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: Stefan Bradl – 7/10

01/09/2014 @ 10:23 am, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Stefan Bradl – 7/10 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Qatar MotoGP Scott Jones 635x422

Continuing our look back at 2013, we come to seventh place man Stefan Bradl. Here’s how he fared in 2013. 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 Crutchlow; and part 6, Alvaro Bautista.

In his first season of MotoGP, Stefan Bradl did exactly what was expected of him, learning slowly, building speed, and getting better week after week. He impressed his team, crew chief Christophe ‘Beefy’ Bourguignon expressing admiration at his calm and intelligent approach after the first test on the bike.

He did not crash too often, finished inside the top six on a regular basis, and even got close to his first podium.

After such a strong start, he was expected to do even better in year two. The target was the occasional podium, and to be the best of the satellite riders.

Strong support from Honda meant that Bradl had the tools to do the job, though starting the season using Nissin brakes instead of Brembo put him at a slight disadvantage, the Nissins offering fractionally inferior brake release.

Though Bradl improved, consistently finishing inside the top six, it was not what he or Honda had hoped. The Aragon test in June gave Bradl a boost, trying the same forks which the factory riders had already been using, and switching to Brembo brakes, at least at the front.

The biggest improvement for Bradl was that the brakes allowed him to brake more precisely, the carbon brakes unbinding immediately on release.

Bradl reaped some of the rewards of the change at Assen, starting from the front row, though he could not hold that pace in the race. At the Sachsenring, Bradl looked much stronger, fighting for the lead in the early laps, before dropping back to fourth during the race.

The real reward came a week later, at Laguna Seca. Bradl bagged the first MotoGP pole of his career on Saturday, adding his first podium a day later, holding off Marc Marquez for the first half of the race, and coming home in second with a comfortable lead.

The remainder of the season, Bradl rode a solid season, finishing in fifth, sixth, and seventh. He never looked like threatening for the podium again, especially after fracturing an ankle at Sepang. That was a very unfortunate time to break a bone, Sepang coming as the first of three back-to-back flyaway races.

It was only once he returned to Europe for the final race of the year that he showed any semblance of a return to fitness.

Bradl still holds the unconditional support of his team manager, LCR Honda team boss Lucio Cecchinello backing Bradl to the hilt, but HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto told the media at Valencia that he had expected more of Bradl this season.

It was Cecchinello’s support that helped Bradl keep his job, HRC pushing the Italian team boss to drop Bradl and replace him with Cal Crutchlow. Cecchinello would not hear of it. Bradl will need the Italian’s support again in full next year.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Stefan Bradl – 7/10 stefan bradl laguna seca us gp motogp scott jones 635x422

There can be no doubt about the high point of Stefan Bradl’s 2013 season. That came at Laguna Seca, with his first pole – and the first ever pole for a German rider in the premier class – and a second. It was precisely the boost Bradl needed, after a weekend in front of his home crowd which left him slightly disappointed.

It also helped seal the deal with Honda, his contract extension for 2014 being signed ahead of the next race at Indianapolis. Bradl proved his mettle at Laguna Seca.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Stefan Bradl – 7/10 Saturday COTA MotoGP Scott Jones 15 635x423

Bradl’s low point of 2013 is equally clear. The German had been chasing set up ahead of qualifying in Sepang when he lost the front end at the first corner. It would have been a relatively harmless crash, but he caught his foot on the astroturf which separates the track from the gravel.

That impact was enough to fracture his ankle, forcing him to miss the Malaysian race and undergo surgery. He tried to ride at Phillip Island, but knew immediately after the first practice he could not be competitive. The Sepang crash put a serious dent in Stefan Bradl’s season.

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. dc4go says:

    For Rossi to get an 8/10 on a full factory bike and Bradl a 7 ?? I call bull on this one sorry guys. Him breaking his ankle was bad luck he rode pretty great especially after he switched to Brembo brakes..

  2. vman says:

    dc4go .. no way its bull. This a very scientific rating system.

  3. smiler says:

    “Though Bradl improved, consistently finishing inside the top six, it was not what he or Honda had hoped” – 7/10 – dc4go that is why.

  4. DC4GO says:

    Don’t believe everything you read or hear about “Factory Supported Bikes” they are not on par with the factory bikes and the differences are big especially the Honda factory bikes. They use products that are not available to other companys. Speaking to a Brembo rep. @ Indy he gave me a little insight on the “Brembo” front brakes used on the factory Hondas. Basically Honda has exclusive access to equipment the other teams can’t event purchase because they pay extra to have an advantage over the other teams. Bradl did a good job with his current bike I’d give him an 8. Good job kid!!

  5. L2C says:

    I wish Bradl had won Laguna. That would have been great.

  6. “I wish Bradl had won Laguna.”

    Indeed. I kept hoping that MM’s momentum would slow up, but it just wasn’t to be. Pole AND a win would have been sublime for Bradl that weekend.

  7. Jw says:

    I’m just happy to see a rider from another country other than Spain race a bike.