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.

Erik Buell Leaves Harley-Davidson for New Venture

11/20/2009 @ 5:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Erik Buell Leaves Harley Davidson for New Venture erik buell hard hat

Harley-Davidson, Inc. has just announced that Erik Buell, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of the soon to be closed Buell Motorcycle Company, will leave the company to establish Erik Buell Racing, an independent motorcycle race shop that will specialize in making 1125R-based racing motorcycles and parts.

UPDATE: Erik has made a video that explains his move to Erik Buell Racing further, and rehashes the information already available in Harley-Davidson’s press release.

Erik Buell Racing will specialize in supplying race-use-only Buell motorcycle parts, and will also offerrace preparation services for engines and motorcycles (presumably for Buell engines and motorcycles). Erik’s new venture will consist of the making and selling of Buell 1125R-based race-use-only motorcycles, which will are under license from Harley-Davidson. The company will also continue to provide technical support to Buell racers.

“I’m looking forward to helping Buell racers keep their bikes flying,” said Erik Buell. “We’ve got some exciting race development projects in the works and it will mean a lot to me personally to see Buell racers competing for wins and championships in the 2010 season and beyond.”

Echoing Buell’s enthusiasm, Buell President and COO Jon Flickinger also commented, “I’m pleased that Harley-Davidson is assisting Erik in establishing this business to continue supporting the racing efforts he has had so much passion for over the years. Harley-Davidson and the Buell Motorcycle Company will always be proud of their affiliation with Erik, and we wish him well in this new endeavor to support Buell racers.”

Erik Buell Racing will be based in East Troy, Wisconsin and will be staffed by Erik Buell and a veteran team of personnel.


  1. Joe Rosa says:

    Hopefully the next announcement willbe that Buell motorcycle company is being sold to Erik Buell and will continue on seperate from Harley Davidson.

  2. Keith Booe says:

    Hope he moves beyond just racing again. RT @Asphalt_Rubber Breaking: Erik Buell Leaves Harley-Davidson for New Venture

  3. PTO says:

    Like many American motorcycle enthusiasts, I’m glad to hear that we haven’t heard the end of Erik Buell, and that the author’s assertion in “Buell Builds Last Motorcycle Before Closing” that his name would never appear on another motorcycle was completely wrong. My next hope is that the future company will end the charade of racing 1125ccs against 600ccs and recover some of the respect they lost while doing so. I hope for great things in an American sportbike in my lifetime.

  4. i wonder if they’ll get the same treatment from AMA ;)

  5. Chris says:

    Way to go Erik, I knew he wouldn’t give up!

  6. Dave says:

    Will 1125 CR’s be supported as well in CCS Suntrust Moto, or other sanctioned events that currently includes XBRR’s and XB12R’s?
    How about the “Barracuda” concept bikes I have seen pictures of lately? I have put money down on a remaining BUELL….until now…..

    Lastly, Will racing only parts/ bike be purchased through current Buell dealers or will a new network or system be developed?

  7. mog says:

    As a CCS licensed racer, the only folks capable of getting parts for racing would be………… LICENSED racers.

    There is an object here that is a machine, built and INSURED as a RACE ONLY unit.

    Maybe later on, certain parts may be offered for general public. For now though, the liability issues of this being a street bike/parts would monetarily crush the fledgeling race company.

    Crawl, walk, run. I am turning blue, holding my breath that Buell Racing succeeds at this entry point.

  8. Marko Kuipers says:

    Good luck to you, Erik and your great new initiative! That the 2010 results for Buell racers may be spectacular!

  9. tim says:

    I was wondering to myself if Erik and the racing department might be a basis for a tilt at a Moto2 ride in the future? I dunno, it seems like it could be a good fit, and with two rounds of the MotoGP series in the US presently there is good exposure there…. pure speculation of course.

  10. D.Willan says:

    I’m glad Harleyis droping Buell. I hope Harley dose the right thing and sells eric his company back. If they do id gladly buy one, right now I would never buy one. In my mind Harley gives buell a bad name.

  11. Been riding Harleys since 1968, they are without doubt the best motorcycles on this planet.
    The very best Harleys have had Buell written on them; it is very depressing (to me at least) that Buell has been ditched, because the future needs this marriage between Harley and Buell.
    I don’t care much for racing, but the way that Erik grabs new technology and makes it his own is an exceptional gift, one that can only enrich the parent-company.
    I am a 500%-loyal Harley man after 5 decades of riding only Harleys…except for the ’98 S1 and ’02 X1 that I believe to be absolutely amazing bikes in the ‘real world’…safe, reliable, sexy, non-clone styling…I hope that Buell may get another life building H-D powered bikes. But then, that is only me…

  12. I have owned Buells since 1999, and have championed the brand thru my tenure working for a Harley Davidson dealer before starting my own venture. I have an 1125R in front of me and love it! One of the most playful bikes you will ever ride. Congratulations to Erik and we look forward to what is coming!

    Jason Cooley
    Gongshow Riderz

  13. Charles Haussman says:

    As a Harley owner I have come to the conclusion that the future of the Company must be based on more innovation. Eric Buell was the key factor. Harley sales will continue to slide unless they (Harley-Davidson) comes to the realization that selling expensive images with outdated engineering to a bunch of sheep (HOG) is not a long term strategy. Eric Buell was the future of Harley-Davidson. Wake up Harley, the world has changed big time!!!! I am disappointed with the leadership of Harley-Davidson. I know that I am not alone.

  14. Was greatly saddened to learn that HD was dropping Buell. Have been racing my 1997 S-3 Thunderbolt for the last 9 years (AHDRA & local vinues) looks like I’ll be retiring it after the 2010 season since it is a collectors item now. It has won me a few purses so it’s earned the right to be put on the back burner. Don’t know what I’ll be racing next year money’s tight and no one seems to want to step up … but things may change for the better. Good luck to Eric and thanks for helping me go fast by designing great bikes.

  15. josh haus says:

    Gotta say im glad to see it going in a racing direction and not closing the doors for good, that would be a sad day. im betting once this takes off we will see and brand new model of buell hit the streets again brought on by popular demand

  16. Bugsplatt says:

    Buell was Harley’s ticket to selling a motorcycle to someone less than 50 years old. They thoroughly bungled the whole thing by offering too many models and options for a fledgling motorcycle. They way over invested and expected far too much way too soon. Now they have nothing to offer other than 800 pound Hogs and a Sportster just for laughs. Look for Harley to be asking the Govt. for a handout to keep afloat in the future because their customer base has shrunk to nothing.

  17. Don says:

    I like Harley and i like Buell . What is Harley Davidson doing ?…. They say there broke !…., so they cancel Buell . Then they come out with Five new bikes ….. What is wrong with this picture ?….. I met a Buell owner thats more confused then Hank Hill at an Elton John concert and i do not blame him. Talk about stabbing a customer in the back . He said the Harley dealer said they have the XR1200 now : / . He said what dose that have to do with my Buell xb12ss , i feel for the guy . I hear a lot of rich guys are jumping ship and buying other brands. I hope the stock holders storm the board room with pitch forks and torches . Whats next ?….. when i walk in a (HD) dealer ship will they try to sell me the Harley Davidson BBQ grill ; / . Who would buy a motorcycle with no rear seat ?… Who are some of these bikes being made for ?….. Confused ,dazed , but i still can see straight .