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: After Rossi Moves, Who Goes Where?

08/09/2012 @ 8:22 pm, by David Emmett12 COMMENTS

MotoGP: After Rossi Moves, Who Goes Where? Ducati Corse Valentino Rossi 635x422

Valentino Rossi’s imminent return to Yamaha – to be announced on Friday morning, Yamaha and Ducati having been forced to move the schedule forward once news of the switch leaked – will accelerate the final movements in MotoGP’s silly season, with the remaining open grid slots on prototype machines likely to be filled in very short order once the Rossi announcement has been made. Rossi’s return to Yamaha will be heralded much as his departure for fresher pastures at Ducati was, only this time the roles will be reversed.

First, Ducati will issue a release thanking Valentino Rossi for his time with the factory, and shortly after – minutes, rather than hours, – Yamaha will issue a press release welcoming Rossi back to the fold. The difference, perhaps, is that this time a love letter such as the one Rossi wrote to Yamaha after he left in the middle of 2010 is unlikely to be forthcoming.

With Rossi at Yamaha, that leaves five prototype seats still open: The factory Ducati left vacant by Rossi’s switch to Yamaha; the as-yet unfilled second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha seat (the first seat is for Bradley Smith, who will be moving up from Moto2 as provided for in the contract he signed with Herve Poncharal in the middle of last season); the San Carlo Gresini Honda bike currently being ridden by Alvaro Bautista; and the Ducati junior team seats, in a yet-to-be-decided structure with one or more yet-to-be-selected teams. So who will be filling those seats? And where does that leave the riders left standing once the music stops?

The biggest question is who will be brave enough to take on Rossi’s seat at the factory Ducati team. Rossi’s failure either to be competitive or to make the bike competitive – though going on past history, the responsibility for that lies more with Ducati than with the riders – means it requires more than just the usual dose of the hubris all riders must possess to compete at the very top level of the sport to take on the challenge. The two names being bandied about are Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, but it appears that it is Dovizioso that Ducati have elected to take the place of Rossi.

Sources close to the negotiations have told us that Dovizioso has already signed the contract, despite the Italian previously having been wary of the Italian factory. A year ago, after it became clear there would be no room at Honda for Dovizioso, we asked the Italian if he would consider a switch to Ducati given the problems that Valentino Rossi was having with the bike at the time. Dovizioso pointed out then that it had been clear for a long time that the Ducati was a hard bike to ride, ever since Marco Melandri’s utter failure to get to grips with the bike.

That criticism was apparently not well received at Ducati, hence the Italian factory’s initial preference for Dovizioso’s current Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Cal Crutchlow. But talks appear to have accelerated between Dovizioso and Ducati at the same time as the ardour between Crutchlow and Ducati cooled. The Briton has been left out in the cold by Dovizioso’s defection, which may sour the otherwise good relations between the two in the Tech 3 team.

Right now, it appears that Crutchlow’s best hope is to remain at Tech 3 for next year, accepting the offer he had from Herve Poncharal earlier in the year. If it is indeed still on the table – reports after Laguna Seca had Tech 3 showing an interest in Randy de Puniet, the Frenchman proving to be highly competitive on the Aspar Aprilia CRT team, though dealing with a very stiff challenge from his teammate Aleix Espargaro.

But Crutchlow is probably higher on Poncharal’s list than De Puniet: the media profile of the Tech 3 team has rocketed this year, which is due in no small part to the outstanding performance of both Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso. Keeping Crutchlow would be better for Poncharal’s sponsors, though if a rider such as Pol Espargaro could be tempted to make the step up, Tech 3 could be persuaded to take him instead.

The other desirable satellite ride is a bit of mystery. Alvaro Bautista has done very well on the San Carlo Gresini Honda, but not well enough to overcome the handicap of not being Italian. Snack producer San Carlo really needs an Italian rider to help sell their product in their home market, and though Bautista is likeable and popular, he does not have the same appeal in the Italian market. Andrea Dovizioso had been penciled in to take Bautista’s place for next season, until the Tech 3 man received an offer he could not refuse from Ducati.

That leaves Gresini to search for a rider both capable of success and appealing to the Italian market, and sadly, there are very few currently on the market. Andrea Iannone would be the prime candidate, but he looks set to go to a satellite Ducati team.

Just how such a Ducati structure is put together remains to be seen. Currently, it looks like there will be two one-rider satellite teams, with Andrea Iannone or Danilo Petrucci being slotted into a team to be run by Pramac, and Scott Redding to race inside the Marc VDS team on the other satellite team. Unlike this year, the bikes will be much closer to factory spec, however, with the idea being that Ducati will run the bikes as a junior team, instead of treating the operation as a money-making lease scheme.

Having four riders on the same bike should help accelerate development, and with engineering assistance from Audi, updates should also come faster, for all four Ducati men. The final decision on the junior team structure – including who will run the teams, and who the riders will be – is due to come next week, with the final sign-off for the project just awaiting final approval from senior Ducati management.

At last, Silly Season is starting to wind down. A big step will be taken tomorrow, with the announcement of Rossi’s switch to Yamaha, while other steps will follow in short order. With those moves made, the focus will return once again to the racing, though for many fans, their thoughts will be on 2013 already. The real questions, however, are about 2014, about when the rev limit and spec ECU will be introduced in MotoGP, and about what the reaction of the factories will be. That is another story, however.

Photo: Ducati Corse

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

Comment:

  1. RT Moto says:

    Mmmmm drama….

  2. JW says:

    Times they are a changing…

  3. Steve Lang says:

    Good for Rossi and hopefully it’ll be nice to see him at the front again.

  4. Max says:

    Spies to Ducati?

  5. mike says:

    Let the games begin! We were robbed of what may have been the most epic season of motogp ever when Vale broke his leg in 2010. Jorge knows that the championship would have been different. He wants and needs to beat rossi on the same, or at least a competitive machine. Maybe RossiKs age will show, maybe not, but one thing is for sure, there will be some last lap heroics from the both of them. Get your popcorn ready!

  6. Alvin says:

    Lin Jarvis – Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing
    “This announcement is once again excellent news for Yamaha. In June we were able to sign Jorge Lorenzo for the 2013-14 campaign and now we are able to confirm Valentino Rossi for the next two years. In doing so we have been able to put together the strongest possible team to challenge for victories and to promote the Yamaha brand.

    We have run this ‘super team’ together in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and during that time we achieved the ‘triple crown’ titles with Rider, Manufacturer and Team World Championship victories for three consecutive years.

    The target for the future is obvious and we will do our utmost to achieve our goals.

    I have no doubt that with the experience, knowledge, skills and speed of these two great champion riders we will be able to challenge for many race wins and for the 2013 and 2014 World Championship titles.

    The signing of Valentino completes our future planning for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team. Now that this is done we will put our 100% efforts into completing the job at hand and to supporting Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo in their search for race victories and for Jorge’s 2012 World Championship title challenge.”

  7. Westward says:

    2013 will be the War of the Roses for Yamaha. Too bad Stoner won’t be around to make a little more interesting, though I expect it to be the plenty thrilling…

    I wonder who Rossi was able to bring with him. I bet Brivio might have been left behind, as a stipulation of Yamaha.

    Would it not be funny if Dovi started winning on the Ducati supported by Audi and the development of Hayden and the junior Ducati project team… Like Rossi, he will have been on all three major manufacturers to better assess feedback…

    Also Ducati could benefit from Spies’s talents too…

  8. Brivio isn’t a Ducati employee…he’s technically the manager of the VR46 brand.

  9. TexusTim says:

    Funny..no mention of Spies in this article…and what about Suzuki ?..isnt it about time for them to come back to Moto GP ?

  10. Calisdad says:

    Dovi to Ducati is a good match. He’s been as competitive as whatever bike he’s on will let him be.

    Suzuki is gearing up for a return in 2014 and are testing their new bike already. (Schwantz led?)

  11. Takashi Toshiro says:

    Rossi lost all credibility. He is now the number two and will never live that down in his legacy moving forward. The new rider hopefully does better on the Duc than Rossi ever did. Nicky Hayden is really the one who deserves anything.

  12. Flyingfox says:

    Spies should go back to WSBK and rattle the cage on the S1000RR alongside Melandri.
    Too many show ponies in the Premier Class and far too many spec changes for any rider whatever their ability to grapple with over one/two seasons.
    Rossi is dreaming in my view returning to Yamaha, Stoner is/was the only racer capable of riding ‘that pig of a bike” and JL is now better than Rossi even if he’s on a Yamaha. Perhaps Rossi should be retiring and Stoner V Lorenzo should be the order of the day in 2013. Sadly this is not to be!
    Enjoy the fishing Casey, keep on racing Jorge and keep dreaming Valentino!