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.

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso – 5/10

01/09/2014 @ 2:17 pm, by David Emmett14 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso – 5/10 2014 Saturday Valencia MotoGP Scott Jones 11 635x422

In the eighth instalment of our series looking at 2013, we come to Andrea Dovizioso. This is how the Italian got on in his first year at Ducati. To read the rest of our reviews of last year, you can read part 1, Marc Marquezpart 2, Jorge Lorenzopart 3, Dani Pedrosapart 4, Valentino Rossipart 5, Cal Crutchlowpart 6, Alvaro Bautista; and part 7, Stefan Bradl.

After losing his factory Honda ride at the end of 2011, Dovizioso made the switch to Yamaha, joining Cal Crutchlow in the Tech 3 team. A strong year with six podiums saw him win the slot in the factory Ducati team vacated by Valentino Rossi. Dovizioso felt he deserved a factory ride, and he had got what he wanted.

That proved to be something of a poisoned chalice. The year after Ducati was taken over by Audi proved to be a year of stagnation, with new head of Ducati Corse Bernhard Gobmeier never really able to impose his authority on the race department.

A lot of work was done with chassis stiffness, a new aerodynamics package was unveiled, the engine received a minor upgrade with improved throttle bodies. It all helped, a little, but the bike still had understeer — still wouldn’t turn.

Dovizioso started the season with some hope, racing with real determination and guts. Early in the season, he had some good results, getting close to the podium at Le Mans in the pouring rain, and then following on with strong race at Mugello, aided no doubt by the amount of testing Ducati does at the circuit.

But as promised upgrades failed to materialize, and the full seriousness of his situation started to sink in, Dovizioso’s mood took a dive. An air of despair hung around him, the Italian resigning himself to a lost season.

It was clear that racing for Ducati had become a chore for Andrea Dovizioso. He never fell short of what was required, he always gave what he could, but he always played it safe, never took any real risks, always stayed safely within the limits. He did what he had to, but he took no joy from it.

After relatively positive lap times during practice or qualifying, mediocre race results would follow. “This is the reality of the situation.” It would become Dovizioso’s mantra, something we heard from him a million times in 2013.

In 2014, Andrea Dovizioso will be joined by his former teammate Cal Crutchlow, but it is hard to say whether he looks forward to the year with much enthusiasm. Much is set to change at Ducati in the next year, now that Gigi Dall’Igna has taken over the race department. Whether Dovizioso believes it will make a difference remains to be seen. For his sake, we hope it will.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso – 5/10 Saturday Sachsenring German GP MotoGP Scott Jones 07 635x422

Early in the year there were still promises of upgraded chassis, and even a new engine to come in the middle of the season. A strong result at Le Mans boosted Dovizioso’s confidence, and then they arrived at Mugello, and Dovizioso sealed a front row start and came within a few yards of bagging a fourth place finish. Things were looking rosy.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso – 5/10 andrea dovizioso ducati corse motogp scott jones 635x422

After Mugello, Dovizioso’s optimism was short-lived. The date of promised upgrades kept on being pushed back, and the updates that did arrive, didn’t make much difference. A new chassis helped, the bike was less tiring to ride, but it didn’t turn much better and it certainly wasn’t any faster.

Dovizioso’s mood waned, sliding into the slough of despond. There wasn’t so much a low point for Andrea Dovizioso in 2013, more of a long slide into darkness. 2014 needs to be a lot better.

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

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Shawn says:

    Given the trend in this series of articles for each progressive rider to be ranked lower and lower, I take it that you’re going to rate Nicky Hayden at no better than a 5/10, AND you’re going to put him behind Dovizioso? That seems a bit harsh.

  2. vman says:

    Rating: anyone who makes it to a MotoGP ride and stays there more than two seasons 10/10 Rock On. Not a Dovi fan but hes out there doing, I am just watching.

  3. SBPilot says:

    Um, David you’re way off rating Dovi so low. Why are you rating riders based on their results? If that’s the case, we just need to look at the standings.

    The bike is inferior, by a long shot as you stated. That has nothing to do with Dovi. He came into the team and beat Hayden, who’s been riding that bike for as long as anyone can remember. That shows Dovi’s talent.
    He went into Tech3, first time on a Yamaha, podium 6 times, beat Cal and left. Dovi’s skill is right up there to rank him 5/10 is ridiculous. He’s way better than Cal yet you rank cal higher? Bias much?

    Anyway, time to ignore every “rating” post after this. Not like I agreed with the other ones but this one I had to speak out on.

  4. “He came into the team and beat Hayden, who’s been riding that bike for as long as anyone can remember. That shows Dovi’s talent.”

    Agreed. Let’s also not forget how Dovi outshone Pedrosa for 3rd place in 2011. It was his parting ‘comment’ to HRC for ousting him from his ride on the RC212V.

  5. crshnbrn says:

    re “Let’s also not forget how Dovi outshone Pedrosa for 3rd place in 2011. It was his parting ‘comment’ to HRC for ousting him from his ride on the RC212V.”

    Good Point! Perhaps had HRC not had to bring Stoner onboard on a third bike in order to win a championship, Dovi might still be on a bike worthy of his talent. I always thought he got a raw deal when HRC cut back to two bikes.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I can easily put Dovi ahead of Bradl or Bautista. Bradl lacks the experience and results of Dovi over the years, and Bautista is so inconsistent compared with Dovi. So I just can’t agree with him being under those riders. The same goes for Hayden and A. Espargaro.

  7. Faust says:

    You rate Bautista higher than Dovi? Laughable.

  8. H.L. says:

    I believe Dovi could have contended for fourth against Rossi and at least placed fifth on most races if he rode the LCR Honda with his skills. Maybe he will get a better opportunity in 2015 with LCR, Gresini or Suzuki.

  9. Kenny says:

    Regardless of the results, I still maintain that Dovizioso and Hayden gave the most entertaining performances this year.
    The two of them duking it out at Laguna Seca had me grinning from ear to ear. They looked like they were having a blast.

  10. Jw says:

    Funny how the mid pak riders are getting the most comments. Goes to show how much we and the sport need these warriors.

  11. smiler says:

    “The year after Ducati was taken over by Audi proved to be a year of stagnation, with new head of Ducati Corse Bernhard Gobmeier never really able to impose his authority on the race department.”

    I think that is not actually true. The Gob was sent in to change processes and as a hatchet man not a long term option. Audi made it clear there would be minimal visible change in the first year and that the GP13 would not be radically changed, that they would work within the limits oif the current bike. 2014 would be a year when things were shaken up and 2015 a reall challenge.

    You can see already that this is happening. Ducati will enter in the open class for the reasons you mentioned. They have new Corse manager with the required experience. WROOOM has been cancelled.

    As for Dovi, he was shafted by HRC & Repsol and liekly Dorna in order to give Repsol a Spanish puppet. He has been sensible on the Ducati. Why risk everything when it is clear that the level of engineering change will take place this year.

  12. Woodlandrider says:

    He’s a great rider on a crap bike – you’re a 5/10 journalist if you can’t see that. Stop this rating thing – its pointless.

  13. Jw says:

    So far I agree with the ratings, good work David!

  14. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    i’m trying to figure out scoring parameters and weight given to those parameters (whatever they may be).

    Parameters and weight given to them seem to be the following: rider attitude; rider effort; past history (or not); results (maybe); expected results; and if the author liked the rider or not (which is fine by me, just not at all scientific or reasonable).

    If you were rooting for Hayden every race (like I was), you saw a relentless Dovi who never said uncle, who took risks (usually the kind that involved smashing into Hayden!).

    Dovi’s decision to go to Ducati was a 5/10 decision (as was Crutchlow’s). But his riding last season was several notches above 5/10.