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: A Point Proven During Superpole at Monza

05/06/2011 @ 6:36 pm, by Victoria Reid2 COMMENTS

WSBK: A Point Proven During Superpole at Monza Max Biaggi Superole Monza WSBK 635x338

Racing for some redemption, Max Biaggi (1:41.745) proved a point in winning pole for the 2011 World Superbike round at Monza, returning to the track to best his own qualifying time after most riders had returned to their garages. Biaggi also bested his record top speed (334.8 kph/208.035 mph) from an earlier practice session in qualifying. He will be joined on the front row for his home race by Eugene Laverty, Jonathon Rea, and Troy Corser. Meanwhile, points leader Carlos Checa was knocked out in Superpole 2 and will start eleventh. Most riders fell afoul of the Monza chicane at least once, having their lap times ruined and deleted by cutting across the feature.

Rea (1:43.712) was the first to go fastest for the weekend, leading Corser, Badovini, and Biaggi in the first free practice on Friday morning. Haslam (1:42.934) took his turn to put the quick BMW on provisional pole in the afternoon qualifying practice, though it was Biaggi breaking the WSBK speed record that garnered more attention for the Italian in front of the home crowd. Laverty and Badovini, who was again quick Friday afternoon, completed the provisional front row. Meanwhile, James Toseland, Badovini’s returning teammate, was only twenty-first quickest in QP. Also recovering Chris Vermeulen did not ride in the afternoon session, after an off in the morning required a visit to the medical center and stitches on his elbow.

Nor did Vermeulen ride on Saturday, due to that injury. His participation in Sunday’s races is possible but undetermined as yet. Corser was quickest in the second qualifying practice Saturday morning, though Haslam’s time remained as provisional pole. The session was delayed after oil dropped during the WSS required cleanup, then red flagged to clear oil spewed across the track after Fabrizio Lai’s engine decided to give up the ghost. Haslam, Biaggi, Corser, Lascorz, and Badovini were the overall fastest five in the two qualifying practices. Biaggi finally took the lap time lead (1:42.589) for the weekend in the final free practice, again breaking the top speed record with a 334.8 kph (208.035 mph) fastest speed.  Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Ruben Xaus, 18. Roberto Rolfo, 19. James Toseland, 20. Mark Aitchison, 21. Fabrizio Lai.

Superpole 1:
Superpole 1 got underway on a bright and sunny Monza sky, with Haslam tweeting moments before the session, “Just about to start superpole. Onit.” When ten minutes remained in the fourteen minute session, only six riders had posted a time. At that point, Lascorz (1:43.090) was quickest, followed by Haslam, Guintoli, Haga, Berger, and Smrz. Just a couple of minutes later, Laverty led (1:42.645), with Smrz, Biaggi, Berger, and Camier in the relegation zone. As usually happens in the ever-changing Superpole, Biaggi took the provisional pole soon thereafter, dropping Sykes into the knockout zone.

The Italian led Laverty, Rea, Corser, and Melandri as the fastest five in a session where the point was not to be one of the slowest four. While most of the faster riders went back into the garage, those in the bottom half of the pack made their way out for faster lap times as the minutes ticked away. Interestingly, Camier was slowest of all while teammate Biaggi was quickest, with just over two minutes remaining. He soon joined the Italian with a third quickest lap. Biaggi remained fastest at the end of the session, with Haslam, Fabrizio, Camier, and Laverty the top five. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Joan Lascorz, 14. Tom Sykes, 15. Jakub Smrz, 16. Maxime Berger.

Superpole 2:
Things were again quickly underway in the ten minute long Superpole 2. Rea had moved forward while using a race tire and still had two qualifying tires remaining for the final two sessions, a tire which put him quickly in provisional pole. He was quickly eclipsed by Laverty as times continued to drop. Soon, Yamaha teammate Melandri (1:42.201) took charge, leaving Guintoli, Fabrizio, Badovini, and Checa, who had not yet set a time in S3, in the relegation zone.

At the halfway point, Melandri led Laverty, Biaggi, Rea, and Corser as the fastest five as the knockout zone remained half populated by Italians. Guintoli’s efforts to move up and out were hampered by cutting the chicane and losing his lap time. Meanwhile, sixth fastest Haslam was an unhappy rider in the garage, asking for a race tire. Checa’s first time put him ninth fastest, only to have his next lap deleted with yet another bit of chicanery. With a minute remaining, Haslam, Camier, Checa, and Guintoli were in danger of being left behind. Haslam soon moved up to fifth fastest, only to slip down a position after a fast lap from Fabrizio. The session ended with Melandri leading Laverty, Biaggi, Rea, Fabrizio, Haslam, Corser, and Haga as the top eight. Points leader Checa would not advance to fight for pole. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Ayrton Badovini, 10. Leon Camier, 11. Carlos Checa, 12. Sylvain Guintoli.

Superpole 3:
Times were not set until halfway though the session, with Biaggi (1:42.319) taking an early lead, follwed by Rea, Melandri, and Fabrizio. Corser, Laverty and Haga remained in the garage a bit longer, with Haslam cutting the chicane and wasting his first lap. Soon, Laverty was just under eight hundredths off Biaggi’s time, with Rea and Corser completeing the provisional front row.

That order remained the same with just two minutes to go, as Corser also lost a promising lap time. Most of the riders seemed content with their times as the seconds ticked down, choosing to end the session in the garage. Biaggi, though, had a point to prove and bettered his own fastest time by nearly six tenths.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Monza, Italy:

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1. 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:41.745 -
2. 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 1:42.393 0.648
3. 4 Jonathon Rea Castrol Honda 1:42.614 0.869
4. 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 1:42.688 0.943
5. 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 1:42.714 0.969
6. 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 1:42.723 0.978
7. 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 1:42.954 1.209
8. 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 1:43.043 1.298
Out After Superpole 2
9. 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 1:42. 886 0.685
10. 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:42.995 0.794
11. 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1:43.116 0.915
12. 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:43.146 0.945
Out After Superpole 1
13. 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:43.090 0.953
14. 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:43.437 1.300
15. 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:43.993 1.856
16. 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 1:44.005 1.868
Not qualified for Superpole
17. 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 1:44.216 1.216
18. 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1:44.515 1.515
19. 52 James Toseland BMW Motorrad Italia 1:44.989 2.989
20. 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1:45.022 2.088
21. 32 Fabrizio Lai Echo Sport Racing Co. Honda 1:45.739 2.805

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli


  1. Dan Fischer says:

    What a machine.

  2. Mike J says:

    The only point he proved here is that fastest bike maters at Monza.