Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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.

Controlling the Uncontrollable – The Role of Ritual in Racing

06/05/2013 @ 1:51 pm, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Controlling the Uncontrollable   The Role of Ritual in Racing valentino rossi pre session ritual motogp jensen beeler 635x421

While normally, MotoGP fans never get enough of seeing Valentino Rossi on TV, there is one shot they would (for the most part) gladly be spared.

Every time the Italian leaves the pits for practice or qualifying, the TV director seems determined to show the same shot, from the camera on the back of Rossi’s bike. As he leaves the pits, Rossi stands on the footpegs, and pulls his leathers from between his buttocks, before sitting back down again and leaving.

Why does he do this? Are his Dainese leathers so badly cut that they are continually creeping up between his buttocks whenever he’s not on the bike? The answer to that is obviously no, his leathers are custom made to fit perfectly, yet still Rossi does this every time, whether he needs to or not.

It is part of the long series of rituals he performs before he hits the track, rituals which include bend over and touching his toes, crouching down and holding the right footpeg, and only getting on from the right side of the bike.

These rituals – part useful limbering up, part invocation of Lady Luck – are something many riders perform, in their attempt to exert control over themselves, and over their environment.

In a fascinating press release – by far the most interesting we have received in many months – the Aspar team today provided a discussion and explanation of what riders are trying to achieve through the use of these rituals.

The press release – entitled ‘Controlling the Uncontrollable’ – walks the reader through the many factors which go in to making a champion, and emphasizes the enormous importance of the mental side of the sport. It is a fascinating insight, and a highly recommended read:

CONTROLLING THE UNCONTROLLABLE

Listening to the same song, straddling the bike from the same side every time, performing a particular stretch routine, making the sign of the cross or putting a certain glove or boot on first. Riders employ many methods in order to maintain focus, many of them with no logical basis. The objective is to try to block out the environment, focusing all thoughts into one, and above all reinforce the idea that everything is under control. Some of these gestures are virtually copyrighted and are sometimes copied by novices. Who is not curious to see Valentino Rossi always watching the Moto3 race start from the wall as a spectator, or bending his knees and clutching them before getting on his bike?

Manias, superstitions, fixations, ideas or routines, call it what you want, but all riders need a ‘safe place’. They need to repeat a sequence of actions, however insignificant, to help them concentrate and stay focused. If you did a comprehensive survey many of them would admit to the same procedures, but each uses his own mechanism of concentration to try to have a sense of control over something that is beyond control. The rain, contact from a rival, a breakdown. . . These are just some of the drawbacks of motorcycling beyond the control of anyone, but still most riders convince themselves that they can be mastered.

Contrary to general thinking, concentration, disconnection, abstraction, responses to fear. . . these are all parameters that can be trained and over in a race weekend are almost evenly combined. Unfortunately, while the riders are elite athletes and act as such to many extents, they neglect to take care of certain aspects that are more important than their skill. Especially in the early days. Many extremely talented riders have been left behind due to their bad habits, which they try to cover up when their performance slumps.

Training daily, eating a healthy diet and resting is the bread and butter of an elite athlete. Training the mind in order to face the pressure of the big occasion is also fundamental to optimizing performance. Being able to concentrate and manage intense moments of concentration is basic. The rider must know how to structure the weekend in terms of priorities and focus to perform at their highest level in each session. There are two types of concentration: introspection, used to loosen up, and fixation on outside factors. Rest is also crucial to avoid excessive mental fatigue, which can affect physical performance. The better the results are, the easier it is to rest. If the rider is too self-critical and has not scored a good result, they will analyse all the reasons why and will not disconnect.

Do not confuse rest with isolation, which can sometimes form part of the period before concentration can begin. Finding a place to eat alone, escaping to the motorhome for a game on the console, or just a nap, are some basic mechanisms to release tension and drive away negative thoughts. There are riders who must be completely exhausted at the end of a Grand Prix weekend. Who has not asked for a picture with their favourite rider and the most they have managed is a posed shot. Some riders reach such levels of concentration that they are little more than zombies, their bodies roaming the paddock but their thoughts elsewhere.

‘Controlling the uncontrollable’ also applies to fear, the riders’ biggest enemy. In sport there are many types of fear and one of the most significant is the fear of failure. In riders the most ‘logical’ fear is that of a big crash. The natural human response to fear is paralysis, avoidance and struggle. ‘These riders who crash at 200km/h and ten minutes later get back on the bike are crazy!’ It is a common remark but there is little truth to it. The accumulated level of adrenaline is such that a rider’s first thought after a fall in the middle of a session is ‘quick, I need to get back out because the session is nearly over,’ not ‘oh dear, I crashed.’ Fear can appear later when in the cold light of day they think again about the damage they could have possibly done. This fear is more a friend than foe, as it helps to recognize the limits and impose a specific prudence in future. In contrast, excessive fear or panic may block logical though, becoming a handicap for a rider or indeed any other person.

In order to understand a little more the grey matter of motorcycle racers we see self-belief as another way to face reality. Very important indeed. There is scientific evidence that positive or indeed negative thinking influences brain responses. But be careful, your self-belief must come from an objective place. And humility must be your universal force. Think that it is best to be positive, without losing sight that in order to win every battle must be fought first. Arrogance and overconfidence are a fast track to failure.

That said, when you see an athlete doing some strange gesture or following a curious ritual, do not be surprised, it is their way of trying to get a sense of control over something that is basically uncontrollable.

Source: Team Aspar; Photo: © 2013 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.

Comment:

  1. Alex MacPherson says:

    Great article. It was interesting to watch the riders in Austin. Many of them have little rituals… not just the ones that the TV cameras show. Fascinating stuff!

  2. TexusTim says:

    you can call it a ritual but what it really is a way to focus your mind by clearing it by performing the same steps to preparation everytime…this way your not distracted…mostly perfectonist do this type of thing…how else do you suppose they match there lap times and turn in points in the same spot time after time ? same hand in glove first everytime,same boot on first everytime, same crotch grab everytime…it all goes to focus and blot out all the distractions..great artical, about time it was explained.its not a superstion, there not praying to the race gods…lol

  3. Ax1464 says:

    A bit disapponted that the article /press release didn’t give examples of different riders’ specific “rituals”.

  4. bakeery says:

    really nice article indeed. its answer all to my curiosity.

  5. paulus - Thailand says:

    Great… OCD is required to go fast!
    Another personal barrier for me… LOL

  6. pooch says:

    ironic… cause if Rossi does pull a win this year, it will be out of his arse :)

  7. Is he pulling some poop? Very funny picture hahaha