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: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises

03/27/2012 @ 1:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises Ducati Corse Jerez MotoGP test 2012 22 635x422

With testing concluded at Jerez, the MotoGP paddock has just two short weeks before the opening round at the Losail International Circuit is underway. Heading into Qatar, there are few surprises from last season though, as the Honda of Casey Stoner continues to dominate the time sheets, while teammate Dani Pedrosa and top-Yamaha man Jorge Lorenzo trail closely behind.

Yamaha’s package looks very refined and balanced, and appears to have gained a step on the Honda machines. This should make for more interesting racing moments, where the more balanced Yamaha YZR-M1 will excel at certain tracks, while the more powerful Honda RC213V will shine at others. Also coming more into play will be the strengths and weaknesses of Honda and Yamaha’s top riders, whose particular track preferences could be the x-factor at some of the races.

Still at best, MotoGP is shaping up to be a three-man show, with maybe Ben Spies and some other riders occasionally mixing the order of things up. This statement is of course a direct reflection on the progress of Ducati Corse, which despite having made improvements to the Ducati Desmosedici GP12, is not really any closer to making up the difference to the front of the pack. Now using a completely revised aluminum frame, the team still seems to be struggling to find a starting point from which to build from, and in the process they have killed enough spare parts to start a pick-and-pull MotoGP junkyard.

Meanwhile the CRT riders continue to be off the pace, sans one Randy de Puniet. Apparently no one told the Frenchman that his Aprilia ART was not supposed to be competitive, as the Power Electronics Aspar rider has been nipping on the heels of the slower satellite riders throughout the testing week. A thinnly disguised Aprilia RSV4 World Superbike, the Aprilia ART is the CRT of choice in the paddock, despite being one of the newer models to hit the track.

NGM Forward’s BMW/Suter machine has perhaps been in the limelight the longest, though the team and Colin Edwards have not been able to make the bike be competitive. In what may be Edwards’s last season in MotoGP, this certainly is not the way he wanted to start the long goodbye. BMW is reported to be helping the team to some degree now (as is Aprilia with the ART), and Suter seems committed to making the package work. Though like Ducati Corse, NGM Forward is talking more about future potential and opportunities, as opposed to good expectations at Qatar. Photos and test results below.

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises Ducati Corse Jerez MotoGP test 2012 29 635x422

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises HRC Jerez MotoGP test 2012 10 635x421

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises HRC Jerez MotoGP test 2012 58 635x421

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises HRC Jerez MotoGP test 2012 03 635x421

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises HRC Jerez MotoGP test 2012 23 635x421

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises HRC Jerez MotoGP test 2012 29 635x421

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises Yamaha Racing Jerez MotoGP test 2012 26 635x423

MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises Yamaha Racing Jerez MotoGP test 2012 33 635x423

Overall MotoGP Test Results from Jerez, Spain:

Pos.RiderTeamBikeTimeDiff.Leader
1Casey StonerRepsol HondaHonda1:38.780 - -
2Jorge LorenzoFactory YamahaYamaha1:38.9530.1730.173
3Dani PedrosaRepsol HondaHonda1:39.1570.3770.204
4Ben SpiesFactory YamahaYamaha1:39.4950.7150.338
5Cal CrutchlowMonster Tech 3Yamaha1:39.5850.8050.090
6Valentino RossiDucati FactoryDucati1:39.7330.9530.148
7Andrea DoviziosoMonster Tech 3Yamaha1:39.8681.0880.135
8Nicky HaydenDucati FactoryDucati1:39.9191.1390.051
9Alvaro BautistaSan Carlo GresiniHonda1:40.0171.2370.098
10Stefan BradlLCR HondaHonda1:40.0981.3180.081
11Hector BarberaPramacDucati1:40.2871.5070.189
12Karel AbrahamCardion ABDucati1:40.5791.7990.292
13Randy de PunietPower Electronics AsparAprilia ART1:40.6011.8210.022
14Aleix EspargaroPower Electronics AsparAprilia ART1:41.6452.8651.044
15Danilo PetrucciIODA RacingIODA Aprilia1:41.9263.1460.281
16Franco BattainiDucati Test TeamDucati1:42.0573.2770.131
17Colin EdwardsNGM Mobile ForwardSuter BMW1:42.0733.2930.016
18Mattia PasiniSpeed MasterAprilia ART1:42.1843.4040.111
19Michele PirroSan Carlo GresiniFTR Honda1:42.2123.4320.028
20James EllisonPBM UKAprilia ART1:42.4373.6570.225
21Ivan SilvaAvintia RacingFTR Kawasaki1:42.4463.6660.009
22Yonny HernandezAvintia RacingFTR Kawasaki1:42.9064.1260.460

Ducati Corse Testing at Jerez, Spain

HRC Testing at Jerez, Spain

Yamaha Racing Testing at Jerez, Spain

Source: MotoGP; Photos: Ducati & Yamaha

Comment:

  1. Halfie 30 says:

    Ummm… Nicky and Vale are not down as much as they were last year. I’m pretty sure Vale is sandbagging too. Tore season tests are hardly a benchmark for how the season will go other than the fact that Casey is obviously the guy to beat. Being a second or so off pace from Casy’s Honda is not a bad gap considering how down the GP11 was last year. The GP12′s development will only excelerate as the season progresses. Counting any of the factory riders out of regular podium finishes is just silly.

  2. Dr. Gellar says:

    Saying that Valentino Rossi is sandbagging is just silly. He and the Ducati package may be slowly improving, but no way is he sandbagging.

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    Like he wasn’t sandbagging in ’04 during pre season tests…? LoL. What mean is he can get more .10′s out of the bike. These times won’t be the same come race qualifying. Expect the factory riders to up the ante. Including Casey.

  4. Westward says:

    Well, I am hoping Rossi and Spies surprises us all, and makes this season more than a three man series. last year, Simoncelli was the biggest X-factor that threatened the front runners….

    Also looking forward to De Puniet maybe turning some heads with his ART.

    Maybe it’s just me, but, Kalex seems to make anyone look better than they were before…

  5. Pooch says:

    haha…that’s funny. Vale needs a crapload more than a few .10′s to be competitive. He’ll be fortunate to finish better than 5th/6th this season. Again.

  6. Halfie 30 says:

    @pooch Really? Less than a second down on an under developed bike and
    Vale needs more? I’m not even a fan and I know not to count Rossi out this season… LoL

  7. Pete says:

    Oh man… Halfie, you’re hilarious. Thanks for the laughs. Vale sandbagging! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read on a motorcycle forum in a long time. I don’t need to put LOL cause I am actually really having a good old chuckle.

    Again – cheers for the laughs. Made my day :-D

  8. Westward says:

    If Rossi could get with 6 tenths of the leaders, he could podium or even win via racecraft alone…