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?

Photo of the Week: Brush Your Shoulders Off

08/15/2011 @ 2:06 pm, by Scott Jones7 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: Brush Your Shoulders Off Photo of the week Marco Simoncelli Scott Jones

On the grid at Mugello I watched as seven or eight visiting Japanese gentlemen in matching white Honda shirts smiled, bowed, and shook hands with Simoncelli, and I couldn’t help wondering if they were congratulating him in advance for having knocked out his latest fellow Honda rider. Rumors had been flying around the paddock about the discussions HRC had held with Sic concerning his inability to tame his raw speed, and add the crucial element of sound judgment while in the heat of battle.

While his pace this season was plain to see, the question continued to fascinate us: would Marco ever find a way to be fast and smart? He came in sixth that day, and looked nothing like the Super Sic we’d come to know and fear, in spite of having qualified third. In Germany he was sixth again, and at Laguna Seca he crashed out for the fifth time this season.

At Brno he seemed to have completed a metamorphosis from wild and dangerous to calm and calculating (possible spoiler alert ahead). After a poor start he worked his way through the field until finding himself behind two riders with whom he has a complex past: Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Watching the laps tick off with Sic in fourth place, hungry for that first podium but dangerously close to Lorenzo, one couldn’t help but have the feeling of watching a train wreck about to happen. Given all that has occurred with Lorenzo, the sparring in press conferences, the latest rider elimination of JL at Assen, would Sic rush in again and further complicate his history with the reigning world champ?

When Sic got safely by Lorenzo, there he was behind his long time rival Dovi, yet another opportunity for post race fireworks should Sic be involved yet again in an on-track incident that knocked out a fellow Honda rider. Would Simoncelli finally, finally tame his inner demons’ lust for a podium in the top class and stay on two wheels until the end? The suspense was much more exciting than the way Casey Stoner dismissed the rest of the field and rode to his latest victory.

Clowning around post race with his Bridgestone cap on backwards, jumping in glee when presented with his 3rd place trophy, and dislodging the unfortunate head wear, Simoncelli looked very pleased finally to have knocked this particular monkey off his back. Sic may have turned a corner at Brno, but he still has his first top class victory to achieve. The suspense about what Sic will do on track next is not yet over.

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


  1. SBPilot says:

    Great write up. So happy for Super Sic and hope he goes two better this year. I also had a race this past weekend and also got the podium monkey off my back, also claiming third in my first podium.

    Now I yearn for the top step as I’m sure Super Sic also does now too.

  2. keet says:

    wow, one podium, BFD?! when he has MORE podiums than off’s then maybe give him some praise. dovi deserves far more attention than sic. maybe you should write an article on how great elias is for not coming in last while you’re at it.

  3. Scott Jones says:

    Thanks, SBPilot, and congratulations on your own first podium!

    keet, sorry but I must disagree. Dovi has had three and a half years, two and a half on a factory Honda, to show that he is capable of consistently challenging for race wins. He has not done so, which is why rumors in the paddock have him headed to a satellite team in 2012. Simoncelli has shown more potential, especially this season, to join the fight at the front, which is why some of us find his story more interesting. Dovi does seem to be making a surge recently, but I fear it’s too little too late for him, whereas many are hoping Sic can realize his potential by tempering raw pace with good judgement and joining the elite riders.

    As for Elias, beating the Pramac Ducatis is not that impressive imo, although the fact that Toni was able to go a second faster than he best race lap during the following test is a sign that he might last the season at LCR. Good news for him, and I hope he can stick around. He sure brought us some exciting racing before he went to Moto2.

  4. I was the only one in the room rooting for Dovi in Brno this weekend, probably because I think he’s an underrated rider who is always in the alien’s shadows (where did he finish in the points last year? where is he this year?).

    That being said, Super Sic has all the right makings to be a champion, sans some riding maturity. Let’s not forget how many times Lorenzo was in the gravel during the 2009 season, and where did he end up in 2010?

    If Marco can make the same growth in his racing as Lorenzo did several years ago, he’ll be a contender for sure, and that’s why HRC is giving him the nod over Dovi.

  5. 76 says:

    Its always incredible how quickly the weather changes,
    2008 4 dnf’s, (Factory)
    2009, 4 dnf’s. (Factory)

    Was anybody kicking and screaming how reckless, and immature he was, questioning how smart his riding was? Even better Stoner and his first year at Honda 2006, what 6 DNF’s?

    This is Simoncelli’s 2nd year in GP,
    2010 2 dnf’s
    2011 4 dnf’s (Factory)

    Simoncelli has what it takes, with some health and a good 1000cc bike under him next year he is going to be fighting for more than just the box. BTW if Simo is so reckless why didnt anyone call out bloody murder for the Moto2 race? Oh thats right because thats exciting, what motoGP can only hope for now a days.

  6. Beary says:

    Moto2 at Brno was superb. If the 800 race had been similar, there would have been more moaning and whining from lorenzo.stoner.pedrosa about unsafe passing, too much aggression. I wish jlo would stfu, he is losing bucketloads of fans this year from his whiney, petulant mouth.

    I would love to see Marco become regularly in the top 4, I like spies too but gosh he is no personality and he has been dissapointing on factory machinery. Marco could be great and I think he is on the way there but I feel sad for dovi’s rejection. But Repsol only want top shelf for 2012 and they can see where Marco is heding.

  7. SBPilot says:

    Thanks Scott!

    I also agree with the Dovi statement. As much as I like the guy in his cool, calm demeaner, he’s had a lot of time on the factory machine to show what he can do. He’s certainly fast, and if anything this year he’s super consistent. But he just aint winning races and you can tell he’s frustrated by that, as is the team.

    I don’t think Pedrosa is in much better position. He’s unbelievably quick, maybe the quickest outright rider right now, but if he keeps breaking bones and falling, he will never win a title. The biggest problem for him isn’t himself anymore either, its Mr. amazing, Marc Marquez. From the beginning of the season when he said he wasnt’ concerned of the title, I already knew he just needed time to adapt to the Moto2, and now he’s adapted, and he’s right up there for the title fight. Super fast, super aggressive, but also a very sensible mature rider. He’s also got a bit more personality than DP.

    If Marc beats Bradl to the title, in his first year in Moto2, that will be amazing. But regardless he’s already shown he can adapt new machinnry and master it within half a season. Repsol will want him on a factory Honda in MotoGP ASAP and will pay the money to put him there. Dani’s time on factory machinery wont’ last much longer.