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 Misano: Of Fallen Riders, Ducati’s Junior Team, & The ECU Face Off

09/13/2012 @ 4:57 pm, by David Emmett8 COMMENTS

Thursday Summary at Misano: Of Fallen Riders, Ducatis Junior Team, & The ECU Face Off shoya tomizawa 635x430

The return to Misano was always going to be an emotional affair, the first time MotoGP has returned to Marco Simoncelli’s home circuit – now renamed in his honor – since the Italian fan favorite was killed in a tragic accident at Sepang last October. Though Simoncelli is being remembered in many different ways during the weekend – nearly all of the riders in all three classes joined for a lap of the track by bicycle this evening – the remembrance has been cheerful rather than mawkish, a celebration of his life rather than mourning at his death.

Fans, riders, mechanics, photographers, journalists, many have made the pilgrimage to Coriano, Simoncelli’s home town just a few short miles from the track, paid their respects and headed to the circuit feeling better for the experience. Simoncelli’s ghost may haunt the paddock at Misano, but happily, he does so in the guise of Casper rather than Banquo.

There is more than enough to keep the minds of those present engaged. Uppermost in most people’s thoughts is Ben Spies’ decision to go to Ducati to race in the Ducati junior team that is to be run by Pramac. Both of the 2013 factory Ducati riders welcomed the signing of both Spies and Andrea Iannone, with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden saying it was a good decision by Ducati.

Both Spies and Iannone had proven their speed, and Spies’ experience at the factory Yamaha team would be very valuable to Ducati in helping to develop the bike. There was surprise at Spies’ decision – “I thought he would go to World Superbikes” Dovizioso told reporters – and both men were interested to see how he would perform on the Ducati.

There was special praise too for Andrea Iannone. “He’s already shown he has talent,” Hayden said of the young Italian, while Dovizioso was impressed by Iannone’s ability to ride many different bikes, and ride all of them very fast. Hayden suggested that Iannone’s lack of experience could be a help. “In some ways, it’s easier if you don’t know anything else when you come to Ducati,” Hayden said.

When asked whether this was also a risk, signing a rider who could turn out to be fast despite the bike, rather than because of the bike, in the same way that Casey Stoner could win on the Ducati while all around him failed, Hayden disagreed. “I think they’d take another Casey right now!” The American quipped.

Hayden himself is back from injury, racing again since his monster crash at Indianapolis. The concussion was gone, and his head was OK – “Well, as OK as it’s ever going to be,” Hayden joked – but the still fractured metacarpal in his right hand was a problem.

Mobility was fine, but he lacked strength in his right hand, Hayden told reporters, something which was a real problem because it meant he was not sure he would be able to brake the way he wanted to. He would not really understand how well he would be able to cope until he got on the bike on Friday and actually rode in practice, but he had already discussed some possible ways of reducing the pressure while riding on his right hand with the team.

Ducati brings some new parts to Misano, parts tested by Valentino Rossi at the track two weeks ago. Rossi had a new chassis and a new swingarm to use from Misano onwards, parts which he had originally intended to test at Mugello, but an electronics problem early in that test had prevented him.

The chassis had a revised stiffness, and altered the location of the electronics and gas pod had been modified, changing the weight distribution. The bike had been an improvement when compared to the new one, and Rossi hoped that this would help make the bike more competitive. He also hoped that Ducati would be able to bring yet more parts to help before the end of this year, to allow him to get closer to the front.

On a different note, the 2013 calendar has been anxiously awaited for the past few weeks, with some hoping that a provisional calendar would appear at Brno. That did not happen, nor will a calendar be published this weekend, though one is expected around the middle of next week. The calendar will feature 18 or 19 races, depending on how the political situation over how the Repsol YPF nationalization in Argentina develops.

If Argentina is on the calendar, even that will not mean that it will definitely go ahead, with tension between Spain and Argentina continuing. Repsol is believed to be opposed to going to Argentina until the expropriation of YPF has been resolved. There is also uncertainty over Texas, though that round looks sure to go ahead, the question being who will organize the event. The Austin round will take the place of Estoril, happening some time in late April or early May, while temperatures are still bearable.

MotoGP is also on course to introduce a spec ECU for 2014, with the initial version of the unit being offered to the CRT teams for 2013. The original plan was to offer the teams next year the spec ECU as intended for the 2014 season, but with no limit on the factory electronics in 2013, that would have disadvantaged them even further.

So instead, the 2013 unit will be the standard ECU which will be used from 2014 onwards, but with much more functionality enabled. This way, teams electing to run the spec ECU will be able to be competitive in 2013, while still getting experience with the ECU that is to be made standard for all of the bikes for 2014.

That 2014 date now looks to be set in stone, despite threats by HRC that they could leave the MotoGP series and head to World Superbikes if they do not get their own way. Suzuki has had meetings with Carmelo Ezpeleta at Brno, to talk about a return in 2014, and the Japanese manufacturer had also threatened not to come back to the series if a spec ECU were to be implemented.

Ezpeleta was blunt: either accept the spec ECU or don’t come, he reportedly told Suzuki, the Spaniard’s previous experience offering Suzuki special dispensation having worked out rather badly (Suzuki told Ezpeleta they would leave the series if they were not allowed to sign a rookie to the factory team; Ezpeleta made an exception for them, and a year later Suzuki cut back to a single bike, to withdraw completely a year later).

Ezpeleta is willing to call the factories’ bluff on the technical regulations, believing that they cannot afford to leave. HRC’s threats to leave MotoGP if they are subject to technical restrictions they don’t like may be credible, their threats to go to World Superbikes instead are not. The Flammini brothers who run WSBK have been clear throughout, they make the technical regulations and the factories have very little say in it.

Ducati – backbone of the series and of whom it has been said they have way too much say in WSBK’s rules and regulations – have been unable to get Infront to drop the 6kg performance balancing penalty introduced at the beginning of 2012, and are not inclined to drop the 50mm inlet restrictors either. Honda threatening to leave MotoGP and go to WSBK because of the lack of technical freedom in MotoGP is like an artist threatening to defect from China because of a lack of artistic freedom, and go and live in North Korea.

This is a battle that will run for a while, but in the end, Dorna will prevail. The Spanish organizer of MotoGP has spent the past ten years giving the factories what they want, and the factories have either raised the price of satellite bikes or left the series altogether.

Tomorrow, the riders take to the track in Misano for practice, and many people’s thoughts will be with Marco Simoncelli. Fewer people, perhaps, will think of Shoya Tomizawa, the young Japanese star who lost his life here at the circuit in 2010. That is a shame, as both men were sparkling personalities and truly talented riders. Two fatalities, in two consecutive years, robbed the championship of far, far too much talent. Keep both Simoncelli and Tomizawa in your thoughts this weekend.

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

Comment:

  1. Spektre76 says:

    Uhhh….that’s not Marco Xo[

  2. Westward says:

    If someone gives their life to the sport of MGP, the least they could do is name that portion of track after that pilot. I think it is great they named the Misano circuit after Simoncelli, but Tomizawa deserves that corner named after him, as does Marco that corner of Sepang…

  3. Westward says:

    Not to be superstitious, but Shoya was #48, and Marco #58, I hope no one claims #68…

  4. Gutterslob says:

    I too, feel that the loss of Shoya Tomizawa got kind of forgotten by the international press after Marco Simoncelli’s death. I’m not putting one above the other, as they were both sparkling talents.

    Remember, Shoya had the better of almost every Moto2 rider (Elias was the only one with more points than him before Misano, if memory serves) on a machine with much less backing. His name still brings out tears among certain quarters of Spanish fans. Infectious smile, the boy had.

    We all know what Marco could do on a bike, no question. He had the hair to back it up too. Can’t remember the race or year, but there was one qualifying in the wet when he was still on a 250. Was soaking that day, and he slipped into the gravel. Picked up the bike, beat the handlebars into place with his hands, and then went on to set pole, posting a time faster than the MotoGP bikes that came out after when it was less wet. Mega.

    Both will be sadly missed.

  5. TexusTim says:

    at first I wondered why showa’s picture was on the intro page maybe you should just add a picture of marco and I think one of dijiro kato as well..all were taken from us just as there star was about to shine and give us years of memories……they are all heros to me….god rest in piece our fallen riders.

  6. Jake F. says:

    Top shelf writing from Mr. Emmett as per usual.

  7. ngads says:

    @Westward

    I dont think that they should name the corner they died on after them…maybe another corner