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.

Kurt Caselli Has Died While Competing in the Baja 1000

11/16/2013 @ 8:28 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Kurt Caselli Has Died While Competing in the Baja 1000 kurt caselli ktm 635x423

We bring you unfortunate news from the Baja California Peninsula, as we have gotten word that American Kurt Caselli has died while competing in the 2013 Baja 1000 off-road race.

Leading the race on his factory-supported KTM, early reports indicated that Caselli crashed after hitting a booby trap (an all too common feature of the Baja 1000) around the 796-mile mark, and later succumbed to injuries to his head.

However, a post to Instagram by FMF’s Donny Emler Jr. says that is not the case, and that Kurt’s crash was merely a racing incident, and did not occur near any spectators. Press statements from both KTM and the Baja 1000 organizers can be read here, and suggest that Caselli’s motorcycle came in contact with an animal, which likely caused his crash.

Though he was part of KTM’s second-place finishing team in last year’s Baja 1000, the thirty-year old Caselli was a new edition to the KTM Factory Rally team, a position he earned after impressing the Austrian manufacturer during his stint at this year’s Dakar Rally as Marc Coma’s replacement.

Announced as a permanent member of KTM’s rally efforts, after Cyril Despres moved to Yamaha Racing, Caselli’s already impressive enduro career was set to gain even more momentum in rally racing.

Caselli was a multiple-time winner of the AMA National Hare and Hound Champion, a WORCS Champion, as well as s ISDE gold medalist before moving into rally racing. In the 2013 Dakar Rally he stunned the field with two impressive stage wins in his rookie debut, and just last month he finished 7th in the season-opener at the Morroco Rally.

Well-regarded for his riding ability and also for his warm personality, his absence will be felt deeply in the racing community. Asphalt & Rubber‘s deepest condolences go to his friends and family.

Source: Cycle News; Photo: © 2013 Maragni M / KTM Images — All Rights Reserved


  1. Quiet American says:

    Prayers for you and your loved ones, Kurt. This race needs to rest in peace. Booby traps by citizens are intolerable in civilized sporting venues.

  2. Uh OH says:

    Who says Mexico is civilized? I saw we pull out of Baja and spend the money in the US.

  3. Spmtasticus says:

    A 1000 mile offroad race like the 1000 can not happen anywhere in the US. Blaming an entire country for the actions of a few criminals is not only prejudicial but quite ignorant. It would be like blaming the entire US for the actions of a psychotic american who shoots up a children’s school. This is a horrific even and Kurt was a great guy and excellent racer but we must not make matters worse by extending our reactions beyond reality. What they need to do is have a helicopter fly ahead of the competitors looking for these traps in order to dissmantle them or mark them.

  4. L2C says:

    A booby trap? That is fucked up! What a shame. :-(

  5. dagoof says:

    Why do they booby trap a race course? What motive is there for such a stupid, hateful action?

  6. Rorider says:

    This is insane. From what I’ve read this is considered normal in the Baja 1000. If i’m not mistaken, for a similar reason they moved the Paris Dakar race from Africa to South America.

  7. Spectators “booby trap” the course usually to create jumps or obstacles, which provide more entertainment.

    The Paris-Dakar was moved because of political instability in the Dakar region.

  8. Quiet American says:

    This has been a tradition in Mexico for decades. I have read driver’s accounts over the years of booby traps, meant to wreck cars, being a problem in the famous Pan Am/Carreras road races in the 1950′s. That series went away fairly quickly. I’ve also read of it and seen it covered as a problem in the truck races and the enduros. This is not just a few criminals and recent.

  9. A post to Instagram by FMF’s Donny Emler Jr. says that a booby trap was not involved, and that Kurt’s crash was merely a racing incident, and did not occur near any spectators. I’ve updated the post to reflect this information. More as we get it.

  10. Paul says:

    Kurt may God be with you.To all your Family,it is Gods way,he loves us all and within time God will lead you all back to happiness in your lives.God Blees you for being an exceptional Dirt Rider. Rest in Peace Gods Child!!It is time to ride on.

  11. The team, who have now recovered Kurt’s bike discovered traces on the machine that indicate he had collided with some animal, which apparently caused the crash. – See more at:

  12. birchtree says:

    this is just insane…

  13. Peter D says:

    What a loss. I became a fan watching him win a couple of stages of the Dakar last year as a substitute rider. Was really looking forward to cheering him on in this year’s Dakar.

    Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.