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?

2013 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Leaked on Twitter

09/20/2012 @ 3:37 pm, by David EmmettComments Off

2013 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Leaked on Twitter Sunday Misano San Marino GP MotoGP Scott Jones 121

The provisional MotoGP calendar has taken a little longer than normal to appear. An initial calendar had been expected at Brno in late August, but no calendar was forthcoming at the Czech Grand Prix.

The next rumored date for the calendar to be released was the weekend of the Misano round of MotoGP, but once the paddock assembled at Misano, it became apparent it would emerge a few days later – we where then told by an IRTA representative that the calendar would be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

On Tuesday, the Austin Statesman newspaper reported that the calendar would be out on Friday, but the excessive enthusiasm of Loris Capirossi saw the former racer and current MotoGP safety advisor leak the 2013 calendar on his Twitter page on Thursday night.

The calendar is largely the same as 2012, with one or two minor variations, and a couple of major question marks hanging over the early rounds. The championship kicks off in Qatar on March 31st, MotoGP having learned its lesson from starting late last year, when both the World Superbikes and Formula One seaons were already well underway.

The opening weekend will almost certainly be a four-day race event once again, and moving the race to late March increases the risk of the dew which settles on the track late in the evening making the surface treacherous around race time. Qatar always faces this difficulty: because the race is both the first race of the season and a night race, there is a constant struggle to find a weekend early enough in the year, yet without the risk of what the evening dew poses for the riders.

With Estoril now dropped from the calendar, the series will instead cross the Atlantic for the Argentinian and Texas Grand Prix. Both races are listed as to be confirmed, both for different reasons. The race in Argentina is under political threat, both from the Spanish goverment and from the Spanish oil giant Repsol, due to the forced nationalization of Repsol’s Argentinian subsdiary Repsol YPF. While this situation is not yet under control – and while work is still to be completed on the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit – then the Argentina race remains very much in doubt.

There are legal issues surrounding the Austin race as well, with the dispute continuing between Kevin Schwantz’ company 3FourTexasMGP and the ownership of the Circuit of the Americas, the track in Austin which is to host the race. The race is almost certain to go ahead, but an ugly and protracted legal battle looms over the rights to organize the race. The lawyers are likely to do well out of this.

The series then moves to Europe, for what many regard as the traditional opening of the MotoGP season, the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. The race is marked as subject to contract, with the situation surrounding the race still not clear. The city council of Jerez is very keen to see the race go ahead, but the regional authority for Andalucia is unsure they can afford to finance the race. A season without a race at Jerez is, for the moment, unthinkable.

After the inevitable sojourn at Le Mans, the series then heads to Italy for the Mugello round of MotoGP. After a gap of two years, the race is to return to the first weekend in June, a far better date for Mugello than early July. Crowd numbers have fallen since the dates were swapped, and though part of that is probably due to the economic crisis engulfing Europe, and having Valentino Rossi underperforming on the Ducati, another part is also due to the fact that the heat in July means the Italians prefer to spend their weekends at the beach rather than at the racetrack.

The Barcelona round follows, the race returning to the slot after Mugello once again, while the Dutch TT in Assen takes place on the last Saturday in June, as it has historically always done. Two weeks later, the series heads to Germany for the race at the Sachsenring, before flying west for the second of the three US rounds, the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. After a four week break, the final US round of MotoGP takes place at Indianapolis, the Indy round remaining on the calendar, as it is popular with fans, if not always with the riders.

The Indy round of MotoGP is the first of two three-race back-to-back weekends. From Indianapolis, the teams fly to Brno for the Czech Grand Prix a week later. Seven days after that, the three Grand Prix classes race at Silverstone, the British GP having been moved at the request of the circuit in an attempt to space out the three world championship races (Formula One, World Superbikes and MotoGP) hosted at the track. The paddock then heads to Misano two weeks later, and Aragon another fourteen days after that.

The second of the three-race back-to-backs follows, with the three flyaways in the Asian-Pacific region once again behind held on consecutive weekends. The order is altered for 2013, the series kicking off in Malaysia, then heading to Phillip Island in Australia, before ending the eastern tour at Motegi in Japan. The series then ends as usual at Valencia, which will the be followed a day later for the kickoff of the 2014 season with the traditional two-day test.

Though the calendar shown is a version which has been leaked, there is no doubting the authenticity of it. The first three weekends match the provisional test calendar which we were shown at Misano. That does not mean that this calendar is set in stone, however: the schedule is subject to be changed as soon as the Formula One calendar appears.

The draft 2013 F1 calendar is expected some time after the FIA World Motor Sports Council meets on September 28th, though given the proximity to that event, it seems safe to assume that MotoGP and WSBK have already held consultations on their respective calendars, to attempt to minimize clashes between the two series. Anyone wishing to book accommodation for race next year should ensure they are able to cancel it without charge, at least for a few more months until the calendar is finalized.

An FIM press release is expected tomorrow (Friday, 21st September), but that will only confirm the calendar leaked today. Below is the provisional MotoGP calendar for 2013:

Date Grand Prix Circuit
31 March Qatar* Losail, Qatar
14 April TBC TBC (Argentina)
21 April TBC TBC (Austin, Texas)
5 May Spain (STC) Jerez
19 May France Le Mans
2 June Italy Mugello
16 June Catalunya Barcelona
29 June Netherlands** Assen
14 July Germany Sachsenring
21 July USA*** Laguna Seca
18 August Indianapolis Indianapolis
25 August Czech Republic Brno
01 September Great Britain Silverstone
15 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano Marco Simoncelli
29 September Aragon Motorland Aragon
13 October Malaysia Sepang
20 October Australia Phillip Island
27 October Japan Motegi
10 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo Valencia

* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
*** MotoGP Race Only
TBC – To Be Confirmed
STC – Subject To Contract

Order of TBC rounds uncertain. Paddock rumors suggest that the first of the two races will be in Argentina, with Texas following, but this is far from certain.

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

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

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