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.

KTM Considering 500cc & 800cc Motorcycles in India?

02/05/2014 @ 6:18 pm, by Aakash Desai11 COMMENTS

KTM Considering 500cc & 800cc Motorcycles in India? ktm lc8 v twin engine 635x635

Capital goes where capital flows, and it seems that India is turning out to be both a huge market expansion and production opportunity for many manufacturers.

As such Stefan Pierer, KTM’s President and CEO, says the Austrian company is considering manufacturing a 500cc and 800c parallel twin motorcycle on the subcontinent sometime in the next three years.

With the company’s 390cc offerings, the KTM 390 Duke & KTM RC390, already being manufactured there, it seems that KTM is considering upping the ante with larger displacement bikes that can both expand the market for such bikes in India and also be exported to established markets where such larger, heavier bikes are the norm.

While some of us have enjoyed the lightweight and torquey 690 Duke, its small tank capacity and annoying vibrations at highway speeds made it strictly a back road brawler. A smooth running parallel twin would be a welcome addition to the KTM lineup as long as the company can keep the power up and the weight down.

It is interesting how new production capacities open up new opportunities for products that would have otherwise been papered-over by historical market norms. So while American brand Harley-Davidson moves into India, Indian brand Hero moves out to the rest of the world.

This cultural cross-pollination is going to produce some interesting products and maybe even some perceptual changes in the riding populations across the world.



  1. eg says:

    never seen a company get watered down so fast

  2. This is terrific news. I have been eagerly awaiting the launch of DUKE 690 in India.

    But I will go for the RC 390 next year.

    A [Made in India] 800cc parallel twin would be a good upgrade.

  3. BBQdog says:

    As long as those 500cc’s don’t get as heavy as a Honda CBR 500 it’s OK by me ….

  4. SteveR says:

    I just spoke to KTM North America on the phone yesterday…. inquired about if or when the 390 Duke &/or RC390 would get here to the US…..
    That’s been our problem here for years…. while I can go down the road about 15 miles to a KTM dealer & buy a dirt bike, I cannot go anywhere to see a 690 duke, etc… & the 390′s are not even being imported…

    A KTM dealer said that KTM posts all this info on the web… but it just ain’t real… at least for the 390Duke/RC390 …

    I think they are missing/missed a golden sales opportunity with the 390′s here in the US….. once Honda, Yamaha, Triumph, etc…. produce smaller displacement, sub $8000 bikes ( & they already are – Yamaha triple, CBR300R), then in my opinion, the 390′s might not look so attractive….

    Oh well….

  5. Grey Matter says:

    Pretty sure HERO is already going to beat them at that game. They just released a 620cc parallel twin street fighter style bike there and it’s a deffinate strike against the KTM and Bajaj partnership.

  6. rt says:

    @Grey Matter HER0 hasnt released it. They just showcased it as a prototype. HERo isnt the company that will experiment with their production models. BTW I noticed that the author is new. From India I suppose.

  7. Grey Matter says:

    RT, You’re right but, the Hastur would hit KTM right where it counts if there were to release this bike but, it needs much more work to get it there.

  8. @rt,

    My parents and genes are from India. Don’t conflate being “from” a place with having ancestral ties to it.

  9. paulus says:

    @ eg
    It is not dilution, it is diversification. The emerging/expanding markets need locally produced, more affordable models.

    So it makes sense to make an Asian 500 and 800 model, to compete for the local Asian market.
    No reason to think weight/quality will be an issue. It will be whatever the brand decides is appropriate.
    CBR 500 is heavy and slow, because that is how it was designed. Honda’s latest 650 is a great step forward.
    BMW 800 is being produced in Thailand now, Ducati 7XX Monster, Diavel… all to great success. Good quality and international standards of performance.

    @ SteveR
    If KTM North America are not getting models, it is probably because of their own choices as to which models to market and when to import… You can get KTM 690/390′s just fine in other countries that want them.
    There are now probably companies making grey imports direct from India ;)

  10. Sean says:

    Hopefully they will do a clever design like BMW’s 800 – traditional counterbalancers don’t work any better on a parallel twin than they do on a single. They don’t control vibes well at high revs, and they add rattle. It’s ok if you keep the revs low, which is exactly what the Honda and Triumph parallel twins do. Even the BMW 800 has a low redline, compared to KTM and Ducati V-twins. For high revs, use a V twin, or follow Triump and MV to triples – counterbalancers work really well on triples.

  11. MikeD says:

    Honestly, KTM being KTM the first thought that lit on my head as reading the article’s title was:

    BABY LC8 !

    Then i read parallel twin and i’m like . . . MEH, oh well, it could be way worse. LOL.

    P.S: Today i heard for the first time a BMW I-2 800 at full swing passing a couple of cars . . . it sounded AWESOME.
    Still not CrossPlane, Aprilia V4 or Testa Stretta 1200 awesome but still pretty sweet for such an OBTUSE engine.