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.

Yamaha Confirms Jorge Lorenzo Will Race at Motegi

09/12/2011 @ 1:42 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Yamaha Confirms Jorge Lorenzo Will Race at Motegi Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Misano MotoGP. 635x427

In a short statement, Yamaha Racing confirmed that factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will compete in the Japanese GP in late-October. While both Yamaha riders have been reluctant about going to Motegi, they, like the rest of the MotoGP paddock, have been made uneasy by concerns over radiation reports, suspicions of the Japanese government candor on the issue, and safety considerations about the state of the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

With MotoGP riders threatening a near mutiny over Dorna’s pressure to go on with the Japanese GP, at the center of the riders’ push-back were Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner. With both Stoner and Lorenzo continually softening their position on Motegi over the course of the past few months, Lorenzo now is the first of the ringleaders to let the shoe drop that he will compete in the Japanese round. With the Aragon GP this weekend, it will be interesting to hear what has brought around the young Spanish rider, though we have our guesses.

An employee at a Japanese company, there certainly must have been significant pressure from Yamaha to have all of its riders, factory and satellite, competing for pride at the company’s home race. How great those pressures were communicated to the riders is open for debate, but there is no question that for a company like Yamaha, and for a race like MotoGP that is dominated by three Japanese companies, the issue of racing at Motegi borders closely on an emotion that can only be translated into English as being analogous to patriotism in the United States.

With Yamaha investing its future in Jorge Lorenzo, so much so that the Japanese factory was willing to part ways with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, there is also the level of respect and the ability to work in coming years between the two parties. Yamaha views Lorenzo as its investment on many Championships still yet to come, and if the young Spaniard did not hold up on his end of the bargain, it’s uncertain to say what could happen in a year’s time.

Another weighing factor is the 2011 MotoGP Championship. Now 35 points behind Casey Stoner, Lorenzo is just close enough to the points leader to still be a factor in the Championship title, but not close enough where he can dictate his own terms. If Lorenzo wants defend his #1 plate (and he really, really, really does), then he had no choice but to race at Motegi. Facing something just short of a prisoner’s dilemma, Lorenzo has the easier hand where each route in this game theory has the greatest personal outcome for the Spaniard only if he attends.

If Stoner still decides not to race in Japan, Lorenzo has 25 points he can potentially steal back from the Australian. Conversely if Stoner does decide to race, Lorenzo must be in attendance to continue his campaign of slowly catching Casey five to nine points at a time. Failing to race under the best conditions (Stoner also not racing), isn’t even a “push” for reigning-Champion, as that means one less round in the Championship, and Stoner one step closer to overall victory. Even worse, if Stoner did race and Lorenzo didn’t, MotoGP might as well cast the inscription on the Championship trophy.

What remains to be seen now is how Stoner will react to the move. With still a race’s margin between him and Lorenzo, the Australian can still afford to miss around or have a race-ending technical failure/incident, failing to race at Motegi would of course change that position, as it would bring his safety net on the Championship to well within Lorenzo’s striking distance. Though Stoner may be thinking now as a father, he also is a very competitive rider, and where those two traits intersect will be an interesting proposition. Our thoughts? We’ll see a great battle between the two come race day October 30th.

Source/Photo: Yamaha Racing.


  1. johnc says:

    my guess is that jorge sees 25 points on the table that if stoner misses motegi, are his to gain.

    it will be interesting to see who has the stones in the stoner family unit … casey or adriana ;-)

  2. Other Sean says:

    Indeed, irradiated points are still points!

  3. Ken C. says:

    I can’t help but wonder if maybe all the Japanese manufacturers banded together to boycott their riders if they did not race in Motegi. Then, their only option would be Ducati, which is basically a disaster right now. We’ll see when Casey Stoner and the rest of the Honda boys follow suit, which I’m guessing will happen any day now.

  4. Alexontwowheels says:

    Casey will ride at Motegi. But he’ll cry about it the whole time, and probably fly in/out with the narrowest margin.

  5. I am sure I speak for most dads out there, we all would take greater risks than this on behalf of our familys. These 2 guys for me, over this season have dulled my enthusiasm for the sport in 2011. I am sorry but enough of pussys. I am not a Rossi fan but I lik e what he has said over the years “this is the races” Both these guys better get it togethjer or the sport will suffer further. Is this really a health issue now or a point issue!

    Follow the points men.