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.

Living the Dream – A Photographer’s Story: Qatar

Imagine if just for once you didn’t have to stick to your usual nine-to-five job. Instead you were able to do the one job you’ve always wanted to do, but any number of things (it’s usually money) have stood in the way. This is exactly the situation I found myself in six months ago when the company I had worked at, for the last 14 years, decided to close, making everyone redundant. This decision did not come as a surprise; in fact, I had been hanging around for the last few years hoping that it would happen, as I had a plan. Fast-forward six months and I have just finished photographing the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar. The plan is starting to unfold.

Monday Summary at Misano: 2013 vs. 2014 Machines, Spec Electronics, & A New Rear Bridgestone

09/17/2013 @ 1:52 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

Monday Summary at Misano: 2013 vs. 2014 Machines, Spec Electronics, & A New Rear Bridgestone jorge lorenzo misano motogp test yamaha racing

The rain on Monday morning brought a welcome respite for tired journalists at least, after a night spent filing stories until the early hours of the morning. It meant that the Misano MotoGP test did not get underway until very late in the morning, with most riders staying in the pits until well after noon.

Once they got started, though, there was a lot to be tested. Both Yamaha and Honda had brought the latest versions of their 2014 prototypes for testing, but with the championship heading into its final five races, there was a lot to work on with the current crop of machines.

That was particularly true for Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda man dropped from second to third in the championship at Misano, Jorge Lorenzo matching him on points, but taking the position on the basis of having more wins. Pedrosa has complained of a lack of rear grip almost all season, and if he is to retain a shot at the title, his team have to find a solution.

Did they find anything? Pedrosa gave a series of carefully worded answers trying to put a positive spin on the test, but the short answer was ‘not really’. There were positive points and negative points, and they had some ideas to try at the next races, but in reality, they did not find the silver bullet they were looking for.

So focused were they on the 2013 bike that Pedrosa only put in four laps on next year’s bike, and he had little to report about it, other than that the spec Magneti Marelli ECU was working well with HRC’s ECU software. He had not noticed the difference between the two. Marc Marquez had, having also tried the 2014 bike, but it was more a matter of feeling than anything else.

Both old and new packages worked well, but there was a small difference between the way the two systems felt to Marc Marquez. The fact that Honda has managed to port and translate their vehicle dynamics algorithms so well from their proprietary ECU to the spec Magneti Marelli unit suggests that the spec ECU hardware, at least, is up to the job of managing a MotoGP bike. The spec software, on the other hand…

Marquez had less to improve on the 2013 bike than Pedrosa – but then, given that he has scored five wins, a total of twelve podiums, and currently leads the championship, that is hardly surprising – and so could devote a little more time to the 2014 machine.

The bike was an improvement from the prototype tested at Aragon back in June, Marquez said. At that test, there were more negatives than positives, he explained, but now the positives vastly outweighed the negatives.

At Yamaha, both riders had spent time on the new prototype, though Lorenzo insisted he had only tested a new motor. The new engine spec had a little better acceleration, but his team needed to check the data to be sure they saw the difference which Lorenzo believed he felt.

Rossi had been more concerned about this season, and had worked on finding a cure to the front-end stability problems he has under braking. He believed they had found a solution, or at least a partial one. It was a step in the right direction, which he hoped to continue to work on at Aragon.

Ducati had very little to test. Nicky Hayden had been given the special Brembo carbon brake disks to test which the riders will use at Motegi, where brakes overheating become a problem. The larger mass helps disperse the heat more effectively, and as far as Hayden and Dovizioso could tell, they had worked.

Dovizioso had also worked on a different set up for corner entry, and he said, they had learned something. What they had learned, it emerged, was that the changes hadn’t worked, but this too is useful knowledge.

Suzuki were also once again present, with Randy de Puniet taking on temporary test duties. The bike sounded a little louder than it had at Barcelona, and appeared to have a few cosmetic differences, including a slightly different nose. Suzuki are still using their proprietary Mitsubishi ECU hardware, as they continue work on the bike, but they are already running into fueling problems.

Test rider Nobu Aoki told one reporter that Suzuki is having problems at low revs, and though he did not say so, that is exactly where fueling is so critical.

It is easy to get good throttle response when you have plenty of fuel to burn, but as you work towards making do with the (frankly depressingly stingy) 20 liters each rider has for the race, fueling at partial throttle and low revs becomes particularly sketchy.

The reduced fuel limit was one of the main reasons Suzuki decided to put back their projected return to 2015, taking another year to try to get to grips with the problems of lean running.

The most significant news was the testing of a new spec rear Bridgestone tire, aimed at providing a usable harder option rear tire. The current hard tire is almost unusable, temperatures never getting hot enough to allow the tire to maintain its core temperature.

By introducing the new rear tire, which uses a special new construction to improve warm up while retaining durability, Bridgestone hope to be able to offer riders a choice. This would give Bridgestone the chance to introduce an even softer soft option, which would be ideal for mornings when the track was cool, and prevent some of the early morning crashes we have seen.

For the most part, the riders loved it, those who had tried it. The one exception was Jorge Lorenzo, but he was comparing its performance to the softer option rear.

Bradley Smith said that the new tire solved some of Yamaha’s problems with edge grip, but both Ducati men were pleased as well. After such an overwhelmingly positive reception, the tires are likely to be debuted sooner, rather than later. And that can only be a good thing.

The paddock heads home for a week now, riders dispersing to train and help with sponsorship deals. In 9 days’ time, we reassemble at Alcañiz, for the Grand Prix of Aragon.

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Yamaha Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. jd says:

    C’mon Suzuki bring a track weapon. Need you now more than ever. As well as any other manufactures come on with it……….

  2. smiler says:

    Given how small Dani is, if he is lacking rear grip, surely a couple of sand bags would not hurt. Interesting though not surprising to see that a spec ECU will have no impact on the larger teams how can through $ at making sure it has no effect. However what will happen with less flush teams. What was the reason for the spec ecu again?
    Better tires likely good.

  3. CornerCarver says:

    Omitted was the fact that Nicky was lead to believe he would get the updated parts that Dovi had been racing with for the test, but was not allowed to test any new parts.

    First time in 5 years that Nick has had a bad word to say about Ducati. It appears he is heading to Aspar for a factory Aprilia ride and Ducati want to make certain that he does not best his team mate again this year.

    GO MM93!

  4. Norm G. says:

    re: “C’mon Suzuki bring a track weapon.”

    sorry, we cannot fulfill request at this time. please try your call again later. goodbye. (female voice, pre-recorded)