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.

Lap Times: Prototypes vs. CRT vs. Moto2 at Phillip Island

10/27/2012 @ 1:40 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Lap Times: Prototypes vs. CRT vs. Moto2 at Phillip Island Saturday Phillip Island MotoGP Scott Jones 04

For qualifying at Phillip Island, it would be safe to say that the weather conditions were tricky. Cold, cloudy, windy, with at times drops of rain, both MotoGP and Moto2 had to overcome the variable climate at the coastal Australian track.

With three turns clocking well over 200 km/h (~125 mph), Phillip Island is a fast circuit, but not necessarily a circuit dominated by bikes with a lot of horsepower. Instead, rhythm is the name of the game at PI, with the riders who are able to navigate the circuit’s intricacies benefiting the most: cue Casey Stoner.

Almost a full season now into the great CRT experiment, Phillip Island is one of the circuits where the production-motor machines can shine brighter, and none of them shine brighter than Team Aspar’s Aprilia ART.

Embarrassing some prototype machines during Saturday’s sessions, Randy de Puniet will start on the grid Sunday right next to Valentino Rossi, having qualified only 0.006 seconds behind the factory Ducati rider. Behind him will be the other prototype Ducatis, with Aleix Espargaro also in the mix.

The progress of the Aprilia ART is said to be down to Aspar getting a new set of motors from Aprilia Racing for the Australian GP, with those new motors making a sizable step in horsepower (+10hp according to Cal Crutchlow).

With the WSBK-spec Aprilia RSV4 Factory proving to be a potent machine in its own right, MotoGP’s CRT riders are clearly benefiting from getting closer to Aprilia Racing’s capabilities, but what about the Honda-powered 600cc Moto2 machines?

With the top Moto2 bikes dangerously close to the lap times of the slower MotoGP CRT machines at Phillip Island, Pol Espargaro managed to do the unthinkable and best Ivan Silva with his Kalex-chassised Moto2 race bike, with a bevy of other riders within MotoGP’s 107% qualifying cut-off.

In fact, if you let the Moto2 riders on the MotoGP grid, you would have an even 40 bikes for Sunday’s race, while Australia’s Kris McLaren would be forced to watch the race from pit lane, as his Avinta Blusens BQR-FTR wasn’t able to make the cut this afternoon.

While many CRT machines have failed to live up to their potential, the Aspar Aprilia ART does show some signs of hope in the class — though there seems to be a three-fold separation in the series now, with CRT teams being behind on machinery, rider talent, and team budgets/preparedness.

For instance, the NGM Forward team has been languishing pretty much all season with its BMW/Suter race bike, but no one would attribute those results to Colin Edwards’ riding ability and the amount of testing that has gone into the project.

Similar thoughts can be said about the other two teams running the Aprilia ART, as both Speed Master and Paul Bird Motorsports have struggled to get out from the back of the pack, despite being on the preferred CRT package.

With PBM said to have basically done no testing this season, and forced to develop the bike on race weekends, the results are not that surprising. It should not be surprising either that the machines in the Aspar garage are a bit different than the ones found at Speedmaster and PBM, a function perhaps of Team Aspar’s funding situation compared to the other smaller outfits.

With only 12 prototypes on the grid next season, and the CRT grid said to expand, it remains to be seen whether the CRTs can make the gap to true MotoGP performance, though things like a spec-ECU might make the difference, as it will allow the less-funded teams to get a boost in their electronics, while simultaneously hindered the factory prototypes.

All of this just fuels the WSBK vs. MotoGP debate, and what differentiates the two series — especially when back in February, Carlos Checa qualified quicker on his Ducati Superbike 1098R than Rossi did on his Ducati Desmosedici GP12.

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

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.6 1’29.623 -
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 330.6 1’30.140 0.517
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.7 1’30.575 0.952
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 332.7 1’30.763 1.140
5 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 337.1 1’30.798 1.175
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.7 1’31.200 1.577
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 334.9 1’31.490 1.867
8 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 337.4 1’31.661 2.038
9 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 323.6 1’31.667 2.044
10 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 334.4 1’31.681 2.058
11 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 339.6 1’31.910 2.287
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 319.8 1’31.990 2.367
13 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 334.1 1’32.231 2.608
14 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 316.8 1’33.050 3.427
15 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 315.4 1’33.069 3.446
16 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 321.7 1’33.450 3.827
17 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 317.4 1’33.489 3.866
18 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 314.0 1’33.577 3.954
19 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Tuenti Movil HP 40 Kalex 281.3 1’33.705 4.082
20 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 313.5 1’34.156 4.533
21 Scott REDDING GBR Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 282.5 1’34.264 4.641
22 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol Suter 280.8 1’34.408 4.785
23 Thomas LUTHI SWI Interwetten-Paddock Suter 281.5 1’34.513 4.89
24 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 277.3 1’34.541 4.918
25 Randy KRUMMENACHER SWI GP Team Switzerland Kalex 290.7 1’34.596 4.973
26 Johann ZARCO FRA JIR Moto2 Motobi 285.1 1’34.696 5.073
27 Andrea IANNONE ITA Speed Master Speed Up 281.5 1’34.714 5.091
28 Anthony WEST AUS QMMF Racing Team Speed Up 278.6 1’34.765 5.142
29 Esteve RABAT SPA Tuenti Movil HP 40 Kalex 283.1 1’34.900 5.277
30 Simone CORSI ITA Came IodaRacing Project FTR 277.6 1’34.973 5.35
31 Dominique AEGERTER SWI Technomag-CIP Suter 284.3 1’35.020 5.397
32 Axel PONS SPA Tuenti Movil HP 40 Kalex 281.7 1’35.052 5.429
33 Mika KALLIO FIN Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 291.3 1’35.071 5.448
34 Bradley SMITH GBR Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 274.1 1’35.169 5.546
35 Xavier SIMEON BEL Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 276.2 1’35.310 5.687
36 Julian SIMON SPA Blusens Avintia Suter 280.4 1’35.466 5.843
37 Toni ELIAS SPA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 283.3 1’35.546 5.923
38 Mike DI MEGLIO FRA Kiefer Racing Kalex 281.2 1’35.589 5.966
39 Jordi TORRES SPA Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter 275.9 1’35.609 5.986
40 Ricard CARDUS SPA Arguiñano Racing Team AJR 272.0 1’35.864 6.241
DNQ Kris McLAREN AUS Avintia Blusens BQR 311.6 1’36.324 6.701

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

Comment:

  1. Julian Bond says:

    Philip Island is always weird though. I can’t help thinking a 2002 McWilliams in his prime would have put the Aprilia on pole. Seeing as he did a 1’31.919 on the KR3 Proton way back then.

    What’s also interesting is Supersports Broc Parkes 1’34.445 vs Moto2 Marquez 1’34.408 IMHO, the MotoGP problem of SBK vs MotoGP is not the problem. It’s Moto2 vs Supersports that looks like duplication.

  2. A grid of 40 bikes within the 107% rule would change the face of the racing completely, as there’d be so much overtaking going on. There’s your show: combine the classes into MotoGP2.

  3. Rick65 says:

    Not sure why we need 1000s when the Moto2 bikes with package motors are good for 175 -180mph.