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.

Dakar Rally — Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again

01/16/2013 @ 5:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Dakar Rally    Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again Kurt Caselli Dakar Rally KTM 2013 01 635x423

It is a special thing to win a stage at the Dakar Rally, and multiple stage victories are a true accomplishment in a racer’s career. We could leave the accolades there for Kurt Caselli, but taking two stage wins, during his rookie debut at the famous rally race, now that is something truly noteworthy. Filling the very big shoes left behind by the injured Marc Coma, Caselli has proven to be a diamond in the rough for the factory KTM team, which can only bode well for the California natives return to The Dakar in the coming years.

Winning the Baja-like terrain of Stage 11 with a 4:45 margin, Caselli helped lead the way for fellow bannerman Cyril Despres to regain the outright lead of The Dakar, while Despres’ teammate Ruben Faria also consolidated KTM’s 1-2 standings in the overall time slots, 13:16 behind Despres.

Still ranked well below the other factory KTM riders, Caselli’s position moves to 29th, a figure weighed heavily by his navigational errors in Stage 8, which saw him miss several waypoint and checkpoints.

With eleven stages now completed, the 2013 Dakar Rally will head back into Chile tomorrow with the 12th stage, meaning only three stages of racing remain. A Top 10 finish may be a large challenge for Caselli, but it is undeniable that the American has made a strong first impression at his debut Dakar.

“Caselli did an amazing job today and we were all impressed, including Cyril,” said KTM Team Manager Alex Doringer. “Cyril was able to use Caselli’s speed to ride with him for his third place in today’s stage and to consolidate his overall lead. Now we head for the Atacama Desert and this is an area we know from earlier Dakar Rallies. Cyril is feeling good and looking forward to getting into the dunes again.”

Dakar Rally    Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again Kurt Caselli Dakar Rally KTM 2013 03 635x423

Dakar Rally    Stage 11: American Kurt Caselli Wins Again Kurt Caselli Dakar Rally KTM 2013 02 635x423

Top 10 Motorcycle Standings from Stage 11 of the 2013 Dakar Rally:


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


  1. paulus - Thailand says:

    Awesome… respect to all the riders in this event.

  2. Phil Deetlefs says:

    Unbelievable debut Kurt! Great to watch you ride in any discipline!

  3. He only won the stage because everybody else got lost and went the wrong way. It’s amazing that in the age of GPS location and satellite navigation, how many times these guys get lost. Seems like if one guy goes the wrong way then the other guys just follow his tracks. Shouldn’t there be some kind of flashing arrow or alert to tell you that you’re going in the wrong direction, built into their systems?

  4. He only won because everyone else got lost and went the wrong way? If everyone else got lost and went the wrong way, then clearly staying on course must have been pretty damn difficult.

  5. Tiago says:

    Aaron, they only use the GPS to see a few waypoints, they don’t follow a track with the GPS, they have to use a roadbook, that makes things much more dificult… That’s why sometimes they get lost…

  6. Bruce says:

    Great job Kurt.

    Aaron’s comments are remarkably ignorant.

  7. Eddie says:

    Aaron, take a read through the Dakar rulebook someday. There are many restrictions on GPS usage; navigation is nearly as much of a challenge as riding. This isn’t using google maps to navigate through Atlanta interstate spaghetti, it’s following a barely marked ‘course’ through South America.

    Congrats to Caselii, 2 stage wins out of 11 is a huge debut for any Dakar rookie.

  8. “He only won the ” …

    And how many arguments over world championships have started with those 4 words? It never ceases to amaze me that some dismiss the accomplishments of one due to the apparent failings of others. He WON the stage. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Waypoints? The last time I heard that word was playing an 80s video game. So the organizers of this “race” force riders and drivers to rely on decades-old rules and technology, why? This is not a real rally race with a marked course, this is a Baja race over open terrain under some of the harshest conditions on earth. These South American courses are far more severe than those in Africa. That’s not hard enough? Let’s throw in a scavenger hunt for waypoints to shake things up.

    It’s not challenging enough to just let the drivers and motorcycle riders deal with the terrain, they are forced to play navigation games while they’re trying to survive. The four-wheel vehicle drivers have co-drivers at least, but the cyclists and four-wheel riders, have to what, stop and make calculations about where they are, because you sure as hell can’t read some screen going 40 mph over rough terrain.

    And for the record, the DAKAR rally doesn’t exist anymore, the name has been appropriated for marketing reasons in order to keep the sponsors and fans interested. It’s on another continent for God sakes, and why is that? Everyone who pays attention to world politics knows the answer to that. If Robbie Gordon tried to run this race in Africa in that big red Hummer, he’d need several squads of Marines in ArVs following him, to make sure he didn’t get killed or kidnapped.

    North Africa is totally out of control, much of it now under the sway of Al Qaeda, who kill US ambassadors and seize gas refineries at will. I suppose that’s what you get when you wage pointless wars in Islamic countries around the world. Hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraqi tends to generate a lot of bad feeling, We also have a significant military presence throughout Africa. So the DAKAR won’t be returning to that continent anytime soon.

    Also for the record, Al Qaeda was a marginal organization, almost entirely funded by Saudi money, with maybe 20 million supporters worldwide when George W. Bush took office. Now it has over 300 million supporters, money comes in from all over the world, huge amounts secretly funneled from the richest places on earth, like Malaysia, their influence and actual physical control of territory has grown exponentially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. That’s what America and the West gets for putting a corporate owned imbecile in the White House in 2000.

    No country on earth is more adept at manufacturing her own enemies than the United States – Iran, Iraqi, Afghanistan and now Pakistan (one of the most populous countries on earth) all of the entrenched US opposition and popular hatred in these nations came about as a direct result of our own actions. One might conclude that America was in the business of creating enemies to fight, if one had the ability to read history and think for oneself.

    But hey, the race must go on right. But to be fair and accurate, I think they should change the name to the Patagonian off the road Rally, to better reflect the nature of the race, the continent it now calls home, and the native inhabitants who agree to host it. And modern GPS navigation should be standard for everyone, so that it really is a race, and not just a test of riders navigation abilities, or lack thereof. Perhaps it would also cut down on the number of needless deaths that no doubt have a direct correlation to competitors getting lost and the general disorganization that ensues as a result.

    A race is about who’s faster over a given stretch of ground, when the team that wins is not about the best rider, mechanics and support people, but the person who’s best at memorizing maps, well I’d say you’ve lost sight of what racing is really all about.

    Let’s just hope the US military doesn’t start slaughtering people in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, otherwise where will we move the DAKAR then? Canada Maybe? :-)

    PS, you guys are so damn easy. LOL