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.

Yamaha Motorcycle Sales Down 12.8% for 2012

02/25/2013 @ 1:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Yamaha Motorcycle Sales Down 12.8% for 2012 2008 yamaha yzf r1 cutaway 635x406

While for the most part 2012 was a growth year for the motorcycle industry, not all of the OEMs faired the storm equally. Posting a 5.4% sales loss in 2012 compared to 2011, Yamaha also saw a massive decrease in net profits last year.

Generating ¥1,276 billion 2011, Yamaha saw a 5.4% decrease in revenues, with sales totaling ¥1,207 billion in 2012. While units sales and sales revenue were down only a modest amount, net income was down a massive 72.2%, ¥7.5 billion (2012) vs. ¥27 billion (2011).

Breaking things down by market, North America accounted for 71,000 tw0-wheeler sales in 2012, which was a 9.8% increase from 64,000 units Yamaha sold in 2011. This sales boost helped Yamaha make a 14.4% net sales gain in the US, with ¥41.6 billion in sales revenue.

The gains in US motorcycles sales were lost globally though, with Yamaha unit sales collectively dropping 12.8% worldwide. Leading the decrease were sales in the European Union, which continues to struggle economically. Sales also dipped in the emerging markets, like Brazil, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which Yamaha also attributes to the economic difficulties from the EU and USA.

India and Thailand were the only major emerging market to buck the trend in 2012, though part of that analysis has to take into account that Thailand was literally underwater for parts of 2011.

Source: Yamaha (PDF)


  1. ted smart says:

    Yamaha refuses to sell their 125 or any suitable learner in Canada ensuring a new generation of riders will skip their marquee as a 1st purchase. The CBR125 is Honda’s best selling machine here and I suspect the new CB500 series will clinch it those riders choices for 2nd bike as well.

  2. L2C says:

    Ya think they’re happy to have the illustrious Valentino Rossi back within their ranks?

  3. Andrew says:

    I think that Rossi isn’t going to make a lot of difference to Yamaha’s sales until they start producing motorcycles that their customers want. BMW had very good year despite their complete absence from MotoGP, and Ducati had actually very strong year as well, despite Rossi’s performance on their machines which was anything but illustrious. In short, Rossi might be a charismatic rider but he is not a miracle worker – if you think that Rossi alone can reverse Yamaha’s fortunes, you are dreaming.

  4. BBQdog says:

    Seems like Yamaha is loosing it in the emerging 250cc class. No alternative to the Ninja 250 or the CBR 250 R.

  5. smiler says:

    Each Japanese company seems to have produced 1 or 2 great bikes through modern history. Honda the RC30 & Blade, Suzuki the GSXR 1000 (recent) and the R1. Other than that they seem unwilling to be adventurous and better at copying other established names. They upstaged the Bonny, made reliable cruiers, eventually decent sports bikes.
    There seems to be little innovation & trying to access new markets for the Japanese. Triumph, BMW, Ducati, KTM & Aprilia are all nibbling market share from the Japanese. Their usual advantage with quality now fading into the background. Even Ducati now have similar service intervals to the fast Jap bikes.
    To be honest after 30 years of domination, happy to see the Japanese (no offense to Japan) not doing that well. The offerings of the companies above are just better, more interesting & priced accordingly.
    About time the Europeans got their act together and they have. Even MV seem to have got the point now that to survive they need to sell bikes.

  6. aditya says:

    “There seems to be little innovation & trying to access new markets for the Japanese.”

    last i checked, the japanese (Well to be precise, yamaha and honda more or less exclusively) were the only ones really giving a damn about making and selling quality but affordable motorcycles in the new emerging markets (india, southeast asia and south america)..and i am not talking merely about simple commuter bikes for the local people that cant afford a CBR or a YZF-R…i mean smaller capacity versions of their flagship series (YZF-Rs, FZs, fazers, CBRs, CBFs) or related…none of the european companies except KTM (duke 200) have anything for these markets so far, except their ultra-costly 600s or 1000s that are really unsuitable for these markets..

    the japanese(yamaha and honda only. kawasaki and suzuki are comparatively non-existent in the smaller cc markets as well) havent been concentrating on the european market anymore, hence the lack of updated R1, R6 or CBR1000..they seem to be concentrating much more so somewhere else where the europeans effectively havent even arrived in any proper form.

  7. aditya says:

    the european companies have been nibbling the market share from the japanese only in europe (and maybe a little bit in north america?). not so much anywhere else really. and those “anywhere else” places are where most bikes get sold increasingly every year… for once it’s good the european manufacturers are able to overshadow the japanese more so than ever in their own markets.

  8. L2C says:


    It was question not a statement, nor was it serious. But since you brought it up, you’re delusional if you think that Rossi won’t have a positive impact on the fortunes of Yamaha. Notwithstanding bitterness over past events – it’s a good thing that Yamaha favors a healthier approach to racing and marketing matters.