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: Japanese GP Proves to be Worth the Hype

10/02/2011 @ 12:40 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Japanese GP Proves to be Worth the Hype Andrea Dovizioso Japanese GP 2011 635x421

A less well-known MotoGP factoid is that Honda owns the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, though to the casual observer HRC clearly had a dominate presence at Motegi this weekend, with eight bikes on the grid throughout the race weekend. As the Yamahas struggled throughout the week, and with Ducati still hunting for a setup that will allow them to compete near the front, Honda continued to make a point of national unity at the Japanese GP going into Sunday’s race, a fact that has been further underlined by the company’s continued dominance in the 2011 season.

After a dominant finish in Aragon, Casey Stoner had all but won the 2011 MotoGP Championship, though few expected the Australian to take things easy in Japan this weekend. No longer nipping on Stoner’s Championship heals, Lorenzo came to Japan with a tall order to defend his #1 plate, though mathematically the reigning-World Champion hasn’t been ruled out of the Championship. Expected to push hard for the rest of the season, Lorenzo’s fate this season rested on the hopes for a mistake from the seemingly unstoppable Stoner.

Taking dominion over the Japanese GP, Casey Stoner started the race from the pole position, the Australian’s 10th of the 2011 season. Interrupting the Repsol Honda threesome on the front row, Jorge Lorenzo started in good shape as second on the grid, followed by Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa. Before the lights could go out to start the race though, Dovi, Simoncelli, and Cal Crutchlow, all of whom were lined up behind each other on the grid, jumped the start of the Japanese GP. With each rider levied a ride-through penalty, a shift in the outcome of the Japanese GP occurred with one broad brush stroke. The penalty undoubtedly affected Dovizioso the most, as the Italian rider was in second place, and gaining distance on Casey Stoner the race leader at the time the penalty came down from Race Direction.

Before the first lap was even over though, more shake-ups would ensure, as Valentino Rossi found himself between Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo, as the trio entered into Turn 2. With Rossi’s Ducati making contact with Lorenzo’s Yamaha, the nine-time World Champion entered the dirt trap, bringing Spies with him. Rossi would not be able to remount his bike, while Spies made the best of the situation, and re-entered the race to finish 6th.

With Stoner gapping the field, it seemed like the Australian was well on his way to another run away victory, and perhaps closer to clinching the World Championship. On the fourth lap though, Stoner hit a wobble going down the back straight, which caused his brake pads to be pushed back into the calipers. Pulling on the brakes, and finding nothing there, Stoner pumped again, this time lifting the rear wheel with the force resulting from the now engaged carbon fiber brakes. Having to release the brakes to bring the rear tire back down, Stoner found himself too far down the straight with too much speed, and ended up going into the dirt trap of T11. Able to keep the bike upright during his off-road stint, Stoner re-entered the track now well behind the race leaders, most importantly Jorge Lorenzo.

Just after Stoner finished his supermoto excursion, Dovi, SuperSic, and Crutchlow took their ride-through penalties, thus handing the lead to Dani Pedrosa, who was followed by some distance by Jorge Lorenzo, Álvaro Bautista, and Nicky Hayden. Despite the shake-up in the order, Stoner was on the heals of Nicky Hayden by Lap 9, and worked his way past the American, and soon after the Spaniard Bautista in Lap 11.

Despite having Stoner go past him, Bautista rode a fantastic race for Suzuki — right up until the moment he crashed on Lap 14. Joining him the dirt, in a separate incident, was the Damian Cudlin, as the Australian was having what will surely be his only one-off ride for the injured Loris Capirossi in the Pramac Ducati team. The downed duo would be joined a lap later in the Crash Club by Toni Elias, as the LCR Honda rider continued his frustrating season, which could only be compounded further by the strong position he was actually maintaing in the race.

By the 19th lap, the battle at the front was all tied-up, with Pedrosa comfortably leading Lorenzo, who had an insurmountable gap over Stoner. This brought eyes towards the battle for 4th, where Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli renewed their Italian rivalry. With SuperSic essentially stealing away Dovi’s factory Honda rider for the 2012 season, the Repsol Honda rider surely had a point to prove to his San Carlo Gresini Honda counterpart. Coming down to the penultimate lap, Dovi entered onto final straight a bit wide, kicking up some dirt and losing some traction. This allowed Sic to pass Dovi going down into T1 on the final lap. With Dovizioso unable to answer back, the pair rode a close race to the finish, which saw Simoncelli the victor in more ways than one.

Noticeably absent from the race’s start was Karel Abraham, who despite participating in the practice and qualifying sessions, had too much of a concussion to safely race in today’s Japanese GP (Karel’s head had been hit by his Ducati during a crash at the Aragon GP). Conversely absent from the race’s finish was Hector Barbera, who had a massive crash, and had to stretchered off the Motegi circuit. Early reports from Motegi is that the Spanish rider may have broken his collarbone in the crash. More info on his status as we get it.

MotoGP takes just two short weeks off before resuming at Phillip Island, Australia. Asphalt & Rubber will be on-hand for the race down under, look for our live coverage on Twitter, and of course our race reports here on the site.

Race Results from the Japanese GP at Motegi, Japan:

Pos.No.RiderNationTeamBikeDiff.
126Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda42’47.481
21Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+7.299
327Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda+18.380
458Marco SIMONCELLIITASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+23.550
54Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda TeamHonda+23.691
611Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+37.604
769Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+39.167
85Colin EDWARDSUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+45.023
97Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNSan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+49.074
1014Randy DE PUNIETFRAPramac Racing TeamDucati+59.022
1135Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+1’13.964
1264Kousuke AKIYOSHIJPNLCR Honda MotoGPHonda+1’21.709
1372Shinichi ITOJPNHonda Racing TeamHonda+1’26.381
Not Classified
24Toni ELIASSPALCR Honda MotoGPHonda7 Laps
19Alvaro BAUTISTASPARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki11 Laps
6Damian CUDLINAUSPramac Racing TeamDucati11 Laps
8Hector BARBERASPAMapfre Aspar Team MotoGPDucati23 Laps
46Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati0 Lap

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda

Comment:

  1. Pacasp says:

    That’s not action! Not RACING action anyway. How pathetic. Have us MotoGP fans become so forgetful of what real racing is like that we take ride-through penalties and rides through the gravel as action? The only action was Simo and Dovi fighting for fourth place. This could well be the most boring season of Grand Prix racing I’ve ever seen.
    And what should we expect? The rules make it so: control tires; limited engine allotments; no rookies on factory machinery; restricted testing schedules; 800 cc one-line-around-the-track machines. Has ANY of these rules made the RACING better? There’s no wisdom in the rules. Attendance at tracks all over the world are way down because the races are over in the first two laps.
    God help Grand Prix racing when Rossi retires. What will be left for true RACNG fans to get excited about? Mr. Personality Casey Stoner, or Jorge Lorenz?. Man I’m frustrated right now.

  2. Steve says:

    Well, one thing is for sure, Honda is the 800 pound gorilla in the room with a herd of factory bikes stacking the grid at their home track. You could say the race was a “glowing” success for Honda making sure everybody showed up to race. Simoncelli was entertaining to watch as always and what an inspiring ride by Spies to finish 6th. Fantastic!! As far as the rest of the race,.. Yaaaahhnn.

  3. Beary says:

    Dear oh dear me. Has the cult of personality sucked you in too ? Are you the youtube / facebook / paprazzi generation ? Does a world champ need to have ‘a great personality’ to be a great world champion ? No, he doesn’t. Ok, so Rossi liked being ‘The Man’ and is a showoff (in his shall we say winning, earlier days) – that doesn’t mean everyone who leads the MotoGP these days (see: Jlo, Stoner) has to be a copycat and i think Lorenzo learned that from his laughable attempts to ‘Be Rossi’ last year. It didn’t make for good watching, in fact it was kind of embarrassing to watch him get flags stuck in his wheel, almost drown in a pool, slip and fall in the same pool the next year, etc etc etc

    Stoner has shown that a great motorcycle rider will win this year. He’s also stuck it to the 3D’s – The Doublecrossing Douchebags of Ducati, in the best way possible.

    I will be trackside to see Stoner and co at Phillip Island again this year. And I don’t have to like his personality to enjoy watching him smoke his tyres around PI’s many great bends… And I do think he is one of the most exciting riders in MotoGP in recent years – that’s enough for me. He’s a pure racer.