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.

2013 World Superbike Provisional Calendar v.3

01/15/2013 @ 10:18 am, by David Emmett2 COMMENTS

2013 World Superbike Provisional Calendar v.3 Carlos Checa Miller Motorsport Park WSBK Scott Jones 635x422

The confusion surrounding the Indian round of World Superbikes looks close to being resolved. According to reports on the ever well-informed GPOne, the race at the Buddh International Circuit is to be rescheduled from 10th of March to the 17th of November, moving it from being the second race of the season to being the season finale.

The race had been facing a number of problems, including logistical and customs issues, casting doubt over whether the race could go ahead as scheduled in March. The customs issues – both the 15-day inspection period for technical equipment, and the temporary import duty charged – are not so much of a problem, according to GPOne.

The real issue, the site reports, is that the race organizers are not yet ready to put on the event. They do not have the organization in place to manage an event of this magnitude, and need a number of months to get everything arranged. The problem lies not with Buddh International Circuit itself, located not far from New Delhi, as the circuit has successfully organized two Formula One races already.

Moving the date from 10th of March to 17th of November does massively increase the cost of the round. Under the initial schedule, the bikes and equipment would have flown from Australia to New Delhi for the Indian round of World Superbikes, and then back to Europe for the continuation of the season from there. The additional cost of the stopover in India was trivial. Now, the equipment will have to be flown from Australia back to Europe in February, and then back out to India in November.

How the rescheduling of the round will affect the attendance remains to be seen. Whether having the race at the end of the year will increase the enthusiasm of the Indian fans, once they’ve had an entire season to follow the series, or whether the series will suffer as a result of the F1 race, scheduled for October 27th, three weeks before the WSBK round, hoovering up the budget of Indian motorsports fans will only become clear once the event has been held. It does, however, remain vital that World Superbike, and motorcycle racing in general, races in India, as one of the biggest and most promising growth markets for the motorcycle manufacturers.

The Indian round is not the only race facing difficulties. It is now certain that the World Superbike race scheduled for June 23rd will not be held at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic, though it is unknown where that race will now be held. The Brno circuit – owned by Karel Abraham Sr, father of Karel Abraham, and owner of the Cardion AB MotoGP team – plans to hold a round of a new Central European racing series on that date, according to the German-language website Speedweek.

The series, to be called CEMC, or Central Europe Motorcycle Championship, will feature two rounds at the Czech circuit, and hopes to stage other races in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia. It will feature Moto2, Moto3 and Superbike classes, with Karel Abraham Senior promising World Championship places to the winners of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.

World Superbikes is unlikely to make a return to Brno until 2015 at the earliest. With the loss of Jakub Smrz, Czech interest in the series has dropped, underlining the importance of local riders and a broad geographical base for both world championship series.

Elsewhere, the Portimao round of World Superbikes is still not certain to go ahead, being marked as subject to contract on the still provisional World Superbike calendar. The Portimao circuit has been on the verge of bankruptcy for some time now, with money from local authorities needed to be able to fund the Portuguese round of WSBK. But with the Portuguese economy still in such dire straits, using public funding to subsidize a relatively minor (by Portuguese standards) sport looks extremely unlikely.

Portimao’s problems are compounded by its location: where otherwise a World Championship motorcycle racing event could claim to bring more visitors to a location, Portimao lies on Portugal’s Algarve coast, already one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

2013 FIM World Superbike Championship Provisional Calendar (Updated: January 15, 2013)

DATECOUNTRYCIRCUITWSBKWSSSTK
24 FebruaryAustraliaPhillip IslandXX
14 AprilSpainAragonXXX
28 AprilThe NetherlandsAssenXXX
12 MayItalyMonzaXXX
26 MayUKDoningtonXX
9 JunePortugalPortimao (STC)XXX
23 JuneTBATBAXXX
30 JuneItalyImola (STC)XXX
21 JulyRussiaMoscow RacewayXX
4 AugustUKSilverstoneXXX
1 SeptemberGermanyNurburgringXXX
29 SeptemberUSALaguna SecaX
6 OctoberFranceMagny CoursXXX
20 OctoberSpainJerezXXX
17 NovemberIndiaBuddh CircuitXX

* TBA =To be announced
* STC = Subject to contract

Source: WSBK, GPOne, & Speedweek; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. jet057 says:

    Don’t see Texas on here,whatsup motogp ???

  2. Leo says:

    Ummm… It’s Superbike not Motogp