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.

MotoGP: Casey Stoner Explains His Decision To Retire

05/17/2012 @ 7:09 pm, by David Emmett23 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Casey Stoner Explains His Decision To Retire Casey Stoner Repsol Honda HRC MotoGP Scott Jones

At the press conference at Le Mans, where Casey Stoner made the shock announcement of his retirement, Stoner answered questions from journalists present about his decision to retire at the end of the 2012 season. You can find his original statement in this story, but below is a transcript of what Stoner told journalists when they were given a chance to question the Australian about his retirement.

QYou said you are disappointed in things, would you mind elaborating a bit. Are you talking about the CRT, or the control tires? The things that have annoyed you a bit recently?

It’s not just annoying me. I’ve been watching this championship for a long time, and it’s very easy to see what works and what doesn’t. This championship and everything that I’ve worked towards to get here, it’s been a huge dream of mine, and then you get here, you race for a few years, and you realize a lot of things, whether it’s people having no faith in you, whether it’s people not believing in your talent, or the changes that have happened to the championship.

2009 to be honest was a big eye-opener for me. Everybody still thinks to this day says it’s a mystery illness, the fact that nobody understands that I have a lactose intolerance, that it’s really critical to me if I do have any. It’s not of the type that everyone thinks it is, you know, it just basically takes my energy, it stops me from absorbing nutrients. And so the fact that nobody has listened to me about that. There have been many, many things that have over time just taken its toll.

The way I see the championship heading, the direction I see it heading, and the fact that in 2009 I really realized what was important, and that’s family, it’s happiness, money isn’t everything, and I think I’m one of the few riders who can actually say they’ve retired when they’ve stopped enjoying it. My passion has slowly ebbed away from this championship. You yourselves, the media, have not exactly been friendly to this championship, and criticizing it many times, especially recently. And people don’t realize that everyone is bringing it down themselves, they are saying that the racing is boring, this is boring, that’s boring, and if you go back some years ago, you’ll find the same amount of races that were either close or not.

I think people just need to appreciate what they have in front of them at this time, and I think everybody in this room needs to realize what championship they have before it’s gone. I think it would be really nice to see some fantastic racing out at the front, but with only a few factory bikes out there, it’s not going to happen any time soon. There needs to be more high-quality bikes out there so that people like Randy [de Puniet] can be running where he deserves to be, and not so far behind 12th position. There’s just no way for them to get anywhere near the factory bikes.

This championship this year is separated, the first of the CRTs comes into Parc Ferme after the race, I can’t remember, definitely after qualifying, and it’s clearly separating it. This isn’t a two-standard series. This is the MotoGP championship, this is a prototype championship. People can say all they want about the past, that it started out as very standard machines and basically progressed to prototype machines, and now we’re just taking the opposite step and going backwards. It’s not starting again from the beginning, it’s going backwards.

It’s not the championship I fell in love with, it’s not the championship I always wanted to race in, and except for my competitors around me, they’re the only ones who give respect to each other, nobody else has enough respect out there for the people that do their jobs, work in the teams, work on the trucks, and put this show on every week, it’s not easy, you know. There’s many many reasons, but it’s basically me losing my passion for the racing and my enjoyment of this sport. Sure I’m going to enjoy this year, but I think if I continue, then it would only be a mistake on my behalf, it wouldn’t be correct to Honda, and my team, everybody if I didn’t give 110%.

Q: You had a test in a V8 Supercar recently. It’s closer to home and less travel, is that something that interests you?

It’s by no means any part of my decision. This has been coming for a long time, it’s not something that just happened. I have tested the V8 car, but that’s also something I’ve been trying to do for the last 3 or 4 years, to be honest, and finally it happened. So there’s no coincidence to this whatsoever. Also the birth of my little girl has absolutely nothing to do with this. It has a small part of making the decision easier, but by no means is it the reason why I made this decision.

Yes, V8 is something I’m definitely going to be interested to do in the future, whether I will be fast enough or not is another thing, and that would be, not in the near future, very immediate future. But yes, there’s many things I’d like to do with my life. To be honest, I don’t want to keep racing bikes to the point where I completely lose my passion. I don’t want finish racing and not want to ride a bike for the next 5, 10 years. I love bikes, this has been my whole life, and if I keep doing it, I’m afraid I’ll lose completely my passion for it and not want to even go near a bike for the next 10 years, and that would scare me. So, for many many reasons, but the V8 thing and things like that is nothing to do with it.

Q: Is this a definitive retirement? This is the first time I saw a young, talented rider retire so early without an injury. Don’t you think this is a waste of talent?

You must tell me. This is maybe not a waste of talent, it’s a waste of life for me if I continue doing it. I know I can go out there, even if I’m not enjoying it, I can go out there and I’ll still do the same results and give everything I can, because my competitive nature will then take over, where the passion cannot hold.

But no, to be honest, this is … difficult to explain… Maybe I am the first one, the young one with a good career ahead of them to retire so early, but at the same time, you know I’ve spoken the truth, always. In all my media commitments, even in the last race, in Portugal. I didn’t lie to anybody, the information got out, I don’t know how or by who, but I hadn’t even decided by then. So it was wrong information. I’ve only decided in this last week 100% what my decision is, so we’re not sure how it got out. The fact that I don’t lie is the same, you know, every rider here says always the same, “When I stop feeling the passion for this sport I will retire,” but I don’t think there’s many riders out there that can say that this is actually the truth. Because there’s always something holding them here, whether it’s money, or the fame, or whatever it is, there are other aspect that keep them here. I think I’ve seen other riders lose their passion for the sport, lose their fun in the sport, and still continue to race.

Q: Are you satisfied with what you achieved in your career? What do you think you will leave to this sport?

I don’t know, it’s not up to me to say what I’m going to leave to this sport, and maybe I’ll still have some involvement, if I can find the energy to maybe help some young riders, to do something.

But I’m not really sure what I leave. We’ve had a great career, we’ve had some fantastic races, and I believe that even after my first championship in 2007, already I had reached my goal. This was my dream, to become world champion. When you’re younger, to become multiple times world champion, but when you arrive closer to Grand Prix and arrive in Grand Prix, reality is a little bit more realistic, but I never stopped trying, no matter how much criticism I got for riding the Ducati, and no matter how much criticism I got for crashing, different things like this in the past, you know, this has all helped, to be honest, to arrive at the point where we are today, and helped my decision to be a little easier. I don’t believe I will be leaving anything behind, I’m very happy with the career that I’ve had this far, in such a short space, to have had the race wins that I’ve had, the battles that I’ve had, the success, and also the problems that I’ve had. So it’s been a difficult up-and-down road, but it’s been a fantastic one, so I won’t have regrets.

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.

Comment:

  1. john walker says:

    Another blow to a once great sport…

  2. Brandon says:

    This is what you get when parents push their kids to be great in a sport. They give their best but eventually some just burn out and get sick of it.

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    So then next year people will have to shut up about the “boringness”…

  4. ewev says:

    good for you Casey, i would have done the same if i were u, for the first time in years i havent watched a single race yet, i have lost lot of interest for motogp this year.
    the golden days of motogp are gone, now between the slow CRTs and the struggling clown mobile there is simply nothing to watch, at least there is Lorenzo to keep motogp from being a complete joke… Spies who ?
    i would have loved to see him do a year in WSBK before retiring, it would have been like the perfect gift to his fans, perhaps on a red duc …
    hope Ezpeleta will be next to retire, he’s done enough damage to motogp already.

  5. Snickerty says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  6. sean in oz says:

    I just put my leave form in at work to ensure Im at Phillip Island to see the last time Casey Stoner slides his way thru T3 lap after lap.

  7. Bruce says:

    @Brandon

    Yes, those damn parents. Look at the result of their terrible meddling. They dragged him all around Australia and then the world to race motorcycles. And the results? Poor guy voluntarily retiring at age 26 as a likely 3-time World Champion and multi-millionaire. It’s a shame really. He may never forgive them.

  8. Bruce

    hahahahahaha LMFAO!

    sad, but true. Gluck on your life, Mr. Stoner. You don’t have to prove anything.

  9. Adam says:

    Im still confused, he is kind of cryptic with his answers. But I guess the jist of it is. CRT, rule changes, and people being critical of him? he defiantly dose sound burnt out but you don’t see this from all the other riders. they are all critizised as well, look at Rossi he is taking a hell of a beating right now. and Ben. I don’t mean to generalize but this is the big leagues where guys get on the bike a week after breaking bones to race. so when he did take time off in 2009 yes people are going to be critical of you. the media, your sponsors, and your team and bosses. I know people in the past and even now say that Casey is not mental strong I think he is, he may just be more of a sensitive person then he leads on. I don’t want to see him go as he is the fastest guy out there right now.

  10. Curve Killa says:

    Best of luck to you, Casey. Thanks for the battles and great memories. You made the Duc sing while others complained about it. You are the most talented rider in MotoGP and will be painfully missed.

  11. Rob says:

    If it’s not in you anymore, it’s just not in you. Hang it up, you’ve proved your point sir. Well done and it forever solidifies a place for you in the sport when you go out on top.

  12. BBQdog says:

    “There’s many many reasons”

    Many words, but he is not saying much. But I understand his descision.

  13. Strangely, he doesn’t acknowledge the impact of the FIM’s decision to make him race all by himself, in his own class…
    http://backmarker-bikewriter.blogspot.com/2012/05/fim-acknowledges-reality-puts-stoner-in.html

  14. the lawyer says:

    I’ll miss Stoner checking out after the 2nd lap.

  15. Faust says:

    When I read this it made me think of Mladin leaving AMA due to being upset with the direction the race series was going. I am going to miss watching him race, but I won’t miss all the drama. I am happy that he went to the Honda and showed what he could do on a proper bike. I always used to think he’d be unstoppable if he got away from that Duc, and I’m glad he had a chance to show that before retiring. I think he accomplished what he set out to do and gets to leave on top of the game. How many people can say they did that?

  16. joe says:

    Never rooted for him, but I wish him the best, and hope he can influence motogp and the factories to make it a better series. It speaks volumes that he mentioned dePuniet’s talent.

  17. WetMan says:

    Basically he is saying that it’s the manufacturers fault. They don’t fork over the money to allow for enough competitive bikes to race. So poor Randy has to race on a slow bike. I guess now Randy can race on his bike.
    The guy doesn’t make any sense. Never has in my view…
    Great athlete, but has always been a whiner. Won’t miss him and there is enough talent in racing to replace him.

  18. eddy says:

    good ridence could not stand the lad spoilt brat no rossie

  19. Clint says:

    It’s always a shame when a sport loses one of it’s greats. Even moreso when that sportsman has barely reached the peak of their career. And so it is with Casey Stoner, an enormous talent at the top of his game and without him next year we are all the poorer for it. He never liked the add-ons to racing -the media, the PR work, the travel and has been the most vocal of the top riders (who are all disappointed with the state of play and direction of MotoGP) in expressing his frustration of where the sport he once loved is headed. The years of it have finally taken their toll and now MotoGP has become a job to him and not the fun it once was.
    It’s a big thing to turn his back on the prospect of multi-million dollar contracts and achieving further records and put his and his families happiness first and for that I applaud Casey. All the best in whatever lays ahead for your future.

  20. @sean in oz: “I just put my leave form in at work to ensure Im at Phillip Island to see the last time Casey Stoner slides his way thru T3 lap after lap.”

    THIS! They really would do well to name that corner after the guy. Watching him sweeping through there last season all crossed up was sheer brilliance.

  21. jon says:

    you’re free to leave, but just don’t come back few years later cause you’re bored with your life.

  22. I dunno. I think Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen have done a good job of proving that even a 3-year absence doesn’t necessarily detract from one’s ability to perform well as Throttle Engineer. And when you have a grid full of world champions along with a competitive field of cars/bikes, the sparks are gonna fly. Come back and race if that’s your passion, I say.

    I’d love to see full-on MotoGP efforts from Kawasaki, Suzuki, Aprilia and BMW. With any luck, the CRT “toe in the water” from Aprilia and BMW will blossom into something more. More factory bikes on the grid would be a great incentive to keep the likes of Stoner in the game. IMO, YMMV and all that.

  23. MikeD says:

    Sir: U go and enjoy your newly borned, HOT WIFE and Millions of $$$. U deserve it.

    @Trane: +1 on Stoner’s Turn sugestion.