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.

TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors

05/16/2010 @ 1:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors Shawn Higbee Zero TTXGP Infineon 635x411

TTXGP’s inaugural North American race is in the bag at Infineon, as race fans got to see two close battles for first and third place this weekend. Blasting off the line was the yellow Lightning Motors bike, or the “Flying Banana” as it’s become known here in the paddock. Lightning’s rider, Michael Barnes, made quick work of Shawn Higbee and his Zero/Agni race bike off the line and on the straights, showing a very strong power package.

With all the power on-board though, Barney was limited  by his heavy and bulky bike, and wasn’t able to carry that speed into the corners as well as Higbee and his more slight Agni bike. Higbee, known for carrying a lot of corner speed, made up a lot of ground on Lightning, making it a close battle between the two riders.

Unfortunately for Barnes, the Lightning Motors bike tripped its power sensors, causing Barney to have to reset 10 different circuits, before “control-alt-deleting” the bike back to life. This put the Flying Banana a lap down from Zero/Agni, who went on to take a comfortable victory.

Taking third for the day, Mike Hannas and the Electric Race Bike entry also looked very strong during the race, with their Yamaha TZ 250 based entry. Again the lightweight formula proved to be a winner at Infineon, which is a very technical course that has large changes in elevation. Hannas was able to fend off Jennifer Bromme from Werkstatt Racing and her Mavizen TTX02, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Werkstatt.

The big disappointment for the day was the DNF by Thad Wolff, which was only able to complete three laps of the race. We also did not get to see Chip Yates and the SWIGZ bike take to the track, although the bike was in the paddock. Both bikes had a lot of power on board, and were favored to do well this weekend. Wolff qualified third on the grid, and turned more than a few heads with his Norton chassis bike.

While the level of competitiveness varied amongst the contenders, Higbee’s and Barnes’ laps proved to many that electric bikes can run quickly on a road course. Higbee’s top time was 18 seconds off the AMA Daytona Superbike top time, and the Zero/Agni bike averaged just under 60 mph at Infineon (AMA riders average over 85 mph at Infineon). Still there are plenty of doubts about electrics, as the majority of the TTXGP field lapped Infineon at a far less impressive paces than the front-runners.

Given the amount of time, energy, and money that went into all these race bikes, it’s a high-hurdle that teams have to go through in order to begin to match ICE performance characteristics, which really is the high-water threshold that this sport needs to reach in order to be taken seriously by mainstream racing fans.

Is electric motorcycle racing a fad or the future? It depends on who you ask. The local gentry at Infineon would seem unaffected by today’s race, but there were more than just the 10 people on the starting grid today that thought otherwise. Only time will tell.

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1 22 Shawn Higbee Zerp/Agni 25.33.626 -
2 80 Michael Barnes Lightning 25:51.8 1 Lap
3 15 Mike Hannas Electric Race Bike 26:44.2 1 Lap
4 23 Jennifer Bromme Werkstatt 26:57.7 1 Lap
5 14 Kenyon Kluge K Squared 29:54.6 1 Lap
6 18 Zoe Rem Pril Motors - 2 Laps
7 16 John Wild Square Wave - 3 Laps
8 20 Jason Lauritzen Electric Motor Sports - 3 Laps
Not Classified
DNF 19 Spencer Smith Volt Motors - -
DNF 37 Thad Wolff Team Electra - -

Photos: © 2010 Dustin Gibbs & Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons 3.0

Comment:

  1. Congratulations to Jennifer Bromme & the Werkstatt team who finished 4th in North America's inaugural electric moto GP! http://bit.ly/ttxgp1

  2. RT @skadamo: RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors – http://aspha.lt/10o #motorcycle

  3. Doctor Jelly says:

    Absolutely it’s the future, just give it some more time. Internal combustion engines have had over a century of development and have pretty much topped out in terms of any real improvements that can be made today. Electric rigs have barely begun! What is available right now technology wise for electric development is the equivalent to H-D’s infamous ‘tomato can’ carburetor. In less than 50 years electrics will displace fossil fueled rigs, just like horses were displaced by the ICE.

    Beyond that, I still have my hopes up for MotoCzysz becoming the standard for electric race bikes. I guess we’ll see what they can do later this year…

  4. skadamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors – http://aspha.lt/10o #motorcycle

  5. Mark B says:

    I love A&R, a top site…… so why does 75% of it’s recent content seem to be electric?
    Battery power is not the future. some other non fossil fuel will be, whether it’s fuel cell or whichever, but why the huge coverage from A&R? Is there no other news in motorcycling currently (did you see what I did there, with that electrifying pun? Oh no, I did it again……)

  6. EnvironMoto says:

    It’s difficult to keep things in perspective. This is a sport that did not exist a year ago. A little better than a century ago, “high tech” was manually advancing your ignition and squirting oil on moving parts in your total loss engine lubricating system. This sport is already evolving 100 times faster than in the days of your great grandfather’s board tracker. Glitches will happen, bikes will die on the track, and riders will be resetting breakers. But within months, or maybe even weeks, performance and reliability will continue to improve another order of magnitude. Next year this will be a completely different race. Congratulations to all the pioneers who participated in the TTXGP this weekend.

  7. Deez Toolz says:

    Jenny, I think you should hire Gibbs. He’s clearly an impressive photographer. And props on the first-hand coverage!

  8. @Mark B: It’s two things really. First, I really do think electrics are the future (this industry still has A LOT of growth growing up to do though), so we as a site want to follow that progression to some degree, hence why we have an “Electric” tab in the post sorter.

    Also, the recent plethora of posts is due to the fact that the first US race just concluded, and it was held practically in A&R’s backyard. We’re seeing a lot of entries for the first time, so there’s news around teams that are coming out of stealth-mode and the woodwork, which we want to cover as well.

    With the race at Infineon done, and most of the surprises of the year out of the way, you’ll probably see more familiar news topics this week and on.

  9. Sam says:

    For those of us not entirely familar with Infineon raceway, what sort of time would a standard production supersport bike (ZX6 or R6 etc) lap the track in?

  10. Out of the AMA Supersport riders, the lap times were 1:40.3 (1st Place: Beaubier) to 1:49.9 (16th Place: Fabregas) if that provides some perspective. I couldn’t comment on what a mortal man does for a lap time, I’ve never ridden the course.

  11. Doctor Jelly says:

    Electric lap times for comparison:

    Fastest lap: Shawn Higbee 1:56.948
    Slowest fast lap: John Wild 2:44.726

  12. skadamo says:

    Great TTXGP Infineon pics on @Asphalt_Rubber http://bit.ly/9kKO3C

  13. deejay51 says:

    Congrats to the Organisers, TTXGP, and all teams, I wish I could have been there to witness all this. I so wish people would realise this is the NOW and FUTURE of motorsport.