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: Fresh Tires Aid Checa to Superpole at Assen

04/16/2011 @ 10:26 am, by Victoria Reid4 COMMENTS

WSBK: Fresh Tires Aid Checa to Superpole at Assen Jonathan Rea Assen WSBK Superpole 2011 635x742

Having dominated the final qualifying session under a cloudy sky and in cool temperatures, Carlos Checa won pole (1:35.292) for the World Superbike round at Assen. The Spaniard won pole for the third race weekend in a row, added by the fact that he was the only rider to have a fresh qualifying tire for the third Superpole session. He will be joined on the front row for Sunday’s races by Jakub Smrz, Eugene Laverty, and Noriyuki Haga. Though none could touch Checa at the end, the Superpole sessions were marked by very close lap times, with the twelve riders in Superpole 2 covered by a half second. Only Marco Melandri crashed during the Superpole sessions, on his last lap while attempting to fight for pole. He was unhurt and qualified eighth.

Though only second quickest in qualifying, Smrz was quickest in both the Friday free practice and the qualifying practice later that afternoon, with eight other men completing the fastest five between both sessions. Though the Czech rider came out on top, the final ten minutes in the first qualifying session seemed to say that the pole position was any rider’s to win. Vermeulen, still recovering and continuously testing Kawasakis, suffered a blown engine in each Friday session that kept him well down the order and off the bike.

Meanwhile, an also injured James Toseland had been replaced by Dutch rider Barry Veneman, who posted times respectably close to those of teammate Badovini. Saturday morning, Rea was quickest in the final qualifying practice, taking the top spot from Smrz by two tenths. He was followed by Biaggi, Corser, and Haga as the fastest five. Corser took over the top spot for the final free practice, with the fastest time of the weekend (1:35.818). Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Maxime Berger, 18. Chris Vermeulen, 19. Barry Veneman, 20. Roberto Rolfo, 21. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 1:
Superpole 1 began under an overcast sky, with the cooler temperatures that had marked much of the weekend, and a breeze. Most of the riders were straight onto the track for this first, fourteen minute session. Haga (1:35.667) led with ten minutes remaining, followed by Haslam, Biaggi, Fabrizio, and Corser. At that point, Laverty, Badovini, Xaus, and Camier were in the knockout zone. Most riders were back in the garage at the halfway point, and back out with around five minutes remaining.

With the point simply to move onward to Superpole 2, Laverty, Guintoli, Badovini, and Xaus were in danger of staying behind with four minutes to go. Rea was twelfth fastest and in danger while Haga remained on top. With just a minute left, Laverty took the provisional pole from Haga, closely followed by teammate Melandri. After the flag, the Irish rider would remain fastest (1:35.623), with Melandri, Haga, Corser, and Biaggi the fastest five. Weekend leader Smrz barely made the cut, and ended S1 twelfth fastest. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Michel Fabrizio, 14. Ruben Xaus, 15. Sylvain Guintoli, 16. Ayrton Badovini.

Superpole 2:
Haslam and Lascorz were the first out for the twelve minutes of Superpole 2. Lascorz was the early leader, followed by Camier, Haga, Haslam, and Biaggi in the first wave of lap times. Quickly, Melandri was fastest (1:35.552) while Rea, Smrz, Checa, and Sykes were in the drop zone without times, four minutes into the session. On their first laps, Rea and Checa slotted into provisional pole and second fastest, respectively, though Rea had already used both of his qualifying tires. Checa soon took the lead (1:35.536), while Smrz had yet to set a time and less than five minutes to do so.

A minute later, Haga, Corser, Biaggi, and Smrz were in in the relegation zone, only to have Smrz take the lead with three minutes to go, and dropped Camier into the knockout zone. At that point, all twelve were separated by less than a second. Corser improved his time, but only to ninth. The times tightened as the seconds ticked away, ending the session with Smrz (1:35.523) on top, followed by Checa, Rea, Melandri, and Biaggi.  Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Leon Camier, 10. Troy Corser, 11. Joan Lascorz, 12. Leon Haslam.

Superpole 3:
Laverty was the last to leave the pit lane in the final qualifying session. Most of the eight riders were on similar footing and forced to lap with used qualifying tires. Checa, though, had fresh qualifying rubber. The Spaniard was fastest (1:35.594) early, followed by Haga, Rea, Biaggi, Sykes, and Melandri with five minutes left. At that point, neither Smrz nor Laverty had set a time. Checa soon bettered his own time by three tenths, though the order of the top five remained the same. Smrz started his first fast lap with about three minutes left while Laverty continued to wait in the garage.

However, Laverty went straight to second fastest with his first proper lap, leaving Checa on top, and an improved Smrz third fastest. Smrz improved again on his next lap to take second from Laverty. His teammate Melandri did not fare so well, crashing on his last lap. Though he was unhurt, he was also unable to post a time quicker than eighth fastest. No one could catch Checa as he took his third pole in as many race weekends.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Assen, Netherlands:

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1. 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1:35.292 -
2. 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:35. 560 0.268
3. 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 1:35.580 0.288
4. 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 1:35.920 0.628
5. 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 1:36.138 0.846
6. 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:36.302 1.010
7. 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:36.351 1.059
8. 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 1:37.036 1.744
Out After Superpole 2
9. 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:35.903 0.380
10. 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:35.954 0.431
11. 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:35.983 0.460
12. 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:36.089 0.566
Out After Superpole 1
13. 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 1:36.148 0.525
14. 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 1:36.260 0.637
15. 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:36.361 0.738
16. 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 1:36.920 1.297
Not qualified for Superpole
17. 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 1:37.272 1.237
18. 77 Chris Vermeulen Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:37.501 1.466
19. 37 Barry Veneman BMW Motorrad Italia 1:37.569 1.534
20. 44 Roberto Rolofo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1:37.676 1.641
21. 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1:37.794 1.759

Source: WSBK

Comment:

  1. BBQdog says:

    Lorenzo had pole on Assen last year with a QP time of 1:35.515

  2. BBQdog says:

    Sorry, should have been 1:34.515 for Lorenzo, so not that much difference
    between MotoGP and WSB.

  3. Philip says:

    Shouldn’t the pic match the title?

  4. Chris says:

    It is ashame that the rules are so unfair for Ducati this year. What with just three out of three poles and three out of four wins(which could have been four if Checa wouldn’t have made a bad tire choice)