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.

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II

03/01/2012 @ 3:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Andrea Dovizioso Tech3 Yamaha Sepang Test MotoGP 01 635x423

Finally getting a full day of sunshine, MotoGP took to the Sepang International Circuit for its third and final day of testing at the Malaysian track. MotoGP’s second test at Sepang this off-season, riders and teams will have one more opportunity to prepare for the 2012 season at the IRTA test in Jerez later this month. Sidelined yesterday with safety concerns over the RC213V’s engine, Honda’s four riders were back on the track, with the HRC factory riders once again taking the top honors on the results page.

Leading the pack was again Casey Stoner, followed by teammate Dani Pedrosa. Surprisingly leading the Yamaha contingency was Andrea Dovizioso, who was just under a tenth of a second quicker than Jorge Lorenzo. Also bucking the factory-dominance trend was Hector Barbera, who took the honors as the fastest Ducati of the day, while Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden languished down in 10th & 11th place respectively — over a second slower than Stoner’s best time.

“Again we’ve been unable to profit from the full three days of the test here in Sepang,” admitted Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner. “The first day we only managed about 16 laps before the rain came and then yesterday we weren’t able to get out at all. So today it’s been good to have some nice weather, get out on track and find some different solutions on the bike. We’ve been trying a few different things with electronics to have the engine character the same way we like it. We’ve also tried shortening the wheelbase, aiming to reduce the chattering and we’ve been successful in decreasing it slightly, but at the moment we’re unable to eliminate it completely, so we still have quite a lot of work to do. The chassis balance feels good as does the traction on the bike; it’s turning well, but we really need to get rid of the chatter. In general we are happy with the bike.”

On Wednesday, both Factory Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies suffered crashes in the morning, but were unhurt from their falls. For the afternoon, Lorenzo spent his time in a race simulation run, putting down consistent 2’01 second laps. Meanwhile, Spies spent more time setting up the 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1, focusing on the bike’s electronics and suspensions.

“Well, this afternoon was one of the hardest race simulations of my career because the 1000 is more tiring to ride and the rear tyre seems to drop a lot after three or four laps,” commented Jorge Lorenzo. “After this the feeling stays the same but it’s very different to last year, it’s almost like racing in the rain trying to control the rear in the corner exits and acceleration. I managed to finish the simulation with a good pace so all in all it has been a very positive test, thank you to Yamaha for their hard work.”

Affected the most by the inclement weather, Ducati Corse had a largely less-enthusiastic opinion of the week. With the factory riders well down the time sheet, the Italian team will certainly be searching for some more answers in the next few weeks ahead of the Jerez test. With many riders finding the asphalt today, Nicky Hayden had a low-speed off in Turn 1 of the Malaysian track. The American was uninjured from the crash.

“One small positive note to the day is that we reduced the gap to the front a little bit,” said Valentino Rossi. “It was 1.2 seconds, and now it’s 1 second. It’s also nice that the new electronics work well, but it hurts being down on the timesheets compared to all the others. We tried a bunch of things in order to take a step forward from the first test, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it and were actually worse. It was harder for me to ride well compared to three weeks ago, especially my corner speed. It’s true that this test was more difficult in terms of weather and track conditions, but it seemed to affect us more than the others.”

“Honestly, I expected to do better than tenth. We were also unfortunate because at the best part of the day, when I did a 2:01.5 and we had some tyres to try to lower the time further, we had a problem with the fork that cost us some time,” continued Rossi. “Maybe without that we would have cut another three or four tenths and been further up, but our pace is still about seven tenths back. Honestly, that’s not a huge amount, but anyway we’re still behind. We’re not pleased with how it went this time, but we have to try and work hard and see what happens at Jerez, where the track is very different than this one, with much different weather and temperatures. We’ll see how we do there.”

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Honda Sepang Test MotoGP Day 3 04 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Honda Sepang Test MotoGP Day 3 21 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Honda Sepang Test MotoGP Day 3 17 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Honda Sepang Test MotoGP Day 3 22 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Yamaha Racing Sepang Test MotoGP 02 635x423

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Yamaha Racing Sepang Test MotoGP 03 635x423

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Ducati Corse Sepang Test MotoGP Day 3 06 635x423

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II Ducati Corse Sepang Test MotoGP Day 3 04 635x423

Test Results from Day 3 at the Second Sepang Test in Malaysia:

Pos. Rider Team Time Diff. Diff. to Leader Laps
1 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 2:00.473 - - 34
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:00.648 +0.175 +0.175 40
3 Andrea Dovizioso Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.802 +0.154 +0.329 54
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.877 +0.075 +0.404 51
5 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.986 +0.109 +0.513 54
6 Hector Barbera Pramac Racing Team 2:01.231 +0.245 +0.758 66
7 Alvaro Bautista San Carlo Honda Gresini 2:01.275 +0.044 +0.802 51
8 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.432 +0.157 +0.959 28
9 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 2:01.492 +0.060 +1.019 54
10 Valentino Rossi Ducati Team 2:01.550 +0.058 +1.077 57
11 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 2:01.609 +0.059 +1.136 44
12 Franco Battaini Cardion AB Motoracing 2:03.490 +1.881 +3.017 39
13 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:03.681 +0.191 +3.208 43
14 Yonny Hern?ndez Avintia Racing 2:06.632 +2.951 +6.159 48
15 Ivan Silva Avintia Racing 2:06.785 +0.153 +6.312 53

Ducati Corse Testing at Sepang II – Day 3

HRC Testing at Sepang II – Day 3

Yamaha Racing Testing at Sepang II – Day 3

Source: MotoGP; Photos: Ducati & Yamaha


  1. John says:

    After feeling initial enthusiam for the GP12 Ducati, I’m sensing that what has been delivered is a long, long way from being ready for Prime Time. Too many problems remain and I fear another horrible season for Vale and Nicky. Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that satellite teams are faster. WTF???

  2. Steve says:

    This is testing so it’s early yet and our boys may have some tricks up their sleeves…I’m sure they do. It’s frustrating to watch and I’m sure much more frustrating for them. A full second is a long long time. This will be interesting.

  3. Damien says:

    Yeah, to see Barbera as the lead Ducati is not a good sign. Would love to see him on a properly sorted bike though, bet he’d fly.

  4. Trent says:

    The 90-degree engine layout may just not work at this level of evolution.

  5. Real says:

    I have to say, MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang II is a honestly good blog. I’d like to show you my personal thanks a bunch. Heed, Real