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: Another Track Record Drops in a Duel Over Pole in Superpole at Imola

09/24/2011 @ 6:59 am, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

WSBK: Another Track Record Drops in a Duel Over Pole in Superpole at Imola checa pirelli imola 635x421

Carlos Checa (1:47.196) won pole for the 2011 World Superbike round at Imola on a sunny and clear day, after dueling his way through Superpole with second place starter Jonathan Rea. Checa set a new track record early in the final session and looked confident in the garage until Rea came within hundredths of his lap time. Checa returned to the track, though Rea was unable to best his time and had to settle for second on the starting grid for Sunday. Noriyuki Haga, who led S2, will start third while Tom Sykes will complete the front row of the grid.

Before the on-track action even got underway, the championship hunt was shaken up as Biaggi, with his injury from the Nurburgring weekend not healing as quickly as required, is sitting out the entire Imola weekend,  “It is a bad split fracture which – fortunately – is progressing well. But it has not healed and the X-ray today shows that,” said Dr. Claudio Costa. He continued, “Max – summoning up reason – was forced to acknowledge the situation.” This is the second race weekend in a row Biaggi has been forced to miss due to the injury, which occurred during practice three weeks ago. Also missing from the field is Chris Vermeulen and the newly-retired James Toseland, who has been replaced by Javier Fores at BMW Motorrad Italia.

On Friday, Checa (1:49.234) led the first practice session in typical style, over Haslam, Melandri, the other last man standing in the championship, and Smrz. However, it was Jonathan Rea with the newly implemented by Castol Honda ride-by-wire throttle control who led the field during the first qualifying session Friday afternoon. He was joined on the provisional front row by Checa, Haslam, and Fabrizio, with less than a half second covering the top four.

Saturday morning, it was Sykes (1:47.799) on the provisional pole, leading the front row of Rea, Fabrizio, and Checa. It was a relatively uneventful session, with Sykes’s time four tenths faster than Checa’s record from last year. Checa (1:47.785) led the charge in the final practice, just minutes before Superpole, setting another new record. He was followed by a fastest five of Rea, Haslam, Sykes, and Fabrizio. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Mark Aitchison, 18. Joan Lascorz, 19. Matteo Baiocco, 20. Ruben Xaus, 21. Roberto Rolfo, 22. Javier Flores.

Superpole 1:
Rea took the early lead when eleven minutes remained under the sunny skies at Imola, while Haga was next to lead in the first Superpole session. Rea, Melandri, and Haslam completed the provisional front row when nine minutes remained in the session. Soon, though, Checa had moved up to second fastest. Meanwhile, Corser, Badovini, Smrz, and Polita were in the knockout zone with seven minutes to go.

The top and bottom order remained the same with five mintues to go as most of the riders had gone back to the garage for the final minutes of the first session. Badovini moved up to sixth fastest, dropping Sandi into the knockout zone, while the top five simply stayed safely in the garage. Guintoli went faster to break into the provisional front row as the checkered flag flew, but it was Laverty (1:47.756) who ended S1 in provisional pole with a flying lap. He was joined by Haga, Checa, and Guintoli on the provisional front row with Fabrizio, Rea, Sykes, and Berger the second row. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Jakub Smrz, 14. Federico Sandi, 15. Troy Corser, 16. Alex Polita.

Superpole 2:
Rea was the first onto the track in the second Superpole session, with a first time just a tenth off Laverty’s from S1. He was followed both on track and in times by Melandri and Fabrizio with eight minutes remaining. Quickly Laverty and Sykes bettered the Honda rider’s time, but Rea responded to go fastest again. Meanwhile, Berger, Guintoli, Fabrizio, and Haslam had drifted down to the the knockout zone with six minutes to go.

However, Sykes was not to be deterred and was the next to go fastest. He led Rea, Laverty, and Badovini with four minutes to go while Berger, Guintoli, Fabrizio, and Haslam languished in the knockout zone. The top four pitted with two minutes to go, allowing those in the relegation zone to attempt to claw their way out. Haslam did so, moving up to fourth fastest and, with Guintoli’s help,  dropping Camier and Melandri out as the final seconds ticked away. At the end, Haga (1:47.403) was the provisional pole man on a last lap, with Skyes, Checa, and Rea the provisional front row. Laverty, Haslam, Guintoli, and Badovini also moved on to the final session. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Marco Melandri, 10. Leon Camier, 11. Michel Fabrizio, 12. Maxime Berger.

Superpole 3:
Checa (1:47.196) took the early lead in the final Superpole session, over Rea, Haga, and Laverty, with five minutes to race for pole. His time for over two tenths faster than Rea’s, and an even lower new track record. However, Rea was not to be put off too easily and improved his own time to within eight hundredths of Checa. The Spaniard remained in the garage with two minutes to go and Rea nibbling on his heels, but he returned to the track with time for one final flying lap. Haga was the first to cross over the line after the flag, remaining third. Rea was unable to better Checa, and the dominant pole man struck again in the 2011 season.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Imola, Italy:

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1. 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1:47.196 -
2. 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 1:47.274 0.078
3. 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 1:47.442 0.246
4. 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 1:47.468 0.272
5. 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 1:47.929 0.733
6. 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 1:48.081 0.855
7. 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 1:48.234 1.038
8. 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:48.416 1.220
Out After Superpole 2
9. 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 1:47.781 0.378
10. 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:47.858 0.455
11. 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 1:48.126 0.723
12. 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 1:48.334 0.931
Out After Superpole 1
13. 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:48.741 0.985
14. 23 Federico Sandi Althea Racing Ducati 1:48.812 1.056
15. 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 1:48.894 1.138
16. 53 Alex Polita Barni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C. 1:49.091 1.335
Not qualified for Superpole
17. 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedericini Kawaski 1:49.159 1.360
18. 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 1:49.185 1.386
19. 15 Matteo Baiocco Barni Racing Ducati 1:49.378 1.579
20. 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 1:49.595 1.796
21. 44 Robert Rolfo Team Pedericini Kawaski 1:49.668 1.869
22. 112 Javier Flores BMW Motorrad Italia 1:50.888 3.089

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)


  1. Benjamin says:

    Thanks for the great coverage!