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.

Shake-Up at Ducati North America

07/09/2010 @ 6:01 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Shake Up at Ducati North America Ducati 1198 Superbike grinding track 635x374

UPDATE 2: Michael Lock has officially announced that he will be leaving Ducati North America.

UPDATE: John Paolo Canton, Ducati PR Manager, has responded in the comments that Lock was last spotted slaving away in his office, and it’s business as usual in Ducati North America.

With all the commotion going on today, our last piece of breaking news is the developing shake-up that’s going on at Ducati North America. Presumably involving the departure of Ducati North America CEO Michael Lock, we’ve been told changes at Ducati N.A. are occurring at the highest levels. All day we’ve been unable to reach anyone at Ducati’s Cupertino office, so we cannot confirm the report at this time…hey guys, pick up your phones!

If true, Ducati will be losing one of the more successful and controversial personalities in the motorcycle industry. Lock was responsible for turning around Triumph’s North American operations, which saw the company leverage its British heritage and cult following into a strong sales turnaround.

A forceful marketing-oriented CEO, Lock’s skills fit nicely with Ducati as the Italian brand focused again on making a lifestyle around its Italian racing DNA. Joining the Italian company in 2003, Ducati’s popularity in the US has soared since he joined the company.

A&R has no indication who could be taking over at Ducati North America at this time, but our list of guesses is short and distinguished. We also have no word as to where Lock could be headed next, but there are more than a few motorcycle companies in need of his talents. More information as we get it.

Comment:

  1. Mario Barreto says:

    I have a nice story about Mr. Lock. I had a problem with my Duc down here in Brazil. So, I contacted the Ducati Brazil and tried a solution for almost two months with no success. I sent an email to Mr. Lock on Sunday and less than a half hour after I pressed the send key I received an answer from him, directly from his iPhone. He solved my request. Amazing.
    I hope all the best to him, a realy nice and competent professional.

  2. BikePilot says:

    That is an amazing story Mr. Barreto!

    I wonder if Ducati could use a smart law, econ and business guy. Its worked for them before ;)

  3. eze1976 says:

    I bet its Rossi

  4. Tom says:

    UNlike a certain AMerican company, Ducati has the goods to backup its marketing.

  5. Rumor: Shake-Up at Ducati North America – http://aspha.lt/15k #motorcycle

  6. Hi Jenson,

    As the PR Manager and Spokesman for Ducati North America, I was a bit surprised to see this thread. Give me a call next time!

    Just to straighten the story for you guys, when I left work this tonight Mr. Lock was still in charge and business proceeding as usual. If anything to the contrary occurs, I’ll let you know.

    Cheers,
    -John Paolo Canton
    Ducati Press Department

  7. BikePilot says:

    Good to hear Mr. Lock is still there, he seems to be doing an excellent job with an amazing company!

    Based off this bit, “All day we’ve been unable to reach anyone at Ducati’s Cupertino office, so we cannot confirm the report at this time…hey guys, pick up your phones!”, maybe y’all should answer the phones next time :)

  8. RSVDan says:

    Hey Piaggio! Are you hearing this?

  9. lalaland says:

    Who do I have to kill to get a 917 built? The 848 is as useless as a Porsche Boxter. If the 848 were stroked back to it’s proper displacement, and then clothed in some very sexy retro fairings, I could get into it. Ducati have already revisited many successful themes, how much longer until they stop ignoring the obvious?

    The 916 deserves a new life with a reliable engine. The Ducatisti deserve it as well.

    Which theme would you rather base the baby SBK off of: The 1198 (great bike) or the 916 (ubiquitous motorcycle icon)? Why am I even asking this question? The children you’re hoping to attract with fresh looks can’t even afford your bikes anyway.

    Shake it up, Michael. I mean that as encouragement. Bologna is missing something.

  10. eze1976 says:

    yeah, build more baby boomer bikes, that a novel idea…

  11. BikePilot says:

    You can get the displacement you want with an even bigger bore I do believe. I suspect the 848cc displacement is what it is in order to make it legal in supersport racing. A 917cc bike would race with the 1200cc twins would it not?

    As a street bike, I can see some attraction to a punched up, modernized 916, but in all honesty, I’d buy a 1189 even if that were available. The most modern of the 916 era bike, the 998, is the same as far as aesthetics and has a very respectable and reasonably reliable motor. Plenty are available used for far less than a new one could be built. The 916 era machine was truly exceptional, but a company has to move forward and can’t just do one good thing then rest on it for two decades.

  12. BikePilot says:

    So now, was JP bluffing us or really less aware of Ducati’s impending management changes than A&R? Either way A&R’s on its game!

  13. Naw. JPC is legit.

  14. Thanks Jenson! Unfortunately I only found out last night. There is a famous phrase in corporate communications, which is “the PR guy is usually the last to know!”

  15. DucatiSF says:

    John – Does this mean you can tell us when the Ducati 796 (with ABS) will hit the USA?

    The dealers all seem to have a different answer, anywhere from next week to next year, but they are taking orders for them. The 796 is available today, thus I would think the ABS version would not be too far behind…

    Any info is appreciated!

  16. Hi there- the 796 ABS will hit our docks in New Jersey next month.
    Cheers,
    -JPC

  17. Shake-Up at Ducati North America – http://bit.ly/bApFds #motorcycle