A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

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.

Ben Spies Told by Yamaha to Give 100% or Don’t Show Up

08/19/2012 @ 2:42 pm, by Jensen Beeler39 COMMENTS

Ben Spies Told by Yamaha to Give 100% or Dont Show Up Ben Spies giving 100 percent 635x423

“I’m really not even upset about it,” said Ben Spies after his disappointing finish at the Indianapolis GP. Calm and collected after watching the motor on his Yamaha YZR-M1 blow-up down the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s front straight, Spies explained that he is really at the point where his bad luck, as many are calling it, is at a laughing point. Ben has already made an announcement that he will not be with Yamaha for the 2013 season, and Valentino Rossi has already filled the void left by the Texan at the factory team, but the issues surrounding Ben’s misfortunes continue to be raised.

Talking to the assembled press after the Indianapolis GP, Spies cracked open the door a bit further, and cast some light on what has been occurring within the Yamaha camp. With Yamaha seemingly believing that Spies was not racing at his full potential, the American explained that after the Italian GP at Mugello, he was told by a high-up at Yamaha that he better race 100% at Laguna Seca, or not bother coming to the race at all.

“I was told by someone at Yamaha that if I’m not going to ride at 100% at Laguna, then don’t show up,” said Spies. “I came to Laguna, and I tried as best as I could, and the bike had a malfunction. Then we came here with 100%, and did the best we could, and we had another mechanical with the bike. I’ve given my 100%, so to be told what I was told after Mugello, and the way it was, and then to give the effort I have the last two weekends, I don’t think it’s fair.”

“I know my team is (giving 100%), it’s shown — the bike has been good the last two weekends,” continued Spies. “I don’t respect what was told to me, and what we’ve tried to do this year. We had a problem at Assen with the tire, which wasn’t our fault, and also at Silverstone. But Qatar, here and Laguna, we’ve had three mechanical problems with the bike. I wouldn’t say its Yamaha’s fault at all, it’s been bad luck too. Why it’s happening to me, I don’t know. It was a big frustration about a month ago, but now we go to Brno, and I wonder what’s going to happen next.”

When pressed for a name as to whom at yamaha made the statement about his effort, Spies declined to comment further. Simply stating “it was someone high-up.”

Riding the Indianapolis GP after crashing hard during Saturday’s qualifying, Spies has suspected torn ligaments in his shoulder, as well as bruising on his back and pelvis. Fellow American Nicky Hayden wasn’t as fortunate with his injuries, while Casey Stoner, who also crashed in the final turns of the course, rode on a heavily injured foot. Despite his injuries, Spies had lofty goals for the American round, as was shown by his position in the race.

“We came back today, with honestly the goal to win the race, and we showed that the first lap and a half to two laps,” explained Spies. Leading Dani Pedrosa the first few laps of the race, Spies knew something was wrong with his bike when Pedrosa was able to challenge him for the lead on the second lap down the front straight. Noticing his bike losing power, the motor finally gave up on its fourth pass down the straightaway.

When asked by Asphalt & Rubber if he had raced on the same motor as the one he had crashed on, Spies confirmed that it was the same motor. While this practice of using crashed engines and parts isn’t entirely uncommon in the MotoGP paddock, it does harken back to the beginning of the season at Qatar, where Spies suffered chatter from a damaged chassis that had been crashed before the race and not replaced.

“We went to Laguna, and we came here, to get on the podium and to try and win races. I think it shows the character for me and my team that we’re trying to get on the podium and trying to win. With all the bad luck we’ve had, we’re still showing up, and we’re still giving it 100%,” said Spies.

“If you add up the tire things and bike problems, no matter what we’re out of the Championship. It doesn’t matter if I’ve won every other race — we’re out of it. But, we keep coming back, and we keep coming strong. It doesn’t matter right now, it’s just a matter of what’s going to happen next. Hopefully in Brno we can have a weekend where nothing happens, but that’s what we were hoping for here, but it didn’t happen.”

When asked by A&R if the comment after Mugello precipitated his announcement at Laguna Seca, Spies explained that the decision to leave the team had come before the Mugello comment, but the incident made the announcement a bit easier to make.

Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved


  1. @TylerMrK says:

    “How to motivate your employees” – By Yamaha. I’m still very interested to hear these sorts of details trickle out over time.

  2. MikeD says:

    Ohohooooooo, that was JUICY…and the dirty underwear pieces keep showing up on the dry cleaners…LMAO.

  3. Uberbox says:

    Really, bad luck? Hard not to be skeptical about how much “bad luck” Ben is having.

  4. Lone Wolf says:

    I suspect sabotage to justify Rossi’s return!!

  5. yooperbikemike says:

    I’m thinking Ben isn’t going to be attending too many “Yamaha Day of Champions” events any time soon.

  6. Calisdad says:

    When hasn’t Ben given 100% ? With all the mechanical DNF’s one has to wonder which trash bin Ben’s bikes are built from.

    Don’t get hurt (anymore than you are) Ben. Nobody in the stands doubts your ability or effort.

  7. Westward says:

    Gremlins… Nothing but gremlins…

    I really hope Spies remains in MotoGP, and I want to see him on a Ducati effort. Personally I think he would do better than Dovizioso, and since they announced they are expanding their efforts by placing four bikes on the grid, they have enough for both of them. I really cannot see how Petrucci, Redding, or Iannone are regarded as being better choices than Spies.

    Also whoever told Spies to step it up, obviously doesn’t watch MotoGP…

  8. anti says:

    So this happened earlier int he season. May have been a fair call, go hard or stay home, it is motor racing after all. Ironically Yamaha have egg on their face now. More the issue at hand is that the team can’t give Ben a bike that works 100%.

    There is no worse place to Yamaha to do this to an American rider than at home races. Wonder how that will affect sales?

    Also, makes me wonder if Team Yam have money issues? New parts to Jorge, second hand ones to Ben? Could be possible. Which if true means Rossi will HAVE to bring a sponsor to pay his wages (maybe he’ll sponsor himself!).

  9. Xlomotion says:

    I really doubt that Ben hasn’t given a 100% of effort when he goes out to race. In fact he had a couple of bad crashed because he was pushing too hard. All this bad relationship between him and yamaha is not helping the team in the end.

  10. Jonathan says:

    It’s a shame to see a rider with such potential getting relentlessly “bad lucked” out of the sharp end with mechanical issues that just don’t happen to the tuning fork brand.

    We have a saying over here: “Form is temporary, class is permanent”. I don’t think that Ben is a mug who simply elbowed his way to a world championship – he’s quick and smart and IMO is no less deserving of a fast bike in a good team than any of his peers. It’s just a pity that there are so few competitive bikes in MotoGP.

    A week or two ago Edwards remarked that the factories should give up the previous year’s bikes to fill out the grid and provide proper, competitive racing. Pity the guy that gets Spies’ 2012 Yamaha…

  11. John says:

    This whole situation is making Yamaha look bad, really bad. I wonder how many Americans watch/follow MotoGP vs AMA Superbike, because Josh Hayes on the R1 in AMA SBK has been unstoppable. I wonder how the Spies drama vs Hayes success will each respectively affect Yamaha’s US sales.

  12. Bruce Monighan says:

    I also have begun to wonder about the financial status of Yamaha Racing. No sponsor, carrying the whole load themselves. That has got to lead to talks of cost cutting. The “luck” Ben has been having as well as his implied stateaments lead me to think he has been getting second tier parts as as well as replacement parts not on their assigned schedule. Every part of those bikes has a finite life schedule assigned to them. Maybe they are pushing past the schedule on Ben’s bike to save money. Not a lot of explanations for things breaking on Ben’s bike but not Lorenzo’s. The end of the year will bring very interesting revelations. Hope Rossi has his bases covered on the issue of parts supplies and updates.

  13. Neel46 says:

    Ben undoubtedly has more potential but what one can do if the bike gives away…

  14. RT Moto says:

    Yamaha can eat a d!ck. Ben needs a functioning bike that can compete. I’m not surprised that he hasn’t given up but you can’t help but think who in their right mind would still put it all out there after the string of luck he has had. Ben if you are reading this, I have a pick up truck full of dudes with pitch forks and torches ready to destroy some things if you want. Just let me know. Lol

  15. Jake says:

    First I honestly want to ask does nationality really matter? I’m american but it doesn’t matter to me if an american is in MotoGP, SBK or whatever as long as the racing good. Likewise I didn’t buy my Ducati because Hayden was on that team, simply because the 1198 was an awesome bike.

    The other thing is that people are so quick to jump on Yamaha, but as the norm only take the side that suits their preference. What does Yamaha gain by ruining Spies? There are 4 Yamaha’s on the grid but only Spies seems to have the constant problems. Why is that? People are quick to say Jarvis is behind this to get Rossi back, despite the fact that it was Jarvis who picked Lorenzo over Rossi to begin with. Also these stupid engine limit rules in MotoGP aren’t helping. So in case people haven’t been paying attention, each of Ben’s race failures have been after he had to race a bike that was crashed earlier in the session.

    But the other thing is Yamaha’s are generally reliable but Ben had all kinds of problems with the R1 when he went to SBK. After he left that team didn’t repeat those issues (and there were none before he got there either). Then he goes to MotoGP and these same type of issues continue. Could it be Holdsworth that is the problem? Just asking a legit question. You can’t just take one side of this because there is more to this than Yamaha is just trying to screw Ben

    I don’t know what’s going on with Ben and Yamaha, but he’s being paid a lot of money and is on a top team. Even without those technical issues his results still haven’t been there and he’s been beaten regularly by satellite riders on lesser versions of his bike. So yeah you can expect Yamaha’s top brass to be losing patience. Overall just seems like a situation that has taken a turn for the worst and both sides would probably be better off if they just parted ways with immediate effect.

  16. CB says:

    Really bad showing for DORMA and Moto GP today. Bad racing, poor attendance, and top riders choosing to leave the series with the remaining 97% running CRT junk as back markers.

  17. Mike Lewis says:

    @Jake makes a terrific point: What has Yamaha gained in this situation? The U.S. is Yamaha’s most important overseas market. Spies is popular. He’s won a World Championship on Yam’s gear. Moreover, why would any company sabotage its own works bike and factory rider? Where’s the upside? My guess is Spies relationship with Lin Jarvis — a notorious prick, albeit a successful one — has soured. Remember it was Jarvis who said before the start of the season that Spies better step up if he wants to keep his factory ride.

    And this was after Spies won a race in his first year on the factory bike.

    It seems that Spies in his veiled criticism has taken pains to not blame Yamaha the factory which by nearly all accounts is a terrific employer and supportive company. (How many times does Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki trot out and honor former champions? Colin Edwards II still waxes about how great Yamaha was and uses the brand at his boot camp.) My guess is that Spies likely felt that Jarvis overly blamed the rider and took too little responsibility for the M1′s mechanical issues. When Spies pressed and made mistakes, Jarvis simply ramped up the pressure.

    Clash of philosophy, style, personality. I do hate seeing Spies do poorly. And I really hoped to see him win on the Yamaha for a long time. It’s really a shame but I’d agree its bad luck on both sides and bad management of the problems (likely on both sides too).

  18. @Jake: “Just asking a legit question. You can’t just take one side of this because there is more to this than Yamaha is just trying to screw Ben”

    C’mon, bro. Tinfoil helmets and conspiracy theories are a lot more fun than critical thinking.

    @CB: “Bad racing, poor attendance, and top riders choosing to leave the series with the remaining 97% running CRT junk as back markers.”

    Generally speaking, Moto3 and Moto2 offer stellar contests. MotoGP is struggling because there is so little (competitive) factory participation. Ducati blows this year. Kawi and Suzuki took their toys and went home. Add that the manufacturers have pushed for expensive rule changes, only to complain about the associated costs. (D’uh?) Then add a healthy dollop of global recession and you’ve a recipe for an ailing series. When attendance is down in Spain and all three classes are being dominated by Spanish riders, you know Dorna isn’t to blame for that.

    This isn’t to say that Dorna doesn’t make its share of mistakes. I think the CRT idea was reasonable, but it sure is slow to get off the ground. RdP did a great qualifying this weekend, though, very much in the hunt of satellite factory bikes. A little more oomph from the rest of the CRT guys would make the field more interesting.

    This weekend’s MotoGP race was embarrassingly spread out. Best race of the day, by far, was Moto3.

  19. @TylerMrK says:

    I don’t think Yamaha as a whole are trying to screw Spies over – that would indeed be a poor choice for many reasons. However, that doesn’t exclude the possibility that someone within his garage is either incompetent, or trying to screw him. It wasn’t long ago that there were reports of Spies’ mother losing it on one of the mechanics, and Ben backed it up saying it was deserved. Also worth noting is that Spies hasn’t given any reasons for leaving Yamaha (until this tidbit), leading me to believe that there is some drama happening behind the scenes – and this could be connected to some of the issues he is having.

    Anyway, Yamaha should be putting pressure on the staff to give him a solid bike. It doesn’t look good for the company if their stuff keeps falling apart – I know it’s not convincing me to go out and buy an R1 (I’m in the market to replace my R6)….

  20. JW says:

    Yamaha ought to look in the mirror

  21. Paulo says:

    “When hasn’t Ben given 100% ? With all the mechanical DNF’s one has to wonder which trash bin Ben’s bikes are built from.

    Don’t get hurt (anymore than you are) Ben. Nobody in the stands doubts your ability or effort.”


    Ben, your showing your true race spirit each race and nobody away from the bike doubts that!! Race your race to your safest, best abilities because we’re all cheering for you and know you can race and win given a good machine!!

  22. An interesting implication of Yamaha being blind to the reality faced by Spies this season is how understanding they’ll be of Vale’s return to the fold next year. VR might be in for some culture shock.

  23. man, this guy beated Mat Mladin.

  24. Jimmy says:

    Ben’s problems with Yamaha (and with life in general) can be summed up in two words: Mary Spies. Regardless of Ben Spies’ incredible talent and outstanding work ethic, no one wants Mary in their paddock or in their business. She is like Hurricane Katrina, leaving a path of destruction wherever she goes. At least Katrina only lasted for a day or two.

  25. Tony says:

    I would like to also see Spies at Ducati. He has a lot of talent and dominated the single year he was at WSBK in his epic battle with Haga. He has helped Yamaha and for someone to question his effort would piss me off as well.

    This will be unpopular, but Spies has worked and clawed a hell of a lot harder then “The GOAT” this year.

  26. Maas says:

    Ben’s problems with Yamaha (and with life in general) can be summed up in two words: Mary Spies.


  27. whatever your theory, this is not just bad luck.

    The Team Manager and Factory “higher up” better get real close to the situation in that garage for the rest of the season before one more mishap seriously hurts Ben or one of the other racers.

    complete bullshit at this level.

  28. Gritboy says:

    WOW. I’d love to see Spies get on a CRT bike and beat those prototype Yamaha’s. Let ‘em suck on that.

  29. greatreporting says:

    Great reporting, glad to have some insight on what happening at Yamaha and MotoGP. This story is lighting up the internet chatter for sure, crash dot net removed the user comment section from this article since posting.

    Yamaha will feel the effects stateside, one can understanding making room for Rossi’s return, and how they went about this business defines the character of their management. Shock failure, factory engine blow-up, Lin Jarvis being a dick…..too bad for Yamaha, we are lucky nobody got seriously hurt.

  30. Dc4go says:

    Yamaha should give him 100% percent… Broken seats, rear swing arms falling apart, bent frames and an engine blow up on the front straight of the U.S.G.P… Who’s failing who here????

  31. david says:

    complete crap, broken frame,forced to race on it, swingarm collapsing, now motor letting go big style? at this level? come on, ben’s results haven’t been there, but that is no excuse to put an unsafe bike underneath him. how can a rider push if he can’t be confident his bike wont fall apart? regarding jake’s comment, yes i think houseworth is vastly over-rated, but crew chiefs don’t rebuild engines at this level, in fact no one at the track even so much as cracks open a valve cover! they are sealed, so this is all on yamaha, who has lost my respect. perhaps money problems, can only afford to keep lorenzo’s bike running tip top? rossi better beware. maybe spies had one of jorge’s wornout motors?(JK). mary spies is a bit obnoxious, i agree with that.

  32. Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

    Mary Spies has nothing to do with Ben’s performance problems on the bike. Granted, I think she needs to keep her trap shut behind the scenes.

    No, Bens performance problems likely have more to do with crew chief Houseworth and the rest of his technicians. They were effective with production base bikes but I believe they are out of their depths in the world of prototypes. More chassis adjustments, more electronics to tweak and programs they never used before coming to motoGP.

    I admire loyalty in people, but after his rookie season, it should have been evident that his crew was not up to the task and sought a new one.

    Without a crew able to get the bike where it needs to be, Ben’s 100% is spent trying to stay on top of it rather than going around as fast as possible, like Jorge. The bike is fine. Jorge proves it, Dovi proves it. Sometimes Cal…

    I blame Tom and crew. With a new crew, Ben would likely still be in GP.

    They’ll do just fine with BMW in WSBK…regardless of that pompous Italian teammate he’ll be sharing a garage with. Trouble in paradise already and he hasn’t even set foot in their garage.

  33. Hayabrusa says:

    Bob -

    The most ‘pompous Italian’ I know of rides an Aprilia, not a BMW! Sooo, Marco is taking lessons from Max?! Nonetheless, if Spies ends up there, I could easily see him winning another SBK championship.

  34. Jeff says:

    MotoGp is a miserable place to be. No loss

  35. Odie says:

    Ok, technical question: who makes the decision to either continue using any given part of a bike (engine, swing-arm, etc) or replacing it? Is that Tom and the crew?

  36. irksome says:

    It’d be easier to do if the Yamaha didn’t “give 100%” of it’s guts to the the front straight…

  37. Beary says:

    It’s worth pndering that the ‘best bike in motogp at the moment’ 2nd rider has so many problems. I thnk it’s pretty obvious to everyone, the way Yamaha has treated Ben.

    But two sides to the story, Yamaha wouldn’t be treating Ben this way if Ben (or mommy) hadn’t pissed them off in some way. Spies really needs to get on with life as an Adult, having your mom manage you as an Adult in MotoGP makes him a bit of a laughing stock.

  38. Faust says:

    @Jake “But the other thing is Yamaha’s are generally reliable but Ben had all kinds of problems with the R1 when he went to SBK. After he left that team didn’t repeat those issues (and there were none before he got there either).”

    It’s worth mentioning Jake that Ben went to the SBK team on the first year of the new bike, with the new engine layout. Of course they had more issues their first year on the new bike, and of course after a year of development they had less issues the following year. I’m not sure why you would blame Ben for that, since it’s quite normal for a new bike to have some issues to work out. I mean, just look at the BMW and ZX-10R.