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.

Nobody F*cks with The Dorna – Ezpeleta Puts PI on Notice

01/14/2011 @ 6:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Nobody F*cks with The Dorna   Ezpeleta Puts PI on Notice big lebowski jesus quintana 635x352

In the background of MotoGP, a quiet battle has been raging since the Australian GP at Phillip Island. A venue always threatened with inclement weather, the Australian track always manages to muster sunshine on race Sundays, despite the fact that they have all the makings weather-wise for a good regatta, not a motorcycle race. Despite this reality, the issue of running the Australian GP earlier in the race season comes up every time MotoGP gets a whiff of rain, wind, or kangaroos that could threaten the coastal track, as the late scheduling of the GP has historically been during the country’s rainy season.

Pressure to move the Australian GP to earlier in the season seemingly found its stride this past season, as Valentino Rossi and a number of other riders openly expressed their frustration with the circuit’s weather, and the pending safety concerns it meant for the riders. Talking during last season’s race, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta seemed all but certain that the venue would find an earlier slot in the calendar for 2011, despite the scheduling conflicts with WSBK and Formula 1 in the earlier months of this new year, and the nagging problem that Phillip Island doesn’t want to move the venue date.

Fielding questions at the Ducati/Ferrari Wrooom event, Ezpeleta again was asked about the issue with Phillip Island, and his response to the track’s position that its contract with Dorna prevents a change in the calendar positioning (PI is contracted until 2016). Talking to the assembled press, Ezpeleta fired a clear warning shot across the bow of the Australian track when he said the track’s homologation could come into question if calendar changes aren’t accepted. “We are talking with them.  It’s true, they have a contract, but their circuit is subject to homologation,” said Ezpeleta. “If it (the Phillip Island track) is not homologated, the contract will be void.”

The reading between the lines on this one is pretty clear, as Ezpeleta is saying that if Phillip Island doesn’t comply with the wishes of MotoGP race series promoter, the track would foreseeably find itself without an FIM homologation certification in the future, and of course no FIM license, means no MotoGP contract, which means no MotoGP race. That’s what we call in the legal biz a loophole, and a very big loophole indeed for Phillip Island.

Technically speaking Dorna has nothing to do with Phillip Island’s race homologation, as that’s under the purview of the FIM (a very important point as that clause in the contract would likely be found to be illusory in many countries). But the reality is that since Dorna is the FIM’s licensed promoter for the MotoGP World Championship, the international regulatory body generally defers to the Spanish media company on what direction would be best to take the series.

There’s also the issue that Ezpeleta, along with the Rider’s safety commission, have considerable unofficial sway in the homologation of new tracks to FIM standards that historically seems to go past just an advisory position. Without going into legal mumbo jumbo, how much defacto control Dorna has over PI’s homologation could be a central issue should the contract dispute go to court.

A glaring conflict of interest inside GP racing? You bet, but there is some hope for Australian race fans, namely the fact that Dorna cannot afford to leave the island nation off its schedule for 2012. The drawing power of Australia’s rabid fans is too big of a market to ignore from a media perspective, especially with an Aussie fighting for the podium each Sunday. If Phillip Island calls Ezpeleta’s bluff, the move could come back to bite them, as we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Dorna looking to other Australian tracks.

Time will tell on how this one plays out, but Dorna is certainly playing hardball with one of the most famous tracks on its calendar, which never bodes well. One thing is for certain though, if we were Australian or Kiwi racing fans, we’d make out voices heard on the issue, because after all Dorna’s success is linked to fan attendance and participation.

Comment:

  1. joe says:

    Thanks for including the clip

  2. Gijs says:

    Thanks for the clip. It al becomes clear now.

  3. Mike J says:

    They’re gonna f@#k them in the ass if its early in the season, they’re gonna f@#k them in the ass if its late in the season… makes no difference to the Jesus!

  4. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Nobody F*cks with The Dorna – Ezpeleta Puts PI on Notice – http://aspha.lt/7u #motorcycle

  5. Sean in Oz says:

    The only international motorcycle race at PI that I remember being cancelled was a WSBK race that had to be cancelled because torrential rain FLOODED the track, though i cant recall what time of year that was. PI weather is variable at all times of the year.

    If i had to choose whether to go to the WSBK or MotoGP race at PI then it will be WSBK … every time! Better racing, better atmosphere, more relaxed event control, etc. If PI MotoGP moves to the start of the year that’s a decision, most spectators will have to make.

    There are very few other tracks in Oz to race at, they would need major upgrades, and wouldn’t be as good a track as PI.

  6. monkeyfumi says:

    Sean, that race was at the start of the year (in 01 or 02 I think), and about the same time they want to move the GP to…

  7. Ades says:

    PI being my home ground, I can tell you March is no better that November. I was there in 2001 when it absolutely poured with rain, and when it’s wet and windy PI is NOT a place you want to be.

    The biggest issue with moving it isn’t the weather. It’s that the Victorian Government already has 2 big motor racing events in March, namely the F1 and the WSBK’s. The F1 is also in doubt as it has been repeatedly requested by the FIM to run as a night time race but residents (whingers) have said no.

    The Victorian government wants to spread these events out throughout the year as the Moto GP is the last major event in the state for the year following the AFL Final in September. A compromise needs to be found or Dorna will move the race back to Eastern Creek (the only racetrack in Oz anywhere near being able to host it) which I’m sure the New South Wales government would LOVE. Problem is, the track isn’t suited to Moto GP bikes and would require enormous amounts of work to get it up to scratch, as well as a major track redesign.

    If anything it needs to be moved to the last race of the year, but we all know Dorna will not do it as they want it to be in Valencia.

  8. Jim says:

    Is that a vintage leisure suit?