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.

Friday Summary at Aragon: Of Greasy Tracks, Missing Tires, & A Strong Spanish Championship

09/27/2013 @ 7:07 pm, by David Emmett2 COMMENTS

Friday Summary at Aragon: Of Greasy Tracks, Missing Tires, & A Strong Spanish Championship valentino rossi brakes aragon gp yamaha racing 635x423

So what happened to the lap times? When MotoGP tested here at Aragon back in June, Jorge Lorenzo was nearly one and a half seconds faster than his time on the first day of practice. Marc Marquez was half a second slower than his time in testing, despite being the fastest man after FP1 and FP2, Valentino Rossi was a second slower, and Dani Pedrosa was just a couple of tenths slower than his test time, set here three months ago.

The answer is simple: no grip. Grip is missing both front and rear, as temperatures have soared unusually high at the Spanish circuit. The track is also dirtier: a car event held before the test had laid rubber down and swept the track clean, but that was not the case ahead of this weekend. The lack of grip has meant everyone has struggled to match the lap times from earlier in the year.

More track temperature means less braking stability, according to Jorge Lorenzo, which explained the gap between him and the Hondas in the afternoon. In the morning, Lorenzo topped the timesheets by a very narrow margin, putting just eight thousandths of a second between himself and Marc Marquez.

In the afternoon, he was powerless to resist the Honda onslaught, ending the session in 4th, behind the Hondas of Marquez, Stefan Bradl, and Dani Pedrosa. Was he worried by this? ‘We are working, so I’m not worried,’ Lorenzo said.

Perhaps the most frustrated rider of the day was Valentino Rossi. The Italian had happy memories of the test at Aragon, having found a major step forward in braking set up which helped him win his first race in over two years at Assen.

But a problem with the brakes in the afternoon mean he lost half of practice sitting in the garage, and was then forced to go out on his number two bike, which was set up differently to his preferred number one machine. Chasing lap times was impossible on the second bike, and Rossi ended the day down in 7th, nine tenths behind Marquez.

The lack of track time had meant Rossi had not had time to verify the changes made at the test at Misano. He was unclear on whether the good feeling found with the front at the Aragon test would return during the race weekend, as a lot had happened since June.

“The bike change a lot since the Aragon test,” Rossi said, explaining that his team had spent a lot of time chasing the elusive braking stability at other tracks since June.

What would have helped was if the MotoGP riders could have used the new rear tire which Bridgestone brought to test at Misano. Everyone was very impressed with it, but Repsol Honda’s test program meant they did not manage to do too many laps on the tire.

With no idea of durability for the Hondas, HRC had not given approval for the tires by the time the paddock reassembled at Aragon. That approval was expected to be forthcoming this weekend, meaning the earliest the new tire could be used would be Motegi, though the more likely option is Valencia.

Neither Valentino Rossi nor Cal Crutchlow were impressed by Honda’s dragging their feet. Rossi told the media once again that the problem was that the hard rear tire was quite simply unusable, a statement Cal Crutchlow concurred with.

Being forced to wait for Honda was also wrong, Crutchlow said: HRC had had the chance to test the tire, but they hadn’t taken that chance to fit it into their test program. The other riders should not have to suffer for HRC’s test program, the Englishman said.

There was much attention on the Moto3 class this weekend, as two of the top riders from the Spanish championship joined the Grand Prix regulars. Maria Herrera made a big impact in the morning, ending the session in 10th on her Grand Prix debut. In the afternoon, she slid down the standings, as she struggled with the increased temperatures.

The other CEV wild card, Dutchman Bryan Schouten, had the opposite experience. In the morning, Schouten failed to pick up a tow and ended FP1 in 21st. In the afternoon, the man who was leading the Spanish Moto3 championship until last weekend found the slipstream of Alex Rins, and picked up a second, ending the session in 11th. The level of the Spanish championship is extremely high, and the results of both Schouten and Herrera underline that.

Temperature may not prove to be such a problem on for the rest of the weekend, however. Clouds are expected to move in on Saturday, with light rain a possibility for Sunday, and temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees lower.

With more rubber from so many bikes and cooler track temperatures, things could change quite a bit for race day. The first day of practice was certainly interesting, but the question is, was it meaningful?

Photo: Yamaha Racing

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


  1. Norm G. says:

    re: “But a problem with the brakes in the afternoon mean he lost half of practice sitting in the garage, and was then forced to go out on his number two bike”

    anybody starting to see a reoccurring theme with the second seat Yam…? ben has mechanical problems with routine systems all season, ross has mechanical problems with routine systems all season. ben gets a P2 during the finale, ross get’s a P2 at the opener. ben gets a solitary win at assen, ross gets a solitary win at assen. that’s some weird science.

  2. robin says:

    yamaha only has one rider and 3 satellite riders, has always been