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.

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.

MotoGP: Who Didn’t Crash in the Spanish GP?

04/04/2011 @ 1:44 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MotoGP: Who Didnt Crash in the Spanish GP? Nicky Hayden Ben Spies Spanish GP Jerez MotoGP 635x462

The sunny Spanish weather gave way to rain this Sunday, as the Spanish GP got underway with 123,750 rain soaked MotoGP fans in attendance. While the practice sessions and qualifying showed the usual suspects at the top of the time sheets, the slippery conditions in the rain saw some new faces posting up strong times in the Sunday morning warm-up session.

Clearly the change in weather meant all bets were off for the MotoGP racing at Jerez, but the racing that took place certainly wasn’t what fans were expecting — as the rain relented, so did the tires. Add into the mix that this was the 2011 MotoGP Championship’s first wet race, and you’ve got a recipe that means more than just a few riders (nine total) ended up in Jerez’s gravel traps by the day’s conclusion. Find out all about it after the jump.

With the rain coming down on the Spanish GP, but not enough to fully engulf the track with water, riders were given a singular choice in their tire selection, which was Bridgestone’s soft tire with cut rain tread. These two factors would prove to be vital in the day’s racing, as 1) the Jerez circuit had enough moisture on track to be dreadfully slippery, but not enough water to feed the heat-prone wet tires their natural element, and 2) the soft compound when heated was far too soft to go the race distance. The result was a treacherous track, and tires that were shredding to pieces during the latter stages of the race. Accrodingly the results of the 2011 Spanish GP became more about who didn’t crash, than who raced the fastest.

The first incident will likely be the talk of the week, and could have lasting results throughout the Championship. Battling for second position, Valentino Rossi pushed up on the inside of Casey Stoner at Turn 1, only to lose the front-end as Rossi entered the turn with far too much speed while being heavy on the brakes. Tucking the front, Rossi’s crash spilled right into Stoner’s line, washing out the Australian as well, and subjecting the former-Ducati rider again to the Desmosedici’s front-end woes.

The next few moments will be replayed many a time, but we’ll leave it that Rossi continued on with his race, while Stoner was relegated to watching from the gravel. As such, Rossi would go on to finish the day fifth, and claim the fastest lap time of the race. There will be plenty of “what if’s” regarding this moment in the race, as Rossi easily could have contended for the lead, and Stoner could have ended the day still leading in points for the MotoGP Championship, but that’s racing for you.

The pair wear trailing Marco Simoncelli, who had put in a gorgeous set of laps to take the lead in the Spanish GP. This of course was until the Italian packed in his San Carlo Gresini Honda also on Turn 1 several laps later, first losing the front-end, apparently saving it, and then highsiding off the track. Like Stoner, unable to get his factory Honda RC212V started again, Simoncelli had to sit out the rest of the Spanish GP and contemplate what could have been.

With the top three riders succumbing to the rain, Jorge Lorenzo became the de facto leader of the race, and the Spaniard never looked back. It seemed for a moment that Dani Pedrosa could make a bid to catch Lorenzo, as the Honda rider came from fourteenth to second in the field, but Pedrosa’s times could never catch Lorenzo, who put down more power when the Repsol Honda rider closed to within a second.

While Lorenzo had little to fear except the rain, Pedrosa had to contend with the World Champion’s teammate Ben Spies. The American was putting down great laps, even passing Pedrosa for second place. The excitement would be short-lived though, as the Texan crashed out at Turn 5, giving up the Yamaha 1-2 finish with only himself to blame for the incident.

American fans likely consoled themselves with the fact that this crash moved Colin Edwards into the third position, meaning at least the possibility of an American podium finish at Jerez. This too would end in disappointment as the Tech 3 Yamaha would give in to a “minor technical problem” at Turn 1, with just one lap to go in the race, thus robbing Edwards of his podium finish (American fans can still find solace though as this move also in-turn moved Nicky Hayden into the third place position).

With Randy de Puniet, Cal Crutchlow, Karel Abraham, and Andrea Dovizioso all having off-track excursions, there seemed few riders in the field who could stay sunny-side up for the Spanish GP. While the race was full of excitement for fans, there were plenty of disappointment in the garages. The only person seemingly finding the day’s racing worthy of celebration was Jorge Lorenzo, who pumped his fits in delight, and slipped into the infield waterworks during his celebration.

Race Results from MotoGP at the Spanish GP in Jerez, Spain:

Pos.No.RiderNationTeamBikeDiff
11Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha-
226Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda+19.339
369Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+29.085
47Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNSan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+29.551
546Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+1’02.227
68Hector BARBERASPAMapfre Aspar Team MotoGPDucati+1’08.440
717Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+1’14.120
835Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+1’19.110
924Toni ELIASSPALCR Honda MotoGPHonda+1’42.906
1021John HOPKINSUSARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki+1’48.395
1165Loris CAPIROSSIITAPramac Racing TeamDucati+1’51.876
124Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda TeamHonda1 Lap
Not Classified
5Colin EDWARDSUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1 Lap
11Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha3 Laps
14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPramac Racing TeamDucati11 Laps
58Marco SIMONCELLIITASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda16 Laps
27Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda20 Laps

Photo: Ducati Corse

Comment:

  1. BBQdog says:

    Shame Rossi was a bit too ‘passionata’, would have been a very nice race.