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.

Up-Close with the Motus MST at Alice’s Restaurant

07/26/2011 @ 4:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Up Close with the Motus MST at Alices Restaurant Motus MST prototype alice 1 635x425

Stopping on the way back from the US GP at Laguna Seca this weekend, the Asphalt & Rubber crew stopped by Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline to check-out the Motus MST & MST-R Prototypes. Making a cross-country trek on the bikes, Lee Conn and Brian Case have been gathering some development data while meeting with local dealers and potential customers. Hoping to produce somewhere between 200-300 motorcycle next year, Motus is looking for 25 or so quality dealers for its initial launch.

The bikes are clearly test mules, both because of their unpolished state that has data acquisition boxes clearly visible, and also because of the emblazoned “Prototype” sticker set. Still, it’s also clear that Case’s design is reaching its final-production trim, and fellow Penn State alum has included plenty of interesting details into the Motus MST that owners will enjoy.

The side-mounted clutch is perhaps the one feature that will sneak-up on you the most easily, as it’s a pretty standard vision on motorcycles these days…just not on longitudinally-mounted motors (are you reading this Moto Guzzi?). In fact, much of the Motus MST seems to come from a pragmatic approach, as you can even service the motor without removing any bodywork.

If you have a chance to stop by Alice’s, try the “Harley” burger. The rumors that its applewood bacon and breakfast sausage toppings will take years off your life are probably untrue, but not completely unfounded. Though lighter on the cholesterol, the photos of the Motus MST & Motus MST-R prototypes after the jump may make your heart skip a beat.

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Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. BikePilot says:

    I wonder if they’ve done much testing for pillion comfort. From my POV a sport-tourer that can’t comfortably tote another is a waste – if I’m alone I’ll stick to a much lighter sporty bike. In that vein the pillion seat looks rather small and poorly shaped and I fear the long passenger peg hangers/exhaust hangers will end up transmitting a ton of vibs to the passenger’s feet (see e.g., bandit 1250 right pass peg). A reasonably light, simple, fun, visceral sport bike for two would get my attention.

  2. There was a woman how got a pillion ride. Dunno how much feedback you can get going once around the block though.

  3. Ades says:

    Even for a Prototype it looks a well put together and thought out motorcycle. Love the Trellis frame and swing-arm, and it certainly possesses all the goodies (Ohlins etc). Will be interesting to see the finished product.

    If it’s priced right it could definitely sway a few people away from the Multistrada.

    Good to see some American motorcycle design that is aesthetically pleasing too!

  4. MikeD says:

    I still find it Bland,BLAH & Mehh…The Candy looks delicious (we all have hear that sweet engine screaming)…is just the Wrapping that has me Cold…hope they have a Sharper/Better wrapping for the final product.

    Yes, i understand this is not an R6 or MV Agusta F3 competition (looks and performance wise) and is just a Prototype but dang… (-_- )’

  5. very cool jensen … nice feature/scoop.

  6. Mickey says:

    I got up close to it at Laguna and was amazed at how narrow it was at the seat. So far in concept it looks like a really good sports tourer. I’m not loving the kicked in the face look though. If you like the way KTM’s look you’ll probably like this, but I think KTM’s are the ugliest bikes ever manufactured so for me not so much.
    Maybe they can hire a couple of Italians to help with the front fairing.

  7. Billy B.Tso says:

    agree with MikeD, it is very vanilla, especially the R version…whatever happened to the motus they showed in the Daytona video, that looked nicer naked i thought…i think it has potential to be a beauty, although needs some plastic surgery…

  8. MTGR says:

    Looks interesting.

    Incidentally, Guzzi runs a shaft drive so putting side clutch on would require two extra sets of highly expensive, power robbing, potential weak point, helical gear assemblies to make two extra 90 degree turn in the power-train. Not ideal. Motus needs to turn once anyway to make the chain drive work (just as a Guzzi has to once in the final drive of the shaft assembly). Still, I agree they were smart to make the adjustment where they did to allow a conventional clutch location. Lots of good thinking.

  9. chris says:

    well… it doesn’t just look like a ktm. looking at the close-up picture of the headlight…. i can now confirm my long standing suspicion that they’re using an off the shelf ktm 950/990 adventure headlight. why do all that work around someone else’s design? it’s understandable for a custom bike builder… plenty of people using yamaha mt-03 headlights, and v-rod headlights… but those decisions at least come out of the shadow of the original manufacturer and stand on their own… when you look at radical ducati bikes, you don’t think yamaha and harley. for an new manufacturer to make such a novice mistake is just dumb.

  10. John Magnum says:

    Happy you guys in the US have a home grown (me OZ) bike, and a great motor.

    though i think all those in favour of the styling are lying to themseves, its just down right outdated.
    Without the RC8 style headlight it looks like something out of the 80′s with a fresh paint job.

    Take its clothes off and keep it naked / streetfighter. let its character (motor) show.

  11. Random says:

    Hey chris, no need to get mad, they’ve stated long ago they are using ktm headlights and this is not the final fairing design, just a test mule. Maybe those complaints about the bland fairing (i don’t find it attractive too) are just too early, let’s wait and see the final shape.

  12. sp33dwagon says:

    I’d like to see integrated turn signals instead of those stalks, looks disruptive to the lines of the bike. I feel on faired bikes they just fit better. And please, please, please, make the naked musclebike version a reality!

  13. by @Asphalt_Rubber: Up-Close with the Motus MST at Alice's Restaurant – #motorcycle: Up-Close with the… #sffoodbuzz

  14. ZeitgeistXIII says:

    One word “PROTOTYPE” Things often change on final production. Bodywork is easy skin. But it takes time to source custom made stuff.

  15. Keith says:

    ugh! Swapping out that alternator AND adjusting the belt is going to be a BEECH! As for pillion issues…none as that is where the trunk/5gal fuel cell goes. ;^)

  16. BikePilot says:

    Good to hear someone has at least sampled the pillion provisions – hopefully the provisions are more accommodating than they look.

  17. TRL says:

    We’ll see. It seems like it has potential but I’d drop the Two Brothers pipe (if that is the final choice, that weave always looks like crap after a couple of years in the Cali sun). Faring is ok from the saddle but meh from everywhere else.

    The seat makes me laugh, I can’t see the label but I think the reason it looks uncomfortable to you all is that you aren’t Harley riders. I’ll just bet that’s a Harley based seat design, its got just about the shape to be a Softail or Dyna seat….but I could be wrong….

  18. A twin says:

    definitely nix the 2 brothers pipe

  19. AZHobo says:

    PLEASE MAKE IT PRETTY!!! The KTM nose has to go. This bike has got everything else going for it. A bike can sound awesome and handle great, but if I have to avert my eyes every time I walk out to the garage – I won’t buy it.

  20. Matt A. says:

    Well, it looks like all my comments were hit upon already. Saw pillion questions / comments, saw questions on the looks (to me, it doesn’t look ugly – it just looks plain; though the MST-R is somewhat improved with the graphics package), saw concerns about the slip-ons (ditto – ditch the Two Brothers…they don’t match the rest of the bike…Go Austin Racing or something similar), finish the dash – cubbies would be cool if that could be arranged….And it’d be cool if there was a shock to match the forks (though I do like the remote preload adjuster).

    It’s getting there guys! Looking forward to checking out a finished one.