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.

Transcript: The Gay Question at Jerez

05/02/2013 @ 4:33 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

Transcript: The Gay Question at Jerez jerez press conference 635x357

If you didn’t watch Thursday’s pre-event press conference for MotoGP at Jerez, it is worth a viewing right to the end (assuming you have a MotoGP.com account). Building off the news about the NBA’s Jason Collins coming out as gay in a self-written feature in Sport Illustrated, my good colleague David Emmett had the courage to inquire about the culture and acceptance of the MotoGP paddock for homosexual riders.

I will let David write in his own words the mood and response to the evening’s press conference, as well as address the comments, criticisms, and opinions put forth later on Twitter by members of the paddock, when learning about the event. For the sake of accuracy though, after the jump is a full transcript of David’s question, as put to riders Cal Crutchlow, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl, and Scott Redding, as well as those riders’ responses to David’s inquiry.

David Emmett: “This is a question for everyone — it is quite a difficult question. Last week Jason Collins, an NBA player, admitted he was homosexual. Now there have been are no openly homosexual MotoGP riders. I want to hear your thoughts on why that is not the case. Are people afraid of coming out as gay, or are you all just more really interested in women?”

<laughter from the crowd>

Cal Crutchlow: “Should I go first?!”

David Emmett: “Yes please!”

<more laughter>

Cal Crutchlow: “Sorry David, I’m off bounds — I’m nearly married. That’s all I have to say…I don’t know. I don’t think it matters, you know? I think this sport is about racing motorcycles. It’s never came out that anybody is gay. But maybe there are some, just hidden in the closet, I don’t know. Maybe I’m sat with one of them. I don’t know.”

Jorge Lorenzo: “For the people who ask me on Twitter, or whatever, if I am gay this is the time that they will know I’m not gay. I respect the gay people. Of course, there is no problem.”

David Emmett: “Anyone else?”

Nick Harris: “Marc Marquez?”

<more laughter>

Marc Marquez: “I think it’s not a problem. I have great respect for everybody, and everybody from a different personalities. Not a problem.”

Andrea Dovisioso: “I never thought about that, that some riders can be gay, but I think for everybody it would be not a problem. But, it is difficult to think. I don’t know why.”

Stefan Bradl: “Maybe if it makes faster we will think about it…”

<laughter from the entire room>

Stefan Bradl: “But so far I don’t have the experience. I’m not gay also. But for sure I respect the guys that are gay. They are also normal person.”

Scott Redding: “Yeah, same for me. I’ve been with a girlfriend for a long time now, and not really thought of going the other way so. Again, respect to everyone, and it is what it is.”

Photo: MotoGP

Comment:

  1. Phil says:

    What you do off the track has no bearing and never should.

  2. Minibull says:

    Bloody hell, Redding…you tall ass bastard XD

  3. bemer2six says:

    Well that clears up that. Lol not that it ever mattered to me. what a rider does off the bike is his personal Business, but if he or she wants to come out and tell the world what their sexual preference is then more power to them. if the rider I support is Gay well then it is what it is and I will still support him or her…

  4. Earl Shives says:

    Yeah Minibull, I was a foot taller than Jorge when I met him. I thought Crutchlow to be a bigger fellow. Seems they’re all imps!

  5. meatspin says:

    motogp lists reddings height as just a bit over 6 feet so he is taller than average. Most of them are not very big people.

  6. meatspin says:

    easy to say it doesnt matter, but sponsors might think otherwise.

    Coming out for collins was important to him even though it might seem like such a trivial thing to a lot of people. It will be interesting to see if it affects his relationship with his team, organization and any future contracts he may have. He’s already had a long career already so to come out now is probably a lot easier than if he was just starting out.

  7. 76 says:

    Scott Redding gives me hope!

  8. smiler says:

    More application of apparent American liberal thinking and actual prejudice and narrow-minded culture makes it to a completely irrelevant subject in another international sport. Well done USA.
    Is this why Americans say things like fag, suck and suck my dick as insults?

  9. You know David Emmett lives in Holland and was born in England, right?

  10. Gutterslob says:

    Gotta love Bradl’s reply. Always seeking performance.

  11. Big D says:

    I wonder if being that tall would help or hurt Redding in MotoGP.

  12. Damo says:

    @smiler

    No idea where your train of thought just came from. You are so far off base, I don’t know where to start.

  13. TRL says:

    That was a silly question. There are no gay Latin men, just ask ‘em the’ll tell you.

  14. Mike says:

    @smiler There clearly IS some prejudice and narrow-mindedness on this page, and it’s all from you.

  15. Westward says:

    I find it more interesting that it’s the German that is willing to explore the performance aspect of the situation. Which leads me further to believe the Ducati is in good hands. The Germans will explore any aspect in order to win…

    If a guy can win, and have personality, I seriously doubt being gay would matter. However, if person is gay, losing, and has a bad attitude, being gay could be a detriment…

  16. proudAmerican says:

    The question was awkward, but the guys handled it well. At least they weren’t asked about their religion, political affiliation, or opinions on abortion. None of it matters. Just go race.

    @ Big D

    At his height, I think Redding can probably view the entire racetrack from the seat of his bike!! :-))

  17. Cpt.Slow says:

    Irrelevant topic…

    Great response by Bradl

    Smiler got owned, lol

  18. hoyt says:

    @Cpt. Slow – that was great.

  19. RJJR says:

    Reddings height is a detriment, mostly because of the weight it brings, and that is a more pertinent topic as far as racing is concerned. Bradl probably won over any potential gay targeted sponsors, and more money does make you faster, so…

  20. Clay says:

    I would have been pissed if I was Marquez…the way the guy asked if there was anybody else with a view on the topic, and then another reporter blurts out ‘Marc Marquez…??” as if insinuating that he is gay…

  21. Iron says:

    @Clay

    Nick Harris is not a reporter, he’s the guy who runs the press conferences (among other things he does during a race weekend). He was directing the question to Marquez next, as is customary when a question is asked of all the riders, and not insinuating anything.

  22. hodgmo says:

    So let me get this right. No rider ever said he was gay or ever said it was an issue of any kind, correct? But this reporter has to go for the “let’s interject the gay issue into MotoGP” even if, as far as we know, it does not even exist. Sounds like news sensationalism or propaganda to me.