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.

Fuel or Electronics? Where Are Nicky Hayden & Scott Redding Losing Out on the Honda RCV1000R?

The news that Honda would be building a production racer to compete in MotoGP aroused much excitement among fans. There was much speculation over just how quick it would be, and whether it would be possible for a talented rider to beat the satellite bikes on some tracks. In the hands of active MotoGP riders, the gap was around 2 seconds at the Sepang tests. Nicky Hayden – of whom much had been expected, not least by himself – had made significant improvements, especially on corner entry. The difference in performance and the big gap to the front has been cause for much speculation. Where are the Honda production racers losing out to the Factory Option bikes?

Silly Season: Italian Press Says Stoner Signed with Honda – Rossi Offered Deal by Ducati

05/11/2010 @ 9:39 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Silly Season: Italian Press Says Stoner Signed with Honda   Rossi Offered Deal by Ducati Casey Stoner Ducati confirmed Estoril MotoGP

UPDATE: (probably the most reliable source in the Italian Media) has gotten word from Livio Suppo that “no one has signed anything yet”, which probably confirms that Stoner is talking to HRC, but obviously hasn’t made his mind up about anything.

Silly season is officially underway starting today as the Italian press is full of accounts (all penning their source as being from Sportmediaset) that Casey Stoner has signed with the Repsol Honda MotoGP team, with a sub-headline that Valentino Rossi has been offered a two-year contract with Ducati. Sportmediaset cites the deciding reason for Stoner jumping ship as being the Australian rider’s disappointment in how Ducati backed him during his mysterious illness last year.

Despite headlining Stoner’s move, the bulk of their article concerns Rossi’s switch to Ducati, which may be a tip-off on the validity of the news, as the Italian press loves to pair the two marquee names together. We wade through the silly season possibilities further after the jump.

The 2010 silly season is sure to be a special event, with all four of the top riders under contract renewal. Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Valentino Rossi have set themselves above and beyond the rest of the MotoGP field, which only adds to the importance (and speculation) during this period, where manufacturers try and secure the very best rider for the following seasons.

While we remain skeptical on this news, there is some support to its validity. Sportmediaset claims the contract was inked during MotoGP’s stop at Jerez, Spain, during the Spanish GP. During this time, Casey Stoner’s father was on-hand for the race, and talked to both Honda and Ducati, presumably about his son’s future.

Part of the Honda equation may be Livio Suppo, who Casey Stoner had close ties to when the Italian worked at Ducati. Stoner’s animosity with his team, and the prospect of working with Suppo again are apparently cornerstones of the alleged deal between the Aussie and Honda. Honda was also reportedly expected to make early moves in the silly season in order to secure a rider, as being late to the party could be disastrous (more on that in a minute).

Of course with any rumor…or headline…coming out of Italy that involves Valentino Rossi and Ducati, has to be treated with some skepticism, as time and time again we’ve seen inaccurate reports from the Italian media concerning their local heroes teaming up.

Before the silly season began, it was clear that all four riders would be talking to the major OEMs in MotoGP before making a decision. It was also clear that Ducati was very keen to keep Casey Stoner on-board, as the Australian has proven in the past to be really the only man in the paddock capable of wrestling the Ducati into shape. Considering the abrupt about-face on this remark, and the fact that the other OEM’s weren’t considered, there is a bit of evidence to suggest that this is just idle speculation.

Sportmediaset‘s description of the Rossi deal also wanders greatly from the reasons Rossi turned the Italian company down back in 2003. Ducati is reported to be offering Rossi everything under the sun, including technical guarantees. With Rossi looking for teams that are rider-focused, and not bike-focused (the Italian ridre likes to be the center of attention, not only on the track, but in the garage), it’s hard to see a team like Ducati, who are very centered around their GP10, making a sudden shift in philosophy. Despite this aspect of the news, Sportmediaset says Rossi has until the Mugello round to decide on taking the job with Ducati.

It’s impossible to tell definitively on this rumor where the truth lies, especially since the only actual source is from the unreliable Italian racing press. Neither Honda, nor Ducati have commented on the matter, which adds further cause for concern, since at the very least we’d expect an announcement from HRC if Stoner has indeed inked an agreement.

With more news likely to come at the next MotoGP stop (at Le Mans in two weeks), we have some time yet to fully digest these possibilities. We do know one thing for certain though, if these rumors prove to be true, Jorge Lorenzo would look to be SOL, and forced to re-sign with Fiat-Yamaha with almost zero negotiating leverage…but maybe that works into Rossi’s plan afterall?

Source: Sportmediaset & MotoMatters; Photo: Turn 2 Photography


  1. Buster says:

    What’s ‘silly’ about this?

    Stoner is disillusioned. Honda want new blood. Pedrosa hasn’t delivered. Suppo wants him in the squad.

  2. Jenny Gun says:

    The period where contracts are up for renewal, and riders jockey for new rides is often called Silly Season because of all the rumors and speculation that comes from it.

  3. Harumph says:

    It’d be hilarious if Rossi signed to Ducati and then they secretly lured Jorge over too at the last minute. With a one-year deal. For one dollar more.

  4. It is a bit too early for anything to be signed but the Stoner to Honda, Rossi to Ducati move makes sense. I’ve been arguing Rossi will end up on a Ducati for 2011 for some time.