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.

Dorna & Circuit of the Americas Confirm Austin GP

10/03/2012 @ 10:45 am, by David Emmett10 COMMENTS

Dorna & Circuit of the Americas Confirm Austin GP circuit of the americas

The Texas round of MotoGP is to go ahead. The race, due to take place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas has been confirmed for April 21st, 2013, with Dorna and the Circuit of the Americas issuing a joint press release announcing the date. The race in Texas was one of the two races marked as being subject to confirmation, but today’s announcement leaves just the race in Argentina and the Jerez round to be confirmed.

Confirmation of the race comes despite the ongoing legal action between Kevin Schwantz and the Circuit of the Americas. That legal action should have no effect on the race actually taking place, however. The lawsuit filed by Schwantz against COTA will take some time to actually get in front of a judge, and the most probable outcome is that money will change hands to settle the deal, either one way or another.

The signing of the Austin contract leaves just Argentina and Jerez to be sorted out. The Jerez deal is a question of paperwork and, most likely, money; it is inconceivable that Dorna would pull out of the deal to host the first European round of the season in Jerez, where it has been for several years now.

Argentina, on the other hand, is far more complex: there are reports from local Argentine sources that work on the facilities at the circuit is slow, but the bigger problem is political. The expropriation of Repsol’s Argentinian subsidiary Repsol YPF by the Argentine government has deeply upset the Spanish oil giant, and Repsol has threatened not to allow the teams it backs to attend the race, saying that they cannot be certain that their property will be safe, a claim which the local organizers have denied.

The full press release announcing the MotoGP race in Texas is after the jump.

MotoGP™ to race in Texas in 2013 at the Circuit of The Americas™

AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 3, 2012) – Circuit of The Americas today announced that the world’s premier motorcycle racing World Championship, MotoGP™, will join its roster of racing events next spring with the three-day series set for April 19-21, 2013, at the purpose-built Grand Prix venue. With the addition of the MotoGP series, the new circuit will be the first North American racing venue to host both two-and four-wheeled World Championship events in one year’s time.

MotoGP, the pinnacle of all motorcycle World Championships, consists of 18 races in 13 countries on four continents with pan-global television coverage. Nine nationalities of the world’s most skilled riders, including current U.S. riders Colin Edwards, Ben Spies and 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, compete with cutting-edge, prototype motorcycle technology produced by Ducati, Yamaha and Honda, as well as the new CRT regulation machines from the likes of FTR, Suter and Aprilia. The series traditionally holds three races, including Moto2 and Moto3 competitions, during each event for various classes of motorcycles based on engine size.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive officer for Dorna Sports, commercial rights holder for the MotoGP series, is extremely happy to add the Austin Circuit to the official MotoGP schedule. “We are excited to be working with Circuit of The Americas to expand our programming in the United States and bring our series to an exceptional new Grand Prix facility in Texas. We see tremendous opportunities to market MotoGP and grow its fan base through this agreement and know Circuit of The Americas is the right promoter to help us achieve that goal.”

Circuit President Steve Sexton added, “The Circuit of The Americas team is delighted to introduce yet another world-renowned racing series to our 2013 event calendar—one we know will be hugely popular with fans coming to experience MotoGP for the first time at our state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex in Austin. MotoGP has a worldwide fan base with more than two million followers watching races in person each year. We’re confident it will be a great addition to our programming and draw tens of thousands of people to Central Texas, creating yet another major event with significant economic impact for our region. We want to extend our thanks to the Austin Sports Commission for its help in securing yet another first-class event for our city and for helping us become the first U.S. racing venue to host two World Championship motorsport events.”

MotoGP’s reach extends to more than 200 countries and territories that receive live or same-day delayed broadcasts of the MotoGP events, with the coverage delivered to more than 337 million households worldwide.

MotoGP 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, who hails from Kentucky, rides for the Ducati Factory Team and said he’s eager to try out the new Austin circuit. “It’s great for riders and fans to have another MotoGP event in the United States, and Circuit of The Americas will give us a chance to expose more of our homegrown fan base to MotoGP in an up-close-and-personal way,” Hayden noted. “I love competing at new, fresh tracks and am really looking forward to racing at the Austin circuit.”

Texan Colin Edwards races for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team and their CRT project. The former World Superbike Champion said a MotoGP race at a new circuit just two hours from his home in Conroe, Texas (near Houston), means he can actually “drive to work” for a change. “Adding a race to the U.S. schedule makes a statement that MotoGP is working to expand it influence on American soil. The best way to grow our sport is to add races, and with events on the East and West Coasts—and now one in Middle America—it’s the perfect opportunity for more fans to see us in action. Plus, my family is really looking forward to jumping in a pick-up truck and driving up to Austin to see me compete.”

Rider Ben Spies, who calls Longview, Texas, “home,” is also excited about the 2013 schedule. “Who wouldn’t be excited to have a MotoGP race in their home state? I hope all of my CMRA, WERA and AMA racing friends and family storm the track. It will be so easy for me to cruise down to Circuit of The Americas from my house in Dallas.”

Tickets for the MotoGP event at Circuit of The Americas go on sale Oct. 16, 2012, will range in price from $133 to $199 and be available for purchase through Ticketmaster. Patrons with Circuit of The Americas Personal Seat Licenses will receive price discounts on MotoGP tickets.

Source: COTA & Dorna

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

Comment:

  1. AlexOnTwoWheels says:

    YYYYEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jason says:

    Tix starting at $133? Ouch! I think Laguna’s like $70 or something if you just show up on race day…

  3. Yeeha! Stephen says:

    Jason… That $133 & up is a reserved seat/3 day pass remember . Same-day general admission will be comparable. Maybe ;-) someone’s gonna have to pay off Schwantz & it may be us!

  4. Micah says:

    3-day GA passes for $89 according to COTA’s website. Not too bad, I’ll be there money be damned.

  5. meatspin says:

    i’ll be there…..

  6. TexusTim says:

    yes! lets do a test who lives the closest to the track .
    me first Im less than twenty minutes away which means on race day Im less than 3 hours away.
    maybe I better go and camp out there all week, meet and marry some umbrella girl and find my self doing a euro track tour with my bike and new babe…then I wake up and….ooooo im still twenty minutes away from the track.
    seriously I hate what happened with kevin and the whole behind the back thing…for a time I was really looking forward to doing track days at cota with his school being based there…so sad too bad about that one…they should find some common ground drop the lawsuite and bring keven in….he’s a texan,a world champion, a great promoter of two wheel racing and it just seems important for the legacy and history to have him on the cota team..not pushed aside by suite and tie type non race guys.

  7. Bruce says:

    Ticket Master?? that is going to suck, service and cost wise.

    Have already made hotel reservations in Austin for that weekend. Will get tickets when they go on sale on the 16th.
    Any one have a guess to what the traffic will be like there on race day, should I get a parking pass or plan on riding the shuttle? Hopefully their traffic management will be better than Laguna Seca’s & Monterey Counties.

  8. meatspin says:

    i’m sure with the lawsuit, KS would be considered persona non grata at COTA facilities.

    i feel bad for KS but he should have seen what was coming.

  9. Westward says:

    At least they will have all three classes of MotoGP, unlike Laguna Seca.

    I guess Schwantz didn’t get the memo, Corporations trump little guy all the time, this is not fantasy or science-fiction like in Avatar, it is the America way…

  10. TexusTim says:

    well I wont be watching from the grand stands on this one…..I’ll be in turn 7 !!! corner working the race !!! yes hopefully this leads to working the motogp race in april.