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.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Nicky Hayden – 6/10

01/10/2014 @ 10:09 am, by David Emmett8 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Nicky Hayden – 6/10 david emmett nicky hayden sunglasses motogp scott jones 635x422

In the penultimate part of our restrospective on the season just past, we look back at Nicky Hayden. Here is our view of his final season with Ducati, and his move to Aspar for 2014. 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 Bautistapart 7, Stefan Bradl; and part 8, Andrea Dovizioso.

It’s been a tough few years for Nicky Hayden. Since joining Ducati in 2009, his results have been in steady decline, along with the performance of the Desmosedici. The 2013 season was the second season in a row where the American did not score a single podium, Hayden finishing in the same position as 2012, with four more points than last year.

This year was probably his toughest with the Italian manufacturer. Hayden found himself battling with teammate Andrea Dovizioso just about all year long, starting from the first race in Qatar. The Ducatis were a match only for each other, not for the other prototypes.

In twelve of the eighteen races, Dovizioso and Hayden finished behind each other, the only other rider they regularly tangled with being Bradley Smith, a MotoGP rookie. More times than not, Hayden emerged as loser of the intra-Ducati battles, finishing behind Dovizioso nine times, and ahead of him only seven times.

The fact that Hayden was not beating his teammate would end up costing him his job. The American was left waiting for a long time for word from Ducati, though by the time the circus rolled up in Assen, Hayden could see the writing on the wall. “I’m not feeling it,” he said, Ducati not even approaching him about a renewal.

At the Sachsenring, he was told there was no place in the factory team for him, though Ducati were keen to keep him in the family, trying to persuade him to switch to World Superbikes to race the Panigale, or else line up in the Pramac team with factory backing.

That news, and the news that Cal Crutchlow would be taking his place, left Hayden in frustration, but he turned his frustration into determination, focusing even harder on beating his teammate.

The battles between the two grew tougher, the most memorable moment coming at Indianapolis, where Hayden put a very harsh move on Dovizioso at the very last corner, the two running wide and jumping the kerbing laid down to mark where the infield track meets the oval.

Both Hayden and Dovizioso were spoken to firmly by Ducati management, and told to treat each other with a little more care on the track. Hayden complied, but still battled hard, beating his teammate in the last three races of the season.

Hayden had been hampered all season by a swollen wrist, the result of a screw fitted to fix an injury sustained at the start of 2012. The swelling came and went, but was clearly visible every time Hayden spoke to the press.

The American never complained – it is not in his temperament to complain – but appeared to be treating it gingerly on several occasions during the season. It probably had a bigger effect than he let on, and Hayden finally had the screw removed after the final race of the year at Valencia.

Being released from his contract with Ducati had the positive side effect of freeing him up a little from his corporate persona.

Ever the gentleman, and ever the good company spokesman, Hayden let things ride a little, speaking more freely than he ever has before, pointing more clearly to where he believes Ducati went wrong, and telling the press that he regretted not having another shot at testing the carbon fiber chassis again at the end of the 2011 season.

Release for Hayden came finally at Australia, when the Aspar team finally announced they had signed the American, and would be racing the Honda RCV1000R production racer. By that time, Hayden’s signing with Aspar was an open secret, the American’s father and brother having regularly been spotted entering the Aspar truck.

Being caught out on social media didn’t help, Hayden getting the privacy settings wrong on a training app, and uploading a run which he had taken in Noale, the home base of Aprilia.

After Gigi Dall’Igna left Aprilia for Ducati, Aspar quickly dropped their original choice of continuing with Aprilia, and with the backing of American Honda, secured a production Honda for Hayden and his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama. Having Hayden on a production Honda will be an excellent test for just how good the production Hondas are in 2014.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Nicky Hayden – 6/10 Tuesday Valencia MotoGP Test Scott Jones 02 635x423

Nicky Hayden’s season had very few high points on track, with the possible exception of his fierce battles with his teammate. But the real high point came off track, when he finally announced his signing with Aspar.

Though his future had never really been in doubt, signing with the best CRT team – or Open team, as we must now call them – was a boost for the American. A visibly more cheerful Hayden once again found new motivation. A change, as they say, is clearly as good as a rest.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Nicky Hayden – 6/10 nicky hayden motogp ducati corse scott jones 635x422

If signing with Aspar was the high point of his season, the low point was losing his factory seat at Ducati. Hayden had been clear that his goal was to stay in MotoGP, and the World Superbike offer from Ducati was something he was only prepared to entertain as a last resort.

What irked Hayden most about losing the Ducati seat was that he felt progress was imminent. He had gone through so many hard years with Ducati that to miss out when (or if) Ducati finally did start to show real improvement would be too frustrating to contemplate. Given the revolution going on at Ducati at the moment, it would have been a long wait for Hayden anyway.

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. sideswipeasaurus says:

    You know he’s going to relish beating those factory Ducatis on his Aspar Honda at every opportunity. If Ducati don’t get a move on improving that bike Nicky could dish out a good deal of embarrassment to his former employer.

  2. SJ Steve says:

    As a fellow American, Nicky & Colin Edwards & are the 2 guys I am always pulling for….even though the odds of either of them being up front continues to fade… more so for Edwards though. But hey… they both are World Champions.. Nicky in AMA Superbike & Moto Gp & Colin 2x’s in WSB.

    In my opinion, Nicky is stand out class-act in the circus that is Moto Gp…. no jumping in lakes, no tantrums, no whining… just balls out riding!

    I hope he stays in Moto Gp for a few more years since that is what he wants but I hope he does end up in WSB like Biaggi & take 1 or 2 championships there… or at least be up front dicing with the leaders.

    Unfortunately, the US seems incapable of developing a program to groom young racers capable of competing at the WSB or Moto Gp level other then the slim few like Nicky, Edwards & the 2 AMA guys riding for EBR in WSB this year. American racers used to be the bar the Euro riders were measured against… no longer…

    Good luck to Nicky this year.

  3. Jw says:

    Yes the front 4 of the pack are great to watch, but the middle guys will be just as interesting in 14, especially Nicky in battle against the Ducati team. This is good and goes to show there needs to be a full grid with plenty of world class riders to enjoy. Of all the riders that I would choose to be my next door neighbor, it would be Nicky.

  4. Conrice says:

    I respect all of the riders. I root for most of them.

    But there’s only one rider that I look up to – and it’s Nicky Hayden.

  5. Bicho says:

    I like Nicky,he is really talented and a worl champion.But this season he was not better than Dovizioso,who just got on the Ducati team and made a better job than the AMERICAN!(too much bias in this article!)

  6. Woodlandrider says:

    Its a joke and an insult to be rating MOTOGP(!) riders from the comfort of your laptop. Give it a rest or perhaps swing your leg over a MOTOGP bike and give yourself a rating. If you scrape a 1/10 you will have done well.

  7. “If Ducati don’t get a move on improving that bike Nicky could dish out a good deal of embarrassment to his former employer.”

    In the spirit of just deserts, I sincerely hope so. The flip side for me, though, is that I also really like Dovi and Crutchlow and I want them to do well, too.

  8. Craig says:

    Even if Duc goes Open class, Honda already has them beat to the table with a bike. Sure, Ducati will have freedom to change configurations around and such, but Honda is already there and tested. Here’re to hoping Nicky can tear it up this year!