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?

Interview: Filippo Preziosi Talks about Ducati’s Four Riders, Future Developments, & The Spec ECU Rule

09/19/2012 @ 3:10 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

Interview: Filippo Preziosi Talks about Ducatis Four Riders, Future Developments, & The Spec ECU Rule Filippo Preziosi Ducati Corse 02 635x422

Ducati Corse director and Ducati’s engineering guru Filippo Preziosi was a busy man at Misano. Besides overseeing the race weekend at the circuit and preparing for the test on Monday, Preziosi spent a lot of time talking to a number of journalists. I was one of the lucky few who were offered ten minutes with Preziosi, and so I jumped at the chance.

In the interview, Preziosi covered a number of topics: the Ducati junior team strategy, Ducati’s four riders for 2013, the current and expected developments for next season were all among the subjects discussed. Preziosi also talked about the effect of the spec ECU, which will be introduced for 2014, and gave the impression he was not necessarily opposed to the idea. After the jump is what Preziosi had to say.

David Emmett: Next year you have the Ducati junior strategy in place. Can you explain how you see that working in terms of development? Will you have four equal riders or two riders who get equipment ahead of the other two?

Filippo Preziosi: I think the main difference between next year and the years before is that we agreed that every development that will be developed by the company will be supplied to the satellite team by default. In the past it was an option that the satellite teams had, but there are some commercial issues, so sometimes they did it, sometimes they didn’t. Now we are more close, so when we develop something for our factory team, we want to supply to the satellite teams, if the riders like the changes. So we would like to be as strong as we can.

DE: Having four riders helps?

FP: It’s not a commercial issue now. In the past, it was mainly a commercial issue, now it is something that is more linked to the company.

DE: The statement announcing the signing of Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone for the Pramac junior team was issued by Ducati Corse. Does this mean they have contracts with Ducati, or with Pramac?

FP: I don’t want to go into commercial issues in depth. But for sure, they are really linked to the company.

DE: Can you explain how having four riders on the same bike fits in with working with Audi? Do you expect the pace of development to increase because of the assistance from Audi?

FP: For sure now having two different bikes between the factory team and the satellite team, it is difficult to compare the data. Of course if you have similar bikes, also in their specs, for all the riders, we can compare the data easily from an engineering point of view, so it helps to develop the bike.

DE: You now have four different riders: Andrea Iannone, who is young, inexperienced, but fast; Nicky Hayden, who has a lot of experience with the Ducati; Ben Spies, who has experience of the factory Yamaha; and Andrea Dovizioso, who has experience with both the Honda and the Yamaha. Was it important to have that mix?

FP: It’s a good mix. We were speaking with different riders, but we believe that the riders that we have contracted add real value to the company, so this is important for us.

DE: What do you expect to get from Audi, and in what kind of timescale?

FP: It’s too early to speak about that. They just started to have a look at the company and at Ducati Corse. For sure I’m very proud to be part of a company that has such a high level of technology.

DE: But you haven’t spoken about how they can help you and what you need from them?

FP: We are just at the beginning of this collaboration.

DE: Do you have an idea of how the bike is going to change for next year?

FP: For sure we will develop the bike during the end of this season. We have some material we tested two weeks ago. We have some material to test on Monday, and based on the results of that test in terms of rider comments, lap times, and data, we will do the next steps. For me, the crucial point will be the Valencia post-race tests, because based on the comments we can collect, especially from Dovi and Ben, who are coming from a bike that is performing at a very high level, we can understand what their riding style needs and in which areas we are strong and in which areas we can improve the bike.

DE: So the bike which Valentino Rossi is riding here at Misano will be the basis for the bike at Valencia?

FP: We changed the technology one year ago [when Ducati switched from a carbon-fiber monocoque subframe to an aluminium perimeter frame - DE] and we are developing the bike keeping this technology. So for this moment, and if you look at what the other companies are doing, it is very similar. Of course we are ready and we did it, because in Mugello, we tested something that we called a different bike, because we had different electronics in a different position, different fuel tank, different frame and different swingarm. So considering that the front fork is the same for every company, and the wheels, it means the bike was different. But we will keep the small wheel in the front and the big wheel in the back [laughs].

DE: I saw also your reaction yesterday to the interview which Masao Furusawa did, speaking of the meetings you had. I understand you were surprised to see the details of those meetings published.

FP: Surprised means that I was not expecting this. Because usually I spoke with Masao, and I spoke with other guys without that [being published]. But I’m not angry, because what he told was good words about me, so I’m happy about that.

DE: The impression I got was that he was very impressed by your attitude and your commitment.

FP: He should not be surprised, because he is the same. I like Masao very much, because as a person, he is someone who has a real passion for motorcycles. So we spoke with him, even in the past when we were competitors, we had discussions with him even about technical issues, of course never giving away secrets, but sometimes we would speak like you would speak over a beer.

DE: In 2013 the spec ECU will be made available for anyone who wants to use it, and it seems like Carmelo Ezpeleta is determined to introduce the spec ECU for 2014. How do you see the spec ECU for 2014?

FP:I told many times that from the point of view of costs, and to close the gap between manufacturers and small assemblers, a spec ECU is very effective. On the other side, from the technical point of view, you have not any more to develop strategies and better understand in the chassis the vehicle dynamics you have to control. So it’s a trade-off. Depending on the economic situation in the world, you have to go in one direction or the other. So we will discuss inside the company and we will decide our position.

Photo: Ducati Corse

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


  1. Westward says:

    The addition of Ben Spies alone means the Ducati has new dimensions to explore. I think this new relationship will be a pleasant surprise to all…

  2. calvin says:


  3. MikeD says:

    CRAP. They are staying with the “EVERYONE’s GOT ONE” twin spar frame…oh well, if it works for them there’s no reason to ditch it now.

    I still feel sad how the monocoque frame design didn’t work…it was so Ducati. (-_-)

    I do have to say something about this Preziosi guy:

    If he went so far as to give up his position{by his own will and not under corporate pressure}, swallowed his engineer ego and tried to get Furusawa to MAYBE take his spot and help develop the bike, that takes some balls and humillity(tuff pairing) at the same time. My hat’s off to him.

  4. Halfie 30 says:

    This guy will be gone in a year or two when Audi/Lambo have had enough.