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.

Dakar Rally — Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again

01/16/2013 @ 5:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Dakar Rally    Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again Kurt Caselli Dakar Rally KTM 2013 01 635x423

It is a special thing to win a stage at the Dakar Rally, and multiple stage victories are a true accomplishment in a racer’s career. We could leave the accolades there for Kurt Caselli, but taking two stage wins, during his rookie debut at the famous rally race, now that is something truly noteworthy. Filling the very big shoes left behind by the injured Marc Coma, Caselli has proven to be a diamond in the rough for the factory KTM team, which can only bode well for the California natives return to The Dakar in the coming years.

Winning the Baja-like terrain of Stage 11 with a 4:45 margin, Caselli helped lead the way for fellow bannerman Cyril Despres to regain the outright lead of The Dakar, while Despres’ teammate Ruben Faria also consolidated KTM’s 1-2 standings in the overall time slots, 13:16 behind Despres.

Still ranked well below the other factory KTM riders, Caselli’s position moves to 29th, a figure weighed heavily by his navigational errors in Stage 8, which saw him miss several waypoint and checkpoints.

With eleven stages now completed, the 2013 Dakar Rally will head back into Chile tomorrow with the 12th stage, meaning only three stages of racing remain. A Top 10 finish may be a large challenge for Caselli, but it is undeniable that the American has made a strong first impression at his debut Dakar.

“Caselli did an amazing job today and we were all impressed, including Cyril,” said KTM Team Manager Alex Doringer. “Cyril was able to use Caselli’s speed to ride with him for his third place in today’s stage and to consolidate his overall lead. Now we head for the Atacama Desert and this is an area we know from earlier Dakar Rallies. Cyril is feeling good and looking forward to getting into the dunes again.”

Dakar Rally    Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again Kurt Caselli Dakar Rally KTM 2013 03 635x423

Dakar Rally    Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again Kurt Caselli Dakar Rally KTM 2013 02 635x423

Top 10 Motorcycle Standings from Stage 11 of the 2013 Dakar Rally:

Pos. Name Country Bike Time Diff. Penalty
1 CASELLI USA KTM 02:55:01 - -
2 GONÇALVES PRT HUSQVARNA 02:59:46 00:04:45 -
3 DESPRES FRA KTM 03:01:25 00:06:24 -
4 PEDRERO ESP KTM 03:05:19 00:10:18 -
5 LOPEZ CHL KTM 03:05:52 00:10:51 -
6 BARREDA BORT ESP HUSQVARNA 03:06:10 00:11:09 -
7 BOTTURI ITA HUSQVARNA 03:06:32 00:11:31 -
8 JAKES SVK KTM 03:06:37 00:11:36 -
9 DUCLOS FRA SHERCO 03:07:22 00:12:21 -
10 FARIA PRT KTM 03:13:04 00:18:03 -

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

Comment:

  1. paulus - Thailand says:

    Awesome… respect to all the riders in this event.

  2. Phil Deetlefs says:

    Unbelievable debut Kurt! Great to watch you ride in any discipline!

  3. He only won the stage because everybody else got lost and went the wrong way. It’s amazing that in the age of GPS location and satellite navigation, how many times these guys get lost. Seems like if one guy goes the wrong way then the other guys just follow his tracks. Shouldn’t there be some kind of flashing arrow or alert to tell you that you’re going in the wrong direction, built into their systems?

  4. He only won because everyone else got lost and went the wrong way? If everyone else got lost and went the wrong way, then clearly staying on course must have been pretty damn difficult.

  5. Tiago says:

    Aaron, they only use the GPS to see a few waypoints, they don’t follow a track with the GPS, they have to use a roadbook, that makes things much more dificult… That’s why sometimes they get lost…

  6. Bruce says:

    Great job Kurt.

    Aaron’s comments are remarkably ignorant.

  7. Eddie says:

    Aaron, take a read through the Dakar rulebook someday. There are many restrictions on GPS usage; navigation is nearly as much of a challenge as riding. This isn’t using google maps to navigate through Atlanta interstate spaghetti, it’s following a barely marked ‘course’ through South America.

    Congrats to Caselii, 2 stage wins out of 11 is a huge debut for any Dakar rookie.

  8. “He only won the ” …

    And how many arguments over world championships have started with those 4 words? It never ceases to amaze me that some dismiss the accomplishments of one due to the apparent failings of others. He WON the stage. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Waypoints? The last time I heard that word was playing an 80s video game. So the organizers of this “race” force riders and drivers to rely on decades-old rules and technology, why? This is not a real rally race with a marked course, this is a Baja race over open terrain under some of the harshest conditions on earth. These South American courses are far more severe than those in Africa. That’s not hard enough? Let’s throw in a scavenger hunt for waypoints to shake things up.

    It’s not challenging enough to just let the drivers and motorcycle riders deal with the terrain, they are forced to play navigation games while they’re trying to survive. The four-wheel vehicle drivers have co-drivers at least, but the cyclists and four-wheel riders, have to what, stop and make calculations about where they are, because you sure as hell can’t read some screen going 40 mph over rough terrain.

    And for the record, the DAKAR rally doesn’t exist anymore, the name has been appropriated for marketing reasons in order to keep the sponsors and fans interested. It’s on another continent for God sakes, and why is that? Everyone who pays attention to world politics knows the answer to that. If Robbie Gordon tried to run this race in Africa in that big red Hummer, he’d need several squads of Marines in ArVs following him, to make sure he didn’t get killed or kidnapped.

    North Africa is totally out of control, much of it now under the sway of Al Qaeda, who kill US ambassadors and seize gas refineries at will. I suppose that’s what you get when you wage pointless wars in Islamic countries around the world. Hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraqi tends to generate a lot of bad feeling, We also have a significant military presence throughout Africa. So the DAKAR won’t be returning to that continent anytime soon.

    Also for the record, Al Qaeda was a marginal organization, almost entirely funded by Saudi money, with maybe 20 million supporters worldwide when George W. Bush took office. Now it has over 300 million supporters, money comes in from all over the world, huge amounts secretly funneled from the richest places on earth, like Malaysia, their influence and actual physical control of territory has grown exponentially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. That’s what America and the West gets for putting a corporate owned imbecile in the White House in 2000.

    No country on earth is more adept at manufacturing her own enemies than the United States – Iran, Iraqi, Afghanistan and now Pakistan (one of the most populous countries on earth) all of the entrenched US opposition and popular hatred in these nations came about as a direct result of our own actions. One might conclude that America was in the business of creating enemies to fight, if one had the ability to read history and think for oneself.

    But hey, the race must go on right. But to be fair and accurate, I think they should change the name to the Patagonian off the road Rally, to better reflect the nature of the race, the continent it now calls home, and the native inhabitants who agree to host it. And modern GPS navigation should be standard for everyone, so that it really is a race, and not just a test of riders navigation abilities, or lack thereof. Perhaps it would also cut down on the number of needless deaths that no doubt have a direct correlation to competitors getting lost and the general disorganization that ensues as a result.

    A race is about who’s faster over a given stretch of ground, when the team that wins is not about the best rider, mechanics and support people, but the person who’s best at memorizing maps, well I’d say you’ve lost sight of what racing is really all about.

    Let’s just hope the US military doesn’t start slaughtering people in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, otherwise where will we move the DAKAR then? Canada Maybe? :-)

    PS, you guys are so damn easy. LOL