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.

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.

MotoGP: FIM Confirms New Rules for Factory/Non-Factory Spec-Electronics, Engine, Fuel, & Entries for 2014

07/26/2013 @ 5:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

MotoGP: FIM Confirms New Rules for Factory/Non Factory Spec Electronics, Engine, Fuel, & Entries for 2014 yamaha yzr m1 no tank cover jensen beeler 635x423

We have already extensively reported the coming rule changes for the 2014 MotoGP Championship season (most recently the conclusion of the engine claiming rule), so the news today is really more about the FIM has giving its blessing to the new direction that Dorna is taking for the premier class.

Drawing a new distinction now as to how teams are classified as “factory” entries, and thus subject to differing fuel, engine, and entry requirements, the real crux of the equation revolves around whether a team uses the the spec-electronics software from Dorna, or decides to use its own software (note: all teams will be on a spec-ECU from 2014 forth).

For the Ducati Corse, HRC, & Yamaha Racing factory (old definition) teams, things pretty much remain the same: though the OEM-backed teams will race in 2014 with one fewer engine for the year (a total of five for the season now), and with only 20-liters of fuel. Each manufacturer will be limited to four “factory” machines, though OEMs can still fill the ranks with “non-factory” machines.

What is a “non-factory” machine you ask? Pretty much any motorcycle on the racing grid that runs Dorna’s spec-software. This means teams are free to use so-called “production racer” prototype equipment, i.e. re-spec’d Ducati Desmosedici GP13, Honda RC213V, and Yamaha YZR-M1 race bikes that will have to be updated to use the spec-ECU, which will be loaded with the spec-software.

Non-factory teams get the benefit of 12 engines for the season, and 24 liters of fuel during a race, which creates an interesting situation where private teams running “non-factory” equipment could be more competitive than the OEMs “factory” hardware, which is entirely the point of the new provisions.

Perhaps most interesting from the FIM’s announcement is the freeze on engine development for the factory houses, and that new-entry “factory” teams will be allowed nine engines for their first season in the big show. For the engine freeze, OEMs will have to pick their bore and stroke before the season begins, and will not be able to deviate from those specifications for the entire 2014 season.

The big bone of contention though will be what OEMs will count as being “new entries” into the premier class. Suzuki seems not to have been given this blessing by the Grand Prix Commission, and thus will take another year to further develop its inline-four prototype race bike to meet the tighter engine and fuel restrictions.

However the verdict appears to still be out for Aprilia, which has shown that the ART package can be quite potent when given a WSBK-spec engine, which Aleix Espargaro has been using to embarrass prototype riders the latter part of the season thus far (Randy de Puniet is said not to have the same spec machine). Time will tell whether the Aprilia ART can get the same power and reliability though with only 12 engines for the season.

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix - Decision of the Grand Prix Commission:

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 13 July 2013 in Sachsenring (GER), made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class – Effective 2014

Electronics (ECU) Regulations

A detailed specification and permitted options were confirmed.
The use of the official MotoGP ECU, including an internal datalogger, and the official MotoGP software package is compulsory.

Maximum fuel capacity is 24 litres.

Maximum number of engines per rider, per season, is 12.

Factory Status

Each Manufacturer, (including motorcycle manufacturers and chassis manufacturers), can choose to enter up to 4 riders for the season who will participate with “Factory” status.

The use of the official MotoGP ECU is compulsory. However manufacturers are permitted to develop and use their own software.

Maximum fuel capacity is 20 litres.

Maximum number of engines per rider, per season, is five. (Nine Engines for the first year of participation by a new manufacturer).

Engines are subject to the engine homologation regulations which mandate frozen engine design and internal parts. (New Manufacturers are not subject to frozen engine design and internal parts in their first season of participation).

The full text of the regulations and the detailed technical specifications may be viewed shortly on: www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regulations/

Source: FIM; Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0 (Online Only)

Comment:

  1. coreyvwc says:

    Don’t forget that the Non-MSMA teams also get to use the “CRT soft tire” that Aleix espargaro is having so much success with. The same tire that Dovi and Hayden REALLY want to try out but aren’t allowed to. With 24 liters of fuel and the soft tire, the production racer Ducati might just be better than the full factory prototype..

  2. lawbreaker says:

    Coreyvwc….. I’d LOVE to see Hayden on a leased/production Desmosedici with more fuel and the softer carcass tire.

    And then promptly SPANK everyone and shut people up finally!!!

    Hey, I can dream cant I..

  3. “Don’t forget that the Non-MSMA teams also get to use the “CRT soft tire” that Aleix espargaro is having so much success with.”

    Has that distinction of tires for MSMA vs. non-MSMA entries been strictly defined? I haven’t seen it mentioned for 2014. If the ‘soft tire’ gets nixed, I can see Ducati having a lot of leftovers that nobody wants to buy/lease.

  4. ricky says:

    @lawbraker.. i may say you’re a dreamer.. but you’re not the only one

  5. ba wild says:

    Going on usual practice of recent years, I think it is naive to think that the facories will permit the leased/sold production racers to be faster than their own satellite machines.

    Honda have already nobled their proddie racer by making the fuel tank carry 21litres only (and before someone suggests teams could ‘simply’ create their own larger tank- it would be hard and more to the point Honda et al would’ve considered this and taken steps to ensure their far more lucrative satellite bikes remain further ahead).

    Yamaha have said their lease engine package will be ‘almost’ the same spec as T3 but will require being serviced and accompanied by a Yamaha tech whom no doubt could push a button to lower levels as required.

    The only saving grace of these third tier bikes is the competition between themselves- Honda will want their proddie racer to beat Yamaha’s leased re framed machines and vice versa. It will be interesting, perhaps, how they balance these wishes. Sadly few in the UK will be able to watch.

  6. JW says:

    Confused, does this mean repsol could add 2 more riders to the 2 they have now for 2014? Repsol is the only “factory Honda” in 2013 team right?

  7. manofleisure says:

    Since the engine design and internals of factory teams are frozen, one has to wonder if Honda and Yamaha second tier engines are a way to further development. How will the factory teams use the knowledge learned from non-factory engines?

  8. sunstroke says:

    “Confused, does this mean repsol could add 2 more riders to the 2 they have now for 2014? Repsol is the only “factory Honda” in 2013 team right?”

    The factory designation is probably related to the engine freeze. The GP Commission has decided it wants the manufacturers to build just one engine variant per season; however, it would be virtually impossible for technical direction to disassemble and scrutinize every engine. MotoGP already has an engine limit, and technical direction already homologate and seal engines. MotoGP will probably change the homologation procedures to “freeze” engine development.

    Long story short, the current regulations allow the manufacturers to do in season development, and they allow the manufacturers to build special variants, like “heavy-duty” practice mules or quali/race grenades. If technical direction require the manufacturers to homologate all engines at the beginning of the season and then technical direction randomly distributes the engines equally amongst the “factory” bikes, the GP Commission can effectively restrict the manufacturers to just one engine variant per season. In theory, costs will be reduced.

  9. Jet says:

    Lets face this the racing is a bore most of the time unless your brain cells like this kinda crap.Once a factory bike is in frist its all but over,its all about the start,plain and simple.Lets get these bikes on all even plain and see what guys like spies and edwards can do,just my opinion gentlemen.

  10. Neil Carlyle says:

    A question on eligibility?

    are there rules that wiuld exclude a chassie design such as the recumberent: ‘Rugged Exodus Motorcycle by Suprene Machinery’ that has popped up on blogs recently?

  11. MrSkipper says:

    I believe Rossi will go non factory before wsbk