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.

AGV, Please Make This Helmet!

01/31/2012 @ 12:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

AGV, Please Make This Helmet! Valentino Rossi AGV prototype helmet Sepang

In addition to testing the factory Ducati Desmosedici GP12 “Phoenix” this week at Sepang, Valentino Rossi is also trying out a new lid from AGV. Aside from the carbon fiber goodness, and of course the Rossi stickers (which add 5hp & $200), AGV’s prototype helmet sports a noticably pronounced rear spoiler. Tucked in behind the windscreen, it is obvious why the Italian helmet manufacturer designed such a large protrusion off the back of the prototype helmet, as it looks to be clearly helping the flow off the back of the helmet, across the rider’s hump, and down his backside.

Yes, that’s all well and good, but what has this writer really salivating is that reports from Malaysia say the windscreen’s field of view is HUGE. I think the exact words described to me were, “it’s like watching a flat screen TV with your nose against the monitor.” While I love my AGV AX-8 Dual Sport (I rocked it hard at the BRD RedShift SM prototype test), I just can’t get that same enthusiasm behind AGV’s road race line. Having ridden with both the AGV T2 and AGV GP-Tech, my biggest complaint is that the field of view on both these helmets feels restricted (a common complaint apparently from riders used to Arai’s helmet design).

From my own assessment of the problem, It seems the issue comes from AGV’s brow design. Noticeably thicker and lower than other brands’ designs, AGV’s road race helmets protrude out further from the rider’s face, and in my experience obstructs sighting fully through a turn. If the reports from Sepang are true, then AGV has adopted a new design with a much larger face shield area and field of vision that should eliminate this problem. An AGV for the rest of us, I really hope this design feature makes its way into an offering from the Italian helmet maker…and if it’s in carbon, so much the better.

AGV, Please Make This Helmet! Ducati Corse Sepang Test Valentino Rossi 04 635x423

Title Photo: Alex Briggs (Twitter); Second Photo: Ducati Corse

Comment:

  1. Keith says:

    I don’t race, but if I did I’d wear it. Seconded!

  2. TRL says:

    At one time I heard that the some of the 2005 Snell standard was based on an Australian bicycle helmet study in which most of the impacts were from flying over the bars and hitting the forehead, which lead to the decrease in the eye port….not as relevant for motorcycle accidents…dunno…

  3. 76 says:

    Looks awesome, I tried a AGV GPtech? maybe, actually was a rossi rep, the helmet for me was cutting my field of vision from the top when your head was even slightly down, a full tuck would only allow a sliver of viewable area, the brow of the helmet was extremely low, might work for some but not for me, always keeping my eyes open for new goodies to blow my money on and this looks like something pretty damm slick.

  4. johnc says:

    @ jensen: agv DOES make that helmet … it’s just that mere mortals are not allowed to purchase/own one yet ;-)

  5. Velofelo says:

    Look at AGV’s Italian website. They are developing this helmet now.

  6. SBPilot says:

    I tried on an AGV GP Tech, I thought vision was ok, I’ve been wearing strictly Shoei, current using an X-12. My main problem with the GP Tech is that it didn’t seem to fit my head very well. Either the pads were far too thick or just the helmet design wasn’t right. I was told for sizing it’s like other brands which is a Medium for me. I was bummed as I was set on an AGV, the price was substantially less than the Shoei and Arai’s at the time. This helmet does look great though!

  7. AGV has different pads for the inside if you need some adjustment on the fit.

  8. Minibull says:

    @SBPilot: Different head shape maybe? I thought Shoei’s were more “round” and AGV’s were “neutral”

  9. Jake Fox says:

    A wider field-of-view is always a good thing, road racing or not.

  10. ML says:

    I prefer the ‘brow’ on the GP Tech as I use it to shield the sun off my eyes during my commute. On my Arai Corsair V, I feel helpless in the presence of the sun. It just so happens that 80% of my commute is facing directly into the sun each freaking morning.

  11. 76 says:

    ML,
    For the street makes some sense, could probably tape/stripe the top of your visor off to wherever you want, it would look like a formula1 type visor/helmet which could look pretty sick, feeling for you though, sucks riding directly into a rising or setting sun, its always nice to see.

  12. Westward says:

    I have seen three different angled views of this helmet, and it makes the most sense yet, from any helmet designed for speed. It’s funny how to look at it, it seems so logical and simple, yet here is the first of it’s kind…

    I am a firm believer in AGV and have faith it their design prowess, since I was wearing one when a german gager (I mean the car) decided to eat my bike (blindsided from the rear) while I was on it and we (it & I) were on the FWY.

    My head hit asphalt several times (five that I recall), and not once did a feel the impacts on my cranium…

    People can talk about all the extraneous stuff about AGV helmets, but I know its designed function works, I owe my life to it…

  13. SBPilot says:

    @MinibullI heard the Arai and Shoei were quite neutral. I tried on an Arai Corsair V and it was the most comfortable helmet I ever put on but they are just too bloody expensive. The X12 fit slightly less comfortable. Like all companies I’m sure if the sales man wanted to make the AGV fit me he could have by letting me try different padding (as Jensen said). Having said that I never bothered to try different padding for my X12 either.

    I don’t wear lids for long since I only race, as long as I don’t get head ache and I have good vision (and what’s in my budget!) I also tried on an Airoh and the padding material they use is very…luxurious. Quite comfortable padding for my cheek, but that lid definitely squeezes the top of my head too much, not a padding issue. I think they work well for long narrow face types (like Dovi).

  14. SBPilot says:

    @Westward, I think many riders are in the same position as you. Whatever lid they happen to wear during their first head related fall they feel that lid company has saved them. It certainly is the case for me cause I went head first into a lamp post wearing my first ever lid (a Shoei), and now I automatically feel that Shoei makes lids that can save my life. I do not doubt their quality so if I can’t find anything else (I’m quite open to new brands) I’ll get a Shoei. I blacked out upon impact but only for a few seconds and stood back up pretty quick. I remember everything clearly. No head injuries.

  15. Lumengrid says:

    I love AVG lids, the design and graphics but i tried on several of them and none seems to fit me well :(

    As to safety SBPilot and Westward are right…I got a hard hit on my ICON in the back of it and it took it well (sadly it is on the shelf now as i really liked the looks of it) and as you can see from customer survior stories they helmets are build well i would definately recommend them for their safety.

  16. Steveo says:

    Love that lid. I agree decreased vision area is a problem. I wore a friends Arai and hated it, felt like I had blinders on

    Personally My wife and I both rock Shark Series helmets. Graphics can be a bit to be desired but fit and wind IMO are 2nd to none for under 350 Bucks. I should say I have a nice round face with a short chin and Shark fits me very well compared to other brands even with cheek Pads.

  17. Steveo says:

    Also cracked my coconut in a highside at about 45 and didn’t even leave a headache, its been long since retired

  18. Westward says:

    Budget is a huge factor for me too. Though I profess confidence in AGV, I currently sport a KBC. It was so dirt cheap I had to buy a few, as I really liked the graphics. The reality for me is, as long as it is ECE or DOT approved and even Snell, then I am fairly confident in its safety.

    But, what I also find key is, I also like the idea of being able to leave my lid resting on the bike without the fear of it being nicked…

    I don’t want to ever experience the dilemma of figuring out how to get home without a helmet. I have heard stories, don’t know if they are true, definitely don’t want to find out either…

  19. Westward says:

    I was told by a couple of different manufacturers, that they only make two or maybe three actual size helmets, and that the variations of say L, XL, XXL, or MD, SM, XS were simply a matter of the padding. This tends to cut the cost of manufacturing…

    So if I find a helmet I really like, not in my size, I will find out how many actual sizes they make, if it’s within my size range, I will just buy the appropriate pads…

  20. gebeme says:

    Anyone know of a helmet manufacturer/model that has a narrower chin bar? I mostly ride “standard” bikes (HD Sportster) so I am sitting upright. The chin bar on my, otherwise very nice, Shoei RF-1000 is thick enough that it blocks my downward vision. Not very important but kind of a nusance.

    I recentely saw a wicked awesome 70s Buco on ebay, that was what I wanted but it went for too much.

  21. Westward says:

    Look into Nolan Trilogy or X-Lite Crossover, and the Caberg Hyperx Mod…

    Personally, I lean more towards the Givi Xplus Comfort, it’s cool and futuristic…

  22. Minibull says:

    The thing I wonder about this new AGV is the rear spoiler bit. We cant see the back of the helmet, so we dont know how it is shaped, but riding on the road, upright might create a fair bit of turbulance at the back. No hump to channel the air over.
    Probably gunna look like the X-12…

  23. JoeD says:

    A nice looking lid. I used an AGV lid for a while with only one complaint–the houndstooth patterned vinyl/whatever on the neck roll split and cracked just as the old VW Beetle seats used to only sooner. Six months of use. AGV has made some really innovative products. Any one ever use the one that had the cooling bladder/heat pump feature? It worked quite well as long as there was air flowing across the heat sink. Blocking the Sun especially in winter when it is low in the sky has always been a bit of a challenge.

  24. philly Phil says:

    Forget the field of view…that’s all good n nice..But the issue i’ve always had with gear is that it impinges on ones ability to move freely. So take the average helmet, the back of the helmet is low. Therefore if and when and you tuck, the base of the rear of the helmet is pressing on the back on your neck…keeping your from raising your head as high as you would be if there rear of the helmet was higher.
    SO despite not having a rear pick of the helmet, I’m excited that there’s a possibility that the helmet’s rear is higher and more comfortable.