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.

Isle of Man TT Looking to Make a TT World Championship

03/16/2011 @ 5:31 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Isle of Man TT Looking to Make a TT World Championship Three Legs of Man Triskelion 635x476

The Isle of Man TT has just confirmed that it has launched a feasibility study into whether TT-branded events could be held around the world, as a part of a larger TT Championship racing series. The study is to start soon, as the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development is considering whether taking the IOMTT global could help the event, with plans to implement the idea possibly occurring as early as 2014, should the study show favorable interest.

The Isle of Man TT lost its World Championship status in the 1976, when the FIM stopped sanctioning the event because of safety concerns, and an exodus of prominent riders. Despite that setback, the historic race just celebrated its 100th racing year anniversary (racing was interrupted during World War II), and has been at the forefront of pushing motorcycle advancement since its first race in 1907. The 99th running of the IOMTT was also the first sanctioned electric motorcycle race ever, another hat-tip to the series’ forward-thinking direction and prestige. Thanks for the tip Frank!

In theory the TT Championship would take the Isle of Man TT format, and bring it to new venues around the world, thus differentiating itself from other road racing series that take place on closed racing circuits. No details have been released yet on the IOMTT’s exact plan, but they are reaching out to venues and partners for collaboration, and this latest press release seems to be more of solicitation for partners in the series.

In implementation, the series presumably would have a mix of regular traveling riders (the Isle of Man TT has an obvious interest in promoting its mostly-Manx ridership), as well as local racers, who would take to the streets in a Manx-style gala, not too dissimilar from events we’ve seen Red Bull and others run here in the United States and abroad (Red Bull Air Race/Flugtag anyone?). However the biggest hurdle for the TT Championship would of course be the safety concerns that racing on public roads brings, but if that could be overcome, we think there could be a winning formula to this plan from the Isle of Man.

In a statement released to the press, the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development said the following:

“The move is part of the plans to develop the TT brand internationally and promote the Isle of Man.”

“The TT Races, which have been held on the Isle of Man since 1907, is a significant contributor to the positive national identity of the Isle of Man internationally and it is also the Island’s most recognised brand.”

“The Department funds the TT Races to drive economic development on the Isle of Man to generate tourism and commercial income and to provide a sports-based platform for Isle of Man-based companies to make business contacts, as well as profiling the benefits of businesses incorporating on the Isle of Man.”

“The intention is to build a platform that will increase the return on investment for the Isle of Man Government in the TT Races brand through sponsorship, television, licensing and hospitality, generate revenue-earning opportunities for the competitors and teams who take part, and to provide economic and commercial benefits for the destinations and other commercial partners who host rounds.”

Source: Isle of Man TT

Comment:

  1. Bjorn says:

    That would be awesome! I would so love to see an international series get off the ground. Hard men and women racing hotted up road bikes on the road; what more could you want?
    A mate who raced at the TT in the 90′s described it perfectly, “Really really real road racing.”

  2. Dabber says:

    Do it! I love watching it on discovery. It would be awesome to see scenery around the world and motorcycles running though different towns and landscapes. I think some of those towns surrounding the Blue ridge parkway would be a great place to race here in the states.

  3. Jake Fox says:

    As entertaining as I find the race, it strikes me as an anomaly that it hasn’t been shut down at the Isle of Man yet. I haven’t checked sources for exact statistics but it seems that every year (or nearly) there is at least one fatality involved in the race. With all the modern safety improvements that are absent at a road course (run-off areas, air walls, gravel pits, etc.) I question whether the Isle of Mann event should be replicated elsewhere. Also, how many localities will want to embrace such an idea, knowing in advance the high costs involved?

  4. Mike J says:

    This has happened before with the Formula TT series that started in the late 70’s. It started off as an IOM event and then gradually grew to encompass other events (Ulster GP, Barcelona Motnjuich Park, the old Bruno street circuit, Assen). But as the series grew in popularity and more “normal” closed circuit events started creeping into the calendar, many riders who gravitated to the series from short circuit racing started making noises about “having” to race the dangerous road circuits in order to contest the championship and it was back to the early 70’s again. The series was eventually killed off by the rise of WSBK but the writing was already on the wall for the pure road events on the calendar.

    The TT has proven that it can survive, and flourish, as a stand alone event, as has the NW200 and the Ulster GP. I don’t think a new championship will do it any favours.

  5. mark says:

    There was an attempt to have an IOMTT-sanctioned TT on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton a number of years ago, but it fell through after the local government failed to approve it after long negotiations. Will be interesting to see whether there’s any more success this time.

  6. gnmac says:

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. rick slark says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Isle of Man TT Looking to Make a TT World Championship – http://aspha.lt/dd #motorcycle

  8. kumo says:

    Would be totally cool if they partner with the Macao GP Both are great challenges for SBK tipe bikes.

    Also, with this movement TT-Zero could get more support and attention.

  9. Keith says:

    ooo, I know a perfect track for the states. Going to the sun road and loop back to the start on US 2.