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?

Valentino Rossi Finally Joins the 21st Century & Twitter

10/11/2011 @ 9:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Valentino Rossi Finally Joins the 21st Century & Twitter Wheres Valentino Rossi crowd Scott Jones

For being a motorcycle mega-brand in his own right, Valentino Rossi has been slow to adapt to this crazy new thing called the internet. A series of tubes, the internet has been a remarkable breakthrough on a variety of levels, changing the paradigm of how we eat, sleep, and waste our lunch breaks at work. Helping teenage girls gossip about their latest crushes, aiding in the massive distribution of pornography to middle-aged men who hide in their basements from their wives and children, and allowing no-talent journalistic hacks to masquerade around as proper motorcycle journalists, there is literally no telling how the internet will change our lives next, and what industries it will turn on their head.

Well get ready for another shockwave ladies and gentlemen, as the G.O.A.T. himself, Valentino Rossi, has hopped on this interweb bandwagon with full 0 & 1 force, first by finally creating his own official website, and now by signing up for a thing called Twitter. Tweeting, twatting, twittering so far in only Italian, Rossi was one of the last hold-outs of MotoGP riders to embrace the micro-blogging service (Randy de Puniet just got on Twitter this week too we might add. Thanks Lauren). Rossi’s move is sure to create a stir with the VR46 crowd, as his legion of fans can now take time out from their busy days of lathering neon yellow paint all of their bodies, and hang onto every one of Rossi’s 140 character messages.

So far, Rossi has tweeted about go-karting, his injured finger, and traveling to Melbourne. We wait with bated breath to see what photo the nine-time World Champion first tweets from his account. Bellissima.

In all seriousness though, it is interesting to see how long it’s taken the popular Italian rider to embrace marketing himself online and with social media. Perhaps the forefather and king of personal branding in motorcycle racing, Rossi is often credited as being a genius in promoting himself and his brand in the paddock. However when it comes to new technology, the Ducati Corse rider has been woefully behind the curve (on a side note, the MotoGP paddock as a whole is a bit slow on this whole “internet fad” thing, but that’s a different story for a different time). In a space where rival Jorge Lorenzo has over 270,000 followers, Rossi has a long way to go with his current 1,700 devote twitterees; though, we imagine as news of his digital hipness spreads this weekend, that number is surely going to skyrocket.

There’s an interesting parallel here about how MotoGP is changing, both from a (new) media perspective and from the age-old reality of new guns challenging the supremacy of the old guard. With Rossi’s supremacy on the track now being questioned, and certainly not helped by the ails of the Ducati Desmosedici, there begins as well an interesting dialogue of what purpose MotoGP serves its teams, rider, and more importantly sponsors. Is it enough to be a master on two wheels, or does a massive following of fans and marketable characteristics speak more loudly on racing’s ROI. We’re not sure, but Andrea Dovizioso might have some interesting insights.

Source: Davide Brivio (Twitter); Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. Beary says:

    Huh ? Rossi has had a really good website for ages now.

  2. kumo says:

    7.713 followers now. More than 3000 in the last 12h. Not so bad for an egg-avatar user. I’ll bet he could beat Lorenzo also in followers…

  3. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Valentino Rossi Finally Joins the 21st Century & Twitter

  4. ロッシがツイッター始めた件で記事が一つできてる #motogp_jp

  5. SBPilot says:

    Lorenzo has dismal followers considering how much he tries to promote his twitter. I wonder why…(rhetoric).

    Rossi will surpass a lot of people on twitter I’m sure. Randy de Puniet has 1500 without a single tweet! lol!

  6. Rexr says:

    Who give a F**K….really

  7. keet says:

    Rexr, thank you! i LOVE motorcycle racing, aside from a short post-race interview, i couldn’t care less what they have to say!

  8. 305ed says:

    12,706 hangers-on at 4:20 EST… LMAO!

  9. Andre says:

    “Valentino Rossi has been slow to adapt to this crazy new thing called the internet”
    No… he’s just been too busy with REAL life to waste his time chatting mindlessly to people he will never meet…. many others in the world are also busy getting things done. Not everyone wanders aimlessly through the interweb time sucking chit chat machine called Twitter. I mean come on, there’s a reason why its call “twitter”!

  10. Jake Fox says:

    Y’all do recognize the irony of criticizing social media by commenting on a blog, right?

  11. mxs says:

    Not really. Big difference in my opinion between blog as such (or any other motorcycle related website) and Twitter or Facebook. There’s something called informational value. Twitter and Facebook come at zero for me and many other people I know of.

  12. Andre says:

    I think you should focus on the content….
    Social media such as Twitter exchange dribble.
    Places like A & R are fantastic sources of useful and interesting information.

  13. Thanks guys, but to be honest, if you want the latest inside MotoGP info, you should be on Twitter. There’s lot’s of good stuff coming from riders, teams, and members of the paddock being shared 140 chars at a time.

  14. Andre says:

    Thanks for the suggestion but I find your work excellent; we get the “meat” without any of the nonsense right here. Not sure about others but I do not have the time to pick through 140 character snippets to find out what is going on….. its all about efficient use of time. When you are really busy (like owning your own business) this site is great.

  15. Beary says:

    I agree with Jensen. I have only just created a twitter account after I saw a friend getting heaps of inside info and pictures straight from the riders and team mechanics. It’s a fantastic information resource for fans of MotoGP and also can be very, very funny.

  16. Jauhari says:

    The Twitter Username not available anymore :( here is the message from Twitter

    Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!
    Search for a username, first or last name:

  17. Elena says:

    ” it is interesting to see how long it’s taken the popular Italian rider to embrace marketing himself online and with social media. ” He don’t need to marketing !!!! He’s too busy to be awesome than wasting time with social networks!

  18. Beary says:

    Actually – it takes older people a while to embrace twitter, far longer than shall we say under 25′s. Twitter is still seen by the older generations as being full worthless drivel. I viewed it this way for years, I’m 44 so I’m no spring chicken.

    What most people who don’t use Twitter don’t know is that you control the content. You follow the people you want to follow, so no content that you get is worthless – unless the people you follow are worthless. Then you have no-one to blame but yourselves. Just cause Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher get the Twitter headlines, doesn’t mean you are automatically subscribing to their vaccuous drivel.

    Try it. You’ll get WAY more rounded views of riders and teams mindsets than the media will bring you. By dismissing it outright you’re just burying your head in the sand.