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.

Officially Official: 2012 Honda CBR1000RR / Fireblade

09/24/2011 @ 1:42 am, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Officially Official: 2012 Honda CBR1000RR / Fireblade 2012 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade USA 635x411

Breaking cover over a month ago, the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR is now officially official according to the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. Confirming the fears of some Fireblade enthusiasts, the new Honda CBR1000RR gets only some basic tweaks for 2012, namely revised suspension (including Big Piston Forks), new 12-spoke wheel design, and smoother fuel-injection mapping. This news puts to rest claims that the 2012 Honda Fireblade would be receiving ride-by-wire throttle control for the next model year, despite the fact that World Superbike has changed its rules to allow the Castrol Honda team to use the technology starting at Imola (which is already showing some positive results for the struggling squad).

Likely still grappling to get to its feet after the devastating Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami back in March, Honda, like the rest of the motorcycle industry, is also still recovering from the recent recession as well. With the global economy on the verge of double-dipping on its economic trouble, Honda has clearly held-off on bringing a new superbike to its 2012 line-up. As such, refinements to the company’s popular sport bike are the name of the game for the next model year. Instead of re-hasing the press release into prose, here’s a bullet-pointed list of the changes made to the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR/Fireblade.

New for the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR/Fireblade:

  • Unit Pro-Link® rear suspension features a new, patented Balance-Free Rear Shock from Showa that incorporates a unique double-tube design featuring a damper case plus an internal cylinder for more responsive damping and a smoother, better-controlled damping action.
  • The new 43mm fork incorporates Showa’s latest Big Piston Fork technology with a larger damping volume to effectively reduce the hydraulic pressure generated as the fork legs compress and extend. The result is more precise action during the initial stroke and smoother damping action, for improved handling, enhanced front-end feedback and a more solid feel during hard braking.
  • New 12-spoke cast aluminum wheels provide more consistent rigidity. Together with the new suspension, these wheels offer improved feedback for the rider.
  • New layered fairing design creates a large pocket of calm air around the rider to improve comfort while also helping draw air through the cooling system. An integrated chin spoiler in the nose also reduces aerodynamic lift to improve handling.
  • Multi-function LCD instruments communicate all important information plus the option of four readout modes for tachometer display, lap timer, five-level shift indicator, gear position indicator and more.
  • New revised fuel injection settings give the CBR1000RR a more linear response, particularly at smaller throttle openings.
  • Revisions to the optional electronic Combined ABS create a new bias toward sporting/track riding conditions during rear brake application.
  • New Red and Pearl White/Blue/Red colors join Black. (C-ABS model available in Red only.)

Debuted simultaneously at  the Le Mans 24 hours round of the Endurance World Championship in France, and at World Superbike’s stop at Imola, Italy this weekend, the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR will retail for $13,800 (base), $14,800 (ABS). The US market will finally get the Honda red/white/blue racing livery, while the ABS model will come only in Honda Red.

2012 Honda CBR1000RR (European Photos):

Source: American Honda & (Photos)


  1. John Magnum says:

    Nothing to see here people….move along.
    tsunami, all due respect to our Japanese friends but what a let down for 2012.
    I’m sure I’m not the only one hangin for a new machine next year.
    Suzuki next, a let down from them will come at no surprise with this trend.
    For those with an 08-11 Blade I wonder if you can buy the front cowl to change that smashed with a frying pan look?

  2. Bike says:

    The engine is still bad

  3. Minibull says:

    And yet the Fireblade is still a top bike according to the UK bike mag testers…
    Better road engine, easier to ride fast on…thats what they say heh.

    @Bike: New ZX-10 is very gutless on the road…what makes a good engine in your opinion? What do you use your road bike for?

  4. Damo says:


    How the hell is the engine bad? Because it doesn’t push 200hp? Even though it pulled better lap times on some circuits than the BMW, despite giving up about 15 HP?

    You can hate on Japanese bikes all you want, but Honda never makes a bad engine. They are highest reliability small engine manufacturer in the world (Consumer Reports, JD Power, etc.).

    Funny the arguably unchanged 2009 Fireblade came in second in just about every liter bike shoot out last year, beating everything but the S1000RR.

    Quit the number spreadsheet wanking and get your head out of the sand.

  5. RSVDan says:

    So, wait…

    WSBK changed the rules to allow Honda to run fly by wire, something not on the production bike, nor available for purchase as a kit, but everyone got all up in arms when Aprilia began using gear driven cams? Something the engine was designed to use and could be purchased by anyone with the cash to do so?

    I guess now that MotoGP owns WSBK for all intents and purposes, we will begin to see Superbike turned into the Honda cup as well.

  6. Tom says:

    This is why once you peel back the veil, you see that racing is not to improve the breed but rather to maintain the status quo. Japanese sportbikes aren’t really the best in the world, they are merely the best of the current racing rules.

  7. G.Irish says:

    That doesn’t make any sense. The BMW, Aprilia, and Yamaha all already have fly-by-wire throttles from the factory. The forthcoming 1199 probably will too. It is much more likely that WSBK is changing the rules to match what is becoming the standard for 1000cc supersport bikes.

    To say they’re changing the rules to benefit Honda, who only has 2 bikes on the grid, is quite a stretch. When was the last time WSBK changed the rules to benefit Honda anyway?

  8. greg says:

    big improvement from the original which was easily the ugliest superbike ever produced :) and speaking of – when are honda going to sack all the clowns in their styling dept – think vfr1200, crossrunner, the current cb1000 naked, the new cb250 etc etc – all appalling to look at. the problem started with the first motogp 800 bike when they started the ridiculous trend to minimilist bodywork – yeh that worked! look at the progression back to proper fairings on the current bike. boy honda confuse me – by far the best engineering and build quality but oh so dumb in most other areas ;)

  9. Damo says:


    Nope I am pretty sure Japanese superbikes are still good. Their street bikes are better though.

  10. MikeD says:

    @RSVDan: +1 (^_^).

  11. Maruis 36 says:

    Jees but some of you boys can talk crap, first off all, whom of you own a CBR1000? let alone took it out on a race track? since when is MotoGP and/or WSBK rules made to suit a brand? I am a Big Gixxer Fan and became a strong Honda Follower and personally see nothing wrong with the 2012 CBR Looks. I guess we all have different taste, but Bikes is much more than just appeal! I had opportunity to ride the Beamer S1000RR on track and what a great bike, but I still prefer the CBR! Probably most of you can’t even get 50% out of your bike of which it is capable of doing! I have great respect for all manufacturers as they all push hard to lead and as of late there is no bad bikes on the roads. All about what you can do with it!!!

  12. MikeD says:

    I have been known to race VR in a DEsmo Uni-Cycle and get a lap ahead of him while balancing 2 elephants, while doing the trapece girl and with a clown in tow…

    And if u think that is nothing , i had this gentleman here the other day that surpassed me while carrying a LAMA…

    CAN U PICTURE ?! A FRICKING LAMA, MAN ! Now that’s real skills…go ahead…try to raise the ante…lol.

    We are a pretty classy bunch around here…u think we whine ? HAAA, u haven’t seen a thing yet…try the R1 thread.

  13. Maruis 36 says:

    @ MikeD, Good one!

    It’s even worse when we start talking Politics, but lets keep to bike issues here.

    One thing I am glad about though is that Honda is upgrading in the suspension area. I had to spend a bit to re-valve the rear shock and upgrade to big piston front internals to get the bike to handle properly in the corners, specially at exiting. Prior to the upgrade almost had a huge high side, and still don’t know how I managed to stay on the bike, but by the next corner all was forgotten and had to concentrate not to be passed by a BMW. BMW has got some advantages where they sell the S1000RR with optional version which include, ant-wheely, traction control, quick shifter, arrows exhaust, etc…, but at a huge price tag. As I said, I had it for few laps and one of the easiest bikes to turn in corner entry I have ever ridden. BMW just still bit sloppy getting it to get back up to speed exiting the corner as quickly as the Honda.

    For the road runners, I can also say, you are going to have to try really, really hard to beat the CBR from pull away to top speed, even in running start from 3rd or 4th gear. My R1 buddy still a bit p…s..ed off after a drag race because the Honda is just that quick getting up to speed!

    Can say though that the BMW was on my heals all the time up to 6th gear, and at top end started creeping past me!

  14. Maruis 36 says:

    @ Tom

    So the Japanese bikes only seems good because of the rules?!

    Can you tell me which brand is leading this year in WSBK? Go Checa Go!!!, You deserve it!!

    I can honestly not think the organisers is going to change rules to suit a certain brand! Unless huge sums of money is passing hands under the table, which is also somewhat far-fetched!

    Another thing, I have quit a few friends in the race club owning Aprilia’s and Duke’s, but I can’t remember last when any of the came within the top three of our regional bike extreme racing class. That is where I think we can come somewhat close to the idea of what our bikes really can do, and so funny that there are no special rules there, the same for all, same fuel, any mods allowed except for not having the bore size made bigger. Still the Japanese Bikes at the front except BMW of-course, starting to make us work very hard for the front spot! They had great success lately and maybe one day rather sooner than later I hope Honda bring some more power to the engine department as well!

  15. MikeD says:

    @Maruis 36:

    Hey, good to hear about your track xploits…(i’ll take it that ur a CBR1000RR owner ?)

  16. Maruis 36 says:

    @ MikeD

    Just pity it’s such an expensive sport!…, and yes I have an 09′ Blade. Also still have my Suzuki K6 Track Bike, not sure if I want to part with it yet, it has still got a lot of kick! Maybe bring it back to road condition.

  17. KYLE says:

    So…..Honda gets ride by wire and now they have had two mechanical DNFs………one crash and a win. I dont think WSBK gave them an advantage at all..