A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

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.

WSBK: Rainy Superpole at Miller Motorsports Park Proves to Be a Challenge for Some

05/29/2011 @ 3:17 pm, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Rainy Superpole at Miller Motorsports Park Proves to Be a Challenge for Some Miller Motorsports Park rain Superpole Scott Jones

Carlos Checa (1:58.315) took pole from Jakub Smrz on his last lap of Sunday’s Superpole qualifying for the 2011 World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Factory Yamaha riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty completed the front row of starters in a Superpole session marked with damp and drying conditions and a couple of crashes. Leon Camier, who will start twelfth, nearly ended his qualifying before it began with a huge highside on his first lap. Also at the end of the session, Max Biaggi, who will start seventh, had a minor incident in which he fell over at slow speed in the muddy grass. Sylvain Guintoli, Troy Corser, Biaggi, and Ayrton Badovini will start on the second row for tomorrow’s races.

Checa was his usual fastest self in the first free and qualifying practices on Saturday, setting times well ahead of the rest despite issues with his Ducati. Camier, Biaggi, Smrz, and Fabrizio completed the fastest five riders in the first session, while the Aprilia duo were again second and third in the first qualifying practice. Sykes and Corser were the provisional fourth and fifth place starters. Waters, in his wild card entry for Yoshimura Suzuki, just squeaked through to Superpole in fifteenth fastest.

The final qualifying practice saw no improvement in times, as the rain continued to fall in the desert of Utah. Camier was fastest in the wet session, followed by Smrz, Haslam, Checa, and Guintoli the top five with conditions improving as the afternoon progressed. Still recovering Toseland was forced to rely on his Saturday lap and was unable to move forward for Superpole while also injured Chris Vermeulen did not come to the American round. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Jaon Lascorz, 18. James Toseland, 19. Mark Aitchison, 20. Maxime Berger, 21. Roberto Rolfo.

Superpole 1:
The riders were right out into the cold and damp conditions as the first third of Superpole got underway. Corser was the early leader, with a laptime of 2:02.321, followed by Guintoli, Haslam, and Rea. Soon Laverty was second fastest, though Camier’s hopes of a quick time in the wet were dashed by a massive highside. He landed on his shoulder, ruining the bike but was seemingly ok.

Corser still led just under the halfway point of the fourteen minute session, followed by Guintoli, Biaggi, Laverty, and Smrz as the fastest five. Badovini, Xaus, Waters, and the crashed Camier were in the knockout zone. Riders began heading back to the garage for final tweaks with five minutes left in the session, though Camier was on his way out to set a time on his backup bike.

Soon Biaggi was on the top of the timesheets, though the point is more not to be at the bottom in S1. He was followed by Guintoli, Laverty, and Corser, with Melandri, Haga, Checa, Rea, Haslam, Xaus, and Sykes the top twelve. Laverty was soon second fastest, with Badovini, Fabrizio, Waters, and Camier in the relegation zone. Camier’s first fast lap moved him up only to fourteenth, though he ended S1 twelfth. In the end, Biaggi (2:00.814) led Guintoli, Laverty, Melandri, and Haga as the five fastest riders with both Castrol Honda riders knocked out. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Jonathan Rea, 14. Ruben Xaus, 15. Michel Fabrizio, 16. Joshua Waters.

Superpole 2:
The twelve minutes of Superpole 2 got underway with an early fast time from Corser (2:00.907), followed by Haslam, Biaggi, Guintoli, and Badovini. The Australian soon bettered his time, with Smrz, Biaggi, Badovini, and Haslam the top five with just over five minutes left. At that point, Melandri, Laverty, Camier, and Sykes were in the knockout zone. Smrz quickly took the lead, while Melandri improved to eighth, dropping Checa into the relegation zone.

That would not last long, as Checa improved to sixth fastest. His position was fluid, with both factory Yamahas gaining momentum to put the championship leader on the bubble with three minutes left. At the top, Smrz continued to lead over Badovini, Biaggi, Haga, and Corser. Quickly Corser moved up to second fastest, only to be supplanted by Guintoli, then Badovini. At that point, only Smrz and Badovini had lap times under two minutes in the damp conditions. With just one minute remaining, Checa, Sykes, Haslam, and Camier were in the knockout zone after Haslam ran off the track. He rejoined quickly. When Superpole 2 ended, Smrz (1:59.238) led Checa, Laverty, Biaggi, Guintoli, Corser, Badovini, and Melandri as the riders moving on to fight for pole. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Noriyuki Haga, 10. Tom Sykes, 11. Leon Camier, 12. Leon Haslam.

Superpole 3:
Smrz took the early lead in the ten minutes of Superpole 3, only to be supplanted by Checa. With just four minutes left, Laverty was third fastest and Corser completed the front row while Melandri had yet to set a time. Quickly thereafter, Corser bettered his own time, only to lose pole to Guintoli. Smrz was then second fastest and followed by Laverty and Biaggi. However, Checa was not to be denied yet another pole and posted the quickest lap time of 1:58.890 with two minutes remaining.

At that point, Guintoli, Smrz, Laverty, Biaggi, Corser, Melandri, and Badovini completed the first two rows of starters for Monday’s races. Smrz fought back, taking a half second off Checa’s time as the track continued to dry out. As the seconds ticked down in the session, Checa improved his time, but was still unable to catch Smrz’s very fast time. While attempting to move up from a slow seventh fastest, Biaggi ran off the track. He then tipped the bike over in the wet and muddy grass to end his session. On his final lap, Checa beat out Smrz to the pole by hundredths of a second.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Miller Motorsports Park, United States:

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1. 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1:58.315 -
2. 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:58.390 0.075
3. 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 1:58.609 0.294
4. 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 1:58.860 0.545
5. 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:59.069 0.754
6. 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 1:59.262 0.947
7. 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:59.736 1.421
8. 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 1:59.827 1.512
Out After Superpole 2
9. 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 2:00.303 1.065
10. 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 2:00.477 1.239
11. 2 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 2:01.643 1.405
12. 91 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 2:01.127 1.889
Out After Superpole 1
13. 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 2:03.232 2.418
14. 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 2:03.382 2.568
15. 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 2:03.397 2.583
16. 12 Joshua Waters Yoshimura Suzuki 2:04.156 3.342
Not qualified for Superpole
17. 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:50.195 1.935
18. 52 James Toseland BMW Motorrad Italia 1:50. 306 2.046
19. 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1:50.646 2.386
20. 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 1:50.717 2.457
21. 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1:51.586 3.326

Source: WSBK; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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