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.

WSBK: Race 2 at Aragon Brings First Win of 2011

06/19/2011 @ 7:23 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Race 2 at Aragon Brings First Win of 2011 biaggi close up 635x4891

Marco Melandri (1:57.634) won his maiden World Superbike pole to start Race 2 at Motorland Aragon during Saturday’s Superpole sessions after dominating the Friday practices at the Spanish circuit. He was joined on the front row by Max Biaggi, Leon Camier, and Carlos Checa. The Spaniard held provisional pole going into the Superpole sessions after Saturday’s final qualifying practice while Biaggi posted a blistering pace during the final free practice. Tome Sykes and Joan Lascorz started on the second row, giving some indication that the former’s pole lat weekend at Misano might not have been entirely due to the wet conditions.

They were joined by Eugene Laverty and Ayrton Badovini, as the latter outpaced both factory BMWs on the satelite bike. His teammate James Toseland was replaced by Lorenzo Lanzo after suffering a relapse in his wrist injury after the round last month in Utah. Jonathan Rea, meanwhile, was not replaced for this round after surgery Monday on his own wrist injury, sustained at Misano. Biaggi led the Sunday morning warm-up, with Melandri well down in eleventh. They would duel in Race 1.

It was still hot and sunny for the second race, as Biaggi got a great start and led into the first turn. Melandri was left to fight with Camier for second, with the Race 1 winner taking the position. Sykes was also quickly around Camier for third. Still on the first lap, Lascorz slid past Camier on the back straight. Further back, Berger and Corser crashed out together, with Corser looking to be in pain. At the end of the first lap, Biaggi led Melandri by four tenths, with Sykes, Lascorz, Camier, Fabrizio, Checa, Haslam, Badovini, and Haga the top ten.

Things soon settled down on track at the front, with Biaggi and Melandri a comfortable gap ahead of Sykes. His teammate had been passed by Checa as the Spaniard was making up lost positions from the start. Fabrizio also made his way around Lascorz moments before Checa did the same to his teammate. The next time around, Fabrizio was the next man to pass a Kawasaki, making his way around Sykes for fourth. Quickly thereafter, Smrz crashed out of last position, losing the front and sliding into the gravel.

Five laps into the twenty lap race, Biaggi had a second lead over Melandri with Checa, another two seconds back, Fabrizio, Sykes, Lascorz, Camier, Haga, Laverty, and Haslam completing the top ten. Camier appeared to have some sort of issue, holding up Haga, Laverty, and Haslam. Laverty managed to clear the Aprilia while the leading Aprilia rider suddenly had Melandri back on his rear tire. Sykes was the next rider to slide out while Xaus was again onto pit lane with some sort of issue.

Checa, coming under fire from Fabrizio, managed to gain back a bit of a gap over the Italian to attempt to hold onto a podium position after the zero points from Race 1. Further back, Badovini continued to outpace the factory bike, passing Haslam for ninth. The two would trade the position through much of L11. At the halfway point, Biaggi had four tenths on Melandri, with Checa, Fabrizio, Lascorz, Haga, Laverty, Camier, Badovini, and Haslam as the top ten. It was then that the second race looked rather like the first race.

As the laps ticked away, the two leaders had five seconds on the rest of the field. While Melandri waited for Biaggi to make a mistake, he had a bobble of his own when the front slightly folded on him, half knocking Melandri off his bike and forcing him to bounce off his knee and use the runoff area. That wobble gave Biaggi a six second gap and Checa the ability to take a look for third with four laps to go. In another duel that had lasted much of the race, Laverty cleanly took sixth from Haga with three to go. Melandri was able to maintain a gap on Checa, though he was unable to catch Biaggi for the double win on the weekend. Instead, Biaggi won his first race of the season, with Melandri and Checa completing the podium. Further back, Haslam managed to hold off Badovini for ninth in the battle of the BMWs.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Motorland Aragon:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team -
2 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 4.809
3 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 6.944
4 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 9.001
5 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 11.562
6 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 14.288
7 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 15.138
8 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 17.660
9 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 24.184
10 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 24.676
11 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 29.300
12 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 33.163
13 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 38.080
14 77 Chris Vermeulen Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 49.042
15 57 Lorenzo Lanzi BMW Motorrad Italia 53.156
16 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 10 Laps
Not Classified
66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 14 Laps
96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 16 Laps
11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad
121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati

Source: WSBK; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

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