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.

VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule

06/24/2009 @ 5:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule Honda VFR 1200 exhaust Left Lane News

It would appear we do not need to wait until Fall to see the new VFR in its final, or near final form. MCN lead this morning with an article showing what they reputed to be leaked photos of the 2010 VFR1200 from Honda.

We, like many others, we skeptical of this news, both in part because of the source, but also because the reputed final version so closely matched mock-ups of the new bike that we’ve seen for months now.

Our skeptism may be unfounded this time, as auto news site Left Lane News has simultaneously released spy shots of the VFR testing in the California desert that would appear to rain on MCN’s parade of having “the scoop of the year”.

According to HFL, MCN disclosed to them that photos seen today were actually black and white shots of the VFR “in the public domain”,  and that MCN then “just coloured in from the original black and white image.” Not exactly the most inspiring thing to hear, but the photos from Left Lane clearly show the same distinct lines as seen in the MCN photos.

MCN claims in their article that the new VFR will have a variable-cylinder V4 motor. When cruising and when absolute power isn’t needed, the bike will shut down the two rear-cylinders, similar to the technology we see now emerging in large displacement car and truck motors. This will effectively create a parallel twin, which should improve gas mileage when touring long distances.

We’re not quite sure what this means as far as how the power will be delivered in this mode, since the firing order of the motor has not been released. The power pulses could be very close together, or more staggered depending on how the VFR is cammed. Hopefully at the official unveiling we will learn more about this, and why Honda thought it necessary to bring the technology to the motorcycle sector.

What we find the most interesting is the concept photo we brought to you back at the beginning of May, that was done by Vanjey Designs, looks almost identical to the bike being presented today. Clearly someone at the French firm had a glimpse at the final product, albeit getting a few details wrong.

Source: Left Lane News, MCN, HFL

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  1. John Adamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle

  2. Corry says:

    @EatSleepRide RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – now that’s something.

  3. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle – ummmmm, will it grow on me?! ummm….

  4. Billy B says:

    ugly….shame they still can’t get some decent designers at honda….this actually looks worse than the cbr1000rr…didn’t think that was possible…and that’s coming from a fan of Honda!!!

  5. VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle

  6. Kebabsaregood says:

    Good blog, up until the point you keep mentioning MCN and then deviate to talk about whether you believe it or not. I see MCN regularly, and don’t think I’m so dumb that I can’t work out for myself if something is fact or speculation – in truth they make the same distinctions very clear, and if you can’t work that out too then I question whether your opinion is remotely relevant. It makes you look spoon-fed and needy (as if the big debate is editorial standards on a newspaper based on the other side of the Atlantic. Is it?)

    I don’t know… maybe it’s a natural development from blog to established news site: you stop mentioning all the sites you leech news from, and tell us things you’ve garnered for yourself without just looking at other sites.

    If you’re going to moan about websites that provide you with a big chunk of your news, I reckon you should at least read the paper they’re based upon.

    This isn’t a moan by the way, it’s a ‘keep up the good work but be confident in yourself’ message.

  7. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle

  8. hjworton says:

    I smell a rat. Does it not seem slightly odd that only a week ago MD of Honda Shigeru Takagi was quoted as saying – and I paraphrase here – the bike would be a ‘new breed of Honda’ and ‘epoch making’. Passionate stuff. Strangely enough, just 1 week later studio AND spy shots appear of the bike. Is this some kind of viral marketing campaign from the big H ? I think it just seems a little too much like a coincidence for it to be one.

  9. John Senrot says:

    The preliminary “sketches” show it to be a good looking bike. I just hope that the riding position is not crutch rocket style but more like the present VFRs. I am looking forward to see it in the showroom and read the moto magazines critiques.