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.

HRC Boss Reveals Details of Honda’s Production Racer: Conventional Valves, Standard Gearbox, & 1 Million Euros

02/07/2013 @ 11:44 am, by David Emmett23 COMMENTS

HRC Boss Reveals Details of Hondas Production Racer: Conventional Valves, Standard Gearbox, & 1 Million Euros 2012 HRC Spanish GP Jerez Friday Scott Jones 11

The production racer version of Honda’s RC213V is another step closer to reality. At Sepang, HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto spoke to reporters and the MotoGP.com website about the new bike, and the progress being made on the machine, which will take the place of the CRT machines from 2014 onwards. The bike is delayed, Nakamoto said, but it will be ready in time for the tests at Valencia, after the final race of the season in November.

Nakamoto gave a brief rundown of the specifications of the production RC213V – a bike which, given the amount of publicity it is going to be generating over the next few months, badly needs a new name – though the list contained few surprises.

The bike will have conventional valve springs, as opposed to pneumatic valves on the factory machine. It will not have the seamless gearbox used by the prototypes – again, not a surprise, as maintenance on the gearbox is still an HRC-only affair. This was not a matter of cost, Nakamoto said, claiming the seamless gearbox now costs almost the same as a standard unit.

The bike will use the spec Magneti Marelli electronics, and the spec Dorna software, which will mean the bike will be allowed to run 24 liters of fuel, rather than the 20 liters factory prototypes will have at their disposal from 2014.

To this end, HRC engineers have spent time in Italy, at the Magneti Marelli plant, learning about the ECU. The engine was already being tested on Honda’s dynos, though with an HRC ECU, as the Marelli unit was still having the bugs ironed out, as the CRT machines demonstrated at Sepang.

While progress on the engine-side was promising, what was rather surprising was the area which was causing HRC the most problems. The bike will cost a million euros, as requested by Dorna, and producing the bike to this price was difficult. The hardest part, he Nakamoto MotoGP.com, was producing the chassis at low cost, without compromising performance.

“It is not easy building a Grand Prix bike for a price of one million euros,” Nakamoto said. Anyone wishing to get their hands on one will be sorely disappointed. Only ten will be built – sufficient to supply five riders – and they will only be available in the MotoGP paddock.

The problems HRC were having building the bike down to a price were one of the factors causing the delay. Honda had originally planned to have the bikes ready to hand to the teams for testing at Brno in August, but that was now off the cards.

Instead, the bikes will be ready at Valencia, for the test directly after the last race of the year in November, and not before then. Which teams would get the bike has still not been settled, Nakamoto said. The bike would be sold directly by HRC, but so far, they had not started negotiations with any of the teams.

Source: MotoGP.com & GPone; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. CTK says:

    So just to clarify, this is basically a bargain basement MotoGP bike… only for MotoGP teams? I see Honda’s cancer of disappointment is spreading to their motorcycle division.

  2. Yes. Not to be confused with the V4 sport bike Honda is working on as well.

  3. AlexOnTwoWheels says:

    Thanks for clarifying Jensen, I’m very eager to find out more about the V4 Sport bike we’ve been hearing about for almost 18 months now. Any idea when they’ll spill more of the beans on that?

  4. Nope. Honda is the worst at spilling the beans on stuff like that.

  5. Beinggodisgreat says:

    Thats a joke right?

  6. Joe says:

    Should be faster then the Ducati’s.

  7. SuryaD says:

    Err so why do we have the CRTs in the first place again?

  8. MotoBell says:

    I DON’T GET IT – if wsbk machines are very close to factory prototype motogp bikes, why create artificially something that is more expensive and will be slower. wsbk is faster than every CRT out there my miles (yes some CRTs are thinly weiled wsbks). So the five riders getting this bike already know they will not have any shout of challenging factory bikes and may be even satellite but could be faster than CRTs they ride – that is very sad. they fucked motogp when they went 800, had they stayed with 990/1000 there would have been stability to attract more teams.. may be prototype racing doesn’t make sense anymore (from a machinery perspective)

  9. smiler says:

    With Honda supplying engines & bikes to Moto2, MotoGP front & back of grid & WSBK presence as well. Why don’t they just purchase Dorna? And be done with it. Welcome to the Honda Cup.
    I love Honda but this is getting stupid. Surprised Denso are not supplying the ECU.

    The fact that they have changed the spec for MotoGp from 500 oilers , to 990, 800, 1000 & now CRT’s, since 2003. No wonder most motorcycles companies are having trouble. I really fail to see who this was supposed to keep costs down & competition up…..

  10. TexusTim says:

    no way is that bike worth 1.6 million us..cmon no matter the materials no matter what that is way overpriced…they build ten for 5 riders and that is 16 million no extras no rider no tires no nothing else…and this is supposed to help drive down gp racing…and he say’s it was”difficult” to keep under 1.6 million us ea….wow that takes big balls…and I dont believe it cost that much.

  11. dc4go says:

    @ SuryaD CRT’s were created by Dorna cause private teams could no longer afford a full prototype bike and the manufacture’s refuse to make them more affordable. So CRT’s were born and now Honda is willing to make a lower spec bike for 1 million Euro’s. Also Yami is now leasing engines so teams can use them in there own chassis .. Game of chicken played by Dorna and the Man. Dorna won cause all of sudden Honda/Yamaha can make a good package for 1 million Euro’s or less. Doubt these bikes will beat any full prototype though…….

  12. Superlight says:

    Yes, the price of this bike will be high, but that’s because they’re only making 10 of them. Mass production is what keeps pricing down and this isn’t that.

  13. Ken C. says:

    I understand that the cost of a MotoGP bike is mostly in research and development, but still, it’s hard to believe that Honda has a hard time building 10 bikes for €1 million each. I would love to see cost of materials and R&D, and see what kind of margins Honda is making on this.

  14. CTK says:

    I mean they are decontenting the bikes heavily, and not really using them as testbeds. The price does seem pretty ridiculous. 1 million euros, Joe Schmoe could probably have a competitive MotoGP bike built from scratch

  15. Mr.X says:

    As stated here, making frames is the most expensive part.

  16. tlzook says:

    Lots of “fragile” economies out there right now. MotoGP and/or WSBK may be a “mute” point if China, Korea or both get into a “scuffle” with Japan. We can probably forget 2-wheeled action if..

  17. Brad West says:

    Honda is shipping mine as soon as the check clears.

  18. tony says:

    i agree w/ texastim, as usual…and here’s something i wouldn’t think to see on a 1.6 million euro bike- zipties!

  19. Mikeg81 says:

    1 million? Could buy 10 NS500V’s or lease an NSR500 for that.

  20. I don’t know why everyone is bitching about the price. A Honda RC213V costs several million euros TO LEASE each year. This is a watered-down RC213V with a million dollar price tag for GP teams to own. Seems like a pretty good deal, considering the marketplace for machines in the MotoGP paddock.

  21. moto4 says:

    As others have noted not sure how it can be difficult to build for $1.6m? Particularly odd that there’s the suggestion that financially dependent to nly build five. After r&d (surely the single biggest cost) there is no way materials and production cost so much. I can only assume what Nakamoto means is that hard to build for £1m AND make a whopping profit (and still not give away and secrets, presumably).

  22. JT says:

    How does the £1m price tag compare to the best guesstimate cost of current CRT bikes?

  23. TexusTim says:

    look it’s this simple…do the math ! add all the components together, give high values to all the items.motor,tranmission chassis,forks,shock,swingarm so on…you cant get it to 500,.000 U.S. let alone 1.5 million U.S….listen guys there talking eros here..I million eu is 1..5 million U.S. so there saying one bike without all the moto gp super parts like seamless trans and computer will cost 1.5 million…..so I would say there making more than 60% profit or somthing like 800.00 us in profit on every bike !
    and they cant give the 08 honda cbr 1000 rr any sort of meaningfull upgrade in over 6 years and this is supposed to hold down cost ?…I think honda is the one driving up cost to race moto gp so it takes big bucks to defeat them…outspending your compettition is just another way to win..drive up cost to compete is one of hondas strategy’s here..giving everyone an uncompetitve bike for such big money insuers there domination….THEY ACT LIKE THE SPOILED KID WITH ALL THE BASBALL GEAR ON SUNDAY…IF HE CANT PITCH AND WIN ALL THE TIME HE WILL TAKE HIS BAT AND BALL AND GO HOME…CALL THERE BLUFF HERE AS THERE IS NO WERE ELSE TO GO !