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.

Dakar Stage 5: Race Officials Give Marc Coma Time Back After Stopping for Injured Rider

01/07/2011 @ 5:45 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Dakar Stage 5: Race Officials Give Marc Coma Time Back After Stopping for Injured Rider Marc Coma river crossing KTM 2011 Dakar Rally 635x410

To call the Dakar dangerous is probably an understatement, as the rally has been fraught with stories of peril from its very inception. Often alone in some of the most remote terrain in the world, riders rely primarily on themselves for their safety, but the sport is marked with moments where participants put aside competition to help each other.

Stage 5 of the 2011 Dakar Rally had one of those stories yesterday, as KTM rider, and overall race leader Marc Coma found himself as the first person to come across an unconscious Olivier Pain on the race course. Coma, who himself had sustained a fall earlier in the day, stopped at Pain’s crash site and activated the unconscious rider’s emergency beacon. Coma stayed with with the fallen rider until his water carrier, Joan Pedrero, arrived on the scene.

“After the refueling, I stopped for Olivier Pain who had just had a fall. He was unconscious, so I activated the alarm and stayed with him until my water carrier Joan Pedrero arrived. It was a genuine Dakar stage where all sorts of things happen,” said a nonplussed Coma.

Race officials took Coma’s stop to help the injured Pain into consideration when figuring the results for the day, and reclassified the Spanish rider as finishing third for Stage 5, 1:40 behind the Stage’s winner Paolo Goncalves, and 12 seconds ahead of Cyril Despres. It was later announced that Pain had broken his wrist, and would be out of the rest of the Dakar Rally.

For Despres the day was a frustrating one, as the he finished the day 10:14 behind Coma in the overall standings, which included a 10 minute penalty that the French rider incurred for exiting the race course improperly. “I was told at half past four in the morning that I’d been given a penalty. I just forgot my thermal gloves, so I went back to get them and I didn’t see that there were signposts I had to follow at the exit.

Unfortunately for me, that’s the race rules, but I’ve already forgotten about it after what I experienced today,” said Despres, who was otherwise positive about the day’s race, despite nearly missing the start of the race because of a team miscommunication.

Stage 6 of the 2011 Dakar takes competitors from Iquique to Arica, the northern most point in this year’s rally, and right on the border of Chile and Peru. The stage is 164 miles on the road, then another 283 miles of special terrain, which will see the riders encounter fesh-fesh, a talcum powder-like soft sand that proves difficult to navigate on two wheels. After today’s stage, riders will get a reprieve, as Saturday will be the first scheduled rest day for the Dakar competitors.

Stage 5 Results:
1, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, BMW, 5:12:23
2, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 2:18
3, Frans Verhoefen, Belgium, BMW, 2:19
4, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 3:58 (Coma re-classified third after officials evaluated the time he spent assisting the injured Olivier Pain)
5, Cyril Despres, Andorra, 4:40
7. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM 12:05
9. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM, 17:01
10, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM, 17:36

General Standings after Stage 5:
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 16:59:33
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, at 10:14
3, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 21:42
4, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, BMW, 25:40
5, Helder Rodriguez, Portugal, Yamaha, at 32:05
6, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 35:14
7, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 40:01

Source: KTM Racing; Photos: © 2011 Marcelo Maragni / KTM Images

Comment:

  1. BikePilot says:

    Great sportsmanship from Marc Coma! Racers are almost universally a great bunch of people – ultra competitive, but always willing to help out as needed.

  2. HondaCBR600RR says:

    It’s fantastic to see such sportsmanship! Marc Coma! I wish there were more like you.

  3. DeezToolz says:

    Am I the only one that noticed these guys are named Pain and Coma? They were meant to be together. Does it get any darker for the Dakar?

  4. BikePilot says:

    Following up on this theme, Quinn Cody stopped for Zhelio today for a bit as well. All around good folks out there having a blast! I need to race this before I get even older and slower :)

  5. Thanks Josh for the info on Quinn Cody as well. It really is refreshing to that sportsmanship is alive and well in motorcycle racing.

  6. Nobody says:

    I had to make sure I wasn’t reading the onion….Pain and Coma? Really?