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?

Kevin Schwantz Returns to Motorcycle Racing – Enters the Suzuka 8-Hours with Team Kagayama

04/30/2013 @ 11:53 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Kevin Schwantz Returns to Motorcycle Racing   Enters the Suzuka 8 Hours with Team Kagayama Team Kagayama Suzuka 8 hours Kevin Schwantz 635x317

Former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz has certainly been in the news a bit these past few months, mostly for his involvement and falling out with the Circuit of the Americas and the Americas GP, but also more recently for his comments regarding Dani Pedrosa — we also sat down with Mr. Schwantz in Austin, and the Texan gave us some sobering insight into the future of American road racing.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Schwantz is making a return to two-wheeled racing, and has entered the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race with Team Kagayama. One of three riders on the team’s Suzuki GSX-R1000, Schwantz will race with Noriyuki Haga and team owner Yukio Kagayama during the eight-hour event.

Teaching these past years at his very own Schwantz School, it’s not like Kevin has been sitting on his duff during his racing retirement, and his teammate Haga should need very little introduction considering the Japanese rider’s impressive career in the MotoGP, WSBK, and British Superbikes.

Less-well-known to our non-Japanese readers though is Yukio Kagayama, who is a regular in the Japanese Road Race Championship, and is a previous Suzuka 8-Hours winner (Haga too is a previous Suzuka winner).

Having raced in World Superbikes with Troy Corser on the Alstare Suzuki team and British Superbikes with Worx Suzuki, Kagayama finally returned to Japan and started his own road racing team in 2011. While Team Kagayama has had a hard time of things in the national circuit the past few years, for 2013 the team is off to a good start with a slew of top-six finishes.

Also member of the 2012 Suzuki Endurance Race Team (SERT) at Suzuka, Kagayama is a highly regarded rider at the famous Japanese circuit, and with Schwantz and Haga on-board for 2013 race, Team Kagayama has a serious claim to a race podium, and even a race victory if things go their way.

Win, lose, or draw, with all the “Free Kevin” love that has been going around, we think this is a great reward for the World Champion’s devout fans — we bet the FIM Endurance World Championship just got an uptick of American viewers for this next round as well. Good stuff.

Source: Team Kagayama


  1. pooch says:

    I hope he does well. But has he done any serious racing in recent years ? Let alone Endurance racing ???

  2. Jack Myorff says:

    Way to go grandpa!

  3. @Pooch: Schwantz raced an 8 Hour at Texas World Speedway in March & said it went great & he had a good time.

  4. MP says:

    I went to schwantz race school recently….. Schwantz has pace. He’s still very, very fast.

  5. Gutterslob says:

    All 3 riders have a special place in my motorcycling heart. Haga for his sheer entertainment value. Schwantz for that and much more, all on a 500cc stroker. Kagayama for the best looking helmet I’ve ever owned (the Shoei replica from his BSB days).

  6. Damo says:

    That is an awesome team!

    Haga and Yukio have already won it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do really well.

  7. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Wish I could watch this on TV somewhere.

    cable tv sations I get insist I see “world’s dumbest criminals” or “Nascar preview” or “Lockup Raw” or “Pawn Stars” or “Mecum’s Musclecar Auctions”…or you get the picture.

  8. L2C says:

    The Schwantz/Pedrosa/Puig conflagration was unfortunate. But Schwantz started it. It was like amateur and idiot hour for the man. With his age and experience, he should know better. And Puig’s response to Schwantz’s nonsense had to hurt much more than a little bit. It was practically a death blow.

    Have to say, I lost a bit of respect for Schwantz myself. Not entirely, but it’s a real pity just the same.

    Sorry for going off topic, but…

  9. Big D says:

    @Chaz: I agree…we have no selection of quality TV.

    Is there any way we can watch the 8 hours? Any website that has it?

  10. Sean says:

    Agree with you L2C, Schwantz seems desperate to be relevant in Motorcycle racing. He’s like the Nicholas Cage of the two wheeled world!

  11. Phil says:

    Good on him. I just hope they show the event on British TV. Hope he does well.

  12. buellracerx says:

    Those who pay attention know that Kevin Schwantz wouldn’t be Kevin Schwantz if he didn’t rectally extract douchebag comments from time to time.

    Aside from all that, best of luck to Team Kagayama at Suzuka!

  13. Dave says:

    I just read Schwantz’s comments about Pedrosa and Puig. I too have lost much respect for him. Puig laid down some serious facts and it make Schwant’z look foolish. Pedrosa is a great rider and with a couple of breaks probably could have a MotoGP championship under his belt.

  14. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    The Puig smackdown was pretty brutal. Probably too harsh. I think he took it too hard.

    I recall a certain Nicky Hayden was being batted around pretty good by people letting opinions fly for not winning a title on the Honda after only his second season with them. …and then Hayden almost actually didn’t win the title because of the careless act of a certain young up-start named Dani Pedrosa.

    Puig and Pedrosa need to grow some thicker skin. Pedrosa’s term with Honda is actually getting pretty stale.

    Prove Schwantz wrong and win a MotoGP title. Don’t go all conquistador just because he says what a lot of people are thinking.

  15. arimichael says:

    Puig can suck it. He won a single 500 race & that’s just because Doohan crashed out & Schwantz had already retired that season.

  16. Gritboy says:

    More excited about Haga than Schwantz, but we’ll have to see. Hopefully between all their team they’ll prove they can ride the balls of those Suzuki’s.

  17. “Pedrosa’s term with Honda is actually getting pretty stale.”

    I know! With only 7 wins last season, the guy’s definitely a has-been. Jeeze. /sarcasm

    “Puig can suck it. He won a single 500 race”

    Terrible! Meanwhile, the guy obviously had enough talent to run 125 GP starts. You just gotta love the guys who think that unless you’ve won everything for an era, you’re nothing. Guys like Norick Abe, Garry McCoy and Alberto Puig may not have won championships or all that many races, but they added SO much to the racing.

    Meanwhile, a clue … “& that’s just because Doohan crashed out & Schwantz had already retired that season.”

    He won it because he put himself in the position to do so. Saying somebody won a race just because somebody else crashed is frickin’ retarded. To win, you gotta finish. That particular race in history, Doohan didn’t and Puig did. Get over it.

  18. Meanwhile, I hope The Schwantz kicks royal booty @ Suzuka!

  19. Gutterslob says:

    Don’t really get what the fuss is about. Just some middle-aged men flinging handbags at each other.

    It’s not like either of them blasphemously insulted the Isle like that Gardner fellow did. That would deserve stoning.

  20. Damo says:

    I am a huge Pedrosa fan and he is obviously alien fast, BUT I sadly agree he will never win a premiere class championship. It is a sad truth.

    He does had a grip of records to his name though. The most embarrassing/impressive being “Most number of race wins, without having won a championship” that was previously held by Randy Mamola.

  21. meatspin says:

    3 of my favorite racers. Its hard to see Haga not on a Yamaha.