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.

Repaved Indianapolis GP Surface is “Pretty Much Perfect” Says Nicky Hayden

08/09/2011 @ 8:27 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Repaved Indianapolis GP Surface is Pretty Much Perfect Says Nicky Hayden Nicky Hayden Catalunya Scott Jones

Nicky Hayden was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, checking out the newly repaved infield section on the historic American track. Testing the track on a Ducati Superbike 1198SP, Hayden took a number of laps before giving the nod that he approved of the refurbishment (the FIM also gave their nod on Indy’s work on July 7th). The repaving of the infield portion of the circuit, Turn 5 through Turn 16, comes as a response from riders’ complaints from last year.

With several varieties of pavement, a bevy of bumps, and some poorly placed drainage components, the Indianapolis GP has been a low-point on the MotoGP calendar for most of the MotoGP paddock the past few years, despite being held at an otherwise top-rate and historic venue. With Dorna likely pressuring Indianapolis into making alterations, the track probably faced compulsion to make changes to its infield, especially with the Circuit of Americas track currently being built in Austin.

Talk in the MotoGP paddock is that the Austin GP is now being aimed as less of a replacement for the Indianapolis GP, and instead will be a third stop in America for MotoGP, as Dorna wants to expand the premier class’s presence in the USA. With the 2011 Indianapolis GP just two and a half weeks away, all the GP riders will soon get to see the improvements at Indy, until then they’ll just have to take Nicky Hayden’s word on it. A brief Q&A with the Kentucky Kid and video of his laps and thoughts are after the jump.

Q: Now that you’ve experienced the new IMS MotoGP road course surface, what do you think?

NICKY HAYDEN: The new surface is just what I expected, it’s pretty much perfect. There are a couple corners that the riders requested to be redone and IMS went above and beyond, and actually the whole infield from Turn 5 to the finish is repaved, so I’m looking forward to getting back here on the race bike and laying some rubber down and cleaning up the racing line and trying it out.

Q: Will this increase competition or make it better for the riders, or both?

HAYDEN: I think it’s safer, for one. There was a lot of crashing in the Turn 6 area over those bumps and I think it’ll also make the racing better. It’s going to open up a few areas where before it was one line because you had to miss the bumps, and now I think it’ll make for better racing because there will be more places to pass. Just a more enjoyable, more fun track, so I know all the riders love Indy anyway and it’s only going to make it better.

Q: Is there anything unique about this track compared to others?

HAYDEN: A lot. I mean look at the place, look at the size of it. It’s pretty much the only track inside an oval like this. We race Motegi, which is part in an oval, but part outside. But definitely there’s a heritage and a little bit of hype about Indy, a bit of swag, and this place has been around a long time and did a lot of racing. For me, being from Kentucky, it’s the highlight of the year for me. I know a lot of guys really look forward to this one and it’s a special race.

Q: Being from Kentucky, how important is this event to you?

HAYDEN: They’re all important. The races in Italy are the team’s home races, and Laguna Seca, also being in California, is cool, but to race three hours from home is something I never expected when I came to MotoGP. At that time there wasn’t a race in America. The closest I got to home was Brazil, so I really cherish it. Every year I enjoy it more and more, and get more and more fans from home that have never really seen me race, or certainly never seen me race MotoGP. I get a lot of support. Owensboro is a great town that really gets behind their guys no matter what you’re doing, and there are going to be a lot of people here from Owensboro for the race.

Q: Ducati is kind of like the Ferrari of motorcycles. What’s it like racing for a team like Ducati?

HAYDEN: Like you say, Ferrari and Ducati kind of have that Italian swag, and it’s a very unique bike, it’s a very special bike with a lot of history. They just don’t produce thousands and thousands of bikes. It’s a small, small company that puts everything into their bikes and produce only road bikes, and I’ve learned a lot. The team is awesome. I mean, they love their bikes and love their team, and when you’re in Italy you feel it. Everybody, from the people at the grocery store to the guys at the gas station, they’re all behind you. This year hasn’t been an easy year for us, but we know our bike is good and sometimes it’s a little bit sharp, you get it outside that area that’s the sweet spot and it makes for a long day, but when you get it on the sweet spot you know it’s an absolute weapon. Hopefully when we come back here in three weeks we’ll have it dialed in. We race the Czech Republic next and then we have a big test after the race, which is going to be really important for us to hopefully find something and get us teed up for a big weekend at Indy.

Q: You’ve got a great teammate (multiple time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi). How important is a good teammate in this series?

HAYDEN: I think we’ve got a good team. We’re the only team with two world champions in it at the moment, so that’s pretty unique in its own way and we still get along good. Me and him, obviously we want to beat each other, he’s 16 points in front of me, I think, and it would be a big honor for me if I could beat him. He’s won 11 titles over there and has pretty much set the standard for the last decade. It’s been a different challenge for us because having an Italian world champion on the team has brought a lot of expectations and a lot of pressure, but the people there are still behind us, and of course they want results and want us winning, which we’re not doing at the moment, which makes it hard. I’ve learned a lot from him, and also that goes both ways. This bike has been new to him and he’s not above asking questions and wanting to know why, and I think right now the results haven’t shown, but I think next year it’s going to pay off when we come with the new rules and they go back to the thousand-ccs. I think having two strong teammates who are pushing in the same direction is going to be better instead of two guys wanting to go in different ways.

Q: Could you talk a little bit about how you as a rider can affect how your bike handles?

HAYDEN: The rider makes the biggest difference on a motorcycle, where in a car when you’re strapped in with a seat belt on there’s only so much you can do. On a motorcycle you have a lot more freedom to move around, use your body and different things to help make up for what the bike’s maybe not doing. You can’t ride a sled around here and think you’re going to get on the podium on it, but a good bike, good team, good rider is all pretty even. It’s not like you gotta have all three, but a rider can make that difference.

Source: Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Good Spark says:

    Nicky’s a focused, hard-workin’ guy. We attended this new surface test session and watched him interact with the local Ducati Indianapolis crew. His involvement on all levels, including bike set-up and data, is evident in our li’l behind-the-scenes video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZL3lwmo3Yc

  2. Alexontwowheels says:

    Maybe it just felt good cause he wasn’t on his shit-box GP11 sled? haha, oh sorry ducatisti, i didn’t mean to hurt feelings. All joking aside great to see Indy take the bikes seriously and make such an effort for the riders, that says a lot about their commitment to MotoGP! Also hopeful to see Nicky get it back on the box now that he’s the only rider with any advance knowledge of the course and the new surface.

  3. N2BATEU says:

    I wonder why from a PR standpoint they didnt use a “nicky hayden edition” 848? I know they used the evo, but still? maybe paint a one-off livery