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.

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?

Sunday Summary at Silverstone: Of Great Racing, Championship Leads, & Dangerous Riding

09/01/2013 @ 9:07 pm, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS

Sunday Summary at Silverstone: Of Great Racing, Championship Leads, & Dangerous Riding Sunday Silverstone British GP MotoGP Scott Jones 18 635x423

Over 75,000 paying customers came to watch the races at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, and each and every one of them got their money’s worth. Three classes, three winners, battles to the very end, and serious consequences for all three championships, with two thirds of the races done.

The day got off to a great start for the home crowd with a calculated and determined performance from Scott Redding to win the Moto2 race. Redding had come to Silverstone with two goals: to win the race, and to further demoralize his main rival for the title Pol Espargaro. He succeeded totally in both objectives, much to the relief of the British fans.

When Redding turned up at his home track with a special patriotic livery, the Union Jack splashed all over the fairing of his bike, fans feared the worst. Bad memories of previous years when British riders had sported patriotic color schemes were imprinted fresh on their minds, and they feared that Redding had jinxed himself.

Redding disagreed, and demonstrated his point by running in the top 3 in every session but one. He made sure that he always finished ahead of Espargaro, and once he qualified on the front row, posting a stunningly consistent string of fast laps in the process, he had the job half-done.

In the race, Redding had trouble shaking off Takaaki Nakagami, the Japanese rider coming past when Redding made a mistake shifting down through the gears. But three laps later, Redding was back past, and this time determined to pull a gap. He was helped a little by the fact that Nakagami was caught up trying to hold off Thomas Luthi, but in reality, Redding was not going to be stopped.

A third win of the season was important, but extending his lead by 17 points to 38 points over Pol Espargaro was much bigger. There are still plenty of races left, but Redding can now concentrate on defending, attacking when he can, but not risking anything when he can’t, much as he has done all year. Redding is close enough to taste his first title, but he is refusing to get ahead of himself. “It isn’t over until Valencia. Anything can happen,” he said after the race.

The Moto3 race was a carbon copy of the previous race, and of many of Luis Salom’s wins throughout the year. The Red Bull Ajo rider is using his experience and maturity to get the better of his rivals, taking it cautiously in the first part of the race, happy to follow when he can’t lead.

Then, with a couple of laps left to go, Salom attacks, and opens just enough of a gap to hold the the advantage all the way to the line. While Maverick Viñales is displaying some beautifully naked aggression, Alex Rins showing an undying will to win, and Alex Marquez a precocious talent, Salom is giving a masterclass in how to win a world championship.

And then there was the MotoGP race. If the race at Brno was tense, the race at Silverstone was positively asphyxiating, the tension making it hard to breathe to the end. The last two laps went from asphyxiating to electrifying in short order, when battle commenced in earnest between Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

Marquez attacked with typical flair and aggression, Lorenzo defended and attacked again with brutal determination and skill, with Lorenzo coming out on top in a penultimate corner pass. Lorenzo clawed five precious points back from Marquez in the title race, but Marquez extended his lead to 30 points over Dani Pedrosa. It was a big race for all involved.

Both Marquez and Lorenzo were sublime, pushing one another to another level. I asked Lorenzo’s team manager Wilco Zeelenberg if he thought Marquez and pushed Lorenzo to improve, and he said he believed Lorenzo had pushed the rest to improve. With Lorenzo going so hard from the line, Marquez, Pedrosa and the rest of had to step up their game to catch him.

Marquez’s passes on Lorenzo were typical, tough and fast dives up the inside at Brooklands to seize the initiative. His last pass was just a fraction too hard, Marquez running wide at Luffield and leaving just enough of a gap for Lorenzo to dive back underneath. “I think Jorge would have liked to pass “porfuera” (round the outside),” Zeelenberg joked. But he was happy enough just to make the pass and get the win.

It was one of his most emotional wins, Lorenzo said afterwards, and that was obvious from his body language and reaction after the race. The sense of relief – and release – was palpable, Lorenzo finally getting back some of the initiative he felt he had lost. What is clear is that the Yamaha can barely compete with the Honda at the moment, unless things go Lorenzo’s way.

Lorenzo once again noted the Yamaha’s weakness in braking, saying that although they had an advantage in corner speed in the fast corners, it was almost impossible to pass the Hondas on the brakes. There were still ways round, though, as Lorenzo so clearly demonstrated.

But perhaps Lorenzo’s joy should be tempered a little by the condition in which Marquez was racing. The Repsol rookie had crashed in morning warm-up, going down very shortly after Cal Crutchlow at Vale, both men victims of the cold conditions and the bumps at the corner.

Marquez had managed to dislocate his shoulder in the crash, having it popped back in by the medical center staff, and then given a pain-killing injection to allow him to compete. Marquez lacked some strength when changing direction from left to right, and so was not quite at 100%.

Would Marquez have been able to challenge Lorenzo more if he had not been injured? Who knows. But the fact was that Marquez was injured, much as Lorenzo had predicted he would be if he continued to take such risks.

The risks Marquez was taking left him sitting with two penalty points. At the point where he crashed there were yellow flags being waved and the oil flag shown, yet Marquez was pushing hard enough to crash.

Marquez denied he had seen the flags – from the overhead footage, you can see that the marshall posts are a long way back from the track, a consequence of having lots of run off around the circuit – but Race Direction rightly disregarded that excuse. When you are on a race track in a competitive session, it is your responsibility to be aware of the yellow flags, and act accordingly.

Cal Crutchlow had a lucky escape, though his bike was not so lucky. The Tech 3 man had gone down earlier, and he and the marshalls were standing over his bike when Marquez’s Honda RC213V came flying in.

Crutchlow later had nothing but praise for the work of the marshalls, saying that if they had not employed a spotter to see looming danger, the aftermath could have been very ugly indeed. Other tracks could learn a lot from that standard of marshalling.

Dani Pedrosa had finished the race in third, losing important points to both Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo in the process. The Spaniard had had a mediocre start, finding himself stranded behind Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl, and taking his time to work his way past.

Once done, Pedrosa put the hammer down – the letter ‘T’ being shown on his board, he later revealed, was short for ‘Tirar’, the Spanish phrase for go as hard as you can.

The Repsol Honda veteran broke the lap record on three consecutive laps on his way to catching Lorenzo and Marquez, but once he arrived, his tire had overheated and he had nothing for his two rivals. There was one section where he could overtake, Pedrosa said, the fast section through Copse toward Maggotts, but he could never really get close enough to try.

For the Tech 3 team, the British Grand Prix was a disaster. It had all started to go wrong on Saturday, when Cal Crutchlow had a couple of huge crashes. Crutchlow suffered serious abrasions to his right lower arm, with his leathers tearing open and gravel and dirt getting in to rip up his skin.

It is the fifth time this year that his leathers have let him down, though of course, if he didn’t crash, his leathers would not be subject to such abuse. That is no excuse, however: motorcycle racing leathers should not burst at the seams, and riders should not be picking gravel out of their arms with a wire brush.

Crutchlow had destroyed one bike on Saturday morning, then badly trashed his second after getting back to the pits and getting out again. The Tech 3 man had only one bike for qualifying, then the crash in warm up did even more damage. It was not so much his crash that caused the problems, but the fact that Marquez’s Repsol Honda had slammed into the bike after the Spaniard’s get off.

Though the lack of time on the bike hadn’t helped, the truth was that he and the team had lost their way, Crutchlow told reporters. They had gone round in circles chasing set up ideas with the new tank, running back to back with the old tank, and trying to fit it all into 45 minute practice sessions on a race weekend. It was far from ideal, so hardly surprising they would end up confusing themselves.

At the next race, Crutchlow had to focus on enjoying himself again, and not worrying about set up. Just ride the bike and enjoy racing, was Crutchlow’s advice to himself. What he needs is a good weekend, and Silverstone was definitely not that.

Both Crutchlow and Smith were rather humbled by the home support they received both during and after the race, despite both feeling they didn’t really deserve it. They had come to Silverstone to put on a show for the fans. They had failed in that objective.

Fortunately for them, other riders had that covered. Redding’s win was the best way to start the day, but then the scintillating race between Marquez and Lorenzo had been the icing on the cake.

With glorious weather – late August/early September is a much better time to hold a race in England, rather than in June – it had turned out to be a fabulous day’s racing. Britain needed it, but MotoGP needed it too. Here’s hoping for more.

Photo: © 2013 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. motogpbonehead says:

    Makes you think twice about the quality of Spidi leathers … ‘it is the fifth time this year that his leathers have let him down’.

  2. Slangbuster says:

    Nice read David. Outstanding racing today…

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    Awesome racing. Well worth watching!

  4. Jimbo says:

    “Fortunately for them, other riders had that covered. Redding’s win was the best way to start the day, but then the scintillating race between Marquez and Lorenzo had been the icing on the cake.”

    I was in the crowd yesterday and by far the biggest woops and cheers were for Rossi as he battled up to fourth. It suprised me as the battle for first was so exciting but if you had a volume detector in the stands as the racers went past the battle that got the biggest noise was Rossi and Bautista. Going to silverstone and the way the press were talking i was expecting a sea of black green and 35s. I didnt. I saw no more 35s than 93s and 99s. Infact the noticable change from previous years were the absence of samurai 26s. Silverstone yesterday was like a home race for Rossi. 46s and Yellow and blue.
    Its wonderful to see how so popular he is but is saddens me that the support isnt more even. I worry that when he does retire the following of the sport will drop dramatically which will be a shame.

    Wonderful weekend though and hats off to the stewards at silverstone. Shame the rest of the moronic staff couldnt take a leaf out of their book.

  5. JS says:

    No it’s not wonderful to see my fellow countrymen dressing up like clowns throwing their support behind a foreigner when there was decent homegrown talent to give their support to. And seeing how these same fans are the ones to leave early when their “god” has a bad time of it (note the Ducati days) is proof enough they are no motosport fan, so good riddance to them when Rossi does finally call it a day.

  6. Jimbo says:

    @JS

    Motor racing is not like football. We are not obligated to support our “countrymen”. Racers race as individuals representing themselves and/or their teams. If moto GP had an “England Team” i would certainly support it. However as they race as individuals i support them individual regardless of what country they are from. I gave Redding a big cheer when he won on Sunday and i shouted as Bradly rode past holding of the Ducatis but my loyalty will be to who i like. Motor Racing, Tennis and Golf are different from team sports in that regard. Do you support which ever football team has the most english players in because you wouldnt want to “throw your support behind a foreigner”?
    I saw cal crutchlow flags being waved by Italians in Italy and Spainyards in Spain. We should tell them to stop supporting him because in their country he is a foreigner…

  7. H.L. says:

    @Jimbo, Nice. I agree.

    I support by how they carry themselves off the track and how they handle interviews as well as riding styles. I equally enjoy both styles of MM and Lorenzo. I do admire the way Lorenzo handles all situations so far despite being racing against a better bike and talented young rider in Marquez. I love the way he picked up and raised Anna Vives (the girl with Down Syndrome who designed his helmet for Catalunya) on the top of the podium at Catalunya. Personally, I think it is more impressive to be fast or fastest with a smooth style, using throttle rather than late breaking, compared to using strong brakes and an aggressive style to be fast or fastest…Best race so far.

  8. L2C says:

    Good post, David. I wish you wrote like this more often. So, please do!

  9. Cbo says:

    Very excellent read. Makes you feel as if I was at the race! Thank you.

  10. “I love the way he picked up and raised Anna Vives (the girl with Down Syndrome who designed his helmet for Catalunya) on the top of the podium at Catalunya.”

    That brought a tear to my eye. Lorenzo went up greatly in my estimation of him as a person.

  11. Alex MacPherson says:

    It was an amazing race ! While I do like Marquez … I was very happy to see Lorenzo win at Silverstone.

    Jorge has shown a lot of “fire in the belly” and character this year… riding through injury and supporting people like Anna. I didn’t used to like him but he has changed my mind this year.