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.

Ducati Corse Confirms Carlos Checa & Panigale RS13 in WSBK – Hints at Factory Team for 2013

10/29/2012 @ 1:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

Ducati Corse Confirms Carlos Checa & Panigale RS13 in WSBK   Hints at Factory Team for 2013 2013 ducati 1199 panigale rs13 01 635x423

After the shocking news this weekend that Ducati and Althea Racing would go their separate ways, the Bologna Brand has issued its own press statement about the break-up. Confirming that it has contracted former World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa to its payroll for next season, Ducati Corse also reaffirmed its commitment to race the Ducati 1199 Panigale in the series.

Ducati Corse has yet to release its official plans to race in the series, but the writing on the wall hints towards a factory team for 2013. Citing its strong ties and good relationship with the Althea Racing team, Ducati’s press release mentions the possibility of a “cooperation between Ducati and Team Althea” that could still be “found in the future,” which suggests that Althea could come on as a satellite team for 2013, or again takeover as the factory-backed effort at a later point in time.

While Ducati’s WSBK racing effort is still very much in the air, names like Liberty Racing and Davide Tardozzi are being banded about, and it is certain that Ducati Corse is exploring every option available. What is perhaps most intriguing in the news is Ducati Corse’s reconfirmation of its plan to race the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 next season.

Early reports on the bike’s progress have pegged Mr. Checa as finding the front-end of the motorcycle to be vague, a similar complaint to the ones against the Ducati Desmosedici GP12, for which the Panigale shares a similar design philosophy.

However, more recent complaints about the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 have centered around the machine’s Superquadro motor, which features a massively over-square 1199cc v-twin lump, that has valve diameters large enough to eclipse the sun.

Designed to be a peaky and high-horsepower machine (not to mention bordering on anorexia when weighed), the Ducati 1199 Panigale makes comparable horsepower in its stock form to the inline-four machines of Japan and Germany, however the WSBK-spec version has failed to develop as readily.

It is rumored that while the Panigale’s engine design was built with the idea of higher-revs in mind, Bologna has been unable to increase the RPMs on the machine much further beyond stock.

Down on horsepower compared to the other factory bikes, the engine’s peaky nature also means that Ducati has lost its mid-range advantage, which in the past has been the great equalizer for the brand, as Checa could carry more corner speed and exit the turns quicker than the other riders.

The worst of both worlds, Ducati is facing a steep level of resource involvement to bring the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 up to speed (pun intended), which ultimately means money.

With World Superbike seemingly set to become more like World Superstock in 2014, that significant time and money expenditure is looking to have a very potent diminishing return. And with zie Germans now looking over the balance sheets, it is debatable as to whether Ducati’s new owners could find such an investment worthy of Ducati’s euros.

As always, time will tell. Ducati Corse’s press is below.

Ducati confirms Carlos Checa in its 2013 World Superbike preparations

  • Ducati continues preparations for 2013 World Superbike season.
  • Carlos Checa confirmed as official rider.
  • Cooperation with Team Althea Racing discontinued.

Borgo Panigale (Bologna), 29 October 2012 – Ducati is finalising its plans for the 2013 World Superbike Championship, both in the development of the 1199 Panigale and how it will participate in the series.

The company has already confirmed the renewal of its contract with Carlos Checa, who won the 2011 World Superbike Championship on a Ducati 1198,  and the Spanish rider  will now continue development of the new Ducati 1199 Panigale ready for its World Superbike debut year.

After three years of constructive cooperation, the relationship between Ducati and Team Althea Racing will now come to an end. The cooperation from 2010 to 2012 reached major sporting achievements, including winning the 2011 Manufacturers’ and Riders’ Superbike World Championship in addition to the 2011 Manufacturers’ and Riders’ titles of the Superstock series.

Despite both parties’ intention to continue the collaboration, an agreement, which meets the requirements of both Team Althea Racing and the Bologna-based manufacturer’s management, has not been found for 2013. However, the exceptionally good relationship that Ducati has enjoyed with Team Althea Racing, combined with the friendship and gratitude towards team owner, Genesio Bevilacqua, for his continuing efforts and loyalty during these years, means that other forms of cooperation between Ducati and Team Althea could still be found in the future.

With Ducati’s 2013 plans now almost finalised, more details will be released in the next few days.

Source: Ducati Corse

Comment:

  1. Jake F. says:

    Doesn’t the current Ducati in WSBK have to run under certain restrictions because of its displacement advantage? If the new 1199 isn’t quite up to snuff wouldn’t easing those restrictions solve some of the problem? Or is the 1199 so bad that it can’t keep up with the 1198 even without restriction?

  2. SBPilot says:

    @ Jake F – the restrictions are lifted for the 2013 season. Twins will have no weight disadvantage, though if found the bike is winning too easily, then they will have to run an air restrictor.

  3. Westward says:

    Checa and Guintoli maybe?

    They would make a pretty good team…

  4. Jim Gianatsis, Editor says:

    It is my understanding that now the 1199 will race with restrictors in WSBK in 2013 as quoted by Ducati Corse team boss Erneto Marinelli at the recent Aragon tests 2 weeks ago:

    “The bike is a bit more aligned and a bit more powerful,” confirmed Marinelli, before saying, “but the air restrictor is still annoying. We have some more revs and more power than before. I do not want to say how much, but a bit more. But it is not going to bridge the gap that we had this year, which was very big because of the air restrictor. But we will reduce it a little bit. Our strength has to come from other areas.”

    Ducati first contracted Checa to race for Althea in 2012 when the reigning champ wanted more more money and the Althea team couldn’t afford it. So if Althea wanted even more operating costs covered in 2013, and Ducati SpA tuned them down, then it will now cost Ducati SpA even more to run its own in house team. They will now have to bring over the entire Althea team of mechanics and engineers to the reborn Ducati Corse Superbike team.

    I’d venture to guess that Althea needed so much money to continue in 2013, that Ducati figured it would be better, marketing wise, just to bring the World Superbike effort back in house and race the bike in Ducati colors.

    Handling wise, the frameless Panigale bike has no flaws, as stated to me numerous times by 3-time World Champion Troy Bayliss who helped develop the 1199RS race bike and has broken trap lap records in testing. I raced the 1199S bikes with Troy last month a Misano and I can state the handling with even stock suspension is without fault.

  5. Sixty7 says:

    Bring back Bayliss……get rid of checa

  6. MikeD says:

    Ducati…always drama…as long as they keep pushing the use of their 1200cc V-2 Lump.
    No more bob weight but now they MUST choke the engine…what’s next ?
    Time to dump the 90* 1200cc V-2 Deity and develop a 60*-75* 1000cc “Fallen Angel” V-4 ?
    Then what will the others Inline 4 and V4 Guys complain about ? Color of the seat ?

    How come they haven’t bothered massaging the engine they sold in the Desmosedici street bike for Superbike duty ? Wasn’t that a 1000cc V-4 ?
    If they insist on being the “1200cc V-2 Black Sheep” of WSBK they will never be “at peace” with the others and there will always be a complaint and all kinds of insinuations and accusations.

  7. pete says:

    stay away from liberty racing. stay as far away as you possibly can

  8. Halfie 30 says:

    @ MikeD: They have had so much success with L twins. You can’t blame them for trying to keep brand identity. However, the V4 they had in the Desmosedici is probably the future. They have to ease certain “Ducatisti” into this idea though… When/if they go with that V4 it will be game over though, and they will make Aprilia look really slow and anemic… Time will tell I guess.

  9. Halfie 30 says:

    Also… We still need to see how well the KTM RC8R does if they ever bring it to the series. They might surprise everyone with their pace and make Ducati feel retarded for not developing the Trellis to its maximum potential…

  10. dc4go says:

    V4 is the way to go…. me personally once i tried one it has been hard to go back to a twin.. Currently own two V4′s and the character, noise and power are all awesome… Riding a Pinagale this weekend back to back with my RSV so i’ll save the judgement on that until i ride it..

  11. Giova says:

    It is very obvious that they’re going to bring the Ducati factotory team back. New bike, no more Rossi salary to pay, and and the capital from Audi. They quit WSBK so they could afford Rossi,but that didn’t go well as we all know. They should also bring Hayden from moto gp to WSBK, he has better chances to win in WSBK and hire some fresh blood from moto 2. He is a brilliant marketing tool for the US.

  12. Damo says:

    @Sixty7

    Bayliss is 43 years old and retired. Move along now.

  13. John says:

    I have real doubts that the Panigale will perform as needed in WSBK. The bike seems to work fine with tires suited for it, but with a spec tire, who knows? Also, as others have noted, the bike is pretty high strung, foregoing bottom and mid range for top end power. 2013 is likely to be tough for Ducati in GP and WSBK.

  14. smiler says:

    The panigale came a close 2nd and 5th in the Superstocks against the established competition.
    Audi will be competing directly with BMW and I cannot see that Audi will let that slide. Especially as the 2 motorcycle ranges are overlapping more and more now.

    V2 for Superbike. There is nothing to suggest that it is not competitive. Especially if Superbike becomes more like Superstock. If Baylis can lap faster on a stock pan than a 1198 race bike then there is nothing to worry about. Just wish that he put in one more seaasoin last season in superstock or next season.

    As for MotoGP. IMHO, they should simply go for a narrow V4, in a trellis frame or one similar to the panigale which is aluminium. The problem with the move from the steel trellis has been 2 fold. Adjustability and feedback. If they narrowed the V4 they could move the engine about and aluminium gives the correct level kind of feedback. All Burgess and Rossi dod was try and make it into the M1, which clearly it was not.
    And make the GP bike a proper prototype not a 999 with a V4. With Audi behind them, they do not need to have all production tech moving back into the rest of the range like they used 2 which is why they used steel trellis and a 90degree V4 as it was 2 testrastrettas bolted together. An keep it indirectly seperate from the rest of the range. Then it will do well.

  15. Cpt.Slow says:

    2013 will be a lot of money spent for one year before the regulations changes… money well spent?

  16. Superlight says:

    Why in the world would Ducati exit the V-twin world, where they are the masters, and enter the V-four world, with Aprilia already there and Honda about to return? V-4 Superbike Ducati? No way, no how.

  17. MikeD says:

    @Superlight:

    That’s easy……….here:

    No more bob weight but now they MUST choke the engine……..what’s the point of the 1200cc ?
    They even killed a chunk of the low-mid range power/torque in an effort to create a mocking bird of an I-4…for what ?
    The I-4s still walk away from it…at least in SuPERsTOCK 1000.

    Screw what the others do, same or not…….specially when it comes to DO or DIE…would you rather see them LOOSE & fade away or would u rather see them use a 1000cc V4 and give the others a run for their money ? Is not like they can’t build a proper V4…they can and they have done before.
    They will never be “at peace” with the others and there will always be a complaint and all kinds of insinuations and accusations.

    Think of it as the Afghanistan Conflict of Motorcycle raising…never ends.

    If they have the will, $$$$$$$$ and balls to endure it…..HEY……FINE, BRING IT ! lol.

  18. MikeD says:

    P.S: Xcuse my grammar……… (Motorcycle *raising*) and maybe more………dear god that was AWEFUL. Shame on ME.

  19. david says:

    there is nothing wrong with the v-twin format, other than the stupid restrictor plates they have to run. they shouldn’t have these, as they already have a disadvantage for their increased displacement, two less cylinders! i’m amazed at how so many people don’t understand this,and if it was such an advantage to run the 1200 twin everyone would be doing it! don’t expect ktm to win, as no one else has proven the ability to make a competitive twin. and going in, bmw and aprillia had the choice to make anything, and they chose a four! would also be boring if all bikes were the same..

  20. MotoGuru says:

    @MikeD……….. .exactly!!!! They can also recycle those left over Desmosedici RR engines.

  21. MikeD says:

    One loose idea:

    Ok, so you (Ducati) don’t want to loose your “core” identity…the wonderful 90* Transversal V-2. Fine.
    I could relate to. Im a sucker for the same engine layout…just not from Pasta Land.

    If you are willing to take your head out of your Rectum and burn a bit of cash in the process u can have your cake AND EAT IT !
    Just pull a Kawasaki or Honda move.

    Keep building your “bread and butter sweet heart darling 90* V2″ but build(more like transplant and detune from your MotoGP program) A MENACING WEAPON…a 1000cc V4.
    Just get the raw “main/really needed bits” from it, just enough to create a hell of a sledge hammer that the others will think twice before going to battle.

    Just a small batch to meet homologation requirements by the FIM to allow you to race………………………………..Or suck it up and just go V4 all around just for your superbikes.

    Or keep taking it on the butt. Seems to be working out for you so far on MotoGP and WSBK.

  22. Diety says:

    We’ll see Sadly Casey is going to retire…so Jorge has a chance to take another championship. Anyway I wish best for Ducati