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.

Track Testing with MotoCzysz

07/08/2010 @ 4:07 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Track Testing with MotoCzysz Motoczysz E1pc track testing Portland International Raceway 560x407

Over the long weekend, Asphalt & Rubber got the chance to swing by Portland International Raceway for MotoCzysz’s first track test with the 2010 E1pc electric race bike. It’s hard to believe, but this was Michael Czysz’s first time riding his creation on the track. The session was prompted by Czysz’s need to get ready to race the E1pc at the up-coming e-Power Championship race at Laguna Seca. Czysz had hinted to us several months ago that he might pilot the electric race bike at Seca, and now has confirmed that intention to race the bike himself. .

Getting to tag along during the new E1pc’s first actual track test, we got to see how the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc compared to ICE track bikes while lapping at PIR. Observations, photos, and two videos that prove we need to get a proper camcorder in the A&R office are awaiting you after the jump.

The weather was perfect for a day of testing at PIR, as Cascade Tracktime played host to not only MotoCzysz but also a small group of amateur racers and die hard track day enthusiasts (you’d have to be a track junky to take a Tuesday off from work). Having seen the C1 and both E1pc’s now in person, we can say that the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc retains the same level of attention to detail as its predecessors; however this was the first time we’ve seen any of Czysz’s creations running in-person. Always in pristine condition, you’d think the E1pc was a gallery piece on loan from the MOMA, if it weren’t for the battle scars found on the underside of the bike’s belly pan (a carbon fiber pan with more clearance is in the works for Seca).

If it weren’t for the blue LEDs that glowed ominously from the side of the E1pc, you’d be hard pressed to spot the electric bike in the pack as the riders went by us. Mixing it up with a group of liter bikes, the only way you could spot the E1pc was after it passed you, leaving behind a tie-fighter screech from its electric D1-10 motor. Powering out of the corners and down the front straight, the MotoCzysz E1pc appeared to be on par with the ICE bikes, despite Czysz’s butt dyno telling him otherwise. Watching the first sessions, it became clear that while electrics still have some distance to go in their development, here was a bike nearly beating them at their own game. “If someone says ‘electric drive is not the future’ they simply have not experienced what I have,” declared Czysz.

In the first session alone, Czysz and the E1pc were about seven seconds off a “good time” around PIR, and that was in traffic. Not the fastest bike on the course that day, but certainly not the slowest, Czysz and E1pc were easily holding their own as they readied for Seca. On the first day of testing, the Portland track ran its “festival corners”, a chicane on the front straight, which adds roughly 10-15 seconds to a rider’s time off the normal course. PIR is already known as a technical course, and with the added chicane it is an analogous gauntlet to what MotoCzysz can expect at Laguna Seca later this month.

Coming in from the first session, the MotoCzysz team set about to take the E1pc from its Isle of Man configuration (which still lapped an impressive 1’34), and began adjusting the suspension, gearing, and firmware to suit a track environment. The last part of that list was surreal to watch as it became obvious that in the future, track day enthusiasts would spend as much, if not more, time mashing keys on a laptop than turning a wrench on their motorcycle to make it go faster.

On the second day of testing, Cascade Tracktime ran the standard course, which played to the E1pc’s strength’s even more so than on Tuesday. This allowed Czysz & Co. to take the E1pc to approximately 13 seconds off the track record, with a time in the 1’19′s. Concluding about the testing session, an ecstatic Czysz said, “today we concluded two days of testing in preparation for Laguna Seca — they were the greatest two days I have ever experienced on track. We consistently ran our tests at a little over 10 seconds off the track record, but it felt like I was riding 30 seconds off the record — surreal!”

Leaving PIR, MotoCzysz looks in-form for the up-coming race at Seca. “The connection I felt with our electric bike was a connection greater than I have ever felt with any bike — by a large margin,” said Czysz. “Besides the eerie (frightening actually) sound of the bike under high re-gen, which I could hear bouncing of off the T7 wall, the ride was pure zen.”

Concluding Michael stated, “I can’t wait for Laguna!” Judging from the crowd that gathered around the MotoCzysz tent during lunch, it seems race fans are equally excited about the up-coming race, and from what we know about the field the track will host, we’re excited too.

Title Photo: © 2010 Eric Näslund / Näslund Studios – 503.853.3228

Gallery Photos: © 2010 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons 3.0

Comment:

  1. Track Testing with MotoCzysz – http://aspha.lt/15d #motorcycle

  2. skadamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Track Testing with MotoCzysz – http://aspha.lt/15d #motorcycle

  3. Frank says:

    RT @skadamo: RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Track Testing with MotoCzysz – http://aspha.lt/15d #motorcycle

  4. RT @skadamo: RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Track Testing with MotoCzysz – http://aspha.lt/15d #motorcycle

  5. RT @nicolaus: The Czysz Superbike finally hits Laguna Seca and apparently it screams like a TIE Fighter: http://aspha.lt/15d

  6. EnvironMoto says:

    The Ep1c remains the gold standard in electric race bikes. It’s amazing.

    I saw the C1′s public unveiling at Laguna in 2005. It will certainly be much sweeter to see one of MC’s creations finally circulate that track in competition this year. Great story as always JB.

  7. BikePilot says:

    Cool! Sounds like the Ep1c is moving along quite quickly!

    To be fair though it sounds like the Ep1c may have had a bit of an advantage in terms of its pilot as compared to the other bikes on the track. Also, we are comparing a one-off, ultra expensive, purpose built race machine with no regulatory restrictions to mass produced ICE bikes that at least when delivered had to meet racing regs (no forced induction, restricted displacement etc), federal emissions regs and be mass produced for probably less cost than the Ep1c’s suspension components cost.