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.

Mixed Responses from Riders over Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Renewal with MotoGP

08/29/2010 @ 9:02 am, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Mixed Responses from Riders over Indianapolis Motor Speedways Renewal with MotoGP Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pagoda

In an announcement made before today’s Indianapolis GP, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway published that it will host MotoGP again next year, as Dorna has renewed The Brickyard with a one-year contract. This announcement puts an end to the immediate chatter that surrounded the MotoGP venue before this weekend, as it was speculated that IMS would not be returning to the MotoGP calendar for the 2011 season.

However the announcement also raises some more eyebrows, specifically because of the short renewal duration (Laguna Seca also renewed its contract with Dorna this year, but will host MotoGP through 2014), and also because of the growing pressure from riders regarding the track’s surface and format.

Perhaps most vocal of his opinion about the track’s condition is Casey Stoner. The Ducati rider missed last year’s Indianapolis GP, and says that there has been a significant degradation between Indy’s inaugural conditions and those from this weekend. One of the victim’s of the bumps in Turn 6, Stoner succintly believes that there’s, “a lot of the circuit they need to have a big think about.”

“It just seems that it’s not a world class circuit,” lamented Stoner. “Maybe the shape of it and everything can be, but the surface definitely isn’t. If you go for a walk to the top of that last corner, it looks like we’re going through someone’s garage. There’s concrete there, it’s not tarmac. Then all of a sudden there’s tarmac and there’s a big seam there. It doesn’t feel like it’s a grand prix circuit at all.”

“One of the bumpiest circuits I’ve ridden is Silverstone, and except for the fact that this is a shorter circuit, it’s rivaling pretty well. I mean it’s bad, some of the bumps….ask Ben, I’m sure he’ll tell yah,” continued Stoner. “He crashed where there are some really bad ones.”

Stoner isn’t alone in his sentiments, Riders have complained about bumps throughout the circuit (Randy de Puniet calls it his least favorite track), but the biggest problem spot has been Turn 6. Arranged like Charybdis and Scylla, riders have been losing the bike mid-corner because a large bump in the racing line upsets the torqued-over motorcycles.

“There’s a lot of bumps here,” says pole-sitter Ben Spies. “The one bump that has definitely caught a few people out, caught me out even though I knew it was there…It’s a tricky track.”

With Stoner saying that 70% of the track needs to be resurfaced, and issues like plastic drain covers being placed near the racing surface causing issues not only with traction, but catching knee pucks, the riders have found their voices not heard in the GP Safety Commission.

Defending his local track, Nicky Hayden offers some balance to the argument made by his teammate. “Is that why he (Stoner) was going so slow today?” quipped Hayden. “I mean 70% of our tracks…we could re-surface them all. If they want to re-surface it great, but I didn’t think it was that bad.” Hayden concedes that perhaps his flat-tracking background makes the rough and tumble circuit more suitable to his riding style.

MotoGP however is not without options in replacing Indianapolis on its schedule for 2012. Perhaps the most attractive venue on Dorna’s list is the soon-to-be built GP facility in Austin, Texas that Formula 1 will call home. It seems a rather handy coincidence that the contract with IMS will be up around the same time that Austin would be available to host the second round of the US GP. While the party’s intentions remain unconfirmed, there does seem to be at least some leverage for the rider’s to use in having the infield at Indy re-done.

Comment:

  1. joe says:

    I wonder if hayden’s opinion has changed?

  2. Mixed Responses from Riders over Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Renewal with MotoGP – http://aspha.lt/1bh #motorcycle

  3. Matt says:

    I thought I read somewhere that even the NASCAR contracts are only being done in one year terms – maybe it’s just the way IMS is doing their contracts now?

  4. Bryson says:

    Why did they go for a contract at all? It should have been fix the track an then we will talk….

  5. AB says:

    The surface is bumpy. It’s probably done by the lowest bidder… The same incompetence lead to the damages to the Michelin tires in 2006′s F1 race…

  6. KK says:

    they need to keep building up NJMP. I love the layout of that track and as long as they address some safety issues it could be a great stop and its great for the spectators.

  7. Craig says:

    Having been to Indy twice now I can say that I wouldn’t miss the IMS as a MotoGP venue. Non-Indy 500 events seem to be dogged by problems anyway. As you may recall in 2008 there was quite a ruckus after they diamond-ground the oval prior to the NASCAR race. And of course the 2005 F1 race was a total cluster. The 500 is always going to be #1 and I’m not sure the locals quite get motorcycle racing. The Indianapolis Star twice referred to Spies as the “AMA World Superbike champion.”

    The event is professionally run, but at the expense of fan-friendliness IMO. A purpose-built road course in Austin for F1 (and MotoGP) sounds appealing to me.