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.

John Hopkins to Wild Card at WSBK Silverstone Round

07/21/2011 @ 10:17 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

John Hopkins to Wild Card at WSBK Silverstone Round samsung crescent suzuki gsxr1000 635x448

Announcing its plans back in March to skip Donington Park for Britain’s other track, Samsung Crescent Suzuki has confirmed that the team, along with Anglo-American rider John Hopkins (and teammate Jon Kirkham), will be attending the upcoming World Superbike round at Silverstone as wild card team entry. While Kirkham will be making his WSBK debut, this will be Hopper’s first time on a World Superbike-spec machine since his 2009 campaign with Stiggy Honda.

“We’ve had good success in the past with wild card rides, too, like Tom Sykes’ podium in 2008; we’re not there just to make up the numbers,” said Team Manager Jack Valentine. “And we can bet Hopper will be out to make a statement or two! We’re certainly looking to run competitively. Our only disadvantage is that we normally run under British superbike rules, which allows only one bike per rider, not two. That said, we’ve got one of the most professional teams in the sport, they’re able to turn any job around very quickly and very accurately. We should be okay.”

For a fun factoid: Hopper’s wild card at Silverstone means that he will have competed in the British Superbike, World Superbike, and MotoGP Championships this season, and if the former-AMA rider can find a one-off ride in the American Superbike series (not likely), then he can lay claim to the Grand Slam of Motorcycle Racing (we just made that hono(u)r up).

Source: Crescent Suzuki


  1. PD says:

    How does this work? Crescent’s BSB bikes are far lower spec than World SBK bikes, are they not? So, do they borrow WSBK-spec bikes? If so, from whom? Just upgrade parts and electronics? If so, does Crescent outlay so much money for the significant upgrades just for one race weekend (especially when the lowering of spec for the BSB series was to save money)? Just curious.

  2. Motominded says:

    Suzuka and Sugo are ready! Daijiro Kato’s passing was terrible but it does not mean Suzuka is the most dangerous track on earth. It was widely agreed his crash was due to rider error. After 2003, the Japanese championship still held events there and the Suzuka 8 hour is still an important race for the Japanese brands. To add, there have been riders killed at Brands Hatch, Indy, and Misano in the last few years but the WSBK/WSS and MotoGP still return there. I feel it is time Suzuka was reevaluated. Or even Sugo be given another chance at the world stage as Motegi isn’t as exciting as the others.

  3. Motominded says:

    Opps, wrong article. Disregard.

  4. SBPilot says:

    BSB bikes aren’t necessarily far lower spec than WSBK bikes. Especially top teams like Crescent, their team and bike is probably better prepped than most of the privateers in WSBK. The SWAN Yamaha team in BSB is actually using WSBK spec bikes straight from Yamaha, right up to the carbon fairings. Those were Yamaha’s 2010 bike that was suppose to be used for 2011 after more developing but Yamaha decided the other top WSBK teams are developing quicker than expected so they just made new bikes for the 2011 WSBK team and sold the ’10 to SWAN. It’s true that some top WSBK teams like Aprilia/Ducati/Yamaha have some really developed bikes with good personnel and good riders, but Hopper is one hell of a rider, and Crescent is one hell of a team. Privateers WSBK bikes are no better than Crescent’s bikes, if not worse.

  5. SBPilot says:

    Forgot to add, Crescent is probably more factory Suzuki than Alstare considering Paul Denning (MotoGp Suzuki) runs Crescent as well, so those BSB Gixxers are definitely top spec if not the best right you can get.

  6. John Hopkins to Wild Card at WSBK Silverstone Round – #motorcycle

  7. PD says:

    Hmm, I thought, in recent years, primarily to lower costs, similar to what the AMA did with its superbikes, limitations were placed with the BSB series to bring the superbikes closer to superstock spec, and away from the increasingly no-limit high spec of WSBK. Especially with regard to electronics, etc. So was this not the case?

  8. SBPilot says:

    Media was speculating that BSB Superbike takes on BSB Evo rules which is a pretty extreme cost cutting measure, stock engine, spec electronics etc. That has not happened yet but they have cut down to one rider per bike which I think is huge already. Currently I’m pretty sure BSB SBK is pretty open on modifications, engines internals, swing arms, open suspension, and electronics. Evo/Superstock rules is where the major cost cutting has been happening. In Superstock your engine can only have a modified head gasket and something else, very minor stuff, and I read those BMW super stock machines don’t’ even bother running a thinner head gasket.

    I hope WSBK cut costs for more bikes and more equal performing bikes on the grid, one bike rule is good, and they should ban Carbon Fibre body work, that would save so much money it’s incredible, just like how it’s now banned in WSS.