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.

Question Marks for MotoGP in America for 2011

08/02/2010 @ 12:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Question Marks for MotoGP in America for 2011 Red Bull US GP Laguna Seca 635x425

Rumors have been swelling for the past few months about the state of MotoGP in the United States, as both Laguna Seca and Indianapolis Motor Speedway were up for contract renewal with Dorna and the FIM. Laguna Seca has always been the more popular American venue for MotoGP, and during the Red Bull US GP stop, the famous Californian track and the premiere motorcycle series again solidified their relationship, extending the GP’s presence at Laguna Seca into 2014. But what fate bestills IMS and the timing of the US GP weekends after 2010?

While there was little doubt that Laguna Seca would see its contract lapse with MotoGP (although there were some nay-sayers), there is widespread speculation that Indy may be dropped from the 2011 MotoGP calendar. Tracks like Miller Motorsports Park, which is already playing host to World Superbike & FIM, and New Jeresy Motorsports Park, which was made with premiere racing in-mind, are only a couple of suitable replacements available to MotoGP.

While we wait for confirmation that MotoGP will renew with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, intrigue over the 2011 calendar regarding MotoGP’s stops in the United States has also heightened. As it stands now, MotoGP comes to the US for Laguna Seca, takes a two week break, then travels to Brno, takes another two week break, and comes back to the US for Indianapolis. With the massive logistics nightmare involved in transporting a small town across the Atlantic Ocean and back two times in one month, Dorna is hoping to cut costs by possibly having the US rounds be back-to-back.

There are some drawbacks to having both US GP’s occurring in the same month, with an issue of novelty perhaps being the largest concern. While from a logistics point-of-view having both US races next to each other on the calendar helps lower costs, it’s likely to cause direct competition between the venues, and the cannibalization of ticket sales.

The last bit of rumor for the US GP’s is the inclusion of the MotoGP’s traditional support races at Laguna Seca: 125GP (or Moto3) and Moto2. Currently Laguna Seca is supported by the AMA Pro Racing superbike races, but Dorna hopes to bring the full GP racing gamut to the Californian track. The addition of these teams and gear is perhaps the leading cause for wanting to have the US GP’s be back-to-back on the MotoGP calendar, as bringing that much gear across the Atlantic twice in a month is extremely expensive. While there’s been no mention of the AMA getting bumped by the other GP classes, it wouldn’t surprise us terribly to see these classes make their Californian debut in the future.

Obviously there are still a lot of “if’s” and question marks for both series. As the Indianapolis GP approaches us in four weeks time, some of the answers will come to fruition, while we’ll be left to speculate on some of the others. As always, time will tell.

Source: MotoMatters & MCN


  1. KK says:

    BRING IT TO NJMP!!! that would amazing….

    although the track still needs safety upgrades to make it more suitable for motorcycle racing

  2. emd says:

    Laguna & Jersey… How would that even come close to competing?… Miller well yes it would

  3. augsxr750 says:

    Having attended the last two USGPs at Indy, I would hate to see it go. Sure it isn’t the greatest venue for bikes but they are well equipped to handle the crowd (which is going to look small on TV no matter what, that place is HUGE). I can see how the costs and operation create a logistical nightmare though. The other venues mentioned in the article (other than Miller) do not seem like GP type venues. New Jersey does have a large, concentrated population around it and would for sure draw a crowd, but that place needs a lot of work.

  4. Given the attempts by MotoGP to cut costs I could not believe the two US rounds of 2010 were not 2 or 3 weeks apart with maybe some testing and rider appearances/pr thrown in whilst the ‘show’ was in town. Staggering decision to move it all in and out twice!

  5. davinci78 says:

    Agreed Derek. Let’s give motogp more promotion here in the US. And some cable or satellite company NEEDS to buy the rights to rebroadcast, LIVE Eurosport for the races as I need to get me some Mooney and Ryder.

  6. Mark says:

    “Laguna Seca has always been the more popular American venue for MotoGP”
    What ???? Too bad the numbers don’t support your biased opinion. The Indy MotoGP in 2008 was attended by 91,000 on race day and 75,000 in 2009, both events threatened with rain.
    This past Laguna round, despite typically gorgeous Cali weather, scenery and women, and the addition of an AMA round for support could only muster 51,000.
    I can say with confidence that this years Indy MotoGP attendance figures will dwarf Laguna’s yet again. If Laguna Seca is the more “popular” American venue, more people would be attending. If any American MotoGP round should be in question, based on it’s popularity it should be Laguna.

  7. Yes, MotoGP at Indy was so popular in 2009 only 75% of the attendee’s came back to watch it the next year.

    In the MotoGP paddock, the Indianapolis GP is generally considered a failure, so it’s not too surprising that projections for the 2010 Indy GP put it at less tickets than Laguna Seca.

    Just because a lot of people show up for an inaugural event, doesn’t mean it’s popular.

  8. Micah says:

    Austin, Texas GP anyone? Construction on a Formula One facility breaks ground in December (fingers crossed) with a F1 race scheduled in 2012 (toes crossed). I hate to say it but I hope one of the U.S. GP’s gets dropped just for a chance see one in ATX. This is a pipe dream that I’m not yet willing to flush.

  9. Jake Fox says:

    Here’s the most important question. How much money does each venue make for its owners/investors? Is it Laguna Seca with its 51,000 ticket sales or Indy with its 75,000? Of course the Inaguaral IndyGP would have more ticket sales than the following year, it had the added hype of being the first. You need a larger data set than just two years of ticket sales to establish a legitimate trend. It doesn’t matter to MotoGP how many tickets are sold, they care about how much money they are getting from the venues. They race in Qatar for chrissakes!

  10. Craig says:

    The inagural GP was ruined by the remnants of hurricane Ike, which forced the cancellation of the 250′s…I’ve been to Indy twice (F1 and GP) and it’s rained both times. (So of course it’ll rain this year since I’m going). Perhaps the risk of bad weather is a factor? Monterey weather may be quirky but it doesn’t rain there in July. With apologies to the AMA, if Dorna runs the 125′s and Moto2 at Laguna, I wouldn’t need to go to Indy.

  11. Barry says:

    If the underclasses run at Laguna, I’m sure the attendance would mushroom. I spoke with Carmelo Ezpeleta’s son this year at Laguna who indicated a strong chance for all 3 classes to race in CA, if not in 2011, almost certainly in 2012.

  12. Dirty Twin says:

    Put the Moto Gp in Miller and it sells 35,000 tickets, everyone has to stay in Salt Lake, Tooele has no night life, not enough hotels, and 1 Denny’s! this year after WSB the sheriff
    decided to pull over only and every motorcycle leaving the race to check insurance, registration and licence… are you freakin kidding me??? put on your big boy underwear,
    buy a ticket to Indy and go to the only track that you can see virtually the whole circuit.
    I have been to both Indy Moto Gp’s, it is head and shoulders above Laguna, Indy doesn’t have $260.00 per night Super 8′s!, want to go to the flat track, $20.00 cab ride, cruise Meridian and look at bikes on Friday/Saturday night, sorry it won’t be the freak show you see at Cannery Row, but you will see 3 or 4 thousand bike’s and probably everything from Aprilia to Zundap.
    To say it was raining in Indy at both races, is like Kenny Roberts saying “I rode a 2 Stroke
    flat tracker a couple of times”. If you can’t get to Indy to see Moto Gp, then USA doesn’t deserve a round, it’s a $79.00 flight from just about anywhere in the country, rental cars can be had for $29.00 per day, it is only a $20.00 cab ride from down town to the track!, parking is cheap, plentiful and across the street from the grandstand, you can get a hotel room for under $185.00, come on motorcycle fans, buy a ticket and talk 2 of your buddies into splitting the hotel room, get to Indy and get a close up look at what Moto GP in the USA is all about!