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 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: Red Flag Interrupts Congested Qualifying at Estoril

05/05/2012 @ 11:06 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

MotoGP: Red Flag Interrupts Congested Qualifying at Estoril 2012 Portuguese GP Estoril Friday Scott Jones 81

With mixed weather at the Portuguese track, MotoGP riders headed out for their last qualifying session at Estoril for the foreseeable future. With the rain making a brief appearance, riders had to contend with changing conditions, though the biggest disruption to the qualifying session was the red flag stoppage for an injured rider.

With a congested track at Estoril, lapped bikes played a crucial element for riders trying to get in a flying lap. As such, the order for Sunday’s racing grid has some surprises from GP fans. Spoilers and qualifying results for the 2012 Portuguese GP are after the jump.

In a session that saw a number of riders go off course and through the gravel, though mostly staying upright, the biggest incident out of Estoril was the crash by Randy de Puniet that knocked down Colin Edwards. Sending both riders to Clinica Mobile, qualifying had to be stopped as Edwards lay near the track’s edge with a suspected broken collarbone. Letting RdP pass him on the inside, Edwards’s BMW/Suter was struck as de Puniet’s Aprilia lost the front, and skidded along the track.

The red flag broke up the rhythm of the day’s qualifying, which saw a number of riders caught out by encountering slower traffic during their flying laps. No one fell victim to this more than Ben Spies though, as the American had to scrub three of his fast laps of the day, and will thus start from the second row because of it.

With Estoril known for its many different types of asphalt, riders complained of grip and feeling issues. This plagued the factory Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, as well as factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo. It didn’t seem to affect one Cal Crutchlow though, as the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider has again put himself on the front row, much to the dismay of Andrea Dovizioso and Mr. Elbowz.

Unsurprisingly, Casey Stoner sits on pole, followed by teammate Dani Pedrosa. With the Hondas being quick all week, they will surely be the ones to beat in tomorrow’s race. Don’t count out the Yamahas though, as all for of them have shown potential for podium positions.

Qualifying Results from the Portuguese GP at Estoril, Portugal:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time Diff.
1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’37.188 -
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’37.201 0.013
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’37.289 0.101
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’37.466 0.278
5 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’37.723 0.535
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1’37.917 0.729
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’37.943 0.755
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1’38.006 0.818
9 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’38.059 0.871
10 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 1’38.253 1.065
11 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1’38.265 1.077
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1’39.353 2.165
13 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 1’39.398 2.210
14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1’39.586 2.398
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 1’40.029 2.841
16 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 1’40.225 3.037
17 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 1’40.387 3.199
18 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 1’40.964 3.776
19 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 1’41.394 4.206
20 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 1’41.486 4.298
21 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 1’41.490 4.302

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

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