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.

WSBK Homologation Requirement Numbers Halved

02/22/2014 @ 2:52 pm, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS

WSBK Homologation Requirement Numbers Halved World Superbike logo 635x425

The continuing worldwide decline in sports bike sales has forced the Superbike Commission to reduce the minimum number of motorcycles to be produced for homologation, to be allowed to take part in the World Superbike series.

As of now, manufacturers wishing to race a particular motorcycle must have sold 250 bikes by the end of their first year of racing in WSBK, and 1,000 bikes by the end of the second year, half the requirements previously on the books. But manufacturers will still have to have produced 125 bikes before they can even embark on the homologation procedure.

The sales numbers have been reduced in response to the continuing decline in sales of large and middleweight sports bikes around the world, under pressure from increasing speed restrictions and monitoring on public roads. Even Honda is reportedly having problems selling the required numbers of the CBR1000RR SP, despite the popularity of the bike.

The declining sports bike market is rumored to have persuaded Honda to shelve its V4 sports bike, which has already been postponed once. Smaller manufacturers have faced similar problems, with Aprilia struggling to sell the RSV4, despite the bike having won two world championships and consistently been a championship contender.

The decrease in minimum homologation numbers reverses the previous trend. The last change to homologation numbers was to increase it, to prevent manufacturers from producing so-called homologation specials, high price-tag bikes aimed purely at racing.

That move was said to have been aimed at reining in Ducati, in particular, which was producing ever more exotic versions of its superbike contender in very small quantities. As sports bike sales have stagnated, it is no longer commercially viable to produce such small-run specials, making it easier to reduce the minimum sales numbers.

The minimum quantity of 1,000 bikes is still thought to be too large for smaller, specialist builders to achieve. Italian builder Bimota has signed with the Francis Batta of Alstare to campaign the BMW-powered BB3 in World Superbikes, but even selling 1,000 bikes in two years could be beyond their reach.

Whether the Superbike Commission will find agreement on a solution for ‘micro-manufacturers’ like Bimota remains to be seen. This reduction was only passed by a majority vote, rather than unanimously. Which of the participants – teams, FIM, Dorna and the manufacturers – voted against the reduction is not known.

Below is the press release from the FIM announcing the new homologation numbers:

FIM Superbike World Championship

New homologation procedure

The FIM is pleased to announce that a new homologation procedure has been approved by a majority within the Superbike Commission.

It is a common intention to bring the homologation requirements in line with the current situation of the motorcycle industry and markets worldwide.

The major impact of the new regulation is related to the total required number of units to be produced:

  • The minimum number of units to start the homologation procedure will be 125.
  • At the end of the first year of participation, manufacturers will have to reach 250 units.
  • At the end of the second year of participation, manufacturers will have to reach 1000 units.

The Superbike Commission will follow closely the production plan of each manufacturer in order to control the minimum number of units produced as above and guarantee the fairness of competition.

The Superbike Commission are still considering further improvements to the new rules and discussions will be held in Phillip Island, Australia, during the first Round of the WSBK Championship (21-23 February).

A full description will be included inside the WSBK technical regulations 2014 that will be updated on the FIM website in the following days.

Source: FIM

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

Comment:

  1. Norm G. says:

    garcon, now that the performance is over, the fat lady requests a spot of tea and some welsh cakes brought to her dressing room. merci.

  2. TexusTim says:

    well I dont get all this because honda waited to release the price of the sp in america till just this week and the bike isnt avialable till aprill so they pissed around waiting like the old days to drive intrest in the bike and you cant make plans for a season like that. why havnent we heard how bad sport bike sales before this ?

  3. We’ve talked about it in a number of articles. Sport bike sales have been on the decline in Europe since before A&R was even started. This isn’t a new concept.

  4. TexusTim says:

    well all I have heard is all the new models in india and china and how well some manufactors have done this last year in america. like ducatti and bmw haveing record years..remember ? so I still dont get it, if its that bad to make honda drop the v4 superbike ? this will really slow sales, even with the new sp version the cbr 1000 is due for a real model change or relaese the v4 model, killing it off makes no sense at all.

  5. smiler says:

    Global recession
    Police with nothing else to do
    Biker Boyz making sports bikes unpopular and frowned upon.

    However it will help Bimots and that bunch who purchased all those Petronas bikes and repainted them could have a go.

    So WSBK will be binned. WSS continues and a new category of 250 four stoke racing starts?

  6. Norm G. says:

    wait, something’s wrong. a fixed number even if it’s reduced by half…? STILL BLOWS.

    a 1,000 units…? a number like that can only help a bigger entity (i’ll let you guess who/whom). one thing’s for sure it damn sure doesn’t help the little guy…?!?!

    your honour, THIS JURY’S BEEN TAMPERED WITH…!!! (Jon Voight voice)

  7. mattbnj says:

    Say it aint so Honda!

  8. Chad D, says:

    At this point, they should really just open up the series to any small manufacturers. We need EBR and Bimota in the fray. We need to find a way for racing to appeal to more people though, because I don’t understand all the football fans wearing their teams jersey who have never even played the game. At least with motorcycling, you can buy a bike and ride at any age, and without any organized team. The excitement is there, especially for someone who doesn’t know right off who the top guns are. Just what is the sport lacking right now?

  9. JS says:

    “…the continuing decline in sales of large and middleweight sports bikes around the world, under pressure from increasing speed restrictions and monitoring on public roads.”

    And the manufacturers have done little to nothing in fighting these ever increasing regulations and laws that aim to restrict motorcycle participation. See the ever more complicated licensing laws for the UK and europe and a scheme called Vision Zero which looks to ban motorcycling altogether to help achieve zero casualties on europes roads.

    Perhaps if the bike manufactures fought against the rules that look to restrict motorcycling take up and use sales of bikes would be better.

  10. Jake F. says:

    “The sales numbers have been reduced in response to the continuing decline in sales of large and middleweight sports bikes around the world, under pressure from increasing speed restrictions and monitoring on public roads.”

    That’s an interesting claim. Do you have any data to support a connection?

    Might it be instead that consumer preferences have changed to favor other types of bikes that are more comfortable, practical, and versatile? There are a lot of great bikes on the market and the power of many of today’s dual-sports matches that of super bikes from not so long ago. If you can only have one bike, which decreasing levels of disposable income in the middle class makes more likely as income inequality continues to increase, why would you make that bike a sport bike?

    I submit the article author’s recent acquisition of a BMW GS as a prime example.

  11. Jake, if I wanted to collate 10 years of European sales reports, yeah I do have the data. It’s not really a big secret though, European mags have been talking about it for quite some time.

    You can try and move correlation to causation any way you want, but market-level changes in taste take a long time. Meanwhile, serious changes in regulatory and insurance costs seem to punctuate the sales decline in their timeliness.