ben Spies podium was a welcomed sight for the American, and he’ll look to build off that momentum at the British GP at Silverstone next week. Also looking to build off his momentum will be Cal Crutchlow, who rode to his best finish ever in MotoGP, but was still disappointed in his result, as he blamed some early race mistakes on his finishing position. Now that he goes to a track he actually knows, we think Cal will be able to make even further improvements, on what is sure to be a Rookie of the Year season.

Race Results from MotoGP at the Catalan GP in Barcelona, Spain:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Bike Time
1 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda -
2 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +2.403
3 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +4.291
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda +5.255
5 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati +7.371
6 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +11.831
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +26.483
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati +33.243
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati +43.092
10 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati +43.113
11 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati +44.224
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki +45.239
13 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda +58.268
Not Classified
14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 22 Laps
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 22 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photos: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved