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.

Court Approves American Suzuki’s Chapter 11 Plan

03/04/2013 @ 2:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Court Approves American Suzuki’s Chapter 11 Plan 2008 Suzuki GSX R600 stripped 635x476

From the desk of the Honorable Scott C. Clarkson of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana, American Suzuki Motor Corporation’s plan for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has been approved. Overwhelmingly supported by the company’s creditors, American Suzuki can begin restructuring its business operations in the United States, which will include shutting down the company’s automotive endeavors.

In turn, American Suzuki’s new business focuses on the company’s motorcycle, ATV, marine, automotive parts divisions, and will consist of a new wholy-owned subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation. This new company will operate under in the United States under the new name: Suzuki Motor of America.

“Today’s confirmation is a significant milestone and is one of the last remaining steps in our realignment and restructuring process,” said M. Freddie Reiss, the American Suzuki’s Chief Restructuring Officer.

“During the next few weeks, we will take final steps to implement the Plan, which will allow the Company to sell its Motorcycles/ATV, Marine, Automotive parts and service divisions. This will promote the long-term growth of the Motorcycles/ATV and Marine divisions, as well as providing automotive parts and service through the dealer network.”

A copy of American Suzuki Motor Corporation’s restructuring plan is available at omnimgt.com.

Source: American Suzuki Motor Corporation

Comment:

  1. phs says:

    Is anyone else sick and tired of hearing stories like this?

  2. Hard to imagine a world without Suzuki motorcycles, which were so dominant for so long, but I suppose we could see it happen.

    Mergers, and the thinly disguised monopolies they are creating, are killing both the motorcycle and car business. When one company owns five or six different manufacturing names, they have a vested interest in not developing some of those divisions, in order to maintain control of market share and profits in others. And in in the name of increasing profits, they can undercut the quality control in one division, thereby manufacturing and inferior product, and not need to worry about the competition cutting into their sales, because they owned the competition and are intentionally retarding R&D and the natural progression of those products.

    This destructive self-defeating model is happening with Audi and Volkswagen right now. It’s an ugly ugly cycle that has killed not only companies but whole economies in the past. Unfortunately the corporate vermin responsible for this trend never picked up a history book in business school. All they see is the short money, and those big ended the year bonus checks.

  3. Aaron, if anything this bankruptcy is strengthening Suzuki’s stake in the motorcycle industry.

  4. L2C says:

    As far as I can tell, despite declining sales in some segments, the automotive industry is full steam ahead with technological innovation. This is a unique time in its history where it’s virtually impossible to buy a bad car. Sure, you can buy a POS *relatively* speaking, but the odds are that it will run and not develop any major problems. And this goes for nearly every manufacturer. Most customer complaints are about small niggly issues, and more and more customers are letting things like that slide since the overall reliability of their vehicles are at an all-time high.

    There is a *problem* with giants like Honda and Volkswagen producing *boring* unimaginative models to cater to consumers during the global recession, and buyers at the high end can still get the latest of whatever they want, this is true, but the tech going into those vehicles is anything but yesterday. Vehicles are the greenest that they’ve ever been, lots of R & D dollars are continuing to be poured into the technologies that make that possible. And even plain, old internal combustion innovation continues on unabated. AWD and four-wheel steering continues to improve, suspension, brakes, chassis, ECU, materials for engines and parts, you name it – really, there is no slowdown in the pace of development for this stuff. As a bonus, it’s all being researched, developed and designed with safety and low-impact to the environment in mind. Competition along these lines is fierce right now. I get the impression that the pace of innovation is increasing at an ever faster rate in this industry.

    In contrast, the pace of innovation in the motorcycle industry resembles a standstill. It’s obvious why this is so.

  5. CTK says:

    Yea, this is enabling Suzuki to focus

    Still though, I think they blew a huge opportunity. With their expertise in high performance motors they really could have made some special cars. Plus they seemed to make cars in a vacuum w/no regard for market demands. What did a Kizashi compete with? Who was the Grand Vitara’s primary customer? Why didn’t the US get the Swift? Why was there zero synergy between the automotive and motorcycle arms of Suzuki? How cool would a 9000 RPM 1.6L Swift have been? Etc.

    Anyways I hope now they can focus on the bikes and make some much needed upgrades. The GSX-R line is good but I do feel like they need to up the tech ante a bit. The GSX1250FA is solid but is a dinosaur next to the Z1000SX & FZ1- both of which are equally capable tourers while being significantly more powerful and damn near 100lb lighter. Gladius is a sad excuse for an SV. I think with the new GV250 they should make some 2 pot street bikes in 250cc increments. Bring back + update the GS500, upgrade the SV to a 750 and make it aggressive, and maybe top the range off with a TL style ~140HP 1000cc (or more) V-twin. Hayabusa needs to recapture the throne from the ZX14 and get a little high tech too. If Suzuki makes these upgrades they will be back on top. You have to think, Yamaha is coming out with their triples. Kawasaki just came out with a ton of great new bikes. Honda is stepping it up on the low end and I get the feeling they will revamp their sportbikes soon too. Suzuki will go from being 1 generation to 2 generations behind.

  6. L2C says:

    And let’s not forget that vehicles perform better than they used to. When you hear people bragging about how well their Twingos and Pandas perform, you know things are exceptionally good for car buyers right now. Folks can’t hype the new and relatively inexpensive Focus ST enough.

  7. RJJR says:

    All modern cars are boring, why even look at a new car? Buy a used one that you can trailer your bike to the track with, take the money you save and go ride. Focus, yeah, what an inspiration.

  8. Some of the commenters here sound like they’re quoting e-mails from automotive industry middle management that get sent out regularly to buck up the troops, give me a break. I worked in the car business for some time right out of high school, worked for Chrysler in the 90s, and that company is still the biggest scam going in the auto industry. Only Fiat would pull that soggy tird out of the toilet and try to serve it to their customers on a pretty plate as meatloaf in gravy. But since Fiat itself is the European equivalent of Chrysler I suppose they were made for each other.

    When I worked in the new car department at a Chrysler dealership I saw regular engine failures on the minivans and Jeeps. I remember Dodge and Chrysler engines from the 70s, many of them, like the 318ci, were bulletproof, still running and running well with over 200,000 miles on them without a rebuild or even an overhaul. Seen them run without oil for a week, and be virtually damage free. I saw brand-new V8′s from Chrysler they were putting in their Grand Cherokee’s in the early 90s, fail on the first test drive, throw rod bearings after 10 minutes of driving. That kind of negligent build quality is criminal. After Lee Iacocca turned Chrysler around in the 80s, the vultures moved in and picked the company’s bones clean undermining the design and quality control, than sat back and watched as Chrysler’s warranty system turned into a parasitic organism that sucked the equity out of the company, while they counted their money.

    Jeep had a pretty good line of vehicles until Chrysler got their hands on them and undermined reliability with inferior designs. The engine designs which were basic and solid under AMC, like their in-line six which was a very fine engine and capable of hi output performance, got replaced with V6 junk, obviously designed for failure by monkeys at Chrysler’s pathetic excuse for a design division back then. Now some 20 years later Chrysler continues to foist unsafe shoddy crap on the public. Seriously, if you want you and your family to die an early death, just buy a new Grand Cherokee and make an emergency maneuver going over 40 mph. Can you say irrecoverable loss of control leading to a catastrophic roll, I knew you could.

    Chrysler’s answer to design problems is to pay compromised testing organization and magazines to throw their products softballs which they pretend to hit out of the park. Fucking shameful. Only in environment of gutted regulation and bought and paid for weasels everywhere you look, can they continue to get away with this crap.

    I noticed somebody here mentioned the Ford focus ST, a pretty cool car… on paper. They seem to handle pretty good, and have a nice powerful engine, I was impressed by it. But just go start talking to owners of them in the UK and Europe, suddenly things don’t seem so great, typical Ford product.

    And as for technological advancement, yeah I guess if you’re 25 years old and don’t know anything about what’s been going on in the car business for the last 40 years, and swallow the corporate propaganda they feed their employees, you wouldn’t know anything about how technology has been intentionally suppressed in the US car business… FOREVER. That’s why they fired off everybody who’s over 35, to keep the new employees clueless. That kind of thing goes back to Henry Ford screwing his own kid who created the Edsall, and Preston Tucker who created a far safer, more powerful, better handling, better designed car in the late 40s, and was driven out of business by the big three. The technological advances discovered in the 40s that were built into those cars, didn’t get incorporated into the big three cars until the 60s.

    Things like all-wheel drive have been intentionally kept from the buying public in the US for some four decades now. I think it’s quite likely that GM got involved with Subaru in recent years with the specific intent of screwing up the entire division, in order to stave off having to offer all-wheel drive GM cars for another decade, while at the same time stealing Subaru’s designs, so that when the day comes that they finally have to offer AWD in their family cars they’ll at least have an efficient, if outdated at that point, AWD system to put in their cars. I do believe that was the plan, and that the people responsible for it are retired or will soon retire on their massive bonus money. Notice the Japanese snatched back Subaru when they figured out what was going on. I suppose seeing a new 300 hp WRX STI put in significantly slower 0 to 60 and quarter-mile times then the same car from a decade ago with 230hp, gave them some clue as to what the GM people were doing to their cars and engines.

    How many decades ago did Nissan come out with their Skyline that included things like an advanced all-wheel drive system, all-wheel steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and how long was it before US manufacturers started offering any of these things? It took decades just to get four-wheel disc brakes in US cars. And no US or European auto manufacturer has anything like Nissan’s advanced all-wheel drive and integrated computer-controlled suspension system found in their GT-R, and how many years has it been since that car came out? They haven’t even tried to produce a comparable vehicle, ask yourself why? For less than $100,000 you can buy a car that can not only compete with the very best million-dollar supercars, but beat them. Put another 100 grand into a GT-R, and it not only smokes a $5 million Lamborghini as well as every other supercar, and you can also use it as a daily driver to pick up the kids and get the groceries. A whole lot of auto execs around the world hate Nissan for releasing that car.

    Why do you think they fought for decades to prevent Nissan from importing the original Skyline to America? How many politicians do you think got greased regularly by GM, Ford, Chrysler to make sure that Corvette, Camaro and Mustang buyers never got a taste of what it’s like to drive a real performance car? A performance car that not only embarrasses their products, but is far safer to drive in virtually every weather condition and every road surface to be found on planet Earth. How many people died unnecessarily driving on wet, snow and ice covered roads in the US over the last 5 decades, because these car manufacturers spent hundreds of millions preventing modern technology from reaching the buying public in American cars?

    Simply put the people in the car business are the lowest forms of life on earth, far lower than those in the oil business, because there’s a lot more oil money to go around particularly at the top. I would equate the average auto execs with arms dealers and human traffickers in a moral equivalency comparison. Perhaps just a step above Mexican drug gang murderers, though maybe I’m being generous because Mexican drug gangs having been responsible for far far fewer deaths then these auto manufacturers.

    Sadly now these scumbags have been allowed to infect the motorcycle industry with their amoral business ethics, and this is what we get. Ask yourself, why would Suzuki allow its continuously successful motorcycle division to be tied to it’s always marginal car division in the West? Why?

    Yes yes bankruptcy is the new black, managed bankruptcies are just good business in today’s unregulated predatory capitalism pseudo-free market free-for-all, where entrepreneurs are not defined by what they create anymore, but by how many creditors they can swindle and then pass off that bad debt to taxpayers, who get the privilege bailing them out again and again, thanks to the Senators and Congressmen that they own. No reason to pay your bills or restructure the hard way with your own money, when you can get the suckers in the land of subverted democracy to do it for you with all those nice tax breaks designed into the bankruptcy laws for corporations. Then you and your parent company can start over from scratch unencumbered by the bills from your old creditors. Of course Suzuki’s creditors are happy with the deal because they know they’re going to get paid, the fix is in.

    Bin Laden and the Islamic fundamentalists started telling followers back in the 80s that the West is corrupted beyond redemption, and the numbers tend to back them up on that assertion.

  9. RJJR says:

    Thank you for that Mr. Brown.

  10. MikeD says:

    +1000 @ CTK’s comment.

    Why have they allowed themselves to be buried forehead deep when Kawasaki (one of the smallest of the Four) is trying so hard and perhaps doing ok-ish on this bad economic weather ?

    On my eyes, Kawi seems like the one in less pain of the Four…i could be SO WRONG but that’s what i’m seeing.

    @Brown:

    Believe it or not i always read your rants (be it facts, opinions or str8 up B.S) , most of the time u keep it interesting. (~_^)

  11. Tripps says:

    Hahaha wow….hmm

  12. Norm G. says:

    re: “As far as I can tell, despite declining sales in some segments, the automotive industry is full steam ahead with technological innovation.”

    nailed it.

    re: In contrast, the pace of innovation in the motorcycle industry resembles a standstill.”

    nailed it.

    re: “It’s obvious why this is so.”

    not so much. it’s only obvious for a VERY select few (that’d be you and i). in contrast, 99% of “fan-sumers” have yet to make the connection that the past decade of free lunch mentalities run amok is what’s now biting them in the azz here in 2012/2013. welcome to “cheapskate blowback”.

  13. Norm G. says:

    Q: “Ask yourself, why would Suzuki allow its continuously successful motorcycle division to be tied to it’s always marginal car division in the West? Why?

    A: i dunno, might it have something to do with the juggernaut successes that are honda and BMW…?

    the masses “consume” cars with reckless abandon often paying premiums to be “first on the block”. meanwhile bike world beggars are “consumed” with trying to figure out how to pay NOTHING for EVERYTHING.

  14. Norm G. says:

    Q: “why would Suzuki allow its continuously successful motorcycle division to be tied to it’s always marginal car division in the West?”

    A: i dunno, might it have something to do with the JUGGERNAUT successes that are honda and BMW…?

    i remember when an “econo-box” called a hyundia excel was first introduced to the american market. 25 years later and a constant influx of consumer cash (not hyundia’s cash mind you) and we have something called Genesis and Equus taking the fight to toyota’s Lexus. CASH RULES EVERYTHING…!