Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki XRH-1 MotoGP Bike at COTA, While Randy De Puniet Matches Pace of Open Bikes

Suzuki’s MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit, as the team had not yet tested the Suzuki XRH-1 at COTA, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015. Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday’s race.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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.

Yamaha Withdrawing from WSBK at the End of the Season

08/01/2011 @ 10:26 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Yamaha Withdrawing from WSBK at the End of the Season Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK wave 635x866

In a shocking statement made today, Yamaha has announced that it will be withdrawing its official presence from FIM Superbike World Championship at the conclusion of the 2011 season. After reviewing its marketing operations within Europe, Yamaha Motor Europe (the driving force behind the company’s WSBK effort) has decided its euros would be better spent on other events that directly engage potential Yamaha customers.

Yamaha says it remains committed to seeing Marco Melandri (3rd) and Eugene Laverty (4th) win the 2011 World Superbike Championship, though with four rounds remaining that would seem a tall order as Carlos Checa leads both Yamaha riders by 71 & 135 points respectively. Checa, of course, is on the “satellite” Althea Ducati team, which is rumored to have more links to Bologna than a sausage cook-off held in Ducati’s factory parking lot.

With companies realizing the ROI on motorcycle racing isn’t all its cracked up to be, manufacturers have been heavily reevaluating their positions in racing series from AMA, WSBK, and even MotoGP. At the end of the day, the fact remains that the old saying, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” may not hold any water at all, bringing serious questions to bear on what motorcycle racing is bringing to its participants from a business perspective.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, involvement Yamaha has with World Superbike in 2012. Will the Japanese company sever all ties like Kawasaki did in MotoGP? Or will Yamaha take a page from Ducati’s book, and operate in an unofficial capacity with the remaining Yamaha squads? Only time will tell.

Source: Yamaha Racing

Comment:

  1. Victor Knowles says:

    That certainly sucks for Melandri. Bad move Yamaha……….
    Wish the economy could keep all the manufactuers in the game.

  2. Shaitan says:

    WTF? So the old adage that “what wins the races sells on the sales floors” is a fallacy I guess.

  3. Ken C. says:

    Melandri is a very talented rider and will be snatched up by another team pretty quickly, I’m sure. Laverty, although also talented, will have a slightly tougher time. Maybe Melandri could go back to MotoGP under one of the new claiming rules teams, or replace Toni Elias, who’s having a horrible season.

  4. Jake Fox says:

    This is really saddening. The sport and ultimately the fans suffer the most from these decisions. Is it a question of popularity? NASCAR is very popular here and the manufacturers must see some kind of ROI even though those cars have absolutely nothing in common with the ones on the showroom floor. Meanwhile IRL, which isn’t nearly as popular, was down to only one engine supplier, Honda, the last I checked. Perhaps Yamaha feels that they can get as much exposure by racing in MotoGP as by racing in both MotoGP and WSBK.

  5. SBPilot says:

    WSBK needs to act quick and fast to cut costs. The costs of running a factory WSBK team is becoming increasingly high, and WSBK lap times have been getting increasingly close to MotoGP. The bike’s don’t need to be that fast, costs need to come down. They should restrict the type of forks that are used because right now they are identical to the MotoGP Ohlins, and everyone runs them. It doesn’t give other manufactures like Ktech, Elka, Penske, Bitubo etc. any chance, which are MUCH cheaper options that GP Spec Ohlins forks.

    The previous post about WSBK wanting to cut down to one bike per rider is great and they need to enact that for next year asap before more teams drop out, or at least to secure privateer teams for next year. I’m sure the Flammini after hearing this news will try to do a drastic, hopefully logical cost cutting measure.

    Business is business, and it all boils down to Return On Investment, if the companies need to invest less and still have that entire WSBK exposure, ROI goes up. WSBK tech and speeds are at an all time high and they no need to go much faster, cut the tech development, get more bikes and riders on the grid and we’ll have a great series! My thoughts are, ban Carbon Fibre body work (like WSS), Spec electronics from either 2D or MM (or both), one bike rule.

    This is very sad news to see Yamaha, a top running team to withdraw. We can only hope it’ll be the same “type” of withdraw as Ducati.

  6. Random says:

    Just hope the decrease in the popularity of racing doesn’t reflect in sports bike sales (if it hasn’t already). Liking those rides or not, it’s undeniable both prototype and production-derived racing has brougth many improvements to us “ungodly” riders. Imagine what we would be riding without all those racing developments…

  7. albacete says:

    a bounch of pussies!

  8. Westward says:

    I guess Ducati has set a trend, with Althea Racing and Checa looking to take the championship barring a major disaster. Liberty Ducati is not that far behind, They might just need slightly better pilots…

    I also find it interesting, that Yamaha seemed to lack a major sponsor for both MotoGP and WSBK. Could the loss of Rossi have had a spiralling affect on the overall outcome…?

  9. Raymondo says:

    What’s the big deal?

    The Supersport team is private with factory support and is kicking ass.

    What would be different is WSBK? I’d rather see more privateer teams up front than having factories school the around. The bikes are still fast.

  10. cyron says:

    @SBPilot

    I don’t think the one bike rule or limiting vendors is really the answer. Why not just put a cap on how much a team can spend instead of limiting what equipment they use.

    The reality of it is this isn’t the end of Yamaha’s motorcycles competing in WSBK; this is Yamaha no longer footing the entire bill.

  11. SBPilot says:

    @ cyron

    A spending cap may work, you can’t really enforce that, but encourage it like in F1. Rules/restrictions helps and is necessary because as you said, factories don’t want to fork the entire bill anymore. So if WSBK’s future is like WSS/Superstock where there is no offiical Factory teams, then the rules/costs need to be attractive enough for privateers to be able to afford racing as they will be forking out most of the bill. I agree it may not be the end of Yamaha motorbikes in WSBK, they will still give support like their WSS bikes if in the future someone decides to use their R1, but the rules need to make it affordable for privateers to use those bikes/run the team.

    Would you rather Althea Ducati or Pata Aprilia have two riders on two competitive bikes, or one rider on one bike with a spare he may use? Most the time when riders are on their spare they don’t ride as well anyway. Cutting costs can enlarge grids and make racing closer, and this is especially important if factory teams begin leaving and privateers are the ones expected to fill the grids.

  12. Dicj6F Interesting�should I try those tips?

  13. SBPilot says:

    WSBK has now comfirmed the one bike rule for next year! And already you have teams like SMR (Swan Yamaha in BSB) and ParkinGo wanting to join the WSBK. Whether that is on Yamaha’s or not is irrelevant, more bikes on the grid period.

    Seeing how competitive Hopper and Crescent Suzuki was at S’tone, I wouldn’t be surprised if other top-ish BSB teams are considering WSBK (HM Plant, MSS Colchester) WSBK could look mighty fun next year, here’s to hoping.