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.

PPIHC: Rookie Carlin Dunne Surprises with Pole Position

06/25/2011 @ 10:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

PPIHC: Rookie Carlin Dunne Surprises with Pole Position PPIHC Carlin Dunne Santa Barbara Ducati 635x444

The 89th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is well underway this weekend, as the three days of practices sessions have now concluded, and teams are preparing for the race on Sunday. With the paddock abuzz that 2011 will be the last year that the hill climb will have a dirt section, things were shook up even further in the 1200cc motorcycle class as PPIHC rookie rider Carlin Dunne from the Santa Barbara Ducati team took the pole position with a qualifying time of 5:35.937 (each classes qualifies on only a single section of the race course, with motorcycles qualifying on the lower section this year). Vying for the top spot on the time sheet, Dunne had stiff competition in the 1200c race class, namely from Spider Grips Ducati riders Gregg Tracy, who crashed during the qualifying session.

Battling with Dunne, Tracy’s off occurred due to the cold tarmac conditions, thus losing valuable time. Tracy’s practice times from earlier in the day were favorable though, posting a 5:48.798 in traffic earlier in the morning. Dunne’s rookie pole debut is a rarity on The Peak, though traditionally it predicts a top-step finish for the rider (no pressure, right?). In order for that to happen, the Santa Barbara native will have to keep Tracy and his teammate Alexander Smith at bay, along with a very fast Mark Cernicky (who writes about motorcycle occasionally). Also in the hunt is Glenn Cox on his KTM SuperDuke R, though Joe Kopp’s Triumph Speed Triple has been relegated to an exhibition class, as it falls outside the 1200cc & 7500cc class rules (the 1200cc class is for v-twins only…draw your conclusions on that as you will).

“It’s pretty overwhelming at first — there’s a lot of information to process,” said Dunne while explaining his first time racing Pikes Peak to Asphalt & Rubber. “Your first ride you really question why, for me at least, what am I doing? Why am I here? There’s 156 turns and each one is different. Some are decreasing radius, some are increasing radius, and a lot of them are blind.”

“I actually had to take a step-back, slowdown, quit trying to go fast, and start going slower and learning,” continued Dunne who will ride a modestly modified Ducati Multistrada 1200. “When I started doing that, things started really to come together, but it was pretty overwhelming at first.”

An accomplished road and dirt bike racer, Dunne was quick to point out the obvious challenge that Pikes Peak presents to riders. “There’s literally no guardrails on some of these big sweepers, and going over 100 mph we’re get loose, real loose, and as soon as you start to think about that, you’re definitely slowing down.”

“But, it’s a calculated risk,” Dunne immediately added. “You know you could go faster, but you also know that you’re on your limit of adhesion, so you’ve got to walk the line, much more so than any closed-circuit race track. There’s no second chance, there’s no run-off, so you have to respect it, and that’s the most important part.”

When asked about how felt about his pole-position qualifying, Dunne simply stated: “I can definitely feel the target on my back getting bigger, but really I’m not letting it get to me. No one expected me to do much, and for me it’s just about riding my race. I’m not worried about racing anyone else, I’m just focused on putting 156 turns together as flawlessly as possible…and keeping it on two wheels while I’m at it.”

Select Qualifying Results for the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb:

Pos. No. Name Bike Qualifying Time
1 34 Carlin Dunne Ducati Multistrada 1200 5:35.937
2 50 Mark Cernicky Ducati Multistrada 1200 5:44.131
3 55 Alexander Smith Ducati Multistrada 1200 6:00.252
4 13 Glenn Cox KTM SuperDuke R 6:01.912
5 555 Greg Tracy Ducati Multistrada 1200 6:12.082
Other Times of Note
1* 357 Gary Trachy TM 660 SMX 5:22.310
2* 508 Stuart Sinclair Aprilla SXV 5:32.130
2** 3 Joe Kopp Triumph Speed Triple 5:43.758
- 489 Chip Yates Electric Superbike Prototype 6:50.275
*Qualifying Position from the 750cc Motorcycle Class
**Qualifying Position if Included in the 1200cc Motorcycle Class

Source: PPIHC; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Is the 1200cc class sponsored by a certain Italian marque? Very odd about the config. restrictions in place…

    Would’ve loved to see some Leicestershire metal fighting for the win.

  2. Trev says:

    If they adapted the Superbike formula, 1200 twins, 1000 IL4′s; logically 1100 triples would be in there?
    Neither formula allows for anything outside of what the organisers want, or are told to want…
    And what is the story with the 660 and SXV (550?), excluded because they aren’t powerful enough, or too light, or too fast?
    Maybe this is a ‘race’ for touring bikes?

  3. Ri says:

    It’s fun to read you write “It’s a lot of data to process” and write something this informative and a bit long. Clearly there’s no irony here.

    –Ri of changerules(dot)net

  4. jeff_williams says:

    I thought the 750cc class is for those bigger than the 450 but smaller than the big boys but they are definitely faster than the big bikes. Maybe they are put there on purpose because of that. I want to see the 450cc times.

  5. The Aprilia SXV is race legal in the 750cc class, and in fact one was raced (crashed in the race if I recall correctly, but qualified well). Pikes Peak’s regs are based off the AMA flat track rule book, and the course has traditionally been a dirt event, all of which factors into its current incarnation.

    That being said, I think the 1200cc class should be like what we see in Superbike racing, especially now that the course will be all paved for 2012. This would also remedy the appearance that the class was made specifically to cater to PPIHC’s official motorcycle partner.