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.

Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8

02/03/2010 @ 11:36 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8 2010 Yamaha FZ8 1 560x420

The announcement of the 2010 Yamaha FZ8 left many Americans confused as to why the Japanese company would release a 800cc version of it FZ1 naked streetbike. While Yamaha hasn’t confirmed the FZ8 will be coming to the US in 2010 (all the information to-date has come from Yamaha EU), abroad the battle in the 800cc middleweight slot has become increasingly contentious, and more importantly Yamaha’s presence there surprisingly non-existent.

The Associazione Nazionale Ciclo Motociclo Accessori (ANCMA), which is the Italian equivalent to our Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), has posted some interesting numbers on Italian bike sales. Taking a quick look at the Top 10 (in the Big 1o use of the number), we see three 800cc class motorcycles, and a handful of other bikes that you could consider alternatives to a middleweight naked bike. These bikes account for the fat-end of the tail in sales distribution, i.e. where manufacturers make the most money, but until recently this has been a market segment devoid of the tuning fork brand.

Unlike here in the USA, our European brothers have an inclination for the 750/800cc displacement size, and they are apparently selling very well abroad. There is little dispute that the BMW R1200GS has been the best selling motorcycle in the EU and in the world for some time now. The success of the GS in its various forms even prompted Ducati to chase the older and better monied adventure bike market with its 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200. But the GS’s dominance seems to be coming to a close, at least in Italy (although other countries in the EU are likely to show similar numbers), and we can already see the rise of the 750/800cc naked class.

Part of the factor is certainly taste, but also consider that insurance abroad isn’t the same as it is here in the US. We Americans pay a pittance compared to our friends across the pond, and the deviation among motorcycle models and premium payment isn’t great. However find yourself in Europe, and you’ll pay handsomely for that litre bike, and you’ll pay out the nose if it is classified as a “sport bike”.

Considering the cheap cost up-front, and much more down to Earth pricing on naked bikes of a smaller displacement, the 800cc market provides a good mixture of performance and affordability to European riders. For these reasons, it makes the introduction of Yamaha to this market segment a logical choice, and the FZ8 a sure fire hit in the EU, but also these same reasons make the introduction of the FZ8 into the American market unlikely.

Considering the comparatively lower sales of the Ducati Hypermotard 796 and BMW F800R in the US expected for 2010, and the relative affordability of bigger displacement motorcycles, the FZ8 just doesn’t make the same economic sense here in the States. Yamaha is clearly entering into a hot market for the EU, but it remains to be seen if we’ll see the FZ8 domestically. Time will tell on this one.

001BMWR 1200 GSEnduro202
002KAWASAKIZ 750Naked196
004DUCATIHYPERMOTARD 796Supermotard127
005BMWR 1200 GS ADVENTUREEnduro123
006HONDAXL 700 V TRANSALPEnduro118
008DUCATIM 696Naked112
011BMWF 800 RNaked93
012HONDACBR 1000 RRSportive88
014KTM250 EXC RACINGEnduro85
015HONDA ITALIACB 1000 RNaked82
019KTM125 EXCEnduro75
020BMWS 1000 RRSportive74
021BMWR 1200 RNaked72
022HUSQVARNASM 125Supermotard71
023SUZUKIDL 650 V-STROMEnduro70
024KTM300 EXCEnduro69
025KTMEXC 450Enduro67
026BMWF 800 GSEnduro66
027BETAEVO 2T 290Trial63
028SUZUKIGSR 600Naked58
033APRILIADORSODURO 750Supermotard47
034SUZUKIGSX-R 750Sportive46
035HONDACRE F 250R HMEnduro44
036KTM500 EXCEnduro44
038HONDAVFR 1200 FSportive41
039TRIUMPHTIGER 1050Turismo40
040YAMAHAXT 660 Z TENEREEnduro40
041APRILIARSV 4 1000 RSportive39
042BMWR 1200 RTTurismo38
043SUZUKIGSX-R 1000Sportive38
045HONDACBR 600 RRSportive37
046KAWASAKININJA 250RSportive37
049APRILIARS 125Sportive36
052YAMAHAFAZER 1000Naked36
054KTMEXC 400Enduro35
057KTM1000 SUPERMOTOSupermotard34
058YAMAHAWR 125 XSupermotard33
060BMWF 650 GS NEWEnduro29
061HUSQVARNASM 510Supermotard29
062HUSQVARNATE 450Enduro28
063SYMXS125-K M.Y.08Naked28
067DUCATIHYPERMOTARD 1100 EVOSupermotard26
069HUSQVARNATE 250Enduro25
070KTM990 ADVENTUREEnduro25
072YAMAHAWR 450Enduro25
073HUSQVARNATE 510Enduro24
074APRILIARSV 4 1000 FACTORYSportive23
075DUCATIMONSTER 1100Naked23
077KAWASAKIKLX 250 SEnduro23
080BETAALP 4.0Enduro21
083KAWASAKI1400 GTRTurismo21
084YAMAHAWR 250 FEnduro21
085BMWK 1300 RNaked20
087HUSABERGFE 450Enduro20
088KTM690 LC4Supermotard20
093HUSQVARNASM 610Supermotard19
094HUSQVARNAWRE 125Enduro19
095YAMAHAXVS 950 ACustom19
097DERBIGPR 125 RACING 4TSportive18
099HONDACRE F 450R HMEnduro18
100HONDA ITALIACBF 1000Naked18



  1. mafiax says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8 – #motorcycle

  2. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8

  3. John says:

    You say “Considering the comparatively lower sales of the Ducati Hypermotard 796 and BMW F800R in the US expected for 2010″, yet the F800R isn’t even offered in the US (neither is the F800S anymore, only the ST), unless you know something we don’t???

  4. Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8 – #motorcycle

  5. Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8: Considering the comparatively lower sales of the Ducati Hypermotard 7…

  6. Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8

  7. Pat says:

    Another non-offering from BMW is the K1300R:

    “BMW has no information on the future availability of the 2010 BMW K 1300 R in the United States. However, BMW is dreaming of exciting ways to tempt and please its special customers. We are designing and building models destined to propel BMW’s brand of power and style to a new level of riding pleasure. We suggest staying in touch with us through our website…”

    I was told by one sales rep at the NY International Motorcycle Show that this was due to the poor sales of the K1200R here in the states.

  8. Nick says:

    I think one of the more interesting items in the list is the number of S100RRs sold- almost as many as the RSV4 (both) + the 1198(both).