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.

Friday Summary at Sepang: Pedrosa’s Speed, The Brain as a Complex Organ, & Honda Flying in Moto3

10/11/2013 @ 4:20 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

Friday Summary at Sepang: Pedrosas Speed, The Brain as a Complex Organ, & Honda Flying in Moto3 dani pedrosa motogp sepang repsol honda 635x423

Is Sepang a Honda track or a Yamaha track? On the evidence of the first day of practice, you would have to say it is definitely a Honda track. Or more specifically, a factory Honda track, according to Valentino Rossi. The Italian veteran told reporters that the factory Hondas seemed to have something extra at Sepang, even compared to the satellite RC213V bikes.

Having lighter riders meant they did better on the long straights, consumed less fuel and could therefore use more power, Rossi said, but there was more to it than that.

They were also better on corner entry, especially in the tight corners, where HRC appears to have found something extra. The only place the Yamahas had any kind of advantage was in the longer faster corners, Rossi said. Through turns five and six, Rossi could catch Dani Pedrosa. Once they left that section, Pedrosa was gone.

If the bike is good, then Dani Pedrosa is outstanding. His lap in the afternoon was exceptional, the 2’00.554 just a couple of tenths slower than Jorge Lorenzo’s pole lap record from last year. Nobody else could get anywhere near him. His only rival was teammate Marc Marquez, forced to give half a second away to Pedrosa.

A brace of Yamahas followed, Cal Crutchlow 3rd fastest despite suffering badly with his still damaged right arm swelling in the tropical heat, ending a tenth ahead of Valentino Rossi, the first of the factory Yamaha machines. Both Crutchlow and Rossi were clear where they were losing out: three tenths of a second on each of the two long straights at Sepang, according to the Tech 3 man.

Rossi concurred, though he was less inclined to put numbers to his disadvantage. The Yamahas are having to make up through the fast corners what they are losing in the long straights.

The gap is not quite as big as it looks, however. Although Pedrosa’s fastest lap was both brilliant and demoralizing for anyone behind him, it was just one lap in which he was so fast. His race pace is closer to that of Marquez, around the low 2’01 mark. This was despite Pedrosa still not being able to sit on the bike properly due to a painful hip and buttock injured in the crash at Aragon.

Was his speed down to anger at the events of Aragon and the minimal penalty for Marc Marquez? “The opposite,” Pedrosa told the press, “I’m not angry at all, I’m totally relaxed.”

After looking like the probable winner at Aragon, focusing on the track was the best he could do. His physical condition was not helping, there were corners where he was having to grit his teeth and buckle down, Pedrosa told the press. He would likely need injections on Sunday to cope with the pain, but his form on Friday proved that at least he still had the pace.

Like Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo also denied that the events of Aragon, and the penalty handed to Marquez, had anything to do with his performance: 6th in the afternoon, and 5th overall, over a second behind Pedrosa, and struggling with aggressive power delivery and the rear wheel spinning in the middle of the corner.

“I don’t think it’s affecting me at all,” Lorenzo told the press, “but the brain is a very complicated organ, so I don’t know.” Lorenzo did have one thing to add on the subject, and his outburst on Thursday during the press conference, however: “a lot of people think I was referring to Marc, but my target was Race Direction,” Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo’s problem was in the middle of the corner, where normally the bike was strongest. He had no confidence in the rear, the rear tire was spinning, and he couldn’t open the gas when he wanted to. Where he was losing most was in braking, Lorenzo said, a complaint which all of the Yamaha riders have been making all year.

A return to the set up used during the winter test at the Sepang track was out of the question, Lorenzo had been told, as the bike was too different from then, having a new frame, swingarm and engine. Back in February, Lorenzo had been just a few tenths of Pedrosa, rather than a complete second.

While the Hondas were expected to dominate in MotoGP, to see so many Hondas at the front in the Moto3 class was a surprise. You would expect that the superior horsepower of the KTMs would be an advantage along Sepang’s two long straights, but Jack Miller and Alexis Masbou managed to put their FTR Hondas in the top three in both morning and afternoon sessions.

What was even more surprising was to see that Masbou was in the first sector containing the front straight, and Miller was fastest in the final sector containing the back straight and the first half of the front straight.

In horsepower territory, the KTMs were nowhere, leaving even Jack Miller looking nonplussed when he was asked about that by MotoGP.com. Whether the FTRs will still be ahead come Sunday remains to be seen. Despite the excellent showing by both the FTRs and the Mahindras, it was still Maverick Viñales who ended the day as fastest overall on the Team Calvo KTM.

In the Moto2 class, Tito Rabat is a man unchained. The Pons rider was fastest in both sessions of practice, but what impressed more than his raw speed was the race pace he was showing.

In the afternoon, Rabat came out and posted a string of laps in the 2’07s and 2’08s reminiscent of the clockwork consistency of Jorge Lorenzo when the 2012 MotoGP champion is in the zone. Right now, it’s hard to see anyone getting near Rabat, his advantage over the rest of the field over seven tenths of a second.

Behind Rabat, the best rivalry in motorcycle racing at the moment continues unabated. After struggling in the morning, Scott Redding used a new set of tires to put himself ahead of Pol Espargaro. Redding is sticking to his strategy of piling on the pressure on Espargaro during practice, always ensuring he is ahead when the flag drops.

Even in terms of race pace, Redding appears to have the measure of Espargaro, though there is little to choose between them. Whoever happens to be leading the Moto2 race on Sunday, the real battle will be wherever the numbers 40 and 45 are.

The big question mark appears to be the weather, but the prospects are improving as the weekend progresses. Qualifying is likely to happen on a wet track, with rain forecast for the afternoon, but conditions for Sunday look better with every passing day.

Three dry races at Sepang would be just what the series needs, and with record crowds expected on Sunday, exactly what the passionate Malaysian fans deserve. With Hafizh Syahrin, 4th in last year’s race, once again inside the top fifteen, the local crowd could have plenty to cheer about.

Source: MCN, GPone (x2, x3), & Crash.net; Photo: Repsol Media

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

Comment:

  1. JW says:

    Good luck Dani, really good luck, you deserve this race!

  2. mark says:

    I hope Dani is mad,,,,,I think that may help light the fire that has been missing.
    Also he is basically out of the title hunt now so us relaxed.

    In fact go play bumper bikes with marc now.Lets see how marc likes being a berm for a change
    Would love to see it myself

  3. smiler says:

    Apparently not. He qualified in 5th. Might be an interesting race this time. With the 3 Spaniards split up.

  4. TexusTim says:

    I hope it rains..I hope that marquez and lorenzo go off in low sides, I hope rossi,dani and crutchlow get the podium…this is what dani needs right now.. I think he would have won at aragon so my request to the race gods for tomarrow’s outcome is only fair……ok?