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.

Kevin Schwantz Returns to Motorcycle Racing – Enters the Suzuka 8-Hours with Team Kagayama

04/30/2013 @ 11:53 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Kevin Schwantz Returns to Motorcycle Racing   Enters the Suzuka 8 Hours with Team Kagayama Team Kagayama Suzuka 8 hours Kevin Schwantz 635x317

Former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz has certainly been in the news a bit these past few months, mostly for his involvement and falling out with the Circuit of the Americas and the Americas GP, but also more recently for his comments regarding Dani Pedrosa — we also sat down with Mr. Schwantz in Austin, and the Texan gave us some sobering insight into the future of American road racing.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Schwantz is making a return to two-wheeled racing, and has entered the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race with Team Kagayama. One of three riders on the team’s Suzuki GSX-R1000, Schwantz will race with Noriyuki Haga and team owner Yukio Kagayama during the eight-hour event.

Teaching these past years at his very own Schwantz School, it’s not like Kevin has been sitting on his duff during his racing retirement, and his teammate Haga should need very little introduction considering the Japanese rider’s impressive career in the MotoGP, WSBK, and British Superbikes.

Less-well-known to our non-Japanese readers though is Yukio Kagayama, who is a regular in the Japanese Road Race Championship, and is a previous Suzuka 8-Hours winner (Haga too is a previous Suzuka winner).

Having raced in World Superbikes with Troy Corser on the Alstare Suzuki team and British Superbikes with Worx Suzuki, Kagayama finally returned to Japan and started his own road racing team in 2011. While Team Kagayama has had a hard time of things in the national circuit the past few years, for 2013 the team is off to a good start with a slew of top-six finishes.

Also member of the 2012 Suzuki Endurance Race Team (SERT) at Suzuka, Kagayama is a highly regarded rider at the famous Japanese circuit, and with Schwantz and Haga on-board for 2013 race, Team Kagayama has a serious claim to a race podium, and even a race victory if things go their way.

Win, lose, or draw, with all the “Free Kevin” love that has been going around, we think this is a great reward for the World Champion’s devout fans — we bet the FIM Endurance World Championship just got an uptick of American viewers for this next round as well. Good stuff.

Source: Team Kagayama


  1. pooch says:

    I hope he does well. But has he done any serious racing in recent years ? Let alone Endurance racing ???

  2. Jack Myorff says:

    Way to go grandpa!

  3. @Pooch: Schwantz raced an 8 Hour at Texas World Speedway in March & said it went great & he had a good time.

  4. MP says:

    I went to schwantz race school recently….. Schwantz has pace. He’s still very, very fast.

  5. Gutterslob says:

    All 3 riders have a special place in my motorcycling heart. Haga for his sheer entertainment value. Schwantz for that and much more, all on a 500cc stroker. Kagayama for the best looking helmet I’ve ever owned (the Shoei replica from his BSB days).

  6. Damo says:

    That is an awesome team!

    Haga and Yukio have already won it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do really well.

  7. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Wish I could watch this on TV somewhere.

    cable tv sations I get insist I see “world’s dumbest criminals” or “Nascar preview” or “Lockup Raw” or “Pawn Stars” or “Mecum’s Musclecar Auctions”…or you get the picture.

  8. L2C says:

    The Schwantz/Pedrosa/Puig conflagration was unfortunate. But Schwantz started it. It was like amateur and idiot hour for the man. With his age and experience, he should know better. And Puig’s response to Schwantz’s nonsense had to hurt much more than a little bit. It was practically a death blow.

    Have to say, I lost a bit of respect for Schwantz myself. Not entirely, but it’s a real pity just the same.

    Sorry for going off topic, but…

  9. Big D says:

    @Chaz: I agree…we have no selection of quality TV.

    Is there any way we can watch the 8 hours? Any website that has it?

  10. Sean says:

    Agree with you L2C, Schwantz seems desperate to be relevant in Motorcycle racing. He’s like the Nicholas Cage of the two wheeled world!

  11. Phil says:

    Good on him. I just hope they show the event on British TV. Hope he does well.

  12. buellracerx says:

    Those who pay attention know that Kevin Schwantz wouldn’t be Kevin Schwantz if he didn’t rectally extract douchebag comments from time to time.

    Aside from all that, best of luck to Team Kagayama at Suzuka!

  13. Dave says:

    I just read Schwantz’s comments about Pedrosa and Puig. I too have lost much respect for him. Puig laid down some serious facts and it make Schwant’z look foolish. Pedrosa is a great rider and with a couple of breaks probably could have a MotoGP championship under his belt.

  14. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    The Puig smackdown was pretty brutal. Probably too harsh. I think he took it too hard.

    I recall a certain Nicky Hayden was being batted around pretty good by people letting opinions fly for not winning a title on the Honda after only his second season with them. …and then Hayden almost actually didn’t win the title because of the careless act of a certain young up-start named Dani Pedrosa.

    Puig and Pedrosa need to grow some thicker skin. Pedrosa’s term with Honda is actually getting pretty stale.

    Prove Schwantz wrong and win a MotoGP title. Don’t go all conquistador just because he says what a lot of people are thinking.

  15. arimichael says:

    Puig can suck it. He won a single 500 race & that’s just because Doohan crashed out & Schwantz had already retired that season.

  16. Gritboy says:

    More excited about Haga than Schwantz, but we’ll have to see. Hopefully between all their team they’ll prove they can ride the balls of those Suzuki’s.

  17. “Pedrosa’s term with Honda is actually getting pretty stale.”

    I know! With only 7 wins last season, the guy’s definitely a has-been. Jeeze. /sarcasm

    “Puig can suck it. He won a single 500 race”

    Terrible! Meanwhile, the guy obviously had enough talent to run 125 GP starts. You just gotta love the guys who think that unless you’ve won everything for an era, you’re nothing. Guys like Norick Abe, Garry McCoy and Alberto Puig may not have won championships or all that many races, but they added SO much to the racing.

    Meanwhile, a clue … “& that’s just because Doohan crashed out & Schwantz had already retired that season.”

    He won it because he put himself in the position to do so. Saying somebody won a race just because somebody else crashed is frickin’ retarded. To win, you gotta finish. That particular race in history, Doohan didn’t and Puig did. Get over it.

  18. Meanwhile, I hope The Schwantz kicks royal booty @ Suzuka!

  19. Gutterslob says:

    Don’t really get what the fuss is about. Just some middle-aged men flinging handbags at each other.

    It’s not like either of them blasphemously insulted the Isle like that Gardner fellow did. That would deserve stoning.

  20. Damo says:

    I am a huge Pedrosa fan and he is obviously alien fast, BUT I sadly agree he will never win a premiere class championship. It is a sad truth.

    He does had a grip of records to his name though. The most embarrassing/impressive being “Most number of race wins, without having won a championship” that was previously held by Randy Mamola.

  21. meatspin says:

    3 of my favorite racers. Its hard to see Haga not on a Yamaha.