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?

Day Two: Who Really Was the Fastest Around Losail?

03/15/2011 @ 7:41 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Day Two: Who Really Was the Fastest Around Losail? Valentino Rossi pit box Qatar test

Continuing our thought on who really was fastest at the Qatar test, the idea of comparing best lap times again seems more than moderately preposterous, considering last night’s sessions were for testing purposes. That’s not to say however that some basic understanding of how teams are shaping up before the season cannot be divined, and by looking at the individual lap times we can get at least an impression of whom is finding some consistency on the desert track.

Again starting with MotoGP’s listing with the riders ranked by their best lap time from Day Two of testing in Qatar, we see a strong showing by the Hondas, with a Yamaha and a Ducati sprinkled in there for good measure. The Hondas are certainly there as far as speed goes, and Randy de Puniet’s style seems to be meshing well with the Ducati Desmosedici GP11, while the Yamaha effort has seemingly been lead by sophomore Ben Spies, and not reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Pos. Rider Team Fastest lap Prev. Gap Lead. Gap Laps
1 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 1:55.681 - - 46
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1:55.745 +0.064 +0.064 39
3 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 1:56.294 +0.549 +0.613 45
4 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:56.433 +0.139 +0.752 70
5 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 1:56.439 +0.006 +0.758 58
6 Randy De Puniet Pramac Racing Team 1:56.445 +0.006 +0.764 67
7 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 1:56.707 +0.262 +1.026 48
8 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:56.716 +0.009 +1.035 57
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 1:56.726 +0.010 +1.045 68
10 Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:56.740 +0.014 +1.059 73
11 Hector Barbera Mapfre Aspar Team 1:56.798 +0.058 +1.117 62
12 Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1:56.931 +0.133 +1.250 63
13 Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1:56.988 +0.057 +1.307 50
14 Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 1:57.345 +0.357 +1.664 62
15 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:57.730 +0.385 +2.049 28
16 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 1:57.846 +0.116 +2.165 49
17 Toni Elias LCR Honda MotoGP 1:58.536 +0.690 +2.855 57

However if we reshuffle the rankings, using an ordering system that takes into account the number of laps done at a certain pace (some tweaking was done to account for the number of laps ridden, and obvious last minute runs done purely for posting a good time), a new order emerges that suggests who is capable of sustaining the blistering speeds seen in the desert night. Day Two of testing at Qatar sees the order more or less stay the same at the top and bottom of the time sheet, while the middle sees a bit of a reorganization.

Perhaps most alarming is Valentino Rossi’s position behind teammate Nicky Hayden & satellite rider De Puniet. Meanwhile Lorenzo’s “awful” session doesn’t look nearly as bad, as the Spaniard spent most of the evening lapping around in the 1:57′s, and touching the 1:56′s almost as often as his teammate. Still not a good showing, but not as bad as he made it out to be in the press debriefs.

Most impressive were the Gresini Hondas, with Marco Simoncelli showing potential to keep up with the pace, assuming Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa don’t find themselves at the front of the pack, and able to check-out from the race completely. The newly crowned “factory” riders lapped the most around Losail, and showed not only improvement throughout the night, be eery repetition of lap times.

In other news Toni Elias actually went slower on his second day at Qatar, raising more than a few eyebrows, and bringing up questions as to why he raced in Moto2 last year.

Pos. Rider Team Best Time 1:57′s 1:56′s 1:55′s Laps
1 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 1’55.681 4 16 7 46
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1’55.745 7 11 1 39
3 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’56.433 16 9 0 70
4 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 1’56.294 4 8 0 45
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 1’56.707 27 5 0 48
6 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 1’56.439 21 5 0 58
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 1’56.726 18 6 0 68
8 Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’56.740 26 2 0 73
9 Randy De Puniet Pramac Racing Team 1’56.445 18 2 0 67
10 Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’56.931 17 1 0 63
11 Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1’56.988 14 1 0 50
12 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’56.716 9 3 0 57
13 Hector Barbera Mapfre Aspar Team 1’56.798 4 2 0 62
14 Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 1’57.345 3 0 0 62
15 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’57.730 2 0 0 28
16 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 1’57.846 1 0 0 49
17 Toni Elias LCR Honda MotoGP 1’58.536 0 0 0 57

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. mxs says:

    I thought Elias raced Moto2 last year, because he could not get a MotoGP seat?

  2. Johnson says:

    Day Two: Who Really Was the Fastest Around Losail?

    Answer: Casey Stoner!!!