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.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

2013 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Leaked on Twitter

09/20/2012 @ 3:37 pm, by David EmmettComments Off

2013 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Leaked on Twitter Sunday Misano San Marino GP MotoGP Scott Jones 121

The provisional MotoGP calendar has taken a little longer than normal to appear. An initial calendar had been expected at Brno in late August, but no calendar was forthcoming at the Czech Grand Prix.

The next rumored date for the calendar to be released was the weekend of the Misano round of MotoGP, but once the paddock assembled at Misano, it became apparent it would emerge a few days later – we where then told by an IRTA representative that the calendar would be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

On Tuesday, the Austin Statesman newspaper reported that the calendar would be out on Friday, but the excessive enthusiasm of Loris Capirossi saw the former racer and current MotoGP safety advisor leak the 2013 calendar on his Twitter page on Thursday night.

The calendar is largely the same as 2012, with one or two minor variations, and a couple of major question marks hanging over the early rounds. The championship kicks off in Qatar on March 31st, MotoGP having learned its lesson from starting late last year, when both the World Superbikes and Formula One seaons were already well underway.

The opening weekend will almost certainly be a four-day race event once again, and moving the race to late March increases the risk of the dew which settles on the track late in the evening making the surface treacherous around race time. Qatar always faces this difficulty: because the race is both the first race of the season and a night race, there is a constant struggle to find a weekend early enough in the year, yet without the risk of what the evening dew poses for the riders.

With Estoril now dropped from the calendar, the series will instead cross the Atlantic for the Argentinian and Texas Grand Prix. Both races are listed as to be confirmed, both for different reasons. The race in Argentina is under political threat, both from the Spanish goverment and from the Spanish oil giant Repsol, due to the forced nationalization of Repsol’s Argentinian subsdiary Repsol YPF. While this situation is not yet under control – and while work is still to be completed on the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit – then the Argentina race remains very much in doubt.

There are legal issues surrounding the Austin race as well, with the dispute continuing between Kevin Schwantz’ company 3FourTexasMGP and the ownership of the Circuit of the Americas, the track in Austin which is to host the race. The race is almost certain to go ahead, but an ugly and protracted legal battle looms over the rights to organize the race. The lawyers are likely to do well out of this.

The series then moves to Europe, for what many regard as the traditional opening of the MotoGP season, the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. The race is marked as subject to contract, with the situation surrounding the race still not clear. The city council of Jerez is very keen to see the race go ahead, but the regional authority for Andalucia is unsure they can afford to finance the race. A season without a race at Jerez is, for the moment, unthinkable.

After the inevitable sojourn at Le Mans, the series then heads to Italy for the Mugello round of MotoGP. After a gap of two years, the race is to return to the first weekend in June, a far better date for Mugello than early July. Crowd numbers have fallen since the dates were swapped, and though part of that is probably due to the economic crisis engulfing Europe, and having Valentino Rossi underperforming on the Ducati, another part is also due to the fact that the heat in July means the Italians prefer to spend their weekends at the beach rather than at the racetrack.

The Barcelona round follows, the race returning to the slot after Mugello once again, while the Dutch TT in Assen takes place on the last Saturday in June, as it has historically always done. Two weeks later, the series heads to Germany for the race at the Sachsenring, before flying west for the second of the three US rounds, the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. After a four week break, the final US round of MotoGP takes place at Indianapolis, the Indy round remaining on the calendar, as it is popular with fans, if not always with the riders.

The Indy round of MotoGP is the first of two three-race back-to-back weekends. From Indianapolis, the teams fly to Brno for the Czech Grand Prix a week later. Seven days after that, the three Grand Prix classes race at Silverstone, the British GP having been moved at the request of the circuit in an attempt to space out the three world championship races (Formula One, World Superbikes and MotoGP) hosted at the track. The paddock then heads to Misano two weeks later, and Aragon another fourteen days after that.

The second of the three-race back-to-backs follows, with the three flyaways in the Asian-Pacific region once again behind held on consecutive weekends. The order is altered for 2013, the series kicking off in Malaysia, then heading to Phillip Island in Australia, before ending the eastern tour at Motegi in Japan. The series then ends as usual at Valencia, which will the be followed a day later for the kickoff of the 2014 season with the traditional two-day test.

Though the calendar shown is a version which has been leaked, there is no doubting the authenticity of it. The first three weekends match the provisional test calendar which we were shown at Misano. That does not mean that this calendar is set in stone, however: the schedule is subject to be changed as soon as the Formula One calendar appears.

The draft 2013 F1 calendar is expected some time after the FIA World Motor Sports Council meets on September 28th, though given the proximity to that event, it seems safe to assume that MotoGP and WSBK have already held consultations on their respective calendars, to attempt to minimize clashes between the two series. Anyone wishing to book accommodation for race next year should ensure they are able to cancel it without charge, at least for a few more months until the calendar is finalized.

An FIM press release is expected tomorrow (Friday, 21st September), but that will only confirm the calendar leaked today. Below is the provisional MotoGP calendar for 2013:

DateGrand PrixCircuit
31 MarchQatar*Losail, Qatar
14 AprilTBCTBC (Argentina)
21 AprilTBCTBC (Austin, Texas)
5 MaySpain (STC)Jerez
19 MayFranceLe Mans
2 JuneItalyMugello
16 JuneCatalunyaBarcelona
29 JuneNetherlands**Assen
14 JulyGermanySachsenring
21 JulyUSA***Laguna Seca
18 AugustIndianapolisIndianapolis
25 AugustCzech RepublicBrno
01 SeptemberGreat BritainSilverstone
15 SeptemberSan Marino & Riviera di RiminiMisano Marco Simoncelli
29 SeptemberAragonMotorland Aragon
13 OctoberMalaysiaSepang
20 OctoberAustraliaPhillip Island
27 OctoberJapanMotegi
10 NovemberValenciaRicardo Tormo Valencia

* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
*** MotoGP Race Only
TBC – To Be Confirmed
STC – Subject To Contract

Order of TBC rounds uncertain. Paddock rumors suggest that the first of the two races will be in Argentina, with Texas following, but this is far from certain.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

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