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.

GP Commission Confirms Dropping of MotoGP Claiming Rule, Reduces Cost of Moto2 Engine Swaps

07/02/2013 @ 2:31 pm, by David Emmett6 COMMENTS

GP Commission Confirms Dropping of MotoGP Claiming Rule, Reduces Cost of Moto2 Engine Swaps CRT Magneti Marelli MotoGP Jensen Beeler 635x421

As we reported at Mugello, the claiming rule is to be dropped from the MotoGP rulebook. Introduced to prevent factories entering MotoGP under the guise of private teams, the claiming rule allowed any factory to claim the engine of a bike entered by a CRT team.

But after the Grand Prix Commission agreed to the introduction of a spec-ECU, the decision to run the spec-software proved to be an alternative and more effective way of separating full-factory efforts from privateer teams. The claiming rule was never actually used, the factories having said when the claiming rule was introduced that they had no intention of ever claiming an engine.

It was kept there as the ultimate threat, Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘big stick’ to prevent other factories from even considering such a ruse.

The new distinction between factory and private teams is now the spec-ECU, and so the claiming rule has been dropped with immediate effect for all teams (Forward Racing, Avintia Blusens, PBM’s Michael Laverty, CAME Ioda Racing) currently using the spec-software.

From 2014, all teams will have to use the spec-hardware, and so the claiming rule will be dropped completely for the 2014 season.

Changes were also announced to the Moto2 engine rules. All Moto2 teams can ask to replace one of their spec-engines if they believe the engine has lower than standard performance due to whatever reason (manufacturing tolerances, assembly differences, etc).

They currently pay a deposit of 20,000 euros when they submit such a request, money they would lose if it turned out that the engine they asked to have replaced was performing up to spec. However, despite a number of engines being replaced – last year, Marc Marquez’s team asked for his engine to be replaced at least once – no deposit was every forfeited.

It was felt that that system was unfair on the poorer teams in the paddock. They could not risk losing the 20,000 euros deposit, and so rarely asked for a new engine. The richer teams could risk losing the money, and knew that they stood little risk of actually losing that money. Dorna and IRTA officials were loath to impose the penalty, given the size of the sum involved.

The new system will be imposed for strictly, but with lower amounts demanded for deposits. Moto2 teams will now pay a 7,500 euro deposit, but IRTA are now more likely to actually keep the deposit if the engine is performing within the specified parameters.

The 7,500 euro deposit will be increased to 10,000 euros for the second engine a team asks to be swapped, discouraging teams from swapping engines looking for a stronger motor. Below is the official FIM press release.

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix

Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 28 June 2013 in Assen (NED), made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class – Effective Immediately

The engine claiming rule is cancelled for any CRT entry using the official Magneti Marelli hardware and software.

MotoGP Class – Effective 2014

The engine claiming rule is cancelled completely.

Moto2 Class – Effective Immediately

Teams are currently permitted to request a change of official engine even if the Technical Director has decided that, in his opinion, there is no justification for a change. In the current regulations such requests risked forfeiting a deposit of €20,000 if subsequent examination of the engine showed that it was performing within the normal parameters. In practice this penalty has never been applied and the teams have simply been charged the costs involved for engine stripping and testing.

The deposit which is subject to forfeit has now been reduced to €7,500 with a supplement of €2,500 for any subsequent changes by the same team/rider in the same season. This deposit/penalty requirement will henceforth be applied without exception.

The object of the rule change is to discourage teams from requesting engine changes for frivolous reasons or in the hope of being randomly allocated an engine that might have better performance.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed on:

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regulations/

Source: FIM; Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

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

Comment:

  1. Calisdad says:

    ” poorer teams in the paddock” ? It’s all relative isn’t it.

    The problem is they didn’t understand the concept of a ‘claiming race’. Let the factories have as many parts and engines as they wish. If and when they win the other teams ‘claim’ their parts and engines for a pre-determined price.

    It’s nothing new. Its been going on in horse racing for longer than MotoGP has been alive. Oh- and that game Abner Doubleday invented has been played for over 150 years with only 1 (perhaps ill advised) rule change.

    Quit messing around. Level the playing field and the sport will sort itself out.

  2. Cpt.Slow says:

    …What is Aspar and other teams using ART machines (w/ proprietary ecu’s and software) labeled now, factory?

  3. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    So, you’ll still see what was fka “CRT” bikes but because everyone will have the same ECU they should be a lot closer in performance to satalite or factory teams. Is that right?

    …or, in other words, the bikes fka “CRT” will be even further ahead of Ducati’s factory team.

    Why isn’t the rule on tires ever on their radar screen?

  4. Norm G. says:

    re: “The claiming rule was never actually used, the factories having said when the claiming rule was introduced that they had no intention of ever claiming an engine.”

    of course… you don’t claim kit, when you can just go to your local dealer, purchase same, and get A WHOLE BIKE thrown in for free.

  5. Norm G. says:

    re: “Why isn’t the rule on tires ever on their radar screen?”

    beggars can’t be choosers. those not coming off the dime, don’t get to make rules.

  6. dipthroat says:

    Well, that explains why Marquez’s bike always looked a little less the same than others’ bike