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.

First Look: Effenbert-Liberty Racing’s Ducati 1199 Panigale S Superstock 1000 Race Bike

02/16/2012 @ 2:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

First Look: Effenbert Liberty Racings Ducati 1199 Panigale S Superstock 1000 Race Bike effenbert liberty ducati 1199 panigale superstock mccormick 635x421

Although Ducati will not be racing the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale in World Superbike this year, the new offering from Bologna found itself unsurprisingly on a revised homologation list this week for the World Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. While there will not be an official factory-backed WSTCK effort, taking up the cause to develop the Panigale on the track will be Effenbert-Liberty Racing, who will campaign two Ducati 1199 superbikes, with Brett McCormick and Federico Sandi at the helms of those machines.

Our first chance to see the Ducati 1199 Panigale S in true superstock trim (checkout our up-close photos of the Ducati 1199 Panigale S in superstock form with Ducati Performance parts), McCormick & Sandi were at Phillip Island this week testing the Panigale for the World Superstock 1000 class, while WSBK teammates Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz made do with their Ducati 1198 S Superbikes.

With Sandi putting down an unofficial best lap time of 1’37.8, and McCormick doing a 1’38.2, the Ducati 1199 Panigale in Superstock trim is roughly six seconds off the pace of Carlos Checa’s Ducati 1098R Superbike, which topped the overall timesheet with a 1’31.8.

First Look: Effenbert Liberty Racings Ducati 1199 Panigale S Superstock 1000 Race Bike effenbert liberty ducati 1199 panigale superstock sandi 635x314

Source: Effenbert-Liberty Racing

Comment:

  1. Good catch by @Asphalt_Rubber: The Ducati 1199 Panigale is not homologated. Thought they were racing in Superstock? http://t.co/AzYqQ196

  2. Daz says:

    Looks better black than red.

  3. Smitch says:

    I agree, and I think it’s because it washes out those aspects of the lines that look mashed up.

  4. Rob says:

    Does Superstock rules allow the electronically adjustable suspension, and all of the other factory electronics that the 1199 comes with? And if so, is it truly an advantage over other machines on the grid?

  5. Six seconds off of Checa’s Superbike pace? Sounds significant. Any numbers available for other Superstock 1000 bikes that have tested there? That would be a more understandable comparison.

  6. MikeD says:

    Daz says:
    February 16, 2012 at 2:51 PM
    Looks better black than red.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    +1 on color.
    Is 6sec off the pace significant in a bad or a good way ?
    To me it sounds way off the pace…then again the machine is being run for the first time with these guys…so they have to fine hone it and get use to it ? I guess ? For my life, i don’t know any better…lol.

  7. JasonB says:

    1000cc Superstock hasn’t raced at PI the last couple of years so it’s hard to make a direct comparison. But if you look at the free practice times at tracks where both WSBK and Superstock race there’s usually a 4-6 second gap between the top riders. With the bikes in a lower state of tune and the talent not quite at the same level this is to be expected.

    My question: how on earth is that belly pan legal? There’s no way it holds the required amount of fluid with the exhaust and all those holes.

  8. JasonB – THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I’ve only been asking this question since Duc revealed their 1199 performance parts.

  9. JasonB: Thanks for helping to put the lap times into perspective for me. Seems that the bike is immediately right on the mark and should only get better.

  10. Rob: The bike in SSTK (race) trim does not use the electronic suspension adjustment system, it is designed for road / trackday users to adjust the bike with ease between WET – ROAD – TRACK settings.

    JasonB: The SSTK race bike has a belly pan / catch tank system above and between the pipes running to the radiator at the front that satisfies the riquired FIM homologation rules.

    The lap times: The bike is good and will be a front runner from day one, Petrucci so far in testing and bike development has matched his 1198 SSTK times…..

  11. SBPilot says:

    The looks of this bike will take time to grow on me, the exhaust under the bike is actually quite ugly. I would have thought Termi would use some Carbon cans or a pipe type of look and ditching the strange triangular shape silencer for a race bike. The pinched nose also still hard to get use to, but perhaps with race livery it’ll look better. Amazing bike non the less and even though it’s still weird looking to me it’s somehow my background….

  12. 76 says:

    Bike looks pretty awesome, cant wait to see some other livery on it. Of course everyone is going to be focused on the times she can put out in SSt. Just alittle perspective, If Ducati put out a bike that could match a WSBK in SST form, well they would have rewritten the entire scope of production racing hands down.

  13. antti.l says:

    I bet that changing a motor is a be a pain in the a$$ with these “frameless” bikes.

  14. Smilo996 says:

    Termi cannot use carbon because the exhausts run too hot.
    The bike still looks tiny but reviews are saying it is quite roomy even for tall people.
    Seems there is a shroud missing off the front of that exhaust, compared the the official pictures.
    Pace look pretty good though.