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: No Looking Back

06/06/2011 @ 11:28 am, by Scott Jones20 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: No Looking Back photo of the week Valentino Rossi look back Scott Jones

Valentino Rossi is not happy. His tone had clearly changed in Catalunya when speaking to the media about the state of the Ducati GP11’s development. Though probably not expecting a repeat of his debut success on the Yamaha at Welkom, Rossi was also probably not expecting to be as far off the pace as he is five races into the season. Word around the paddock is that Ducati has until Mugello to sort the bike out, and change it to a machine that Rossi can win with. If the mysteries of a carbon fiber chassis can’t be solved in time for Rossi’s home Grand Prix, the 2011 season is likely to become very interesting indeed.

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 blog, Twitter, & 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. Trent says:

    What does it mean to say that Ducati “has until Mugello . . .?” Or what . . . Rossi walks?

  2. Yes Scott, do tell.

  3. Mark says:

    I’m not so sure Ducati’s problem is with the CF chassis. Everyone that rides that bike, since 2006 when it had the steel trellis frame at the time complains about the same thing, poor front end feel.

    Despite changing almost everything on the bike since 2006 the complaints are always the same. The only constant throughout this bike’s life has been the 90deg. L4 engine. That engine is much longer than the in-line 4 of the Yamaha, or the narrow angle V4′s of Honda and Suzuki.
    Because of it’s L4 configuration, it has to be set back further in the frame for the tire to clear the front cylinder head, which almost certainly shifts the bike’s weight balance further to the rear, which accounts for the lack of front end feel and grip, and explains why Stoner lost the front so many times last year.
    I’m afraid that nothing is going to change much unless they redesign the engine with a narrower V angle, or the cylinders rotated more upright like a proper V. I ‘m hoping the new GP12 is configured in such a way, if not, Rossi would be better off retiring right now.

  4. Scott Jones says:

    I asked the same thing and was led to draw my own conclusions about what the single most powerful force in MotoGP would do should he conclude he would not soon be on a bike that would allow him win. Only Rossi knows for sure what he will do if he comes to that conclusion, but his tone has changed–read the press debrief transcripts to see for yourself.

    Mark may be right, but the other comments I heard involve the stiffness of the chassis and the need to draw more flex out of a chassis built around the Ducati engine’s design. Whatever the technical explanation, unless Ducati can make some magic happen soon they are going to have one seriously displeased Greatest Of All Time on their hands.

  5. Mark says:

    I agree Scott, Rossi is the last guy to take one for the team to often. If he determines that the bike is not going to give him a chance of winning anytime soon, it could get pretty ugly.

    Finding the right chassis stiffness is something all the engineers are continually chasing, but the bike seemed to behave the same when they were using the steel trellis frame, which is even softer and more forgiving than the Aluminum beam frames, which indicates to me the problem is somewhere else.

    I think Ducati may be fully aware of this problem, but are forced to make due with what they have for this season. I certainly too late to make any major engine design changes this late in the season.

  6. Andrew says:

    Is the 1000cc 2012 bike that he said he enjoyed so much all that different?

  7. Trent says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Scott. Great pics, also.

  8. Mark says:

    Andrew, this is the big question, I’m hoping they rotated into a more traditional upright V instead of an L. From what I can see from the few photos published so far, the right side clutch cover area looks dramatically different.

  9. AC says:

    Hard to believe that if Ducati has been hearing about front end complaints since 2006 that they have done nothing drastic to resolve it, even if it means an engine redesign. It’s better than the alternative: years of losing. Hopefully the pressure of having Rossi aboard will force them to change their ways. Reminds me a bit of Ferrari in F1 these days, they just can’t seem to get to the top, technically.

  10. Scruby says:

    Who cares.MotoGP is a yawning borefest.Catalunya was a complete waste of my time.

  11. ML says:

    I, for one, can hardly wait until Rossi’s new helmet is available for purchase! I thought his “Five Continents” design was great, but this new one is better.

  12. Seems bizarre, Rossi was only 7 seconds behind Stoner in the race. He went 0.5 second faster instantly with the new crankshaft in qualifying. Sure the story hasn’t been a fairytale but the Honda has moved things well forward in 2011. Would Rossi be leading the championship if he was still on a Yamaha? Doubt it. The Ducati still has a ways to go but the beauty of carbon fiber is you can dial in exactly the right amount of flex in any plane, something not possible with metal

  13. GeddyT says:

    Rossi has a two year contract. What’s he gonna do at Mugello, walk? Here’s an idea: the guy’s being paid like $14 million this year in salary alone. Take just half of that, give it back to Ducati, and let them hire enough brain power to get the job done. With all of the Marlboro money coming in, that team already has the highest operating budget in the paddock, from what I understand. Too little too late?

    Besides, wasn’t this supposed to be a throwaway season, anyway, waiting for the 1000cc bike next year? That’s a scratch design based off of his input. He’s not going to walk away from that.

  14. Jake Fox says:

    Rossi has had disappointing seasons because of poor equipment before, remember 2006? He was lucky if his engine would finish the race without blowing up. I’m sure he’s not happy; what racer is who doesn’t finish 1st? Still, I can’t see him doing anything more substantial to Ducati than perhaps insisting on some kind of personnel change in the paddock or back in Bologna.

  15. Peter says:

    Interesting to read the comments here about engine redesign , and included V angles.
    Maybe Ducati will do it for the 1,000 cc formula, but, it would be impossible and totally improbable to attempt it for the remaining races in this year. No point attempting to produce a totally new engine design for maybe a couple of races.
    Besides, with the current engine rules, even if Ducati did produce a new engine, they would only be able to use a couple, due to the six(6) engine rule. Hayden is already onto engine #4, I understand.

    To a “non Rossi fan” like me, its rather amusing to hear him complain about the bike, when, all we heard last year from the Rossi camp ,was that Stoner wasn’t riding it hard enough.

    I have been keeping a spreadsheet comparing Stoner and Rossi this year, and its interesting to note that Stoner has completed some 858 ” Flying Laps ” on the Honda since November, 2010, compared to 1,029 laps by Rossi on the Ducati. The information is available on the MotoGP. com web site. I only count “full laps” BTW, not in and out laps.

    No one can say that Rossi isn’t getting enough time on the bike. This data includes the last race at Catalunya.

  16. Seth Trench says:

    well, the issue is that over the last few years Stoner rode completely over his head to get the results he did. But that was evident in the number crashes. Burgess in an interview with Daryl Beattie said that Ducati took those wins as success and was blind to the true situation. He goes on to say that they are not willing to allow Rossi to ride at a 115% just to get a result.

  17. Peter says:

    Seth,

    I would not say that Stoner rode completely over his head. He rode over the capability of the bike to get those results. No-one else has obtained those results.

    You must remember that Stoner did give Ducati 23 wins in the time he rode for them. How many wins have the other Ducati riders scored in the 800cc era? Only one from memory. Capirossi in Japan in 2007 .

    I also saw that interview with Burgess , as I am in Australia.

    This year, Rossi often isn’t beating the times set by Stoner in 2010, and I’m certain that Ducati are spending a lot more money than they were last year. Just wonder when questions will be asked by those holding the purse strings !

  18. seth trencj says:

    true peter, “completely over his head” was a poor choice of words. What I was trying to say was that Casey’s ability to win on the bike gave ducati a false sense of success. Casey is an amazingly talented rider, but lacked consistency due to his riding over the abilies of the machine.

  19. Peter says:

    Seth,

    Agree there :-)

    I think this year, Stoner has matured a little and realised that to win a championship, first of all you have to finish.
    Still though, three wins , a third and DNF isnt too bad so far this year.

    Regards

  20. brandnreal says:

    I’m a huge fan of rossi as anyone can be, but this guy has a lot excuses c’mon now vale are you in it to win or just cruising down the lane no matter what your bike problem is atleast be in a podium or take some good points..!!!!.. all I read about rossi on his new bike is blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah sorry but had to say it….