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.

Trackside Tuesday: How Soon We Forget

05/22/2012 @ 3:37 pm, by Scott Jones16 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: How Soon We Forget Valentino Rossi Ducati Corse Jerez Scott Jones

All last season, and for the first three races of 2012, when I’ve walked past the Ducati garage and looked in at Rossi’s side, watching for an interesting moment to photograph, I’ve seen pretty much the same thing: Immensely talented people looking immensely frustrated. I stand there for a moment and think, I’ve already taken this photo, many times. When are things going to change in there?

Things changed this weekend at Le Mans. But after three races in a row, I’d elected to be home for some family events instead of away at the French GP. From the perspective of getting different images of the Ducati box, this was bad timing. But in other ways, and not just family-related, it was good timing indeed, because I watched the race with friends at the San Francisco Dainese Store, which was, as one might expect, full of Rossi fans. And being there was a bit like going back in time.

Many Rossi fans have been nearly beaten into submission by the Rossi-Ducati situation. So there were generally low expectations of Rossi’s 7th place spot on the grid, even though the race was wet. But a great start put him into 4th place ahead of the Tech 3 Yamahas on the first lap, and he worked his way up to third place shortly after. What was going on? Could it possibly last?

As he attacked Stoner, there were general murmurs of hope, but no one dared to get too excited, at least in any way observable to the others watching the D-Store’s huge bank of TVs. I too had the sense that it couldn’t last, and when, with 16 laps to go, Rossi lost two places in a few hundred yards to Crutchlow and Dovi, that change appeared to have been inevitable. It just seemed impossible for him to fight at the front, even in the rain.

But the wet track was magic, and the Rossi of old was freed by the rain, which muted the GP12′s problems and allowed Rossi to ride as he had for so many years in the past. Just as Rossi seemed to have settled into 5th, where he ‘belonged’ in these conditions, he fought back to pass Crutchlow, and then went right after Dovizioso. I was reminded of a line I’d heard in college that a grad student had muttered about Shakespeare; in spite of how many people there are who say how great he is, he really is pretty good.

As Valentino fought for that podium position, the excitement in the store grew ever louder, and we seemed as a group to be experiencing a reminder of why this guy with the yellow 46 was known as The Greatest of All-Time. In spite of all the Rossi fans saying how great he is, when circumstances allow him to show the talent that won nine world titles, there it is, plain as day.

Now the Rossi-haters out there are already thinking of rebuttals to this opinion, that he isn’t great enough to tame the bike that Stoner could win on, that he only won all of those races because he was on the best bike at the time, that he had nothing for Lorenzo on race day at Le Mans, even in the wet, and so on. All of that may be true. I’m not a Rossi fanboy so I won’t argue against any of it. But I do recognize a truly great racer, which Rossi certainly is. And it was fantastic to share his return to the podium with a group who had been waiting so long to see that very thing. It was great to see a performance which flew in the face of criticism that he has lost his fighting spirit or the will to win.

Sadly, unless it rains until Valencia, as Rossi has joked about wishing for, we’re still unlikely to see him show these qualities as frequently as we’d like. The GP12 remains a troubled machine in the dry, with Rossi unwilling to take the risks on every corner of every lap as Stoner was. But for those fantastic rainy laps in France, it was great to see the old Rossi back at the front once more, and really good to share that experience with friends in a warm, comfortable space rather than slogging around in the mud, cold and miserable, and wondering what was happening on the other side of the track. Then again, the photos from France probably would’ve been worth it.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. twat says:

    Great write up. Let’s hope that Ducati can figure out a better chassis setup so that Rossi can be back at the front soon. I don’t buy into the “he’s old, past his time” statements. I think he can still fight for podium positions, he just needs the bike setup correctly.

  2. Nice article. As I watched Stoner and Rossi dicing it out in the closing laps, I was sure that they were both smiling and enjoying the battle. Stoner’s reaction to Rossi in Parc fermé certainly seems to support that idea. Loved it!

  3. John O says:

    Alas, this win points out how bad the problems with the Ducati are and how good Rossi can be.

    In the rain the bike is nowhere near the edges of the performance envelope and so few of the problem the bike has come into play.

    Or, in the immortal words of Rob Muzzy, “all slow bikes handle well…”

  4. Kyle says:

    Great write-up and great race and performance by Rossi.

    What is going on with Ben Spies?

  5. Slangbuster says:

    Nice Job Scott and good to see Rossi at the front again. Too bad for Crutchlow falling off, as I think he would have made things very interesting at the end. Is it true that Speed Channel will be showing Spies’s (nice save by the way) and De Punet’s start on Dumbest Things on Wheels? Poor guys.

  6. Bryan says:

    Phenomenal is when he does what he did on the weekend, against the odds, in the dry. Any one can have a good day in the wet over others.
    He is without doubt one of the top 3 of all time. But I, with all others want to see the greatest comeback of all time from this legend. I don’t want it cheapened by building Sunday’s opportunity up to anything more than what it was: “A special chance” Rossi stated.

  7. Tony says:

    It was a great victory for Rossi and Ducati. My only problem with Rossi is when he comes in 10th on a 5th place bike and tells the public, he did not see any reason to try if he has no chance for victory. I am sorry, the GOAT should be fighting for 4th on a 5th place machine. Else, why go out on the track at all? If he fought a war with the other riders and come in 4th or 5th or hell even 10th, if that was the best then ok. But if he comes in 11th like he did earlier this year, with Hayden and the satelite team ahead of him and complains oh well he saw no point in trying, then WTF. If I told my employer I did that, my employer would take my job away no matter how good I or my legion of followers said I use to be or still could be.

  8. GBell says:

    I wish I had known that a group watches races at dainese store and more importantly asphaltandrubber was/is local. I love this site and spend hours with my cousin debating every article – hope to see you guys soon.

    Well written like all other articles here.

  9. @Tony: I don’t think I can recall Rossi ever saying that he didn’t see any point in trying, only that with that particular bike he often didn’t feel confident in pushing at the limit. If the bike is giving him (a lack of) feedback such that he feels that he’s constantly about to crash, it’s hard to blame him for not wanting to push. I strongly suspect that Spies is suffering exactly that problem with the new Yamaha this season; that bike was engineered for Lorenzo and Spies doesn’t seem to get along with it at all.

  10. Calisdad says:

    VR46 has rekindled the fire of victory so dampened by an unresponsive sponsor. Perhaps they have taken notice. He will again climb the podium and it won’t have to be in the rain. No one who watched him tame that shuddering beast can doubt his brilliance. BS11 will be up there too. He hates to lose, has more than enough talent and if anyone prepares more they are keeping it a secret.

  11. Thank you all for the considered, well-mannered comments. I appreciate hearing any opinion if expressed with respect for the community here at A&R.
    @GBell–The SF D-Store shows WSBK and MotoGP on race Sundays and it’s a great crowd, very social. Hope to see you there if I’m not away at the race.
    @Calisdad–Sorry to nitpick, but I think Rossi has received very good support from his sponsor, as I understand Marlboro has been spending and spending to try to fix the bike. The situation is more that Rossi’s crew’s extensive experience has not seen the expected success when working with a machine that is fundamentally too different from those they’ve worked on in the past to make the Ducati responds as Rossi wishes it did. In other words, I don’t think it’s a lack of effort in Bolonga, just a lack of successful effort. But perhaps the new engine will be a step in the right direction, at least as far as it can help. I don’t think it will solve the front end problems, but if the aggressive acceleration can be tamed, that would help overall.
    @Bryan–fully agreed about the qualifying effort in the dry, very impressive given the circumstances.

  12. dc4go says:

    Hopefully this result transfers over to the rest of the season not only for Rossi but for Nicky also… Great race between the top 5 and thank godness for some passing in MotoGp!! Think the turning point might be that Burgess and Rossi finally stop trying to set up the GP12 short and tall like the M1…

  13. Jake says:

    I love this picture Scott. The only thing that keeps me from ordering a framed print and hanging it in my living room is knowing the disappointing history surrounding it.

  14. Oh, don’t let that stop you. Think of it as a triumph of spirit to celebrate! ;-)

  15. Dave says:

    @Train and Tony,

    I believe VR said something to the effect of “I’m not going to risk my life for 6th place” to the Italian media. VR has a right to be frustrated, but I think his comments were more to do with posturing to get Ducati to listen to him/Burgess than about him not trying.–part of the whole Rossi/Ducati divorce media sensation.

    It WAS great to see VR duke it out for 2nd place. The best quote I’ve seen so far was when somebody in the media said to VR something like “Motogp needs Valentino Rossi on the podium.” To which VR responded, “Valentino Rossi needs Valentino Rossi on the podium!”

    I also did not know this blog is made from peeeps in SF. I’m in SF and watched the opening round at the D-Store. I had no idea I might have been sitting next to folks who write this thing! Great stuff.