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: Rain Causes Crash-Filled Superpole at Misano

06/11/2011 @ 7:12 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Rain Causes Crash Filled Superpole at Misano Tom Sykes WSBK MMP 635x4251

Checa led Biaggi, Corser, Haslam, and Camier as the fastest five in the first free practice of the Misano weekend, and continued to lead through the first qualifying practice with a lap time of 1:36.024. Friday afternoon, Biaggi, Melandri, and Fabrizio completed the provisional front row after the first qualifying practice. Corser caused that session to end early, crashing just minutes from the flag. He hit his head and was taken to the medical center but was cleared to continue riding for the weekend. James Toseland did not participate in either session and would not race with a relapse in the recovery of his right wrist. He has been replaced by Italian Lorenzo Lanzi both this weekend and at Aragaon.

In Saturday’s Superpole sessions, Tom Sykes (1:55.197) held off a late charge from Carlos Checa to take pole position for the World Superbike round at Misano despite the damp conditions. Rain began falling minutes before Superpole 1 began, leading to crashes by Ruben Xaus, Leon Camier, Eugene Laverty, Carlos Checa, and Jakub Smrz. Neither Xaus nor Camier, despite being the earliest crashers, were able to complete a timed lap and were knocked out in Superpole 1. Smrz led much of the final run for pole, fighting with Sykes. In the end, Skyes, Checa, Smrz, and Marco Melandri will start from the front row for tomorrow’s races.

Checa remained on top for Saturday morning’s qualifying practice, despite the continued battle with Biaggi and a crash in the session. Third fastest Fabrizio also fell, as did fourth fastest Joan Lascorz, completing the provisional front row. In a bit of a surprise, Haga was only seventeenth fastest and did not progress to Superpole. In the final practice Saturday, Checa continued to lead, followed by Fabrizio, Camier, Laverty and Haga, as Biaggi had a crash during the session. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Noriyuki Haga, 18. Matteo Baiocco, 19. Lorenzo Lanzi, 20. Alessandro Polita, 21. Roberto Rolfo, 22. Chris Vermeulen, 23. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 1:
Rain began to fall minutes before Superpole 1 began, with the session soon declared wet. The riders were quickly onto the track on wet tires, with Xaus crashing on the colder tires on his first lap. He ran back to the garage for the second bike. Camier also soon crashed in the slick conditions, as did Checa. The latter picked his bike up while the former also ran back to the garages. Soon, Smrz led Rea, Corser, and Laverty as the front row while Guintoli, Checa, Xaus, and Camier were all in the knockout zone.

With five minutes remaining in the first of three superpole sessions, Smrz was on top, followed by Sykes, Melandri, Corser, and Badovini the top five. Guintoli, Berger, Xaus, and Camier were all in the knockout zone. Neither Xaus nor Camier had yet to set a time, as Camier crashed for the second time. Laverty joined him on the deck, as did Smrz with the greasy and slippery conditions catching out most of the field. All were unhurt.

The session ended a bit of a mess, as Biaggi’s Aprillia blew an engine. Smrz was quickest on the session, with Sykes, Badovini, Lascorz, and Melandri the fastest five. Meanwhile, neither Xaus nor Camier managed to complete a timed lap after crashing. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Michel Fabrizio, 14. Maxime Berger, 15. Ruben Xaus, 16. Leon Camier.

Superpole 2:
The rain continued for Superpole 2, with Badovini taking a shocking early lead, only to lose to Haslam’s faster lap. Melandri (1:57.544) was quickest with five minutes to go, only to have his time bettered by Haslam (1:57.311) and Sykes seconds later. Badovini, Rea, Guintoli, Corser, and Lascorz completed the top eight while Laverty, Checa, Smrz, and Biaggi were in the knockout zone.

As the riders got a better handle on the conditions the times continued to drop. Melandi was soon on top again, the only rider down to a 1:56s lap, but he was soon joined by Sykes and Smrz, who both improved upon the Italian’s time. Guintoli, Rea, Corser, and Lascorz were in the relegation zone with seconds left on the session. Checa (1:55.730) went from eighth to fastest on his final lap, going nearly seven tenths faster than Sykes and posting the first 1:55s lap since the rain began falling. Sykes, Smrz, Guintoli, and Biaggi completed the fastest five while Laverty crashed on his last chance to get out of S2 and did not progress to Superpole 3 and the fight for pole.
Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Ayrton Badovini, 10. Eugene Laverty, 11. Jonathan Rea, 12. Joan Lascorz.

Superpole 3:
Checa was the first rider with a quick time in the race for pole, but Smrz topped the timesheets early in S3, followed by Sykes, Haslam, and Biaggi as the front row with five minutes remaining. Sykes was soon quickest, only to have Smrz fight back straightaway. Checa was fifth and a second off their pace with three minutes to go, only to gain six tenths on his next lap. Sykes, however, improved by more than a half second to keep his commanding lead. Smrz remained second fastest when one minute remained, with Haslam and Checa the top four. Checa improved again to go second fastest and less than two tenths slower than Skyes as the seconds ticked away. In the end, the Spaniard could not quite catch Sykes in the damp conditions and Sykes put the Kawasaki on pole at Misano.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Misano:

1.66Tom SkyesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:55.197-
2.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:55.3730.176
3.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:55.7450.548
4.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:55.7680.571
5.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad1:56.0340.837
6.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad1:56.2851.088
7.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:56.4801.283
8.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:57.0541.857
Out After Superpole 2
9.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:57. 3741.644
10.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:57.4541.724
11.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:57.8312.101
12.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:58.5092.779
Out After Superpole 1
13.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare2:02.2354.557
14.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati2:02.4404.762
15.111Ruben XausCastrol Hondano time
16.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Teamno time
Not qualified for Superpole
17.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:36.7281.119
18.15Matteo BaioccoBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.1:36.7421.133
19.57Lorenzo LanziBMW Motorrad Italia1:37. 0771.468
20.53Alessandro PolitaBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.1:37.1041.495
21.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawasaki1:37.1781.569
22.77Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:37.2201.611
23.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki1:37.3621.753

Source: WSBK; Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

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