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.

Filippo Preziosi Resigns from Ducati

02/28/2013 @ 11:30 am, by Jensen Beeler29 COMMENTS

Filippo Preziosi Resigns from Ducati filippos preziosi motogp ducati corse scott jones 635x423

Formerly General Manager of Ducati Corse, and left largely to blame for the Italian company’s recent short-comings in the MotoGP Championship, Filippo Preziosi has resigned from Ducati Motor Holding, just ahead of his transition into the role of  Ducati’s Director of Research & Development.

Officially citing reasons of poor health for his departure, many following Preziosi’s situation will however see his resignation as the logical conclusion to a two-year debacle that saw Valentino Rossi noticeably unable to compete with the other factory riders, and go winless for the two years he was with the Italian manufacturer.

Working at Ducati for 19 years, 12 of which were with Ducati Corse, Preziosi’s legacy at the iconic brand has largely been marred by Ducati’s Rossi experiment. However, as that chapter fades from recent memory, we think the 45-year-old’s years of racing success and technological achievement will shine through on motorcycling’s history books.

Replaced at Ducati Corse by BMW’s Bernhard Gobmeier, Preziosi’s position as Ducati’s Director of R&D remains vacant. After an appropriate amount of time, we suspect Ducati will announce a new team member for that position.

Source: Ducati; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Adam K. says:

    Was it health related, or was it “health” related?

  2. phs says:

    Another blow to Ducati. Although Corse struggled the last couple of years, I am sure the new regime was going to rely on Filippo in some fashion to provide any input from his experiences with the Ducati. Will be very interesting to see if/where Filippo continues his career.

  3. proudAmerican says:

    I wonder if he’ll ever give an interview, or talk candidly about what really happened.

    Maybe Ducati wouldn’t cough-up enough money to truly fix the Desmosedici, and he did everything in his power to make do with the funds that his MotoGP project was given?

    I’m speculating of course, but it sounds like maybe he was the Fall Guy for the failure of Team Ducati/Rossi. Someone very public had to be held accountable for Rossi’s failure, and it sounds like Filippo was that target.

  4. Mike Lewis says:

    Great move for Ducati. Filippo was obviously a bright and talented guy. But the bikes — with one otherworldly exception — were not competitive. I think Burgess said it best when he said that Ducati spent way more time analyzing success than failure. This decision isn’t solely a Rossi react; Look at the line of riders who mostly failed on the bikes. Filippo believed engineers should trump riders. This notion might seem plausible when you have Stoner on the bike. The man can mask bike problems. (And remember, even he complained about the Duc a bunch.) Without Stoner, the bike’s lack of positive development and general competitiveness became obvious. The Italians weren’t going to fire the man. The new owners knew that the path forward was blocked until a different voice (and ears) came in. It was the right move — unless your goals are CTR-grade and celebrating 8th place rocks your boat.

  5. ZootCadillac says:

    He was moved sideways. Which was a nod to the huge respect that Ducati have for him They did not understand that it would not be enough for Fellipo. But then the alternative would have been outright dismissal at that time.

    Fellipo has given it a go. He’s not happy with the new position which despite the fancy title has not kept him close to the race development and he’s decided to go. It’s not sensible for Ducati to take a hit when their bikes are being battered on the track and so a financial incentive has been offered so that a media and investor friendly headline comes out of it.

    That’s my ‘opinion’ but, meh, what would I know?

  6. frod says:

    I admire Presiossi but the reality is that his formula never worked (even in the Stoner era), Stoner himself mentioned a couple of times how his input was ignored and he had to make the best of it.

    I really doubt they didn’t want to cough up the $$$, as they were investing livers and kidneys in getting a competition bike. I can see Bernhard Gobmeier in team meetings talking about how things needed to change and everybody at Ducati was like “Oh wait we don’t do things that way” the german said “wtf, I run the show here now, all of you mf get the hell out here”

    This is good for Ducati.

  7. bretts69 says:

    Filippo must feel aggrieved. To have Stoner step off the podium at Valencia 2010, only for Rossi to climb on the Ducati and be so, so slow …. and for 2 years remain in the same back marker position.

    It was clear that Rossi wasn’t giving it all, certainly not the same “giving it all” that Stoner used to ride the Ducati.

  8. Stevenk27 says:

    @bretts69, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. He had 2 years of next to no commitment from riders. Nicky is the only one thats really been riding the bike with any purpose and even then I think he is well past his prime. Stoner showed even to the end of his Ducati carreer that the bike was flawed but with commitment it was well capable of winning races. In the last 2 years the development on that Ducati has been erratic at best, I think they are on version 2.10.3.7A or something like that now.
    They should bin the Ducati MotoGP disaster and give the grid spots to Suzuki seeing as old Caramello bear won’t allow more spots on the grid.

  9. BBQdog says:

    I doubt if Filippo Preziosi ever had ‘cart blanche’ or even enough room to choose the right solutions.
    At that time Ducati was developing the Panigale. Marketing wise they could never have abandoned the frameless MotoGP concept because that would mean they would say themselves that the future Panigale would be crap.

  10. trojanhorse says:

    @Stevenk27, “next to no commitment from riders,” what an absurd and ridiculous statement! As if you knew anything about the commitment of any of the GP riders, they practically inhabit a different universe than you do and it is clear that you have zero idea of what is required to be one.

    Tell me, what would Rossi’s motivation have been to be less-than-commited? Did he not want to win on an Italian bike? Maybe he didn’t feel like he had anything to prove to Casey or Jorge? Or possibly, he just felt that the history of his career was too positive, and needed a big black mark to call his talent into question?

  11. Frod says:

    @trojanhorse, well said

  12. pooch says:

    Ya, you can’t question the commitment of Rossi, a man who came back from a compound fracture (that means snapped in two, if you dont know) in 6 weeks and finished *just* off the podium in his comeback race. That’s commitment.

    But think of commitment this way… Rossi had no ‘feel’ with the Ducati, and therefore didn’t want to take risks or hurt his leg/shoulder more by continually falling off the Ducati. Compared to Stoner, you can say that Rossi lacked commitment on the Ducati, to be willing to ride it hard and loose and how it needed to be rode to get to the front – for sure. I think that’s fair enough comment. The Ducati never lacked speed or power, it had loads, but it lacked cornering ability. If you look at Stoner’s superhuman, balls-out cornering ability – there lies the reason.

  13. Minibull says:

    @trojanhorse: Exactly. Whats more, thats not the point of the work the riders do. The riders shouldn’t have to push a bike so bloody hard all the time just to score mediocre results, while running the risk of crashing, like Stoner was doing.
    Imagine, trying to chase the elusive podium place, to then have a crash that wrecks the rest of the season for you. I’m sure that would really help any kind of development…sitting in the garage, watching from the pitlane…when you could be out trying your best in conjunction with the team to give good feedback and figure out the issues with the bike.

    Best of luck to Preziosi, we don’t know what it is that is causing the health problems (as it should be…), but it would be great to see him back in the motorcycle world in future.

  14. trojanhorse says:

    @pooch, I understand what you are saying. But the heart of the matter to me is that Rossi (as all top GP riders) is really, really excellent at quickly assessing and managing risks. How hard to push the motorcycle (and conversely how close to come to crashing) vs. the potential payoff of pushing hard at that moment. Like Minibull states, Rossi won’t risk a potentially season/career/life ending injury if he knows the best he can achieve is mediocre results from it. That’s not a lack of commitment but rather is skill and a ton of experience, and in fact any team manager worth his salt would want their top rider to have the same discernment.

    Maybe the initial comment touched a nerve with me. I am in “this world,” I personally received the e-mail from Preziosi announcing his retirement. In my mind armchair quarterbacks who call into question the commitment of riders risking their lives every time they line up on the starting grid, or who pass judgment on an entire GP program by saying they should just throw it away, need to seriously re-think their position.

    I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  15. BBQdog says:

    The difference between Rossi and Stoner on the Ducati is Stoner had just started his MotoGp carreer, was younger. Rossi had much more experience on MotoGP bikes, was already multiple world champion, just had a big injury. Rossi had more experience to compare bikes and know when and when it is not worth to take a risk.

  16. proudAmerican says:

    BBQdog–You forgot to add the obvious–Stoner is a better rider than Rossi. Period.

  17. L2C says:

    When Stoner wins eight world titles against his peers – at any given point in his lifetime – he can reasonably be considered a better rider than Rossi. Until then, he’s just one of the latest hard-ons for irrational fans.

    By any given measure, Rossi represents the best the modern era has ever known. He has spanked both Stoner and Lorenzo for world championships and answered Stoner’s 2007 championship directly with a championship of his own in 2008. When Stoner won for Honda in 2011 it was an answer to Lorenzo, not Rossi – and Lorenzo answered Stoner last year.

    Any bonehead can claim that because Stoner was the most animalistic on the Ducati, he is therefore better than the greatest champion in the modern era needs his/her head examined. Two championships against the new breed of go-fast riders versus seven championships against every type of world-class MotoGP rider of the past 20-30 years. Please, go see a doctor.

    Thing is, I am also a Stoner fan, but he is no god when I consider the totality of what Valentino Rossi has demonstrated throughout his long career, there is just not enough motor oil in the world available to cook the books enough in order to get the impression that Stoner is a better rider, great as he was. Long after Rossi has retired, he will still be the rider to beat. Belief is not necessary – this point is a knowable fact.

    Please, stop hijacking Ducati threads all over the web just to get your Stoner boners on. It’s irrational, irritating and disgusting. Really, it is.

  18. Ducman says:

    All well said , talent ,time and finance have to be right .

  19. BBQdog says:

    @proudAmerican: yeah, that’s why Rossi is 9 times worldchampion and Stoner ……

  20. proudAmerican says:

    LC2–I write one short sentence and you respond with five paragraphs. Who’s the hijacker??…

  21. MikeD says:

    Please, allow old MikeD to throw his share of fresh manure (opinion) towards the supersonic fan blades on this one.

    I think ROSSI is a PANZY compared to Stoner.
    And im happy the Duc gave him a much needed reality check and motorcycle performed prostate exam.

  22. MikeD says:

    Oh yeah, and on the main topic…(is so easy to get lost in the bickering)…

    I think the Preziosi guy just walked out on Ducati followed by his ego…don’t blame him at all…not because he’s “health” dictated so.
    Some guys love the heat of the kitchen even if they can’t cook for shit…(~_O)…and when his Chef hat and position was taken from him he just left…pretty transparent.

  23. pooch says:

    Hehe, well said MikeD.

    I love how Rossi fans spew forth the same lines about history and records, but the last two seasons must be a bitter pill for them to swallow. And it’s always amusing to note that Rossi fans are always, but always, more aggressive and emotional on forums than Stoner fans. Why ? Must be all that let-down of the last two seasons bubbling to the surface.

    Rossi is a great rider, a worthy champion. But I just don’t think he is in the same class as Stoner – sorry. Nothing will change my view of that ever. I’ve sat trackside and watched Rossi desperately trying to match Stoner’s pace around Phillip Island, with Rossi on his beloved M1. It was like watching a cat playing with a mouse.

    Rossi will only get a win this season if it’s wet, or someone falls. I just can’t see him matching the pace of Lorenzo or Pedrosa, and hell I think Rookie Marquez will dust him up too. Possibly Cal will beat him up as well. He has his work cutout for him this season.

    And yes I freely admit call me an armchair critic, a keyboard warrior, whatever! This is a website, of course there’s a peanut gallery. That’s why there’s comment sections after all :)

  24. L2C says:

    Stoner junkies want to rope me in. So be it.

    @ pooch

    The last six seasons record that Lorenzo, Rossi and Stoner have each won two championships. Tell me, how can it be determined which of the three riders was the most dominant during that period? The sole successful title defense. Rossi was the most dominant because he was the only rider to successfully defend his world title during that time. 2008 and 2009 belonged to Rossi. No rider among the three can claim to have done the same at any other point during those six years.

    Stoner did not repeat the title he won in 2007 on the Ducati, why? He was Ducati’s greatest rider, yes? So why didn’t the boy wonder repeat on the machine that only he could master? Did he actually master the Ducati, as you and others have said and implied? His failure to repeat on it begs the question because for sure it was either the rider or the machine – or both that came up short. If you say it was the bike, you know what you are going to have to concede. If you say it was the rider, you know what you are going to have to concede. If you say it was both, why are you even bothering to say anything?

    Stoner also didn’t successfully defend his 2011 title that he won with Honda. Last year, he made that ridiculous mistake at Sachsenring – risking 20 points to gain 5. Win it or bin it, I guess, but dude certainly binned that shit for no good reason – played the damn lotto and lost. Sure, Stoner suffered a major injury at Indy last season, but he was also in a major uphill battle at the time of the accident. But this is racing, no excuses. Injured or not, his performance last season counts.

    Was Stoner a great rider? Yes, I recognize this but historical facts bear out that he was not the best rider when compared to Rossi. I suppose a fans fervor counts for something on this issue, but in the case of Stoner not for very much. “Ducati, Ducati!” Now it’s Phillip Island.

    Obviously Stoner’s Phillip Island performance, whichever one, buzzed you quite well down below to come away with the conclusion that he is a better rider than Rossi. To be straightforward, that is just the type of thing that Stoner fans usually say. They always gush about some vague experience they had watching Stoner at one time or another – they never offer up anything concrete. And it is telling that you chose to point out Stoner’s mastery of his home circuit as proof that he’s better than Rossi. A very weak argument indeed.

    But Stoner’s your boy, I can understand that.

  25. frod says:

    OH god!…just when I thought this was over is just getting better 8-) I can’t wait what answer stoneer sissy fans are going to say now…oh wait..it’s over Vale = G.O.A.T

  26. MikeD says:

    You are mistaken, Mr.Yellow Panty Corps Commanders …..that’s OUR boy…ROTFLMAO…i was missing all this bashing around on the web.

  27. BBQdog says:

    Stoner is a very limited rider because in 125cc and 250cc he never performed well.

  28. david says:

    wow, such vitriol! maybe we should define some terms; rossi is definitely the more successful rider, but does that make the better rider? for comparison, agostini has won more races and championships than vale, but do you think he was a better rider?I don’t, I feel his level of equipment was greater and his opposition not as great; not that ago wasn’t great mind you. stoner’s performance on the duke vis-a- vis rossi shows he was the more versatile rider, or at least was willing to swing his balls a lot higher!:-)

  29. Norm G. says:

    i thought this article was about preziosi…? dude prolly got tired of all his 90 degree detractors.