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?

Moto2: Marc Marquez Accused of…What Exactly?

11/06/2012 @ 2:34 pm, by David Emmett27 COMMENTS

Moto2: Marc Marquez Accused of...What Exactly? Marc Marquez Moto2 Silverstone HRC 635x421

The Moto2 paddock in Phillip Island was awash with rumors of cheating, and not for the first time. There have been accusations of cheating by Marc Marquez’s Monlau Competicion team running around the paddock for most of the two years the young Spaniard has been racing in Moto2, accusations which we have been reporting on since earlier this year.

The rumors in Australia centered round illegal manipulation of the spec HRC ECU fitted to all Moto2 machines. The German magazine Speedweek suggested that Marquez’s team had been able to load an illegal map on to the ECU, capable of overriding the quickshifter function and preventing fuel from being cut when the quickshifter was used. This, Speedweek claimed citing an unnamed technician, is what the Monlau team had been doing, and this explained his superior acceleration.

The advantage offered was that by not cutting the fuel injection, the air/fuel mixture was much better directly after a gear change, improving throttle pickup and helping to explain some of Marquez’s advantage in acceleration. The fuel map, Speedweek alleged, would be loaded onto the ECU before the start of a race, and would then automatically erase itself when the engine was switched off.

I contacted MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb for a response to these allegations. Webb prefaced his remarks saying that he had not read the allegations made in Speedweek, as he was not a German speaker, but was aware of the contents of the Speedweek report after being approached by the magazine’s editor, Günther Wiesinger.

The allegations, Webb told me, were in part incorrect and in part irrelevant. The accusations that the software of the ECU was being overwritten and then wiped when the engine was switched off were wrong, said Webb. “I am confident in the information from my technical experts (including the ECU suppliers) that the alleged rewriting of the ECU software, and then magically wiping it again is not occurring.”

As to the quickshifter strategy Marquez’ team is accused of employing, Webb said that it was not necessary to hack the ECU to achieve this. “Quick-shifters are ‘free’ [not defined as a spec part in the regulations], they are deliberately not included in the official definition of the Moto2 engine, so the team is free to choose their own solution. Whether they choose to use the quick-shift strategies included in the ECU is up to them,” Webb explained.

“In fact no manipulation of ECU software is necessary in order to use a non-Honda quick-shifter, which may or may not use the fuel cut strategies available in the ECU,” he continued. The quickshifter used by Marquez’s team had been submitted for approval to the Technical Director, HRC and engine supplier Geo Tech for inspection at the beginning of the season, as had the systems used by all the other teams. No irregularities had been found in any of the systems.

The accusations being leveled against Marquez and his team appear to consist of doing something that is completely legal. The Monlau team maintain that they prepare Marquez’ bike completely within the Moto2 rulebook. When asked about the allegations, a spokesperson for the team told me “the best they can do is to open the bike”. No doubt Marquez’s Catalunya CX Suter machine will be subject to a full inspection at the last race of the year this weekend at Valencia.

Source: Speedweek & Racing4fun; Photo: HRC

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


  1. MikeD says:

    Juicy…here comes the dirty underwear flying out the front door. LOL.

  2. Gonzo says:

    Sour Grapes from sore losers! Happens in ALL sports.

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    We will find out next year. If he can’t keep up in the premier class, we know what really happened.

  4. Motobell says:

    Big Marquez fan and not doubting his talent – should have won last year but has proven his ability to fight and nber give up. Pol espargaro is amazing too

    But narquez has always has straightline speed advantage where he routinely sits up to avoid passing. Either due to better drive off corner or better top speed or acceleration or all of the above – clearly there is a advantage not discounting the talent he has – may be it would have made pol closer this year

  5. Phil says:

    Agree with gonzo. As for what he’ll do next year, well, like any other rider who steps up to the plate, it will take even a rider of Marquez’s extraordinary talent a little while to get used to the new scene. Remember he crashed 4 times in the early part of his Moto2 first season then went on and, but for bad luck, should have been champion in his first year.

  6. ” If he can’t keep up in the premier class, we know what really happened.”

    All you’ll know is that, for some reason, he didn’t acclimate to the premier class. It happens, you know. Toni Elias was notable for coming into MotoGP as Moto2 world champion and spending the whole year riding around at the back of the pack and crashing. He had an ongoing argument with the Bridgestone tires; the tires won.

    That won’t stop the punters from making up any facts that aren’t obviously there, though. Rumour and hearsay are what make the world of sport go ’round.

  7. Skip says:

    “We will find out next year. If he can’t keep up in the premier class, we know what really happened.”

    R yes Stefan Bradl must have been cheating for the 2011 moto2 title right? Hes not keeping up either .

  8. dc4go says:

    If u can’t beat them accuse them of cheating…. pretty lame….

  9. Hugo says:

    Well, his bike surely looked less “the same” than the others’

  10. The same could be said of Pol Espargaro (and/or his bike) in light of his absolute domination at Phillip Island. Face it, the top guys in Moto2 and MotoGP are the aliens who are simply capable of wringing performance out of both themselves and their bikes far beyond what others on the grid can manage.

    The logic here is that “looks different” =/= “cheating”. One could reflect the other, but it isn’t a given causal relationship.

  11. Anon 1 says:

    So Marquez team is using something similar to what the Corona Suzuki WSS team did some ten years ago? I remember reading in a magazine that their bike had a manual kill switch of the ignition (software was not allowed), so that you could change up with full throttle. Basically hitting the gear lever to go up the gears would kill the ignition for the brief moment that you had press the lever. Nowadays it appears to be the opposite. All within the rules.
    Magically erasing ECUs? No way. Usually the solution is probably much simpler than that.

  12. Fred Santos says:

    bring back the carbs! hohohoho

  13. foz101 says:

    You would assume that this quick shifting would enable higher speeds down the straights. It stands to reason. (There are other issues like corner exit speed but we can assume he’s not too shabby on the brakes either).
    The top speed trap speeds are listed for every GP for all classes on the MotoGP website. Marquez posted the fastest speed during the Malaysian weekend (in warm up), but in all the other recent race weekends he’s been maybe top 5 or 10. He made 6th down the long straight at Aragon, during the race.
    Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio are regularly at the top 5 of the speed lists. Are they ‘cheating’ too? Are they hacking the ECU? Maybe they’re using the same quickshifting technology? Or something else?

    I think this boils down to his skill, and his relatively small, light build which makes it easier for him. This also helps Kallio, and perhaps Rabat, who is a very tall lad, but very slender with it.
    Dani Pedrosa always used his diminutive stature to his advantage, and still does. That is all I believe Marquez does too. Hopefully the rumoured minimum weight limit for Moto2 will come in and level the playing field in this respect, although Marquez won’t be around for us to see what difference it makes.

    I’d like to see a drag race between the two factory Hondas next season too….

  14. buellracerx says:

    so, not that I know a WHOLE lot about these things, but say the throttle was wide open w/o spark for ~50 ms at 16k rpm, with fuel injection performing as normal. This would result in ~6 rev, or 3.6L of A/F charge in the exhaust. This makes a hell of a bang when spark comes back in (gives you that sweet *pop* on shift – kills the packing of your muffler over time, too).

    SO, was there a huge pop & flames out of the exhaust when he shifted? (flames might be hard to see)

    Whenever people get dominated, there will ALWAYS be accusations of cheating…

  15. Westward says:

    If Marquez can’t beat Bradl next year, then there is room for doubt. Marquez was better than Bradl in Moto2, and next year he will be on a better machine too. Bradl’s evolution and experience in the premiere class is comparable to Marquez’s evolution and experience of fighting for the championship in Moto2.

    In my opinion, I simply think Marquez is more talented the way Rossi was at that age…

  16. Bryan Niese says:

    People accused Stoner of cheating too even when he was a child first racing in the UK. Then in 2007 people tried to say that it was again the bike making the difference since nobody could possibly beat Rossi straight-up. We all saw how accurate those accusations were. I suspect this is just the same thing going on. In watching Moto2 I don’t really see anyone having an advantage in terms of the machine. Nobody really runs away with victories, Marquez included. Maybe, just maybe, he’s fast because he’s amazingly talented and he can hang his whole friggin’ body a few inches off the ground in every turn.

  17. FuzzyOne says:

    Webb’s explanation makes more sense than magical deletions of ECU data. If Honda used a different quick-shifter, and if it was legal of them to not send the shift signal to the ECU, then congrats to them for clever engineering. The fastest team is sometimes the one that best interprets the rulebook.

  18. Westward says:

    2006 and even 2007 were the best bikes Ducati had ever produced for MotoGP. Ducati nearly won 2006 with Capirossi if not for Catalunya and Assen, a direct result of an accident and injury. But most importantly Ducati had a tyre advantage along with the talent of Stoner. So great were the Bridgestone factor, that Rossi ended a long time relationship with Michelin to race the Bridgestones in 2008, halfway through the season Pedrosa followed suit (an un heard of move), and the following year 2009 the entire premiere class…

    But to have a pilot go from crashing all over the place in 2006, to winning in dominate fashion the next year in 2007, and not crashing a single time in his second year on a new bike is unusual to say the least and talent is not the only factor.

    I have never heard of Stoner cheating. Marquez is understandable given his close relationship with HRC. Stoner never had that luxury of closeness until 2011, even then the rumours of cheating were specific to HRC not Stoner…

  19. DareN says:

    FuzzyOne – you have just beat me to the line with your post. It reminds me a double difuser story in F1 a few years ago.If you can outsmart the book – more power to you…

  20. Gritboy says:

    Seems like they’re blowing smoke up their own asses. It’s just a great bike and great rider.

  21. BBQdog says:

    “No doubt Marquez’s Catalunya CX Suter machine will be subject to a full inspection at the last race of the year this weekend at Valencia.”

    Too late. The nice bits have all been removed as he is already world champion.

  22. TexusTim says:

    well guys the old addage that cheaters never win,is no longer a valid thing to say…in modern soecity cheaters allways win..look at wallstreet ! think those guys are honest ? so this isnt surprising but unfortunatlly expected…many of those that seem to be “superior athletes or sports stars” like lance armwrong,,,are really cheating to gain an advantage look at mcguire, sosa and bonds,,,see what I mean ?..many people worship these cheaters and actully believe in them and hate all those that expose there favorite hero……..see it’s all in the cheating now and more than half of all these guys cheat one way or the other…..aufully inspiring isnt it ?

  23. TexusTim says:

    hey one more thing…if I have an ilegal advantage I would do my beast to not let it show..but when it’s time to make a move make it look like the rider when in actuality I could drive away from them from the start but it would be obvious right….so dont be fooled by players playing.

  24. Westward says:

    Don’t forget Lance Armstrong, and he was routinely tested for cheating. They have stripped him of most everything, and he is still a multi-millionaire. Cheating pays big, and it is worth it to get caught too, cause you can make millions more to write a book about that also…

  25. Anyone watching these races could see that Marquez hat an acceleration advantage which he could tap into anytime he pleased, no other bike on the track could touch the acceleration of that Honda. Oftentimes at the end of a race he drove around people at will on that extra power and got the win, without it he would’ve lost. If it’s proven, he should be stripped and banned. And Repsol should be suspended from the series, yeah right like that’s going to happen.

  26. mr x says:

    ah masa seh yang boneng negh…?

  27. Mugget says:

    @Gonzo – sour grapes from sore losers??

    Yeah, maybe I suppose. Especially if the soreness was caused by Marquez numerous questionable moves during the year!!