Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

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 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.

Photos: A Future AMA Star in the Making

05/10/2012 @ 9:22 am, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Photos: A Future AMA Star in the Making EBR 1190RS boy 08 635x425

One of the banes of any photographers existence is when someone walks right into the middle of your shot. There seems to be two schools of thought on how to deal with such an incident, with some preferring to let nature take its course, and wait for the intruder to leave the frame, while others prefer the scream/temper-tantrum school of thought that may or may not include throwing a gear bag in a fit of rage.

Where a photographer falls on that spectrum seems to be a function of how much time he or she spent setting up the shot, how much Red Bull had been consumed that morning, and whether it was another photographer who decided to start working with reckless abandon for his fellow photojournalists. However, there are some incidents where when someone walks into your shot, it is a welcomed addition. Snapping photos of the American flag-clad Erik Buell Racing 1190RS, I had such a moment, which I think touches the inner-child of all of us.

Practically hugging the front of the bike before walking around to its side, this little boy probably spent three minutes checking out every detail of the EBR 1190RS with earnest curiosity. Included in his inspection of the bike were a few good throttle twists, accompanied by subtle engine noises, which were then topped off with a smartphone photo shoot by dad. I think it’s safe to say that a future motorcyclist was made that Sunday afternoon. Cool stuff.

Photos: A Future AMA Star in the Making EBR 1190RS boy 01 635x425

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Photos: A Future AMA Star in the Making EBR 1190RS boy 08 635x425

Photos: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Dr. Phil says:

    Kinda creepy taking pictures of other peoples children then posting them on your website. Just sayin.

  2. F1 says:

    Great picts
    ~ His undivided attention to that bike (like all kids that age don’t suffer from A.D.D.) is priceless, He’s a future biker for sure>> How many people could tell you the first time they were hooked on 2 wheels.. This kids moment if forever documented. I hope that you were able to forwards this to his parents e-mail for future framing.

  3. Yuri says:

    @Dr. Phil – are you retarded or trolling? There’s nothing creepy about this, it’s a hilarious/touching candid shot of a kid genuinely engrossed in a motorcycle. If you find this creepy, maybe there’s something wrong with YOU. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a picture of a child, especially one where it clearly shows him during what might end up being a formative moment.

  4. Dr. Ken says:

    Dr. Phil is an idiot. That is my professional opinion. Great shots, and the prose was on the money.

  5. Bill Robinson says:

    methinks dr. phil protesteth too much.

    as for the photos, i think it captures the essence of what many, if not all of us, find in motorcycling, regardless of what we ride. the tech and the racing and the specs are all interesting, but it’s all driven by a sheer visceral fascination both with the machinery and the sensation of being propelled through space on it.

    keep it up, beeler…the fact that you haven’t forgotten the intangibles about our sport makes A&R worth reading time and again.

  6. MikeD says:

    Flip-flops: Check
    Shorts: Check
    Shirt: Check
    Gixxer-ish looking Sport Bike: Check
    Future SQUID Material on the making 10-15 years from now: Check

    Stereotypes and B.S aside.
    Nice pic. I think ENVY took the best of me. At he’s age all the “fast moving objects of desire” i had available to touch and feel was a Chinese made Bicycle (THAT OVERWEIGHT P.O.S)…this most probably is like the stuff that dreams are made of to him.

    Dr. Phil: RELAX, this is a clean PG-13 MOTORCYCLE oriented website, not some pedophile ciber-shelter…

    Jensen, u did nothing wrong. People have to relax, live is too heptic as it’s already.

  7. MikeD says:

    Ramdon observation aside:

    Are those the same Pirelli tires that the 1199 comes equipped with from factory ?

  8. Michael L says:


    The Pirellis on the Panigale have a continuous tread in the shape of a lightning bolt, where these break the shape into two segments. Cheers! ;)

  9. MotoRandom says:

    Okay, so there is no way in hell I would have done that when I was a kid. My dad made it very clear that we were likely to lose a hand or worse if we touched someone else’s motorcycle. Now this was back in 70s when that sort of violence against youngins was marginally acceptable in civilised society. He ended up being a patch holder in a small, unknown outlaw club through most of my teens which certainly warped me permanently. Who were your role models?

    Here in the 21st century where most parents have their lawyers on speed dial because there is no way in hell THEIR children should ever be held accountable for their own actions, I get really nervous when I see a kid near my bike. The hands, they go exploring. The hot pipes ready to be found. Not to mention that many factory kickstands are a precarious balancing act on less than perfectly smooth and level pavement.
    I hate seeing kids get hurt, even more so when liability sharks will try to make it my fault.

    So yeah, this makes me nervous in a non-creepy Dr Phil kind of way.

  10. MikeD says:


    Ok, i see what you are saying here…very true and realistic scenario.

    Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and say his “parents” were “right behind him watching his every moves.”

  11. Skadamo says:

    I did not think this type of kid existed anymore. He has most likely burnt his hand on another bike already.

    He has many years of daydreaming ahead!

  12. Castrophony says:

    I love those pics; formative biking fantasies going on right there.

    Just imagine if it was an electric bike, his throttle twisting might’ve ended up in an impromptu trip!

  13. cds says:

    This must be the same kid that screws with my mirrors in the parking lot.

  14. Grant Madden says:

    Yep that was me thousands of years ago.Maybe a bit older but none the less fascinated by bikes and their riders.Sounds like dad was watching,it does say that dad took a photo with his phone.Dont mind kids looking or touching my bike but will always tell them to be carefull around the hot exhaust and engine.Great photos,I hope the kid will get a copy someday to remind him of his beginning in the world of motorcycles.A magic time.