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.

MotoGP: CRTs 14 MPH Slower Than Prototypes at Losail

04/06/2012 @ 9:40 am, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

MotoGP: CRTs 14 MPH Slower Than Prototypes at Losail qatar gp 2012 scott jones ApriliaDash1

Free Practice 2 for the Qatar GP has just finished at the Losail International Circuit, and the speed gap between the prototypes and the CRTs is abundantly clear. One of the faster tracks on the MotoGP calendar, everyone in the paddock knew going into the Qatar GP that the power advantage held by the Ducati, Honda, & Yamaha prototypes would be apparent down Losail’s .664 mile front straightaway. But now after getting to see how the two bike classifications stack up on the same course and on the same day, the results from FP1 & FP2 show a 13.6 mph gap between the tops CRTs to the top prototype GP bikes.

Hitting 210.6 mph at the speed trap, Hector Barbera, MotoGP’s king of drafting, has so far been the outright fastest man at Losail on the straightaway. While conversely, Colin Edwards has been the fastest CRT rider, clocking 197 mph through the speed trap.

But the Texas Tornado’s top speed tells only part of the story. Riding on the NGM Forward’s Suter/BMW, Edwards and Randy de Puniet (who rides an Aprilia ART) have been making the CRT effort look at least respectable, though under-gunned at Losail.

A tough order, the first track of the season is perhaps one of the least favorable places to get a reading on the new CRT experiment, as it highlights the power deficit held by the modified production motors (thought to be in the 20-30hp range).

While Edwards is only down 6.8 mph from the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 of Ben Spies (the slowest GP prototype on Losail’s straightaway), the story is a much more different one for Danilo Petrucci of the Came IodaRacing Project team. Though also using an Aprilia RSV4 motor, Ioda is not using ARTs “prototype” chassis, and has instead built its own bike with a steel trellis frame. Trapping 181.6 mph on his Ioda Aprilia, Petrucci is almost 30 mph slower at Losail than Barbera’s top speed, and still has nearly a 22 mph gap to Ben Spies on the other end of the prototype bracket…and it is a bracket.

While Petrucci is a bit of an outlier in the recorded top speeds, it is clear at Losail that there will be definitely two classes racing from the same starting line on Sunday. Over a second slower in lap times to the nearest prototype (Alvaro Bautista), Colin Edwards again leads the CRTs on the FP2 lap time time sheet, but still remains 2.841 seconds behind the leading time of Casey Stoner.

To put that a different way, Edwards is holding almost the same gap to the front as Toni Elias did at Losail in 2011, with the rest of the CRT contingency falls in between that point and Petrucci’s 6.8 second gap to Stoner (the second slowest CRT rider, Ivan Silva, was only 4.8 seconds back from Stoner).

With the majority of the CRT bikes 4+ seconds off the pace, there does not seem to be an issue of lapped-riders brewing, though surely fans would like to see all 21 entries on Sunday’s race to have a theoretical shot at the top step. On the bright sider however, with the majority of the CRTs relatively close to each other with lap times, there should be some good racing at the back of the pack. It will be interesting to see which battles Dorna’s television feed chooses to highlight.

FP2 Results from the Qatar GP at Doha, Qatar:

11Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda206.71’55.960
299Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha204.3+0.214
34Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha206.4+0.688
411Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha203.9+0.711
58Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati210.6+0.718
626Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda206.0+0.737
769Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati209.3+0.822
835Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha205.4+0.854
96Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda206.5+1.237
1046Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati209.4+1.314
1117Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati207.5+1.563
1219Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda207.6+1.708
135Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter197.0+2.841
1414Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART193.2+2.985
1568Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR-FTR191.1+3.738
1641Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART195.0+4.037
1751Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR192.6+4.271
1854Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART195.4+4.413
199Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda181.7+4.444
2022Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR-FTR190.1+4.827
2177James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART188.3+6.152

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


  1. Pat Walker says:

    Nice going ezpaleta. Hope you don’t get someone killed.

  2. TonyS says:

    Maybe another way to look at the data is Colin Edwards is only 1.5 seconds off of Rossi’s pace. Just sayin.

  3. jimmy smith JR says:

    And no one is really surprised…I still like my idea….have the CRTS do a shorter distance race. When Casey crosses the line after 30 or so laps have the CRT race end at 26 or whatever.

  4. sunstroke says:

    If they get rid of the 12 engine rule, which is only making life more difficult for technical direction, the gap will be closed significantly.

  5. 2ndclass says:

    People sure do have short memories. Watch an old 500GP race, even from the 90s, tons of guys out there getting lapped by the front-running factory riders with significant speed differentials and it wasn’t dangerous.

  6. dc4go says:

    Wow the GP12 has some grunt!! Just finished watching Barbera gap Spies down the straight with Spies in the draft!! Only wish the chasis was as good as the motor for race one!!

  7. Yeah, what 2ndclass said. Lapped riders and gross differences between the sharp end of the pack and the rest of the field is NOTHING NEW. This is just a return to the way things were a few years back, with the key difference being that the CRT bikes are a helluva lot cheaper to buy and operate. The better CRT teams will be scrapping with the slower satellite bikes, I’d bet, and we’re likely to see some surprises on the podium when the weather turns inclement.

    Personally, I applaud the CRT route and look forward to a very exciting season. It’s great to see so many bikes on the grid.

  8. Westward says:


    Yeah, but the those guys running the 500GP would not have cried the way Pedrosa did, when passed him Simoncelli at Le Mans.

    Even Stoner needed a hug after Laguna in 2008, and Rossi didn’t even touch him on the corkscrew …

    CRT’s are just moving obstacles for the real competition… Too bad we can’t have 24 bikes and pilots with an actual shot at winning… It’s a two to four man race at best…

  9. MikeD says:

    Well………now we now for sure were Team Rosso is not lacking….lol.