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 Silly Season: Can Yamaha Sign Pol Espargaro?

04/29/2013 @ 10:18 am, by David Emmett19 COMMENTS

MotoGP Silly Season: Can Yamaha Sign Pol Espargaro? pol espargaro moto2 austin scott jones 635x423

The 2013 MotoGP season has only just got underway, but as is seemingly customary in MotoGP now, thoughts are already turning to next year. With eight of the twelve men on factory prototypes on two-year contracts, the most attractive seats already appear to be taken.

There is no room for any movement at either the factory Yamaha or factory Honda teams, and only one seat potentially available at the factory Ducati team. Both satellite Honda seats are taken for 2014, as is Bradley Smith’s seat at the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team.

Despite this, there are some intriguing possibilities being played out. The most desirable seat still left is almost certainly the second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha seat currently occupied by Cal Crutchlow. Despite the Englishman’s outstanding performance since last year, Crutchlow may not be able to hold on to his seat.

There have been credible reports since 2012 that Yamaha have a keen interest in Moto2 title favorite Pol Espargaro, and in the run up to the season opener at Qatar, rumors emerged that Espargaro is already in talks with Yamaha for 2014.

With both factory seats taken, however, the only place where Yamaha could place Espargaro is in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, and with Bradley Smith already on a two-year contract with the French squad, that leaves Crutchlow’s seat as the only option.

When asked by us at Austin whether he was in talks with Espargaro for next year, Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal denied both the suggestion, and that he had any interest in the young Spaniard.

“I will never sign a contract with Pol Espargaro,” Poncharal replied in response to our questions. Poncharal was less certain about the option of Espargaro being placed in the Tech 3 team directly by Yamaha, as they have the right to do under their contract with Poncharal, admitting he would have no control over the matter in that case.

Though Poncharal is already happy with his current line up, sources have confirmed that Yamaha and Tech 3 have already had conversations about Espargaro, though the outcome of those conversations is unknown.

Where does this leave Cal Crutchlow? The Englishman has been impressive in both pre-season testing and in the first two races of the year, and is believed to be keen to stay where he is, unless an opportunity to ride for a factory team opens up.

With only Nicky Hayden on a one-year contract, that would leave only Ducati, or possibly Suzuki, when they make their long-awaited return to the series. Joining Suzuki would be a risk, given that it is not yet known just how competitive the bike will be. That will only become apparent at the first public test of the bike in Barcelona, in a month’s time.

Ducati, on the other hand, could be a better bet, given the progress being made on developing the Desmosedici. Though 2013 will be a tough year for the Italian marque, 2014 looks a lot more promising.

The complicating factor there is that the US is such an important market for Ducati, and they may want to retain an American rider to help promote the brand, something which Nicky Hayden does tirelessly for them.

If Ben Spies’ results improve over the coming year, that could satisfy Ducati North America’s needs, especially if Hayden were to move to World Superbikes with Ducati and race there.

That move would have the blessing of Dorna as well, as having a famous American racing in World Superbikes would help raise the profile of that series in the US as well.

The question is, just how reliable are all these rumors? Will Espargaro move to Tech 3, or Crutchlow switch to Suzuki, or Hayden go to World Superbikes? It is far too early for any real decisions to be made.

One thing is for certain: the second seat in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team is currently MotoGP’s hottest property, and a protracted battle between an established and successful rider like Cal Crutchlow and gambling on a young, upcoming rider like Pol Espargaro is likely to be fought out ver the heads of the riders.

Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Ahh, the joke that is the money-saving measure of limiting factory bikes in MotoGP. Why not just let Yamaha stick Cal in the factory team. They’ve already changed the rookie rule for a Spaniard, so why not tweak another for Pol?

  2. L2C says:

    At this point, Pol is much more promising than Bradley, I tell you that. It might be worth it to Yamaha to pay off Bradley and sign Pol. That’s what I would do. The UK market would still be covered should they decide to retain the increasingly successful and marketable Crutchlow.

    And after all he’s done for Ducati, Hayden deserves to ride the reinvigorated Desmo for 2014. Ducati will have plenty of top Moto2 talent to draw from for 2015-2016. Though, competition will be much more fierce then for the top riders of that class.

  3. The Bad Guy says:

    Why would Yamaha want to Stick Cal in the Factory team when they already have the Best rider and the most marketable rider in the Paddock? Espargro is one of the few that has been able to get the best of Marquez fair and square and everyone sees how good Marq is in MotoGP,Cant say I blame Yamaha for having interest in Pol.

  4. Mariano says:

    I thought 2102 was the “Silly Season” ….why is this journalist headlining his article like that…..annoying!

  5. Silly Season is a time-honored yearly tradition in motorcycle racing where journalists speculate, rumor, and gossip on each paddock’s game of musical chairs for its riders. It’s not just a 2012 thing, though that was an especially good year for it.

  6. TheSeaward says:

    “especially if Hayden were to move to World Superbikes with Ducati and race there.”

    Is this based on anything or have I been living under a rock?

  7. Mariano says:

    @ Jensen Beeler, thank you very much for the clarification. Actually, that explanation was in the back of my mind, because it was the only way it made sense. Although I remember last year reading articles were journalist referred to 2012 as the “SillySeason” in particular. Thanks again!

  8. TexusTim says:

    well….yamaha ha doesnt want pol to get taken by ducatti so before that can happen they will dump poor crutch and get another spainard for the team, i think crutch will be forced to ducatti but may opt for the suzuki if it’s fast enough and has the support……this whole mess about country’s and selling bikes is stupid and not in a competitive vein rather a super secret back door mess that takes away from pure racing…look at ponchs response he can say “never” but knows what the factory is up too.

  9. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Hayden to WSB and not Spies?

    I get it, Ducati will want to keep Nicky, but Spies gives the feeling he wants out of the motoGP circus.

    Bradley Smith has no business being in motogp. Espargoro is better, for sure. But so is Redding. Heck, that kid Vinales in moto3 is probably better.

  10. Stevenk27 says:

    @bad guy, obviously you are describing 2 riders in your statement. Lorenzo being the best rider, and Rossi being the most marketable. I personally believe they could give Rossi the boot and replace him with Crutchlow and the reprecussions would not be that severe. In 2 years time when he has achieved maybe 2 or 3 more wins Rossi will retire anyway so why wait. He is hogging a factory ride that should be with a more deserving rider anyway. Rossi and Crutchlow on the same factory spec bike and my money would be on Cal!!!

  11. L2C says:

    ““I will never sign a contract with Pol Espargaro,” Poncharal replied in response to our questions.”

    It seems straightforward, but I wonder what the story is behind it. As it stands, though, it sounds irked, indignant, resentful… You get the picture. It could be Poncharal covering his ass. It could be nothing and Poncharal is just being stereotypically French. Who knows?

    Curious statement, indeed.

  12. smiler says:

    Hayden’s future is determined by Spies. If Spies does not perform, which seems likely I think they will give Hayden one more year for his hard work and loyalty. Checa will likely want out of WSB end of next year, opening up a place for Hayden. If Spies performs really well, which is unlikely then I guess they will give Hayden the push.

    The idea that Rossi is hogging a factory ride at Yamaha is a joke. He is still the most marketable commodity in MotoGP and his results have proven that. 2nd in Qatar and 4th in the championship.

    It would be a shame if Cal gets the nudge but given the longtime move of the Series away from US and UK riders to Spain, it is likely. And Yamaha need a Merguez breaker after Rossi goes.

  13. pooch says:

    Schwantz said that MotoGP is ‘nothing’ without Rossi, and while Rossi was and is a great character, and certainly greatly raised the popularity and profile of MotoGP, to say that the sport is nothing without him is short sighted and biased. MotoGP will survive just fine without him, there are enough megastars who consistantly out-perform him and have for years. Rossi rose to fame on not only fantastic results but charisma, play acting, and elaborate theatricals post-race, none of these he does anymore as his age has transcended such stunts – so too MotoGP will easily transcend Rossi.

    Bradley Smith well, give the guy some time to adapt and prove himself before writing him off. I can’t see Herve sacking Cal, that would be madness, and Cal is the only top line Briton in the show. Lets see another Yamaha bike, and another Honda… both Espargaros deserve that :)

  14. sunny27 says:

    Pol-bradl-marquez is the new show…why still count on the old soon to retired..?? future boys,future..!!

  15. dipthroat says:

    I can’t think of any more undeserving rider in motogp than Bradley Smith

  16. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    @dipthroat,

    Karel Abraham doesn’t come to mind?

  17. Faust says:

    @ Chaz

    How could karel Abraham cone to mind? His family is putting up the money for him to race. If it wasn’t for his dad paying the way, that bike wouldn’t even be on the grid, so its not like he took that seat from soneone more deserving. If I was a billionaire and wanted to go racing in gp, who would tell me I can’t? That’s a completely different situation to the tech 3 team signing a rider from moto2 who was constantly getting blown away last year and came in 9th in the points. If you watched the races last year, Pol was consistently on the podium and would have been champ if not for the domination of Marquez. See how that’s not the sane thing? Karel can do whatever he can afford to do on his dads dime.. If my dad was a billionaire, I would ask him to let me be a pro motorcycle racer too!

  18. Faust says:

    PS I hate trying to type with an iPhone

  19. Bryan says:

    @ L2C – thanks for bringing that up, wondered at such a comment myself. ‘Never’ sign Espargaro?