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.

European Commission Could Be Considering 100HP Limit for Motorcycles

03/29/2010 @ 3:32 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

European Commission Could Be Considering 100HP Limit for Motorcycles French Police scooter

Several publications are reporting the possibility that the European Commission (EC) could be preparing to implement a European-wide limit of 100HP on motorcycles when the European executive power meets this summer. The issue arises after France instituted a 100HP ban on new motorcycles, causing the country to be out of line with the rest of European Union. France’s new law places an undue burden on manufacturers, who must now make a French variant for each new EU motorcycle model (or just not offer the bike in the French market all-together), and as such the EC aims to bring the EU under one policy.

This has created cause for alarm in the industry (or just in sensationalist journalists) who fear that the EC could place 100HP limits across the entire EU, along with other hindering provisions as well (mandatory ABS brakes seems to be the other main concern), in order to bring balance to the Union’s approach on motorcycles. If that sounds ridiculous to you, then you’re in the same boast as us. Considering how the EC and EU directives, regulations, and decisions actually operate, the real likelihood seems to be the possibility of France’s law being repealed, but that doesn’t mean activists have any less cause for alarm.

There are several examples one can pull from for legal precedent where the EC has found a member state’s own regulations to be in conflict with the equal application of trade and commerce within the European Union. These cases should give motorcycle proponents strong ammunition to avoid an EU-wide power limit, and could even override the French statute as a disruption to the free trade that occurs within EU member states.

However the issue at stake is an even larger bone of contention, as high-performance sport bikes ridden by steet hooligans have caused a backlash in Europe. Motorcyclists looking to show off, or who would rather not take it to the track have created attention to high-performance motorcycles, and not in a good way. There is a growing negative sentiment in Europe towards sport bikes, and this French law limiting horsepower is a prime example of that sentiment turning to action.

With all these factors coming into play, there is cause for concern that some EU-level decision to curtail these activities could be handed down, under the guise of making the streets and motorcycling itself safer. Should the EC concur with this general sentiment, changes could be instituted;  however we would expect a fight all the way to the European Court of Justice no matter what plan is instituted. While we believe the French law will almost certainly be repealed, it does signal a growing trend that the EC could adopt.

Source: Bikes in the Fast Lane, MCN , MotoRevue; Photo: ErrorTribune (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

Comment:

  1. Sen Heng says:

    Bikes in Japan are restricted to 100HP too, though it’s voluntarily done by the manufacturers so it DOESN’T get written in law. They still got screwed anyway by emissions and noise laws that get updated regularly. They probably just send JPN models over to France.

    The KTM RC8 is down to 105HP.
    The BMW S1000RR is at 156hp, though detuning that is just a matter of removing the rear winkers that deactivates something.

  2. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: European Commission Could Be Considering 100HP Limit for Motorcycles – http://bit.ly/bIQLsf #motorcycle

  3. walkingshadows says:

    1. We could make a similar question on supercars, that are so well-advertised and nobody worry about a 500-hp “kart” on the road.
    2. I find an “overall” hp-limit a little stupid, I prefer a power/weight(max load) proportion.
    3. The supposed “Sport bike” hate it’s a matter of people’s road-education and MEDIA image.
    The final judge is always the man who have the knife in the hand : he could kill or cut the bread for breakfast . … so we have to jail every man with knife ? or prohibit the cutting tools ?

  4. Jim says:

    The French 100 HP restriction is at least 20 years old and at some point I believe Germany had a similar limit though it was removed in the late 90′s.

  5. Gildas says:

    A few years back a friend of mine tested a restricted R1 in Spain… He said it was dangerous.

    In a normal R1 you have power increase with RPM in a steady (if not violent up in the RPM). In the restricted R1 he said it felt that the power had shifted down the RPM and that you found explosive power nearly everywhere. You con not doodle the bike anymore… The power was like a light switch. And if you tried to stay under the powerband, you were nearly stalling it. He said that driving it in the rain would be suicide.

    He found his unresticted R1 safer AND slower (unless he wanted his fix).

    My bigest bike so far was a Gagiva 125 Mito, so I can’t have an opinion on this.

    G

  6. Skip says:

    Next will be a ban on loud motorcycles. There are many cities in the U.S that are considering or in the process of a noise ordinance. The morons on the Harley’s with no mufflers have pissed off enough people that the city governments in many cities are finally reacting. This would be terrible for Harley Davidson. 90% of there sales are to the morons who only want one so they can pull the muffler off and ride with straight pipes. The 100 hp law would also be good for Harley as they do not make a bike with 100hp……………

  7. robin hood says:

    This proposal confirms how poor is the knowledge of the “super experts” spending (wasting?) time in the EU buildings.

    A simple example:
    an Honda Golgwing (weight 380 kg) even reduced to 100 cv but with an enormous torque (160nm in the actual version) is a lot safer and easier to ride than a lightweight Bimota or Ducati (or any japanese sport bike) weighting 190 kg and maybe only 90 hp.

    In other words I can do crazy things with 90 hp , or less, like the 50 hp of the bmw f 650.

    I can risk my life every day if I don’t use my brains. It all depends on road, traffic, weather and driver’s mental condition.

    Instead, just ban motorcycles, and why, not, cars, so the would be no road accident victims! Would’nt be wonderful?

  8. 100 hp? No problem. Just give me a bike that weighs 100 kilos. In fact, I’ll even loosen my regulations to allow bikes of up to 125 kg.

    But seriously, folks… As modern traction control (and ABS) is applied to road bikes, I suppose machines with 150+ hp gain a modicum of ‘rideability’ in street applications. That said, if you took a typical literbike (CBR, GSX-R, R1, ZX, etc) and really, properly redesigned the motor to produce a peak power of 100 hp — changed not just ECU settings and rev limits but compression, valve sizes (possibly even number of valves), cam profile and timing, tuned intakes and exhausts differently, etc… IF you built that bike, it would make a peak of 100hp, yes. It would also make 95hp anywhere from 1,500-15,000 rpm and it would be a riot to ride. 99% of all riders would have more fun and be faster on such a machine.

  9. gildas says:

    What would happen with this “fun” bike in commute and the rain? Or simply on a very twisty narrow mountain road (I mean Euro twisty, for me Mulholland is curvy, not twisty).

    G

  10. patron says:

    The point isnt whether or not bike w a 100hp would be just as, if not more fun than bigger bikes. Its about government removing your right to buy whatever you want and act like a responsible adult. Raise the fines to rediculous amounts for doubling the speed limit in a residential neighborhood, or doing wheelies in traffic. Have a zero tolerance attitude. Start repossessing the bikes of the people that have no regard for others safety and you will see a reduction in squid behavior. I could have a 300hp bike and that still wouldnt make me act like an idiot. My supermoto has 50hp and is more that enough to cause all sorts of trouble. HP reduction is not the answer. It’s a politicians quick appeasement of his constituents, and an elaborate way to flush money down the toilet.

  11. Ricardo says:

    Unbelievable!!!

    I´m really getting fed up with image we get, whether by the recklessness of few (very few, actually), power-driven hunger of some, or simple sheer ignorance of many!

    Why 100hp? Why on motorcycles?

    The implementation of this law in France brings to my mind the purpose of motorcycle clubs and associations.
    Did anyone react? Did they just let it be? Do we form motocycle groups just to get together and have a few beers and play around???

    I really hope people will wake up and fight these idiotic laws if the time comes!

  12. Leigh says:

    Hmmm, reminds me of the MotoGP shift from 990cc to 800cc engines – now remind me what happened there… Corner speed and lap times anyone? :P

    But yes, same trend here in Australia, especially with exhaust noise regulations. One state even implemented noise restrictions without notice, then prosecuted riders with legal pipes for not having a certification sticker fitted – which they had just introduced! Luckily, it got repealed after a lengthy court challenge. Ironically, the worst offenders here are also the middle-aged weekend Harley riders, not the sportsbike hoons (that’s another matter entirely).

  13. Jerome says:

    This is absolutely untrue !! The french law has been voted in the late 80s !! This is not a new one. Since then, bikes have been imported from all around the world with a way to restrict them to 100hp (78kw to be more precise) whether it’s a different injection mapping, exhaust system or even a way to prevent the injection bodies from fully operating.
    It has not prevented a lot of people out here from de-restricting the bike, no matter the legal issues they could face in case of an accident.
    We’ve been hearing rumors for years about the french law being dropped because it doesn’t follow the standardizing way of the EU to conceive laws, and because France was the only country where the 100hp restriction is mandatory on every single bike. (As for an exemple of how the UE is considering local laws, the UE claims the french motorcycle buyers are cheated because they cannot have the product as it is really)
    The 100hp limit still exists in Germany, Italy and Belgium, for instance, but it just allows the rider to pay less taxes when registering the bike.

    Last but not least, even with 100hp restriction, recent french road casualties figures show that the number of fatal accident is still rising for 2 wheel riders (and 2 wheels riders only as the figures for cars is still falling) years after years.
    See ? It’s not a matter of how much power you put in bike …

  14. Gildas says:

    In france the casualties are very often 125 scooters driven by airhead car drivers… I would see at least three smashed a week on my 50km commute in Paris… Crazy.

    And now they have found a flaw in the law that allows people with car permits to drive some 450cc scooters… With NO additional training.

    Maybe they should fix THAT before the rest.

  15. Jerome says:

    I’m 100% with you Gildas, but the road accident figures do not separate 125cc scooter riders from motorcycle riders who have a proper license and training.
    For them, we’re all just the same reckless riders

  16. Gildas says:

    It would be impopular, but all riders of bikes (scotters quads all) of more than 50cc should have have a license and training. Full stop. That should be the main factor.

    If you want, a 125 can make 40hp, then you can turbo it and get 60 to 80hp out… 125kilos… That’s safe. And if you bore it and intercool it to madness… Humm, that could be a fun project.

  17. Busaman says:

    I have heard you can get killed just by crossing the street. We should ban streets then, but not before we ban the cars, truck and busses that have done the killing. The morons that come up with these rules are just that. They can’t make it in the real world so they end up as politicians. As an example, Australia is busy trying to force the registration of knives after going after guns so as to ensure only criminals will have them, and I’m not sure when forks will be next. As with any electronic controls you can always find someone that’s hacked the ECU from some regulated bike or found a way around these dangerous restrictions. The trick is to ride responsibly no matter what horsepower you might have and to find the right (to read safe) spot to let loose. In France they like to tell you that if you get caught after modifying a regulated bike there are fines to pay. The reality is that if you get caught, then you probably did something to attract attention. The trick is not to get caught. I like my modified 200+HP Hayabusa and I intend to keep riding it for a long time. The few speeding tickets I did get came while riding my DR650 because I was obviously an easier catch.
    Just like the venerable NRA there’s power in numbers and bikers should unite to keep these politicians in check. I am confident French bikers will unite to stop these morons when the time comes as they did before when the same idiots tried to up the annual luxury tax on large bikes a few years ago and had to back off.

  18. Ricardo says:

    Agreed, Busaman!

  19. wow what a interesting post , its really helpful for us
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