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.

Bonneville: Lightning Motorcycles Becomes the First Electric Motorcycle to Break 200 MPH

08/13/2011 @ 4:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS

Bonneville: Lightning Motorcycles Becomes the First Electric Motorcycle to Break 200 MPH Lightning Motorcycles SCTA Bonneville 200 MPH 635x474

We just got a phone call from Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motorcycles saying that the “Flying Banana Mk. II” just put down a 205.238 mph pass at the Southern California Timing Associations’ Speed Week at Bonneville. This pass makes Lightning the first electric motorcycle manufacturer/competitor ever to break the 200 mph mark, whether it be on the tarmac or at the salt flats. If verified during tomorrow’s second pass, the speed would shatter the outright land speed record of 176.434mph, which was set by Riches Nelson and his fully-streamlined Airtech Lightning Bolt electric motorcycle.

Lightning currently holds the AMA and FIM land speed records for the APS-Ω LSR class (A=special chassis, PS=partially streamlined, Ω=electric) for electric motorcycles weighing between 150kg and 300kg, after Paul Thede (of Race-Tech fame) took the Flying Banana Mk. I to 173.321 mph at Bonneville last year. This year according to SCTA protocols, Lightning’s bike has been impounded for the night, and the team will have another run tomorrow to solidify its record. The average of those two speeds will then stand as Lightning’s official speed, and if everything goes according to plan, Lightning will have raised the LSR mark for electric motorcycles into the 200 mph bracket.

Talking to an ecstatic Richard Hatfield, the team is confident that it will not only replicate the result, but also predicts a faster speed for tomorrow (salt flats providing). Using only 3% of its battery charge and being ridden at quarter-throttle, Hatfield and his team believe that 210 mph is achievable. Encountering a slight aerodynamical issue from the sit-on style rider position and partial streamlining bodywork, Paul Thede had counteract the bike’s desire to pull to the right of the course, which at 200 mph is probably a lot more terrifying than it sounds.

That issue was compounded by the fact that Thede, a multiple LSR world record holder, was going the fastest he’s ever gone on two wheels of any kind at Bonneville, on the salt flats, or anywhere else. With lightning storms (fitting, ehh?) predicted for tomorrow afternoon, Lightning will have to get its return pass into the books early in the day if the team wants to set a verified speed with the SCTA and a new LSR. More news from Speed Week as we get it.

Source: Lightning Motorcycles


  1. elmotomadman says:

    Well done. Congratulations to the Lightning Team and Paul Thede. What motor and batteries are used on the bike?

  2. Keith says:


  3. Bob says:

    Hats off for this achievement. However, I’m more impressed by road race victories than outright, straight line speed. I.E., build a bike that can beat Mission Motors at laguna seca and I’ll be even more impressed.

  4. elmotomadman says:

    Lightning will be tough to beat on the track once they get some development time. I heard at Laguna Seca they had zero track time before the race and had a seized Brembo brake caliber. Development time is all that is needed. No practice, 4 or 5 laps in qualifying and 8 lap race is not much development time.

  5. Skadamo says:

    Congrats to lightning!

    Will Yates be in a different class do you know?

    Any other electrics going to speed week?

  6. I believe Lightning uses a Remy motor and Ener1 batteries.

    Yates is at the BUB Speed Trials in two weeks’ time. You can set AMA and FIM LSRs at that event.

    I’ve heard rumblings of other electrics at the salts. I’d probably wake up with a horse head in my bed if I said who though. :)

  7. Skadamo says:

    @elmotomadman Remy motor, Ener1 batts.

  8. KyleG says:

    Great stuff!!

    @elmotomadman – They use a Remy motor with a custom housing and cooling system. They also have Ener1 batteries on board.

  9. Skadamo says:

    A horse head, must be CRP. :D

  10. KyleG says:

    Haha i guess we are all very knowledgeable posters and very timely :)

  11. So does that mean everyone owes me a Coke?

  12. Ben Faster says:

    Mark my words now boys – Electric bikes will change it all. It will start at Pikes Peak where they have an inherent advantage of no loss of power due to altitude. Electric cars will follow there soon; same reason.
    I grew up riding dirt bikes..etc. Now own a Ducati with Termis – so I love the sound like everyone else. But its coming!!
    Great job guys.

  13. Dr. Gellar says:

    Congratulations! Pretty awesome stuff…

  14. Bonneville: Lightning Motorcycles Becomes the First Electric Motorcycle to Break 200 MPH – #motorcycle

  15. Bob says:


    They had dev time; they went to IOM.

  16. skadamo says:

    Bonneville: Lightning Motorcycles Becomes the First Electric Motorcycle to Break 200 MPH – #motorcycle

  17. Tom says:

    I don’t mean to poo-poo this, but high speed is not an issue with electric motors whether car or bike. 200 miles between charges that last less than 10 minutes and battery life for more than 5 years is the holy grail that truly revolutionize the industry. SSC makes the world’s fastest production car, even faster than the Bugatti Veyron, and just how exactly has this car changed the world?

  18. MikeD says:

    Great. Let them come…get developed, reach the stars and w/e else they aspire to…just don’t try to push them down my throat…i still feel very much at home with my ancient ICE 1.0L 90* Twin.
    I’ll run it on moonshine if i have too…lmao.

  19. elmotomadman says:

    I don’t think anyone is forcing the electric bikes down anyone’s throat…did the early IC motorcycle companies force their bikes down the throats of horse owners? If it wasn’t for the early IC bike development and years of innovation with this passion we wouldn’t have the great machines we have today. Same with electric…we need pioneers who want to push a new technology. It is about going as fast as you can and still have a choice on how you want to do it. I know this is not original but…the stone age did not end because of a lack of stones…and the oil age won’t end because of a lack of oil. We might not see it but future generations will.

  20. MikeD says:

    “the stone age did not end because of a lack of stones…and the oil age won’t end because of a lack of oil”.

    Yeah…i hope so…in these days and times when u wake up and there’s a new regulation for anything prohibiting everything…yeah…let’s watch and take notes.

    The goverment started by imposing those stupidly high fuel standards (that no one has been able to figure out yet how to meet it w/o making cars unsafe or super xpensive) for the future on the car manufacturers and it sure looks to favor more and more the electric vehicles than anything else (diesel who ?)…who says they won’t push their dirty ways in Motorcycles too ?

    But w/e… i don’t think fosil fuels will run out before i run out of breath…or bikes. lol.

  21. skadamo says:

    Congrats to Richard and team! C U in 2 weeks tho! Lightning Becomes the First Electric Motorcycle to Break 200 MPH

  22. Bonneville: Lightning Motorcycles Becomes the First Electric Motorcycle to Break 200 MPH – #motorcycle

  23. Alexander says:

    And what about sunday result?

  24. elmotomadman says:

    I saw the official number going into the record books is 206.049

  25. Our record is 206.079. Our measured best speed through the lights was 208.328. We are working hard now making changes to bump the record.