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.

The First Improbable Rumors of the 2012 Silly Season: Rossi To Yamaha, Stoner To Retire?

05/03/2012 @ 10:04 am, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

The First Improbable Rumors of the 2012 Silly Season: Rossi To Yamaha, Stoner To Retire? 2012 Spanish GP Jerez Sunday Scott Jones 13

Two traditions surround MotoGP’s Silly Season: the first is that it kicks off earlier each year; and the second is that it kicks off with the wilder and more improbable rumors, before settling down and becoming a fraction realistic until the contracts finally start to get signed. The problem with the improbable rumors is that occasionally, one of the truly barking ones turns out to be true.

The rider merry-go-round for the 2013 MotoGP Championship is no exception. With all of the MotoGP riders out of contract at the end of 2012, the permutations of riders and bikes are almost endless. The rumors began at the very first race, with wildly speculative reports from Italy that Valentino Rossi had a satellite Yamaha backed by Coca Cola lined up for 2013. What most damaged the credibility of such reports was the assertion that Rossi was ready to quit before the end of the season, something which the contracts drawn up by sponsor Phillip Morris’ lawyers would make excruciatingly expensive.

But even talk of leasing a Yamaha satellite machine seems beyond the bounds of reason. Yamaha has a contract with Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 team to lease two satellite bikes to the team. Yamaha has repeatedly made it clear that they believe that four bikes – two factory and two satellite – is the maximum they can support in MotoGP, with the extra staff and expense not being covered by the leasing fees paid by the satellite teams.

Adding an extra bike for Rossi, while not impossible, would be so expensive that finding a sponsor willing to pay may prove too expensive even for a figure as popular as Rossi. A return to the factory team is even more unrealistic: Rossi and Yamaha did not part on perfectly amicable terms, and though Rossi would undoubtedly bring sponsorship to Yamaha, he would also bring a much heavier workload, as he did when he was with the team between 2004 and 2010.

In an interview with TV commentator and journalist for Spanish sports daily AS.com Mela Chercoles, Yamaha’s Managing Director Lin Jarvis was decidedly cautious about a return to Yamaha by the Italian. Asked if Rossi’s return to Yamaha was an interesting possibility, Jarvis replied “It is, but mainly for the press.” Jarvis denied that Rossi figured in his plans, saying “I have not given any thought to him with respect to next year.” Asked whether he would consider a return, Jarvis replied “I have not closed the door, but it’s not a very realistic situation.”

A return to Honda is even more improbable. Speaking to GPOne.com, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto ruled out a return to the factory team, saying that “Honda has two good riders in the Repsol team, so there is no chance for him to come back there.” The only option for a return to Honda would be with a satellite team, Nakamoto said, as the satellite teams themselves decide the line up.

The other piece of improbable news comes from inside the Repsol Honda camp. According to the normally reliable Spanish magazine Solomoto, Casey Stoner is considering retirement at the end of the 2012 season. According to Solomoto, the reigning World Champion is said to be tired of the itinerant lifestyle forced upon him by the MotoGP season, away from home for long periods of the year, and with only a few short months a year back in Australia. The arrival of his baby daughter Alessandra is said to have been the deciding factor, with Stoner preferring to head back to Australia to help run the family farm. His passion for racing would be sated by taking part in the Australian V8 Supercar series, of which he is known to be a fan.

Other sources deny Stoner’s retirement plans, believing that the confusion is arising over the current contract negotiations between Stoner’s father and manager Colin and HRC. Honda wants to sign Stoner to a two-year contract, while Stoner is keen to negotiate a one-year deal, giving him options to extend or retire at the end of 2013. Stoner is known to be a bitter opponent of the rule changes proposed by Dorna, fearing that the MotoGP bikes will cease to be something special. For this reason, he has often commented, he has no interest in racing in World Superbikes; it is the unique and special nature of the MotoGP machines that attracts him to them. But with the rule changes likely to be limited to a rev limit for 2014, no real changes to the bikes are expected for 2013, and so Stoner will have no technical reason to retire.

Both HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto and HRC marketing director – and Stoner’s close confidant – Livio Suppo have told GPOne.com that negotiations are already underway with Stoner for 2013. Nakamoto has informed Stoner of how much they can afford to pay, and the Australian is currently considering his options. Should Stoner either retire or go elsewhere, Suppo said, Honda would be forced to make a play for Jorge Lorenzo. But Lorenzo’s first priority is to extend the deal with Yamaha, with talks already underway on a contract extension.

When speaking to the press, Stoner does not give the impression he has the slightest intention of retiring. If anything, the Australian is more relaxed and more comfortable with his situation than he was in 2011. Stoner’s competitive streak still burns fiercely inside him, and so to retire now would be a very difficult decision. It seems far more likely that his intentions are being misinterpreted, rather than that he actually wishes to retire.

We shall find out the truth – insofar as riders and teams ever tell the media the truth – of the situation on Thursday. Stoner is slated to appear at the Estoril pre-event press conference. The chances of Stoner not being asked a question about the retirement rumors are absolutely zero. The Australian will either answer directly, or he will refrain from comment. The latter option, if anything, would make the situation worse, as it would be a tacit acknowledgement that it is something he is considering.

We are not yet three races in to the 2012 MotoGP season, and already, Silly Season is in full swing. Hopefully, it will stop being quite so silly from here on in.

Source: Telecino, AS, & GPone (and again); Photo: © 2012 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. The First Improbable Rumors of the 2012 Silly Season: Rossi To Yamaha, Stoner To Retire? – http://t.co/WEPXQzVd #motorcycle

  2. Alasdair says:

    Stoner could always say something like ‘I haven’t decided yet’. I love MotoGP, and being half Aussie and living here it’s hard not to be impressed by the guy. I would not begrudge him if he retired at the end of the year – he has 2 championships to his name. To be fair, if a rookie like Bradl came in and won the MotoGP championship this year, then retired, who could argue? I came I saw, I conquered etc. Staying on for more championships, especially when you are let’f facing it risking yourself, when you have a daughter to look after may not appeal so much, but keeping that competitive streak going by moving to a comparatively safe sport like car racing is probably what I would do. Same applies to VR; if they both retired and dabbled in 4 wheeled motorsport (assuming they could get drives) may not be as successful but nor could you call it stupid.

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    Casey is going to have to retire if he keeps getting arm pump. He’s struggled with health problems his whole Moto GP career. Maybe he should hang it up on top.