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.

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc

05/29/2013 @ 2:55 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 635x423

Team Mugen has already shown off its new electric superbike, with the Japanese tuning firm looking to break the 110 mph barrier at the 2013 SES TT Zero event this year at the Isle of Man TT. To do that though, their rider John McGuinness will have to get past Mark Miller and Michael Rutter of the MotoCzysz team, which has won the past three years of the electric class at the TT.

While we still await the official debut of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc race bike, the Portland based company has given us a tease with a few photos on Twitter. This year’s bike takes some cues from the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc that Rutter took to the winner’s circle last year (Miller finished third); but as expected for 2013, gone are all the aerodynamic winglets that we saw on the ’12 machine.

Talking to Michael Czysz last year during our test ride of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc, Czysz said this year his goal was to build a bike that retained many of the aerodynamic characteristics and innovations his team created, but was also more visually palatable for the common motorbiker.

As such, the elongated seat remains, which allows the riders to scoot back and lay flatter on the E1pc during the long straights of the Isle of Man’s Mountain Course. We also imagine the air-routing system seen on the 2012 bike remains in some form as well, though it is tough to see from the current photos, since we don’t have a good front-end picture.

What we do know is that MotoCzysz is aiming not only for another race win, but also a 110 mph average lap speed. Helping achieve that goal is the reported 20% of extra on-board battery power, which if the public spec’s of the E1pc can be believed, would bring the bike close to 17 kWh of on-board stored energy.

If you factor in the efficiency of an electric drivetrain over a petrol-based one, this means the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc will be tackling the Mountain Course with the equivalent of about a gallon and a half of petrol. For reference, the internal combustion race bikes typically refuel after two laps on the Mountain Course, meaning MotoCzysz will have a tad less energy available on its single as the Superbike class rider does.

Another noticeable change is the absence of the MotoCzysz front-end with its oval sliders and single shock setup. Instead, MotoCzysz has gone a bit more conventional with a standard fork setup, though with a custom triple clamp, of the company’s own design (we hear MotoCzysz will be selling these soon).

More photos of the E1pc and news from The Rock as we get it. Until then, we wish the MotoCzysz crew all the best on the Isle of Man TT this year, and send good thoughts to Michael as he will unfortunately miss this year’s round as he continues his fight with cancer.

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc teaser 03

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc teaser 01

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc teaser 02

Source: MotoCzysz (Twitter)

Comment:

  1. monkeyfumi says:

    Ohlins forks?
    What happened to their own front end?

  2. They’re still sorta running their own front end with conventional forks. Don’t have all the details, but the triple clamp is highly adjustable and designed by MotoCzysz.

  3. alex says:

    Feels like they took a step back with the conventional design elements – not a step forward. Still though the increase of 3kwhr and other changes makes me wonder if we’ll see a 120 lap this year.

  4. I think a 120 mph lap is going to take at least a 20 kWh pack, and more importantly a 100 lbs reduction in weight. Remember, that’s Supersport lap time territory. The electrics have the horsepower, but are still close to 500 lbs. What does a race-ready 600cc bike weigh?

  5. I’m shocked that they gave up on their highly touted oval forks with single shock setup. I’m wondering if this is an admission that those forks aren’t as good as conventional forks, or if, for some reason, MotoCzysz decided that they badly needed to use the space under the tank where the single shock resided for something else (more batteries?)

    I’m also surprised by the lack of winglets. If they provided an advantage last year, why wouldn’t they also provide an advantage this year? The excuse that they want the bike to look more mainstream is garbage. In racing, the old adage is that if you find that you go faster with a Barbie lunchbox welded to your dashboard, you run with a Barbie lunchbox welded to your dashboard.

  6. paulus - Thailand says:

    Best wishes to Michael Czysz for his personal battle….
    Big respect to MotoCzysz for putting it out there and doing something to contribute to the sport/future of motorcycling.

  7. ttxgpfan says:

    The EPA rates 33.7kWh = 1 US gal. of gasoline. It is solid math, not made up crap. So how does 17kWh = 1.5 gals? And what does motor efficiency have to do with how much energy is on board? It does say something for the petrol bikes that they can make 2 laps on 6gals (maybe more). That makes the TT Zero bikes only 2X as efficient instead of the normal 3X-4X.

  8. ttxgpfan says:

    Darn it now I’m doing it! At a 1/2 a gallon for one lap vs 3 gals for the petrol bikes, that makes the TTZero 6X as efficient.

  9. The math isn’t hard on this one.

    33.7 kWh = 1 gallon of fuel, as you stated.

    Electric drivetrains are roughly 3x more efficient with energy use than ICE, so in terms of work done, 11.23 kWh of battery is on par with 1 gallon of petrol.

    11.23 / 17 = 1.513, so 17 kWh of battery is roughly equivalent to 1.5 gallons of gasoline on a motorcycle.

    Assuming the ICE bikes are empty when they stop for their pitstops, and have 4 gallon tanks, that means a typical ICE bike on the Mountain Course uses 2 gallons of fuel (one pitstop is normal on a four lap race, 2 pitstops on a 6 lapper).

  10. TheSwede says:

    Beeler’s got it right. Yay maths!

  11. Hmmm. The Tyco Suzuki GSXR1000 have 24l tanks = 6.34 US Gallons. So ~ 3 US gallons per lap.

    Yet again, aerodynamics are critical on a vehicle with limited energy and high average speeds. So it’s disappointing that nobody is really taking advantage of the relaxed bodywork rules compared with the ICE machines. I kind of understand both Mugen and Motoczysz wanting to not appear to extreme, and also to be suitable and not too strange for people like Rutter and McGuiness to ride flat out. But it’s still disappointing.

  12. protomech says:

    Just another anecdote on comparing gas and electric.

    I get around 126 Wh/mile at the wall to ride my Zero. Most riding done at 45-55 mph. Assume 90% charging efficiency, yields 110 Wh/mile at the battery.

    I would compare that to 60 mpg in a small 250cc supermoto-styled gas bike.

    1 gal / 60 miles = 33.7 kWh (thermal, LHV petrol) / 60 miles = 561 Wh (thermal) / mile

    Comparable electric is 110 Wh (electric)/mile at the battery. So about 5x as efficient.

    1 gal of gas will take a comparable bike about 60 miles, I need 6.6 kWh from the battery to do the same. 7.3 kWh from the wall, at $0.085/kWh (North AL pricing) = $0.62/gal equivalent.

    The comparable efficiencies of gas and electric will both vary based upon load and RPM. Gas engines will be more efficient under moderate to heavy load – eg race conditions. Efficiency may be more like 3-4x then for electric.

    With 17 kWh, onboard energy is roughly equivalent to 1.5 – 2.5 gallons of gasoline. Probably closer to 1.5 gallons at race pace.

  13. buellracerx says:

    Another interesting point – not all chemical energy in a battery is available for conversion to electric. Liquid fuels are good to the last drop. I wonder, do they (teams, mfg’s, etc.) advertise the actual, consumable energy on board or is it the total chemical energy? All this coming from an IC engines guy, so take it with a grain of salt.

  14. Added another photo, this time of the front-end. Very similar to the 2011 bike.

  15. Dewey says:

    Why the switch to a conventional telefork if the bike was a winner last year with the alternative front?
    Rules? At the request of the rider?

  16. The flex unit from the forks has been moved into the triple clamp. Same tech in theory, different way of applying it. One advantage with the conventional forks is being able to tap into the deep experience in setting up those suspension pieces.