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.

Video: Suzuki MotoGP Development Report, Part 1

01/02/2014 @ 11:58 am, by David Emmett17 COMMENTS

Video: Suzuki MotoGP Development Report, Part 1 suzuki motogp test 635x423

When Suzuki decided to move their return to MotoGP back a year, from 2014 to 2015, questions were raised over just how serious they are about actually coming back. The odds appear stacked against them: the bikes were some way off the pace, over 1.8 seconds at Misano.

Suzuki is still working with their Mitsubishi electronics unit, not yet having moved to the Magneti Marelli unit which is compulsory from 2014, and coming to MotoGP in 2015 would leave them just two seasons before a new set of regulations is to be introduced, likely to include a rev limit and compulsory spec software. Suzuki face an uphill task.

Despite the challenges, they seem determined to come back to motorcycle racing’s premier class. One sign of their intent is the launch of a new four-part video series on the progress made on the MotoGP project, the first video of which was released yesterday.

Though the video does not provide a huge amount of detail on their testing program, it does give a nice insight into the reality of testing in motorcycle racing: far away from the glamour of international circuits and thronging fans, a small group of people grind out the miles and spend their time pouring over data looking for improvement.

The most intriguing detail thrown up by the video is their justification for a return to the class. With the switch from a V4 to an inline four engine layout, Suzuki hopes to gain more data for their road bikes, including the GSX-R1000.

Why do this in MotoGP and not World Superbikes? WSBK limits the factory in how it can change chassis geometry and design, the rules dictating that the production chassis should be the starting point.

In MotoGP, engineers can experiment freely with chassis layouts, weight distribution, frame thickness, even modifying the positioning of the various gearbox and engine components with respect to each other, in pursuit of better balance and better mechnical grip. Suzuki’s MotoGP program appears to be aimed at improving the GSX-R 1000 as well.

Source: Suzuki Racing

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

Comment:

  1. Bill says:

    I hope they come back and do well. I also hope that trying to rein in costs does not destroy the prototype class. When you have too many rules in the way of new developments you get no development that would actually trickle down, just ways to break the rules.

  2. jet says:

    I love an Under Dog,I’ve alway’s ha a soft spot for the older street machine’s,good luck to the team..

  3. Stanford Crane says:

    Gee it reminds me of the Red Bull F1 development center, lol.

  4. Phil says:

    1.8 seconds off pace but don’t forget who they have testing it. They need a big name to really test its speed not RDP! He’s good and world class but not good enough to get podiums.

  5. Norm G. says:

    re: “Suzuki face an uphill task.”

    welcome to Everest, please keep all hands and legs inside the car till we reach the summit. thank you.

  6. Funnyman6869 says:

    The perfect scenario…….Ben Spies comes back to MOTOGP on a Suzuki……Reunited & it would feel so good.

  7. You’re crazy. I like you, but you’re crazy.

  8. damn says:

    Im with phil! RDP is totaly not the man too provide any usefull data or info. he’s to slow to provide vital info for improvement. if you can’t ride a bike as hard as needed for info you will only work backwards. Suzuki needs a rider like stoner, rossi(even if he’s not as fast as he used too be) dani, or dovi. hrc said dovi gave very good info for honda.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “I’m with Phil! RDP is totally not the man too provide any useful data or info. he’s to slow to provide vital info for improvement.”

    NATCORK. he’ll be fine.

  10. smiler says:

    Odd word to use – suspension, when it left MotoGP because it had not won a single race since the change from 500′s.

    Ad for Spies – should go back to AMA or WSBK. There is no way he will get a ride in MotoGP.

    Interesting that the effort to rejoin MotoGP is focused in improving the GSXR. Like Porsche rejoining Le Mans. Racing improvies the breed.
    personally I don’t thinkm they will do it but another manufacturer and De Puneiet back will make The Såpanish Championship less boring.

  11. Conrice says:

    Spies needs to stick to cycling and his small private business in Texas. He’s lost the drive and interest in motorcycle racing. Fans need to realize he wants do other things with his life. He owes the sport and us nothing.

    As for RDP – ehhh, we’ll see. I think he was a solid motogp Racer. We’ll see how the year off and testing goes for him. Hopefully he doesn’t lose too much speed with the down time.

    I’m pretty sure it was my eyes playing tricks on me (and I know they said I4), but I could have sworn I saw 5 exhaust pipes when they showed in between the fairings. I just hope the Suzuki is competitive next year.

    Maybe they’ll catch a break next year when Honda bows out (because of the Spec ECU rule) – sarcasm

  12. Scruby says:

    Maybe they can beat Ducati,maybe not,but that will be about it.

  13. sburns2421 says:

    Smiler, Chris Vermuelen won at Lemans on the Suzuki, 2007 IIRC.

    Otherwise I have trouble getting excited about this bike. Suzuki seems to always do it on the cheap and it shows. Their GSXR is ancient in sportbike years and marginally competitive (Laverty will have a long year in WSBK!). Why not spend the time developing the greatest production bike rather than flushing millions for a few points each race?

  14. Terry says:

    That test track does not look safe.

  15. Is it just me, or did that clip say absolutely nothing? Also, where do these script writers learn English, some of the language used was total rubbish! Other than that….it sounds O.K.

  16. Pete says:

    Suzuki should bring Bautista back into the fold. He’d be a proper test rider instead of RdP. Though, with a lucrative and competitive Gresinia Honda deal it’d be hard to lure him away. RdP has spent too many year developing the CRT which doesn’t seem a good match for a factory effort.

  17. Bisho says:

    I guess the next production gsxR,will be a rocket…………..well i hope so.Go SUZUKI!!!