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.

MotoGP: Randy de Puniet Testing with Suzuki in Japan

05/20/2013 @ 10:41 am, by David Emmett5 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Randy de Puniet Testing with Suzuki in Japan randy de puniet motogp aspar scott jones 635x422

Suzuki’s return to MotoGP takes another step closer to being realized this week. Frenchman Randy de Puniet is flying to Japan today to test Suzuki’s inline four MotoGP machine at Motegi, as part of the testing program to develop the bike ready for its return in 2014.

In an interview with the official MotoGP.com website, De Puniet said he would be departing on Monday. “We leave tomorrow to go to Japan to test at Motegi with Suzuki,” he told MotoGP.com. “It will be a good experience for me, and I hope to do a great job.” After testing at Motegi, De Puniet will fly back to Europe to take part in the next round of MotoGP with the Power Electronics Aspar team at Mugello, where he will ride the team’s Aprilia ART machine.

Though De Puniet has been engaged to test Suzuki’s new MotoGP machine, it is still unclear whether he is in the frame for a permanent ride on the bike when the factory returns full time in 2014.

De Puniet seemed like an obvious choice when the Aspar team were favorite to run the Suzuki factory entry, but now that Davide Brivio has been given the task of organizing Suzuki’s entry, De Puniet is no longer the favorite for the seat. According to GPOne, Brivio has relinquished his duties with Valentino Rossi’s VR46 merchandising operation to focus full time on the Suzuki team.

The name most frequently being linked with the ride at Suzuki is that of Cal Crutchlow. The Englishman has been extremely impressive so far this season, and scoring a podium at Le Mans merely strengthened his claim to a factory seat.

Crutchlow has made no secret of his desire to race in a factory team, and with the Honda and Yamaha seats already tied up, that leaves only Nicky Hayden’s seat at Ducati (the American is on a one-year deal with the Bologna factory) and the two new seats at Suzuki.

Signing for Suzuki would be a huge risk, given that nobody is certain how competitive the bike is. That will only become clear once the bike makes its public debut at the Barcelona test in June.

So far, Crutchlow has been non-committal on speculation he may sign for Suzuki, joking he may switch sports and go cycling instead. That is a realistic option: Crutchlow lives on the Isle of Man and is a regular training partner of Mark Cavendish, the 2012 cycling World Champion and winner of multipe Tour de France stages. He is regarded as being talented enough to make the change, should he decide to consider it seriously.

If Crutchlow does take one Suzuki seat, the question will be who would take the other. Where Crutchlow would take the role as lead rider in the team, Suzuki may want to look at a younger rider for the future of the brand. GPOne.com speculates that with Brivio in charge, he may prefer to recruit a young Italian.

The only young Italians with MotoGP experience are Andrea Iannone and Danilo Petrucci, while there are no up-and-coming Italians in Moto2 at the moment. The next young rider on his way up would be Romano Fenati, but Fenati is in just his second season of Moto3, and the step from Moto3 to MotoGP is too large to contemplate at the moment.

Source: MotoGP.com & GPone; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. L2C says:

    Romano Fenati was mighty impressive in his Moto3 debut last season. I became an instant fan – but what is going on with him this season? Are there problems within FTR, or what? This year they are playing nowhere near last year’s level. I’ve been wondering about this, but I have heard very little.

  2. John D says:

    I think that Suzuki will be pretty well up to scratch from the start. They’ve been working hard and there simply is no reason to rejoin the series and not put up the best effort. Suzuki certainly knows how to build inline 4′s.

    Cruthlow would be a great pick for one of the available seats.

  3. Cody says:

    The uncertainty of the Suzuki keeps getting brought up but would it be any worse really than the known certainty of the Ducati and its inability to be on the level of Yamaha and Honda for the past years? I think the largest negative of the Suzuki is and will be the in house ECU. For a rider like RdP it may be worth the risk though to know a entire factory is behind him though.

  4. “I think the largest negative of the Suzuki is and will be the in house ECU.”

    Everybody will be running Magneti-Marelli boxes from next year. Suzuki will be able to use its own software, but everybody shares the same hardware.

  5. CTK says:

    I want more factory bikes and more competitive options but I just don’t know about Suzuki coming in and taking podiums. The GSV-R was never competitive. I don’t think it ever won a title. And they will have to build around the tires and overcome Honda’s seamless gearbox and Yamaha’s chassis. It’s a crazy crazy uphill battle.

    I still think the bikes should be equalized somehow. I keep saying it but there need to be HP limits. And HP penalties for the seamless gearbox. I get that MotoGP is supposed to showcase the technology but not at the expense of competition. If someone makes a bike that is 10 seconds faster around every lap because it has 50 more HP who would watch the races?