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.

WSBK: One Mistake Is All It Takes to Lose Race 1 in Aragon

06/19/2011 @ 3:58 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: One Mistake Is All It Takes to Lose Race 1 in Aragon Melandri Yamaha 635x421

Marco Melandri (1:57.634) started on pole for the first time in World Superbike for the Race 1 at Motorland Aragon after dominating Friday and Saturday’s final Superpole session. Though he had some prior knowledge of racing at the Spanish track, after MotoGP made its debut their last season, the WSBK riders had an additional hairpin at the end of the back straight. Similarly, many teams tested there during the off season and extended break between some of the early races. Still, that did not keep Melandri from fending off Max Biaggi, Leon Camier, and Carlos Checa, who completed the front row.

They were joined by two factory Kawasaki riders, Melandri’s Yamaha teammate, and a satellite BMW on the second row as Ayrton Badovini outperformed his factory brethren to start eighth. Melandri led both the first free practice and the first qualifying practice on Friday, only to lose his lead to Checa in the final qualifying practice and Biaggi in the Saturday free practice. During Sunday’s morning warm-up, Biaggi led Checa, Camier, Haslam, and Sykes as the fastest five, with Melandri eleventh. Jonathan Rea did not ride or attend the Spanish meeting, having undergone surgery Monday after sustaining injuries in a warm-up crash at Misano last week.

Melandri led into the first turn, with Biaggi, Camier and Checa following, as Checa took third from Camier, then Haga fourth from the British rider. Soon, Biaggi slid through on Melandri to take the lead, with Camier fighting back behind him. He went around Haga, then capitalized as Checa went wide to take third from the Spaniard again. By the end of the first lap of the twenty lap race, Biaggi led Melandri by four tenths, with Camier, Checa, Haga, badovini, Sykes, Laverty, Lascorz, and Corser the top ten.

Biaggi’s lead continued to increase on the next lap, as well as the next. With Biaggi nearly a second ahead of Melandri, Checa and Camier were dueling over third three seconds behind Melandri. Checa took third, held it, and looked to be off after Melandri with sixteen laps to go. Five laps into the race, Biaggi had only three tenths on Melandri, with Checa, Camier, and Haga the top five. Checa was beginning to catch Melandri, just over two and a half seconds in front of him. Meanwhile, Smrz had crashed out of the race, but appeared to be unhurt.

Soon, both Melandri and Checa were catching the men in front of them, only for Checa to crash out himself while pushing hard after Melandri. Just as one Spaniard crashed, another pulled down pit lane. Xaus was in with some brake issues, only to rejoin the field many laps later. In the midst of fighting over eighth with Badovini, Fabrizio crashed out dramatically, bringing the field down to fifteen bikes.

At the halfway point, Biaggi still led Melandri, though that gap was down to three tenths, with Camier, Sykes, Haga, Lascorz, Laverty, Badovini, Corser, and Haslam the top ten. Quickly, Haslam fought his teammate over ninth, eight seconds behind Badovini. As the laps sped by, Melandri closed to under two tenths behind Biaggi, but looked comfortable waiting for the older Italian to make a mistake. A bit further back, Camier was catching the two leaders up, three and a half seconds behind with seven laps remaining.

Sykes began dropping back, with Haga overtaking him for fourth then Laverty for fifth with five laps to go. At the front, the gap between Biaggi and Melandri continued to fluctuate at around two tenths. That mistake Melandri spent the race looking for from Biaggi came with four laps remaining, as Biaggi ran a bit wide and Melandri struck quickly to take the lead. As they began the next lap, Camier was just over two seconds back, with Laverty and Haga still completing the top five.

While Melandri began pulling a lead over Biaggi, Laverty and Haga fought over fourth. In doing so, Haga also lost position to Sykes who used the slipstream to slide past the Japanese rider. In the end, Biaggi’s mistake was his undoing, as Melandri held the lead and took another win on his first WSBK season, with Camier completing the podium.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Motorland Aragon:

Pos.No.RiderTeamDiff.
133Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team-
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1.572
32Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team2.432
458Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team10.799
566Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing10.847
641Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia11.931
717Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing12.591
886Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia16.954
991Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad24.205
1011Troy CorserBMW Motorrad24.694
1150Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati24.731
1277Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing30.407
13121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati34.107
1444Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki37.233
158Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki43.004
16111Ruben XausCastrol Honda3 Laps
Not Classified
84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare11 Laps
7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati13 Laps
96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati15 Laps
57Lorenzo LanziBMW Motorrad Italia18 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Yamaha Racing (Facebook)

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