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 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?

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win

01/21/2013 @ 1:39 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 10 635x422

Wrapping up two weeks of racing, the 2013 Dakar Rally concluded this weekend in Santiago, Chile. His fifth Dakar win, Cyril Despres once again claimed victory in the iconic rally race, and though he was tipped heavily to win after Marc Coma announced that he would be sidelined due to injury, Despres’s win was anything but a sure-thing as the stages progressed. Seeing strong rides from factory-backed Yamaha and Husqvarna teams, Despres even got pressure from his fellow KTM riders over the 14 racing stages.

Despite finishing the Dakar Rally with a 10 minute 43 second overall lead, Despres found himself on the wrong-side of the time sheets during several stages, and even had to replace his motor during the “marathon” weekend, where riders are not allowed any mechanical help from their support crew (Despres got more than a little help from his fellow KTM teammates though). His second Dakar Rally win in a row, and his fifth career-win, Despres now sports two-more Dakar victories than rival Coma — deficit that surely will be contested next year.

“I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” said Despres. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far!”

“It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”

For KTM, the 2013 Dakar Rally continued a tradition of dominance, with the Austrian company fielding all five of the Top 5 motorcycles in the overall standings. However, Yamaha, Honda, and Husqvarna all showed increasingly strong Dakar programs, which could spice things up in the coming years. A new entry to the Dakar Rally this year, HRC’s presence has been a welcomed site in the rally race, and though the team showed growing pains, the Japanese manufacturer cannot be underrated for future events.

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 14 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 01 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 07 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 12 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 13 635x422

Top 25 Overall Motorcycles from the 2013 Dakar Rally:

Pos. Name Country Bike Time Diff. Penalty
1 DESPRES FRA KTM 43:24:22 - 00:15:00
2 FARIA PRT KTM 43:35:05 00:10:43 -
3 LOPEZ CHL KTM 43:43:10 00:18:48 00:15:00
4 JAKES SVK KTM 43:48:16 00:23:54 -
5 PEDRERO ESP KTM 44:19:51 00:55:29 00:15:00
6 PAIN FRA YAMAHA 44:30:52 01:06:30 -
7 RODRIGUES PRT HONDA 44:35:44 01:11:22 00:15:00
8 PIZZOLITO ARG HONDA 44:50:29 01:26:07 -
9 VERHOEVEN NLD YAMAHA 44:50:57 01:26:35 -
10 GONÇALVES PRT HUSQVARNA 44:52:42 01:28:20 00:15:00
11 PRZYGONSKI POL KTM 44:58:21 01:33:59 00:05:00
12 GOUËT CHL HONDA 45:10:02 01:45:40 -
13 ULLEVALSETER NOR KTM 46:25:18 03:00:56 00:15:00
14 BARREDA BORT ESP HUSQVARNA 46:29:04 03:04:42 00:17:00
15 METGE FRA YAMAHA 46:36:30 03:12:08 00:20:00
16 KNUIMAN NLD KTM 46:39:34 03:15:12 -
17 CZACHOR POL KTM 47:53:50 04:29:28 -
18 DE AZEVEDO BRA KTM 48:22:02 04:57:40 00:15:00
19 GUASCH ESP GAS – GAS 48:51:08 05:26:46 -
20 CASELLI USA KTM 49:28:02 06:03:40 03:35:00
21 DUCLOS FRA SHERCO 51:02:28 07:38:06 01:00:00
22 CAMPBELL USA HONDA 51:36:02 08:11:40 00:15:00
23 FARRES GUELL ESP HONDA 55:55:59 12:31:37 01:15:00
24 ZANOTTI ITA TM 56:25:42 13:01:20 00:15:00
25 FISH AUS HUQSVARNA 68:49:42 25:25:20 09:15:00

Source: KTM & Dakar; Photos: © 2013 Maragni M. / KTM Images – All Rights Reserved


  1. Damo says:

    Despres along with Despres continues to dominate. Very impressive.

  2. Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

    Only one stage this season. Won this like Hayden won GP in 2006…being consistently fast but not the first to cross the line. Still, wish I had a 1/10th of his skills and fitness.

    Feel bad for Caselli. He was on his way to winning another stage (13) before engine problems about 30 miles from the finish. A few penalties he’ll learn from too. 20th overall though. Pretty good for a 1st timer and substitute rider at that. Maybe KTM will give him another chance next season..

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    Great event… great demands on riders and machines.

  4. D Santos says:

    Certainly, Despres is a very skilled rider and I’m not questioning that but he surely can express some gratitude to his teammates, specially to Ruben Faria who, in several stages, had orders from the team direction to slow down his pace in order to let Despres catch him in the front of the race.

    If Ruben Faria had not to work for Despres and could ride on his own will, I believe that he could fight for the first place. Anyway, when Faria was hired he already knew what would be his role in this race. Maybe sometime in the near future, when Despres resigns, he could be the main rider of KTM.

  5. Gritboy says:

    Not unexpected, but always impressive.