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.

Ben Spies Talks About Leaving Yamaha

01/02/2013 @ 3:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

Ben Spies Talks About Leaving Yamaha Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Scott Jones 635x423

Today, Cycle World posted a great story by none other than MotoGP’s Ben Spies. Now out of his contractual obligations with Yamaha Racing, Spies can finally speak candidly about his 2012 season, and what was occurring behind close doors within the Yamaha factory team, as well as his contract negotiations within the MotoGP and World Superbike paddocks.

Some of the story we already know, like how a high-ranking Yamaha official told Ben Spies to give 100% or not show up, after the American was sidelined with food poisoning at Mugello. Spies also sheds light on the rumors about his switch back to WSBK, namely with the BMW Motorrad team. Discussing his interactions with HRC and Gresini Racing, Spies also sheds insight about how he ultimately landed in the Ducati Corse camp. Head over to Cycle World, the article is well-worth a read.

What you won’t get in the self-written article, is a clear explanation of all the misfortune and poor results that the American GP rider fell victim to last season. Certainly some of these results have obvious causes, but conspiracy theorists will be frustrated with Spies’s “there’s no way anybody could have planned all that or made it happen…it was just a lot of bad luck” explanation.

Offering only that his Yamaha M1 “wasn’t 100 percent” as well last season, Spies seems ready for next year and the challenges that await him at Ducati. The Texan seems pragmatic about the state of the Desmosedici, and what Ducati and Audi can do about the Italian company’s MotoGP racing program.

Now riding a bike that has dealt a death blow to a bevy of racing careers, 2013 will be an interesting year for Spies, and it will likely mark either the turning point or ending point for the American’s GP racing career. For his part, Spies seems excited about the road ahead. We wish him the best of luck.

Source: Cycle World; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. dagoof says:

    Good luck Ben. I hope this season works out much better for you.

  2. BenFaster says:

    Best article I’ve seen in awhile. It really will be fun to see if they can give Ben and Nicky something with enough feel to fight in the top 5. I would not bet a plug nickel on it – but I can always hope! Lets Get IT!

  3. Davey Gravy says:

    I’m no ‘pro road racer spotter’, but isn’t that a picture of Jorge?

  4. TexusTim says:

    Dave, thats spies yo……so I went and read the article, Im no pro bu I am a licensed road racer, and I have crashed a litre bike a time or two and just the statement were he talks about the seat and subframe makes no sence,,, you crash at practise you jump on the back up bike and Tom and team would go over the primary bike for any issues ? guess he and his team missed that… way that could happen sorry I know better than that hell you have to grab it to put it on the stand but beyond that a crashed primary bike that still has issues is rider and team responsability period.same with the swingarm at laguna,,,tom and team again did his team miss the crack in the swingarm ? I mean you have to put tire warmers on so they missed that too ? he left out the story about his facesheild being defective.
    sorry to be a downer but I get the food poisioning but really even that only goes so far after all he chose were to go and what to eat.. it all goes to show one thing IF THE RIDER ISNT FOCUSED AND ON HIS GAME HOW CAN YOU EXPECT THE TEAM TO BE ON SONG..? and all I have heard is excuses and his demeaner may seem humble in this interview but this is a man who welches on his debts to the degree that the judge said ben and his mom have systemicly not paid for contracts enter into and then find unresonable excuses not to pay…I think when the lawsuit settled(ben lost of course) yamaha picked up on that and his lack of focus…Ie: on the phone making deals for resturants like he had already won a championship or two or listening to music on headphones as if all is good with bike and team…if what he says is true he knew after the first race things were off…I belive I would have been more involved with my team and bike even to the point of cheking it out himself…I mean at what point dont you get more involved ?… if your allways on song maybe won a few more races
    the headphone isnt a big deal…but too take a factory ride and not be into the team just doesnt get it done….I AM GOING TO DO A ROSSI HERE AND PREDICT SPIES WILL NEVER WIN A MOTO GP RACE AGAIN

  5. Peter Geran says:

    Photo sure looks like Lorenzo

  6. HJC helmet, Monster Energy, facial hair…I can’t believe we’re having this discussion…

  7. bemer2six says:

    All I’m going to say is (after reading all this and what Ben had to say) lets see what happens when the RED lights go out in Qatar!!

  8. gabe says:

    haha Texustim blaming Spies for getting food poisoning…and predicting he will never win again (on a Ducati? of course he won’t!)

  9. Bruce says:

    @ TexasTim, still recovering from your New Year’s Eve party? Uh, speaking of focus.

    @ Jensen, sometimes it just feels like the Twilight Zone, eh? Or maybe a couple of hungover readers. Don’t worry, most of us know that it’s a photo of Ben Spies. Wow.

    Good luck to Ben. I’d enjoy seeing Ben and Nicky near the front this year.

  10. ALVIN says:

    Monster Energy Drink for Ben Spies and Rockstar Energy Drink for Jorge Lorenzo. So the picture is very obvious, it’s Ben Spies. Hope this clarify with Davey & Peter.

    For Ben Spies, whatever happened in the past there’s nothing you can do about it. Just leave it behind you and move forward and try to do your very best in the future races ahead in you. Hope you will be a good match with the Ducati GP13. Good Luck and just enjoy your time in MotoGP.

  11. Caine6060 says:

    Defintely Spies. To see this guy dominate ama and wsb.and then show a glimpse in motogp; then fall from the ranks , has to be tough. I think the Ducati is gonna be tough for him with the front end issues. I would like to see him reunite with Suzuki and have a teamate in Alvaro.

  12. Westward says:

    I don’t think the Ducati is going to be nearly the challenge for Spies that many would suspect. His description of Yamaha, Lorenzo, and Rossi seem very accurate. Which to me means Spies and Ducati just may be a better fit for one another. The characteristics of the D16 may suit the riding styles of Spies and Iannone, better than Dovizioso.

    Maybe that s why Hayden seem to look better than Rossi in qualifying. Rossi’s racing talent is better than Haydens, and that is why he placed better.

    I think the Ducati will allow Spies to ride more like be wants to, instead of like the Yamaha where he was trying to ride more like Rossi and Lorenzo…

    I on the other hand think Spies will win in MotoGP and he will do so on a Ducati…

  13. smiler says:

    He says his style was not nearly as smooth as Lorenzo. Could be the difference again between those from supers and those that have come thru 125, moto2. The mechanical problems, as well as team guffs could be the result of his style. No one from Supers has really made it in MotoGP yet. Edwards being the closest yet.
    Personally I think he come up from WSB too quickly. He was there for one season before being pushed up by Yamaha as Toseland had to retire.
    He has his chance to prove himeself with Ducati. Looking forward to it. When he is on form he is an entertaining rider.

  14. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    This just in: confidential sources have revealed TexusTim as the “unnamed senior Yamaha employee” who lost confidence in Spies.

    According to sources who wish to remain anonymous, Texus, known in the Paddock as “Sherm the Sushi Chef” was angry with Spies for turning down an offer to open a chain of fast food sushi restaurants in Austin so he slipped Spies a slice of bad unagi…

    Ahh, joking in the new year.

    Spies is a great rider. Really hoping he has better luck on the Ducati! Come on elbowz!!

  15. Keet says:

    Wow TexusTim, you shoulda left a contact number, sounds like a club racer knows more than a 3-time AMA Superbike Champion (back when AMA racing meant something), 1-time World Superbike champion, and MotoGP Rookie of the year, and his crew chief. They should probably check with you first, huh?

  16. BBQdog says:

    Well, part of the season I believed Yamaha screwed on every part they could find on the Yamaha scrapyard that would hold for a couple of rounds, maybe a whole race with some luck.

  17. David says:

    I don’t think that’s Spies chin. Besides, there is no chip on that guys shoulder. lol

    This says it all:

  18. Peter Geran says:

    Classic Blues Brothers :-)

  19. Cpt.Slow says:

    1.) Def Spies- eyes, partial face, and chin (not to mention his helmet).

    2.) Why do some think that being on a Suzuki would a good idea (Suzuki’s 4-stoke GP project stunk)?

    3.) We’ll never know the full story, even after these riders retire.

  20. Motonut says:

    @Davey Well if you could see the future you would have known that HJC signed Lorenzo to a contract and Monster will be the major sponsorer of both Jorge and Valentino’s bike in 2013.

  21. Motonut says:

    @Jeensen so maybe he knows something you dont LOL!

  22. Well, I do know the photo was taken at Jerez in 2012, so…

    It is funny that JL has now switched to HJC and that Monster could be coming on-board as a team sponsor. Adds a bit of intrigue to the Spies story, don’t you think?

  23. Davey Gravy says:

    Time for me to go buy a lottery ticket ;)

  24. Motonut says:

    @Jensen I find it strange that HJC signs Jorge after Ben leaves. Whats next? Yamaha again runs Termignoni since Rossi is back??? well Mosnter would rather have both guys under the helm as only Rossi because if Jorge dominates again in 2013″ which no doubt he will do”. Monster doesnt want to look bad by losing to Rockstar energy. So they figure if they have both bikes they look good either way if Rossi stinks up the joint and Jorge outshines him.