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?

Analysis: Ducati’s Non-MSMA Entry Machines for MotoGP – A Great Gamble with the New Regulations

07/01/2013 @ 4:15 pm, by David Emmett16 COMMENTS

Analysis: Ducatis Non MSMA Entry Machines for MotoGP   A Great Gamble with the New Regulations 2013 desmosedici gp13 cota motogp jensen beeler 635x421

At Assen, Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti revealed that they too will be offering bikes for non-MSMA teams in 2014. While Honda is selling a simplified production racer version of the RC213V, and Yamaha is to lease M1 engines, the package Ducati is offering could turn out to be very interesting indeed.

Instead of producing a separate machine, Ducati will be offering the 2013 version of the Desmosedici to private teams, to be entered as non-MSMA entries, and using the spec-electronics hardware and software package provided by Magneti Marelli.

Although the current 2013 machine is still far from competitive – at Assen, the two factory Ducatis finished 33 seconds behind the winner Valentino Rossi, and behind the Aprilia ART machine – the special conditions allowed for non-MSMA entries make the Desmosedici a much more interesting proposition.

Though the main difference between the MSMA entries (i.e. factory and satellite teams, using bikes run directly from the factories) and non-MSMA entries (i.e. privateer teams, using any bike they like) is in the choice of software for the spec-ECU (MSMA entries get to write their own software, non-MSMA entries have to use the standard Marelli software), the amount of fuel (20 vs 24 liters) and the number of engines (5 vs 12), there are a couple of other differences which are also significant.

The first and most obvious difference is the use of the softer option tire, which is only available to the CRT teams, and which will continue to be available to the non-MSMA teams for 2014. One of the Desmosedici’s biggest problems is that it goes well with a new tire, which still has plenty of grip, but fades badly once the tire wears and the rear starts spinning too much.

The softer option tire could help cure part of the Desmosedici’s problem, with more grip throughout the race, allowing them to maintain the same pace throughout the race. Nicky Hayden has repeatedly shown an interest in testing the CRT tire, and has stated his belief that that tire could help the Ducatis to go faster.

The second difference is that while the MSMA entries will be subject to an engine freeze, with no engine development allowed from the first race of the season until the end, that is not the case with the non-MSMA entries. Those teams have been given the ability to keep developing their engines throughout the season, to help get them closer to the factory machines.

The option to keep developing engines could allow Ducati a back door to help solve their problems with the Desmosedici. While much of the work done so far on the bike has been related to chassis stiffness, some of the weight distribution problems could be related to the engine design.

While the 90°V layout is probably not the problem – the success of the Honda RC213V, which is also a 90° V, would seem to confirm that – the rest of the physical layout of the engine could be an issue. The Ducati lump is said to be larger than the corresponding Honda and Yamaha units, and the gearbox layout is less compact and much longer than its Japanese rivals.

Thanks to the engine freeze for MSMA teams, any development on engine layout cannot be introduced until the following year. Supplying Desmosedicis to non-MSMA teams would allow Ducati to experiment with different engine layouts and test how they work in practice, getting the fundamentals ready to be included in the factory bikes the following year. With an allowance of twelve engines, two or three different layouts could be tested throughout the year.

Using non-MSMA entries, and accepting the limitations of the spec-software, Ducati will be able to continue the work that needs to be done in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Although having a test team is valuable, having the opportunity to test changes in a race is even more useful.

Providing the machines to teams at a cost – unknown at this time, but likely to be around the million euro mark, in line with the informal demands from Dorna – will also help cover at least some of the cost of this development. Racing with the softer CRT tire will help tackle another area where their current bike is weak, and provide yet more data on a key area of development.

Of course, using this approach is arguably a violation of the spirit of the rules, which are intended to keep factory support out of privateer teams. But to withdraw non-MSMA status from a team requires the support of the majority of the Grand Prix Commission members, and would be submitted by the MSMA, of which Ducati is a member.

The Japanese factories are unlikely to demand the retraction of non-MSMA status from a team using the Ducati Desmosedici bikes, partly as a matter of honor, and partly as they also realize that the series needs Ducati to be competitive. Ducati’s plan to supply non-MSMA teams with Desmosedicis is a de facto extension of their development program, and given the gap to Honda and Yamaha, it is badly needed.

Source:; Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.


  1. sideswipeasaurus says:

    Well how bad can it get? I imagine the Japanese would far rather turn a blind eye to a little proxy tinkering of a privateer outfit than do what Yamaha did back with the Cagiva an outright lend them technical help. No?

  2. Don says:

    I wonder how Spies would go with softer tyres and a hotted up engine? Hmmm…

  3. CTK says:

    I can get with this! The only question is, how much faster will the non-MSMA Yamis and Hondas will be with the same tires?

  4. paulus says:

    I guess they have to find a way to sell off all the different prototypes that they made for Rossi. LOL

  5. Norm G. says:

    omg, more regulations. crew chiefs are gonna have to get law degrees from Harvard just to keep track of all these regulations.

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: “The softer option tire could help cure part of the Desmosedici’s problem”

    yup, sure could be. could also be another DEAD END…?

    and if it is, like Connery’s Malone said to Costner’s Ness as he lay dying on the living room floor…

    “What are You Prepared to DO”…!?!?

  7. TexusTim says:

    um…no the crt tire is not going help any satalite team anymore than it is right now and after 2014 much of this analysis wont mean anything again……what is wrong at ducatti wont be cured by getting more bikes and riders to have a misserable time trying to race it…it doesnt work and a softer tire isnt the complete answer, that wont be around long enoungh for them to realize any small advantage in the first 15 laps after that there wont be much advantage then by 2015 what will they rely on ? engine layout and design can be done by factory test riders like pirro who’s last race seems to be the “ring” I dont think more is the answer, the apprilla engine!! that is a better choice and will be beating the ducattis next year…sans espargo beating innone and pirro just last weekend..If I was crt bound the engine would be apprilla not ducatti…and the ducs frame is another problem that art seems to be able to build for the aprilla and make competive in a short time…somthing ducati cant do after years and the whole “rossi experiment” maybe they should stuff an aprilla engine in the ducatti frame and try that…they have tried everything else including this softer tire crap….no offense.

  8. Slangbuster says:

    The new bike will be called the Ducan’ti and Audi technicians have decided to install a seamless reverse gear to it’s new transmission.

  9. Smart says:

    So they wil build an even slower bike!!!

  10. Westward says:

    Now that Audi has a little more experience with Ducati, I am sure they will be closer to sorting things rather than not. On the technical merits of this decision, I will bet they are more informed as to the potential success of this direction than any of us online technical experts.

    It seems to me, that any tyre that benefits the Japanese bikes wont benefit the Ducati and vice-versa. The next question is, if it does so much that a non factory racer is battling for victories, then what…?

    What if Spies or Edwards ends up on one of these and with a Kalex chassis dominate at the front, do they abandon this decision mid way thru the season, or watch it unfold til the end…?

  11. smiler says:

    Many handbags and long nails girls.
    Ducati until last season was a fraction of the size of the other teams. It entered in 2003 and has won a world title and many podiums. The spec tire rule favored by the Japanese factories supplied by a Japanese company suits the Jap firms. Stacey Coner did not like the steel trellis frame. So Ducati for his benefit adopted a new frame. Which worked out not well.
    Ducati was a CRT outfit. The original Desmo was 2 v twins bolted togther and a development of the 999. A CRT bike if you like. With middling riders they made a big impression. It was certainly not a prototype like Yamaha and Honda.
    As Rossi and Burgess said, Ducati were featuring one new frame a season whilst Yamaha would have nine and even several at one race weekend. As for Honda they are on another planet regarding development.
    So anything that allows them to develop a more competitive package, is to be applauded.
    They have outstayed Kawasaki, Suzuki, Illmor, Suter, KR, Petronas and lets face it have bigger balls than BMW, KTM, and Aprilia, whose Cube was a disaster and now fart about supplying engines.
    Audi as with all German companies will be very pragmatic, get the team sorted, engender quality then start to approach the engineering.
    Anyone who thinks Suzuki will be the miracle alternative in 2014 is mistaken. CRT’s are a passing phase. Without Rossi , MotoGP has 2 interesting riders. Merguez and Cal. Cal will not be there for long.
    So better Ducati in to provide some entertainment. They will be successful in the way that Porsche took the Beetle and made it into one of the most successful race cars ever, the 911. In the same way Audi approached Le Mans. That BMW built the best sports bike out of the bag.
    Personally having a V4 Ducati beating up the massive Jap factories makes MotoGP much more interesting.

  12. TexusTim says:

    @ westward..why have kalex mess around when art is doing a great job in just a handfull of races.
    @ wont be in motogp till then ducatti will have two riders.get past your love of ducatti to see that nothing there doing right now is making anything better,even there top two riders are past fustration,,this hanging on to what “stoner did” is exactly why there getting nowere,engine claiming rule is now cancelled effective………. right now !

  13. @TexusTim:

    “why have kalex mess around when art is doing a great job in just a handfull of races”

    Kalex have already expressed an interest in supplying frames to MotoGP. Their performance in Moto3 and Moto2 are beyond question. There’s good money to be had in being involved in the premier class. But, yeah, your point about the ART is a good one. Espargaro sure has managed how to ride the wheels off of his.

    “engine claiming rule is now cancelled effective………. right now !”

    Only for bikes running the Magneti Marelli ECU hardware and software. The claiming rule still applies, for example, to the ART bikes, as they’re still running the Aprilia units.

  14. TexusTim says:

    Trane…all teams that means all…is there even a spec ecu yet or just the agrement for one in 2014? the engine rule takes effect today..that means all crt’s no matter the ecu at the moment. correct me if im mistaken but as I understand it the spec ecu software is still under develpoment. I know kalex has expressed enterest in many combinations..but the art aprilla combination just whipped to ducatis I’d say there comming on faster than the ducati development with a little less budget and a lot less time at the program….I wonder why collin went with kawaski ? but it’s getting better as well but not like the aprilla….just think about it there a small player in motogp and kicking some factory ass..isnt that what we want to see ?

  15. @TexusTim:

    “all teams that means all…”

    Yes, but …. Quoting from the article in your own link: “The engine claiming rule is cancelled for any CRT entry using the official Magneti Marelli hardware and software.” That means that the Aspar ART bikes, which are running the Aprilia ECU, and any other bikes running non-Magneti Marelli control software are still subject to the claiming rule.

    “correct me if im mistaken but as I understand it the spec ecu software is still under develpoment.”

    It’s still being developed, but it is being used on track. NGM Forward Racing is running the Magneti Marelli ECU hardware and software on their FTR this season. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the PBR (non-ART) bike is also running the spec ECU complete package. There may be others. I haven’t really followed the spec-ECU adoption all that closely.

    As for NGM Forward Racing going with Kawasaki, I guess they just preferred that motor over the Honda. FTR builds the MGP13 chassis for both engines, as supplied by Ten Kate Racing Products.

  16. Cpt.Slow says:

    Corse can maybe loan engines to Kalex, Suter, etc as a R&D side project. With the stipulation, the best chassis wins the contract to consult the factory.