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?

WSBK: Penalties & Last Lap Pass Decide Race 2 at Monza

05/08/2011 @ 10:47 am, by Victoria Reid6 COMMENTS

WSBK: Penalties & Last Lap Pass Decide Race 2 at Monza Marco Melandri Yamaha Racing WSBK Race 2 Monza 635x487

Reigning World Champion Max Biaggi started his home round of the 2011 World Superbike season at Monza on pole after publicly declaring that this was a weekend to make up points after mistakes at earlier rounds. He started his quest to do so with aplomb, breaking the WSBK speed record and spending extra time on track while doing so. Eugene Laverty, Jonathan Rea, and Tory Corser joined Biaggi on the front row for the start of the second race, leaving Carlos Checa surprisingly down in eleventh after a poor set of Superole sessions on Saturday for the points leader. Most riders had multiple, possibly crucial, laps deleted after running across the chicane.

Meanwhile, injuries continued to plague men already suffering from them. Chris Vermeulen added to his set of scars by tearing the skin on his elbow during a practice crash. That injury, only able to be partially closed, left him unable to race on Sunday. Meanwhile James Toseland also sat out Sunday’s races, despite some vigorous autograph signing, on his predicted return to the WSBK paddock after a testing crash left him with wires in his wrist. Later, Haslam returned to the top of the timesheets in the morning sunshine at Monza, with Biaggi, Laverty, Corser, and Camier the fastest five in Sunday morning’s warmup.

Starting Race 2, Corser was ahead of Biaggi into the first turn. A large crash occurred in the jostling for position behind, leaving a wobbling Rea (who claimed Corser forced his mistake) taking out Haslam and Smrz. As the rest of the field raced away, Biaggi was ahead of Corser at the end of the first lap. Haga, Camier, Melandri, Checa, Fabrizio, Guintoli, Laverty, and Xaus then completed the top ten. Soon, Camier slid under Corser to make it a Aprilia 1-2 at the start of the third lap. Biaggi was quickly away at the front, with a second and a half on his teammate. Meanwhile, Melandri was through on Haga to take fourth.

Melandri and Haga would battle dramatically for the position, leaving Biaggi to increase his gap. He would have a nearly three second lead over Camier after five laps, with Corser, Melandri, Haga, Fabrizio, Laverty, Checa, Guintoli, and Badovini the top ten. Soon thereafter, Corser had a moment that allowed Melandri, Haga, and Fabrizio through. Nearly halfway through the race, Camier dramatically lost the front end while exiting Lesmos 2, crashing out from second, and ending his race.

By the halfway point, Laverty had pushed his way through the field, sliding under Fabrizio for third and setting off to catch his teammate in second. Biaggi was leading the dicing Yamaha riders by five seconds when he went straight and cut a chicane. Biaggi seemed to neither lose nor gain time by this mistake, though he was given a ride-through penalty in precisely the same manner Haga was during Race 1.

Biaggi shook his head vigorously when he saw the penalty signal, finally serving the penalty with a few laps to go. While this drama occurred at the very front, Melandri had gotten back around teammate Laverty for second. With Biaggi’s ride-through, Melandri took over the lead, closely followed by Laverty. Behind them, Fabrizio, Haga, and Corser completed the top five while Biaggi was bogged down in eleventh. Laverty had a go for the lead on the straight, but Melandri was able to brake late enough to keep the position.

Further back on the track, former teammates Fabrizio and Haga diced over the final podium position, with the Italian nudging Haga wide to keep third. Haga responded by attempting an over-under, but was unable to sustain the pass. They were two sets of fighters separated by nearly four seconds, with the latter constantly dicing. In direct opposition, Laverty looked to  be holding firm in second, simply keeping an eye on Melandri and biding his time. Melandri did make a mistake early on the final lap, but Laverty held off on taking the position until a thrilling final turn dice that ended with a double win for Laverty on the weekend.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Monza, Italy:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team -
2 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 0.327
3 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 2.466
4 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 2.583
5 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 4.502
6 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 10.865
7 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 11.038
8 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 18.724
9 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 20.093
10 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 20.376
11 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 21.111
12 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 28.608
13 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 33.459
14 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 42.810
15 32 Fabrizio Lai Echo Sport Racing Co. Honda 55.759
Not Classified
121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 5 Laps
2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 11 Laps
96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 18 Laps
91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 18 Laps
4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 18 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Yamaha-Racing


  1. SBPilot says:

    Congrats to Laverty on a class act double, I hope this paves the way for him to fight for the title. I feel so sorry for Rea and Haslam, especially Haslam as he would have been a front running contender. Great hard racing as always in SBK. Haga attempting to go on the outside of Fabrizio, wow.

  2. spytech says:

    The motorcycle gods have listened and biaggi is winless this year (i hope it stays that way). sucks that checa ran out of fuel at the end, but he will be going to miller and he will pull a double and extend his lead. wsbk seems more interesting that GP this year (so far).

  3. Rob says:

    Absolutely fantastic racing to watch. Seeing so many people get taken out at turn one is a bummer, especially the contenders. As much as I dislike Biaggi, I do feel his ride through penalty was undeserved. I would have absolutely just stayed out there and taken the heat afterward if it couldn’t be reversed with an appeal.

    And yes, WSBK is generally more fun to watch than GP, especially at tracks like Monza where those guys really let it all hang out on those fast corners.

  4. Steve says:

    What a great couple of races. I may have to drive to Miller after all. That little irish buzsaw (Rea) should kick somebody’s butt for knocking him out of contention in race two. Milandri rode like a demon as did Laverty as did Haga as did Corser as did Fabrizio. Thrilling races to watch and I’m back in the game and they have my attention. Great job boys!

  5. Shaitan says:

    Not a Biaggi fan, but man that was a raw deal. They should have given him a small time penalty, but a ride through was insane. Happy Laverty and Melandri kicked ass. Both superbike races were awesome — supersport doesn’t hit my DVR until sometime today, so no thoughts on that yet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The rules for that chicane where clear. You get a ridethrough if you violate any of the following rules without being pushed out:

    1. blow the chicane 3 times in a race
    2. Re enter the track without using the little path designated with white lines
    3. Gain time or a position

    Biaggi not only blew the path and crossed the white lines but also gained time on the others. Biaggi got exactly what he deserved. First off he should not miss rider meetings, specially when they are mandatory where rules are spelled out. Second, there where tons of penalties during practice and qualifying to others for exactly what he did. Third, Haga violated the rules and got a ridethrough so there is no vendetta against Max.

    Explanation by WSB official at Monza: