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.

Yamaha’s MotoGP Team Still Without A Title Sponsor

12/28/2010 @ 7:46 am, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

Yamahas MotoGP Team Still Without A Title Sponsor Jorge Lorenzo number 1 plate 635x423

After winning the MotoGP Triple Crown: The Rider, Team, and Manufacturer Championships, the factory Yamaha team finds itself in a difficult position looking for a title sponsor for next year. After Valentino Rossi’s departure to Ducati Corse for the 2011 season, Fiat, the team’s sponsor from 2007 until recently, dropped the Yamaha squad after its loss of the Italian rider (Fiat had long been associated with Yamaha because of the company’s desire to woo Rossi into the Ferrari Formula 1 team…that and the Italian helps sell the Italian made cars).

Perhaps under-appreciating the value of having Rossi on board a Yamaha bike in 2011, the tuning fork brand has now been left scrambling for a marquis name to help foot the bills for the next season. Despite having the reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and Rookie of the Year Ben Spies, deals with Petronas, Telefonica, and AirAsia have failed to materialize, despite lengthy rumor, meaning Yamaha’s corporate Blue/White livery might be spotted in Qatar (something reserved usually for non-sponsored wild card riders).

Talking to MCN‘s Matthew Birt, Yamaha Racing’s Managing Director Lin Jarvis brushed off the lack of a title sponsor as something related specifically to Yamaha’s situation, and instead linked it to the global climate in the motorcycle industry and motorsports as a whole. According to Jarvis the team has a few “irons in the fire” as far as sponsorship deals go, but with Ducati Corse announcing last month that it would be partnering with AMG as a title sponsor, the argument that this is about MotoGP’s lack of commercial potential for sponsors seems to hold less weight, as the Italian company seemingly had little difficulty talking the German auto-tuner out of its millions of dollars.

While it is true that the economic climate is tough, and many companies have pulled marketing budgets that include racing sponsorships, looking at the AMG/Ducati Corse partnership it is clear that large deals and sponsorships can materialize under the right conditions. Obviously Valentino Rossi is a large portion of that equation, as the Italian rider has the star power off the track to help grease the wheels on such deals, a trait that Lorenzo and Spies do not share.

While Jorge Lorenzo may have a cadre of fans on Twitter, the Spanish rider has little real following outside of his home country, and is often seen as arrogant and forcefully trying too hard to be appealing to the fans. The inverse of this is perhaps Ben Spies, whose talent on the track cannot be questioned, but American seems to lack any motivation to build his personal brand or a connection with his fans, seemingly lacking the charisma and personality x-factor that makes riders like Valentino Rossi and others so special and marketable.

With two personality duds on the factory Yamaha squad and no sponsor in sight, the real nature of MotoGP and motorsports in general seems to rear its ugly head: at the end of the day racing needs to be entertaining, not only on the track, but off the track as well. In this aspect teams and MotoGP as a whole are failing miserably from a promotional standpoint, putting almost no effort into developing the personal brands of riders. Of course some of the blame lays on the riders themselves, who see their job as being on the race track, and not in the press debrief afterwards.

With stories off the track carrying more weight than what happens on Sunday’s race, there is a critical element missing from riders who cannot be more than a two-wheeled pilot. Sponsors pay riders both directly and indirectly through the team, and thus become the ultimate priority. When riders fail to adequate meet the needs of those sponsors, or fail to create a brand or image that the sponsor can use to promote its product, that rider has failed to do his job, despite what the race sheet says at the end of the day. With Yamaha arguably signing two riders that are archetypes of this idea of a lacking personal brand, perhaps it isn’t surprising that the company finds itself in this position today.

Source: MCN

Comment:

  1. Jamoche says:

    2005 Laguna Seca livery, yes please.

  2. Damo says:

    Jorge Lorenzo seems to be one of the least liked champions in recent memory. Arrogance seems to be the largest factor.

    He just seems like an enormous douche.

  3. Jaime says:

    I happen to like Jorge. Considering how MotoGP-crazed Spain is, you’d think a Spanish company would be MORE than happy to step up… they FINALLY have a Spanish World Champion!

    How much money has Repsol wasted on Honda and their COMPLETELY personality-less rider Dani Pedrosa over the years?? Honda HAD a rider who could challenge Rossi (and did, and beat him in 2006) but they stupidly let him go and through all of their eggs into a midget basket.

    Repsol would be better off sponsoring Yamaha and Lorenzo.

  4. Jaime says:

    Damn it, did it again… I meant “threw” not “through.”

  5. Fernando says:

    All this along with not winning a title next year is gonna put Yamaha in a very bad place, im a die hard Yamaha fan, but highly dissapointed with the way things went with dealing between Vale and Jorge, sadly the quick buck had a bigger impact in the end.

  6. hoyt says:

    Your article implies every person buys into the masses’ force-fed headline-making interests & that there is no (or not enough) value outside of this target audience.

    Spies’ personality on/off the track is refreshing in this age of “look at me”. What is not marketable about someone who works hard at improving his natural talent and is humble while doing it? He’s also handsome, if that matters (which I know it does to marketing).

  7. Bruce Monighan says:

    Well Collin Edwards should be worth a bunch of money because he is second only to Rossi as pure entertainment to listen to. Actually he may be one of the most underappreciated riders on the world stage. The guy is an enonormous talent as a tire test rider and development rider, is fast when the bike is right and rides the wheels off it even when it is not. A guy that gives 11/10′s all the time and I am always happy to watch and follow MotoGp as long as he is getting some air time/press. I hope that someone picks him up after his riding career ends as a factory team guy. I see a long term job/contribution for him like Kevin Schwantz

  8. Hoyt,

    I like Ben Spies as a person, along his “I”ll do my talking on the track” mentality. The guy is super focused and meticulous in his approach to riding. The point of the article though is that it’s not enough to simply be good on the track (maybe if you’re GREAT on the track, like say a Michael Schumacher, a pulled-back personality is ok), at the end of the day it’s marketing dollars that pay the riders’ salaries, and they’re ultimate marketing tools for those brands. To be in MotoGP you not only need to be one of the best motorcyclists, but you have to help sell the sport, sell the sponsors, and sell yourself.

    If a guy doesn’t take marketing promos seriously, doesn’t want to put the time in with the fans, and can’t have value beyond going fast on the track, then he’s not doing his job properly. Remember, these guys are supposed to be the best of the best.

    ps. You don’t have to go far down the American side of the paddock to find better examples of humble but marketable. Nicky Hayden is a slave to his sponsors, but always peppy about the work, and humble about his successes.

  9. hoyt says:

    Hi Jensen – outside of moto-related content is there a noticeable difference in Nicky’s effort to help sell a brand over Ben Spies? Any difference could be attributed to Nicky being on the scene longer and a different marketing company more than any willingness or supposedly unwillingness of a rider.

    Do the masses really see “Fiat” when they see Valentino? Or do they see “Valentino” & “46″ more than anything? His personality supercedes any corporate message, so a rider could be too much of his own brand (from a corporate perspective).

    “Hard work”; “humble” – an ad agency & corporate sponsor could easily work that into their image after 2008′s debacle. It could be a less expensive approach too.

    regarding: “..doesn’t want to put the time in with the fans”

    Spies conducts Skype interviews in addition to the larger press interviews. Who else is doing that?

  10. Jaime says:

    And Jorge is FAR more accessible to his fans than Valentino EVER was. Valentino just got his own website this year. Jorge not only responds to his fans on Twitter, he recently started up a Facebook page and willingly interacts with his fans there too.

    Who else in the MotoGP paddock is doing that?

  11. 76 says:

    There are some points were I can agree and disagree but one thing you state about Ben Spies not putting in time for fans is simply wrong. No other American rider gives such explicit coverage of his own riding as well as others. Sure he doesnt have donkey ears on while hes doing it but he actually takes the time and thought to explaining what really is going on out there during a race or on the bike.

    He has skyped, pod casted, and written all throughout his 2 years in both WSBK and MotoGP. Also I would like to point out that hes nothing like Pedrosa and his inability to simply communicate. Hes just not a hypeman, but for what he dosent have on the “showman” side of things, I for one think he completely makes up for with his accurate and detailed accounts of whats really going on out there. If you listened to his last podcast I think anyone would find it hard to argue that.

    If he tried to be more of the “showman” it would come off just as fake as what Lorenzo is doing trying to emulate Rossi. How well is that working out? Oh yeah its not, and people like him even less calling him arrogant citing his lack of originality. Be yourself and have fun doing it and to me thats what Ben Spies is doing and congrats to that.

    Lastly, Spies is probably one of the most original riders out there on the grid in both style and results. There is no question what Rossi brings, there is also no other rider period that has created that package by a long shot. Think about it, Rossi started all of this in his 250 days? How long is that for a brand and image?

  12. irksome says:

    Much as I hate to admit it, one thing NASCAR does right is to market their drivers with mandatory signing sessions, personal appearances and meet ‘n greets; what we used to call “grip and grin” sessions in the photo trade.

    As to a Spanish rider attracting a Spanish sponsor, Spain has been particularly hard hit in the current economic downturn. hard to imagine a lot of companies lining up to dump cash into a race series, even one as elite as MotoGP.

    Spies seemed fairly charismatic in the brief time my shooting AMA races overlapped with his career. Lorenzo (though I never worked the series) seems to be forcing it, ie. the moon suit crap, stealing Rossi’s post-race celebrations. I’m guessing Spies’ll break out when he starts kicking Lorenzo’s butt.

  13. Ken C. says:

    I like Ben Spies on and off the track. He seems to have the right attitude and professionalism. He never speaks badly of other riders and he is humble.

    Although he does lots of interviews off the track, he lacks the spark that Valentino Rossi has when he speaks. Spies is not as willing to crack jokes or be silly in general like “The Doctor”. He hardly ever smiles. He doesn’t let people into his personal life. This is what’s missing in terms of marketability. It’s a fine line. In some ways, in order to become marketable, he needs to “sell out” and let people into his private life. As much as we want to see what makes him tick, I admire that he keeps those cards close to his chest.

    I think as we see more success on the track, you’ll see more of his personality off the track. He’s under a lot of pressure to perform, and he only just finished his rookie year, so I expect much more from him the years to come.

    Jorge Lorenzo is a different beast altogether. I don’t think he is arrogant at all. I think he only comes off that way because he tries too hard to put on a show. I think he’s just misunderstood. Lost in translation. He too is quite humble if you ever see him in an interview. He respects the other riders. It’s those post-race celebrations that have to change. That’s what comes off as arrogant. If he could tone those down and crack a smile every once in a while, he’d be so much more marketable.

  14. You’d think I called someone’s baby ugly in this post from some of the reactions written here.

    Having interviewed most of the top riders in the MotoGP paddock several times over the course of this year, I can tell you the prevailing attitude from riders is that the press, and for some riders the fans, are an unwanted interruption that the team PR group forces on them between the garage and the motorhome.

    Very few riders realize what an opportunity talking to the press and fans can be, and even fewer know how to use these groups to their advantage.

  15. cencibun says:

    wow, this topic got hot response from readers…

    for me, i can see, smell that next year will be a fall time to yamaha….

    Yamaha will return to the era before Rossi came into their camp..

    i dont think Lorenzo n Spies can bring up Yamaha to the top as Rossi does for many years.

    Yamaha should grateful to Rossi because give them the championship after long time they didn’t got it.

    Rossi is the real lagend…great racer all over the time

  16. cencibun says:

    poor yamaha….Petronas should take this oppourtunity by sponsoring this team…dont sponsor the false team

  17. Nucci says:

    The last thing I want to see is MotoGP become some NASCAR like advertising roadshow. DORNA needs to portray a more balanced image of what MotoGP is all about, their focus on Signoro 46 is coming back to bite them and the teams in the arse.

    Before Valentino Rossi came along, can anyone name a rider who was considered a household name? Hailwood, Agostini, Doohan? No? And things were going just peachy then, as it was all about the racing not the associated spectacle. And at times, lots of money from Tobacco helped as well :)

    It should be about racing and SFA else. The series should be able to attract enough sponsors to sustain itself without riders resorting to putting on some stupid facade to placate the masses.

  18. douche bag says:

    HAha! that was funny!

  19. Jaime says:

    I’m with Ken… Lorenzo is misunderstood. The race celebrations come off as spontaneous (jumping in a lake) or forced (the moon walk, which he did twice) but he is still “color.” I think a lot of the resentment is that he is NOT Rossi.

    Recently read an interview with Colin Edwards where he commented on Lorenzo. Unlike himself or Rossi, whenever Lorenzo came in from a practice session, he RARELY asked for a setting change… instead he’d study the telemetry and adapt his style to what the bike was doing, instead of trying to make the bike adapt to him.

    I think that approach will see him continue his success, with or without Rossi as a team mate. Lorenzo wasn’t kidding when he said he learned NOTHING from Rossi in an earlier interview. Rossi refused to share information with his team mate and actively resented his presence in the garage. To me, that says more about Rossi than it does Lorenzo. Even Nicky Hayden said (when he was Rossi’s team mate with Repsol) that Rossi got less friendly as Nicky became more competitive.

    I think you’ll see a LOT more cooperation between Spies and Lorenzo next year and that will only HELP Yamaha. Maybe it won’t be the sort of cooperation we saw this past year with Edwards and Spies (a real anomaly in the MotoGP paddock) but no where near the antagonistic atmosphere that existed in the factory garage.

    Yamaha may not take the triple crown next year but I see Lorenzo once again capturing the championship.

  20. hoyt says:

    “…at the end of the day racing needs to be entertaining, not only on the track, but off the track as well.”

    In the age of over-hyped press I can see someone in the press requiring the latter part of that statement, but the truth is the majority of people would rather see straight answers from riders being themselves than any contrived post race acts. e.g. Spies’ skype interviews are as real as it gets. Corporations are also executing on the back to basics reality…

    At the time of this writing there was a Ford ad on your banner. Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs” & Ford have been very successful with this ad campaign largely because there is a lack of fuss. It works because it is the reality for the majority of people, especially coming out of a major economic downturn. (things will change over the years)

  21. Patron says:

    Put the factory boys in the Paris Hilton livery. I don’t think Spies would give it a second thought, but it may be fun to see Lorenzo have smoke coming out of his ears when the camera is on him in his little pink getup.

    I’m sure they will find something before the season gets underway. Lorenzo’s celebrations do seem a little forced w a copy cat style imo, but he is a great racer and does have a connections with his fans. I don’t think it will be long before we see an announcement about a title sponsor for the Yamaha boys.

    As far as spies is concerned, I find his interviews much more entertaining that anyone’s post race antics.

  22. jamez ricards says:

    Spies and Lorenzo and yamaha should not be underestimated. I am a ducati fan but believe the 2011 manufacturers title is Yamahas to lose. Pedrobot will be inconsistent, stoner can win races but also can bin it. Rossi WILL win some races but every track will be a setup challenge his first year. Why sponsors; Spanish or American; don’t see a great opportunity is beyond me.

  23. LutherG says:

    The idea that Lorenzo is great because he adapts to what ever he is riding is just great right now. Considering he is riding the bike that Rossi built, i would imagine he could just ride it and not worry.
    We only are aware of marketing here in the states where fiat doesn’t sell cars, and motorcycle racing is not as huge a sport as in europe.

    My problem with Spies is that he comes across entirely scripted, like the pitcher in “Bull Durham” , ” i do the best i can and the good lord willin, things work out.” Even though Rossi is far from spontanteous, he is clever, charming, and exudes personality.

    That is what sponsors want– personality.

  24. Ciaran says:

    A shame the best engineered bike doesnt have a title sponsor. A bigger shame that MCN thinks that Spies and Jorge lack sponsor appeal. Probably a fitting justice that both riders will eclipse Rossi and his sponsorship next year :)