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: New Qualifying Format for 2013

10/15/2012 @ 1:26 am, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS

MotoGP: New Qualifying Format for 2013 Nicky Hayden Ducati Qualifying 635x422

Qualifying for the MotoGP class is to undergo a shake-up starting from next year. Instead of the current one-hour qualifying format, two sessions of 15 minutes will settle the starting grid, with the riders divided into two groups on the basis of their combined times through the three sessions of free practice.

The new system is a hybrid of the current system and the superpole format used by World Superbikes and Formula One. An intial selection will be made on the basis of the combined times of the first three sessions of free practice, with the 10 fastest riders going straight through to QP2, with the rest left to fight it out in QP1.

The 2 fastest riders in the 15-minute QP1 session will go through to QP2. The original 10 fastest from free practice will be joined by the 2 fastest from QP1 to fight it out for the top 12 grid positions in the 15-minute QP2 session. To compensate for the shortened qualifying sessions, a 30-minute-long fourth session of free practice will added before qualifying starts.

The idea, put before the riders at the last race in Aragon, is to spice qualifying up a little. It codifies the current situation, in which the riders spend the first 40 minutes of the hour-long qualifying session working on set up, before pushing for a grid position in the last 15 minutes or so.

It takes the current practice and pours into a more TV-friendly format, with the set up work to be left for FP4, while the intensity of the last 15 minutes of qualifying is distilled into QP1 and QP2.

The splitting of the two sessions also cuts back the number of riders on track at the same time during the hectic push for a fast time. With between 22 and 24 riders expected in the MotoGP class in 2013, each session will contain some 12 riders. The format also allows a rider with problems during free practice to advance to QP2 by giving them a chance to shoot for the top 2 times in QP1.

The downside of the change is that it will impact on TV coverage of qualifying for the Moto3 and Moto2 classes. The entire period containing FP4, QP1 and QP2 is now 80 minutes long, instead of just an hour. That leaves less time for Moto2 and Moto3, though there are no proposals to shorten qualifying for the support classes.

A possible solution could be for FP4 for the MotoGP class to be run prior to qualifying for Moto3, though it is unknown whether this is currently under consideration.

The meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, in which the qualifying changes were announced, also contains a revised definition of MotoGP’s calendar year. But what it doesn’t contain is any word of the 2014 regulations, the introduction of a standard ECU and a rev limit. The future of MotoGP remains on hold. That situation cannot be allowed to last for long.

Photo: Ducati Corse

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

Comment:

  1. Stevenk27 says:

    No wonder Stoner is leaving. You look at F1 and WSBK and its the same few riders/drivers fighting for pole with 1 or 2 surprises depending on who makes a mistake. There was nothing wrong with the current setup, if its not broken why fix it!!

  2. shallwedance? says:

    gobbledygook!

  3. Damo says:

    @Stevenk27

    As opposed to MotoGP where we only have three people fighting for pole position this year? We also only had three different race winners as well.

    I think WSBK is a bit more interesting in that department at least.

  4. smiler says:

    Well no surprise there. Make it the same format, make Motogp more like WSB, then WSb starts to fade. Especially with the CRT’s, which when you look at this it starts to make more sense. Because in isolation just as part of MotoGP, CRT’s make no sense. But as a tool to undermine WSB they make sense. I really hope Flammini and the manufacturers fight back here.

  5. Jake says:

    WSBK Super Pole is so much more interesting to watch than the 50 minutes of non-exciting qualifying setup that happens in GP followed by 5 minutes of actual hotlapping. There will still be a nice exciting push at the end of Q2 and less people like Stoner getting pissed at people ruining their fast laps. It’s a Win win for the riders and the people watching. Leave it to MotoGP fans to think every change sucks. The current system is broken and uninteresting BUT DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING.

  6. TexusTim says:

    I Like It ! it will make for some excitement and lots of strategy by teams and riders and will allow for some different results.
    it is really no surprise that over time we will see the two series come into one….crt vs wsbk… bikes are very close and will start to look more like the same bike in the next two years. I give wsbk 2 to 4 years less if the economy tanks again. sorry but it might have to happen and will make moto gp have a lot more reslence to the economy…sponsors will have more to choose from, more riders from different countries will make spectator turnout better for the track owners.
    really it would cause all the factories to compete at the same venue wouldnt that be cool ?.

  7. Nick says:

    Stevenk27 says:

    “You look at F1 and WSBK and its the same few riders/drivers fighting for pole with 1 or 2 surprises depending on who makes a mistake.”

    - Hmm, FALSE. And even if you were right Moto GP doesn’t?

    As to the TV coverage – could they work on that? As in maybe actually having coverage of more than just the race. Excuse me, if we’re talking about SPEED then 1/3 Race 2/3 Commercials and Poorly timed replays while real racing is going on. When does the US ever get to see quallys or Moto 3 on TV, I’ve never seen this nor am I interested in paying $XXXXXX per year to buy an online membership. I’m all for the change but how are they so concerned with boring coverage if the current TV coverage is next to nill? Hey we’re fans here, remember us?

  8. TexusTim says:

    Nick and steve,,speed shows qualifing in both us rounds you just have to go to moto gp click your time zone then you will know when qulifying is and you can set your dvr or just watch it live.
    soon we may get all qualifyiing rounds on tv here like everywere else.
    Dorna should just buy speed then they can homologate it also.

  9. TexusTim says:

    thay couldnt screw it up any worse thats for sure just ask “LORENTHO” bawawawawahahah !

  10. “You look at F1 and WSBK and its the same few riders/drivers fighting for pole with 1 or 2 surprises depending on who makes a mistake.”

    In F1, there have been 7 different polesitters over 16 rounds. Frankly, F1 has enjoyed the best qualifying and racing in 2012 that I can remember in many, many years.

    Anyway, I’m not sure that I’m keen on this format. I agree that the usual 60 minutes has been less than enthralling, and I dearly love the F1-style QP1, QP2 and QP3 eliminations. We’ll see how well the new formula works for 2013. Based on the description of it, I’m not so sure it’ll be a winner.

  11. Eskimo says:

    “In F1, there have been 7 different polesitters over 16 rounds. Frankly, F1 has enjoyed the best qualifying and racing in 2012 that I can remember in many, many years.”

    Agreed, 100%.