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.

Video: BMW R1200GS vs. BMW HP4 on the Track

06/04/2013 @ 12:21 am, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Video: BMW R1200GS vs. BMW HP4 on the Track bmw r1200gs bmw hp4 almeria spain track video 635x423

I am just wrapping up my thoughts on the new liquid-cooled 2013 BMW R1200GS, but before I post up the ride review, I thought I would share this little gem of a video that BMW Motorrad USA showed us at the US media launch for the R1200GS. Filmed at the Circuito de Almería in Spain, a new BMW R1200GS gives chase to a BMW HP4, and interesting results ensue.

Now I’m not saying that the R1200GS is a more capable track bike than the HP4, a fast rider on any bike is still a fast rider, after all. But, you have to be impressed by the GS here, it certainly wasn’t losing any ground to the HP4 (except maybe on the straight). As for the the nitty gritty, the R1200GS rider clocked a sub-two-minute lap time, an entirely respectable time at the Spanish circuit, which sees WSBK-spec machines lap in the 1:35 range.

BMW Motorrad says the 2013 BMW R1200GS is like the Swiss Army knife of the motorcycle world, and with some on-track chops like this, we might just have to agree. For those that are wondering, it rides nice on the road and trails as well. Video after the jump, and look for the review this week.

Source: BMW Motorrad USA


  1. Jake F. says:

    Multistrada singing, “Anything you can do, I can do better!”
    See, this is why the decision is so hard!

  2. kww says:

    So where is there no R12S model again?

  3. Starmag says:

    Competent though it may be, after watching Ewan and Charlie burst their spleens picking theirs up a thousand times, for true off road adventure I’d rather have a XR, DR, or KLR than a GS. I’m sure it makes a great comfortable-riding-position street bike though. I’m aware the GS can go off-road, I just wouldn’t want to with it.

  4. Motobell says:

    I rented the top kitted 2013 R1200GS and the 2013 Multistrada GrandTurismo back to back swapping eith by buddy over 3 days across Italy, Switzerland and Monaco, French riviera loop of 1300kms – this was 3 weeks ago begore the monaco F1 gramd Prix. Yes got the ride the track as it was being built.

    Both bikes had the semi active dynamic suspension – the electronics and electronic suspension working together makes everything I have ridden feel like a flip phone versus this an iPhone. ( I currently own a Ducati Streetfighter S, 996, Monster900 and a FJR1300)

    I was left with few things:
    - These two bikes are easily the best two all round bikes in the world right now that despite my utter dislike for tall rounder bike concept – I have a short 30″ inseam
    - the BMW exceeded my expectation more – the multi performed like you expect a Ducati to, but the Beemer was a revelation in the twisties despite being on inferior rubber and larger front wheel. Never once did I wish I the had the other bike for this conditions I was in – we did everything in perfect dry to pouring rain, warm to cold, you get it – yes no dirt
    - what would the Beemer feel like with 17″ wheels up front and wider sport bike wheel at back? I will never go offload anyway
    - damn, if they can the Multi this good, I will take 3 bikes in 1 versus 4in1 attempt – drop the enduro mode give me a proper ST – lower the height, make better panniers that don’t have right side space eaten up by exhaust, add cruise control
    - me holding out for someone to build a proper sport touring bike to replace my FJR is pointless – I just buy one these and figure out effective way to lower by 1.5″ and another .5″ in seat – solo riding was no problem except backing up, lifting off of stand etc and I will not feel safe on either with my wife on back and fully loaded up pulling off to a side gravel road.

    If you have 32″ inseam plus go buy buy either the GS or the MultiGT – you will not miss your sport bikes on the road – they are both unbelievable – rate of progress in motorcycling is awesome.

  5. GM says:

    Sorry if I missed something, but was this supposed to be an actual race? If it was, I’m still not going to buy a GS and now I’m definitely not going to buy an HP4!

  6. FafPak says:

    Excellent! The less demand there is, the lower the markup will be since the HP4 are a limited production model. Spread the word GM, spread the word, not to buy!! >:)

  7. @Jake: Man, Tracy backing that Multistrada into the corner was just crazy good. Unreal.

    @kww: An R12S would be lovely! Classic lines with the upgraded boxer motor, USD fork and up-to-date rear suspension …. *swoon*

  8. paulus - Thailand says:

    It does not surprise me at all.
    ‘Practical’ Nakeds are almost as competent as their super-sports relations.
    Adventure bikes are equally as good in all but the extremes of track riding.
    i have ridden sand and dirt on my B-King.
    Hell, Nick Sanders toured the world on his new R1 (deserts also), just to prove a point…

    Most bikes are far more capable than believed.

  9. 2ndclass says:

    This is like Trackdays 101: never underestimate the bloke on the GS.

  10. mxs says:

    The GS guy was better rider or he simply knew the the particular track. You can easily see how he sets up correctly for turns and hugs the apexes …. nevertheless interesting revelation for some I am sure. It made me smile.

  11. Bill says:

    The HP4 was obliviously just a camera bike. But still really impressive stuff from the GS rider, reminds me of the YouTube vid with the guy on the Goldwing tearing it up on the Tail of the Dragon.

  12. Monkey Painter says:

    Those downshifts were disgusting.

  13. FafPak says:


    I thought it was always the guy on the 2-fiddy with the corner speed? :)

  14. INSULTING! *HP4 looks down contemptuously at GS, spits in its eye and kicks sand in its face*

    I could put my mother on the HP4, and you could put Mark Marquez on the GS, and it would still be a slaughter, with mommy having a beer at the pub with me, while Marquez is still chugging for the finish line. :D

  15. Norm G. says:

    re: “@GM
    Excellent! The less demand there is, the lower the markup will be since the HP4 are a limited production model.”

    hey, good luck with that.

  16. Norm G. says:

    re: “never underestimate the bloke on the GS.”

    more like never underestimate the bloke on a boxer.

    this was before a lot of your time, but some of you may remember there used to be a series a decade ago known as the boxer cup. it in fact was a support race to MotoGP. guys who used to run in that series as well as motorrad’s HP2 endurance team… ie. penzkofer (ret), cooper, kern, parriot etc, are still out there.

  17. Total unknowns such as Luca Cadalora and Randy Mamola have been known to ride around on boxers and dragging hard bits. :-D

  18. Len says:

    Maybe having a competent rider (or one that was trying) on the HP4 would help illustrate the differences in potential of these bikes.