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.

Harley-Davidson Turns Down $25 Million Tax Credit

11/15/2010 @ 8:56 am, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Turns Down $25 Million Tax Credit one dollar art by campbell

Two months ago when Harley-Davidson stuck an ultimatum to its union workers, the company asked for work force concessions while it threatend to move production out of its Tomahawk and Menomonee Falls. Hoping to help sway the vote and keep Harley put, the State of Wisconsin extended Harley-Davidson a $25 million tax incentive to help lure the company into keeping production at its Wisconsin facilities. While the unions eventually caved to Harley-Davidson’s will, the Bar & Shield company announced today that it will not be taking Wisconsin up on its offer for tax breaks.

With Wisconsin’s tax credits tied to Harley-Davidson’s employment levels, capital investments, and purchases from over 100 Wisconsin-based suppliers, Harley-Davidson would only receive the full tax credit if it met all of Wisconsin’s requirements. While the company does not plan to move its production outside of Wisconsin, Harley-Davidson is clearly still hedging its bets on its employment levels inside the state, and its overall long-term strategy with its workers.

The deal that Harley-Davidson brokered with its union workers left an out for the Milwaukee company to still move production outside of Wisconsin, only committing to the fact that if union workers did not agree to the labor concessions, the company would look elsewhere for its production and assembly. During that negotiation, Harley-Davidson made no guarantees that it would keep its Tomahawk and Menomonee Falls facilities open once the deal was done, which effectively meant the unions gained only time, and not security for its workers.

All of this comes just a week after Harley-Davidson announced that it would relocate its final assembly for motorcycles sold in the Indian market, a move which would allow Harley-Davidson to sidestep the country’s burdensome tariffs. Harley-Davidson is clearly now realizing that it cannot support its entire production needs inside of Wisconsin, and if the company is to continue moving forward, it will have remain operationally flexible in the future, something Wisconsin’s tax breaks would not have allowed.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


  1. Scooter2 says:

    Who cares? I am not interested in Harley Davidson’s outdated & overpriced motorcycles so they can build the dam things where ever they want. Besides, I would not look good in the standard Harley pirate outfit anyway. I am too young and I don’t have any tattoos, beer belly or pony tail.

  2. Hayabrusa says:

    I agree -who cares! Having H-D move production to India, China, etc., only cheaapens the brand, so if they are willing to tarnish their own image, more power to them! I’ll stick with my BMW.

  3. Willie says:

    Whatz a pig apologist gonna do now ?

    To an earlier Ed. post on HD’s future: again, there is no plan other than to play out the Hell’s Angels schtick in whatever market will fall for it.

    The stock is still dead money, below levels of 10 years ago.

    What’s the point of even following this story ? It can’t even generate a rant from posters anymore.

    Got any Triumph news ?

  4. Odie says:

    Oh, imagine what the Harley True Believers are gonna say to $20,000 1950′s tech POS bike made in INDIA. Maybe they should change the name to “Hardly Davidson”.
    What a joke.
    Regardless if EBR actually makes it as a company, Erik will be able to say “Well, at least people respect me”

  5. Odie says:

    Wait, doesn’t HD stand for Hard Drive? Who is this “Harley Davidson”? Isn’t that a clothing company?

  6. R1 owner says:

    Just like Scooter markets and sport-bike markets, the cruiser market will be around forever. The trouble is that the Japanese actually make a “better” bike. Harley has it’s followers and will only be around forever if they run there business right,, which is to say, scale down. They need to break away from the union because American Unions create an unnecessary high cost of doing business. They add an additional 10% operating cost compared to a union-less employee business. Unions helped bankrupt our American car companies. Ocean port unions have exclusively caused out of control shipping charges. Unions are Harley Davidsons biggest problem.

  7. irksome says:

    Yeah, blame the unions for HD’s (and GM, Chrysler, Ford) for being top-heavy companies that are glacier slow at responding to market changes. Blame the HD unions for paying tens of millions for MV and then selling it back (to the same guy they bought it from!) for a dollar. Blame the HD unions for having a product line heavy on models/initials but light on technology development. HD’s unions aren’t blameless but the problem lies in the board of directors, not the shop floor. Maybe they should hire the MV guy (instead of the blue jean guy). HE knows how to make a buck! … Oh and Willie (above); Triumph is STILL turning a profit and still getting MY business.

  8. Tom says:

    People who blame the unions are simply ignorant about the reality of doing business against the Western World. Japan has unions that are more powerful than any in the US as does Germany and Italy. yet, motorcycle (and car) manufacturers from these countries can make cars at a profit despite having powerful unions and higher taxes. How can this be? A major reason is health care costs. Yes conservatives, if you really want to help American business, you’d support universal healthcare. But, conservatives value their political ideology over what actually just works to help you win. They’d rather engage in an argument in order to feel righteous than do what works to outcompete foreign competitors.

  9. Willie says:

    Guess I was premature on the “can’t even generate a rant” thing.

    And Irksome, I LIKE Triumphs too. Even owned a few. Will probably try the Tiger 800.

    I’m an old guy (just got my 1st social security deposit) but I’ve long accepted that “tradition” can’t compete with
    new and improved in motomarketing. The seminal change in motorcycling may well have been initiated by the British bikes of half a century ago.

    The lesson to take from HD is age old: adapt or die. RIP HD. It was fun. At least back then.

  10. 76 says:

    Blame? if you want to place it look to the bloated bureaucracy that the United States business model has become. Once they were a success, then they where a bankable because of namesake, then the namesake alone would not do as others passed. Then they made things cheaper, then nobody wanted their POS. What is incredible is most of these companies have the best talent money can buy. Then the take that talent and say, your wrong, it does not match the previous business plan, or the last focus group they conducted, or simply the fact the VP’s kid dosent like red so in turn all of gen Y dosent like red. We spend more time figuring out how to make the work place equal & fair than we do focusing on the product…

    You know how many training classes I have had on ethics, culture, harassment, saftey in 2 years….
    You know how many classes I have had focused on making what I do actually better?

    You figure it out, unions are just an easy scapegoat, sure, not blameless but nothing close to the Lawyers and never ending wisdom guiding these companies with leaders made of straw and egos that can sink a ship.

  11. Jim says:

    It’s difficult see a business scenario in which HD remains an independent company short of the company becoming a rich man’s bauble in the manner of professional sports teams. The demographics of the HD buyer, the lack of investment in new product to broaden the base, the reality of the demographic challenges facing the entire MC industry in an economic environment that isn’t going to be robust soon, are all against it.

    Five years from HD will be a subsidiary of some corporate roll-up focusing on life-style brands, think of it as a modern AMF if you will. It will creak on making a small profit but the swagger will definitely be gone.

  12. Scooter says:

    Harley markets there crap to the 50′s and 60′s bikers who like to buy into the “lifestyle”. These people do not care about technology or they would not be riding an outdated motorcycle. They care more for the leather chaps, do-rags, and other Harley “stuff”. They like to “feel bad ass” by riding around making a lot of noise and looking tough in there Harley Village People outfits. If there was a nation wide helmet law and a nation wide noise ordinance then Harley would be out of business. Most of the Harley riders only buy the bike because they think it sounds cool with out a muffler. Maybe Harley can get the people in India to like pirate outfits too!!!!!!

  13. Rg says:

    R1 cracks me up with the sameole conservarant, so predictable.
    its always the guys that work the tools earning $30 an hour dragging a company down, never the upper management types paying themselves $5,000 an hour.
    whats your real name R1, Keith Wandell?

  14. Willie says:

    Who did the Money Skull graphic ?

  15. Westward says:

    Harley Davidson, ride American – made in India… LoL

    Blaming the unions for fighting for the the value of an american worker is down right evil in my opinion. Sure they can go to India and take advantage of their people. but then too they have some sort of universal healthcare.

    Maybe if we weren’t the only industrialised nation without it, the unions wouldn’t always have to fight for it with employers. Then the only battles would be working conditions, vacations, and termination disputes…

    BTW – Im not nor have ever been in a Union, its just my impressions as an outsider. Plus I don’t ride a Harley anyways, so like the others on here, I really don’t care…