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.

The ABC’s of MotoGP’s CRTs – A Spotter’s Guide

04/08/2012 @ 9:44 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Qatar GP Ioda Racing Scott Jones

The claiming rule team (CRT) bikes are both figuratively and literally under the spotlight at Qatar this race weekend, with their production-based motors and prototype frames shaking up the norm of pure prototype racing. Both an effort to take power away from MotoGP’s MSMA, which is comprised of Ducati, Honda, & Yamaha, and as an effort to lower the cost of racing in MotoGP for its participating teams, the CRT experiment is getting its first real test this weekend.

Swelling MotoGP’s grid with an additional nine-racer entries, the CRTs have certainly helped fill MotoGP’s ranks, though mostly with riders we are not familiar with. Leading the CRT charge is American Colin Edwards, and he is joined by Randy de Puniet, who didn’t wish to be on a CRT for the 2012, but has still found himself at the top of the heap. These two veteran MotoGP riders have been accompanied by seven riders that hail from a range of world and national championships that span everything from Spanish Superbike (CEV) to British Superbike to the Moto2 Championship.

Since on Sunday morning, MotoGP fans are going to have learn the names of these new riders and the bikes they ride, we have put together a primer on the CRT entries for the 2012 MotoGP Championship. Bios, specs, and notes on all nine MotoGP CRT entries are after the jump.

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT NGM Forward

Rider: Colin Edwards
Motor: BMW S1000RR
Frame: Suter

Perhaps one the most developed CRT packages, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s BMW/Suter CRT bike, as its name implies, is comprised of a BMW S1000RR motor and Suter chassis. Originally a hands-off affair for BMW, the German manufacturer has stated that it will increase its role with the CRT project, likely due to Aprilia’s extensive involvement  with the Aprilia ART. The move is also likely due to BMW’s increased interest in joining MotoGP.

The chassis of choice in the inaugural Moto2 Championship, Suter has since fallen out of favor in the intermediate class, though perhaps the most talented Moto2 rider, Marc Marquez used it with great success last season. Riding for NGM Mobile Forward Racing is Colin Edwards, a man who needs little introduction. One of the early-adopters of the CRT rule change, Edwards has become the poster boy for Dorna’s CRT experiment. Edwards will race this season with a big target on his back, as he is the CRT rider to beat.

Power Electronics Aspar

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Aspar

Riders: Randy de Puniet & Aleix Espargaro
Motor: Aprilia RSV4
Frame: Aprilia ART

The most popular CRT solution on the grid, the Aprilia ART is a turn-key CRT bike from the Italian manufacturer. Using a WSBK-spec Aprilia RSV4 motor, twin-spar aluminum frame made by Aprilia, and electronics package from Aprilia that began its life on the Aprilia RS3 Cube, the Aprilia ART is also one of the most potent CRT machines this season. In the hands of  Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martines, one of the most venerable team owners in GP racing, and riders Randy de Puniet & Aleix Espargaro, the Power Electronics Aspar team is a forbidable entry, and the all-CRT squad has a real legitimate chance of embarrassing some prototype teams and riders.

De Puniet of course is coming off a disappointing season with Pramac Ducati, after showing some real promise the season before with LCR Honda. One of the most underrated riders in the GP paddock, de Puniet was on the losing end of MotoGP’s game of musical chairs for riders’ contracts last year. He’ll be joined by former MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro, who spent the 2011 season in Moto2, where he finished 12th for the season.

San Carlo Honda Gresini

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Gresini

Rider: Michele Pirro
Motor: Honda CBR1000RR
Frame: FTR

The CRT effort with the most intrigue, when top satellite team San Carlo Honda Gresini announced that it wanted to dabble in the CRT waters, HRC pushed back. With the project first thought to be scuttled, perhaps HRC realized that it should ready itself in case the CRT formula became the way of things down the line. Using CBR1000RR motors prepared by the Ten Kate World Superbike team, the Honda factory-backed squad in WSBK, Gresini’s CRT package is rounded out with an FTR chassis. Like the Honda Gresini RC213V, Gresini’s MGP12 CRT is using Showa suspension, while the rest of the grid will be on Öhlins pieces.

Moving up from the Gresini’s Moto2 squad, Michele Pirro is making his first MotoGP debut. The young Italian has an impressive résumé, which includes winning the final Moto2 round last year at Valencia. Though not up to the pace yet of the Aprilia ART or BMW/Suter, the MGP12 CRT bike is one to watch throughout the season, as you can expect upgrades to be made to ensure its competitiveness.

Avintia Blusens

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Avintia Blusens

Riders: Ivan Silva & Yonny Hernandez
Motor: Kawasaki ZX-10R
Frame: FTR

Running as Avintia Blusens in MotoGP, the BQR squad has picked an interesting combination for its CRT effort. The team has continued its partnership with FTR in the premier class, but has chosen to use a Kawasaki ZX-10R power plant as its production-based motor. FTR has become the chassis provider of choice in MotoGP, as the British engineering firm is behind the aluminum twin-spar frame on the Ducati Desmosedici GP12, and has been responsible for many of the frames used by CRT & Moto2 racing teams.

Riding the BQR-FTR for Avintia Blusens are Ivan Silva and Yonny Hernandez. Silva is a former-250GP rider, who until this season had only a couple guests appearances on the MotoGP grid, filling in for the injured Hofmann for three rounds in 2006 and filling again for him in 2007 at the Czech GP. Last season, Silva was the Spanish Stock Extreme Champion. Joining the Spaniard is MotoGP’s first Colombian racer, Yonny Hernández. Coming from the Spanish Supersport series (CEV) in 2009, Hernández spent the last two season in the Moto2 Championship. A mid-pack finisher, Hernández finished 21st in 2010 and 19th in 2011, and had a top finish of 6th place at the 2011 German GP.

Came Ioda Racing Project

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Came Ioda

Rider: Danilo Petrucci
Motor: Aprilia RSV4
Frame: Ioda

Though Ioda Racing uses an Aprilia RSV4 motor in its CRT bike, the team is not using an Aprilia ART. Said to have a near-stock RSV4 power plant (its trap speeds at Qatar would seem to confirm this), Ioda has also opted to build its own chassis, using a steel-frame design. Riding for the Came Ioda Racing Project is Danilo Petrucci, who was the 2011 Italian Superstock Champion and 2011 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Runner-Up. Unlikely to get any support from Aprilia, and result that doesn’t see Petrucci at the bottom of the timesheet is a testament to the young Italian’s developing talent.

Speed Master

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Speed Master

Rider: Mattia Pasini
Motor: Aprilia RSV4
Frame: Aprilia ART

Another team using the Aprilia ART package, Speed Master is bringing its considerable Moto2 experience with it to MotoGP. The team’s rider, Mattia Pasini, is GP-rider through and through, having risen through the ranks of 125GP, 250GP, and both Moto2 seasons. In 2010, Pasini rode part of the season with the JiR Moto2 team, then after Assen picked up one-off rides for two more races that season. In 2011, the Italian rider joined up with the Ioda Racing squad, and finished 24th in the Championship. As their package comes together, Speed Master could be another top contender in the CRT field.

Paul Bird Motorsport

The ABCs of MotoGPs CRTs   A Spotters Guide MotoGP CRT Paul Bird

Rider: James Ellison
Motor: Aprilia RSV
Frame: Aprilia ART

After losing its status as Kawasaki’s factory team in World Superbike, Paul Bird Motorsports has come over to the dark side of MotoGP. Choosing the Aprilia ART for its machine, the British team has British rider James Ellison at the helm of its ART. Ellison competed partially in MotoGP during the 2004 season, and was signed to the WCM MotoGP team in 2005. In 2006 he rode for Tech 3 Yamaha, and holds the distinction of being the first rider to switch bikes mid-race in MotoGP. Moving to the AMA after MotoGP, Ellison has spent the last four seasons racing in the British Superbike Championship.

Photos: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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