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 Sepang 2 Test Day 2: Lorenzo Moves to the Front

02/27/2013 @ 10:52 am, by David Emmett2 COMMENTS

MotoGP Sepang 2 Test Day 2: Lorenzo Moves to the Front jorge lorenzo yamaha racing sepang motogp 635x423

Jorge Lorenzo has topped the second day of testing at Sepang during the MotoGP class’ second visit to the circuit, the factory Yamaha man finding the three tenths of a second he was seeking on day 1 of the test. Lorenzo was quick right out of the gate, setting a blistering mid-2:00 lap on his first exit, a time nobody would better except himself before the afternoon break.

Even more impressive than his time is his consistency, however: Lorenzo is seemingly able to crank out mid-2:00 laps at will. The Spaniard’s performance so far has been eerily similar to the test last year, where he laid the foundation for his 2012 title by grinding out lap after lap at race pace.

With Lorenzo on top of the timesheets, Dani Pedrosa was forced to settle for second, over a third of a second behind his main rival for the title. Pedrosa had spent most of the day working on suspension settings for Honda RC213V, but had been hampered by a problem with one of his bikes. Tomorrow, he told reporters, his team would try to put the best of what they’d found at the test together.

An impressive Cal Crutchlow set the 3rd fastest time of the day, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man six tenths off the pace of Lorenzo on the factory bike. The lap by Crutchlow is close to his best time around the Malaysian circuit, and given the disparity between his satellite-spec M1 and the factory bike of Lorenzo, all the more admirable.

Crutchlow also held off both Repsol Honda’s rookie revelation Marc Marquez and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, though Crutchlow’s margin over the two was slim. Marquez’ gap to his Repsol Honda teammate remains around three tenths of a second, a gap that is sure to close as the Spaniard gains more experience.

Rossi’s second test at Sepang is not going entirely to plan. After losing a good part of the first day to a technical issue, the Italian had a lot of ground to cover, Rossi finding himself uncharacteristically among the leaders in terms of numbers of laps put in. Rossi’s target is his teammate, but with Lorenzo in his current form, that’s a tough target.

The two satellite Hondas occupy the 6th and 7th slots on the timesheet, Alvaro Bautista getting the better of Stefan Bradl on Wednesday, and this time by a decent margin. Behind the Hondas, signs of improvement from Ducati, benefiting from the revised weight distribution, with the tank placed under the seat helping to centralize mass and the electronics moved to the forward part of the bike, underneath the front section of the tank.

Both men are still a second and a half off the pace of Lorenzo, but their times are inching towards being respectable. There is still a mountain of work to do for Ducati, but it is getting done, albeit very slowly.

The improvement is not just visible with the factory Ducatis. Andrea Iannone made some progress with the Pramac bike as well, moving up into 11th slot, and finally getting ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Aspar Aprilia, Espargaro continuing to dominate the CRT class despite suffering massively with jet lag. Iannone is still nearly six tenths behind Bradley Smith, however, the Tech 3 rookie continuing to make steady progress in the class.

While one Pramac bike moves closer to the front, Ben Spies is losing ground. The Ignite Pramac man struggled to a 17th time on Wednesday, over three seconds behind Lorenzo and two seconds slower than his best time from last year on the Yamaha. Whether Spies is still suffering with his shoulder remains to be seen; a heavy fall on Tuesday cannot have helped.

The weather had been kind to the riders at Sepang, with the rain holding off all day, despite dark clouds continually threatening the track. The hope is that this will continue for Thursday, and the final day of testing.

Results from Day 2 of MotoGP’s Second Test at Sepang, Malaysia:

199Jorge LorenzoYamaha2:00.282 - -
226Dani PedrosaHonda2:00.6510.3690.369
335Cal CrutchlowYamaha2:00.9070.6250.256
493Marc MarquezHonda2:00.9920.7100.085
546Valentino RossiYamaha2:01.0650.7830.073
619Alvaro BautistaHonda2:01.2080.9260.143
76Stefan BradlHonda2:01.4851.2030.277
869Nicky HaydenDucati2:01.7781.4960.293
94Andrea DoviziosoDucati2:01.8031.5210.025
1038Bradley SmithYamaha2:02.0231.7410.220
1129Andrea IannoneDucati2:02.6082.3260.585
1241Aleix EspargaroAprilia ART2:02.9052.6230.297
1351Michele PirroDucati Test2:02.9202.6380.015
14T2Katsayuki NakasugaYamaha Test2:02.9462.6640.026
15T1Wataru YoshikawaYamaha Test2:03.3543.0720.408
168Hector BarberaFTR Kawasaki2:03.4283.1460.074
1711Ben SpiesDucati2:03.4603.1780.032
1814Randy de PunietAprilia ART2:03.5183.2360.058
197Hiroshi AoyamaFTR Kawasaki2:03.9903.7080.472
209Danilo PetrucciSuter BMW2:04.2793.9970.289
2117Karel AbrahamAprilia ART2:04.3504.0680.071
2237Takumi TakahashiHonda Test2:04.5124.2300.162
235Colin EdwardsFTR Kawasaki2:04.6564.3740.144
2468Yonny HernandezAprilia ART2:04.6714.3890.015
2571Claudio CortiFTR Kawasaki2:04.7094.4270.038
2667Bryan StaringFTR Honda2:05.4395.1570.730
2752Lukas PesekSuter BMW2:06.2065.9240.767
2833Michael LavertyPBM Aprilia2:07.7217.4391.515

Records and Times from Previous Tests at Sepang:

2013Sepang 1 testDani PedrosaHonda2:00.100
2007Race recordCasey StonerDucati2:02.108
2012Pole recordJorge LorenzoYamaha2:00.334
2012Sepang 2 testCasey StonerHonda2:00.473

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Yamaha Racing

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


  1. jzj says:

    This is just speculation on my part as his shoulder could still be bothering him and his familiarity with the bike could be an issue, but it really seems like Spies has totally lost his mojo as a top rider. I’d guess that he has no feel for the bike’s limits (which is apparently hard for the best riders to feel in the best of circumstances), has no heart to find its ultimate limits, and would rather be on his bicycle. Tough to have to say, but I think he’s just burned out as a rider and, given the requirements of real racing, he shouldn’t be there.

  2. JD says:

    Bad karma he acted like a punk….when I met him