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.

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.

Photo of the Week: Forging Ahead

08/30/2011 @ 4:33 pm, by Scott Jones13 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: Forging Ahead Casey Stoner Indianapolis GP dirt debris track Scott Jones

While conditions vary from race weekend to race weekend, it is rare that GP riders find themselves with a brand new track surface to deal with when they arrive at a venue. Looking to placate the complaints about the bumpy infield that have been heard at Indy during previous rounds, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway completely resurfaced the interior section of the course, which is used only once a year when the MotoGP circus comes to Indiana.

This meant that Friday practice was held on a track free of any rubber from past sessions, causing all the GP riders to complain loudly about the slippery and dangerous conditions of the ‘green’ surface. Not only was there no old rubber to add grip to the MotoGP machines, but the aggregate used in the resurfacing was still sharp at the surface, which meant tires were shredded in record time by the abrasive macadam, leaving an amazing amount of slag at some corners.

As more sessions were completed, grip improved enough that Casey Stoner was able to set a new track record, and the racing line was defined clearly enough by the dark bits of line running between the fields of rubber marbles. The abrasive nature of the new surface still caused many problems during the race as several riders retired due to front end tire issues. Local hero Nicky Hayden gambled on a softer front tire, and found that while able he was able to chase down and pass the factory Hondas for the first time this season, the softer front tire’s rapid deterioration caused him to come into the pits to assess its condition, much to the dismay of fans attending the Indianapolis GP.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer known for his great action shots and poignant candids when covering MotoGP and WSBK racing events. You may have already seen his work on MotoMatters (they still have more calendars available that feature Scott’s work by the way). Not only do we like Scott’s shots, but he fits right in with our all Nikon-totting office.

You can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook. Scott is such a nice guy, he’ll even let you stay in his Lake Tahoe cabin. All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Awesome photo Scott. If that doesn’t put the track conditions at Indy into perspective, then I don’t know what will.

  2. luke says:

    wonder how long it will take to wear in the road surface? Sounds odd thinking of it like that…. Got to say I’ve never seen so many wear issues in a GP race in recent years.

  3. Bryan says:

    Won’t be going back there next year I predict. Never the most exciting racing for fans or riders.

  4. 76 says:

    Wow that there is alot of rubber, with surfaces like that if your bike is set up wrong 4 laps and a tire can be toast

  5. Scott Jones is the best motorcycle photographer shooting today- his work is simply awesome and has elevated Asphalt and Rubber to a must see web site for racing fans.

    Thank you Scott Jones.

  6. LutherG says:

    i was there. We had tickets to ride the track (with a 30mph speed cap, that turned out to be about 60mph). It was still bumpy, and slick. It would be great to have trackdays there, but that will never happen.
    I also rode my speed triple to laguna for the go this year as well. Although laguna is an exciting track to watch on the television, and the atmosphere is great, the viewing experience at laguna absolutely sucks. At indy there are large screens that allow you to see action from all over the track. At laguna, advertising on the fences blocks all of the views of corners.
    SO, Laguna is a better track, and Indy provides the fan with a better viewing experience. The problem we have in getting larger crowds to the track are riders like Stoner and Lorenzo “telling it like it is” and getting local headlines for criticizing the track, the surface, the fans, and everything else. I wish those guys would get it that without the casual attendees, there would not be enough interest in the motogp to pay those huge salaries and allow them to ride motorcycles for a living.

    As far as running the track backwards, the asphalt on the track has a “diamond finish” and has a grain to it. Running against the grain of the track is what shredded the daylights out of the formula one tires many years ago.

    The Bridgestone control tires have been the biggest fail in the history of top tier motorcycle racing.

  7. Steve says:

    Good job as usual Scott. Enjoyed the races on Speed over the weekend but I was wondering why they left all the marbles on the outside of the turns. Would have been pretty to clean it off between races. Looked pretty dangerous if you got off line in that stuff. That being said, it looked like a good time out there. Good job with the coverage boys.

  8. Rexr says:

    I agree with what Bryan says…….

  9. keet says:

    i’m no rocket scientist but how is a track both slippery AND abrasive?

  10. G.Irish says:

    I think people may be judging the racing at Indy a bit unfairly. A lot of the tracks typically have races like the one we saw at Indy. If you were at the track you got to see a good dice back in the pack and got to see a great ride from Ben as he carved through the field. Yes Stoner checked out at the front, but someone checking out at the front is common in Moto GP. At Indy the gap from 1st to 2nd was 4.8 seconds, but it was 14.2 at Le Mans, 7.7 at Assen, and 6.5 at Brno. So if you look at the rest of the season, Indy wasn’t that much of a runaway. And truth be told, this year’s race was better than most races at Laguna save for Stoner vs Rossi in 2008.

    I’d agree that the layout of Indy is not particularly interesting. I’m generally against road racing on rovals (cars or bikes). But Indy puts on a great event and the whole city of Indianapolis gets in on it. I hear Americans sometimes complaining about the event but I have to wonder if those people have been to other GP’s. Ingress and egress to the track is no hassle at all. You don’t end up in traffic jams of hundreds of people trying to get across tiny bridges. There’s more than enough food and bathrooms for everyone. The manufacturers have large displays in the vendor and some even do demo rides. Most of those things you simply won’t find in a lot of the foreign GP’s.

    I’m not a fan of the track layout but it’ s a great event and I hope Indy doesn’t lose it.

  11. BikePilot says:

    That is an awesome photo. Imo the teams/riders are way too whiny, a few tiny little bumps and they cry a river, a fresh surface and yep, more crying. Everyone rides on the same surface, its all part of the game. Do these guys ever ride on the street? Race off road? Variety is the spice of life. I say add some puddles, leaves, speed humps, gravel and pot holes to the track if you really want moto gp to be a developing grounds for road going production bike technology.

  12. Peter G says:

    Bike Pilot,
    What a stupid statement. This is Grand Prix racing, not moto-cross . Perhaps you need to go out there and show Casey how its done. I’m certain the teams are just waiting to sign you up.

  13. MikeD says:

    Total Nirvana.