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.

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.

Rumor: Rossi + Marlboro + Yamaha = Wishful Thinking

07/18/2012 @ 3:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Rumor: Rossi + Marlboro + Yamaha = Wishful Thinking Mugello Italian GP MotoGP Thursday Jules Cisek 041 635x423

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the thick of the MotoGP Silly Season, where the best rumors come to light the light of day. Some of the rumors are the tip of the iceberg of truth, while others are grounded in something more resembling idle speculation. Meanwhile, some silly rumors are just bona fide lies disguised as link bait and used to sell paper. It is all part of what we lovingly refer to as silly season, and this latest rumor definitely lives up to that nomenclature.

One of the latest musings to emerge from the Spanish press is the rumor that Valentino Rossi will be leaving Ducati Corse for a satellite Yamaha squad, which features a factory-spec bike sponsored by tobacco giant Marlboro. With the OEMs sticking to the four prototype bikes per manufacturer in MotoGP, and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha surely accounting for two of the Yamaha’s on the 2013 grid, the rumor would presumably mean a single-bike in the official Yamaha Racing factory team, and one in Rossi’s splinter faction.

With Yamaha already locking up Jorge Lorenzo for the next two seasons, there has been a sizable battle for the last remaining seat, which is currently occupied by Ben Spies. With the America struggling thus far in the season, both from factors within and outside of his control, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow have both been in the running to take over Spies’ ride. However having Spies in the factory team is important for Yamaha USA, and it is not like anyone questions Mr. Elbowz potential or talent on two wheels.

The conundrum has been an interesting one to watch, as Dovizioso is clearly a talent on the Yamaha M1, and Crutchlow continues to mature rapidly into the sport of GP racing. With each rider having a plausible reason why he should get the last spot on the factory team, the question marks about Valentino Rossi’s future throw a wrench into the whole situation. While Rossi is tipped heavily to stay put at Ducati Corse, there has been chatter all season about his possible return to Honda and Yamaha.

Veteran voices in the paddock dismiss these ideas for a multitude of reasons, yet the rumors persist — either out of actual happenings or wishful thinking. There has been talk of a factory Honda in Gresini, a satellite Yamaha with Coca-Cola footing the bill, and now a factory Yamaha with Marlboro’s wallet behind it.

While the conjecture regarding Yamaha’s factory team is convoluted at best, with a web of strings pulling on any decision being made there (Cal has been offered Nicky Hayden’s job at Ducati, Bradley Smith has been guaranteed a prototype bike at Tech 3, and the MSMA seems resolute on the four-bike rule), the most interesting piece of this story is the Marlboro backing. Banned from making its presence officially known in the MotoGP paddock (the highlight of which being the bar code logo on Ducati Corse’s machines), Marlboro has been the long-time backer of the Ducati Corse MotoGP effort, and is said to foot a very sizable portion of the team’s expenses.

Why the tobacco giant would jump ship after some many years of collaboration to support Rossi is an interesting one, if not an unthinkable proposition. While Spanish site motocuatro.com muses over the idea with some detail and observations from the Italian GP, the more likely explanation for appearance of Phillip Morris’s Maurizio Arrivabene (VP of Global Communications and Promotion) at the GP is for the influential sponsor to put some pressure on Dorna and other parties to help Ducati and Valentino become competitive in MotoGP.

Never say never, but this Yamaha/Marlboro rumor doesn’t seem to be too likely — if not unconscionable. Our money says Rossi on a Ducati until he retires from MotoGP racing, though expect some heavy concessions on project management from Ducati Corse.

Source: Motocuatro; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved


  1. johnc says:

    “With the OEMs sticking to the four prototype bikes per manufacturer in MotoGP, and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha surely accounting for two of the Yamaha’s on the 2013 grid, the rumor would presumably mean a single-bike in the official Yamaha Racing factory team, and one in Rossi’s splinter faction.”

    or, DORNA could pull one of there famous “we changed our minds” ruling changes, and allow factories to supply more than four prototypes. i mean, if DORNA can change their minds on the rookie rule to suit a certain spanish rookie that just signed with HRC, they can make a change in the rules to accommodate the biggest ticket draw in motogp.

  2. Tyler says:

    The 4-bike rule is simply RETARDED. If another team with another sponsor can foot the bill for a factory to put more real prototypes on the grid, Dorna should be all for it. There is no other argument to consider.

    Unless, of course, you want a grid of CRTs.

  3. Calisdad says:

    Only the GOAT could pull that off. His brand, his marketability is right now perhaps a challenge for Ducati. But I really think he wants to succeed on a Ducati.

    As dominating as VRYM could be he has lifelong relationships I think he would rather embrace.

    Adding to the circus would demish his stature.

  4. jae says:

    we race fans are lucky to have any involvement of Big-Tabacco, albeit in a neutered role of sponsorship. the money they poured into the sport in the past is sorely missed (look at Yamaha these past two years). i hope Marlboro can stay in MotoGP in a way that is mutually beneficial for both brands.

  5. Westward says:

    Now that Audi controls Ducati, I have a feeling their influence will be felt in MotoGP. VW+Audi+Marlboro+Tim +Ducati+Rossi could very well equal an amazing evolution in the championship financially and development-wise. If Ducati are not making their own chassis, I would like to see them give the Kalex try, or go back to the trellis. Capirossi nearly won with it, and Stoner did…

  6. BBQdog says:

    Marlboro ?? In most countries tobacco advertisement (on bikes, circuits) is forbidden.
    So what use should that have ?

  7. smiler says:

    Like him or not. There never seems to be a lack of rumours regarding Mr Rossi.
    As was mentioned Dorma seem to make it up as they go along and why restrict the number of factory bikes, if they have the sponsorship. Talk about trying their best to help kill the sport.

    Personally I cannot see whjy Vale and Hayden have not tested the steel trellis, perhaps they have? Until Stoner trashed it and demanded another type of frame for the 08 season. He has criticised the fact that two of the same build of bike could feel different because of the frame and it was not rigid enough. Served him well as he managed to 4th place in 08 and 09 then jumped ship.

    It had at least provided some good results with pilots who were not top of the field. Burgess does not know much about them but at least they provide the same type of feedback and if the rider can feel the difference then surely that must be half the battle.

    Just hope Rossi, Hayden and Ducati go the distance and bring better racing to the sport. There would be a great mixture of new talent, nearly new’s and old tarts fighting for the podium. CRT’s could then form there own series.

  8. Daniel says:

    I really hope/believe this not gonna happen. For me there is only one Marlboro Yamaha, the Rainey’s one. Still love my little TZR 125 R Marlboro Rainey Replica (4DL model, I don’t think Yamaha imported the model to north America but bing it and you will amazed). Rossi is not a man enough to compare with that legend. Leave him at Ducati whining about Barbera being faster than him on a Ducati Zero

  9. Johan says:

    There is not much talk about Suzuki anymore (On AR at least). Have they confirmed that they are NOT returning to MotoGP in 2013? I’m hoping for Hayden on a competitive Suzuki next year :)

  10. Craig says:

    Rumor: Rossi + Marlboro + Yamaha = Wishful Thinking http://t.co/qerLMQs5

  11. Anvil says:

    The steel trellis is probably not coming back, guys. Apparently, even with the power that the 800s were making, they were having a difficult time making each of them consistently rigid, so one bike could work very differently from the next. And as engine power continues to rise, it only gets harder.

    Also, Suzuki is tipped to return in 2014, probably not next year. There has even been some speculation that Michael Jordan and Kevin Schwantz might be involved. That sounds like pure rumor now, but it would be interesting to see. Even further speculation has raised the possibility of Hayden and Spies teaming up there. Imagine that.

  12. MikeD says:

    I found this one more credible:

    Factory specs Honda + Satellite Team = Rossi jumping ship before his current one takes him and his carreer down too with it ?

    If what that French Moto magazine said is to be believed…(^_^)

  13. Silly Season in full swing: Rossi on a Marlborough Yamaha?! http://t.co/L9b6HAC7 #MotoGP

  14. Westward says:

    @ Daniel

    Rossi is not a man enough to compare with that legend?

    Rossi has won the premiere class title on three different iterations of the MotoGP machine – 500cc, 990cc, and the 800cc. Not to mention he also did so with two different manufacturers. He is also one of three to accomplish said feat. He is also up there with Doohan winning the title 5 times in a row as well, no one has more victories in the premiere class either, not even Agostini, who by the way has 7 titles in a row. A number only matched by Rossi.

    The only pilot that even compares to Rossi is Agostini, and should the Doctor ever get 17 wins or more, or another title, then that may even put him over Ago…