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.

Fiat Officially Says Ciao to Yamaha

01/03/2011 @ 11:15 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Fiat Officially Says Ciao to Yamaha Fiat Yamaha goodbye 635x448

This weekend, Fiat and Yamaha unsurprisingly and officially ended their four-year relationship. The first non-tobacco title sponsor in the four-stroke MotoGP category, Fiat joined up with Yamaha in 2007, when MotoGP switched to the 800cc format. Originally justifying the sponsorship as a way to reach a car-buying audience that was younger than Formula 1 fans, Fiat has always had its eye on the Italian rider. That relationship has manifested itself in Rossi testing with Ferrari on numerous occasions, and prompted the nine-time World Champion to consider kart racing after his motorcycling career is over.

This announcement isn’t a surprise to anyone in the MotoGP camp, as with Rossi vacating Yamaha for the 2011 season, Fiat was expected to pull the plug on its support for the company’s MotoGP efforts. Announcing on its webpage and twitter account that it would be leaving the current Rider, Team, and Manufacturer Championship team (for the third year in a row we might add), Fiat seems equally unimpressed with current Champion Jorge Lorenzo staying on with the squad, and Rookie of the Year Ben Spies joining him for the first time on a factory bike.

While Yamaha Racing is reportedly still in talks with sponsors like Telefonica and AirAsia, it’s looking increasingly likely that the team will run corporate colors at the season opener in Qatar. The debate that will carry on to the beginning of the season will be whether this is a sign of the economic climate in MotoGP, or the a testament to the star power of Valentino Rossi. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Fiat-Yamaha

Comment:

  1. tarde says:

    “The debate that will carry on to the beginning of the season will be whether this is a sign of the economic climate in MotoGP, or the a testament to the star power of Valentino Rossi.”

    It seems like a combination of the loyalty, belief (in the team they are endorsing), and principal. Hats off to any firm that stands by their commitment and views.

  2. GeddyT says:

    Isn’t Repsol non-tobacco? Or do you just mean for Yamaha?

  3. Jaybond says:

    Why Fiat did not follow Rossi to Ducati in the first place, leaving AMG snapped up Ducati MotoGP’s title sponsor? Is it because Ducati themselves prefer, something more upmarket & luxury brand like AMG?

  4. jebon says:

    jensen:
    any latest news about Rossi and Ducati Team?
    are Marlboro still the main sponsor for the team?as i know, Rossi doesn’t want tobacco company to sponsor his team before.
    what about Fiat?
    any spy photo of Rossi’s bike that will use in the race??i just can’t wait…

  5. Marlboro is still the title sponsor, AMG is the official car sponsor. No photos yet of the bike livery, but it will be unveiled in about a week’s time at the Wrooom event that Ducati holds with Ferrari in the Dolomite mountains each year.

  6. deejay51 says:

    Just reaffirming the fact that FIAT own a high percentage of FERRARI, all of this is a bit confusing. What is NOT confusing is the lack of entries in the 2011 MotoGP Championship, I’m reading 15~16 (ish). A very sad state of affairs, further that Dorna wanna sell the whole package, apparently…

  7. Pete says:

    Yamaha will roll up in Qatar with a Title Sponsor. FIAT, in 2007 came to the party @ the 11th hour when all of us thought the Bike would also roll in Blue & White Corporate Yamaha. Is Moto GP Sponsorship really worth it ? Thing is, when more than 3/4′S of the season’s races are done and dusted by lap 5, it becomes boring TV. Sponsors aren’t getting value for their buck. Rossi initially had an issue with Tobacco money but has since had a rethink. The Camel Partnership ended @ Camel’s request and not Rossi. Its Marlboro Ducati with AMG as team Sponsor. The red livery with the barcode is according to them, all the exposure they need. The bulk of the Tab will still be picked up by the Tobacco Boys.

  8. SBPilot says:

    Pete is right. Rossi doesn’t really care much anymore about whether it’s a Tobacco company sponsoring his team, that’s the thing of the past. Especially considering it’s Marlboro money paying largely his pay cheque and not Ducati.

    I am a bit surprised Ducati lets AMG, a German company be their Car Sponsorship, and not procure FIAT to talk deals first. In the end, I thought they wanted the dream “Italian” team..unless some Corporate figures in AMG are in fact..Italian. Regardless, it’s still a German company.

    2011 is exciting because of the team switching. But 2012 will be exciting for the actual racing. I assure that many teams will be having many meetings about whether spend resources on 2011 or most of them on developing the 2012 bike to be competitive. 2011 is a filler year. 2012 is a clean sheet, riders just in their 2nd year with their new teams riding new bikes + (here’s to hoping) a few more private teams to fill the grid.