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?

Q&A: Randy Mamola Talks About the MotoGP Season So Far

08/15/2013 @ 4:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Q&A: Randy Mamola Talks About the MotoGP Season So Far randy mamola day of stars laguna seca jensen beeler 635x423

With MotoGP’s summer break officially underway (and just days away from now concluding), Asphalt & Rubber sat down with Randy Mamola at the finish of the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, to get the Grand Prix legend’s perspective on how the 2013 MotoGP Championship was shaping up so far in his eyes.

Obviously, the man of the hour at the time of our discussion was Marc Marquez, who had just recreated one the most talked about passes in motorcycle racing history, and had won at one of the most enigmatic tracks on the GP calendar…after having never been to Laguna Seca before, naturally.

Sharing his insights on Marquez and the talent that the Repsol Honda rider exudes, Mamola gave us his unique perspective on the leaders for this year’s MotoGP title, amongst other issues in the paddock. Read the Q&A from our dialogue after the jump.

Q: Halfway through the season now, I wanted to get your impressions on how it is going.

Nine races into it, 16 point lead, who would have thought Marc would be doing that — including Marc? Racing as many grand prix, and as many years as I have been involved, there is an element of luck and that luck can either be bad or good.

On injuries, we have had bad luck with a couple of guys. You know when it was Jorge who did it, and Dani scored only two points, that was one thing. And then when Jorge did it again, and Dani got injured — it was bad luck when the thing bucked-up and through him down the road — but that’s racing.

It makes this championship exciting, because there’s not one person that’s really running away with it, but I’ll tell you what, if Dani and Jorge don’t get this thing pulled together, that kid [Marquez] is going to be gone. You just don’t come to Laguna Seca, and do the things he did.

The thing about Marquez is that he emits this that he has no boundaries. Those boundaries come from experience, and his inexperience at these race tracks — although he knows the tracks — but he doesn’t approach it the same way as Jorge or Dani.

If you look at the beginning of the year,  he’s following Dani everywhere, same bike and so on and so forth. He immediately changed his colors, he immediately adapted to what the color was at that point — red, blue, green, or whatever. Not only that, he has taken it to the next level, and he’s learned how to do things.

You can see my strategy of what I’m trying to say. That was the exception to the rule on who he is as a talented kid. Twenty years old, and I talk to McGrath [Supercross Jeremy McGrath], which is so funny, you talk to these guys that have been around for so long…

I bet Rossi had a smile on his face at the top of The Corkscrew, I didn’t even go to the press conference, but for sure there’s a smirk on his face, and for sure in that motorhome, him and Uccio are laughing about it, which says so much about the nine-time World Champion, the respect and everything that he has.

He got his ass whooped, by a kid again, at Laguna Seca, in that same corner, even though he’s not Marquez’s competition.

So getting back to the championship, these guys need to heal. We are going to Indianapolis, and Marc needs to make sure that he doesn’t get injured. We saw that at many races this year that he has crashed a lot already, and being called a Chicklet piece of gum, because he seems to bounce and pull himself back up — that doesn’t last forever.

We’re coming up to Indy, which is a tough race track, we saw a lot of crashes there in the past and so on, but then we go straight into Brno, which is a really fast track.

I know that at the end of the season, Dani performs really really well, like we saw last year. We know that the Honda in particular performs well at those race tracks. That’s why Jorge knew the pressure he was against to try and get as much as he could up to this point. But we will just have to wait and see where that goes. But, the pendullum has swung in 93′s way for the moment.

Q: How do you feel about the pace that Valentino has shown? Do you think he is living up to the expectations of coming back to Yamaha?

I think the general public is happy enough that he is on a podium. To Rossi’s standards, he is happy to be on that podium, whether it is second or third. Obviously he likes first, like he did in Assen, but it’s going to be few and far between.

This is nothing against Valentino…in Texas I was asked a question on stage: “Do you think Valentino can win the Championship?” — and I said, “absolutely not.” He can win races, but not the championship, and because Texas was the second Grand Prix, Valentino showed something, and everyone thought he’s gonna go, but I watched the tests.

I was in Malaysia for the two tests, I was standing in Jerez at every corner, watching what he was trying to replicate from all these young guys, and I know, I know how hard he was digging. The thing is, he’s been able to control himself enough to where he is not getting off the bike, and that’s obviously enabled him to score descent points.

Cal is pushing him, but it’s not just Cal, now it’s Bradl, these young guys are nipping at those heels, and now we’ve got to go to Indy.

Go over there and look at the podium, I looked at it for 10 seconds. The smile that Vale brings to the rest of them, Marc and the rest of them, he is just happy for Marc. He is happy to be a part of that. This is his championship, like it’s Marquez’s championship, like it’s Bautista’s championship, or whomever.

This is why you love who Valentino is. He is real like that. If you watch the video he just did, how freaking funny is that? He talks about the mile high club and all that, it’s just genuine.

Him and I talked a few times, I didn’t see him after Assen, and I saw him Thursday here at Laguna Seca, but I said “fantastic job!” and he says “yeah, it was beautiful!” You know there is nothing better than winning a race such as Assen, because it’s so iconic. He just knows everything.

The thing is Jorge pushed Valentino into that accident [Mugello 2010]. Not with a knife to his throat, just Jorge was blindingly fast. Rossi had no control over him. He’s always had control with Stoner, he’s always had control with Sete, he’s always had some sort of control.

It was like Jorge had this sort of thick wall around him that there was no penetration, and when that happened, Vale was getting his ass whooped then. And then of course he broke his leg, and the rest is history in terms of going to Ducati and now coming back to Yamaha, and coming back to this level. It was truthful when Vale said, “I have to see if I can get on the podium first.”

First race it was, and that made it harder for him, because he didn’t expect that. It was a gain of momentum.

Remember though, Yamaha is behind — not to say that they cannot win this championship — but their riders have to ride in such a certain way, and the Honda can be ridden in various ways at the moment, and can win in each of those various ways.

The only way the Yamaha wins, is to ride it as smooth as you can, without getting it out of shape. The Honda can bend, it can tweak, and twisted, and so forth. It’s point and shoot, we know that. In Japan, there is no way you’re going to beat that thing. It’s just so fast.

Q: The last two races we have seen exhibitions of mental toughness and determinatio. When you talk to Dani or talk to Jorge, who do you think wants it more? Who is willing to push themselves the furthest?

I’m a Monster athlete, or representative, or whatever you want to say, and obviously Jorge, Valentino, and Cal, etc are people I admire, and we run the same brand, but Dani is somebody who deserves a lot of patting on the back, and I think Jorge realized that a few years ago, and this is why in a sense there is a friends, but not friends, type of thing. There’s a real strong type of mutual respect.

Dani, it’s funny, Dani never shows his cards. He’s got them against his chest, and he never even looks at them himself, because he’s afraid someone is going to peek — he’s that kind of person.

I did an interview with him on the Parts Unlimited stage yesterday, and asked him why he missed the race in Germany. I know how bloody fast he is around this race track [Laguna Seca] – Marquez, on the championship side, has got a bit of a bonus that these guys are injured, because they are bloody fast here .

Q: Is this Dani’s last chance at a Championship, with Marquez looking so strong already.

Again, it goes back to injury. You don’t fall off a motorcycle at 335 km/h and survive from it. But Marquez, the Chicklet, kind of does. If there ever was somebody that had a Michael Jordan smile, an infectious smile, it’s Marc Marquez. The thing is, pesonally I’d like to see Dani do it, just because Jorge’s done it, and Dani deserves that sort of result. Marquez is going to be here for a long time…

Q: Looking at someone like Nicky Hayden, with a lot of options on the table, and talk about World Superbike, do you think that championship would benefit?

For the Americans, for sure there would be a void, but to the championship there wouldn’t be a void if Nicky is not here. Dorna owns both championships, Nicky would put a nice spotlight over there. I think that championship needs a nice spotlight, though everybody wants to swing over to here [MotoGP], but why swing over to here if you can’t run the right equipment?

You’ve got one of the best guys, who is considered to be an alien [Crutchlow], and he can’t even run the right kind of equipment, and that is what has to change. When these manufacturers are pushing so hard, and the regulations continue without a rooftop, that makes it very hard for the manufacturers to pass this stuff down to other riders.

There are a few riders who are going “man, I don’t want to race in there!” but you know that today there was a great battle in the CRT class — freaking awesome. There are great battles down that line, that’s what’s nice coming to races as opposed to watching it on TV, because you can’t always see that.

With Nicky, I don’t know really anything about what the decision was, or what was behind it, Nicky has been there a long time, and kind of been stagnant. Dovi comes in there and kind of challenges Nicky right away. It’s a shame with all of that.

The 2006 World Champion loves racing so freaking much, that he doesn’t want to leave it, but unforunately he is going to be beat up a bit inside that motorhome, by losing where he’s at. Where do you go from that? What equipment? What is there? As soon as you get to the level of CRT, there are no budgets and no salary. So, it depends on what you want to do.

Q: Thanks Randy.

No worries, I’ll send you the invoice.

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Mike Nailwood says:

    I think Mamola has had one too many high-sides…sheesh, I feel like my head’s been put in a blender. Does he ever complete a thought?

  2. Mike Lewis says:

    Ah, Randy. Every time I hear him talk, I get further proof that the action inside his head is just like the first corner of a Moto3 race in the rain. Still, he’s one my top three all-time favorite racers.

  3. mime says:

    From a man who really knows what he is speaking of.
    Great honest assesment

  4. TexusTim says:

    ok can he complete a thought before expressing the next one lol….mike “nailwood” ? bawawawawahaha

  5. dazed and confused says:

    … thank goodness it wasn’t just me. i thought i had over done my meds this morning when i had read that!

  6. jimmy smith jr says:

    Ahhhh Randy #2, its like hes an ex boxer.

    Jensen shame on you. How do you sit down to interview Randy #2 in 2013 and not ask him about binning it two up on the Duc?

  7. PD says:

    From the best I can gather here, what seems to have happened is that Jensen took the transcribed interview, somehow jumbled all the words into a random sequence, and then just posted them here… Otherwise, how Mamola gets through a given day without tying himself up a 50-foot tree while having a sandwich in a bubble bath while on a treadmill while having not the faintest idea that he is doing any of these things, is beyond me…

  8. L2C says:

    Randy was on point about Dani, that’s for sure. He pretty much explained to a T why I’m such a diehard Pedrosa fan. It was great to hear Mamola say many of the things I have been saying all along.

    Good interview, I say.

  9. To be fair, Randy had to stop several times for people who passed by…the man is popular.

  10. pooch says:

    aside from the obvious bromance going on with Vale, it was a good read. I share the hope for Dani this year as if MM93 stays fit and injury free, who will beat him in 2014 after racing and having banked settings from every track ? He only gets BETTER from here.

    Oh and to say Vale had an element of general ‘control’ over Stoner is a bit too back-slapping. Maybe it was being at Laguna at the time made him all starry eyed for that infamous pass, but if Vale was the lion tamer to stoner the lion, then the lion ate him and spat him out.