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?

Ducati Pulling Out of WSBK in 2011

08/27/2010 @ 7:12 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Ducati Pulling Out of WSBK in 2011 Noriyuki Haga Ducati Corse MMP Conerspeedphto 635x423

After being unable to achieve the racing regulations in World Superbike that it desires, Ducati has announced that it has officially pulled out of WSBK racing in order to focus its technical efforts on MotoGP racing, and bringing new technology to its street motorcycles. While Ducati Corse will continue to provide motorcycles and support to private teams, the Italian company will not field a factory team in the 2011 season.

Although Xerox is apparently still game to foot the bill for Ducati’s WSBK effort, the title sponsor only wishes to do so if the factory team is winning races. This goal becomes increasingly more difficult for Ducati, who is finding the current 1198 Superbike not on equal footing performance-wise with the inline-four Japanese Superbikes. Closing the performance gap for Ducati means either the simple fix of adding larger throttle bodies to the existing race package, or the expensive choice of developing the 1198 motor further.

Ducati says that “the Superbike World Championship, according to the current regulations, has been interpreted as moving more towards competition between prototypes rather than for bikes derived from production machines…this has led to an increase in costs, both for the manufacturers and the teams participating in the championship. This picture does not correlate with the current worldwide economic situation, which has made the securing of sponsorship even more difficult.”

Ducati of course built its racing heritage on its success in World Superbike racing, so this announcement is a big shift for the Bologna brand.  Talking about the reasoning behind the move, Ducati Motor Holdings CEO Gabriele Del Torchio said the following:

“This decision is part of a specific strategy made by Ducati, the aim being to further increase technological content in production models that will arrive on the market in the coming years. In order to achieve this objective, the company’s technical resources, until now engaged with the management of the factory Superbike team, will instead be dedicated to the development of the new generation of hypersport bikes, in both their homologated and Superbike race versions. I would like to thank Nori and Michel, and all of the riders that have contributed to the great history of Ducati in Superbike, but above all the Ducati employees; it is their hard work and professionalism that has allowed us to achieve such important results. A big thank you also to all of the partners that have supported us, first and foremost Xerox of course. I would also like to acknowledge the Flammini brothers who have managed the championship for so long, and the FIM, the organization with which we have continuous, constructive relations.”

Speculation of course surrounds this announcement as Ducati Corse has surely had to make a competitive offering to Valentino Rossi recently to secure the Italian’s seat in the Ducati MotoGP team for the next two years. Some rumors suggest that acquiring Rossi’s services meant raiding the coffers of the WSBK effort. With funding tight, and Ducati as a company not doing as well financially as they would like us to think, the Italian firm is likely looking at its resources and wondering which racing effort will bring in the biggest return for its dollars.

A less cynical analysis would also suggest, while perhaps not the core impetus of the move, that this announcement plays into a larger plan by Ducati to shift its image as a sport bike manufacturer, to a company that offers motorcycles in all market segments. Sport bike sales have been dwindling across virtually all markets for the pasts few years, and are increasingly drawing the ire of citizens and lawmakers alike. While WSBK has been an integral component to the Ducati brand, Bologna likely thinks that it can maintain its reputation for performance-based motorcycles by having a strong showing in MotoGP with Rossi.

Source: Ducati Corse; Photo: © 2010 Dan Lo /


  1. Corey says:

    Ducati should just say they are pulling out so they can pay Rossi. Plus the privateer Ducati teams are doing better than the factory team. I am sure Ducati will work with FIM to get the rules changed to give them the advantage again in a couple of years. They are leveraging FIM so they have influence the same way Honda does to MotoGP. I will not cry for Ducati. Go Biaggi!!!

  2. Sean says:

    No wonder Bayliss coming back rumors ended so quickly!

    This does suck a bit, seems like they’re turning their backs on the series that pretty much defined their company and it’s success for the last 20 years.

    But, what are you gonna do?

    Doesn’t Ferrari only field one factory team, and that’s the top form of the sport, F1? Or am I wrong on that?

  3. Sean says:

    But seriously, wtf is up with the whole intake restrictor thing? I don’t understand it.

  4. gazza says:

    the intake restriction is silly. when the ducati’s were deemed uncompetetive, WSBK siad they’re allowed to lose 3kg. the bikes are so light already, the developement costs to lighten the bikes more costs stupid money. changing the intakes would cost nearly nothing, and would’ve made the bikes competetive again. FIM’s reasoning sucked on that one and this is how they’re paying for their mistake.

  5. Ape Factory says:

    They’ll run plenty of privateer bikes and Aprilia will keep an Italian bike at the front of the pack. It’s really a bad situation for Ducati (and Fabrizio) only. Secretly, Haga’s laughing on the inside.

  6. Ducati Pulling Out of WSBK – #motorcycle

  7. skadamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ducati Pulling Out of WSBK – #motorcycle

  8. Is Ducati pulling out of WSBK to fund Rossi's salary? #valentinorossi #WSBK #MotoGP

  9. Norman says:

    Well there’s always KTM with its 1190RC8R?

  10. Bjorn says:

    Further to the intake restrictions; there was a situation created when the restrictions came in where the Ducatis sold for the street had larger throttle bodies and made more horsepower than the factory bikes.
    All of these little rules and regulations are there to keep parity in the series, but are pushing costs up to the point where it ceases to be a true street derived class.
    I find it hard to get excited about Superbikes these days when I can’t watch the races on free to air TV.

  11. Gerry says:

    The air restrictors are there because Ducati was allowed a 200 cc advantage to the Inline 4s. There is no way they are going to allow Ducati or any Twin a 200 cc unrestrictive advantage.

    This is the only way to keep the series level using different machines. It was 750 I4s vs 1000 Twins, then it was 1000 I4s w/ 40mm air restrictors vs 1000 Twins, and now it’s 1000 fours vs 1200 Twins w/ 50mm air restrictors. I’m not sure if the I4s still have their 40mm air restrictors.