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: Battle Between Teammates Livens Up Race 2 at Portimao Season Finale

10/16/2011 @ 8:25 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Battle Between Teammates Livens Up Race 2 at Portimao Season Finale melandri portimao pirelli 635x421

Jonathan Rea (1:41.712) won his second pole of the 2011 World Superbike season to start the season finale at Portimao on pole. He beat newly minted champion Carlos Checa to pole by more than two tenths in Saturday’s Superpole session, despite the riders having traded fast laps in Friday’s sessions. Joining them on the front row are soon-to-be-former Yamaha teammates Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri. Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Joan Lascorz, and Noriyuki Haga complete the second row. 2010 champion Max Biaggi returned for the final race weekend after missing three race meetings due to a foot injury sustained at Nurburgring. Though he was quick on Friday and in the practice session, Biaggi managed only to qualify seventeenth.

Chris Vermeulen and Roberto Rolfo, along with Ruben Xaus did not participate on the weekend, all suffering from injuries that kept them home. Vermeulen was not replaced, though Rolfo was by his satellite Kawasaki team. The Italian had broken his left kneecap in a bicycle accident near his home earlier in the week, leaving room for Santiago Barragan to fill in for him. Karl Muggerridge again filled in for Xaus, as the Spainiard’s earlier neck and back injuries also kept him from racing. Though Rea and Checa each held a fat lap on Friday, it was Rea who held provisional pole going into the Superpole sessions. He would not relinquish pole, winning his second of the season. Race 1 was a sunny and bright affair, with a surprising early leader, decisive battles, and a a bit of icing on the cake of the 2011 season.

Race 2 began on a hot afternoon and a nearly shaded front straight. Rea got another great start, leading into the first turn, with Melandri taking second. Haslam went well wide, as the pack swept through the first few turns. Laverty slid into second around Melandri, then then came alongside Rea on the straight. He crossed the line barely behind him but took the lead into the first turn. Behind them at the end of L1, Melandri, Checa, Guintoli, Haga, Camier, Sykes, Badovini, and Smrz completed the top ten.

Melandri was not too happy to stay third, diving under Rea for second in a close maneuver on the second lap. By that point, the top five had separated themselves from Haga and the rest of the field. Guintoli was drifting back, but still a half second ahead of Haga. The battle waged heavily amongst the mid-field, with Camier taking seventh from Haga and multiple riders fanning out across the straight. A bit further back, Biaggi was up to tenth around Sykes, hoping to regain third in the championship. At the front, Laverty had six tenths on Rea, five laps into the race. Melandri, Checa, Guintoli, Badovini, Camier, Lascorz, Biaggi, and Haga completed the top ten on that lap.

Into Turn 1, Melandri tried again on Rea, pushing the pole sitter wide and out of second position. Rea had run wide again, barely holding on to third from Checa, who seemed quietly unassuming in fourth. Both Yamahas had gained time and space on Rea, with Laverty four tenths ahead of Melandri. Meanwhile, Guintoli had dropped back from the lead pack by a second. Otherwise, the riders seemed to have settled in for the mid-section of the race.

The front pack of Laverty, Melandri, Rea, and Checa looked to have closed up a bit, with all the riders equidistant apart. Guintoli still hung on near the back, four seconds ahead of the rest of the field. At halfway, Camier, Biaggi, Badovini, Lascorz, Sykes, Haga, Smrz, Corser, Berger, Haslam, Guigliano, Fabrizio, Aitchison, Muggeridge, Waters, and Fores were the riders still running after the top five, as Barragan had pulled into the garage. Rea began to look a bit more racing, settling in more tightly behind Melandri, as Checa dropped back just slightly. Still, the order of the top five remained unchanged. Rea looked to be pushing, regularly going a bit wide and reminding the Italin that he was close behind.

When five laps remained, Laverty still led his teammate, by just two tenths. Rea was another two tenths back, as the podium remained unchanged. Melandri, though, had a serious look but did not attempt to take the lead. It was on the next lap that Melandro took advantage of his teammate and the lead. Laverty continued to remain behind, as his teammate quickly pulled out a six tenths gap with two laps to go. Rea looked to take second from Laverty, and did, only for the latter to regain the position as Rea ran wide. Melandri’s lead was nearly a second over the dueling Laverty and Rea as the final lap began. Rea again took second, but Laverty was back in front across the line on that last lap. In the end, Melandri won with his teammate standing next to him on the podium, and Rea the third place finisher.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Portimao:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team -
2 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 1.075
3 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 1.363
4 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 2.648
5 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 3.355
6 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 4.709
7 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 6.514
8 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 14.441
9 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 19.128
10 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 25.527
11 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 26.400
12 34 Davide Giugliano Althea Racing Ducati 26.646
13 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 26.963
14 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 30.209
15 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 30.951
16 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 31.057
17 31 Karl Muggeridge Castrol Honda 57.941
18 12 Josh Waters Yoshimura Suzuki 58.577
19 112 Javier Fores BMW Motorrad 1:04.011
20 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedericini Kawaski 1:04.397
Not Classified
66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 5 Laps
51 Santiago Barragan Team Pedericini Kawaski 13 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)

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