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.

MotoGP: Ducati Test Cut Short by Rain, Biaggi Posts 1’52.1

06/07/2013 @ 4:01 pm, by David Emmett1 COMMENT

MotoGP: Ducati Test Cut Short by Rain, Biaggi Posts 152.1 max biaggi pramac ducati mugello test

Max Biaggi’s brief return to MotoGP is over. After two days of testing Ducati’s MotoGP bike at Mugello, filling in for the injured Ben Spies, Biaggi returns to his day job, as TV commentator for the Italian coverage of World Superbikes.

Two short days were not really enough time for Biaggi to get back to grips with a MotoGP bike, especially given that testing stopped early on both days after rain started to fall in the afternoon. Biaggi faced two problems, returning to riding at speed for the first time in eight months, and returning to a MotoGP bike for the first time in over seven years.

Given those difficulties, the times he set in the end were respectable. According to GPOne, who had reporter Luca Semprini on location, Biaggi’s best time was a lap of 1’52.1, which would have seen him qualify in 23rd position for last Sunday’s MotoGP race, just ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama on the FTR Kawasaki CRT machine.

Biaggi told GPOne that he had been surprised at how difficult the first 30 laps had been, getting back up to speed after such a long lay off. Biaggi described the bike as like a factory 250, more nervous than the World Superbike Aprilia he raced up until last year.

Biaggi made light of any suggestion of a return to racing, or even taking up a role as a tester. This was just a one-off, he told GPone, though if the occasion arose to test again, he might consider it. “For the moment at least, I’m the fastest commentator in the world,” Biaggi joked.

Elsewhere, the Ducati riders were getting on with the hard work of testing. Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden, and Andrea Iannone all tested the new lab bike, while Michele Pirro continued to work on refining the machine. Opinions were split on the bike, though all of Ducati’s riders agreed that it was a step forward.

Where they disagreed is in whether the improvement was sufficient to warrant trying to race the bike. Andrea Dovizioso felt that it was good enough to try to race at Barcelona, but Nicky Hayden was not entirely convinced.

Whether the bike will be raced at Barcelona also depends on the availability of parts: Ducati is building a “race” version of the lab bike, with the optimum stiffness found during experimentation with the lab bike built in to the chassis, rather than created using inserts bolted into the frame.

Dovizioso told GPOne that there would probably not be enough time to produce enough frames to allow both Hayden and Dovizioso to race the new chassis. But if Hayden is not keen to race that bike anyway, that could be a problem which solves itself. That bike is due to be tested at the Monday test after the Barcelona race.

Below are the press releases from the Pramac team and the factory Ducati team, issued after the test:

Biaggi concludes two-day test with Pramac Racing Desmosedici GP13

Max Biaggi today concluded an interesting two-day test on the Pramac Racing Team’s Ducati Desmosedici GP13 at the Mugello circuit.

Despite a few rain showers, which brought an early end to track activity on Thursday and Friday afternoon, the Italian mainly tried to reacquaint himself with the power and the differences in the latest generation of MotoGP bikes, with carbon brakes, tyres and the latest electronic package innovations, without searching for quick lap times.

Max Biaggi

“I’m back to being a rider for the first time in eight months! It was great because this is a sport that I really love, and after what feels like a long time, it was a great opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike. In the early laps I actually felt that I had really been away for eight years, because a MotoGP bike always has an immediate reaction, and a progression that just doesn’t exist in a Superbike. It was also nice because I established a great feeling with the group of people who were assigned to me for this test, just like when I began in Aprilia in 2009. There was a positive feeling between all of us, even though it was just a single test. I’d like to thank first Ducati, and also team Pramac for this opportunity. We were rather unfortunate because out of two days available we more or less only had one due to the rain, but it’s better than nothing. We didn’t do any damage and we had some good fun!”

Francesco Guidotti, Pramac Racing Team Manager

“The first day was spent with Max trying to find out as much as possible about the bike because, as we said, after eight years of not riding a MotoGP bike, it was clear that his memories were from a long time back! Things have changed a lot since then, in particular the tyres, but probably the carbon brakes were what slowed him down the most in his gaining overall confidence in the bike. On the second day, however, we could see an improvement right from the first time he went out; maybe during the night he reflected on what had happened the previous morning, as he hadn’t ridden in the afternoon due to the bad weather. I think it was great for him to test with us, and for us it was a great pleasure to have him in the box again!”

Iannone works with “laboratory” Desmosedici GP13 at Mugello

Today Andrea Iannone successfully completed three days of testing with the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team at the Mugello circuit.

Beginning on Wednesday, Andrea rode the standard version of his GP13 in order to work on issues encountered in the race this past Sunday, whereas Thursday and Friday found the 23-year-old aboard the ‘laboratory’ GP13 that has so far only been raced by Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro.

Iannone gave positive feedback on the ‘lab’ bike. He deemed it to be good, and though it is still in need of improvements, he felt it to be the right path to follow for the future.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team – 107 laps

“I’m very happy to have had the chance to try the ‘laboratory’ bike. I found it a little bit better than the other one, with some advantages for riding, including better agility in change of direction. I improved my pace compared to what I did over the race weekend, when I had a lot of trouble. It was important that I improve in order to better understand the problem we had with the shock in the race. Now we can be more relaxed as we head to Barcelona, where the most important thing will be to figure out how to improve my pace after we change the tyre. Currently, I’m clocking the same times with a new one as I do a tyre that has 26 laps on it. I have to learn how to take advantage with a new tyre.”

Francesco Guidotti – Team Manager Pramac Racing Team

“I hope we’ve been able to provide positive input in order to help Ducati with development and to take the right direction with the new bike. We’d like to thank them for this opportunity, and we hope to be able to contribute again. Wednesday we focused on finding a solution to the problem that Andrea had during the race, and we’re pretty sure that we found it. Now we can be a bit calmer as we leave for Barcelona.”

Ducati Team completes Mugello test

Just four days after completing its home Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit, the Ducati Team carried out a two-day test at the same track with riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro also took part in the test, logging a full three days at the Tuscan circuit.

Although afternoon rain showers ended each day prematurely, conditions were perfect in the mornings, enabling the team to complete much of the scheduled work program. Dovizioso and Hayden continued their tests with the ‘laboratory’ version of the Desmosedici GP13, increasing their familiarity with the bike and gathering data. Meanwhile, Pirro carried out work on the same bike, which he will ride in the Catalan Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya next week.

Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team (70 laps)

“We did some good testing, especially today: setup, new parts, and riding with the new frame to try and get the most out of it, and we were consistently fast. We rode all day at 1:48 in every exit, which is very important. When I wanted to push, I did a 48.2, which is a good time. I could’ve gone faster, but I’m pleased with my speed and consistency. We improved a bit with the various changes to the weight distribution and my riding position. The improvements aren’t huge, and this frame won’t make enough difference to reduce the gap, but for me it’s still a small improvement. We’ll see if we can have it ready in time for the weekend in Barcelona, or if we’ll just use it in the post-race test.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team (103 laps)

“If we’re completely honest, we didn’t achieve the progress that we’d hoped for, which is unfortunate. This laboratory bike has some positives, but at the moment, the lap time is very similar to our current bike. Hopefully these days will help the engineers to learn something. Thanks to my guys for coming here and working hard, because it’s not easy to go back to the track and test after a long GP weekend.”

Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team (93 laps)

“The test was affected by the weather, as it rained in the afternoon on all three days. Compared to the other riders, I had to focus on some aspects of the frame and the engine in order to bring the development forward. We certainly found some positives, and we hope that they’ll prove useful in the coming races, where I’ll ride the bike that I raced this past Sunday. I’m pleased with the work we did, so now we’ll wait for Barcelona to see if the things we tried will work a bit better.”

Source: GPone; Photo: Pramac Racing

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


  1. Phil says:

    All they have to do is sack the engineers and get some Japanese ones. Simples !!!!