Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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.

Preview of Misano: On Yamaha’s Seamless Gearbox, Marquez’s Misdemeanors & The Veto That Wasn’t

09/13/2013 @ 12:08 pm, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

Preview of Misano: On Yamahas Seamless Gearbox, Marquezs Misdemeanors & The Veto That Wasnt misano san marino gp track 635x455

Will they or won’t they? The “they”, of course, were Yamaha, and the question was whether Yamaha would start to use their seamless gearbox at Misano, something which riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo had been asking for a long time.

That the gearbox would be used at the test on Monday seemed obvious, but several publications – including both MCN and the Spanish website Motocuatro - predicted that Yamaha’s seamless transmission would be raced at Misano.

They were right. In the press conference on Thursday, Jorge Lorenzo was the first to break the news. “It will be here for the weekend,” he said, going on to clarify: “tomorrow.” Rossi was delighted, telling the press conference he was very happy that Yamaha had decided to start using the seamless transmission, as it could help them in their fight against Honda.

It was not by any means a magic bullet, Rossi was at pains to stress, but it would make it easier to ride over the full length of a race. There is no real gain in terms of lap time, but with reduced tire wear and reduced strain on the rider, it did add up to gains in total race time.

“It was a nice feeling not to feel this dropping of power for a few milliseconds,” Lorenzo explained. “You don’t feel it on the seamless – it is like a scooter, an automatic bike.” The biggest gain was in shifting up through the gearbox with the bike banked over, Lorenzo said.

With the conventional gearbox, the bike would move, but with the seamless, “‘the bike doesn’t move and you save more the tires and are in more in control of the bike.”

Lorenzo had previously put the improvement at 2 or 3 seconds over the course of a race. Would this be enough to beat Honda? American journalist Dennis Noyes had crunched the numbers on the average advantage of each win, taking only races into account in which everyone was (more or less) fit, and conditions were dry.

The outcome? The average advantage which a Honda won by was 18.728 seconds, the average advantage of a Yamaha win was 13.485. An improvement of 3 seconds over race distance would shift the balance back away from Honda, evening up the fight.

As Jorge Lorenzo demonstrated at Silverstone last time out, if he can stay close in the last few laps, then he can attempt to put up a fight. That has got to be good for Lorenzo’s title chances, and good for the spectacle of MotoGP. More equal performance has to be a good thing.

The really good news for the Yamahas is that the seamless gearbox will fit in the existing casings, meaning that it can be used in the engines which are already part of the allocation. That, at least, is what Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told the press conference, though there is no reason to doubt his word.

It would mean that Rossi and Lorenzo could retrofit the gearbox to all their bikes, using it in all the engines which they have already started using. The gearbox had been designed entirely by Yamaha themselves, Jarvis explained. It had been an expensive undertaking, and not been something they had wanted to do, but their hand had been forced, Jarvis said.

“If Honda hadn’t invested a huge amount of money to develop the seamless, we wouldn’t have invested a large amount of money to go seamless,” Jarvis explained, adding “that’s the nature of competition.”

Ironically, Misano is one track where Yamaha could probably vie with the Hondas without the seamless transmission. Jorge Lorenzo’s record in MotoGP is exemplary: he has only ever finished either first or second at the circuit, winning the last two editions. Teammate Valentino Rossi won in 2008 and 2009, was on the podium in 2010, and even in 2012 on the Ducati.

The track is literally within walking distance (albeit, a long walk) from his home in nearby Tavullia, a pilgrimage a group of his fans undertake every year. To say that Rossi comes to Misano more motivated than usual would be to put it mildly indeed.

So having the seamless transmission should help Lorenzo in his battle to retain his title, despite the gap to Marc Marquez. Yet however well he normally goes at Misano, it will be tough to beat the Hondas.

Dani Pedrosa looked like walking away with the race last year, after dominating in qualifying, but an organizational failure on the grid after a tire warmer melted to his front brake meant he was forced to start from the back of the grid, and was then taken out in a crash with Hector Barbera.

If Pedrosa is in the same form he was last year, he could be tough to beat. Pedrosa was unusually absent from Misano on Thursday, however, the Repsol Honda rider’s customary press conferences having been canceled, with no reason given.

But what of Marc Marquez? The championship leader and outstanding rookie is back in good shape, and not expecting any problems from the shoulder he dislocated at Silverstone on Sunday morning. He was pleased not to have needed surgery on his shoulder, and was keen to see how he would cope with the shorter, tighter Misano circuit on a MotoGP bike.

Marquez’s record here is impressive: three wins in the last three years, making him a firm favorite to be running at the front here this year too. Lorenzo may be strong at Misano, but he may need all the help from the seamless gearbox he can get to hold off Marc Marquez.

Marquez’s crash at Silverstone was subject to discussion. One respected journalist I spoke to believed that the two penalty points Marquez was awarded had been far too lenient. Penalties were supposed to hurt, he said, and on the evidence of previous penalties awarded against Marquez – starting from the back of the grid at Phillip Island in 2011 and Valencia in 2012 – he had not learned enough from those punishments.

Ignoring waved yellow flags – which Marquez claimed not to have seen – could have put the lives of volunteer marshals in danger, if the Racesafe organization which works UK motor sports events did not have an ingenious spotter system in place, in which one person stands aside and looks for trouble, warning the marshals clearing the wreckage of any impending danger.

The only way to get Marquez looking for yellow flags, he argued, was to ban him for a race. That might get his attention sufficiently to make him think again about some of the risks he was taking.

It had worked with Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard telling reporters previously that his one-race ban when he was racing 250s had made a big impression on him, and had actually made him change his ways. Maybe this is what Marquez will need in the future.

While much of the attention is on the fight for the championship, and the role which Valentino Rossi might play at his home round, it is easy to forget that this is also the second home race for Ducati. The Italian factory has already tested here, though it was nearly two months ago, and Andrea Dovizioso was not convinced it would make much difference.

They would have a base setting for their electronics and gearbox, the Italian said, but would still have a lot of work to do. Ducati had benefited last year, when Valentino Rossi got on the podium, but that had been under special circumstances. Almost all of practice was lost to rain at Misano last year, giving Rossi and Ducati an advantage in set up. With the weather expected to be dry all weekend, a repeat of 2012 is unlikely.

Yet the layout of Misano can work on Ducati’s favor. There are few fast corners, where Ducati suffers most. The track is good for bikes with good acceleration, which the Ducatis have, and with the improvements in corner entry, they may be a little bit closer to the front. For them to get on the podium would take a minor miracle, however, none of the Ducati riders believe that is likely.

One notable rider is to make his debut at Misano. Luca Marini, stepbrother of Valentino Rossi, has entered at Misano as a wild card, and will ride an FTR Honda for the Italian federation team. The 16-year-old Marini is currently second in the standings in the Italian Moto3 championship, and is keen to follow in his elder brother’s footsteps.

There will be a lot of eyes upon him, though he told the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport that his goal is top 20. That would be an achievement in and of itself.

With six more races of the 2013 season to go, speculation has started on the 2014 season. Enquiries revealed that there has been limited progress made so far, as MotoGP awaits an official calendar from the Formula 1 series, so that they can schedule their races around them.

The season is likely to start on 23rd of March in Qatar, with rounds following in Argentina and Austin, before heading back to Europe. Silverstone will stay where it was this year, at the end of August, and Brazil is likely to be added as the final race. With Argentina and Brazil joining, that would make for a 20-race schedule.

That is not the intention, I was told, though those involved in organizing the schedule are currently working with three different calendars, one with 18, one with 19 and one with 20 races on the schedule.

Eighteen is still the preferred number, though contracts may prevent that from being achieved. Valencia is the prime candidate to be dropped from the schedule, followed shortly by Laguna Seca.

Laguna is “the most dangerous track on the calendar” I was told, and the very small amount which Laguna pays to organize the MotoGP race – and hence the reason why Moto2 and Moto3 don’t go there – was another reason to leave it off the calendar.

Contractual obligations mean that Laguna Seca will probably stay on the calendar for next year, but beyond that, it looks certain to disappear.

Finally, the subject of Casey Stoner, and wild card appearances being vetoed. In recent weeks, reports appeared in both the Spanish press and in MCN that Carmelo Ezpeleta had rejected the idea of Casey Stoner doing a wild card at Phillip Island. Some people had taken those reports and turned it into Ezpeleta having turned Honda’s application down, and vetoed a come back by Stoner, so I decided to check.

After making inquiries, I found out that Honda had never made a formal application to the Grand Prix Commission to have Stoner race as a wild card. I then asked HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto if he had made an informal request to Ezpeleta to allow Stoner to race. The answer I got both times was simple: No.

HRC had never applied for a wild card entry, nor had they ever had the intention of applying. It was understood that Stoner’s only interest was in riding the bike, and that he had no desire to subject himself to the media circus involved in racing. He was happy testing, but had not expressed any interest in racing as a wild card.

Had Carmelo Ezpeleta been lying when he talked to reporters? Again, no. Ezpeleta had been asked a hypothetical question: would you grant Stoner a wild card entry for Phillip Island this year? His answer was no, that was not what wild card entries were for, but rather for showcasing local talent or new projects.

But there had never been a plan from Honda to enter Stoner as a wild card, so the question itself was meaningless.

Stoner was happy testing, and there was much work still to do. His former crew chief and now senior HRC engineer Cristian Gabarrini had flown out to Motegi for Stoner’s two-day test last week, only to be confronted by unrideable conditions. It was a typical tropical downpour, Gabarrini said, 30°, 85% humidity, and torrential rain. It had been a long way to fly to sit and watch the rain.

Rain is not expected at Misano, at least for the next couple of days. The weather looks like being very good, with just the hint of a few drops on Friday. Sunday, however, could be different, with rain expected to fall in the afternoon.

When in the afternoon will be crucial. With a bit of luck, it will remain dry. MotoGP fans deserve it, especially if Lorenzo, Marquez, Pedrosa, and maybe even Valentino Rossi can serve up another thriller like Silverstone. There is good reason to expect that to happen.

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

Comment:

  1. TexusTim says:

    ok so dave get off this “punish maquez thing” do you really think during practise that didnt even count for qulifing that he purposly ignored the flagger and then crashed because of it ?…he probably didnt see it!!..is that a friggin posablitiy?…what do you want to do take a round of points away ?what if he loses this thing by two points then will he be punished enough? and this whole another well known reporter said so..well your reporting but left that your source.,…that sounds like “they say” which is just another way to validate your own oppinion. leave the kid alone he is pushing the hell out of it and that kind of thing happens, I dont see him doing anything that says he is dangerous or reckless.

  2. KSW says:

    Dave,

    Whew, that was a read and a good one. I’ll stick to those that stand out to me.

    Marquez and Silverstone. I couldn’t agree more with your “one respected journalist” which you are yourself.
    2 points did nothing to stop the young Matador Marquez as it was not a real penalty considering the damage
    he came so close to inflicting on so many. Personally I couldn’t understand why he was still on row one or racing at all.

    Laguna. Are they not willing to pay Dorna because they are trying to support AMA and benefit from the fans of both series. Would there be a MotoGP without the likes of AMA, BSB, and all the other small series that create a global market place for MotoGP? What if any conversation have you had with Gene Crouch at AMA about what he’s had to deal with regarding Dorna or BSB for that matter. From my conversations with the man I’d say Dorna does everything possible to make it impossible for them at AMA.

    Lastly, on the bigger picture as someone who deals with the pay to play because your not a print publication I’d offer the following to you, Scott and all the others who are paying to have more viewers than a print publication.
    Take a fortnight off and go to the Isle of Man TT. Promote nothing at all during that time regarding Dorna/MotoGP/Bridgepoint and have some amazing fun covering some real between the hedges racing. When you all return to MotoGP afterwards see how they feel about charging you to be in there empty media room. I’d think there perspective might change and you’d find that you get better analytics from the TT than MotoGP. Ask Jensen, he’ll tell you.

    Keep up the good work mate.

  3. robin says:

    in no way motogp and f1 races being held at the same time because no one watches both motogp and wsbk