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: One More Time at the Australian GP

10/28/2012 @ 2:35 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

MotoGP: One More Time at the Australian GP Sunday Phillip Island MotoGP Scott Jones 01

Despite the typically variable and sometimes awful weather all week at Phillip Island, the clouds seemed to understand that Sunday afternoon was to be Casey Stoner’s last race at the Australian track, and obliged the jam-packed Aussie crowd with warm rays of sunshine.

On form all week, despite his ankle injury, Stoner was a landslide favorite to win the Australian GP, and the 53,100 fans in attendance were treated to one more showing of Stoner’s unique understanding of the Phillip Island race circuit, which now has a corner bearing his name.

With Casey doing what he does best at PI, the attention as the race started was as to whether a second World Champion would be crowned this Sunday, as Marc Márquez had locked up the 2012 Moto2 World Championship just a few minutes before the MotoGP race. With Lorenzo needing to beat Pedrosa to claim his crown, the Australian GP got underway in earnest.

Through the first turns, it was clear what Lorenzo’s intentions were, as he lead Pedrosa and Stoner through the first sections. With it being do or die, Pedrosa made haste on getting Lorenzo under control, and put his Repsol Honda at the front of the pack. The battle between the Spaniards would have to take a backseat role though, as coming down the front straight, going into the second lap, Casey Stoner made his move on Pedrosa, and never looked back.

Riding a hard, but not extreme race, Stoner comfortably won his sixth-in-a-row Australian GP with a comfortable 9+ second lead. With the crowd expecting a close battle for second, as Pedrosa clung to hope in the MotoGP Championship, the unthinkable happened: Pedrosa crashed. Coming off the racing line in Turn 4, Pedrosa said after the race that he felt the front tire begin to chatter, before it finally tucked-in on him.

Crashing out on the second lap of the race, Pedrosa was visibly distraught about what had just transpired as he rode into the pits. Dismounting from the bike, Pedrosa’s only chance for redemption would be if Lorenzo joined him prematurely in the pit lane, and gained less than two points. That, however, did not happen. With no one to push him, Lorenzo rode a managed race to the end, and claimed his second MotoGP World Championship, and his fourth overall Grand Prix World Championship.

While Casey dazzled the crowd one last time with his riding ability at Phillip Island, the close-fought action was all in the battle for third, which became the battle for fourth once Cal Crutchlow broke away from the group. With Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl, and Alvaro Bautista all trailing behind Crutchlow, the three riders took turns leading the fourth-place moto-train.

Battling in just about every race all season, that scrap of a fight went to the more experienced Dovizioso, who didn’t have the same speed as Crutchlow to breakaway from the group, and instead had to bide his time until the end of the race.

For the Ducati riders, it was a race to forget. Talking to Nicky Hayden, the American remembered fondly of previous battles with Rossi at Phillip Island, though those were always for the race win. For 2012, it would be for 7th place. Destroying his front tire over the course of the 27 laps, a last turn bobble kept Hayden from putting further pressure on Rossi.

For the Italian, seventh place seemed the ultimate potential, and joked that the 37 second deficit at the checkered flag wasn’t a bad result, saying he was expecting it to be more like 54 seconds (2 seconds a lap behind Stoner).

For the CRT contingency however, Saturday’s qualifying promise turned out to be an empty one, though Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro managed a good intramural scrimmage throughout the race. For their efforts, they managed to embarrass Hector Barbera, who finished behind the CRT bikes with his satellite Ducati prototype machine.

MotoGP finishes up the 2012 season at Valencia, Spain in two weeks’ time, and will be immediately followed with the start of the post-season testing at the same venue.

Race Results from the Australian GP at Phillip Island, Australia:

Pos.RiderNationTeamBikeTime
1Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda41’01.324
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+9.223
3Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+14.570
4Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+23.303
5Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+23.432
6Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda+23.467
7Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+37.113
8Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+38.387
9Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+52.613
10Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART+1’00.299
11Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART+1’00.342
12Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati+1’21.951
13Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter+1’27.857
14Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR1 Lap
15Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR1 Lap
Not Classified
Roberto ROLFOITASpeed MasterART9 Laps
Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter21 Laps
James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART22 Laps
Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda26 Laps

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

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