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.

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.

2013 WSBK Official Phillip Island Test Day 2 Times: Checa Takes Charge From Title Candidates

02/19/2013 @ 12:15 pm, by David Emmett14 COMMENTS

2013 WSBK Official Phillip Island Test Day 2 Times: Checa Takes Charge From Title Candidates carlos checa wsbk ducati alstare phillip island 635x573

Carlos Checa has removed any lingering doubts about the competitiveness of the Ducati 1199 Panigale R, after controlling the second and final day of testing for the World Superbike class at Phillip Island, and ending the test as fastest overall. The Spaniard started the day fast, and ended the day fast, maintaining a strong pace throughout.

Checa was fastest in both wet – or rather, damp – conditions and in the dry. The second day of testing started out with a damp track, a number of riders choosing to stay in the pits instead of risking uncertain conditions on the newly resurfaced track, but the track soon dried out, and conditions improved greatly in the afternoon.

Behind Checa, Marco Melandri took 2nd slot, the Italian finding a little more pace than on the first day. The BMW rider led a very close group, with just over a tenth of a second separating Melandri in 2nd from Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea in 5th.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes demonstrated that he will not be slowed too much by a cracked radius, grabbing the 3rd slot, while Michel Fabrizio was the fastest of the Aprilia riders, putting the privateer Red Devils Roma RSV4 into 4th slot. The other Aprilia men occupied places 7th through 9th, with just a few hundredths separating Davide Giugliano, Sylvain Guintoli, and Eugene Laverty.

The Suzukis were not as fast as they had been on Monday. Leon Camier, fastest on day 1, was six tenths slower on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSXR-1000 on Tuesday, ending the test in 10th, though still 4th fastest overall on the two days of the test. Jules Cluzel, still banged up from the private test late last week, highsided in the final corner on Tuesday, though he walked away unhurt.

In addition to testing the bikes, the teams got a workout too. With just a single bike, and the scrapping of race restarts, the WSBK men now have to come in to the pits and change wheels and tires if it rains. Several teams practiced their pit stops, testing out modified components – mainly borrowed from the World Endurance Championship – to assist in the fast changes of wheels and brakes.

How that works out on a race weekend remains to be seen: it must be feared that riders will choose to stay out on the track on unsuitable tires, rather than risk losing time and coming in to change tires, which could lead to potentially dangerous situations. The wisdom or otherwise of the new rules – made to ensure that the races can take place inside of the scheduled TV broadcast window, and do not overrun – will only be demonstrated in practice.

Official Times from the 2013 World Superbike Pre-Season Test at Phillip Island — Day 2:

Pos. No. Rider Team/Bike Time Diff. Prev.
1 7 Carlos Checa Ducati Panigale 1199R 1:31.059  -  -
2 33 Marco Melandri BMW S1000 RR 1:31.237 0.178 0.178
3 66 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:31.261 0.202 0.024
4 84 Michel Fabrizio Aprilia RSV4 1000 1:31.350 0.291 0.089
5 65 Jonathan Rea Honda CBR1000RR 1:31.356 0.297 0.006
6 91 Leon Haslam Honda CBR1000RR 1:31.549 0.490 0.193
7 34 Davide Giugliano Aprilia RSV4 1000 1:31.640 0.581 0.091
8 50 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 1000 1:31.658 0.599 0.018
9 58 Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 1000 1:31.712 0.653 0.054
10 2 Leon Camier Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:31.814 0.755 0.102
11 16 Jules Cluzel Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:32.044 0.985 0.230
12 19 Chaz Davies BMW S1000 RR 1:32.102 1.043 0.058
13 14 Glen Allerton BMW S1000 RR 1:32.159 1.100 0.057
14 21 Jamie Stauffer Honda CBR1000RR 1:32.255 1.196 0.096
15 76 Loris Baz Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:32.625 1.566 0.370
16 31 Vittorio Iannuzzo BMW S1000 RR 1:32.880 1.821 0.255
17 23 Federico Sandi Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:32.964 1.905 0.084
18 18 Ivan Clementi BMW S1000 RR 1:33.293 2.234 0.329
19 5 Alexander Lundh Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:33.447 2.388 0.154
20 86 Ayrton Badovini Ducati Panigale 1199R 1:33.686 2.627 0.239

Official WSBK lap records at Phillip Island

Pole record 2011 Carlos Checa Ducati 1098 R 1:30.882
Lap record 2012 Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 1000 1:31.785

Photo: Ducati Alstare

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

Comment:

  1. JD says:

    Wow thats great I was not in doubt about the Ducati(well kinda), Im hoping Checa will put his foot up some asses though

  2. Kyle says:

    6 brands in the top 10. All within 1 sec. WSBK is still great racing. Hope we get some viewing options for 2013 in the US.

  3. Brian says:

    Why does Ducati not have to run the hideous headlight NASCAR stickers like everyone else?

  4. Superlight says:

    The Ducati headlights are tucked up into those large fairing openings, so the decals are probably right there, mostly hidden from view.

  5. Brian says:

    Ahh…nice job Ducati!
    Best solutions to compulsory NASCAR stickers: hide them

  6. dc4go says:

    Wow all kinds of different manufactures in the top 10!! Gotta love WSBK !! Checa, well he has got to be one of the classiest dudes around bar none!! Super dude and fast as ever!! WSBK RULES!!!

  7. Tyler says:

    Well slap me and call me something… I will be surprised if Ducati remains competitive throughout the championship.. now if only we could get coverage in the USA…

  8. 2ndclass says:

    Great to see that the ASBK wildcards aren’t too far off the pace.

  9. “now if only we could get coverage in the USA…”

    Yeah. And Japan, please.

  10. dc4go says:

    Being SPORT is broadcasting the WSBK series this year in the US.!!!

  11. jet says:

    I smell Championship all ready……………………….fo sho !

  12. smiler says:

    Great alternative to the Rossi fan club Spanish championship in MotoGP. Hopefully Dorna will not ruin WSB as well. Looks like iot will be a good year. 6 manufacturers & several riders from different countries as well.
    I bett Ducati are breathing a sigh of relief though. Mind you Bayliss did say it was really good. Just a shame he will not be putting in some wildcard appearances like Stacey this year. I think Ducati owe him.

  13. Sniils! says:

    With some great racing action and the promotion capabilities of Dorna I hope there will come some change of mind in the heads of motorcycle fans also in europe. I would love to see the moto gp fanatics realize that wsbk has more to offer for lower ticket costs. I think there is a real chance for Rossi coming to wsbk if the technical rules aren’t changed dramatically. With Rossi there would come Yamaha and perhaps some smaller manufacturers like MV, KTM or Bimota trying to use the increasing attention to the series.

    There has to be a fast change so that there a arguments for keeping the championship as it is, without cutting down the technical limits too far. My suggestion for reducing costs was to allow two bikes for each rider, but limiting the numer of crew-members (mechanics and engineers) at the track.

  14. pooch says:

    @Smiler

    If you think Stoner is going to wildcard anywhere full stop, then you’re a sucker who believes anything the media throws at you.