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.

MotoGP: Sacré Bleu During Racing at the French GP

05/15/2011 @ 9:34 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Sacré Bleu During Racing at the French GP Casey Stoner MotoGP French GP 635x421

To say that the French GP got off on the wrong foot might be the understatement of the season. Between the statements between riders about each other, and the Casey Stoner/Randy de Puniet punch incident, the pre-race antics were at a fever pitch in Le Mans. The off-track drama in MotoGP is clearly seeping into the on-track racing action, and accordingly the French GP was filled with several incidents that should give the pundits something to talk about for the coming three weeks before the Catalan GP.

Meanwhile qualifying showed that the Hondas ruled the roost, with the firm’s four factory supported bikes sitting in the top four spots on the starting grid. With Casey Stoner commencing from the pole position, Marco Simoncelli qualified just barely second to the Australian, while Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the front row.

Directly behind Stoner was Dani Pedrosa, who has had some tremendous starts from the second row in the past, and surely couldn’t be counted out of today’s race. Eyes were also on Randy de Puniet, who counted Le Mans as one of his least favorite circuits, despite it being in front of his home crowd.

Not to be uncounted with the Honda dominance, Jorge Lorenzo made his presence felt as the green flag waved for the start of the French GP, as the Spaniard mixed it up with the four Hondas, and took a fifth place position going into the first corner. With Pedrosa leading, Casey Stoner followed intently, with Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli in hot pursuit. Though the French GP had several moments that will be talked about in the coming weeks, the first happened on the second lap, as Simoncelli passed Dovi for third, leaving the Repsol Honda to fall prey to Jorge Lorenzo as well. Barging through the corner, the World Champion ironically dropped a move on Dovi that Lorenzo has criticized others in the past for making, yet no comment was made from Race Direction.

Meanwhile towards the end of the lap, Casey Stoner made a pass on Dani Pedrosa for the race lead, and the Australian never looked back. Though Stoner would have Pedrosa lurking on his tail for the next dozen laps, Stoner marinated some more secret sauce, and began gapping the Spaniard, effectively checking out from the racing action behind him.

Perhaps one of the best battles was for the 11th spot, with Hector Barbera, Toni Elias, Loris Capirossi, and Karel Abraham all mixing it up. Elias seemingly had the best stuff of the group, and rode a great race, before finally having a moment and losing all the ground he made on the other three riders. His result in the day’s standings certainly don’t justify the way he rode, which was refreshing to see from someone who was once such a promising star in MotoGP.

SuperSic moved into the third place position wit 25 laps to go, cleanly getting around Jorge Lorenzo, perhaps one of the most vocal riders of Simoncelli’s riding lately. Once free of the World Champion, it took Simoncelli 14 laps to catch Dani Pedrosa, and make his move on the pint-sized Spaniard. Passing him cleanly as well, Pedrosa answered back almost immediately, passing Simoncelli on the inside of the next turn. As both riders went to apex, Simoncelli made contact with Pedrosa, who had not fully passed by the Italian. The result saw Pedrosa crashing into the gravel trap, and grabbing his right shoulder (not the one that had previously been injured). He would learn later that he had sustained a broken collarbone.

In response to the incident, Race Direction levied Marco Simoncelli a ride through penalty for his illegal passing maneuver, essentially costing the Italian the podium with very little restitution once he came back to the pits. Pundits will have plenty to argue over in regards to whether Simoncelli a) deserved a penalty in the situation, b) if he deserved that harsh of a penalty, c) whether the penalty is a result of the other riders complaining about him earlier in the weekend, and d) why other riders making similar passes were not levied penalties like Simoncelli’s. We’ll let you decide in the comments which way you lean on this.

As for the rest of the race, the crash instantly put Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, and Valentino Rossi into podium contention, which didn’t bode well for the reigning World Champion. Watching both his former teammate, Valentino Rossi, and the Repsol Honda of Andrea Dovizioso squeak by him, Jorge Lorenzo had to satisfy himself with a fourth place finish. Meanwhile Dovi lurked behind Rossi, waiting to make his move.

Getting by The Doctor with three laps to go, Rossi answered on the penultimate turn before the final lap. His move wouldn’t stick though, as Dovi answered on the second apex, taking second place from Rossi and holding it through to the finish. Dovi was ecstatic after the race having beaten the G.O.A.T., and Rossi was equally pleased with his first podium on the Ducati Desmosedici.

Less emphatic was Randy de Puniet who crashed on the second lap. He would later be joined by teammate Loris Capirossi, as off-road excursions came in pairs this weekend. The Tech3 Yamaha team was not immune from this, as both Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards had falls, with both satellite Yamaha riders showing strong performances up until their crashes. Edwards would rejoin the field after fixing a broken footpeg, gaining a couple Championship points.

Racing comes in three weeks’ time, as MotoGP heads to Barcelona for the Catalan GP.

Race Results from MotoGP at the French GP in Le Mans, France:

Pos.No.RiderNationTeamBikeTime
127Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda-
24Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda TeamHonda+14.214
346Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+14.564
41Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+21.075
558Marco SIMONCELLIITASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+31.245
611Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+31.609
769Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+35.566
87Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNSan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+51.502
98Hector BARBERASPAMapfre Aspar Team MotoGPDucati+1’03.731
1017Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+1’03.885
1124Toni ELIASSPALCR Honda MotoGPHonda+1’04.068
1219Alvaro BAUTISTASPARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki+1’04.192
135Colin EDWARDSUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha2 Laps
Not Classified
65Loris CAPIROSSIITAPramac Racing TeamDucati7 Laps
26Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda11 Laps
35Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha22 Laps
14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPramac Racing TeamDucati27 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda

Comment:

  1. Ben says:

    Stoner was a class above all weekend and rode like that in the race.

    It looked like a mistake from Simoncelli, but after watching all the footage and hearing about his data (claiming his braking point was the same as previous laps) and the fact that pedrosa stood the bike up and crashed into sic shows it wasn’t simoncelli’s fault, also if sic got a penalty why didn’t Rossi at Jerez ?!

    Puig needs to pull his head in too claiming it has cost them the championship like it was the second last race of say 2006 when pedrosa took out Hayden….

    Regards
    Casey Stoner
    World Champion 2011

  2. 76 says:

    The Simo Pedrosa incident was unfortunate, never the less I really dont understand the explaination here. Simoncelli passed Pedrosa on the entrance of the last corner before the straight, he also exited that corner ahead of Perdrosa. It was the straight where Pedrosa took the inside line and passed bringing us to the entrance of the incident corner.

    To be fully honest, Simo could have done things differently, in my mind Pedrosa was going wide and possibly off track on his own, look how he screws up his turn in and braking, this was a direct result of taking the inside line in the attempt to pass and a bad drifting turn in becasue he was hot. Sucks that Simo got knocked again, hopefully he takes this with a grain of salt and keeps the heat on the front.

    Gu

  3. zipidachimp says:

    someone introduce simoncelli to H BARBERa ! lol!

  4. Minibull says:

    Simoncelli should have been given a time penalty rather than a ride through. At least it can then be taken off if an inquiry finds he wasnt at fault. Even so, as far as I’m concerned, Dani was in front down the straight and leading into the corner so it should be up to Marco to give way/make his way around. And yes, Rossi should have got a penalty for what he did to Stoner.
    And why has nothing been said regarding Lorenzo’s overtake on Dovi?? That was just as brutal as some of Simoncelli’s moves…

  5. Cpt.Slow says:

    Lets give everyone penalties!

  6. Daniel Croft says:

    Simoncelli was behind at the start of the corner, Pedrosa was inside and in front. The *only* reason Simoncelli was able to put his nose in front of Pedrosa into that corner was by taking a line that cut Pedrosa off and gave him no room. The mechanics of a motorcycle are such that when the front wheel is pushed in one direction, the bike goes the other way – it’s called counter steering – when Simoncelli first hit Pedrosa, Pedrosa’s bike stood itself up and then he hit the back of Simoncelli’s bike again more directly resulting in more countersteering and subsequent crash. Simoncelli also couldn’t make the corner.

    For me, I think that Simoncelli is reckless. They say that discretion is the better part of valor, Simoncelli has none and this is reflected in his championship standings and lack of results. He’s super fast but hasn’t yet taken control of his red mist and is making poor decisions and unnecessary mistakes.

    I support his ride through penalty, especially in light of Pedrosa’s injury. I think Simoncelli needs to learn that a pass on a subsequent lap or different place would have meant more points for him and a better result over all. His behavior shows poor planning and a lack of strategic thinking.

  7. Shaitan says:

    It’s like watching a bad reality show of whiny bitches. Grow up boys; you earn the big bucks, so act like it.

  8. 76 says:

    reality check, seems everyone is pointing out how serious this was esp because of the injury, newsflash everytime Pedrosa goes down this guy is snapping something, its like he is made of glass. Yeah he is tough as all hell, but has baby bones or something because please name a year where this hasnt happened? Pedrosa’s gonna win, big force look out , opps crashed broken collar bone out for 3, this is his story

  9. 76 says:

    My ruling
    1) Simo could have and should have left alittle more room but nothing illegal
    2) Pedrosa was Hot and out of line, about to run off on his own
    3) neither broke any rule
    4) Ride through penalty was due to politics not an actual Illegal Move
    5) Sucks for Simo but he will be back, Cat should be a track where he kills it

  10. Cpt.Slow says:

    ^+1

  11. DarN says:

    Anyone is watching GP 2? Passes like that are made on every lap…

  12. luke says:

    it was certainly entertaining…

  13. Mick says:

    Simoncelli: giant balls, tiny brain.

  14. 76 says:

    “if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing” Ayrton Senna

    I dont think Simoncelli is lacking in intelligence, its more less the experience to apply it as any young rider. Look at AMA, WSBK, BSB, Moto2 like someone said already the passing is cutthroat at times, its racing motorbikes, none of these guys go out there with a death wish, they go out to win, so with that please stop this insane notion motogp needs more rules and more penalties.

    I will tell you 2 things MotoGP needs, more riders, and 24 liters of fuel for each bike. Theres my new rules