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 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.

MotoGP: Reactions to the Last-Corner Incident at Jerez

05/05/2013 @ 7:07 pm, by David Emmett22 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Reactions to the Last Corner Incident at Jerez jorge lorenzo marc marquz motogp jerez 635x423

After the final corner incident between Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, the media spent the afternoon canvassing opinion from anyone they could find in the paddock, to ask how they felt about the incident.

Below is a selection of the responses, split between riders and team staff. Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith and Valentino Rossi represent rider opinion, while Herve Poncharal, Livio Suppo and Wilco Zeelenberg speak for the teams.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider

“At the end of the day, it’s racing. I don’t think Marquez did anything wrong. If Jorge had the opportunity, he’d do exactly the same. Marquez never rode into the side of him meaning to hit him. He ran a little bit deep, and Jorge was there, and that’s it. You think Jorge has never run a little deep and ran into somebody? You think he won’t for the rest of his career? At some point in racing it’s going to happen. But if it happened to me, I’d probably be pissed off for half the slowdown lap, but then you’ve got to think about it in the sense of, I could have done it to somebody.”

You don’t think Marquez is a dangerous rider?

“Not in any way, shape or form. No. He’s a hard rider, there’s a difference.”

“If you’ve got a load of bikes going round on a track at the same time, something’s going to happen. As long as it doesn’t happen in practice and qualifying, because there’s no need for it then. But in the race, of course, you’re battling. It’s weird to race by giving each other positions and saying you’re happy with third, because you’re not happy with third.”

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing rider

“I saw the last corner just one time, so I don’t know exactly. But it looks like, is the last corner on the last lap. Marquez tries very hard, it looks like Jorge leaves space on the inside, Marc tried to go in, they touch, and you know it’s normal that Jorge is upset, especially now after the race, but this is racing. It’s the last lap, it’s the last corner, and sometimes the guy behind try very hard, and it finish like this.”

Bradley Smith, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider

“Racing incident. If you’re going to leave the door open like that and invite someone through, at the end of the day, if you’ve come from 125 and Moto2, you learn that if a gap’s shown to you like that, you take it. I mean we go for tiny gaps, so when it’s that wide, you don’t hesitate.”

“I don’t think Moto2 is necessarily breeding a more aggressive type of rider, I think let’s be honest, Jorge has been a world champion for a number of years from 250s, he’s not had to race. When he catches someone, he passes them, he leaves them. Or he rides around on his own and disappears into the distance. You lose that last little bit of aggressiveness. Let’s be honest, his last serious race, you’re probably looking at 2005, Motegi? Where like it was tooth and nail, back and forth with De Angelis and Pedrosa and those boys. So that’s what we’re probably looking at. But at the end of the day, Marquez was looking a little bit lairy all race, was nearly in the back of him a few times.”

“At the end of the day, if you don’t want someone to pass, you cover you’re inside line. That’s like the first rule of last corner. You’re the one that takes the inside, if he wants to go round the outside, that’s up to him.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing team manager, and team manager to Jorge Lorenzo

“It was a hard move, but this isn’t tennis, and if Race Direction decide not to do anything about it, then I can offer my opinion, but we just have to accept it, swallow it and carry on. I’m glad he didn’t fall, because then Marc would probably have been given a penalty, because that move was fairly over the limit. If Jorge hadn’t been there, Marc would have ended up somewhere in the grandstands, because he definitely used him as a berm to help him turn.”

What should Jorge have done differently?

“He should have shut the door a bit more. We discussed that. He kept to the left after coming out of the fast right hander, but then moved to the right, a bit too far, and that opened a gap. There wasn’t really any room, because Marquez would never have made the corner. Jorge was supposed to take that corner in first gear, to block and hold the tight line, get off the brakes earlier, to ensure he couldn’t get by. Unfortunately, he thought that Marc was not going to try to get by here.”

“It has nothing to do with the different riding styles and lines of the Honda and the Yamaha. Marc just thought, I’ll try and see where I end up. Luckily for both of them, it ended up OK, because if he had crashed, then he would have been given a penalty. [Race Direction] spoke about the pass for a long time. Dani and Jorge would never have tried to pull such a stunt, they don’t use their opponents as berms to try to make the corner, and that’s a bit what happened here. It’s not a contact sport, and this sort of thing happens, but if they don’t act against it, it gets accepted, which I think is a bad thing.”

“We keep talking about mistakes, and they are mistakes by Marc, errors of judgment, but so far, he has got away with it.”

Herve Poncharal, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team boss

“There are some tracks like Jerez or Assen, where in the last corner always a lot of things happen, and everyone remembers. Everyone remembers Vale [Rossi] on Sete [Gibernau], Colin’s [Edwards] last corner at Assen, or two weeks’ ago, in Superbikes, they had some incredible moves there. So this track is like that, and I think that if I was Jorge’s manager, I would say, this is a little bit too much and this is not what we are here for, and if I was Marc’s manager, I would say, you had a chance and you try, and this is why you come here, you have to show fighting spirit to the very last corner. This is what he did.”

“For me I would say 50/50. For sure Jorge was may a bit too confident, a bit too cautious, but if he had braked very late, maybe he would have been a bit wide, and opened even more room for Marquez. But if you’re Marquez, you do it, there was a possibility, he arrived from very far behind and he was faster on the brake. I don’t think Jorge was expecting that, he thought he was in control, but Marquez is quite special. When it’s Dani and Jorge and Vale, they are a bit more experienced and maybe a bit ‘cleaner’, but Marquez is from Moto2 and Marquez is 19, and Marquez is a young lion who is so hungry.”

Livio Suppo, Repsol Honda Team Principal

“There was some space, and in that corner, it’s not the first time and it’s not the last time that something happens there. Honestly I don’t think, in my opinion is less aggressive than what happen between Vale and Sete in 2005. And nothing happened then, I can’t see why should something happen now.”

Photo: Yamaha Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. I’ll be surprised if this one goes away any time soon. If I had to sum it up, I’d call it a fair attempt that was maybe just a bit over the top. Lorenzo should have taken a more defensive line and in not doing so, invited Marc to take his best shot. He did, although he may have in the process overcooked the corner.

    At the end of the day, MotoGP surprised me by being better racing than Moto2 for the most part. And whether you think Marc’s pass was kosher or not, there’s no doubt that the season is gonna run higher temps because of his presence.

  2. Frank James says:

    If it happened in one of the last 3 races of the year with the title on the line nobody would even be talking about it. That it happened in one of the first three races says one thing “Marquez wants the title”.

  3. Andrew says:

    Marc showed him a wheel before Jorge turned in. End of story.

  4. JW says:

    This is the best thing to happen to motogp in a very long time. Amazing to to see once again a rider who really wants it. I see poetic justice here at its best.

    Thank you MM!

    58 Sic has to be smiling down at this..

  5. ALVIN says:

    I agree both Trane and Frank.

    One thing is for sure, Mark Marquez is a real fighter with a BIG HEART. I would love to see more races like that and I think MotoGP races will now be more entertaining and exciting.

  6. L2C says:

    Good points all around, but I gotta say, Bradley Smith was spot on. He summed the whole thing up to a T.

  7. ‘That it happened in one of the first three races says one thing “Marquez wants the title”.’

    At the rate he’s going, he may just get it.

  8. L2C says:

    Comments that stand out.

    Crutchlow: “It’s weird to race by giving each other positions and saying you’re happy with third, because you’re not happy with third.”

    Smith: “…I think let’s be honest, Jorge has been a world champion for a number of years from 250s, he’s not had to race. When he catches someone, he passes them, he leaves them. Or he rides around on his own and disappears into the distance. You lose that last little bit of aggressiveness.”

    “At the end of the day, if you don’t want someone to pass, you cover you’re [sic] inside line. That’s like the first rule of last corner.”

    Poncharal: “I don’t think Jorge was expecting that, he thought he was in control, but Marquez is quite special. When it’s Dani and Jorge and Vale, they are a bit more experienced and maybe a bit ‘cleaner’, but Marquez is from Moto2 and Marquez is 19, and Marquez is a young lion who is so hungry.”

  9. Tim M says:

    Lorenzo should have expected this. Marquez had a reputation for aggressive passing in Moto2 so it was only a matter of time before an incident like this happened. That being said, I don’t know what that gap looked like but anyone that wants to win is going to go for it when the opportunity presents itself. Or like Rossi’s pass on Stoner at Laguna, you even create the opportunity!

  10. TexusTim says:

    lorenzo’s tires were going off long before this, he did everything early on to make marquez use up his tires trying to get by him…marquez had to back off then and let his tires cool down and waite till the last couple laps knowing that lorenzo if pushed would go wide in every corner cuz he just couldnt out brake him or turn in as early….marquez made the smart move really a gutsy move and took the spot…cry all you want lorenzo step up your game cuz someone is going to challenge you in every race and it just aint vale this time……ya moto gp racing looked in good form yesterday.

  11. mrnick says:

    It was a hard but fair enough move for me. I just kept waiting for anyone to say during the broadcast, “That was a Simoncelli move!” Oh, how he would enjoy this, I imagine. Especially against Lorenzo.

  12. It stunned me but am thinking like a street rider. But in matters competition, Sh*t happens… a little rubbing. We are used to experienced clean riders but here comes along a rider willing to do whatever he can for the title. Would he have done it if it was Dani, I doubt it… but here we are, it has happened, the grid will have to wake up, there’s a new kid on the block going for the title by all means necessary.

  13. Adam says:

    Lorenzo Waging finger “ah ah ah little one you don’t pass me like that I am the champion”.

    Marc’s grinning face “I have beaten you twice now champion”

  14. Hailwood says:

    By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, we are competing to win.

    And the main motivation to all of us is to compete for victory, it’s not to come 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. I race to win as long as I feel it’s possible. Sometimes you get it wrong? Sure, it’s impossible to get it right all the time. But I race designed to win, as long as I feel I’m doing it right.

    - Ayrton Senna

    Marquez is a true racer.

  15. Paulo says:

    EXCELLENT QUOTE Hailwood!!!! Well written!

  16. Dan says:

    Shades of 46 and 58…. finally somone fun to watch again.

  17. Westward says:

    Lorenzo isn’t racing only Stoner and Pedrosa anymore, this is no longer a ballet like the last two seasons. Rossi and more so Marquez are fighting spirits. Like Simoncelli was…

    But then again, at the end of the day, that is why Marquez is the title leader and Lorenzo is not. Less whining and more racing will cure Lorenzo’s pain…

    Before the season started I thought it would be either Marquez of Rossi that would win the title. Still pulling for both. But if it ever came down to being between them, I would still pull for Rossi. But right now its all Marquez unless Rossi pulls it together…

  18. geoff says:

    If you cant make a pass stick without colliding with another rider, its a bad pass imo.

  19. Emilio says:

    They rode into each other. Marquez didn’t hit Lorenzo. If anything, Lorenzo hit Marquez.

  20. Vito says:

    I agree with Bradley: Lorenzo is a super-fast clean rider who disappears in the distance. He is just not as good as guys like Valentino, MarcM or SuperSic in the head-to-head battling. As long as he manages to leave everyone behind he’s fine, but if he has to fight hard in the last corners he’ll likely be pushed around by more aggressive riders. It is what it is: he can’t complain about that (and he didn’t!) and he can just try to play to his strengths and try to avoid being beaten like this…because these moves are what make motogp exciting after all and we all want that. Let’s not forget how boring motogp races were last year…

  21. Shinigami says:

    Suddenly Dorna’s moves look intelligent. Waiving the rookie rule, all the mumbling about MM having an unfair advantage on M2 equipment, it all is forgotten. This guy is the real deal and just the shot in the arm MGP needed after years of looking more like a Harley parade than a race.

    The tragedy of the loss of SuperSic is made even more poignant by even the slightest idle imagination of what could have been with both MM and Sic on the track. But if everyone stays healthy, this season could be one for the books.

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