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: Mixed Weather for Qualifying at Jerez

04/28/2012 @ 1:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Mixed Weather for Qualifying at Jerez 2012 Spanish GP Jerez Friday Scott Jones 41

With rain in all three of MotoGP’s Free Practice Sessions at Jerez, qualifying for the Spanish GP was unsurprisingly shaped by the weather. Getting a dry track with damp sections, riders were able to go out initially on slicks, though mid-way through it looked like rain could cut short the chance for lap-time improvements. The weather more or less cooperated though, only interrupting the qualifying briefly, though it did help make for some interesting results, with more than a few riders caught sliding along the asphalt.

The highlight of qualifying was surely the closing minutes, as Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa traded lap times back and forth for the pole position. With Lorenzo just edging out Pedrosa in the last two laps, the Spanish duo will be set to continue their battle with each other tomorrow. A second back from the pace of the factory Yamaha and factory Honda, Nicky Hayden rode an impressive session on his factory Ducati, and just squeaked ahead of British rider Cal Crutchlow, who looked to be a contender for the pole spot for most of the session.

Getting a front row start at the Qatar GP, Crutchlow has been shining star in Yamaha, and once again has bested factory rider Ben Spies, as well as teammate Andrea Dovizioso. With Spies’s spot on the factory Yamaha MotoGP team coming under serious question with the latest results, the American has to improve his position in the Yamaha ranks if he wants to keep his seat come contract renewal time. With Crutchlow looking to move out of the satellite unit, and Dovi moving to Tech 3 expressly to make an audition for the factory team, the inter-Yamaha rivalry is heating up nicely.

Making an embarrassment out of the Ducatis of Karel Abraham, Hector Barbera, and Valentino Rossi, the CRT effort of Randy de Puniet on the Aprilia ART made a Top 10 qualifying position. Decimating Colin Edwards on the BMW/Suter, de Puniet will be the CRT rider to watch on Sunday, with the question being how many prototype bike scalps he can collect in the process.

One of the scalps that is certainly up for grabbing is surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, Valentino Rossi’s, who excelled with the Ducati in wet conditions, but continues to flounder during dry ones. Unable to ride the GP12 the way he wants to, Rossi’s pace has brought about some talk as to whether the Italian is sandbagging his results in order to push Ducati in a direction that will see the Italian factory incorporate features the Italian rider has requested — one of which is an engine with a more usable power band (the GP12 is widely regarded as having the most aggressive engine in the paddock).

How much of that talk is grounded in truth is left to speculation, but The Doctor’s results certainly are not impressive, especially considering the pace of his teammate and satellite rivals. With more rain expected for Sunday’s race though, VR46 fans may still have some hope in salvaging the race weekend.

Qualifying Results from the Spanish GP at Jerez, Spain:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 282.1 1’39.532 -
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 283.5 1’39.667 0.135
3 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 282.3 1’40.563 1.031
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 281.7 1’40.570 1.038
5 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 285.9 1’40.577 1.045
6 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 280.9 1’41.090 1.558
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 284.0 1’41.180 1.648
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 286.9 1’41.447 1.915
9 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 287.3 1’41.550 2.018
10 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 265.6 1’41.700 2.168
11 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 284.2 1’41.724 2.192
12 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 288.8 1’41.871 2.339
13 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 282.3 1’42.961 3.429
14 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 267.7 1’43.135 3.603
15 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 268.2 1’43.363 3.831
16 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 266.5 1’44.308 4.776
17 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 269.5 1’44.467 4.935
18 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 257.4 1’44.645 5.113
19 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 261.4 1’44.717 5.185
20 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 264.8 1’45.724 6.192
21 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 264.5 1’46.200 6.668

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Westward says:

    I am surprised to see Hayden and Crutchlow ahead of Spies and Stoner. Abraham ahead of Barbara is also interesting…

    However, if Hayden can push that bike into third and under a second of the pace setters, I would think Rossi under actual race conditions should fair better than thirteenth… If the numbers are a true reflection of pace for Stoner, Spies, and Dovizioso, then maybe Rossi could make the rostrum…

  2. 76 says:

    Should be a good race no matter if its dry or wet, lets just hope its one or the other, mixed conditions is not only dangerous its annoying. You can tell each rider is on pins and needles the entire time, should be some good passing seeing as the grid has become such a mixed bag. I think Lorenzo is going to be tough to beat here but I’m sure Stoner will show up sooner or later in the race, wet race its Lorenzo.

  3. My admiration for Hayden just goes up as I see VR struggling to stay in the top 15. Rostrum for Rossi? Maybe if it snows …