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 Concludes Three Days of Testing in Portimao

01/28/2011 @ 9:13 pm, by Victoria Reid2 COMMENTS

WSBK Concludes Three Days of Testing in Portimao Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda WSBK test Portimao 635x599

Posting the fastest time of the official World Superbike test in Portugal, Jakub Smrz was the fastest man at Portimao. A feat in its own right, Smrz’s accomplishment is compounded by the fact that the Portuguese track saw three days of continuously changing weather. In a climate that kept the bikes off the track, and the riders bored in the garages, Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty rounded out the fastest three riders at Portimao, with times set also on Wednesday afternoon. The first day was fair, though conditions worsened greatly overnight, making Thursday morning entirely unappealing for test laps. Luckily, Friday dried out through the afternoon, but no one was able to best Smrz’s early mark of 1:43.503 during the testing sessions.

All too often winter testing provides plenty of data for the teams and riders, but not nearly enough for journalists and fans who wish to prognosticate. While teams might focus on a certain sector during one lap and another the next, they hide their own flaws and keep their best performances to themselves. Combined with poor weather conditions, a rider sitting out to recover from surgery (Chris Vermeulen), and an entire team testing at another location, the WSBK winter test leaves very little actual story to tell before the start of the racing season.

An alternate way to see how the riders and teams are performing at this stage is to compare not their quickest times, but their overall rankings over the course of the sessions. With the Portuguese weather remaining uncooperative, times varied between and within the sessions, and though not every rider posted times for each session, how he did in comparison to his fellow lap-setters within that session and overall can make it easier to guess which teams and riders are doing better than others.

Session Rankings for January 26th-28th Test at Portimao:

Rider Wed #1
(16 riders)
Wed #2
(16 riders)
Thur #1
(8 riders)
Thur #2
(12 riders)
Fri #1
(14 riders)
Fri #2
(15 riders)
Tier 1
Rea 1st 2nd No time 1st 8th 11th
Xaus 6th 13th No time No time 1st 1st
Smrz 2nd 1st No time 5th 11th 12th
Checa 15th 5th 1st 3th 5th 8th
Tier 2
Fabrizio 4th 7th 6th 10th 2nd 2nd
Laverty 14th 3th 2nd 7th No time 4th
Melandri 16th 15th 7th 2th 3th 5th
Tier 3
Biaggi 3rd 6th No time No time No time No time
Haga 7th 12th 3rd 8th 9th 3rd
Tier 4
Badovini 13th 16th 4th 9th 10th 13th
Berger 10th 14th 8th 12th 13th 7th
Camier 8th 9th No time No time 14th 5th
Guintoli 11th 8th No time 4th 4th 6th
Lascorz 9th 10th No time No time 7th 10th
Sykes 5th 4th No time 6th 6th 9th
Toseland 12th 11th 5th 11th 12th 14th

At the end of this first official WSBK test, we only know who posted the fastest time and who was most often within the three fastest riders in a session, however it is unlikely that any of this will have much affect on racing and who wins the 2011 World Superbike Championship. The point of testing is just that: to see how things are working, to know what needs to be changed, and what should not be changed. In the end, who does what now makes little difference to what will happen. But it does make for a break in winter.

Final Combined Times for January 26-28 Test at Portimao:

Pos. No. Rider Time Team
1. 96 Jakub Smrz 1:43.503 Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)
2 4 Jonathan Rea 1:43.676 Castrol Honda
3. 58 Eugene Laverty 1:43.707 Yamaha WSBK Team
4. 66 Tom Sykes 1:43.770 Kawasaki Racing Team SBK
5. 7 Carlos Checa 1:43.789 Althea Racing (Ducati)
6. 3 Max Biaggi 1:43.840 Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
7. 84 Michel Fabrizio 1:43.879 Team Suzuki Alstare
8. 50 Sylvain Guintoli 1:44.369 Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)
9. 2 Leon Camier 1:44.446 Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
10. 17 Joan Lascorz 1:44.752 Kawasaki Racing Team
11. 52 James Toseland 1:44.764 BMW Motorrad SBK Team
12. 41 Noriyuki Haga 1:44.857 PATA Racing Team Aprilia
13. 111 Ruben Xaus 1:44.885 Castrol Honda
14. 121 Maxime Berger 1:44.886 Supersonic Racing Team (Ducati)
15. 33 Marco Melandri 1:45.461 Yamaha WSBK Team
16. 86 Ayrton Badovini 1:45.678 BMW Motorrad SBK Team

Source: WSBK; Photo: Castrol Honda

Comment:

  1. irksome says:

    In other words, “Nothing to report here except the weather kinda sucked, but at least I didn’t have to shell out for the airfare or a room.”

    You could at least have gotten a better photo.

  2. jamesy says:

    In my op, the fact that the top seven times were all covered by 1/2 second AND contained SIX different bike brands is news. Huge, wonderful news indeed.
    This may portend to the best season since Ben bitchslapped Biaggi! Cannot wait for the racing.