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.

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 World Superbike Provisional Calendar v.3

01/15/2013 @ 10:18 am, by David Emmett2 COMMENTS

2013 World Superbike Provisional Calendar v.3 Carlos Checa Miller Motorsport Park WSBK Scott Jones 635x422

The confusion surrounding the Indian round of World Superbikes looks close to being resolved. According to reports on the ever well-informed GPOne, the race at the Buddh International Circuit is to be rescheduled from 10th of March to the 17th of November, moving it from being the second race of the season to being the season finale.

The race had been facing a number of problems, including logistical and customs issues, casting doubt over whether the race could go ahead as scheduled in March. The customs issues – both the 15-day inspection period for technical equipment, and the temporary import duty charged – are not so much of a problem, according to GPOne.

The real issue, the site reports, is that the race organizers are not yet ready to put on the event. They do not have the organization in place to manage an event of this magnitude, and need a number of months to get everything arranged. The problem lies not with Buddh International Circuit itself, located not far from New Delhi, as the circuit has successfully organized two Formula One races already.

Moving the date from 10th of March to 17th of November does massively increase the cost of the round. Under the initial schedule, the bikes and equipment would have flown from Australia to New Delhi for the Indian round of World Superbikes, and then back to Europe for the continuation of the season from there. The additional cost of the stopover in India was trivial. Now, the equipment will have to be flown from Australia back to Europe in February, and then back out to India in November.

How the rescheduling of the round will affect the attendance remains to be seen. Whether having the race at the end of the year will increase the enthusiasm of the Indian fans, once they’ve had an entire season to follow the series, or whether the series will suffer as a result of the F1 race, scheduled for October 27th, three weeks before the WSBK round, hoovering up the budget of Indian motorsports fans will only become clear once the event has been held. It does, however, remain vital that World Superbike, and motorcycle racing in general, races in India, as one of the biggest and most promising growth markets for the motorcycle manufacturers.

The Indian round is not the only race facing difficulties. It is now certain that the World Superbike race scheduled for June 23rd will not be held at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic, though it is unknown where that race will now be held. The Brno circuit – owned by Karel Abraham Sr, father of Karel Abraham, and owner of the Cardion AB MotoGP team – plans to hold a round of a new Central European racing series on that date, according to the German-language website Speedweek.

The series, to be called CEMC, or Central Europe Motorcycle Championship, will feature two rounds at the Czech circuit, and hopes to stage other races in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia. It will feature Moto2, Moto3 and Superbike classes, with Karel Abraham Senior promising World Championship places to the winners of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.

World Superbikes is unlikely to make a return to Brno until 2015 at the earliest. With the loss of Jakub Smrz, Czech interest in the series has dropped, underlining the importance of local riders and a broad geographical base for both world championship series.

Elsewhere, the Portimao round of World Superbikes is still not certain to go ahead, being marked as subject to contract on the still provisional World Superbike calendar. The Portimao circuit has been on the verge of bankruptcy for some time now, with money from local authorities needed to be able to fund the Portuguese round of WSBK. But with the Portuguese economy still in such dire straits, using public funding to subsidize a relatively minor (by Portuguese standards) sport looks extremely unlikely.

Portimao’s problems are compounded by its location: where otherwise a World Championship motorcycle racing event could claim to bring more visitors to a location, Portimao lies on Portugal’s Algarve coast, already one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

2013 FIM World Superbike Championship Provisional Calendar (Updated: January 15, 2013)

DATE COUNTRY CIRCUIT WSBK WSS STK
24 February Australia Phillip Island X X
14 April Spain Aragon X X X
28 April The Netherlands Assen X X X
12 May Italy Monza X X X
26 May UK Donington X X
9 June Portugal Portimao (STC) X X X
23 June TBA TBA X X X
30 June Italy Imola (STC) X X X
21 July Russia Moscow Raceway X X
4 August UK Silverstone X X X
1 September Germany Nurburgring X X X
29 September USA Laguna Seca X
6 October France Magny Cours X X X
20 October Spain Jerez X X X
17 November India Buddh Circuit X X

* TBA =To be announced
* STC = Subject to contract

Source: WSBK, GPOne, & Speedweek; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. jet057 says:

    Don’t see Texas on here,whatsup motogp ???

  2. Leo says:

    Ummm… It’s Superbike not Motogp