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: Decisive Racing at the Czech GP

08/14/2011 @ 9:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MotoGP: Decisive Racing at the Czech GP Repsol Honda Czech GP race 635x421

The weather continued to shine on Brno for the Czech GP (we’ll see if it holds off for Monday’s 1,000 bike test), as the MotoGP riders geared-up for one of the paddock’s favorite circuits on the calendar. With MotoGP dodging a bullet on what’s been a rain-filled season, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Casey Stoner lead the 17 rider grid with their front-row qualifying lap times. While Pedrosa seemed to be uncatchable all week long, Lorenzo and Stoner seemed up to the task of at least being road blocks to the flying Spaniard, and in the process grasp some desperately needed strong finishes for the Championship title.

With precious Championship points on the line, Brno held the possibility for several riders to mount their assault on the leader board, including third-row starter Andrea Dovizioso. For Stoner on the other hand, the Czech GP was an opportunity to put some breathing room between himself and the competition, especially as the Australian considers whether he will forgo the Japanese GP round at Motegi later this October, surely losing position on the Championship in the process. With so much riding on their performance at Brno, MotoGP racing didn’t disappoint in this well-fought race.

Launching forward for their 22 laps around the Brno circuit, the Czech GP started with Dani Pedrosa unsurprisingly rocketing off the line and leading the pack into the first turns. Followed by Stoner, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, and Spies through Turn 1, Pedrosa seemed firmly in control on the start of the bought. A few turns later though, Jorge Lorenzo would neatly get past Pedrosa for the race lead, putting some distance between himself and the other competitors jockeying for position. Though all three front-row qualifiers were in the mix, they were joined by Andrea Dovizioso who had a tremendous start from his seventh place qualifying position. With Pedrosa, Dovi, and Stoner all dicing things up for the first few laps, the front-runners finally settled into their spots as Lorenzo lead Pedrosa, Stoner, and Dovi.

Pedrosa wasn’t going to let Lorenzo out of hi sights though, and the pair created a small gap to the rest of the field. By the third lap, Lorenzo made a small mistake at Turn 1, and Pedrosa was past him for the race lead. The blunder cost Lorenzo second place as well, as Casey Stoner seized on the opportunity, and was past the reigning World Champion moments later. For Pedrosa, the race lead would be short-lived, as the Spaniard crashed in Turn 4. With Pedrosa crashing out almost as soon as Stoner got past Lorenzo, the Repsol Honda rider handed his teammate the race lead, and Stoner never looked back.

Taking his lead to eight seconds at one point during the race, Casey Stoner rode a confident and inspiring 22 laps. Putting more padding between him and Jorge Lorenzo in the Championship standings, Stoner also momentarily quieted the buzz around him, his position on Motegi, and his newly announced family. Stoner’s commanding race also added more pause to critics of the Australian, who have questioned his riding talent the past seasons on the Ducati Desmosedici.

Stoner’s strong ride to the finish line was strengthened perhaps by trouble in Lorenzo’s camp, as the Yamaha rider was one of the few who selected a soft-compound front tire for the race. Notably dropping off the pace as the race wore on, Lorenzo had to settle the day with a fourth place finish. Though Andrea Dovizioso passed Lorenzo early in the race, the Italian’s own bobble on his bike relinquished the second place position back to the Spaniard. It would take Dovi four more laps to regain his position.

During that process a very determined Marco Simoncelli entered the fray. The fastest man on the track for a number of laps, Super Sic put his pressure on whomever was in third place and in front of him. Trailing for the first 12 laps of the race, Simoncelli made his move on Lorenzo at the same time as Dovi did, keeping close tabs on his Honda rival. Hoping to take Dovizioso’s seat in the factory team next year, Super Sic would instead have to settle for a third place step for his first MotoGP podium. The result was not for a lack of trying, but after chasing Dovi, and having several looks at the Honda-from-a-different-mother, Simoncelli decided bringing the San Carlo Gresini Honda squad its first podium of the season was a wiser decision.

Another battle of note was that between Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista. The Rizla Suzuki has been looking in better shape lately, and with Ducati finding some ground this weekend at Brno, the close laps times between the Spanish and Italian riders created a battle for sixth place that no one would have predicted a season ago. The fun would be ended far too soon though, as with six laps to go in the race, Bautista would find the gravel trap.

Just one of several riders going off the circuit that day, Pedrosa and Bautista would be joined by Cal Crutchlow and Karel Abraham as riders who could not go the race distance. The second rider to crash in the day, Karel Abraham tried to salvage his home race by remounting his bike after his Turn 1 incident. The 2010-spec Ducati Desmosedici would only last for nine more laps though, finally grenading on the young Abraham, and ending what has been a dismal weekend for the Czech rider.

With today’s finish, Casey Stoner (218 pts.) now leads Jorge Lorenzo (186 pts.) by 32 points in the Championship, who in turn leads Andrea Dovizioso (163 pts.) by only 23 points. Valentino Rossi (118 pts.) also replaces Dani Pedrosa (110 pts.) as fourth in the Championship standings, the two riders now separated by only eight points. Ben Spies (109 pts.) lurks in sixth, one point behind Pedrosa. Nicky Hayden is in seventh with 103 points, making the bracket for fourth very tight.

MotoGP returns to action in two weeks’ time, making its next stop in the USA for the Indianapolis GP. Asphalt & Rubber will be bringing you live coverage yet again from the American round, stay tuned for that.

Race Results from the Czech GP at Brno:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Diff.
1 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team -
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team +6.532
3 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini +7.792
4 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing +8.513
5 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing +10.186
6 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team +12.632
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team +23.037
8 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +24.189
9 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini +25.202
10 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP +36.566
11 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP +36.679
12 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team +37.109
13 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team +48.911
Not Classified
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 6 Laps
17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 10 Laps
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 16 Laps
26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 20 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda


  1. 333 says:

    i can’t help but think the balance between rider skill and machine is tipping a bit too much towards machine in motogp. honda, honda honda. yamaha, yamaha. ducati, ducati.