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.

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?

Aprilia Racing Making a Return to MotoGP for the 2016 Season — Just in Time for a Rule Change?

11/05/2013 @ 10:43 am, by David Emmett10 COMMENTS

Aprilia Racing Making a Return to MotoGP for the 2016 Season    Just in Time for a Rule Change? aleix espargaro motogp aspar jensen beeler 635x423

There is a lot of fascinating news coming out of this week’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan: the boom in smaller capacity motorcycles, an upgraded Fireblade, a massive push from MV Agusta, but the show is also making headlines which will affect motorcycle racing as well.

Today at the EICMA, during a presentation on Aprilia’s future plans, Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno announced that the Italian manufacturer is aiming to make a return to the MotoGP class as a factory entry in 2016.

The goal, Colaninno told his audience, was “to achieve the same success we have enjoyed in World Superbikes,” while recognizing that the factory had two years of hard work ahead of them. The aim is for Aprilia to race in MotoGP from 2016 with a pure prototype machine, according to GPone.com, with the objective of winning races.

The task facing Aprilia is sizable. With the defection of Aspar to Honda, Aprilia lost its most important technical partner in MotoGP. Having two strong riders in Aspar helped move development rapidly.

However, doubts over whether there was any internal support for Aprilia’s ambitious development program for their ART machine came to a head with the defection of Aprilia Racing head Gigi Dall’Igna to Ducati, where he is set to shake up the Ducati Corse department.

The loss of the Cardion AB team to Honda leaves only Paul Bird’s PBM team still using Aprilia machinery in MotoGP, a team which has much less experience in MotoGP, and much less budget for development.

Aprilia’s development program is still dependent on outside partners. In an interview with German language website Speedweek, Aprilia Racing’s new boss, Romano Albesiano said that the factory was looking for partners to help develop technology for their MotoGP bike.

At present, the ART bike – based on championship-winning Aprilia’s RSV4 World Superbike machine – uses metal valve springs and a conventional gearbox, instead of the pneumatic (or Desmodromic) valves and seamless gearboxes, which are now standard issue on the other factory prototypes.

Getting those technologies right on their own will be difficult and time-consuming, as the development of Yamaha’s seamless gearbox demonstrated. Even more difficult will be managing to compete with just the 20 liters of fuel allowed in 2014.

That proved to be the stumbling point for expanded participation next year, and will remain a massive obstacle to any new factory seeking to join the series.

Aprilia already has experience of just how difficult competing in MotoGP can be. Their first attempt lasted just three seasons, Aprilia entering with the RS3 Cube in 2002, only to leave again at the end of 2004.

The Cube was a fire breathing monster of a machine: the 990cc triple, built by Cosworth, made the most ferocious sound of all the MotoGP bikes, and the infamous photo of Colin Edwards riding a ball of flame moments before leaping off at the Sachsenring added to its mystique.

But it was never competitive – its riders said it was barely rideable – and Aprilia was forced to abandon the project once it became apparent it would be impossible to make it competitive.

There is good reason to be sceptical of this announcement, however. 2016 is an odd deadline for joining the series, given that the current rule framework has been agreed until 2017.

Dorna is known to be pushing hard to have the spec-ECU software made compulsory for all MotoGP entries, as well as wanting a rev limit to be imposed and the fuel limits raised. Carmelo Ezpeleta has spoken in the past about more radical changes coming for 2017 and onwards, so for Aprilia to develop a MotoGP machine for just a single year ahead of a major rule shake up seems less than cost effective.

The announcement by Colaninno should perhaps also be seen in the light of the fact that none of the major motorcycle marques operated by the Piaggio Group had any real new bikes to present. The lineup for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi remains unchanged for 2014, and there was little else to report, apart from officially presenting Marco Melandri as Aprilia’s new World Superbike rider.

A cynic might suggest that announcing Aprilia’s MotoGP plans – vague, surrounded by uncertainty, aiming for a date several years in the future – was a classic piece of marketing misdirection. The media is now buzzing with the news of a possible return to MotoGP by Aprilia in the future, rather than the lack of new bikes for the new year.

Time will tell whether Aprilia’s MotoGP plans are a pipe dream, or a concrete program aimed squarely at the future.

Source: GPone & SpeedweekPhoto: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Steve Zielenski says:

    Aprilia accepting the mantle in motorcycle racing vacated by years of incompetent design and execution by Ducati. Best of luck to them! D16RR10-13, FAIL. 1199F13 FAIL.

  2. Faust says:

    The overuse of the word fail on the Internet: FAIL. Ducati never referred to the GP bikes as the D16 only the street version and I don’t know what an 1199F is. Ducati is most certainly still in the game as evidenced by getting Gigi to come to Ducati Corse. No mantle has been laid down for Aprilia to pick up. If they can come up with a full prototype and succeed good for them, but Aprilia had already tried once and failed. It’s not easy to just hop into this level of racing and their success is by no means certain. If they can pull it off that would be great but by then Gigi will have Corse on track. Their stated goal is to win races, so that means shaming Ducati is not the goal, beating the Honda and Yamaha powerhouses is. Good luck with that. Ask Suzuki and Kawi how easy that is to do.

  3. TonyC says:

    Using “Fail” to describe the over-usage of the word “Fail” on the internet: EPIC FAIL!

  4. mxs says:

    I vote for a pipe dream ….

  5. paulus says:

    Smoke and mirrors.

  6. TexusTim says:

    I’m smoking my pipe dream in front of my mirror right now.it didnt fail either.. haha.
    “if only” that is must be how aprilla feels right now…”if only”

  7. Conrice says:

    Damage Limitation PR – nothing to see here folks.

  8. Looter says:

    Is it Aprilia Fool’s day already?

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “Aprilia Racing Making a Return to MotoGP for the 2016 Season — Just in Time for a Rule Change?”

    rule change or a second declaration of bankruptcy. it’s 50/50.

    re: “The announcement by Colaninno should perhaps also be seen in the light of the fact that none of the major motorcycle marques operated by the Piaggio Group had any real new bikes to present”

    YAAAHHHTZZZEEE…!!!

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “Aprilia already has experience of just how difficult competing in MotoGP can be. Their first attempt lasted just three seasons, Aprilia entering with the RS3 Cube in 2002, only to leave again at the end of 2004.”

    in their defense, that whole Cube event should be looked at as nothing more than aberration. that was under Beggio rule and ran parallel with their 1st announcement of receivership. a lot of you guys weren’t around and weren’t paying attention a decade ago.

    in most every other racing context, be it 125′s, 250′s, a wee bit of 500′s with the V-twin, WSBK pt1 (corser/jan whitveen), and then WSBK pt2 (biaggi/gigi), they showed up to kick ass and chew bubble gum, only to quickly ran out of bubble gum.

    well funded, they’re a wine drinking, espresso sipping version of HRC. notice my disclaimer of “well funded”. see what I did there…?