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.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

“Why Would You Make a Motorcycle that You Can’t Wheelie, but that Wheelies Everywhere?” – Kenny Roberts Sr.

07/27/2011 @ 4:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Why Would You Make a Motorcycle that You Cant Wheelie, but that Wheelies Everywhere?   Kenny Roberts Sr. King Kenny Yamaha YZR M1 Laguna Seca

On Thursday at the US GP, a day before the general public and non-MotoGP press could get into Laguna Seca, Yamaha unveiled its 50th Anniversary team livery, with a special cadre of legendary Yamaha riders. Eddie Lawson, Kel Carruthers, Kenny Roberts Sr., and Wayne Rainey joined current Yamaha riders Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow, Colin Edwards, Jorge Lorenzo in the pit lane of the famous American track to commemorate Yamaha’s half-century of motorcycle Grand Prix involvement. After the presentation, a scrum of journalists got a chance to talk to King Kenny about his experience riding the YZR-M1 around Laguna Seca, as Yamaha had built a special GP bike for the American GP Champion, though it did not have a full electronics package.

A&R also got to eavesdrop in on the conversation between Roberts, Edwards, Spies, and Crutchlow, as the foursome exchanged notes on how GP racing has progressed, and what riding the M1 was like coming from different disciplines outside of the usual GP career track. Perhaps most interesting in that discussion was how precise riding a MotoGP motorcycle has become, as the tires, electronics, and suspension all demand a very particular riding style, racing line, and motorcycle setup to achieve maximum performance.

Roberts lamented to the current GP riders because of the precision required, it was easy to run afoul of the M1. Saying in his day, a rider could be 10 feet off the ideal line, fight the bike through the corner, and finish the lap none the slower; but on the current MotoGP equipment, being 10cm off the line can mean seconds missing on the lap time because of how exacting the sport has become.

This sentiment can perhaps best be confirmed by Ben Bostrom’s performance throughout the weekend, as the American Superbike rider easily eclipses most of the GP filed on his track knowledge of Laguna Seca, but when it comes to heating up the Bridgestone tires and carbon fiber Brembo brakes, along with the sophisticated riding style required on the Honda RC212V, Bostrom’s times were seriously lacking compared to the other riders, and even to those of teammate Toni Elias, who has fought a similar battle all season.

Once King Kenny had finished comparing notes with Yamaha’s MotoGP riders, he was barraged by a small group of foreign journalists and one internet blogger who didn’t know any better. The following is an excerpt of relevant discussion from the ensuing conversation about the M1, electronics, and the current state of MotoGP machinery. Big thanks to David Emmett at MotoMatters for helping transcribe the conversation from a recording that had the Pramac Ducati team warming up next door.

“These things are so rigid and so precise, they’re not near as fun to ride in my opinion. I think you can go round a corner as fast as you want, until you crash. In my day, you could go into the corner a little fast and you’d push the front, or the back would come around, but on that thing, you just go…BOOM! That fast, and you’re down. The tires, suspension, and chassis are so much better to do that exact corner, but if you don’t do that exact corner exactly, it doesn’t work.”

“Mine [The Yamaha YZR-M1 that was prepared for Kenny Roberts Sr. --Ed.] doesn’t have all those electronic devices on it and it’s wheelying everywhere. I don’t know how they ride it. It wheelies everywhere, it doesn’t have anti-wheelie. If you wheelie it more than two seconds, it blows up because it’s missing oil. So, they said don’t wheelie for more than two seconds. Why would you make a motorcycle that you can’t wheelie, but that wheelies everywhere? And you can’t wheelie it for more than 2 seconds. So it’s, 1…2…ok…bullshit. I wouldn’t like that.”

“I rode the old 500 a week ago in England, and I liked it a lot better than I like this. “

Q: You don’t enjoy this?

No. The 500s are better.

Q: Someone said in the past a rider needed to have more imagination to ride the bike because you could push over the limit of the bike.

“Yeah, yeah. The guys that could win were the guys that were physically stronger, that helped a lot, because the bikes wobbled so much and the tires went off. So every four laps the whole system change. It was the guys that had the muscles and the power that made a big difference. This is isn’t going to make any difference to that. This thing’s so much more complicated, you can’t over-ride it.”

Q: You mean you need more physical power before or with this bike?

“No, because this bike is so much more precise, you’re never going to get into the positions that we could get our bikes in. You know, we could over-ride our bikes, we could make it move around, we could slide it and make it turn, and two-strokes had a lot different powerband. This thing isn’t going to do that, it’s not going to slide going in, and set it up coming out. It aint’ going to do that.
It wants to go round the corner as fast as it’s possible to go, and if you don’t hit that spot, exactly, you’re out of the line, it doesn’t like it. I can imagine going out and being very frustrated on this, because you’re not fast enough and you don’t know why. Whereas in our day, it was well, you know what, if we steepen the steering head up a little bit, I can get through the Esses better and that’s going to make me faster, but this thing, no.”

Q: You prefer two-strokes or four-strokes?

“I like four strokes. I think the 1000 will be a lot better. I tested the V5 Honda I raced with Little Kenny around Valencia, and it was a much, much nicer, funner bike. I think the 1000s are going to help everybody out. These things [800cc MotoGP bikes] are like a big 250 with 300 horsepower. The riders are going to like the 1000 much better, because it’s going to have more torque, these things only have RPM.”

“We raced the 700 here, the Daytona bike here, and it was an animal, a complete animal. That was my 1980 bike, it would flex so much, and down the the back straightaway is a big 2nd gear corner. I could go so fast, it would go BOING, like a big spring. So actually you could go round a corner faster than the bike could. But with this one, no way, it ain’t gonna go like that.”

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. mugget says:

    Very interesting comments – thanks for that!

  2. Brandon says:

    Just looking at the picture of KR I think they dressed up an R1 to look like an M1. Fender, swing arm, and tank all look like R1 parts plus the dimensions look off on the fairings.

  3. "Why Would You Make a Motorcycle that You Can't Wheelie, but that Wheelies Everywhere?" – Kenny Roberts Sr. – http://aspha.lt/q9 #motorcycle

  4. Steve says:

    So much has changed in the past 30 years or so. Kenny is as old school as they come and a legend in his own right. He was one of the greatest riders I have ever seen along with Ago, Sheene, Rainey, Schwantz, etc… but comparing the bikes of today to the GP bikes of the 70′s is like comparing a slide rule to a lap top. I was at the track on Thursday and watched Roberts ride one of the old OW’s and the M1. He was clearly more at ease with the OW. I’d love to see Stoner, Whore Gay, Pedrosa, etc… ride one of the old GP Yamahas and see thier reaction to that. Now that would be an interesting interview and fun to watch. By the way…What’s a slide rule???? :)

    Great job on the site boys, I really enjoy it.

  5. Anvil says:

    Very interesting, but not altogether surprising. Nice get.

    But it’s “eavesdrop,” guys, not “ease drop.”

  6. Chris says:

    This is why motorcycle racing will never be as exciting as it once was.

  7. Brandon, Yamaha did an R1 in the livery for the event as well, but the photo above is an M1.

  8. Brandon says:

    I know it looks like a M1. But I look a pictures all day (as a graphic designer), I still think that bike isn’t an M1 like Spies or Lorenzo, only a good camouflaged R1 will modified GP fairings.

  9. And I was there and touched the bike. It’s an M1.

    There’s more photos of it with lighting that shows the swingarm and frame off better on http://www.yamahamotogp.com – The M1 and R1 have completely different spar designs, and the easy tip-off is where the welds are located.

  10. Sean in Oz says:

    Perhaps Kenny should have ridden a RC212V, Stoners standup wheelie seemed to last longer than 2 seconds ; )