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.

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike

12/19/2013 @ 6:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally studio 06 635x423

Yamaha Racing has officially debuted its 2014 Rally race team, which is being spearheaded by Cyril Despres, the five-time Dakar Rally winner who was formerly of KTM fame. Despres hopes to defend his latest Dakar Rally win, despite swapping orange for blue, and today is our first formal viewing of the 2014 Yamaha YZ450F Rally bike with his livery.

This year’s Dakar Rally goes through Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile and will be a longer and tougher route than in past years. With KTM debuting a now purpose-built racing machine, the KTM 450 Rally, and HRC also fielding its refined Honda CRF450 Rally, Yamaha and Despres will have their work cutout for them in defending the Frenchman’s number one plate.

Team Blue has prepared itself though, taking many inputs from Despres and incorporating them into the 2014 bike’s design. We won’t know how it will go at the Dakar Rally course until January 5th, but from the pictures we have now, it sure looks the business.

“Right now we are in the final phase of preparations before leaving for South America and its pretty busy around here!” said Despres. “I have an intensive training routine that I have established with my coach and it takes up a large chunk of the day. Then there’s interviews to do, last minute details to sort out with the team, a million little details to attend to, not least of which is analyzing the 2014 route. Obviously we only get the road book the day before we race a stage so the info we have is limited.”

“It is clear is that the 2014 edition is going to be a particularly tough one. Marathon stages means no outside mechanical assistance at the bivouac and so on those days you try and protect the bike as much as possible. Bike only routes means that the organizers can take you places where the cars can’t go, so you know the riding will be more technical and usually more physically demanding.”

“The extra 1000km speak for themselves! And of course this year the bikes will go into Bolivia for the first time. On some of the other stages we have a pretty good idea of what to expect but for Bolivian stages we have absolutely no idea and even if we wanted to go and have a look we couldn’t because all reconnaissance is banned. What we do know is that they will be very demanding.”

“For a start some of it’ll be raced at 4000m and at those altitudes the air’s pretty thin. Then Bolivia is both ‘marathon’ and ‘bike only’, so doubly complicated. But demanding is fine by me. What attracted me to rally-raid in the first place is the challenge and the harder it is the happier I am.”

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally studio 02 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally studio 03 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally studio 05 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally studio 12 635x952

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally still 02 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally still 03 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally action 04 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally action 05 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally action 07 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally action 08 635x423

Photos: Cyril Despres & His Yamaha YZ450F Rally Race Bike Cyril Despres Yamaha YZ450F Rally action 09 635x423

Source: Yamaha Racing

Comment:

  1. paulus says:

    Best of luck Cyril, 2014… it’s a tough sport!
    Really tests the riders and equipment… off-road is awesome.

  2. Matt says:

    I’m curious if RedBull only allows a certain amount of bill curvature on the hats of their sponsored athletes? It might be a contractual thing?

  3. Kaw4Life says:

    Few years back, he got off course then got stuck in mud. Another rider got stuck right next to him, that rider helped the Frenchman out, hit favor was not returned. The guy stood there amazed as the French ride rode off.

    Later on race direction (mostly french) waved the time penalty of the French rider but not the Spanish rider fighting for the lead.

    My point …..

    I was never a big fan of Yamaha but now I am even less of one.

  4. Joe says:

    As a KTM fan, it’s a sad sight seeing Cyril on a blue bike.

  5. DR350 says:

    @ Kaw4Life:

    Sorry, but what you say is completely false: The way they edited the images together and broadcast them didn’t reflected how it really happened. Read more about it and you’ll see for yourself. No offense was taken from the Portuguese rider (not Spanish), as other riders had arrived and were helping him when Despres took off. And Paulo Goncalves (the Potuguese rider) wasn’t fighting for the lead (was running 10th overall at that time if I remember), but Despres was fighting for the lead. And Despres (as other riders) was compensated not for being stuck in the mud, but because the organisers had to change the route to avoid this mud bath that wasn’t indicated in the road book (due to heavy rain the night before), and that could have caused the following competitors a real nightmare. They were just following the rules…

  6. Kaw4Life says:

    @DR350

    Was refering to Coma being docked time. Don’t remember the details, just my impression from the time.

  7. 6330 says:

    @ DR350 You are correct.
    The stage was a washout.

    Go Cyril!

  8. DR350 says:

    @Kaw4Life

    You are right, Coma was leading overall when it happened. I’m not a fan of any rider or brand in particular, I just think this all “mudgate” was blown out a proportion, and Despres was wrongfully accused. The false story made the big title in the media, but as usual, when the truth came out, nobody talked about it… Shame on the person who did the video editing. ; )

    Maybe the compensation time given to Despres (and the other riders) was a bit unfair to Coma, but those are the rules…. And if I remember correctly, Coma did not played fair the year before, when he hid and illegally changed a tire during a stage… So fair is fair… Haha!!

    Anyway, the next Dakar will be exceptional I believe. Honda is 2013 rally world champion with a new machine and excellent riders, KTM is as strong as ever (R.I.P Caselli), and Yamaha has one of the very best rally rider today. If only they can provide him with a reliable machine… (2 nights with no assistance this year).

    Cheers!

  9. yamaha fan says:

    Is the cylinder head reversed?

  10. 6330 says:

    Sure is.
    2013 design.