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.

Thursday Summary at Sepang: Of Championships Up for Grabs & Memories of a Racer

10/18/2012 @ 11:46 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

Thursday Summary at Sepang: Of Championships Up for Grabs & Memories of a Racer Lucio Cecchinello Fausto Gresini Sepang Test MotoGP 635x421

The Sepang round of MotoGP could see all three championships clinched this weekend, with Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Sandro Cortese all closing in on their respective world championships. The job is easiest for Cortese, all the German has to do to become the inaugural Moto3 champion is finish one place behind Maverick Vinales and the title is his. After getting a little too excited at Motegi, Cortese will doubtless be heading to Sepang in a much calmer frame of mind.

Marquez also faces a relatively manageable task, but unlike Cortese, he does not have his fate entirely in his own hands. If Pol Espargaro wins at Sepang, then the earliest Marquez could be crowned champion would be at Phillip Island. If Espargaro does not win, the Marquez is in with a very good chance: should Espargaro finish the race in third or worse, then Marquez only has to finish directly behind him; if Espargaro finishes second, then Marquez has to win.

On current form, it would be hard to bet against Marquez, but Sepang was the circuit where the Spaniard was badly injured last year, suffering damage to his eyes which limited his vision and threatened to end his career. It will be interesting to see whether the memory has spooked Marquez, but judging by his performance this year, that seems faintly ridiculous.

Jorge Lorenzo faces the biggest challenge, with only a 28-point lead over Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo will not only have to win at Sepang, but he will also need Pedrosa to finish no better than thirteenth. Given that the only time that either man has finished outside the top four has been due to mishap, the chances are the title chase will go down to Phillip Island, at the very earliest.

Beating Pedrosa at Sepang could be very difficult indeed for Lorenzo, as Pedrosa has been on a roll since the summer break. The Repsol Honda man has won four of the last five races, the only blot on his copybook being a DNF at Misano, the direct result of the chaos on the grid there. Lorenzo has been incapable of stopping Pedrosa in recent races, and he and his Yamaha team will have to step up a gear if they are to stop Pedrosa from clawing back valuable points. Working in Lorenzo’s favor is the fact that the Sepang circuit suits the Yamaha much more than the stop-and-go layout of Motegi did. 

The results of testing, as well as practice ahead of last year’s canceled race, speak against Lorenzo’s chances, however. Testing was dominated by the Hondas, with Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa topping the time sheets comfortably, while it was Pedrosa who controlled much of practice for the 2011 race. Lorenzo must be hoping that the tide of history will lend him a helping hand: Honda has not won at Sepang since Valentino Rossi took victory here aboard a Repsol Honda RC211V in 2003. Pedrosa would very much like to break that streak.

The wildcard here is the weather, with heavy rain forecast for both days of practice and for race day as well. Current forecasts suggest that the mornings could be dry, with heavy rain in the afternoons, throwing a curve ball in both qualifying and the race. Given Sepang‘s location at the equator, heavy rain could be more than just a minor inconvenience: the tropical downpours that hit the region can dump massive amounts of water on the track in a very short period, making riding almost impossible.

Sunday’s race is scheduled to take place at 4pm CET, to fit in with European TV schedules; that is exactly the time that the heaviest of the daily rains tend to fall. Anyone setting their video recorder had better add in a safe margin.

The loss of track time will at least not be such a problem for the MotoGP teams as it is normally. Sepang has featured on the test schedule since it was added to the calendar, and the teams have amassed a veritable Everest of data at the track. In the press conference, Valentino Rossi estimated that he had put in around 25,000 kilometers at the track in the 10 years that he has been coming here. That really is an astonishing amount of mileage: almost as much as a return trip from Rossi‘s home town of Tavullia to the Sepang circuit by road.

Of course, the Sepang weekend started off with tributes to Marco Simoncelli, the Italian rider who died in a tragic accident here on the second lap of the race. Almost the entire paddock assembled in pit lane before heading out to Turn 11, the corner where Simoncelli was fatally struck by a following bike, sustaining injuries which would soon prove fatal. Fausto Gresini, boss of the San Carlo Gresini team Simoncelli rode for at the time of his death, unveiled a plaque to his memory at the corner. The official MotoGP.com website has a free video of the event.

With the unveiling of the plaque and the tributes to Simoncelli, a dark chapter in the history of MotoGP is now closed. Marco Simoncelli will live on in the memories of race fans as a fast, fearless, and exciting rider, but now they can look back with fondness at the memories of his life, rather than sadness at his loss.

Photo: HRC

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

Comment:

  1. TexusTim says:

    nicley wriiten, “r.i.p. marco”

  2. BBQdog says:

    The big news this weekend is the quit of Vinales, he’s already on the flight home.

  3. “The big news this weekend is the quit of Vinales, he’s already on the flight home.”

    Yeah, and it’s amazing to consider that somebody running 2nd in the championship would just walk away from his contract. He may be a great rider, but my estimation of him in a professional sense has taken a few knocks.

  4. BBQdog says:

    Even the more if you read this:

    “Vinales had recently signed a contract extension (2013 & 2014 !) with Avintia Blusens, but declared he was now far from confident he could achieve his ambition of winning next year’s Moto3 title with the team.”