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.

Honda RCV1000R — HRC’s “Open Class” Racer for MotoGP

11/07/2013 @ 8:01 am, by Jensen Beeler27 COMMENTS

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 03 635x423

On Monday, the new Honda RCV1000R production racer from HRC will take to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain for its first public testing session. HRC couldn’t wait to show off its machine though, and held a press conference today at the Valencian GP for the MotoGP press pool.

Based closely off the Honda RC213V that Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl, and Alvaro Bautista are racing with this season, the Honda RCV1000R will fit under the “Open Class” set of rules, and be campaigned by Nicky Hayden, Scott Redding, and Karel Abraham, with further riders expected to be added to that list.

Using a 999.5cc 90° V4 engine, just like the RC213V, the RCV1000R features the same firing order as the factory bike, as well as the same chassis geometry.

However, there are some crucial differences in technical specification, as the Honda RCV1000R uses conventional steel valve springs, instead of the Honda RC213V’s pneumatic valve springs; and a conventional gearbox, instead of the factory bike’s seamless gearbox design. Both these technologies were deemed to be too costly to offer on the Open Class machine, says Honda.

In the hands of Casey Stoner, and on the same Bridgestone tires, the RCV1000R was 0.3 seconds slower than the factory bike, but that gap was cut in half once HRC fitted the softer-spec tires destined for the Open Class machines next year.

Per the Open Class rules, the 2014 Honda RCV1000R will also use the spec-ECU hardware and software from by Magneti Marelli, but will get to use an extra four liters of fuel compare to the factory machines.

“This project is very important to Honda,” said Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice President of the Honda Racing Corporation. “The gap between the factory bikes and the current CRT machines [which use engines from street superbikes] was a little too big, so this is the way we like to help private teams – this is the main concept. The target was to produce a reasonably competitive machine for a reasonable price.”

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 01 635x423

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 02 635x423

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 04 635x423

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 05 635x423

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 06 635x423

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 07 635x371

Honda RCV1000R    HRCs Open Class Racer for MotoGP 2014 Honda RCV1000R produciton racer motogp Scott Jones 08 635x423

Source: HRC; Photos: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. A pool of yellow fluid just formed beneath every Aprilia RSV4… mommy! :)

  2. vman2957 says:

    Go Hayden!

  3. Norm G. says:

    re: “This project is very important to Honda,” said Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice President of the Honda Racing Corporation”

    exactly. WSBK…? not so much.

  4. Bob says:

    Actually there allowed 4 Extra Litres of fuel

  5. Ken C. says:

    I’m excited to see what Nicky Hayden and Scott Redding can do on the bike. Nothing against Karel Abraham, but I think he’s only in the classification because his daddy bought him a spot.

    Anyway, hope they can truly be competitive.

  6. Frenchie says:

    Looks like more and more David Emmett on A&R (picture 5) :)

  7. Tony M says:

    @Aaron B. Brown considering this bike only costs 84 times more then an rsv4 i dont think its a comparison. The puddle is below Aprilias ART machine if anything…..

  8. Mr.X says:

    For sale, not lease. Done, how do I order?
    Could you imagine!

  9. PD says:

    I guess Hayden, et al., won’t need to worry about that exposed traction control wire unless the RCV1000R is so good that it punts them in front of Marquez…

  10. TwoWheelLoo says:

    I’m going to laugh my ass off if this backfires on HRC and Hayden returns to win races on this thing, given that it’s 0.15 seconds off the pace of a factory RC. Who knows? I’d rather they spend more time on the WSBK effort but when you have lease prices at a million euros with a potential of 1.5 million i guess your thoughts shift when that’s multiplied by three… Oh well, lets hope they spend that on the CBR V4 budget….

  11. jkedsnake says:

    Rumor around Laguna SBK weekend was that in fact Honda is working on a V4 street bike to be the next RC45 of its time….

    I would not doubt Honda is dominating both classes in the near future.

  12. It’s been known for a lot longer than that, and not just a rumor. Honda’s CEO confirmed it.

  13. Will says:

    Hayden returning to winning races? He hasn’t won since ’06. Last American to win was Spies. No way in hell Nicky’s winning on this thing, all the Spanish will ensure that.

  14. MikeG81 says:

    I, for one, welcome our RVF1000 overlords in WSBK. Hopefully the rest of us can afford to buy one.

    Back on topic, it’d be great if someone can win on this bike. The problem being that while this bike was only .3 off the pace with Stoner on board, it’s not like the factories are going to stand still in developing the works bikes. .3 today, 1 second plus come Monday-after-Valencia or the spring tests.

  15. Brian says:

    This should make the race for fifth place pretty compelling

  16. crshnbrn says:

    @Brian

    Maybe even 4th place in the right hands. I don’t see it finishing on the podium short of an alien abduction.

  17. Brian says:

    Ducati is going to look really bad getting beat every weekend by a rental bike.

  18. You guys know I’m just messing with you right, the Aprilia RSV4 is my favorite bike.

    Of course it will be rendered obsolete and a total ripoff when Honda comes out with a street version of this baby next year with 210 hp and 90 ft/lbs of torque and the same suspension parts as the Italian for $14,000.

    That’s right go ahead and cry now. :)

  19. Anvil says:

    Forget about this bike winning races. It ain’t gonna happen.

    It was .17 off the 213V with the soft rear tire for how many laps? Hmm, they don’t say that.

    Notice it wasn’t compared to the 214V, which will be at least a couple of tenths faster.

    It also won’t carry 24 liters of fuel. Nakamoto said so long ago.

    And Honda isn’t allowing any modifications to the bikes, anyway.

    Last, it’s not a true purchase deal. The teams have to give the bikes back after the two year agreement is up.

    Honda isn’t going to sell a bike that can win against their gazillion dollar prototypes for a fraction of the cost.

    Aspar doesn’t even believe Honda’s PR. They expect the bike to be closer to .7 seconds a lap slower than the Honda prototypes.

  20. paulus says:

    Wasn’t the original published spec different to this? I seem to recall Honda trying to use its own component sub-brands.

  21. PD says:

    @Anvil:

    - Per David Emmett, customer teams will be able to keep the RCV1000R after completion of the two-year contract.

    - The bikes will probably not carry 24 liters of fuel because they will likely NOT NEED TO. I.e., the bikes will be able to run races at full-power with fuel LEFT OVER. Since, ideally, you want the tank to be empty right at the end of the race, the bikes will not need to carry the full 24 liters since it would be a disadvantage to carry fuel that is not going to be used. But the bike certainly is capable of carrying 24 liters, and are allowed by the regulations to do so.

    This WILL be an advantage for the non-factory bikes as the factory bikes will be limiting power all over the place trying to make it to ends of races on only 20 liters.

    - Honda isn’t allowing any modifications to the ENGINE. Presumably, if teams want to ditch the Nissin brakes for some Brembos, they will do so.

    - Borsoi, Aspar’s second-in-command, thinks the difference is closer to .7 seconds. Aspar himself said no such thing, though he may agree with Borsoi.

    If Stoner went .3 sec slower on the 1000R vs the 213V, then he did. Perhaps on a different outing, he’ll get closer; perhaps he’ll be further off. That difference may increase or decrease for different riders. It may change from one day to another for a given rider. Point is, if Stoner did it on a given day, he did it. Doesn’t matter what Borsoi or you think.

    Whatever the case, it is impressive that Stoner, at least on that particular test day, went only .3 sec slower on the 1000R than he did on the 213V, given that he had spent much more time on the 213V and only got on the 1000R toward the very end of the test, and given that he had no experience with the Dorna-spec Marelli software.

  22. Dc4go says:

    @ Aaron B Brown… considering this bike hasn’t hit the track with it’s regular rider and it’s 100x more money that an RSV4 your comment is pretty pointless. Casey would be just as fast riding a scooter than most CRT riders cause the guy is a freak and just rides the wheels off anything.

  23. Anvil says:

    @PD

    Yes, you’re correct about the purchase terms. The teams can only keep the bikes after the two year contract is up. I did indeed read that wrong.

    “The bike is not a pure purchase proposition either: the teams paying the money will only get to keep the bikes at the end of the two-year contract, after they become effectively obsolete. Before that time, all engine maintenance will still be done by HRC, and Honda will not allow the team to make modifications to the engine.”

    That last line is the most important one. No modifications to the engine. So that means Honda will not allow any team to try to improve its performance until it’s obsolete. What does that tell you? Honda isn’t really selling this bike, they’re renting it with strings attached until it’s not competitively useful anymore. (It might be cool to see some team try to hot-rod one of these things in 2016 but they’ll never get any parts from Honda for it).

    The bike is expected to be 15-20 hp down compared to the true prototypes. I seriously doubt that changing to Brembo brakes is going to make up the difference, since, effectively, they can’t do anything to increase power. That doesn’t leave much for the teams to try except maybe brakes and other third party components. I doubt any team will try to develop a new chassis. It would be too expensive.

    I never said the bike needed 24 liters fuel. There’s just this idea that because it’s allowed to carry 24 liters it will and that will somehow give it a significant advantage. It won’t need the extra fuel to be as fast as Honda wants it to be, which is faster than the other open bikes, but slower than the Honda RCVs. And it sounds like if a team wanted to experiment with more fuel capacity than the bike comes with, they won’t be permitted to.

    Borsoi is the Aspar team manager. So I think he’s pretty qualified to offer an opinion on the bikes his own team just bought. His words, although they could be mine, too: “Why would a satellite team spend 3 million euros, if the gap is only 0.3 seconds with a bike which costs just 1 million?”

    Finally, I’m not disputing that the bike is pretty impressive. It’s pretty damn nice. Just don’t expect it to be winning any races unless something really weird happens.

  24. paulus says:

    Doesn’t this just leave Motocyclings highest level race as a fixed event?
    4 bikes / 2 teams competing for first place…. sad news for 2014

  25. mak lampir says:

    so , are this bike will produce for road bike ?

  26. Norm G. says:

    re: “Doesn’t this just leave Motocyclings highest level race as a fixed event?”

    HELLLOOO… MCFLY…!?!? (norm G. rapps knuckles atop paul’s noggin’)

  27. Norm G. says:

    re: “I would not doubt Honda is dominating both classes in the near future.”

    yup, Big Red’s got MotoGP and Moto2 on lock. good for them.