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: Duel Ends in Decisive Victory for Monza Race 1

05/08/2011 @ 10:33 am, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

WSBK: Duel Ends in Decisive Victory for Monza Race 1 Eugene Laverty Yamaha Racing WSBK Race 1 Monza 635x660

Max Biaggi proved a point to start the first 2011 World Superbike race at home at Monza by being on the pole, breaking speed records and blowing away his own times along the way. The reigning Champion dominated Saturday’s Superpole sessions, going so far as to flog his Aprilia around the circuit whilst the rest of the riders sat in the garages, comfortable with Biaggi’s position. Eugene Laverty, Jonathan Rea, and Troy Corser joined him in starting on the front row, with Laverty’s lap time more than six tenths slower than Biaggi’s.

Even after dominating qualifying through the first three rounds, Carlos Checa had to settle for an eleventh starting position. Meanwhile, those who have not had such good fortune through the early season continued with their bad luck. James Toseland, set to make his return after a testing injury kept him from Donington Park and Assen, participated in Friday’s sessions, but not the final qualifying practice. Nor did he race, though he was busy signing autographs with that injured wrist through the weekend.

The also injured Chris Vermeulen sat out Saturday after a crash in practice opened a hole in the skin of his elbow. He was unable to race as well, since the injury could only be partially stitched up in an effort to allow it to drain properly. Sunday morning, Haslam led Biaggi by just four hundredths in the warmup session, with Laverty, Corser, and Camier the fastest five.

Race 1 got underway under a sunny Italian sky, with a brilliant start from Corser to take the lead into and through the first turn. Melandri slotted into third, with Laverty close behind. Within a few turns, Laverty took third from his teammate. At the end of the first lap, Corser led Biaggi, Laverty, Melandri, and Haslam as the top five. The order would not remain, as Biaggi took the lead onto the straight, only to lose it to Laverty into the first turn. The duel continued, as Biaggi took his incredibly fast Aprilia back into the lead along the straight. Quickly, Biaggi, Laverty, and Melandri had a small gap over Haslam and Corser.

Laverty went around the outside of Biaggi to take the lead again, beginning a long series of back-and-forths between the two. It was three, actually, as Melandri also stuck his nose in. Soon, they began to spread out a bit, with Laverty pulling just enough of a gap to keep Biaggi behind him on the straight. Though Laverty led at the end of L5, Biaggi took the lead into the first turn, only to lose it again. Behind them, Haslam, Corser, Fabrizio, Rea, Haga, Checa, and Camier completed the top ten.

The leaders would continue to trade positions along the straight and through many of the corners on the circuit. Laverty continued to lead across the line at the halfway point of the eighteen lap race, taking lines just wide enough to force Biaggi behind. Haslam, despite making use of an escape road, was still third, with Melandri, Fabrizio, Corser, Rea, Checa, Haga, and Camier the top ten. Haga would not remain in ninth, with a ride-through penalty.

Soon thereafter, Biaggi made a mistake, running wide and allowing both Haslam and Melandri through. Biaggi immediately attacked to regain third and was back around Haslam on the straight. Those positions would not remain, with both Haslam and Melandri attacking Biaggi en masse. However, neither were able to keep Biaggi behind on the straight. Ahead, Laverty had more than a second on the battle over second. Melandri shut Haslam out of third, forcing Haslam down another escape road, though the Briton fought back and retook the position with five laps to go.

At that point, Laverty had nearly two seconds on the field, with Biaggi second, Haslam, Melandri, Fabrizio, Corser, Rea, Checa, Camier, and Smrz the top ten. Further back, Rea and Corser were having a fair tussle over sixth, with Rea usually taking the position through the lap, but Corser in front on the straight. In the end, Laverty led Biaggi, Haslam, Melandri, and Fabrizio as the top five with one lap remaining. They would remain in those positions for Laverty, who nearly won the World Supersport championship last season, to take his first WSBK win in his rookie season.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Monza, Italy:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team -
2 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1.575
3 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 3.078
4 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 3.255
5 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 11.812
6 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 12.371
7 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 13.280
8 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 17.419
9 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 17.569
10 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 18.420
11 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 20.031
12 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 20.405
13 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 26.693
14 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 38.429
15 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 40.164
16 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 49.081
17 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 57.930
18 32 Fabrizio Lai Echo Sport Racing Co. Honda 1:03.039
Not Classified
17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 9 Laps
44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 12 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Yamaha Racing

Comment:

  1. keet says:

    anybody else notice that the air intakes on Eugene Laverty’s R1 in the above photo are NOT the stock shape?