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 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.

Indy Mile Flat Track Grand National Cancelled

08/19/2011 @ 2:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

“The examination of the wreckage is expected to continue for an indefinite period of time,” said a release from the promoters. “This has forced the closing of the Grandstand and one-mile dirt track to events until the investigation is completed and the debris is removed.”

“Losing a round is nothing compared to the loss of life,” said AMA Pro Racing’s Director of Flat Track, Dan Johnsen, “and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. AMA Pro Racing’s thoughts are with all of those now coping with the after-effects.”

Source: AMA Pro Racing; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. Butch says:

    OK, I was waiting for someone else to say it, but no one else has. So flame me at will for being an inconsiderate jerk, but I think cancelling the Indy Mile sucks and I’m not happy about it. Yes, the stage collapse and death of six individuals is undeniably tragic and the stage debris needs to be examined to prevent this type of thing in the future to the extent possible. However, when planes crash on runways, the debris is typically relocated to a hanger for examination. Major airports are not closed to air traffic for weeks. On average 90 to 100 people die PER DAY in traffic accidents, but we don’t see roads and highways closed for weeks at a time for accident reconstruction. They have, or should have, the engineering specs of the stage, they have video of the accident from many angles, they can estimate wind speeds at the time, they have the damaged supports to look at, etc. The debris should have been cleaned up within a week and the race should have proceeded from there…IMO.

  2. Tee-Dot says:

    Pretty disrespectful to the victims and their families to hold a sporting event at a location where people were injured and killed the week before.

    The difference between an accident on a highway or airport runway and the one @ the State Fairgrounds is that there’s really no way to close a highway or runway for an ongoing investigation (especially one that’s expected to go on for an indefinite time). They serve a real purpose, other than just to entertain us.

    Even if there is no investigation, to hold a sporting event @ the Fairgrounds on the same ground of last week’s tragedy would be extremely disrespectful to all those involved. Good for the AMA.

  3. Butch says:

    Come on Tee-Dot. They ran the MotoGP within 2 hours of Peter Lenz’s death last year on the same track. There was no disrespect then, and there would be no disrespect now.

  4. Tee-Dot says:

    My response to that is that fatalities in racing are an accepted risk. Nobody shows up as a concert spectator and expects to be killed.

    Also, Peter Lenz died at IMS, not the state fairgrounds.

    Local to Indy, fyi.

  5. Butch says:

    I know where he died…I was there, fyi. I said the MotoGP race ran on the same track he died, not that he died at the fairgrounds.

    Death is death regardless of your activity at the time.. Heart stops, respiration stops, people grieve. I work in healthcare, fyi. I’ll venture to guess I’ve been at the bedside and curbside of more death than you have. It’s always tragic. But fortunately life goes on and we should celebrate that it does.

    The story states that they can’t clear the debris because the examination of the material continues, not because the area is now hallowed ground as you imply. Therefore my point is that the examination of the material could be done at an alternate location or more quickly than it is.

    If you’re making the case that the delay is to show respect for the victims, then that’s a different argument. Either way, I’m sure we would disagree on that too.

  6. Tee-Dot says:

    I’m not making a case for “hallowed ground”. Sure, it’s got something to do w/ the big picture, but it’s not the sole reason for canceling the race. I’m stating the difference b/t a racing accident (which is an accepted part of the sport) and a mechanical failure that resulted in the deaths of five concert spectators – okay, four spectators and a stage rigger.

    I’ll guess that this investigation is taking longer because someone is going to be at fault, be it the company who was subcontracted to build the stage, the state, the fairgrounds, or some other related entity. An auto accident, by comparison, is a much simpler investigation. How did it happen? Who was at fault? (driver a, driver b or…??)

    My misunderstanding of the Peter Lenz death location was due to the vagueness of your post. Oops! Congratulations on being a healthcare worker, though!