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: Wet Conditions & Heavy Attrition Force a Red Flagged, Shortened Race 2 at Nurburgring

09/04/2011 @ 7:45 am, by Victoria Reid2 COMMENTS

WSBK: Wet Conditions & Heavy Attrition Force a Red Flagged, Shortened Race 2 at Nurburgring haga nurburgring pirelli 635x416

Carlos Checa (1:54.144) won pole during Saturday’s Superpole sessions after leading every session but one through the 2011 Nurburgring round of the World Superbike championship. He would have been joined on the front row by Eugene Laverty, Max Biaggi, and Marco Melandri, but Biaggi’s injuries from a stone hitting his foot during practice kept the Italian from participating in either Race 1 earlier in the day or Race 2. With Biaggi missing the chance for the fifty points possible for a double race win, Checa’s lead over him in the championship could easily grow over the three remaining race weekends.

Throughout the weekend, only Checa and Biaggi led the practice and qualifying sessions. The Italian held provisional pole after the first qualifying practice on Friday, but no one else could catch Checa in Germany. Biaggi’s did qualify with his injured foot, but the nerve and tendon damage, along with a broken bone and the resultant swelling and cast kept him out of the action on Sunday. The order had a shake-up in the final warm-up, with Haslam leading Guintoli, Corser, Sykes, and Berger as the fastest five while Checa was only thirteenth fastest.

After a change of mind from race direction, and some falling rain, Race 2 was declared wet and the start was delayed. As there had been time for Biaggi to get word to race direction, the riders closed ranks and Haga joined the front row of starters. Even on the warm-up lap, the track was very wet and spray flew wildly, though the rain had begun to lighten. As the lights went out, Laverty went for the lead off a great start, but Haga and Rea were also fighting for the position. Rea led into the first turn, running very wide and into Sykes. That left Haga in the lead and Checa bogged down through the field. At the end of L1, Haga led Rea by seven tenths, with Sykes, Laverty, Guintoli, Haslam, Melandri, Camier, Smrz, and Berger the top ten. Checa was down in twelfth.

Rea again ran very wide into the first turn losing second to Sykes, ahead of Laverty. Guintoli then gave Laverty a hard time to take fourth. Melandri was the next to take Laverty, with Camier very close behind, then ahead of Laverty. He then fought back to retake sixth from Camier. Meanwhile, Checa had dropped down to fourteenth. Haslam, while closing up on Guintoli, ran off the track and crashed in the final turn, though he got back on the bike and attempted to continue. As the rain continued to fall heavily, the fight for fifth continued as well. Camier led Laverty, Melandri, and Smrz, only for Smrz to take Melandri’s position.

While Haga continued to set pace at the front, Rea ran wide for at least the first time into the first turn. He lost second to Sykes, with Guintoli, Camier, Laverty, Smrz, Melandri, Berger, and Aitchison the top ten with five laps gone. Guintoli was the next to take Rea, moving up to third. Conditions continued to worsen as the rain fell. Laverty attempted to indicate that they should not be racing as he crossed the start line, just having passed his teammate for seventh. Fabrizio had already come into the garage and retired for an unidentified reason. Haga had five seconds on the rest of the field with just six laps elapsed.

Soon, the field had mainly settled in to ride out the rain, though Smrz was fighting Camier to take fifth. Haga was riding very smoothly, as required in the terribly wet conditions. Still, the Yamaha teammates continued to trade position as Melandri looked to make up points on Checa, then in twelfth and looking to take eleventh from Berger, which he did soon thereafter. Toseland did not make the halfway point of race, sitting and crawling in the runoff area. Melandri finally made the pass for seventh in a very close pass on L9. Aitchison remained very close behind the two Yamaha riders.

At the halfway point, Haga had more than eight and a half seconds on Sykes, with Guintoli, Rea, Camier, Smrz, Melandri, Laverty, Aitchison, Badovini, and Checa as the top eleven. Soon, though, Aitchison’s pushing ride came to a close as he slid out from behind Laverty. He was unhurt and ran after the bike, but could not continue. Soon thereafter, the battle for second heated up, as Guintoli caught Sykes and began pushing him. Rea was just a second behind, with Camier just behind him. However, Camier was the next rider to go down.

Guintoli made his way around Sykes for second, only to go wide into Turn 1, as Camier had slid off and across the gravel, adding to those falling out of the race. It was a terrible moment for Haga on L8, as he also crashed, handing the lead to Sykes. He was also indicating that the race ought not be continued. At some point, Rolfo and Tamada also went down, as more riders attempted to indicate that race control should stop the race. The race was red flagged with six laps to go, after two-thirds distance and leaving Sykes in charge of a shortened race. The final positions were taken back to the last lap completed by the field, L13, which put Sykes, Guintoli, and Smrz on the podium. After the race, Castrol Honda tweeted an explanation, “Clutch prob was running JR wide at turn 1.” It was Sykes’ first win and second podium in WSBK, and the best result for the factory Kawasaki team on the season.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Nurburgring:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki -
2 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 4.063
3 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 22.759
4 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 28.497
5 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 38.374
6 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 45.326
7 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 47.030
8 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 50.032
9 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 53.586
10 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 55.261
11 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 1:12.805
12 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 1:15.468
13 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedericini Kawaski 1:40.323
Not Classified
41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 1 Lap
100 Makado Tamada Castrol Honda 1 Lap
2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 2 Laps
8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedericini Kawaski 3 Laps
52 James Toseland BMW Motorrad Italia 5 Laps
84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 8 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)

Comment:

  1. Steven V says:

    Maybe it’s just because I wanted Haga to have a win in 2011, but I really think they shoulda called that race a couple laps earlier than they did; especially with the crashes that preceded Haga as well as multiple riders waving to stop it. But good on Sykes for not pushing too hard and getting a solid win.

  2. 190mph says:

    Not all the riders were unhappy the race went ahead and i certainly didn’t see multiple riders gesticulating to have the race stopped. Haga wasn’t asking for the race to be stopped, eventual race winner Sykes was even happy when the rain fell again as his bike was more competive when it did. The Liberty boys didn’t seem too dipleased and Leon Haslam wished the race had gone the full distance.

    Too many wet races these days are being stop/started or abandoned all together just because a handfull of riders don’t like the wet. Lets not forget that for some riders wet weather races are the only time they get to shine and show their talent. It was nice for a change to see a proper wet race continue for almost full race distance.