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 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.

Isle of Man TT: A Dangerous Addiction

12/27/2012 @ 11:23 am, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Isle of Man TT: A Dangerous Addiction ryan farquhar 800

Not exactly working at 100%, the Asphalt & Rubber news machine is still draining a bit of ‘nog that was left in the system from the holiday celebrations, and as such isn’t firing on all its cylinders yet. So, if your week is anything like ours, family is still lingering around the house and the daily routine isn’t quite back to normal at the office. Excuses, excuses, excuses…

With the the Christmas to New Years news lull well in affect, what is a motorcycle blog to do? Well, to get the ball rolling, we have a nearly hour-long Al Jazeera documentary on the Isle of Man TT. A good primer to the historic road race for those not familiar with it, we think there is enough meat here for die hard TT enthusiasts to enjoy it the video as well.

Be sure to checkout the cameo of A&R reader, and our favorite man from Lincolnshire, Shay who talks about marshaling at the TT in the video. Truly the lifeblood of the event, the volunteer marshaling squad is perhaps the biggest unsung hero of the TT fortnight. Not just a job for locals, foreigners can volunteer as well, so check out the Isle of Man TT Marshals Association website if marshalling is something that interests you.

Source: Al Jazeera Corespondent (YouTube); Photo: © 2012 Daniel Lo / Corner Speed Photo – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. I saw this a while back. While some my question Al Jazeera plus motorcycle racing as a viable combination, I assure them that this is a GOOD documentary and well worth the time. I really enjoyed it and thought the correspondent did a great service to the spectacle as well as wonderfully voicing his own appreciation for the sport.

  2. Mike says:

    Wonderful lil movie,loved it,thank you guys.

  3. Hisham Noh says:

    Proper documentary.. i think Fastest should change its title to “Valetino Rossi, The Fastest and Others”

  4. Isle of Man TT: A Dangerous Addiction – http://t.co/tmciO6y2 #motorcycle

  5. bemer2six says:

    That was just awesome. wish i could just ride the course one day. thanks for sharing!

  6. Gutterslob says:

    It’s a bit “dumbed down” for mass (ie: non motorcyclist) consumption, but still a very decent documentary.

    I had the opportunity to exchange a few comments with the creator (who’s a genuine top bloke) of this doc some time ago on Youtube. He mentioned that they had hours of usable footage, mainly interviews, that didn’t make the final cut Al-Jazeera decided to put out. Shame, because I wanted to see much more. Good stuff.

  7. RobertB says:

    Incredible, that was amazing. I would love to see Guy win it and hear the interview afterwards! These guys seem like they cheat death at every corner and keep pushing harder and harder. In my opinion this is what motorcycle racing is about, not for the money but love of the sport and event.

  8. TexusTim says:

    Thanks for putting that up for us, had not seen this video before.
    I thought it was very well done.

  9. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    If you’ve ever seen old footage of Sterling Moss, Phil Hill, on up to Nicky Lauda…that was the last of motor sports as utterly synonymous with a death defying stunt such as watching the Wallendas walking a tight rope with no net. ….until you watch this.

    Real roads racing is death defying.

    I must be honest, I don’t like it…but I must also say I’d like to see it. Because it’s more a death defying stunt of mesmerizing insanity than sport.

    I’d like to see them NOT die, defy death, and scare the bejesus out of me in the process. Unfortunately, these guys do die and that outweighs the spectacle…and it ruins everything when it happens. I only think what an awful waste and when will it ever end?

  10. “I only think what an awful waste and when will it ever end?”

    I feel the same about the thousands who die from slipping and falling to their death in the shower each year. When will this madness we call hygiene end already?!?! Alas, for them the allure of cleanliness outweighs the risk of death that looms over each soapy bubble. I started MESS (Men Ending Stupid Showers) as a means of halting the madness, but it hasn’t put much of a dent into the horror. The pastime carries on with its participants regaling all who would listen about their deeds, along with sayings such as “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. It’s enough to make a grown dalmatian whine.

    Sorry. Got a bit carried away there. ;-)

    Not to make light of the pain you feel when a rider bites it. It’s a hard moment. That said, I totally understand their attraction to the sport (it IS a sport) and the fact that some — Guy Martin comes to mind — wouldn’t even be there were it not for the risk. We all have to assess what we determine to be “acceptable risk”. The guys who ride the TT simply have a higher threshold than those of us who peak in the shower or walking down a flight of stairs.

    The “madness” assuredly will end at some time. When it happens, an important bit of freedom will have ended. And the Nanny State will have grown stronger.

  11. Scott Maciag says:

    Some people, are willing to put their lives at risk to live their dreams. To feel viscerally, alive.

    If they unfortunately die, (I almost did riding) so be it. But I still love riding to this day – even more so.

    Worry about your own life. If you can’t take the heat, stop walking into the kitchen.

  12. JoeD says:

    Modern times glorifies the sissyfication of the male. What was that grouping- metrosexuals. All done to please the female? Thankfully there are those of us who do not need permission from our mother/wife to persue and enjoy life. You know, that glorious one act play in which everbody dies. Now for some more coffee…

  13. alex says:

    there is several really good bits about the TT on youtube right now in addition to the ali jeez bit which is excellent.

    My favorite is the juno reactor remix

  14. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Trane, thousands of people tuned in to see if you’d return from the crapper…and you did. What bravery you displayed. The excitement overwhelmed. You sir, are a wild man.

    I get the TT and all that “don’t let death catch you not living” chatter bandied about.

    The dudes who created the race never envisioned it on today’s bikes.

    …and the racers will never object because they’re racers.

    But it is madness now. Realize there is an opposing viewpoint not because people don’t “get living” or are risk-haters, but because it simply is too dangerous.

    Ask yourself–would Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner, Hayden, ect… Ever run that race? Why? Because they’re cowards? They don’t know how to live? Hmmm.

  15. “You sir, are a wild man.”

    I know, but — shhhhh — please, don’t tell the kids. If they find out the truth, they’ll walk the edge. Maybe get an earring or something. Life would simply never be the same. I don’t think I could ever forgive myself.

    “The dudes who created the race never envisioned it on today’s bikes.”

    You’re right, and the stats for rider deaths on the Snaefell Mountain course are fairly damning. That said, there was already an alarming number of deaths in the 1950s. It has always been a dangerous race, regardless of the vintage of bike. On today’s bikes, there really is no longer room for error.

    ” But it is madness now. Realize there is an opposing viewpoint not because people don’t “get living” or are risk-haters, but because it simply is too dangerous.

    Ask yourself–would Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner, Hayden, ect… Ever run that race? Why? Because they’re cowards? They don’t know how to live? Hmmm.”

    I’m not sure why you’re challenging me. I am fully aware of opposing views and I have no problem with them. That said, I also have no problem with people wishing to do things that the other 99.999% consider to be sheer madness. The problem isn’t the madness, the problem is legislation that would block people’s right to autonomy and to participate in that madness should they so desire. That’s all.

    I think the TT is awesome, but I’d never participate. I’ve broken my body enough times over my lifetime, thanks, and have somehow managed to survive some pretty impressive stupidity. I’m very cognizant of having used up most of my 9 lives already and have started to wind down and plan for a more long-term habitation of Earth.

    Whatever Lorenzo, Rossi, etc. do are based on their assessment of acceptable risk. It is no different than I said earlier in the thread. They have decided where and how they want to “live” and it’s on track. McPint likes both closed courses and street circuits. Do you seriously suggest that it’s in everybody’s best interest to deny that outlet of living for those who prefer it?

    Freedom to choose is a precious thing. Don’t give that away lightly, as it’s a dangerous precedent to set.

  16. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Trane, well put. We agree to disagree.

    I don’t want to harsh anybody’s buzz, but I wouldn’t be the least bit sad to see real roads racing go the way of the dinosaurs. I don’t think it would be the slippery slope to the loss of all our freedoms.

  17. alex says:

    John McGuiness and all of the other racers who race the TT and other events like it are at the top of My heroes list – Rossi begins right after last place. Not because he’s not a tremendous talent but even he has said it’s too crazy for him to do. Which is ok.

    The idea of safe racing is an oxymoron created by morons to justify there own failings or more precisely the lack of actions in the face of danger.

    If you can’t understand that walking the fine line of insanity means more to some people than what you call life, thats ok too.

    400,000x more people died of heart disease in the US last year than died on the TT – do you think history will remember 99.999% of them?

    Joey Dunlop will live forever.

  18. Hey, Chaz. :)

    “I wouldn’t be the least bit sad to see real roads racing go the way of the dinosaurs. I don’t think it would be the slippery slope to the loss of all our freedoms.”

    Seeing those events go the way of the dodo because of a lack of interest by the public and/or riders is one thing; having those events disallowed because somebody deems them too dangerous is something else entirely. There’s a huge difference between disliking a pastime and disallowing it at all.

    Perhaps we should outlaw golf. “Over 50% of touring professionals have had to stop playing because of injuries.” (Cite: http://www.hughston.com/hha/a.golf.htm)

  19. Dave says:

    The agrument contradicts. On one hand you imply life itself is dangerous and then go on to list mundane things that could kill you. Your next point is that real roads racing is soooo dangerous (and it is) and that’s the key attribute that makes it better…because one can bask in the freedom of watching riders willing to accept the incredible risks involved.

    But the riders are not at issue. They are heroic and passionate as well as insanely talented. No debate there. My opinion is for the sake of the riders.

    The show will go one whether they live or die…is there a point upon which it doesn’t matter if they die, from a safety standpoint? I question that.–is there a point where something is simply too unsafe? Based on what I’ve seen I would say no. That point does not exist. That’s all I’m saying. That being the case, is the event to the detriment of these legendary riders who would never say “no” to any challenge.

    I’m not in any position to shut anything down, not a metrosexual, not anti risk, anti freedom…but jezus, why put up hay bales, why bother? why wear leathers when you race it? why wear a helmet?

    Can something be unlimitedly unsafe? I don’t have a position, except to say, “ya, apparently so.”

  20. “Your next point is that real roads racing is soooo dangerous (and it is) and that’s the key attribute that makes it better…”

    Dave, don’t put words in my mouth. I did not say that it was better. The appeal of street circuits is entirely subjective for both spectators and riders. Whether I think something is good or better is, frankly, not germane to the conversation of whether a pastime should be disallowed due to inordinate risk.

    Life is, indeed, dangerous and death is the only entry in the logbook that is a 100% given. Understand that: It’s not a matter of if, it’s is a matter of when and how. I do not defend the TT or other extreme pastimes because they are better, but because I dislike anyone having dominion over how others can live life.

    “is there a point where something is simply too unsafe? Based on what I’ve seen I would say no. That point does not exist.”

    Maybe not in the context of an event or pastime itself, but individuals have their own thresholds at which time they’ll stop participating. Of course, some individuals will participate no matter what the danger.

    “but jezus, why put up hay bales, why bother? why wear leathers when you race it? why wear a helmet?”

    Maybe because these mitigate risk to a degree that makes the pastime more palatable to greater numbers. That should be obvious. For the people who want to ride helmetless in flip-flops, there are places where they can do it. Not my cuppa. ATGATT FTW.

    From an anthropological perspective, this whole question of saving the poor lads from themselves is an interesting one. There are people who find deep and meaningful inspiration in those who dig deep and find the courage to carry out bold endeavors. Risk assessment and mitigation are vital tools to hone in life. I worry a lot about our current cultural model that seemingly prefers to decide for us what is best rather than focus on ensuring we have the tools — and the right — to make those decisions for ourselves.

    Note: The conversation is about the TT, but the principles apply directly to all areas of life, from the pastime of driving at all (the WHO listed 1.26 million traffic-related deaths worldwide in the year 2000), our ability to seek out healthcare practitioners (e.g., the AMA has spent millions to discredit and destroy chiropractic), dietary supplementation and even food. In CA, “No to Prop 37″ companies spent $45 million to ensure Californians did not get GMO labeling on foods. In most areas, one cannot buy unpasteurized products such as milk or honey based on an irrational fear of bacteria. Near where I grew up, there are recreational trails that allow snowmobiles in winter and ATVs in summer, but NOT motorcycles.

    Freedom to choose _is_ being diminished. Make no mistake about it.

  21. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I simply disagree. Nearly all other sanctioning bodies of organized motorsport racing around the world agree with my point of view.

    A rider or two dying nearly every year at that event is simply unacceptable. Can you imagine if those odd applied to every stop on the MotoGP or world super bike calendar?…Laguna Seca and the legendary corkscrew where a few riders die each year… Huh?

    …best to say, ‘ya it is too dangerous but I love it anyway.’ because making ragged points about freedom and risking life to feel alive and all the other tangents gets nowhere.

    Too dangerous. Love it anyway. Good enough. Done