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: Is There Cheating in Moto2?

05/14/2012 @ 3:30 pm, by David Emmett10 COMMENTS

Interview: Is There Cheating in Moto2? marc marquez moto2 scott jones

Cheating in motorsports is as old as the sport itself. Whenever powered vehicles gather together to race each other, then someone, somewhere, will try to gain an advantage, either within the rules or, if that is not successful, outside of the rules. In all classes, and at all times, teams, engineers and riders have all tried to cheat in one way or another. Even the imposition of a spec engine in the Moto2 class hasn’t prevented teams trying to cheat, and the paddock is awash with rumors regarding which teams are cheating and which teams are not.

The finger of blame is inevitably pointed at the most successful riders, and in recent months, it has been pointed mainly at Catalunya CX rider Marc Marquez. Marquez has a number of strikes against him, making him a popular target for rumors of cheating; firstly, Marquez is Spanish, and as Moto2 is a Spanish-run series, the non-Spanish teams are all fervently convinced that Spanish teams are not monitored as closely as they are.

Secondly, Marquez has the backing of Repsol, one of the more powerful sponsors in the paddock, exerting influence not just over Marquez’ Monlau Competicion team, but also over the much more important factory Repsol Honda team; the power of Repsol, the gossips suggest, exerts undue influence on the policing process. Thirdly, and most obviously, Marquez is fast, almost suspiciously so. The Spaniard’s bike is always one of the fastest through the speed traps, and accelerates hardest off the corners. His team put it down to hard work at finding exactly the right set up for Marquez to excel. One of the lighter Moto2 riders on a well-prepared bike, ridden by a fast and talented rider? That, Marquez’ supporters argue, is reason enough for him to be fastest.

To find out more about the situation, and what Dorna and the scrutineers are doing to address these concerns, I spoke to Race Director – and formerly Technical Director – Mike Webb at Estoril. I passed on the concerns that others had expressed to me about cheating in Moto2, and he explained to me exactly what Dorna are doing to monitor the bikes and ensure that cheating is kept to an absolute minimum, and that if it is happening, it does not pay. Here is what Webb had to say:

Q: I have had several people approach me and tell me there are shenanigans going on in Moto2. Illegal parts, and that there is all sorts of cheating going on.

Mike Webb: As everyone always says since day 1, the paddock is rife with rumors…

Q: Exactly, there was Marquez sitting up on the front straight, there were claims of illegal parts being used on some bikes. You are policing Moto2 as strictly as ever?

MW: Sure. And as always – OK I’m not so hands on now, there are now three people doing it whereas I was doing it on my own before – we are policing it with the principle we always had of random checks, where no one knows what we are going to be checking and at what time. Part of that is what we decide out of the blue, part of it is listening to rumors. A huge part of it is what we see on track, but much more importantly, what we see on the dataloggers. Moto2 teams, as always, are obliged to give us the data every day.

We read the data every day, and we have people analyzing the data every day. It’s really quick, easy, and simple, you can quickly see where one rider is faster, overlay them all together, and the one that’s accelerating better, or has a better top speed, or doing something different stands out, and then you can start to say, well, we need to check that and that and that, bring that bike in and let’s have a look. It’s a great system. With that compulsory data acquisition, and it’s secure …

Q: That was my next question, can you hack the datalogger?

MW: That’s something that we’re really certain of, that we’ve got the data that’s there, and they can’t even give any excuses – “Oh, it got disconnected and we lost the data” – no, it’s there and we can retrieve it. They can’t, we can. That’s stuff that the teams don’t know about and we do, and I’m really happy with. And it’s such a quick and easy flag waver: “Woah, something’s different about that bike, what is it?” And then you can get down to finding out what’s going on.

In the early years, we had teams who had bikes whose top speed was better, and we’d look and see, oh, they’re actually running a more sensible gearing package here, sacrificing speed at one place and gaining it in another. Or laughable attempts at trying to make it go faster by using wacko settings, where the blokes actually winning the races had fairly standard settings. So there are things like that I’ve seen over the years and I’m really confident about what’s going on.

Marquez is the one point, well, he’s got a weight advantage, and he’s also got the best support, he’s got an excellent team doing a very good job, and he’s a light rider, so he does get off the corner faster. Plus a fair bit of talent to be able to get on the gas at the right time, of course. It’s normal that his bike is being checked more than anyone else’s; one, because he’s on the podium a lot, so automatically it gets checked, and secondly because clearly, he’s faster in a lot of places, so we have to figure out why. I’m comfortable with it. There’s an awful lot of rumors going round about stuff, which we have all checked out on and never found anything.

Q: Other rumor I heard was about someone taking the engines to Italy and there was someone in Italy who could give them a little bit of a tweak and make them a little bit sharper.

MW: I keep hearing the same thing, and yes, of course we’re checking and no system is completely fail-safe, though we continue to check. The other side of that whole rumor mill thing is that if they’re doing all of this cheating, they’re not very good at it, because the bike’s doing the same speed. And honestly, there’s a very small difference in top speed, acceleration and all those sort of things, that you’d expect in a normal set up environment. When we see a Moto2 bike consistently 10 km/h faster than all the rest, then OK, there somebody has done something. But we haven’t seen it yet.

Q: The rev limit is enforceable and easy to check?

MW: Absolutely, yes. Enforceable because it’s part of the engine package including the ECU, but checkable because of our secure loggers. We had to have the secure logger, because when we were doing the first Moto2, we couldn’t get Honda to agree to allow us to run a different ECU on their engines. So we had to go with a Honda ECU, and although they say it’s secure, I couldn’t guarantee that because I didn’t build it. So we opted for the secure model.

Q: So the option used in BSB where you have a standard, locked-down ECU was not an option for you?

MW: That was my first choice, I wanted that, but within the commercial deal with to get the engines, it wasn’t allowed. And I understand that, because we’re putting their reliability on show by using their engines, and they didn’t want to have outside equipment bolted on. I can understand that, so the secure logger was the option we went with. Moto3 is different, because we did get our ECU and it’s a secure unit.

The cheating is ongoing. I’m equally sure that over the three years, there have been people who have got away with things. And Danny and his team are trying to keep a lid on it, and occasionally having people saying “are we allowed to do that,” and having to make rulings on these questions all the time. I’m sure that at some time, somebody’s got away with something, but then again, they haven’t gained much advantage from it. The bikes that consistently win are always checked, and as far as we are aware, they are all legal.

To take the obvious example of Marquez, has his team got some secret guy somewhere who can take seals off the engine, do lots of stuff to it and then put it back together again? We own the engines, Geo Tech take them away for maintenance, we’d soon know if someone changed something internal. And if they changed something or hacked the ECU or something like that, sorry, but they haven’t got 20 more horsepower out of it… It’s slightly faster, as you would expect from an exceptionally well set up bike with a light rider, and a talented rider.

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. Gila Motor says:

    Interview: Is There Cheating in Moto2? – http://t.co/TWkPYMFO #motorcycle

  2. z says:

    Marquez seems to get a bit more sideways on corner entry this year but in a way that still retains ridiculous corner speed. The kid is brilliant and a joy to watch. A lot of jealous mates out there on the Moto2 paddock

  3. MM is definitely an alien. He knows the limits of the bike better than most out there on the grid. Zarco commented on how much sliding Marc was doing all through the corners, while Zarco himself was backing off because of his fear of highsiding.

    I chalk it up to brilliant riding.

  4. Westward says:

    Marquez is simply as fearless as Stoner is, and Rossi & Simoncelli were… That is why Zarco might end up being more like Pedrosa, in his riding style…

  5. B.T. says:

    Baring injury,God Forbid, Marquez will go down as the Greatest Rider in MOTOGP HISTORY!! Their,I said it!!

  6. J.P. Kelly says:

    B.T. needs to brush up on his spelling and grammar. There! I said that!

  7. Grant Madden says:

    You would have to pretty dam clever to defeat that sort of supervision…hmm wonder how it could be done..na
    No fun winning by cheating.You would always wonder if you were really fast enough or was it just the cheating.Wheres the Kama in that?

  8. Glenn Plummer says:

    Are the engines and electronic packages taken away from the teams after every race? And if so, how could anybody have time to change something enough to have any impact over a race weekend.

  9. JD says:

    Simplest of all mathematical calculations….

    Fastest Rider + Fastest Bike = The Fastest Rider + The fastest Bike

    in short (+/-) The Fastest = > The remainder ..let cool and enjoy.. serves all

  10. Glenn Plummer says:

    What I’ve learned is the teams get an engine package for three races. The first race the engine would be legal, then the team could do something for the second race. For the third race their engine would have to be back to legal in order to turn it back in. That second race could be glaring and surely show up on the data loggers.
    In Marquez’ case, Repsol probably has the largest data library of any team in roadracing. With that kind of information and knowledge, It goes without saying that the Repsol Moto2 bike has the best sorted bike in the series.