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?

Trackside Tuesday: Scisma

08/07/2012 @ 11:20 pm, by Daniel Lo11 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: Scisma valentino ross laguna seca 635

Valentino Rossi had just come off a relative high from Mugello having finished fifth at the Italian GP and less than twelve seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo. Toss in the [admittedly somewhat cryptic] “let’s stick together” theme of his helmet and the seemingly positive talks with Audi, it appeared that the Italian legend just might be happy with where he was at Ducati Corse.

Fast-forward to the Thursday at Laguna Seca, where the pre-race press conference had just ended, the riders had all scattered about the room to answer additional questions. The small band of journalists crowded around Valentino were mostly speaking in Italian so I wasn’t able to understand much of what was being talked about but the number 46 was indeed mostly smiles, which I attempted to capture in my press room photos.

As chance would have it none of his smiling photos turned out, leaving me with this image that perhaps contained more tension than what was actually in the room that day. Ominously enough though, by Sunday afternoon what I had initially considered a throw-away shot had become an increasingly more accurate portrait of the rocky marriage that is Valentino Rossi and Ducati, after the nine-time World Champion once again struggled to tame the fickle red bike before crashing out of the race with just three laps to go.

Ending on such a sour note at Laguna Seca did not help Ducati’s bid at retaining the Italian superstar for 2013, especially with Rossi’s final decision expected to be made during the summer break. The old saying is “time will tell” but in this case the writing may already be on the wall.

Dan Lo is a motorsport photographer who covers AMA Superbike, World Superbike, and MotoGP. His online portfolio is at and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

Photo: © 2012 Daniel Lo / Corner Speed Photo – All Rights Reserved


  1. Craig says:

    I am sure the writing is on the wall… just who can interpret it correctly is the answer. Where is Joseph? He can read our dreams…

  2. Aj says:

    The writing was on the wall when Marco Melandri went from race winner on a Honda to last place on a Ducati. Although Stoner managed to win on those beastly iterations, even his ridiculously fantastic ability couldn’t truly tame the Ducati. A different tech team is in order and ASAP!

  3. HDAfro says:

    Do ya’ll think Rossi secretly rode a Yamaha M1 recently and that made up his mind. Rossi, will be like, “Dam, this bike is good, I can take it to the maximum” This must have stirred up some good memories.
    Question is did he made this decision with or without testing the Yamaha bike. I’m assuming he has to, but Ducati contract might prevent this.

  4. HDAfro says:

    BTW, HD is not for Harley D. I ride a Duc, and a Fan of MotoGP since I first saw a race, and it happened to be at Laguna in 2008, the battle between Stoner and Rossi.

  5. Westward says:

    In the press interviews at Laguna before the race, it sounded like Rossi and Ducati were very close to signing a contract. It wasn’t until he crashed, that the atmosphere changed.

  6. gsp75 says:

    I think the biggest loser is going to be Honda, losing Stoner and putting all there cards on Marquez and Pedrosa to fight against Lorenzo & Rossi… its going to be a while till Honda see’s another title (imo)

  7. Soul_reaver says:

    @ HDAfro : of course without testing the Yamaha. If he tested a M1, pictures would’ve already been leaked to the press, Ducati ( or Phillip Morris to be precise ) would’ve gone batsh*t crazy and they probably would’ve sued VR because of a contract breach.
    It’s like when he signed for Ducati, he didn’t know what to expect until he swung a leg over it. Only thing that he can do is take a trip down memory lane to know how the M1 rode when he was still at Yamaha

  8. Dc4go says:

    According to my source (close friend of Rossi) his mind was made up a week before Laguna… just waiting to finalize his contract…Only thing left to figure out will be Hayden teamate…

  9. JW says:

    Rossi this Rossi that, I have way more respect for Stoner in that he was able to master the beast and do the best in the circumstances he was faced with.

    Rossi didnt do jack with it.

    Stoner can leave with head UP a little higher now and a smile

  10. SBPilot says:

    I give full credit to Stoner, but the Ducati was a different bike back then. Ducati had a decent bike, hell, Bayliss (a non GP regular) and Capirossi won races with it. Times have changed big time, and the bike Stoner rode is totally different than that of Rossi’s. From frame to engine to..everything. The bike is dismal simple as that, the privateers can’t even touch the private Honda and Yamahas either and nor can the factory riders.

    Anyway, I just hope Rossi can remember how to ride that M1, and I wonder if the 1000cc is better for him. Now Rossi is sure to go to Yamaha, let’s stop “reporting” every little thing about it…..

    So yea..about that WSBK Race…..just about the most crazy race ever and not a single write up on it from A&R? pretty unbelievable. How many times do people crash across the finish line onto a podium finish?

  11. Spektre76 says:

    I was hoping for the GOAT to get back in bed with Honda so he can push Jorge’s face in the mud while he takes a victory spot from him and gives him the bird from the podium.