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.

Redux: AMA Superbike vs. World Superbike at MMP

05/28/2012 @ 10:14 am, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Redux: AMA Superbike vs. World Superbike at MMP Jake Holden WSBK Miller Motorsports Park 635x423

Last year we combined the QP2 times from World Superbike with the Qualifying times from AMA Superbike, to see how America’s finest motorcycle racers stack up on against the international championship of a similar name. Of course there are different regulations in each series (not to mention a variety of other factors), which vary a bit on how teams are allowed to modify their race bikes, so there isn’t an exact comparison between the two series, but it makes for something interesting to mull over with your morning coffee, and the results this year may surprise you.

Before we dive into it, there are some notes on the table below, namely the use of WSBK’s QP2 times instead of those from Superpole. The biggest reasons for this is because the two sessions were on the same day, and roughly during the same time period, which with Miller’s variable weather this year was important to give a more accurate representation of things (we used the same sessions in last year’s article as well).

Looking at the results from last year, what is immediately obvious is that World Superbike is actually lapping a fraction slower than last year’s pace at the American round (a couple tenths of a second difference). Meanwhile, the pace in AMA Superbike is notably faster, which is evident by the number of AMA riders mixed in with the WSBK competitors. This contrasts nicely to last year’s results where, sans a few outliers, the mixed times could easily be drawn into two groups, on a purely series-related basis.

Once again, Josh Hayes is the fastest AMA rider in our analysis, but this time Josh slots in 12th with the WSBK pack, whereas last year he was 19th. Also showing the heightened pace in AMA Superbike, Blake Young makes a modest step up, but the inclusion of riders like Geoff May, Danny Eslick, and Roger Lee Hayden in the higher spots of the mixed grid show that its not just one or two riders stepping up the pace, but the AMA’s top teams overall.

With a couple AMA regulars wildcarding in the WSBK race (Jake Holden & Shane Turpin), some calibration can be made on our understanding of the differences between racing in the AMA and racing in World Superbike. We will let you argue that in the comments, but of note, only four of the AMA Superbike riders would have been cut by the FIM’s 107% qualification rule, meaning all the riders here are pretty damn fast.

Combined Results from AMA Superbike’s Qualifying Session and World Superbike’s Qualifying Practice 2 – Sunday May 27th, 2012

Pos. Rider Team Bike Time Diff.
1 Jakub Smrz Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati 1098R 1’48.517 -
2 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1’48.789 0.272
3 Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1’49.009 0.492
4 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 1’49.079 0.562
5 Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.175 0.658
6 Jonathan Rea Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.243 0.726
7 John Hopkins FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’49.531 1.014
8 Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.584 1.067
9 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1’49.634 1.117
10 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’49.636 1.119
11 Michel Fabrizio BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 1’49.654 1.137
12 Josh Hayes Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 1’49.729 1.212
13 Chaz Davies ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.968 1.451
14 Maxime Berger Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 1’49.980 1.463
15 Lorenzo Zanetti PATA Racing Team Ducati 1098R 1’50.014 1.497
16 Niccoló Canepa Red Devils Roma Ducati 1098R 1’50.031 1.514
17 Blake Young Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.141 1.624
18 Geoff May Team Amsoil/Hero EBR 1190RS 1’50.219 1.702
19 Davide Giugliano Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1’50.280 1.763
20 Danny Eslick Team Hero EBR 1190RS 1’50.355 1.838
21 Roger Hayden National Guard Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.358 1.841
22 Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.424 1.907
23 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 1’50.427 1.910
24 David Salom Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.504 1.987
25 Ben Bostrom Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.511 1.994
26 Leon Camier FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.520 2.003
27 Josh Herrin Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 1’50.676 2.159
28 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.963 2.446
29 Chris Clark Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’51.177 2.660
30 Larry Pegram Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR 1’51.547 3.030
31 Steve Rapp Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10 1’51.796 3.279
32 Leandro Mercado Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.843 3.326
33 David Anthony Kneedraggers.com Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’51.996 3.479
34 Jake Holden Grillini Progea Superbike Team BMW S1000 RR 1’52.108 3.591
35 Robertino Pietri Team Venezuela Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’52.290 3.773
36 Taylor Knapp EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW BMW S1000RR 1’52.565 4.048
37 Chris Fillmore KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R 1’52.587 4.070
38 Chris Ulrich M4 Lucas Oil Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’53.397 4.880
39 Shane Turpin Boulder Motor Sports Ducati 1098R 1’54.399 5.882
40 Jordan Burgess Kneedraggers.com Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’55.174 6.657
World Superbike 107% Qualifying Cut Off
41 Reno Karimian Team Air Kawasaki ZX-10 1’56.743 8.226
42 Trent Gibson Seven Sports Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’57.116 8.599
43 Chris Siglin FastLine… BMW S1000RR 1’57.421 8.904
44 Tony Porter EDR Kawasaki ZX-10 2’00.372 11.855

Source: AMA Pro Racing & WSBK; Photo: © 2012 Rick Grayston – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Aaron Mezger says:

    Oh, how I miss the days when the WSBK regulars dreaded the US rounds because they knew they weren’t going to get full points. Watching Chandler, Mladin, Duhamel, the Bostroms et al flat school everybody was a proud time.

  2. Sloan says:

    Aren’t the WSBK machines modified and upgraded more than the AMA machines? I seem to remember seeing a comparison of Ben Spies’s AMA ride and later WSBK machine and the upgrades and mods to the WSBK didn’t leave much of the original motorcycle there other than block and frame whereas the AMA was really just more like added high-end parts.

  3. 2ndclass says:

    Wow, great to see the Buell’s that far up!

  4. Aaron Mezger says:

    @Sloan- if memory serves, it used to be somewhat the opposite. AMA teams had to put together special bikes than ran a slightly lower spec than the WSBK bikes. There was a time when AMA bikes were getting pretty nutso with skunk works type development. DMG effectively put an end to that in an effort to level the playing field.

  5. David Emmett says:

    Very interesting comparison between the AMA and WSBK times at Miller from @Asphalt_Rubber http://t.co/zJvd7gf5

  6. Very interesting comparison between the AMA and WSBK times at Miller from @Asphalt_Rubber http://t.co/zJvd7gf5

  7. Aaron Mezger says:

    I misspoke slightly. I meant that the AMA teams had to build bikes to a lower spec than they normally ran.

  8. Aaron Mezger says:

    I misspoke slightly. I meant that the AMA teams had to build bikes to a lower spec than they normally ran.

  9. Bob Miller says:

    I guess this comparison was intended to make US feel good about the level of our racing. The truth of the matter is that the people who control, or have controlled US road racing, starting with the AMA, have mismanaged it so badly, it is lucky to be alive. The series has turned into an “amateur hour”, and I am not talking about the riders. Is there a retired CEO out there, who loves motorcycle racing, and has the foresight and experience to help USRR flourish? It probably doesn’t matter, even if there was, he or she wouldn’t be able to get control from the monkeys. Kevin Schwantz, if you are out there, I would be more than glad to help.

  10. FLABueller says:

    Take the electric nanny controls like traction and wheelie control off the Graves, Yosh and Jordan bikes and you’d have much different results.

  11. Mike G says:

    One word… tires. Hard to get a true comparison when both series run on different tires. Let’s assume the Dunlop is a lot better than the Pirelli, then it will make the American riders/bikes look faster than they would be against WSBK; however, the oppposite is also true, if Pirelli’s are better than the Dunlops, the American riders/bikes could possibly be higher up if they were Pirelli mounted.

    I know some U.S. riders rode in the WSBK races. Wouldn’t a better comparison be looking at the laps times of these riders in both AMA and WSBK sessions. However, that is assuming they were running their AMA spec bike, which I doubt they were.

    I love comparisons, but just not really possible to get a true apples to apples comparison.

  12. Lefty says:

    Mike G
    The riders in question only leave us with another apples/oranges type comparison. Jake Holden is currently 15th in the ASB standings and Shane Turpin is a Club racer/instructor these days.
    Hayes was running mid 149s to low 150s during the ASB race with Herrin, Young et al turning laps in the 150.xx range if memory serves.
    In other words, the top 5 or 6 AMA riders were running times comparable or very close to the WSBK guys

    http://sbk.perugiatiming.com/pdf_frame.asp?p_S_Campionato=SBK&p_Anno=2012&p_Round=USA
    http://www.amaproracing.com/rr/events/results.cfm

    Would love to see Hayes get a WSBK wildcard ride or two

  13. Mike G says:

    Lefty,

    Exactly. I don’t think a true comparison is possible from this race.

    After what Spies did, you would think WSBK would take a chance on the likes of Hayes or Young, especially Hayes with his pedigree and recent domination in AMA. I can only think that his age is his limiting factor. If Young can continue to develop, I see him being the next AMA rider to make the leap across the pond.

  14. twat says:

    There’s only a one second difference between the top ten fastest riders. Only two second difference between the top 26 fastest riders. Damn, talk about competitive.

  15. Halfie 30 says:

    @FLABueller, if you take electronic packages of the AMA bikes you would have to take them off the WSBK bikes as well. I don’t see your point…

  16. G says:

    In what universe is John Hopkins faster then Josh Hayes? Put them all on WSBK specs machines and then compare times.

  17. lefty says:

    FWIW: A quick look at AMA Superbike trap-speeds shows the leaders were running 181-183 mph with Herrin being the standout, recording 186 on one lap.
    WSBK trap-speeds varied much more, ranging from 185 mph (Checa’s Ducati) to 199 mph (BMW,Aprila)