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?

MotoGP: New Spec Bridgestone Front Tires Starting at Jerez

04/12/2012 @ 10:38 am, by David Emmett1 COMMENT

MotoGP: New Spec Bridgestone Front Tires Starting at Jerez qatar gp 2012 scott jones RossiTire1

Bridgestone has announced that they are going to bring forward the introduction of a new 2012-spec front tire, and start allowing riders to use it starting from the Jerez round of MotoGP. The new tire was tested extensively during the pre-season, with versions tried at both Sepang tests and at the IRTA test at Jerez. The tire features a modified construction which allows it to heat up more quickly as well as provide more feedback to the riders.

The selected construction was one of two types tested during the pre-season. The two types – designated as “21″ and “24″ – differed only slightly, the central section being slightly less rigid in construction on the 21, when compared to the 24. The riders were positive about both types, but were split on which tire was best. The majority of the riders preferred the 21, praising it as having better stability and feedback. Surprisingly, the Honda riders took the opposite view, saying that it was the 24 which was the more stable tire, the 21 providing less stability under braking.

The difference appears to be in the way that the Honda reacts under braking, when compared to the Yamaha and the Ducati, but Casey Stoner felt that riders preferring the 21 were making a mistake, suggesting that once they found themselves in the pressure of a race situation, they would also start running into the stability issues that he and Pedrosa were encountering with the 21.

After consultation with all of the riders, as well as Dorna and Loris Capirossi, who is acting as liaison between the tire company and Dorna, Bridgestone eventually elected to go with the wishes of the majority. The new tire will be introduced gradually, starting from Jerez, where the riders will be given two new spec tires to go along with the nine original spec tires they are currently using. From Silverstone, all of the front tires will be of the new spec.

Below is the official press release from Bridgestone, announcing and explaining the changes:


Bridgestone Proposes Introduction of New Specification MotoGP Front Tyre - 9 April 2012:

Bridgestone will introduce a new specification front tyre for the FIM MotoGP World Championship, giving the twenty-one riders taking part in this year’s competition access to the very latest in tyre technology.

This new front tyre is the latest evolution of the 2012 specification MotoGP front tyre. This latest specification front tyre features a revised construction that further enhances rider feel and warm-up performance and was developed following analysis of performance data and rider feedback acquired in pre-season testing.

Due to the overwhelmingly positive appraisal this new front tyre received when tested by riders, Bridgestone, after consultation with Dorna, the FIM and IRTA, has agreed to replace the current front tyre with the new 2012 specification front tyre from the Silverstone round while also making a limited number of the new front tyre available for the Jerez, Estoril, Le Mans and Catalunya rounds.

Starting from Jerez, riders will be allocated two of the new specification front tyres to increase their total allocation for the race weekend to eleven front tyres. The new specification tyre will only be made available in the harder compound option, as the greater durability this option provides makes it better suited for race use. At Silverstone, when the new specification front tyre becomes the standard, the front tyre allocation will return to nine tyres.

The tables below illustrate how the front tyre allocation will change with the introduction of the new specification front tyre at Jerez, and then revert back to nine tyres once the new specification front tyre becomes the standard from the Silverstone round.

Front tyre allocation for Jerez & Catalunya (11 tyres)

  1 2 3 4 5
Harder (new spec) Δ Δ
Harder
Medium
Soft

Front tyre allocation for Estoril & Le Mans (11 tyres)

  1 2 3 4 5
Harder (new spec) Δ Δ
Harder
Soft

Front tyre allocation from Silverstone and remaining Special Case races in 2012* (9 tyres)

  1 2 3 4 5
Harder Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
Soft Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ

* Due to the particular track and weather conditions at Sepang, the two front options available for this race are hard & extra-hard.

Front tyre allocation for races after Silverstone where a third front option is available (9 tyres)

  1 2 3 4 5
Harder Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
Medium Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
Soft Δ Δ Δ

〇 = Original 2012 specification front tyre  Δ = New 2012 specification front tyre

〇 = Original 2012 specification front tyre

Δ = New 2012 specification front tyre

Certain circuits may be designated as Special Case by agreement between Bridgestone, the Safety Commission and organisers where, due to weather or track conditions, the availability of a third specification of front tyre is not necessary (i.e. only two front options will be made available) as the soft front compound is part of the standard allocation. For 2012, circuits designated as Special Case are Estoril, Le Mans, Silverstone, Assen, Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.

The highlighted boxes in the tables above mark the initial allocation of front tyres distributed equally to every rider on the day before FP1. The remaining boxes indicate the remaining front tyre compound choices available to each rider after the completion of FP2, at which point the rider can select an additional four tyres to complete their total allocation of front tyres. At rounds where three front tyre options are available, riders can only choose a maximum of three of the softer option front tyre, and five front tyres each of the medium and harder compound.

Bridgestone proposes change to Wet Tyre Allocation

Following a request from the Safety Commission, Bridgestone has proposed a revision to the wet tyre allocation for each race. Riders are currently allocated four rear and four front wet tyres in a single compound option, or in the case of all practice sessions being wet, five front and rear wet tyres.

Currently, riders have access to only one compound option of wet tyre per race. Under the new proposal, after the first wet practice session, Bridgestone, in consultation with the Safety Commission and organisers may agree to provide wet tyres with an alternative compound option to ensure rider safety in wet conditions. In this case, each rider may choose to replace a maximum of two of their front and/or rear wet tyres with the alternative compound.

To expedite the revisions to the front tyre and wet tyre allocation, the FIM will propose changes to the tyre allocation regulations to members of the Grand Prix Commission. Should the proposals presented be accepted by the commission members, they will be implemented with immediate effect.

The introduction of a new specification front tyre, and the revision to the wet tyre allocation are the latest in a series of initiatives implemented by Bridgestone to improve rider safety. At Mugello last year, Bridgestone proposed bringing softer rear slick tyre options to six of the remaining races in the 2011 season and a revision to the rear tyre allocation to provide riders with greater flexibility in choosing their final rear tyre allocation. Additionally, Bridgestone increased the number of front tyre compounds available to three from the Brno round, ensuring the availability of a softer front compound at each race.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

“Last year we set out with a clear set of technical objectives for our 2012 specification tyres and since they were first tested, we received very good feedback on our path of development. Though rider comments on our original 2012 specification front tyre were positive, we haven’t rested on our laurels and brought new specification front tyres to the pre-season tests as part of our ongoing tyre development programme. One of these new front tyres was met with such an encouraging appraisal from the riders that we proposed to make it available as soon as possible. Due to logistical constraints, we are unable to supply a full allocation of this new specification front tyre until Silverstone, but we have changed our production schedule and made every effort to provide a limited allocation of the new front tyre to riders from the next race.

“I would like to thank all the riders and teams for their commitment to evaluating during pre-season testing and also Safety Advisor to Dorna Loris Capirossi for his ongoing efforts in collating feedback from the riders. I look forward to Jerez with great interest as not only will riders be using our latest specification front tyre in a race setting for the first time, they will also be showcasing the very latest in Bridgestone tyre technology to the world.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta – CEO, Dorna Sports

“Dorna is pleased that Bridgestone will make their new specification front tyre available to riders from the second round of the season at Jerez. During the regular meetings during pre-season testing between Bridgestone and Safety Advisor to Dorna Loris Capirossi, it became apparent that this new specification tyre provided even greater levels of front-end feel to the riders and so we welcome the decision to make the tyre available as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank Bridgestone for continuing to equip MotoGP riders with their latest tyre technology and sharing in Dorna’s commitment to continually improve rider safety.”

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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

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