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: Defective Tire Or Setup Error – Why Did Jorge Lorenzo Struggle at Le Mans?

05/24/2013 @ 10:05 am, by David Emmett12 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Defective Tire Or Setup Error   Why Did Jorge Lorenzo Struggle at Le Mans? jorge lorenzo yamaha racing motogp scott jones 635x422

Jorge Lorenzo’s disappointing performance at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans has been the cause of some debate. The factory Yamaha man finished a lowly seventh, his worst finish (other than DNFs) since his rookie season in 2008, and finishing off the podium for the first time since Indianapolis in 2011. To say this was an uncharacteristic performance from Lorenzo is something of an understatement.

So what went wrong? Immediately after the race, Lorenzo made it clear that he believed the problem was with his rear tire. He had had no grip whatsoever, and been unable to get any drive from his rear tire.

He told the press afterwards that the only logical explanation he could think of for his problems was a defective rear tire. Lorenzo had been fast in the morning warm up, though it was a little drier then, and the set up used was very similar to then. In 2012, Lorenzo had won at Le Mans by a huge margin, so he could not understand why he was struggling so badly in France.

Bridgestone naturally denied there had been a problem with Lorenzo’s tire. After the race Bridgestone officials told the press that they had examined the tire together with Yamaha engineers and found nothing wrong with it.

In their customary post-race press release, Bridgestone’s Motorsport Tyre Development Manager Shinji Aoki reiterated this stance. “As is always the case in these situations, his engineer thoroughly examined Jorge’s race tyres which were found to be in good working condition,” he is quoted in the press release as saying.

“In addition, I examined the tyre myself and personally discussed the matter with the Yamaha engineers and we all agreed that Jorge’s lack of rear grip was not attributable to his tyre.”

What do we know ourselves? Though nobody is saying anything other than official statements, there are still some clues we can piece together from the data available. The key fact is visible from the race footage, available to those with a MotoGP.com video pass on the official MotoGP website.

Jorge Lorenzo rides the sighting lap using the harder of the two wet compounds on his front tire. The hard front is clearly visible at the point 1’43 in the MotoGP.com footage (from here on in, all times will refer to this official footage), as it is the tire without the white banding on the sidewall. The white stripe on the sidewall is used by Bridgestone to signify that a particular tire is the softer of the two compounds available.

Lorenzo arrives at his grid slot 30 seconds later, and engages in a hurried discussion with his crew. He clearly asks for changes to be made, for at 2’32, Lorenzo’s crew chief Ramon Forcada points at the front tire. A few seconds later, Lorenzo can be seen explaining a problem with the bike to a member of his crew (the team member has his back to the camera).

Lorenzo’s body language is clear, showing the front tucking, and the front wheel shaking. He appears to be indicating that he has a problem with grip at the front of the bike. A flurry of activity follows, as his crew begins to work on the bike.

On the basis of this advice, his crew decide to change the front tire for the softer option. This is borne out both by the tire selection sheet issued by Bridgestone after every race, and also by footage from the race.

At the 22’14 mark in the footage, as the riders rounded the double right-hander at Raccordement at the end of the second lap, the footage shows a shot of Lorenzo’s front wheel, in which the white stripe is clearly visible.

It seems a reasonable hypothesis to believe that the front tire swap was accompanied by a set up change, altering the balance of the bike to exploit the grip of the softer front tire. Whether or not they reverted completely to the settings used in the morning warm up when the track temperature was lower, and Lorenzo used the same tire combination, is unknown, Lorenzo only saying that the set up was “almost identical” to the set up used in the morning, with “slightly softer rear suspension”.

But with neither Yamaha nor Bridgestone finding a problem with the tire, it seems safe to assume that it was this set up change which left Lorenzo without any grip. If a rider comes in from the sighting lap saying he has no grip on the front, then the natural reaction is to move the weight forward or lift the rear of the bike to put more weight on the front tire.

Putting more weight on the front logically means you have less weight on the rear, and that results in less grip at the rear. That can be solved with suspension changes, but making those changes on the grid after the sighting lap gives you no chance to test that you got them right. In such difficult circumstances, with grip already lacking, a small miscalculation can have major consequences.

Logically examining the situation, it seems that the problem with Lorenzo’s bike was not down to a defective rear tire. This conclusion would appear to be supported by Lorenzo himself, as the Spaniard deleted a couple of tweets on Sunday night, which he had posted earlier, and in which he suggested his rear tire was to blame.

Was this an error by Lorenzo’s crew? Arguably, but given the circumstances, such errors are easily made and impossible to rectify. Lorenzo made the best of a mediocre set up, coming home in seventh, but more importantly, coming home in one piece, and with a healthy 9 points scored.

The season is still long, though Lorenzo’s deficit to Pedrosa of 17 points is larger than he would like. His poor result at Le Mans would appear to be just bad luck, one of those things that happens in racing. Ironically, for the second race in succession, Lorenzo has lost points due to what might be regarded as ‘a racing incident’.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. jasinner says:

    Can we really assume anything from deleted tweets? I seem to remember Yamaha management making a big ado over social media usage of the riders recently. It makes more sense to assume that his boss told him to make those posts. All part of the blame game, business as usual.

  2. It makes even more sense that Jorge is a Bridgestone-sponsored rider, and the tire manufacturer didn’t like false-accusations from one of its employees.

  3. jkeDsnake says:

    Little baby Lorenzo, This goes to show how much more the motorcycle set up and electronics come to play nowadays in MotoGp, Sure theses are highly talented athletes but I still think the higher skills are show without all the electronics help. It is show here were unless the set up is perfect you go from 1st to 7th.

  4. Tony C says:

    +1 on electronics dominating the races. A few years ago Lorenzo had a MASSIVE high side during a practice session. Due to some setup changes (or something rather), the traction control was turned off but didn’t get turn back on. Lorenzo exited a corner and grabbed a handful of throttle. HIGHSIDE HEAVEN!

  5. JW says:

    JL will go down as one of the least liked champions in MGP history. His self conceived intiltement is getting old.

  6. TexusTim says:

    excuses at this level are just not acceptable and in poor taste.

  7. Micah says:

    Give the guy a break. It’s not like he was tracking down reporters to throw Bridgestone under the bus, the media came to him and asked what his thoughts were on his uncharacteristic performance. He told them what he felt was the problem, without having a chance to really investigate. I think we can all agree that something outside of his control was wrong and the rear tire was his best guess, after all he hasn’t been off the podium since Indy 2011. Incredible.

  8. Alex MacPherson says:

    I can’t believe this drama is still going on. Move on Jorge…
    It will be interesting to see how he does in Mugello. If he doesn’t
    get podium there will be another sob story from him.

  9. TexusTim says:

    hey micah I do understand his issue and agree somthing was wrong but I just think a little of lorenzo goes a long way….hey man I just got out of emergency surgery a few hour ago so dont be hard on me……..o heck that sounded like an excuss..bwawawawawahahah

  10. smiler says:

    Time will tell but I think we are seeing Jor Lor under pressure from the Hondas and the rookie.
    No one really pressured him during his championship wins and lets face it he simply copied Rossi – leathers, antics, style, choice of bike.
    His complaint after Merguez pass in Jerez, in what was a perfectly reasonable pass because Lorenzo running wide to cut back into the apex left it too late and Merguez jumped in.
    Dorna tried to talk what was a very dull race into a major event but it was not.
    Now at Le Mans, last minute panic before the race. Clearly it was not the tire and that he said his set up was almost identical but actually not identical. If it was not identical then there is reason to believe last minute changes in set up lead to mistakes.
    Let’s see what happens in the next race.

  11. Westward says:

    When one is winning, everything one says is like the gospel. When one is losing, everything one says is heresy…

    Lorenzo gave his honest opinion when asked what he thought was wrong.

    Of course Bridgestone, using their own methods will say their was nothing wrong, and what does one expect Yamaha to say to the contrary?

    Also, it is not far fetched for Yamaha to have demanding Lorenzo to delete his comments from twitter, without it being an admission of his reversal of thought.

    An independant specialist without any ties to MotoGP would be a more credible source in determining the tyres efficacy. Yet no such animal exists in the wild where MotoGP or WSBK are concerned…

    Having said all that, I still think Lorenzo is the Champion of Attrition. His major rivals this year are not injured, nor are they on inferior machinery as was the case during his title seasons.

    Also add to that, Honda’s superior power has finally over come Yamaha’s superior handling. Or maybe, bikes developed around Lorenzo’s riding style is not the best direction for Yamaha’s engineering…

  12. Calisdad says:

    I have to agree that electronics is playing far too big a role these days but that’s just the evolution of the beast.

    As soon as Honda experiences a problem such as JL had we will see suspension setups being changed on the fly.