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.

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.

GP Commission Modifies 2011 Rules

12/13/2010 @ 2:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

GP Commission Modifies 2011 Rules casey stoner rainey curve laguna seca 635x404

The GP Commission has seen it fit to modify the rules for MotoGP, Moto2, and 125GP during the 2011 season, with perhaps the biggest alteration coming in the form of FP3 being reinstated to the Saturday schedule. For MotoGP, all practice and qualifying sessions will be returned to their one hour format (up from 45 minutes), which should make the sessions more useful for teams who has to scramble to make changes during the 45 minute format (Moto2 and 125GP will remain at 45 minute session). All the classes will see a three-wide grid format, which should be especially interesting in the compacted Moto2 field. All teams will also be allowed the use of generators on the starting grid.

Special for MotoGP, Dorna seems intent on limiting the level of electronics being used in the premiere class, and has inserted a provision that says that “in MotoGP, only the GPS provided by Dorna is permitted.” Currently MotoGP teams employ GPS systems that know which turn, and where in each turn, the bike is, and adjusts the bike’s suspension, engine map, and other settings for that corresponding section of the track.

While hyper-precise GPS systems could shave tenths of seconds off lap times, they also create an arms race in electronic controls, which in-turn raises the costs of racing. With Dorna supplying the unit, or failing to provide a GPS entirely (plot twist!), the use of such advanced electronics could no longer exist in 2011.

In addition to these provisions, Dorna has also requested applications for the 2012 Moto3 ECU supplier. Find the full release on the technical regulations and specifications after the jump.

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix

Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna), Claude Danis (FIM Safety Officier) and M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 09 December in Madrid(Spain), unanimously decided the following:

Application 2011

  1. Practice Time schedule:
    Two days for each class.

    • MotoGP: 4 sessions of 60 minutes.
    • Moto2: 4 sessions of 45 minutes.
    • 125cc: 2 sessions of 45 minutes (morning) and 2 sessions of 30 minutes (afternoon).
  2. Grid position for each class: 3 riders per row.
  3. Generator for tyre warmers are permitted on the grid for the 3 classes.
  4. In MotoGP, only the GPS provided by Dorna is permitted.

Application 2012

For Moto3

  1. ECU: There will be a single supplier. Proposals must be handed to the FIM and Dorna by 28 February 2011 at the latest. The final decision will be announced by the GP Commission on 19 March 2011.
    See specifications below:
    Requested hardware features for Engine Management:

    • Single-cylinder management (2 independent fuel injectors, one ignition driver)
    • Up to 14,500rpm
    • At least 10 analog inputs (0-5V 10bit resolution) for analog sensors and temperature sensors
    • UEGO lambda sensor input and management
    • At least 4 input capture for wheel speeds and crank/cam sensors
    • At least 4 ON/OFF inputs for switches
    • Fuel Pump relay driver
    • Stepper motor driver for throttle bypass/exhaust valve
    • High speed CAN line (1Mbit/s)
    • PC-ECU plug’n’play communication cable
    • Internal data logger:
      • At least 8Mbyte internal memory
      • Not less than 200Hz max sampling frequency
      • Not less than 64 max logging channels
      • CAN line data download
    • Ignition/injection management
    • Self-mapping with lambda closed loop strategy
    • Not less than 3 engine maps selectable by the rider
    • Pit limiter
    • Traction control
    • Power shift (i.e. ignition cut-off)
    • Launch control
    • IDLE (i.e. engine brake) control (throttle bypass)
      • Engine and strategy calibration tool
      • Logger management tool
      • Data download/analysis tool for logged data (2D)
      • Track attendance at all events (Moto3 races and DS/IRTA tests):
        • Technical assistance to all teams
        • Assistance to FIM for regulations checks/enforcing
      • ECU quantities: 40pcs for the 2012 season, spares stock for 5 years
      • Base calibration for any engine entered to Moto3
    • Software equipment: Miscellanea:

  2. Requested software strategies:

  3. TYRES: There will be a single supplier. Proposals must be handed to the FIM and Dorna by 28 February 2011 at the latest. The final decision will be announced by the GP Commission on 19 March 2011.
  4. FUEL/OIL: There will be a single supplier. Proposals must be handed to the FIM and Dorna by 28 February 2011 at the latest. The final decision will be announced by the GP Commission on 19 March 2011.

Source: MotoMatters

Comment:

  1. Sean in Oz says:

    From motomatters.com:

    “But the really bad news is that the fans grossly overestimate the effect that using GPS has on MotoGP electronics. GPS is a quick and easy way of determining the position of the bike on the track, but it can be fairly simply replaced by using the engine and wheel speed data to calculate the bike’s position accurately enough for the really useful data – camber and track slope – to be taken into account in the bike’s traction control systems. The banning of GPS will have a barely noticeable effect on how the machines behave.

    GPS has very little bearing on the amount of sliding and wheelying that the fans say they miss so much. The on-board accelerometers and gyroscopes have a much greater effect, the accelerometers being used to control wheelies and slides, and gyroscopes monitoring the bike’s attitude, and passing that information back to the traction control system, which can then use it to manage wheel spin.”

  2. rrse says:

    does that mean the people riding the bikes are’nt riding them anymore? stick with the super bikes, real racing….

  3. rrse says:

    is that a picture of stoner the moaner just before he crashes? :)

  4. Westward says:

    In a more nefarious aspect, Dorna could have the ability to determine the outcome of a race. If the GPS does mean the difference of tenths of a second.

  5. GP Commission modifies 2011 rules http://bit.ly/iioz0U

  6. james richards says:

    take all the rider aids away,,,,,,, real men, real talent, real racing……………..