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.

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win

01/21/2013 @ 1:39 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 10 635x422

Wrapping up two weeks of racing, the 2013 Dakar Rally concluded this weekend in Santiago, Chile. His fifth Dakar win, Cyril Despres once again claimed victory in the iconic rally race, and though he was tipped heavily to win after Marc Coma announced that he would be sidelined due to injury, Despres’s win was anything but a sure-thing as the stages progressed. Seeing strong rides from factory-backed Yamaha and Husqvarna teams, Despres even got pressure from his fellow KTM riders over the 14 racing stages.

Despite finishing the Dakar Rally with a 10 minute 43 second overall lead, Despres found himself on the wrong-side of the time sheets during several stages, and even had to replace his motor during the “marathon” weekend, where riders are not allowed any mechanical help from their support crew (Despres got more than a little help from his fellow KTM teammates though). His second Dakar Rally win in a row, and his fifth career-win, Despres now sports two-more Dakar victories than rival Coma — deficit that surely will be contested next year.

“I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” said Despres. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far!”

“It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”

For KTM, the 2013 Dakar Rally continued a tradition of dominance, with the Austrian company fielding all five of the Top 5 motorcycles in the overall standings. However, Yamaha, Honda, and Husqvarna all showed increasingly strong Dakar programs, which could spice things up in the coming years. A new entry to the Dakar Rally this year, HRC’s presence has been a welcomed site in the rally race, and though the team showed growing pains, the Japanese manufacturer cannot be underrated for future events.

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 14 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 01 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 07 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 12 635x422

Cyril Despres Claims Fifth Dakar Rally Win Cyril Despres KTM 2013 Dakar Rally 13 635x422

Top 25 Overall Motorcycles from the 2013 Dakar Rally:

Pos.NameCountryBikeTimeDiff.Penalty
1DESPRESFRAKTM43:24:22-00:15:00
2FARIAPRTKTM43:35:0500:10:43-
3LOPEZCHLKTM43:43:1000:18:4800:15:00
4JAKESSVKKTM43:48:1600:23:54-
5PEDREROESPKTM44:19:5100:55:2900:15:00
6PAINFRAYAMAHA44:30:5201:06:30-
7RODRIGUESPRTHONDA44:35:4401:11:2200:15:00
8PIZZOLITOARGHONDA44:50:2901:26:07-
9VERHOEVENNLDYAMAHA44:50:5701:26:35-
10GONÇALVESPRTHUSQVARNA44:52:4201:28:2000:15:00
11PRZYGONSKIPOLKTM44:58:2101:33:5900:05:00
12GOUËTCHLHONDA45:10:0201:45:40-
13ULLEVALSETERNORKTM46:25:1803:00:5600:15:00
14BARREDA BORTESPHUSQVARNA46:29:0403:04:4200:17:00
15METGEFRAYAMAHA46:36:3003:12:0800:20:00
16KNUIMANNLDKTM46:39:3403:15:12-
17CZACHORPOLKTM47:53:5004:29:28-
18DE AZEVEDOBRAKTM48:22:0204:57:4000:15:00
19GUASCHESPGAS – GAS48:51:0805:26:46-
20CASELLIUSAKTM49:28:0206:03:4003:35:00
21DUCLOSFRASHERCO51:02:2807:38:0601:00:00
22CAMPBELLUSAHONDA51:36:0208:11:4000:15:00
23FARRES GUELLESPHONDA55:55:5912:31:3701:15:00
24ZANOTTIITATM56:25:4213:01:2000:15:00
25FISHAUSHUQSVARNA68:49:4225:25:2009:15:00

Source: KTM & Dakar; Photos: © 2013 Maragni M. / KTM Images – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Damo says:

    Despres along with Despres continues to dominate. Very impressive.

  2. Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

    Only one stage this season. Won this like Hayden won GP in 2006…being consistently fast but not the first to cross the line. Still, wish I had a 1/10th of his skills and fitness.

    Feel bad for Caselli. He was on his way to winning another stage (13) before engine problems about 30 miles from the finish. A few penalties he’ll learn from too. 20th overall though. Pretty good for a 1st timer and substitute rider at that. Maybe KTM will give him another chance next season..

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    Great event… great demands on riders and machines.

  4. D Santos says:

    Certainly, Despres is a very skilled rider and I’m not questioning that but he surely can express some gratitude to his teammates, specially to Ruben Faria who, in several stages, had orders from the team direction to slow down his pace in order to let Despres catch him in the front of the race.

    If Ruben Faria had not to work for Despres and could ride on his own will, I believe that he could fight for the first place. Anyway, when Faria was hired he already knew what would be his role in this race. Maybe sometime in the near future, when Despres resigns, he could be the main rider of KTM.

  5. Gritboy says:

    Not unexpected, but always impressive.