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 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.

Fuel or Electronics? Where Are Nicky Hayden & Scott Redding Losing Out on the Honda RCV1000R?

The news that Honda would be building a production racer to compete in MotoGP aroused much excitement among fans. There was much speculation over just how quick it would be, and whether it would be possible for a talented rider to beat the satellite bikes on some tracks. In the hands of active MotoGP riders, the gap was around 2 seconds at the Sepang tests. Nicky Hayden – of whom much had been expected, not least by himself – had made significant improvements, especially on corner entry. The difference in performance and the big gap to the front has been cause for much speculation. Where are the Honda production racers losing out to the Factory Option bikes?

MotoGP: A Touch of Rain Shakes up Qualifying at Silverstone

06/16/2012 @ 7:41 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

MotoGP: A Touch of Rain Shakes up Qualifying at Silverstone Bautista

With tough conditions being the week-long tradition at the British GP, MotoGP qualifying at Silverstone began with dry, but very windy, conditions. Friday’s rain saw the Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden on the top of the time sheets, though the day proved to be the tale of two Ducatis, as once the British track dried, the Desmosedici GP12 once again showed its other personaly, and proved to be a handful in the dry.

Unsurprisingly, Casey Stoner was the fastest once the water cleared, with Yamaha-man Ben Spies showing some renewed confidence as well. Noticeably quick was satellite Honda rider Alvaro Bautista, who posted a third and fifth in FP2 & FP3 for the San Carlo Gresini Honda team, respectively. With the weather supposedly set to improve tomorrow, though the chance of rain still seems to be a coin toss of probabilities, the certainty for a wet race seems to have been reduced in the paddock, though the tough windy conditions can still be expected.

That point was proven with the qualifying session itself, which saw the last seven minutes or so lost because of a drizzle that lasted about as long as it took for the track to clear of riders. That drizzle would prove to be fatal for the Ducati Corse squad, as both Rossi and Hayden hit the tarmac after encountering a wet spot — in the same corner no less. While Rossi would rejoin the qualifying session, Hayden’s crash happened right before the rain, which was a shame as the American was putting down a flier of a lap, and would have likely improved his grid position tomorrow onto the front row if he had stayed upright.

The rain also meant less time for Stoner and Lorenzo to move up in the order, leaving Alvaro Bautista to take the pole position for tomorrow’s race. He will be joined by Ben Spies, who despite some off-track excursions, is having a good weekend on the Yamaha YZR-M1 for a change. Casey Stoner will round out the front row, as he looks to claw back some points from Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who starts from fourth.

Not making it out for qualifying were Cal Crutchlow and Karel Abraham, as both were nursing injuries. Injuring his hand at Catalunya, Abraham has been a scratch for all the sessions this week, and is not racing on Sunday. Meanwhile local favorite Cal Crutchlow took a hard fall during FP3, with the tumble reported spraining the Manx rider’s ankle. Cructchlow’s participation in Sunday’s race is still questionable at this point in time.

Qualifying Results from the British GP at Silverstone, England:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 313.0 2’03.303  -
2 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 309.5 2’03.409 0.106
3 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 313.6 2’03.423 0.120
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 308.7 2’03.763 0.460
5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 313.1 2’03.835 0.532
6 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 314.6 2’03.876 0.573
7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 309.5 2’04.162 0.859
8 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 311.7 2’04.304 1.001
9 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 314.6 2’05.035 1.732
10 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 309.7 2’05.416 2.113
11 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 292.0 2’06.283 2.980
12 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 292.4 2’06.303 3.000
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 291.6 2’06.814 3.511
14 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 288.9 2’07.016 3.713
15 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 290.6 2’07.376 4.073
16 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 289.2 2’07.511 4.208
17 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 292.4 2’08.228 4.925
18 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 276.0 2’08.686 5.383
19 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 286.3 2’10.092 6.789
Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati
Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha

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

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