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.

Does the 2013 Honda RC213V Have a 90° V4 Engine?

02/18/2013 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Does the 2013 Honda RC213V Have a 90° V4 Engine? 2013 Honda RC213V 90 degree V4

The internets are a buzz today with photos from the MotoGP test a Sepang, which seem to suggest that the 2013 Honda RC213V prototype race bike has a 90° V4 engine configuration. The news should certainly come as a surprise for many Ducatisti MotoGP fans, as Ducati Corse’s front-end woes have often been attributed by couch racers to the Italian company’s 90° V4 engine configuration. Seeing how dominant Honda has been at the pre-season testing in Malaysia though, one cannot help but admit that the cylinder configuration is not necessarily to blame for Ducati’s troubles.

Talking to Spanish magazine SoloMoto, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto explains that the 90° V4 engine has benefits over the company’s previous 75° engine configuration, namely that the 90° engine doesn’t require a balancing countershaft. Nakamoto-san further explains that because of the balancing shaft’s absence, Honda’s 90° V4 runs with more power, and less vibration that its 75° predecessor, making the engine a formidable enhancement to the RC213V platform.

There is strong reason to believe Honda has been running the RC213V in a 90° V4 engine configuration since the bike’s inception in 2012, which perhaps gives us some insight into the Casey Stoner’s wry smile and his reply that the engine wasn’t the problem with the Ducati, when he was asked about Ducati Corse’s troubles throughout the 2012 season.

The photos taken at Sepang show that the Honda V4 engine has been rotated rearward a great deal within its frame, which may be part of the reason why HRC is able to make the engine configuration work in MotoGP racing. However, the Ducati Desmosedici was rumored to get a similar treatment with its V4 in 2012, making one wonder what else lurks in the Ducati Corse MotoGP platform that is amiss.

Whatever the case may be, all of this bodes to be an interesting development, as Honda is getting closer to unveiling its production-racer version of the RC213V (expected at the Valencia end-of-the-season test) as well as its new premium-market V4 sport bike (expected sometime in 2014). Somewhere in Bologna, some motorcycle engineers are having trouble sleeping right now.

Source: SoloMoto; Photo: GPone


  1. ttxgpfan says:

    Seriously, is there anyone who knows more about 90 degree V4s than Honda? Sounds like they gave the narrower V4 a shot and it just didn’t seem to quite stand up to the tried and true. I wonder if the next VFR will go back to 90 degrees. For people to say that Ducati’s problems are the result of any one thing, is ludicrous. If it’d been that simple they’d have fixed it by now. The rearward tilt is interesting though. They messed up the RC45 with too far forward a tilt (the RVF750 worked right from what old articles have said). I’d love to know just what in modern geometry has caused the rearward tilt to become effective.

  2. TeeJay says:

    Honda slapped Ducati in the face. Again. :D

  3. L2C says:

    LOL! What a story…this qualifies as one of the big ones! Oh my goodness…

  4. David says:

    Look at that exhaust. Is that a work of art or what.

    Can’t you guys get them to remove the exhaust for a photo shoot?

    Along with some detailed build info.

    The F1 cars have amazing exhaust craftmanship also.

  5. Rich Melaun says:

    @ ttxgpfan – the crankshaft is by far the largest mass of the engine. Current tires and rider techniques favor a forward CG as this loads the tire which generates sufficient friction to get the tire up to temperature. The Ducati engine’s cylinders, being slanted into a more forward position, force the engine to be placed further back. This makes it difficult to get the tire up to temperature.

    One report I read stated that Casey Stoner would ride like the proverbial maniac on the first few laps to work the front tire to get its temperature into the working range. This bravado is said to be the reason for his success on the Ducati. The tires are *the* critical component when it comes to a decent lap time. Or so I’m told.

  6. ProudAmerican says:

    That picture (minus the engineer) would make a great porno centerfold!


  7. TexusTim says:

    honda veeeeee4mmmmm l want and need one….more than…anything. I mean that.

  8. dc4go says:

    Looks like a 90 to me!! there you go proof that a 90 degree v4 bike can turn, now Ducati get your head out of your A** and get it together.. Think now that Rossi is gone, and with a new management it will turn around for them. Ducati’s already testing new electronics, exhaust and frame mods @ Jerez and things are looking up. Really think not building their own frames isn’ the fastest way to get this done , hope im wrong though….

  9. GeddyT says:

    Second paragraph, Jensen, I think you had a bit of a brain fart. There is still a countershaft in that transmission, so I’m guessing you meant to type, “…because of the balance shaft’s absence.”

  10. CTK says:

    Somehow I forgot about Honda’s V4s. I think with this development it’s high time for them to bring back some V4 road bikes. Maybe even replace the CBR inline 4s with V4s. They could make a connection with the CBR1000RR and the new CBR500s by sharing (and obviously reworking) those heads.

    I still have faith in Ducati though. They just need time and money.

  11. All hail the 90° V4, which I think is the perfect choice for the new street bike line, but how do you fit a 1 L engine into those tiny frames and achieve the mass centralization necessary as well as the proper weight balance on and off the brakes?

    Of course Honda can do it, but can they do it and make it competitive, more importantly superior to the other bikes on the track? That is the question.

  12. tesla says:

    I loved the swirling exhaust! =))
    I wonder what sort of science lies beneath that design

  13. The loop in the exhaust is to equalize the tube length between front and rear cylinders, which creates consistent back pressure, simplifying tuning across the board.

  14. smiler says:

    That picture (minus the engineer) would make a great porno centerfold! and some scratch sniff as well.

    To be honest it looks like Honda doing another SP” on Ducati. To be fair Honda’s R&D racing dept is about the same size as Ducati’s entire company.

    if this is so why dont they just stick the Desmo L 4 back in the steel trellis & give that a try. At least the rider can understand the feedback, it is adjustable & Ducati will be where they know what they are doing.
    There is an aweful lot of stuff packed into a very small area on those bikes.

  15. Commentator says:

    Honda FTW!!!

  16. Schyler says:

    Somewhere in Borgo Panigale an italian engineer just jumped up and yelled “see I told you its not the problem!! How the hell does it work for them!?!” Now they just need to figure out the balance aspect of the bike.

  17. Jamon says:

    What is that thing on the front sprocket?

  18. Rich Melaun says:

    @ Jamon – that’s a rotating shaft torque sensor.

  19. david says:

    @jamon- referred to as a “torque-ducter” , they actually measure and adjust torque output in real time. this sophistication may be the difference between honda/yamaha and our friends at borgo-panigale, no?

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “The news should certainly come as a surprise for many Ducatisti MotoGP fans”

    in your dreams.

    re: “Ducati Corse’s front-end woes have often been attributed by couch racers to the Italian company’s 90° V4 engine configuration.”

    pfft, laymen.

  21. Norm G. says:

    Q: “I’d love to know just what in modern geometry has caused the rearward tilt to become effective.”

    A: just because you SEE a tilt, it doesn’t mean the tilt is the “silver bullet” (see entry for VR46 ducati). it just means you are putting all your proverbial eggs in the “tilt basket” at the expense of things you CAN’T see, for no other reason than you can’t see them.

    “What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes” – Harry Houdini

  22. Norm G. says:

    re: “Honda slapped Ducati in the face. Again.”

    more like imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  23. MikeD says:

    Schyler says:
    February 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM
    Somewhere in Borgo Panigale an italian engineer just jumped up and yelled “see I told you its not the problem!! How the hell does it work for them!?!” Now they just need to figure out the balance aspect of the bike.

    ROTFLMAO, THAT WAS BLOODY FUNNY……..thanks, i much needed a good laugh.