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.

Carlos Checa Dominates at Phillip Island Test

02/21/2011 @ 10:17 pm, by Victoria ReidComments Off

Carlos Checa Dominates at Phillip Island Test Carlos Checa Althea Racing WSBK Phillip Island test 635x391

Carlos Checa was fastest overall, with a lap time of 1:30.578, as the final World Superbike winter test ended Tuesday at Phillip Island. That time was also nearly a half second faster than the existing lap record set by Regis Laconi in 2009, and almost 1.3 sec faster than Troy Corser’s race lap record from 2007. In addition to Checa, Sylvain Guintoli, Jonathan Rea, Jakub Smrz, and Joan Lascorz completed the fastest five. Rea’s time from Tuesday morning kept him third fastest despite a crash at Turn 3 in the afternoon that resulted in an injured hand. No word is available yet on the specifics of his injury.

Checa was fastest overall on Monday followed by multiple Ducatis, all lacking factory support after Ducati’s withdrawal from WSBK last season. Leon Camier only rode Monday afternoon after taking ill, sitting out the other sessions. Also absent was Australian Chris Vermeulen who will not ride until Donington Park, and has been replaced by Akira Yanagawa at the factory Kawasaki team.

Overall Times for 2011 World Superbike Phillip Island Test:

Pos.No.RiderTeamBest Time
1.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing1:30.578
2.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Racing1:31.196
3.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:31.206
4.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Racing1:31.654
5.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:31.866
6.3Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:31.870
7.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:32.113
8.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:32.122
9.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:32.137
10.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:32.272
11.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Aprilia1:32.299
12.12Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki1:32.394
13.111Ruben XausCastrol Honda1:32.405
14.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:32.413
15.52James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia SBK1:32.880
16.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:32.994
17.86Aryton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia SBK1:33.233
18.67Bryan StaringTeam Pedercini1:33.398
19.6Arika YanagawaPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:33.432
20.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing1:33.485
21.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini1:33.514
22.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini1:33.721

However, simple fastest lap times do not always give the full story of a test session. One way to see how a rider might do over the entire season is to see how consistent he is through a test. As first introduced after the Infront Motor Sports test at Portimao, here at A&R we use the overall rankings over the course of the sessions to show which riders were most consistently quicker than their competitors.

Session Rankings for February 21-22 Test at Phillip Island:

RiderMon #1Mon #2Tues #1Tues #2
Tier 1
Carlos Checa6th1st1st1st
Sylvain Guintoli1st2nd2nd2nd
Jakub Smrz3rd3rd4th4th
Jonathan Rea2nd8th3rd3rd
Tier 2
Michel Fabrizio4th5th6th7th
Joan Lascorz5th11th5th5th
Marco Melandri7th7th7th8th
Max Biaggino time4th11th6th
Tier 3
Tom Sykes9th6th9th10th
Eugene Laverty12th10th8th9th
Leon Haslam8th9th14th14th
Noriyuki Haga15th16th10th11th
Josh Waters11th12th12th12th
Ruben Xaus13th13th13th13th
Tier 4
Troy Corser10th14th15th16th
James Toseland14th17th16th15th
Maxime Berger17th18th18th20th
Ayrton Badovini18th20th17th17th
Tier 5
Roberto Rolfo16th21st19th21st
Bryan Staring19th19th20th18th
Mark Aitchison21st22nd21st22nd
Akira Yanagawa20th23rd22nd19th
Leon Camierno time15thno timeno time

Despite the different angle of rankings, it is still difficult to tell just how the season will shake out. With just days before the first round, again at Phillip Island, one thing is abundantly clear: even without factory support the Ducatis are quick and Checa is ready to lead the way. Racing begins in earnest this weekend.

Source: WorldSBK & SPEED TV Australia; Photo: Althea Racing

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