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: Veterans, Rookies, & Replacements Send-off the 800cc Era at the Valencian GP

11/06/2011 @ 7:18 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MotoGP: Veterans, Rookies, & Replacements Send off the 800cc Era at the Valencian GP Casey Stoner Valencia MotoGP 635x421

After a somber tribute to Marco Simoncelli, racing at Valencia commenced Sunday under ominous skies. While the weather has been variable throughout the Valencian GP, Sunday’s forecast was especially treacherous, as the off-and-on drizzle was neither damp enough for a full-wet setup, nor dry enough for race slicks. Nothing better highlighted this fact than a blitzkrieg lap by American Josh Hayes, which saw the AMA Superbike Champion on slicks dust the rest of the rain-shod MotoGP field by three seconds on the closing Warm-up Session lap.

With the wetter weather favoring the struggling Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, the chance of rain equated to a chance for a Ducati Corse podium. The RC212V of Casey Stoner of course stands in their way as always, as does the Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa. Also fast this race weekend has been Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard surely encouraged by a local crowd, as well as the prospect that his results in Valencia could help sway a very reluctant Japanese management into racing in MotoGP next year.

Randy de Puniet is also worth mentioning, as the Frenchman has been one of the fastest Ducatis all weekend, and missed a front-row start by only .06 seconds. With four manufacturers starting in the top five grid spots, the 2011 MotoGP Championship and the era of 800cc GP bikes, concluded with some of the most diversity it has ever seen on starting line.

While fans have criticized MotoGP’s departure from the 990cc format, the last GP on the 800′s had plenty to get fans excited in Valencia, as the action started from the very first corner. As all 16 MotoGP riders headed into T1, Andrea Dovizioso unknowingly moved in front of Alvaro Bautista enough that he touch the Spanish rider who then lost the front of his Rizla Suzuki. Going down into the turn’s entry, Bautista and his bike made a domino affect that took Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi, and Randy de Puniet down as well.

With all four riders looking strong in Valencia, the incident is not only a blow to Ducati and Suzuki, but also to MotoGP fans who surely would have seen some good battles sans the racing incident. Going into Turn 2, the race was lead by Casey Stoner, followed already at some distance by Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies, Andrea Dovizioso, and Cal Crutchlow. With Stoner checking out, the Valencian GP broke down into three spirited battles: one for 3rd in the Championship, one for Rookie of the Year, and one for the fastest Yamaha replacement rider.

With only four points between Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa in the MotoGP Championship, the two Repsol Honda riders only had the Spanish track to settle who would be the fastest other HRC rider. Naturally finding themselves packed together, the battle for second in the race had clear implications on personal pride. Swapping second place several times, the battle between Dovi and Pedrosa would have gone down to the wire had Ben Spies not interfered on the 19th lap. Trailing in fourth the entire time as the Honda riders traded corners, Spies made his way around Dani Pedrosa in elegant style, giving Andrea Dovizioso some much needed breathing room.

Dovizioso’s gratitude would be short-lived though, as Spies continued his charge, and finally passed the Italian two laps later. While this was occurring, the rain made its presence felt in Valencia. At one point 10 seconds ahead of the battle for second, Casey Stoner’s pace notably dropped off, making the Australian only a few seconds ahead of Spies by the time the American had made his way into second position. Giving him a carrot to chase, Stoner’s mistakes were compounded as he ran wide on Lap 28. With Spies blowing past, a proper race for first ensued. With Spies getting a horrible drive out of the final turn, and Stoner nailing the exit, the two factory riders roared to the finish line. Coming from behind, and pipping him at the line, Casey Stoner won the final 800cc MotoGP by .015 seconds.

Just one group behind the battle for second, a war was being waged by Karel Abraham and Cal Crutchlow for the Rookie of the Year title. Trading corners with each other as well, the pair finally caught up to the ailing Pedrosa, passing the Spaniard on the final lap. With Crutchlow leading the charge, Abraham was in hot pursuit as the two rookie riders raced to the finish. The battle would be cut short though, as front wheel of Abraham’s Ducati connected with Crutchlow’s rear. Cutting to the apex, Crutchlow found Abraham trying to pass through the inside of the turn. The bold move cost Abraham though, as his bike went off the track and crashed, while Crutchlow’s Yamaha wobbled but stayed on course. As a result, Cal Crutchlow can now lay claim to being the 2011 MotoGP Rookie of the Year.

The battle between the Yamaha replacement riders was equally exciting, as Josh Hayes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga slugged out the first three-quarters of the Valencian GP. Making their way past a number of riders, Hayes and Nakasuga finished respectively ahead of Karel Abraham, Loris Capirossi, Toni Elias, and Hector Barbera. Only losing ground to his factory team counterpart, Hayes rode an impressive race for his first MotoGP race. Telling Asphalt & Rubber his goal this weekend was to make Hervé Poncharal’s short-list for future replacement riders, we think the American’s name is inked in at the top of that sheet.

MotoGP will take a break for a day in Valencia, before beginning testing on the 1,000cc spec machines for 2012 on Tuesday.

Race Results from the Valencian GP at Valencia, Spain:

127Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda48’18.645
211Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+0.015
34Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda TeamHonda+5.936
435Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+8.718
526Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda+9.321
689Katsuyuki NAKASUGAJPNYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+23.818
741Josh HAYESUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+33.118
817Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+37.952
965Loris CAPIROSSIITAPramac Racing TeamDucati+48.953
1024Toni ELIASSPALCR Honda MotoGPHonda+52.501
118Hector BARBERASPAMapfre Aspar Team MotoGPDucati+1’06.519
127Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNSan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+1’08.760
Not Classified
14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPramac Racing TeamDucati0 Lap
19Alvaro BAUTISTASPARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki0 Lap
46Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati0 Lap
69Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati0 Lap

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda


  1. Beary says:

    Twas an awesome race and what a fitting tribute to Marco – not only a mad early crash, but some hard and fast charging. The battle for 2nd and 3rd was fantastic, then as the final laps unfolded the Spies/Stoner dance made for brilliant viewing and a shout-out-loud finish.

    Too often the 800 era gets caned for being (as another major web-scribe puts is) ‘Dispassionate, frigid, processional’ I’d like to disagree.