Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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.

Sunday Summary at Phillip Island: Of Champions, Home Crowds, & Past Glory

10/30/2012 @ 2:54 am, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

Sunday Summary at Phillip Island: Of Champions, Home Crowds, & Past Glory 2012 MotoGP 17 Phillip Island Sunday 0806

Two freshly anointed champions, three impressive winners, and a large crowd of ecstatic and yet wistful fans, come to say goodbye to a departing hero and hope to spot a new one arriving. Even the weather cooperated. That’s how good the Australian Grand Prix was at Phillip Island this year. All three races were a lot less intense than the previous two weekends, but even that didn’t matter, because of the manner in which the winners secured their victories, and because the Australian crowd had something to cheer about in all three categories.

It started in the Moto3 race, where Sandro Cortese rode one of his best races of the year, the title he clinched last weekend at Sepang clearly a weight off his mind, allowing the young German to ride freely. He had Miguel Oliveira to contend with for most of the race, but in the end, he would not be denied. The home crowd still had much to cheer about, as local boy Arthur Sissis, the 17-year-old former Red Bull Rookie, won an intense battle for third, putting an Australian on the podium for the first time on Sunday.

In Moto2, Pol Espargaro gave a display of dominance rarely seen in the intensively competitive class. It was hardly unexpected, Espargaro having stamped his authority on practice for the past two days, but the style in which the Spaniard won was very, very impressive. It took him a couple of laps to get past Marc Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami, but once he did, he put a second or more a lap on most of the field, before cruising home to a spectacular victory. Espargaro could do nothing to prevent Marquez becoming champion, concentrating solely on the task ahead, winning as many races as possible.

The home crowd had something to cheer for as well, Ant West riding an outstanding race to hold off a late charge from Marc Marquez to secure second place, making it two podiums in a row. West’s podium at Sepang last weekend took the weight of the Australian veteran’s shoulders and has given him the confidence boost he needed.

The team have been making slow progress, West had said earlier this weekend, and Sepang was the reward from that hard work. Most of all, though, it had helped him find his belief in himself again; that alone is worth half a second or more a lap. At this level, motorcycle racing is 90% mental.

Marquez finished third, but still took the 2012 Moto2 title with honor. He may not have been able to win – no one had the measure of Espargaro at Phillip Island – but he gave an impressive account of himself and secured the championship with a podium. Marquez is a deserved winner of the championship, despite the criticism sometimes aimed at the young Spaniard. The onboard video of the first lap at Motegi shows one of the most compelling displays of courage, skill and racing sense of recent years, and justifies on its own his ascension to the premier class next season.

There has been much made of Marquez’ backing and support, and of the special treatment he has received. It is true that he has had solid sponsorship and always been in a strong team, but the reason why he has had the backing is because of his extraordinary talent, rather than the other way around. A MotoGP team manager who was at the test where Marquez took his first laps on a Moto2 machine was in awe: “He is a very special talent.”

Winning the title on what is a very ordinary chassis – the massive success of the Kalex bikes compared to the mediocre results of the other Suters – speaks volumes about the ability of Marquez, and the Spaniard will be very fast from the very first MotoGP race at Qatar. HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto has already said that he expects Marquez to be on the podium at that race; it would not surprise me in the slightest.

The main course, however, was the demonstration to be given by Casey Stoner in the MotoGP class. Stoner had almost humiliated the rest of the field during practice, consistently half a second or more quicker than anyone else, the gap often closer to a second. At a track where the lap is usually 90 seconds, that is a massive advantage.

Unusually, the weight of expectations got to Stoner a little, the Australian knowing that he could not afford to make a mistake if he was to win. Beating the rest would not present a problem; ensuring he did not fall off in the process required intense concentration, as would become all too apparent later on. It meant that Stoner entered Doohan Corner in 3rd, with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa ahead of him. Lorenzo knew he had to finish ahead of Pedrosa, and only had eyes for the Spanish Repsol Honda man.

But Lorenzo’s lead lasted just a few corners, Pedrosa getting past him at the Honda hairpin, and then Stoner blasting past along the front straight. Having Stoner between him and Pedrosa would have made Lorenzo’s life much more complicated at Valencia, but it was not to be. Pedrosa would fall at Honda corner on the second lap, crashing out of contention and out of the championship. It was his first error of the season, and a very costly one.

Pedrosa had no regrets afterwards, however. He had one option, and that was to stay ahead of Lorenzo, and if possible win the race. Staying ahead of Lorenzo meant taking risks, and Pedrosa paid the price for those risks. He had to keep pushing, Pedrosa said afterwards, because the window of opportunity was getting smaller at every race. He was sad for his team, his friends, his family, rather than disappointed. But he was also proud of what he had achieved this season, in what is clearly his best every year in MotoGP. “I’m very proud of my performance,” Pedrosa said afterwards.

Casey Stoner had had a front-row seat for Pedrosa’s fall, and described to MotoGP.com what he saw had happened. “Basically, about 2 meters out from the inside kerb, there’s a lot of rough surface where the tarmac is not in good condition, it is very old and very used. If you put any pressure on the front tire there, then more or less you’re going to crash. He went in there a little bit deep, he ran just a little bit wide, and this was just too much to turn on this tarmac, and unfortunately he lost it. It’s so easy to happen, you have a very small patch of tarmac that is good, and the rest is very bad. I understood immediately what had happened to Dani and I felt very sorry for him, because I did this last year in practice, and also this year in practice I had a small closing there, so it’s a very difficult point.”

With Pedrosa out of the way, Stoner’s triumphant parade could begin. Still, though, he would not push to the limit, actually finishing with the win was more important than pushing to get everything out of the race. That meant that Nicky Hayden’s lap record from 2008 did not fall, surprisingly, as had been widely expected. Stoner did not want to take those risks, preferring instead to build the gap, then manage it at home.

The crowd loved it, giving him a standing ovation on the final laps as he seared around the circuit which will now forever bear his name in the third corner, a fast, furious corner requiring bravery and skill.

“I’m not a very emotional person,” Stoner said afterwards, “so I’m not really gonna talk about emotions and how it is, but I think it says enough, seeing the people out there on the pit straight, and the reception we got for winning this race, I have so much support over the years racing at home here, but this year was so much more than all the years previously, it was quite something to take in. I even took notice in the last few laps of all the people cheering me on, it was just amazing to see the people standing up in the grandstands and I think it was just a fantastic weekend.”

It was not enough to change his mind about retiring, however. Asked in the press conference if the reception he had been given at Phillip Island gave him any regrets about his decision, Stoner was clear. “No. I’m very established about where I’m going, I’m not changing my mind every couple of minutes.” The only way to tempt Casey Stoner back to MotoGP is a return to the fire-breathing two strokes.

Pedrosa’s crash meant that Lorenzo only had to cruise home to collect his second world championship. That is not really Lorenzo’s style, however. The Spaniard has one speed, a relentless, punishing, crescendo of speed, getting faster and faster until the flag falls. He pushed at first to stay with Stoner, but after nearly losing the front trying to match the Australian’s speed, decided that winning the title was more important than crashing out trying to win the race.

Lorenzo clinched his second MotoGP championship with his tenth second place finish of the year, in addition to the six wins. Except for the race at Assen, where he was taken out by Alvaro Bautista, Lorenzo has finished either first or second in every single race this year.

Jorge Lorenzo has been like the Terminator this year, the unstoppable robot that just keeps on coming, no matter what you do to try to stop it in its tracks. Lorenzo’s method is simply building a metronome-like pace, clocking lap after lap at a scorching pace, each one a fraction faster than the previous one, turning the screw tighter and tighter until the opposition cracks. Lorenzo has been relentless in 2012, winning when he can, taking second when he can’t, always a threat. This has been one the hardest fought and most impressive championships in recent memory.

It was very emotional to win at Phillip Island, Lorenzo said, one year on from the big crash which had cost him a fingertip in 2011. “Last year was one of worst moments in my career. For sure a scary one,” Lorenzo told a special press conference.

“Then one year later I could celebrate my second world title in MotoGP. So yes, a big emotion, because this year has been even tougher than the first try to win the world title in 2010. Because I knew the competitors were stronger and more constant this year, so I had to be stronger and more constant than them. It was not easy, because I had to be very strong, very fast, and take a lot of risks but I didn’t make a mistake. Also, Yamaha offered me a much better bike than last year. For this reason we are the best in 2012.”

He had learned from his mistakes, learned to find where the limit was and ride at it, not go over it. He was much less consistent when he was younger, Lorenzo explained. “I didn’t know where was my limit. I was fast, I was quick, but like this I couldn’t become world champion, which was my goal for my career. So I needed to learn from the mistakes, to understand my limit where it was, and try not to go over the limit. For this reason I am very proud of my evolution.”

He also named his team as a a big part of the reason he had become champion this year, because they, like him, had been flawless. “[I am] also very grateful to my team,” Lorenzo said. “Because they didn’t make any mistake during the season, the bike never had any failure and was very competitive, so we are also world champion for this reason.”

Where Honda and Yamaha had succeeded, Ducati had failed, with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden crossing the line over thirty seconds back from the winner Stoner. While Valentino Rossi was almost stoic (see this story for his full thoughts on his time at Ducati), Nicky Hayden was very downbeat. “It’s really hard, because normally I love it.” Hayden said of the Phillip Island track. “I can remember battling with Valentino for the win here and being on the podium a lot, and today, having to race for 7th and 8th is really frustrating.”

Part of Ducati’s problems is the bumpiness of the track, something which the riders complained had become even worse than it was last year, when it had generated a spate of complaints. That problem is to be fixed for 2013, with Casey Stoner acting as an adviser to the resurfacing effort. When MotoGP returns here next year, the surface should be considerably better.

The Ducati needs a smooth track to be able to perform better, the chassis unable to cope with an uneven surface. The next race at Valencia should make things a little easier, as that track was resurfaced earlier in the year, and is now in much better condition. While that will make it easier for the Ducati men to find a set up, it will not work to their advantage exclusively.

The Honda and Yamaha men will also be out for a result, and with the championship out of the way, everyone is free to race for glory, without trying to save engines, without just settling for points. There will be burnouts and wheelies, and desperate attacks, with no more engine allocations to think of. It should be fun.

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. David says:

    “HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto has already said that he expects Marquez to be on the podium at that race(first race of the year); it would not surprise me in the slightest.”

    Whew…..I find it hard to believe Marquez is going to jump right to Alien status at his first race. He will have to beat one of the 3 existing Aliens to get on the podium. Lorenzo,Pedrosa and Rossi (who I bet will regain Alienship. Not that he ever lost it.).

    Has anyone ever come into their rookie season in MotoGp and done that?

    He will also have to fight with the next step down, Bradl, Dovi,Crutch, Batista.

    I’m already looking forward to next season and watching the developing stories.

    I don’t care what a lot of the people say, I still enjoyed this years MotoGp.

  2. Jooey Wilson says:

    The slo-mo’s of Stoner sliding the RCV thru the corners immediately after watching it shake over the rumble strips was just amazing, a terrifying demonstration of his craft onboard that cruise missle. Lorenzo deserved the title and displayed lots of maturity he used to not have, as he admitted. The quick shot of Nakamoto-san after DP spun in was priceless.

    For me, the real story of this season at Yamaha was how Lorenzo was so good (and he has steadily worked and grown towards this result, no doubt) and Spies was so snake-bitten, especially equipment-wise. Don’t know if this laundry will ever be aired in public. If I was Valentino, I’d be nervous, too . . . . . that all of my parts were coming from Ben’s pipeline !

  3. “Has anyone ever come into their rookie season in MotoGp and done that?”

    Max Biaggi won his first ever race in the premier class after coming up from the 250s. So, yeah, it’s possible albeit highly unlikely.