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: Dani Pedrosa – 9/10

01/07/2014 @ 10:02 am, by David Emmett14 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa – 9/10 Sunday Mugello Italian GP MotoGP Scott Jones 06 635x423

In part three of our series looking back at 2013, we review the performance of Dani Pedrosa last season. If you missed the first two instalments, you can read part 1, Marc Marquez, and part 2, Jorge Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa – Championship Position: 3rd – Rating: 9/10

At the end of the 2013 season, some sections of the media took great delight in writing off Dani Pedrosa, after he failed yet again to secure a MotoGP title at his eighth time of trying. Surely Pedrosa’s days at the Repsol Honda team were numbered, as he consistently fails to deliver on the promise he showed in the 125 and 250 classes?

It is easy to dismiss Pedrosa as MotoGP’s ‘nearly man’, and consign him to the dustbin of history, but to do so is to ignore Pedrosa’s actual results.

Dani Pedrosa won three races in 2013, was on the podium a further ten times, moved ahead of Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts in the all-time MotoGP rankings, and now has the same number of second- and third-place finishes as Valentino Rossi. After Assen, Pedrosa was leading the championship by nine points.

What stopped Pedrosa was the one factor which has dogged his career throughout: ill fortune. The crash at the Sachsenring can be put down to Pedrosa’s own mistake, the Spaniard getting caught out by conditions after a brief rain shower.

But his chances of the championship were lost to sheer bad luck, with Marc Marquez touching the rear of his Honda at Aragon, severing a cable which has gone unprotected for several years, and disabling the traction control.

How Marquez managed to thread his clutch lever into a gap a few millimeters high and a few centimeters long at over 200 km/h is a mystery, but he managed it. When Pedrosa opened the throttle, he was thrown from the bike, suffering bad bruising in the incident. It was a stroke of incredibly bad luck.

Up until that point, Pedrosa had looked like he had that weekend under control. Though he was sitting in second place behind Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha man was already showing signs he would not be able to hold Pedrosa off much longer. Afterward, Pedrosa told reporters he felt he could have won the race. The Marquez incident means we will not know whether he was right.

While Pedrosa was plagued by bad luck, he also did not have the season he did in 2012. That year, Pedrosa came close to beating Jorge Lorenzo in a straight fight, the two men swapping wins, and Pedrosa coming out on top with seven to Lorenzo’s six.

In 2013, Pedrosa had more problems winning, in part due to increased competition – unlike 2012, his two main competitors were not injured often. But Pedrosa also struggled with bike set up, finding it harder to handle greasy conditions than his teammate.

At Qatar and Assen, when his team could not get the bike to generate the grip Pedrosa needed, he struggled, finishing off the podium. His teammate handled those conditions better, always finishing on the podium, when he finished. This is something Pedrosa and his crew chief Mike Leitner will need to do better in 2014.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa – 9/10 Thursday Qatar GP MotoGP Scott Jones 08 635x422

There were several high points during Dani Pedrosa’s season. The ease with which the Spaniard won at Jerez was the first, following it up with another two weeks’ later at Le Mans. But Pedrosa’s strongest weekend came in Malaysia.

After the disaster at Aragon, where he was taken out through no fault of his own, Pedrosa hit back with a vengeance, dominating practice, then walking away with a comfortable victory, and proving his point along the way. If there were ever any doubts about Pedrosa’s mental resilience, he laid them to rest at Sepang.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa – 9/10 Sunday Phillip Island Australian GP MotoGP 2013 Scott Jones 08 635x423

After a year without injury, crashing at the Sachsenring and breaking a collarbone was a serious blow for Dani Pedrosa. Still troubled by memories of the thoracic outlet syndrome he suffered after his crash at Motegi in 2010, Pedrosa held off a long time on surgery.

But even that was not as bad as the incident at Aragon, where teammate Marquez clipped his rear wheel, taking out a traction control sensor in the process. Pedrosa was livid afterwards, branding Marquez’s riding as dangerous and out of control.

His fury lasted all the way to Malaysia, where he was seen haranguing Marquez as they waited to enter the office of Race Director Mike Webb to discuss the incident. One year, Fate will smile on Dani Pedrosa. 2013 was not that year.

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. smiler says:

    Feel sorry for Lil Dani. Clearly built to ride 500′s and not 990′s or the new 1000′s. However he showed much more maturity last and this year. In Dorna’s desperation to satisfy Repsol and after Stoner telling them both where to go at the end of 2011, Dani really got the short straw with Dorna dropping the Rookie Rule this year and having been kept on in MotoGP as the great Spanish Repsol hope for such a long time.

    No chance of wining the championship, he must be the most successful nearly man in MotoGP for a while.

  2. vman says:

    Who is doing the “rating” and whats it based on ? I think the rating already happened in the championship finishing order. Yawn….

  3. H.L. says:

    I know I can’t ride any better but 9/10 is a joke. Pedrosa became comfortable a long time ago making the money he makes and riding the superior bike that he rides. He only rides hard at tracks that he likes and has taken for granted how lucky he is to ride a bike he can win with every time on the grid. His points and 3rd position are misleading in my opinion due to the 2nd best bike or best bike some would argue, being it is the same as Marc’s. Maybe I’m being to hard on him but I just don’t see the passion of Lorenzo and Marquez in Pedrosa race to race. It’s time for a fresh young rider to take the 2nd Honda. I hope Yamaha can bring the M1′s weakest points up to par for Lorenzo because if he goes to Honda he will show the field who the best Honda rider is. There’s no question that 2014 and 2015 will be amazing in MotoGP.

  4. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I agree with the above comments.

    Also, I don’t think we’re seeing the same Pedrosa as from a few seasons ago. I remember a Pedrosa who rode at or beyond the limit.

    Pedrosa does seem to cherry pick when and where he’ll race hard these days. He also seems to take waaaay less risks. Is that a good thing? Marquez would say so, Dani never puts up much of a fight. haha

    Marquez clearly rides on the ragged edge, Lorenzo too (but he’s so smooth it just doesn’t look like he’s at 10/10). I also think of guys like Crutchlow who takes it to the limit or even Bautista who seldom rides at the limit because he’s already past the limit.

    Dani? no, he doesn’t ride on the limit very much anymore and its a shame because he’s on the best machine. For that can you really say he’s a 9/10 guy?

  5. Jw says:

    2014 will be his last year with Repsol. Sad but true..

  6. crshnbrn says:

    @smiler

    re “Dani really got the short straw with Dorna dropping the Rookie Rule this year”

    They were all short straws of equal length as the “Rookie” bested them all. It just looked worse for Pedrosa, because Marquez was on the same basic equipment. Pedrosa would have needed an entire season like he had the second half of 2012 and with no injuries.

  7. With the way Pedrosa ended the 2012 campaign, he was my odds-on favourite to win the 2013 title. I was really disappointed when he and JL were injured. It would have been nice to see an injury-free season and let the championship play out differently.

    I wish them all a strong and injury-free 2014.

  8. tonyfumi says:

    How can you rate Pedrosa equal with Marquez or Lorenzo ?!?
    Pedrosa is maybe an 8 but more like 7.
    And how could you rate Rossi so highly??

    Are you watching every race or just those at nice veiwing times?

  9. L2C says:

    The reason Dani, Jorge and Marc are rated the same is because the only factor that separates the three are mistakes. And the tide of good fortune, which is may or may not be considered a factor. It’s not talent, speed or even machinery that separates them, it is about who makes the fewest mistakes. They are the most evenly matched riders at the front that we have seen in a long time. David seems to understand this.

    Rossi is intent on joining them. He is only a tenth or two or three away.

  10. “The reason Dani, Jorge and Marc are rated the same is because the only factor that separates the three are mistakes.”

    Precisely.

    “Rossi is intent on joining them. He is only a tenth or two or three away.”

    Let’s hope that 2014 sees it happening, too. The more at the absolute front the merrier!

  11. tonyfumi says:

    “The reason Dani, Jorge and Marc are rated the same is because the only factor that separates the three are mistakes.”

    GARBAGE !!

    Pedrosa is not in the same league as Marquez or Lorenzo. Sure Pedrosa has had his injuries and bad luck but he is not as talented and he doesn’t have the ‘mongrel’ that other top riders have.
    Rossi had it once, Stoner had it, Lorenzo’s got it and Marquez has it in spades.

    David is a very astute Motogp observer , but he is totally wrong about Pedrosa. He was a temporary ‘alien’ and his days are numbered.

    As for Rossi needing only a tenth or three….That made me laugh….he is so far off it is ridiculous. The guy was never the same after breaking his leg. He is too old and rich now to risk crashing and he WILL RETIRE at the end of 2014. Sad but true. Agostini agrees with me so there.

  12. “Pedrosa is not in the same league as Marquez or Lorenzo.”

    Except that his numbers aren’t all that far off the other two. His stats would argue that he absolutely IS in the same league.

    JL: 0x125cc championships; 2x250cc championships; 2xMotoGP championships
    MM: 1x125cc championships; 1xMoto2 championship; 1xMotoGP championship
    DP: 2x125cc championships; 2x250cc championships

    You can decry the disparity of the skill required to win the various championships, but the fact of the matter is that Pedrosa does have 4 of ‘em to his name. And let’s not forget him winning 6 of the last 8 races in 2012, which set him up to be the odds-on favourite for 2013.

    As for his being a temporary alien, he’s as temporary as Stoner was a so-called ‘tourist’. Pedrosa has had an impeccable record since joining MotoGP in 2006:

    2006: 5th
    2007: 2nd
    2008 & 2009: 3rd
    2010: 2nd
    2011: 4th
    2012: 2nd
    2013: 3rd

    I’m having a hard time finding a year there where he wasn’t an alien, ‘cept *MAYBE* his first year in the premier class where he took a bit of time to ‘bed in’. Breaking a toe does count, though. (Having done that, it isn’t pleasant and definitely takes you off your A game.)

    Disagreeing is fine. I do, however, think that Pedrosa justified a 9/10 for his rides this year.

  13. “Pedrosa does have 4 of ‘em to his name.”

    Sorry. Correction: 3. He only has one 125 cc chamionship (2003). My bad. :)

  14. tonifumi says:

    It goes without saying Pedrosa is an excellent rider. On his day he can be very quick. He seems a level-headed guy and it’s nice your defending him but……..

    Wins in 125 and 250 are all well and good but each 125 and 250 championship is worth the same as one motogp race win. You know that’s right!

    How many 125 and 250 championships did Stoner or Doohan win? NONE – would you hold it against them? Pedrosa has been on great bikes his whole motogp career and has been beaten virtually every season by his teammate and has never won a motogp title – if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.
    What odds do you give Pedrosa to win the championship next year? How likely is it that he will retire at the end of 2014 without a championship. The answers to those questions speak volumes.