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.

Interview: Lucio Cecchinello – The Man Behind LCR Honda

03/29/2012 @ 2:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Interview: Lucio Cecchinello   The Man Behind LCR Honda Lucio Cecchinello Scott Jones

Former GP racer Lucio Cecchinello is a Honda man through and through. Team owner and principal at LCR Honda (the ‘LCR’ standing for Lucio Cecchinello Racing), Cecchinello started his racing career on a Honda NS125R, and worked his way up to the GP ranks, where he spent most of his time on a Honda RS125 (he finished his career on an Aprilia though). In 1996, Cecchinello started LCR, making him both the team’s rider and its principal director, an absolute rarity in the paddock.

LCR Honda slowly grew from the 125 & 250 Championships into the premier class of the sport: MotoGP. Campaigning a number of top riders, LCR Honda has seen Casey Stoner, Randy de Puniet, Alex de Angelis, Nobby Ueda, Toni Elias & Carlos Checa all ride the team’s bikes at some point in their careers. This year LCR Honda has Moto2 Champion Stefan Bradl in the saddle, and the team hopes the German rider will be just as impressive on the big bikes as he was with the 600′s.

Taking some time to talk to HRC’s PR machine, Cecchinello shares his unique perspective on having both a racing and managing career. As a satellite team owner, Cecchinello’s opinions about CRTs from a business perspective are especially intriguing, as he forecasts trouble for CRT teams trying to bring in big-name sponsors.

Perhaps most significant are his comments regarding Moto2 though, as Cecchinello believes that the middle class of GP racing should go to a 500cc two-cylinder format, which would allow manufacturers to race in all three class with the same cylinder and head designs. The interview is a pretty good read for any MotoGP fan, check it out after the jump.

When you were racing you were more than just a rider…

I started racing quite late because my parents wanted me to finish high school. When I won the European Championship in 1995 I was already 26, so when I returned to Grands Prix the following year I realised I was already quite old! So I thought quite deeply and decided it was best to invest the money I had won in establishing my own team.

The other reason I made my own team was because I thought that the Grand Prix paddock is a fantastic place, a wonderful environment, and I didn’t want to leave it, so I thought the best way to stay here was to establish my own team. I was already looking ahead.

Was it difficult being a rider/manager?

I am not ashamed to say I recognized that during my career I raced riders who had much more ability and talent, so I tried to compensate for this with dedication, with work, with application, and with training. Because I started so late I was already 30 years old when I started to be really competitive in GPs. At that age your mind changes. Let’s say that your approach to risk is a little different – that’s just a normal human process. And at the same time I was also managing my own team, so I had to take care of a lot of other things apart from riding, which definitely absorbed a lot of my mental energy. So maybe I could have won more races if I hadn’t had to think of so many other things. But anyway, I did my best.

What’s it like working with Stefan Bradl?

It’s difficult to fully judge someone after such a short time. Also I know that when you start a new project with a new rider it’s always very exciting, like a honeymoon! So at the moment we are on honeymoon and it’s fantastic, everything is really cool, really fine. But honestly, I am surprised to work with such a young rider with such a high level of intelligence and maturity. Also, he’s a really nice guy.

Would you say he is a thinking rider?

Yes. So far in his career he has already shown that he is a very consistent rider. He is the kind of rider who has a very clever approach – he learns step by step, trying to reach the limit of the bike by first understanding how the bike works and how it reacts. So he is taking his time to adapt to MotoGP but the potential is definitely there.

LCR had a very tough 2011…

Yes, last year was way off our target and expectations. The team was the same as before, the bike was even better than before and Toni [Elias] joined the team as Moto2 World Champion and already with some great results in MotoGP. We think that the problems were due to his weight and his riding style – he didn’t put enough heat into the tires.

Do you still miss riding?

Yes, absolutely, I still miss riding. You have different ages in life. At first you play with toys, then maybe you discover the joy of doing a sport, and then if you are really lucky and you have enough skill you go into another age when your sport becomes your work. This is fantastic, but it’s not forever. Now I am in another age in which jumping on a bike, just to have the feeling, the adrenaline, the emotion, is still fantastic. But because I can’t see any personal goal in riding a bike I prefer to stay away. After I stopped racing I did ride a few times but I suffered a lot from this because it was a deep, strong emotion. Let’s say it’s like making love with the love of your life, with a woman who you still love but with whom you know there is no future. It’s too dramatic because it’s something you can’t really have.

When did you last ride a race bike?

It was at the end of 2004 when I tested our 125 and 250. I’ve never ridden our MotoGP bike. Of course I’m curious, I’d love to ride a MotoGP but I would like to do it in a proper way, not just a few laps because that way you understand nothing. I either do things properly or not at all. Maybe one day I will ride a MotoGP bike but not now because I have other priorities.

Tell us about your time as a race mechanic…

My father allowed me to discover the world of motorcycles. He loved old bikes, he had a great collection, maybe 300 bikes, especially small machines like a Garelli Mosquito, some Moto Guzzis and Lambrettas. When I discovered bikes I really loved the technology and I wanted to be more involved. I love tuning bikes, I love restoring bikes, I like to work with my hands. My father taught me how to use the tools, then I met some racers and I asked if I could work for them, free of charge. I started working with a couple of Italian riders during high school holidays, then with Team Italia. First I cleaned the bikes and the workshop and then I helped maintain the bikes. In 1987 and 1988, just before I started racing, I did a few races working with Corrado Catalano, also with Alessandro Gramigni and one race with Loris Capirossi when he was doing the European Championship.

What’s your best racing memory?

The first victory is always something that gives you a very strong emotion. That was Jarama in 1998, when I beat Marco Melandri. Also, my first race in 1993 and my first points at Hockenheim in 1994. But after Jarama, the biggest emotion was winning at Mugello in 2003. This was the second track I visited when I first started in sport production. I will always remember arriving at Mugello – such a great place, such a huge, brilliant track.

Your era in 125s was an era of many great battles…

Yes, there were many strong riders in that period and many experienced riders like [Kazuto] Sakata, Ueda, [Dirk] Raudies, [Jorge] Martinez. For me it was really tough to try to beat them. I was always trying to make up for my lack of talent, but finally at 33-years-old I can say that I beat Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and so on! I have a special photo of that race – it’s me in front of Stoner, Pedrosa, De Angelis and [Andrea] Dovizioso. It’s fantastic because it says a lot – the old generation with the new generation pushing from behind. After that I started getting beaten by my teammate – Casey – and I realised it was time to retire.

What’s your best memory as a team owner?

The big emotion was getting pole position at our very first MotoGP race, at Qatar in 2006 [with Casey Stoner --Ed.] . We were a new team with a new rider and a new bike and – bang! -– pole position! I was in heaven! I touched the sky, that was huge, fantastic!

Do you remember bringing Stoner to GPs in 2002?

Or main sponsor Oxydo Safilo wanted to participate in 250s as well as 125s, so I spoke to Dorna and IRTA, asking them if there was a young rider with some skill who deserved a ride. Then I talked with Alberto Puig who told me there was this young kid, only 16. So we organised a test at Jerez. Casey was immediately really fast, just one second behind Melandri on the factory Aprilia 250. Hmm, we realised he had some potential! The same again when he first tried the Honda RC211V. He was immediately fast. That was confirmation that he has a very special talent.

Many teams are running CRT bikes this year – why did you decide to continue with prototype machines?

Every team has its own history. Our story with our partners is that we are growing our relationship with them by being involved with Honda, using a prototype machine. Many of our sponsors are medium-sized companies who manufacture accessories – Rizoma, Arrow, Givi – and also bigger companies like Elf. They all support LCR because we are strongly involved with Honda. For example, Rizoma make the handlebars and footrests for our bike, and Givi like to support us because this gives them a strong relationship with Honda dealers. For sure, if we didn’t have prototype machines then Elf would be the first company to say that they are not interested to help us. All these companies want to be involved with top technology to help them sell their products.

Do you think CRT is the future?

The reality is that motorsport is going through a difficult phase. First, the tobacco companies withdrew, and they had invested a lot of money in this sport. Then we had to face the global economic crisis which has reduced company profits, which of course has reduced sponsorship budgets. In this environment I think the sport has maybe reacted too quickly, changing too many rules. I believe that when times are hard you need to stop and take time to think what you need to do. It would not be good for our sport to lose the manufacturers from MotoGP, so I hope that Dorna, the MSMA and the FIM can develop technical rules that will keep the manufacturers interested. I think maybe we have to focus technical development towards the end user, to the people who buy bikes for the street. We need to create a new vision, creating technical rules that can help the manufacturers to market motorcycles for the street.

In general MotoGP is very successful. Worldwide interest is still growing, South East Asia has huge potential, the TV networks are still interested, we have many new circuits that want to host MotoGP races, from South America to India to Russia. I think Dorna do a very good job with the television.

What do you think of the RC213V?

For me, it’s a work of art. The RC213V is the best bike I’ve ever seen because it’s such a concentration of hi-tech. The latest engine management software is just incredible. It’s a fantastic bike.

How do you see the Moto2 class developing?

I think we are in transitional moment – I don’t think Moto2 needs to be 600cc forever. I also think it would be good not to have a mono-engine formula – even if the current supplier is Honda – because it’s not good to kick out the interest of the other manufacturers. So, firstly, I would like Moto2 become a multi-engine class in the future and, secondly, I’d like to see Moto2 become a category for twin-cylinder 500 four-strokes. This would make it easier for the manufacturers to develop their engines because the cylinder and cylinder head could be the same for all three classes – four-cylinder 1000s, 500 twins and 250 singles. And then I would like to see companies selling 500 twin streetbikes at a good price, because at the moment the European market is shrinking because many people cannot afford to buy bikes, even the current 600s. I would be good to attract some new manufacturers, maybe KTM could build a 500 twin, Aprilia too.

Source: HRC; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. joe says:

    Good interview, and interviewee.

  2. z says:

    agree ! nice interview

  3. Lumengrid says:

    Really like the interview and could not agree more about the 500 twins streetbikes, easy to insure, more economy and its needed to get more people into the bikes in Europe.

  4. Marc F says:

    GP-based 500 twins on the street (and at trackdays and amateur races) would be a one way ticket to bonertown

  5. mxs says:

    Somebody pls let this guy run Dorna, so we can bring some sense into the classes, engines etc.

  6. Grant Madden says:

    Forget the twins,why not a 500 single cylinder classs.Most manufactures have 500cc singles in the range already and it would be a return of a class of racing that used to be dominant in GPs.The cost of developing a single is far cheaper than a twin or more cylinders and the sound would be great to hear and tghe racing would be as close as any but still allow different manufactures to compete against each other on a fairly even basis,no?