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.

MotoGP: Ducati Test Cut Short by Rain, Biaggi Posts 1’52.1

06/07/2013 @ 4:01 pm, by David Emmett1 COMMENT

MotoGP: Ducati Test Cut Short by Rain, Biaggi Posts 152.1 max biaggi pramac ducati mugello test

Max Biaggi’s brief return to MotoGP is over. After two days of testing Ducati’s MotoGP bike at Mugello, filling in for the injured Ben Spies, Biaggi returns to his day job, as TV commentator for the Italian coverage of World Superbikes.

Two short days were not really enough time for Biaggi to get back to grips with a MotoGP bike, especially given that testing stopped early on both days after rain started to fall in the afternoon. Biaggi faced two problems, returning to riding at speed for the first time in eight months, and returning to a MotoGP bike for the first time in over seven years.

Given those difficulties, the times he set in the end were respectable. According to GPOne, who had reporter Luca Semprini on location, Biaggi’s best time was a lap of 1’52.1, which would have seen him qualify in 23rd position for last Sunday’s MotoGP race, just ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama on the FTR Kawasaki CRT machine.

Biaggi told GPOne that he had been surprised at how difficult the first 30 laps had been, getting back up to speed after such a long lay off. Biaggi described the bike as like a factory 250, more nervous than the World Superbike Aprilia he raced up until last year.

Biaggi made light of any suggestion of a return to racing, or even taking up a role as a tester. This was just a one-off, he told GPone, though if the occasion arose to test again, he might consider it. “For the moment at least, I’m the fastest commentator in the world,” Biaggi joked.

Elsewhere, the Ducati riders were getting on with the hard work of testing. Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden, and Andrea Iannone all tested the new lab bike, while Michele Pirro continued to work on refining the machine. Opinions were split on the bike, though all of Ducati’s riders agreed that it was a step forward.

Where they disagreed is in whether the improvement was sufficient to warrant trying to race the bike. Andrea Dovizioso felt that it was good enough to try to race at Barcelona, but Nicky Hayden was not entirely convinced.

Whether the bike will be raced at Barcelona also depends on the availability of parts: Ducati is building a “race” version of the lab bike, with the optimum stiffness found during experimentation with the lab bike built in to the chassis, rather than created using inserts bolted into the frame.

Dovizioso told GPOne that there would probably not be enough time to produce enough frames to allow both Hayden and Dovizioso to race the new chassis. But if Hayden is not keen to race that bike anyway, that could be a problem which solves itself. That bike is due to be tested at the Monday test after the Barcelona race.

Below are the press releases from the Pramac team and the factory Ducati team, issued after the test:

Biaggi concludes two-day test with Pramac Racing Desmosedici GP13

Max Biaggi today concluded an interesting two-day test on the Pramac Racing Team’s Ducati Desmosedici GP13 at the Mugello circuit.

Despite a few rain showers, which brought an early end to track activity on Thursday and Friday afternoon, the Italian mainly tried to reacquaint himself with the power and the differences in the latest generation of MotoGP bikes, with carbon brakes, tyres and the latest electronic package innovations, without searching for quick lap times.

Max Biaggi

“I’m back to being a rider for the first time in eight months! It was great because this is a sport that I really love, and after what feels like a long time, it was a great opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike. In the early laps I actually felt that I had really been away for eight years, because a MotoGP bike always has an immediate reaction, and a progression that just doesn’t exist in a Superbike. It was also nice because I established a great feeling with the group of people who were assigned to me for this test, just like when I began in Aprilia in 2009. There was a positive feeling between all of us, even though it was just a single test. I’d like to thank first Ducati, and also team Pramac for this opportunity. We were rather unfortunate because out of two days available we more or less only had one due to the rain, but it’s better than nothing. We didn’t do any damage and we had some good fun!”

Francesco Guidotti, Pramac Racing Team Manager

“The first day was spent with Max trying to find out as much as possible about the bike because, as we said, after eight years of not riding a MotoGP bike, it was clear that his memories were from a long time back! Things have changed a lot since then, in particular the tyres, but probably the carbon brakes were what slowed him down the most in his gaining overall confidence in the bike. On the second day, however, we could see an improvement right from the first time he went out; maybe during the night he reflected on what had happened the previous morning, as he hadn’t ridden in the afternoon due to the bad weather. I think it was great for him to test with us, and for us it was a great pleasure to have him in the box again!”

Iannone works with “laboratory” Desmosedici GP13 at Mugello

Today Andrea Iannone successfully completed three days of testing with the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team at the Mugello circuit.

Beginning on Wednesday, Andrea rode the standard version of his GP13 in order to work on issues encountered in the race this past Sunday, whereas Thursday and Friday found the 23-year-old aboard the ‘laboratory’ GP13 that has so far only been raced by Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro.

Iannone gave positive feedback on the ‘lab’ bike. He deemed it to be good, and though it is still in need of improvements, he felt it to be the right path to follow for the future.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team – 107 laps

“I’m very happy to have had the chance to try the ‘laboratory’ bike. I found it a little bit better than the other one, with some advantages for riding, including better agility in change of direction. I improved my pace compared to what I did over the race weekend, when I had a lot of trouble. It was important that I improve in order to better understand the problem we had with the shock in the race. Now we can be more relaxed as we head to Barcelona, where the most important thing will be to figure out how to improve my pace after we change the tyre. Currently, I’m clocking the same times with a new one as I do a tyre that has 26 laps on it. I have to learn how to take advantage with a new tyre.”

Francesco Guidotti – Team Manager Pramac Racing Team

“I hope we’ve been able to provide positive input in order to help Ducati with development and to take the right direction with the new bike. We’d like to thank them for this opportunity, and we hope to be able to contribute again. Wednesday we focused on finding a solution to the problem that Andrea had during the race, and we’re pretty sure that we found it. Now we can be a bit calmer as we leave for Barcelona.”

Ducati Team completes Mugello test

Just four days after completing its home Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit, the Ducati Team carried out a two-day test at the same track with riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro also took part in the test, logging a full three days at the Tuscan circuit.

Although afternoon rain showers ended each day prematurely, conditions were perfect in the mornings, enabling the team to complete much of the scheduled work program. Dovizioso and Hayden continued their tests with the ‘laboratory’ version of the Desmosedici GP13, increasing their familiarity with the bike and gathering data. Meanwhile, Pirro carried out work on the same bike, which he will ride in the Catalan Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya next week.

Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team (70 laps)

“We did some good testing, especially today: setup, new parts, and riding with the new frame to try and get the most out of it, and we were consistently fast. We rode all day at 1:48 in every exit, which is very important. When I wanted to push, I did a 48.2, which is a good time. I could’ve gone faster, but I’m pleased with my speed and consistency. We improved a bit with the various changes to the weight distribution and my riding position. The improvements aren’t huge, and this frame won’t make enough difference to reduce the gap, but for me it’s still a small improvement. We’ll see if we can have it ready in time for the weekend in Barcelona, or if we’ll just use it in the post-race test.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team (103 laps)

“If we’re completely honest, we didn’t achieve the progress that we’d hoped for, which is unfortunate. This laboratory bike has some positives, but at the moment, the lap time is very similar to our current bike. Hopefully these days will help the engineers to learn something. Thanks to my guys for coming here and working hard, because it’s not easy to go back to the track and test after a long GP weekend.”

Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team (93 laps)

“The test was affected by the weather, as it rained in the afternoon on all three days. Compared to the other riders, I had to focus on some aspects of the frame and the engine in order to bring the development forward. We certainly found some positives, and we hope that they’ll prove useful in the coming races, where I’ll ride the bike that I raced this past Sunday. I’m pleased with the work we did, so now we’ll wait for Barcelona to see if the things we tried will work a bit better.”

Source: GPone; Photo: Pramac Racing

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


  1. Phil says:

    All they have to do is sack the engineers and get some Japanese ones. Simples !!!!