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.

Aprilia RSV4 Gear Driven Camshaft Good For 3-5HP

07/01/2010 @ 6:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Aprilia RSV4 Gear Driven Camshaft Good For 3 5HP Aprilia RSV4 Motor render 560x560

After getting the nod to use their gear driven camshaft in World Superbike racing (shown above is the Aprilia’s belt driven camshaft), Aprilia has become a tour de force on the WSBK grid. Aprilia first used the gear driven cams in race environment while at the Miller Motorsports Park round, much to the protest of the other teams.

Aprilia and Max Biaggi have been on a bender since the new camshaft’s implementation, with the Aprilia RSV4 going double-double (no, not that Double-Double) and winning every race since the gear driven camshaft was installed on the race bike.

Not that Biaggi and Aprilia were looking shabby before Miller Motorsports Park, taking a double at Monza and a double at Portimao, but part of the reason that RSV4 Factory has been so dominate since is because the gear driven camshafts are boosting the RSV4′s power by three to five horsepower, virtually throughout the entire rev range. With this added power boost occurring, it’s clear now why the other teams in World Superbike opposed Aprilia using the new camshaft.

However, since the gear driven camshaft is a purchasable part by consumers in the Aprilia Racing catalog, WSBK had no choice but to admit that Aprilia was within the parameters of the rule book. Aprilia even gave the other teams the consideration of not using the camshaft for five races, moving the implementation from Portimao to Miller Motorsports Park.

With this kind of advantage, it’s also clear now why Leon Haslam is urging for Suzuki Japan to throw more resources into its World Superbike program. Likely fearing that the Suzuki GSX-1000R has lost its edge on the RSV4 Factory, Haslam could make up his 37 point deficit more easily should Suzuki find a similar 3-5 horsepower in the Japanese inline-four motor.

With World Superbike racing next at Brno on July 11th, we won’t have to wait long to see if Aprilia can make it three doubles in a row. Should that occur, Suzuki and all the other teams, will have to come up with an answer to the RSV4′s new found power.

Comment:

  1. pf lizealot says:

    That’s strange. The Aprilia should already have a 20hp advantage over the Suzuki.

    How does this sport work?! It’s magical. It doesn’t follow any of the laws of nature. No bore/stroke rules. No rev limits. No fuel limitation. No air restrictors for 1000cc bikes. Yet the hp ratings are so close that a cam breathing mod has broken the parity.

    Maybe one of these days Paulo will tell us. As a marketer, he’s basically full of truth and light. I’m sure he knows what’s going on at the FIM.

  2. pf lizealot says:

    Okay, I just got through to Paulo and he explained the whole thing.

    The tires limit the performance of the bikes by limiting the amount of power they put down, unless you add just a little bit. If you add just a little bit of power the tires still work. Also, the tires don’t limit the Ducati b/c the L-twin harnesses the moon’s gravitational pull which allows it to put down more power (no wonder they always win). The Ducati has to be fitted with air restrictors to cancel out the moon’s gravity.

    I knew there was a straight forward explanation.

  3. Jaybond says:

    20 bhp more than Suzuki? That’s too high I think, 10 bhp advantage is more like it. Unless comparing with the privateer teams.

  4. Aprilia RSV4 Gear Driven Camshaft Good For 3-5HP – http://aspha.lt/151 #motorcycle

  5. mxs says:

    Sorry, but they are making more power because the gear driven camshafts have less resistance, run smoother, no? It has nothing to do with duration/lift/lobe shape etc.? They all can change that as they wish. Not everyone can make gear driven camshafts though …. apples and oranges to me.

  6. lalaland says:

    Please excuse my militant family member who hijacked my computer. PF is hinting at rev limiting which I happen to agree with though not in such a boisterous fashion. I don’t know whether gear driven cams have less friction or whether they are simply a more accurate drive system with very little flex that improves breathing.

    I think the more interesting point is that the 4-cylinder bikes should make very different power output, yet a 3 to 5 hp cam mod has swung the pendulum in Aprilia’s favor. It’s shocking that the BMW and the Suzuki can both race on the same track, let alone that Suzuki routinely finish in front. I suspect something happens during homologation.

    Hidden rev limits or not. This is a good article.