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?

Wednesday Summary at Qatar: Winter’s Questions Are about to Be Answered

04/03/2013 @ 11:57 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

Wednesday Summary at Qatar: Winters Questions Are about to Be Answered doha qatar gp motogp turn four jensen beeler 635x476

It’s here at last. After a painfully long preseason – Qatar’s position as the first race of the year, and their insistence on running at night, means that it is unsafe to run it much earlier, due to the danger of dew having disastrous effects on grip levels – the MotoGP paddock is assembled and ready to go racing. While there is always a sense of eagerness ahead of the first race at Qatar, it feels like the anticipation is even greater this year.

Whoever it is you happen to be talking to, the conversation always covers the same topics. Just how good will Marc Marquez be? Can Valentino Rossi really challenge for the championship again now he is back on the Yamaha? With Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa so evenly matched, who is favorite for the title? How quickly can Ducati return to form? And with six, maybe seven candidates for the podium at every race, how good is the racing going to be?

Cal Crutchlow remains sceptical, despite being the name most commonly bandied about for multiple podiums. The pace of Lorenzo and Pedrosa was fast right from the start, something which Crutchlow has so far not been able to match.

The first five laps had been crucial, he said, and the time lost there had left him too far back to compete. “With these guys riding 100%, you have to ride 120% to gain a tenth. If you lose a second or two on the first lap, you’re never going to get it back,” he said.

For him, the title race would be between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. The championship was finely balanced, and Crutchlow found a typically pithy way to express the closeness of the race: “The title is Dani’s to lose,” he told reporters, “but I think Jorge will win it.” As good as those two were, however, Crutchlow was most impressed with Marc Marquez.

“I think he’s probably the best guy in the world at the minute. Is he going to challenge Lorenzo and Pedrosa? I don’t think he’s going to challenge their consistency and pace every week, but he’s as fast as them, if not faster.” Marquez himself remained modest in the press conference, stressing only that he needed to be patient and learn. Few believe he will take very long to learn.

That Marquez is a big deal was obvious in the press conference. The key to gauging media interest in a subject is the decibel levels of camera shutters when a rider is speaking. Usually, in any press conference containing Valentino Rossi, there is only one winner in that contest.

At the pre-event press conference at Qatar, Rossi was easily outdone by Marquez, the Spaniard’s answers to questions generating a deafening clack-clack-clack of camera shutters as they photographers tried to capture a money-making shot.

But Rossi himself was happy enough to be outshone. Back in blue – an image both strangely unfamiliar and shockingly familiar at the same time – the Italian was just happy to be back at Yamaha. He was cautious on his goals for the season, telling reporters he would regard a win as a success, though he added “after that, we will see,” hinting that a single win would be likely to whet his appetite.

Whether he could compete with Lorenzo and Pedrosa was open to question, though he was confident he could reach their level. His 2010 season had been deceptive, he said, the shoulder injury he picked up in a training accident early that season causing him enormous problems.

The leg he broke at Mugello was not the real issue: “The leg? Fifty days. Pain, scared, but after two or three races, I never think about it,” he said. But the shoulder meant he simply could not ride the bike at some tracks, while at others, he could ride around the weakness in his shoulder.

What came across most of all in speaking to Rossi was his delight at being back with Yamaha. “I have a very good feeling with Yamaha,” Rossi told reporters. This had been something of a surprise, he explained, as he had expected things to be very different with former MotoGP project leader Masao Furusawa gone, having officially retired at the age of 60.

“In 2010 I was very scared, because Furusawa was my man, and Furusawa stopped,” Rossi said. “So I was scared about the situation in Yamaha. But this was a mistake, because coming back now, the atmosphere is exactly the same. Even though I went to another factory and I came back, all the people are very motivated to try to stay at the top.”

Seeing that Yamaha had put equal effort in for both him and teammate Lorenzo had also been reassuring, Rossi said. “Both bikes, the bikes are exactly the same, the level. And also the atmosphere, the effort of Yamaha is exactly the same [for both of us]. This is good.”

Just how good Rossi still is – and how good Marquez is, and whether Crutchlow can get on the podium, and whether Lorenzo’s preparation can beat Pedrosa’s preparation, and how close Stefan Bradl can get to the podium, and whether Ducati can benefit from Qatar being a kind track to them, and a host of other questions – is a question which will be answered in just a few short hours.

Testing is over. It is time to go racing.

Photo: © 2010 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

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


  1. David says:

    {silly hand clapping} I can’t FN WAIT{more silly ROTF giggling and clapping}

  2. Mark says:

    Qatar: Marquez, Lorenzo, Rossi, Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Hayden. No injuries & very few race crashes could make for a reMARCable season. Vale is hungry, Jorge is consistently fast, Dani is willing to battle & Marc is amazing! Hope Marquez gets a couple of bad starts, so we can marvel at his incredible talent. Good luck Nicky, maybe you will get a bike worthy of your talent & dedication… you certainly deserve one.

  3. jet says:

    It’s either a sand storm or cold wet dew this track should be scratched off,I’ve never liked this track so i’ll go do something else.Opinion only.

  4. TexusTim says:

    Finally !! we get to see the show. I think Crutclow has it right on the mark. not much from him about the duc though, Dovi could be shaking things up, to me he is the one that could come up and surpise everyone in the first year on the ducatti, doesnt hurt for him to have a veteran like nicky for a teamate.