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.

Czysz: Just Say No to Dustbin Fairings

03/09/2010 @ 2:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Czysz: Just Say No to Dustbin Fairings bike+fast+salt+flats 560x364

The last time we met up with Michael Czysz, he gave us the lowdown on why allowing dustbin fairings for use in road racing events was a poor decision for sanctioning bodies to make. Thankfully, Czysz has put his words to paper (computer screen?), and explained his thoughts on the subject more deeply in a blog post.

Making comparison to the salt flats of Bonneville, where streamlining is the name of the game, and close-circuit road course races like the Isle of Man, Czysz drives home the point that this is not a technology that transcends racing venues, saying “if Bonneville was 24’ wide and lined with stone walls streamlining would be banned- and so it should be at the IOM.” You can read his full post here for more of his analysis, and click past the jump to see what all the fuss is about.

For those who aren’t that familiar with the debate surrounding dustbin or streamliner fairings, there’s been some talk in the electric motorcycle crowd about bringing this sort of technology back in favor for road racing use. Electric motorcycle’s can greatly benefit from the added efficiency streamlining brings to motorcycle design, and is considered part of the “rethink how we do things” mentality electric racers have included in their raison d’être. However as Czysz points out, these benefits come with various risks that Czysz believes are too great to chance on a road based circuit, and the move to an electric platform does not warrant such a back-step from the industry-wide notion that true streamlining has no place in road racing.

With TTXGP holding its rules open in a wiki format, the push for streamliner fairings has come back into public scrutiny, and is currently allowed in the series’ rule book. Part of this push comes from the added participation of Craig Vetter in forming the TTXGP rules in regards to streamlining. Vetter has been a long-time proponent of dustbin fairings, and has been the central rallying point for the pro-streamlining camp. In response to this, Czysz calls for support from his fellow manufacturers, it’ll be interesting to see who joins the anti-dustbin bandwagon, and even more interesting to see if anyone shows up with a dustbin fairing at any of the scheduled electric motorcycle racing events this year.

Source: MotoCzysz Club


  1. gnmac says:

    I say yes to streamlining…look at the Ecosse Spirit and the V8 Guzzi – it can work!

  2. Sean Mitchell says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but how would you have the room inside a dustbin to physcially move the bike from left to right? I’m with Czysz on this one.

  3. Doug Panting says:

    Leave the option for streamlining open. Let’s give the advocates of streamlining the opportunity to perfect their work.

    There are ways to overcome the problems Michael Czysz describes. He may soon see them on the track.

    The rest of the motorcycle world is full of anti-streamlining rules. Let’s be allowed to experiment in this one small area, as Electric motorcycle’s could greatly benefit from the added efficiency streamlining brings to motorcycle design.

    Rather than advocate rule changes before the races have even begun, lets give streamlining an opportunity to prove itself on the track.

    If Michael Czysz doesn’t want to race against stream liners there are ample opportunities in racing throughout the rest of the motorcycle world. He does not have to spoil the opportunity for innovation for those in the electric field.

    I have to wonder if this is a preemptive attack on streamlining is because of the rumors that the Agni bike will be streamlined?

    Agni won last time.

  4. Doug Panting says:

    “Sean Mitchell says:
    03/09/2010 at 7:04 PM

    Forgive my ignorance, but how would you have the room inside a dustbin to physcially move the bike from left to right?”

    It depends on the design. Take a look at this picture:

  5. John Merlin Williams says:

    Here’s an interesting simulation studying the Lift/Drag ratio of a rider and motorcycle that suggests the fairing of a conventionally-faired race bike acts as a lifting body at high lean angles. With today’s lean angles exceeding 55 – 60 degrees from vertical could it be that, in addition to Michael Czysz’ concern about cross winds, that an enclosed dustbin, at that flat angle could act as a highly effective lifting body (i.e., reduce grip and traction)? Tests would tell. Nobody leans at Bonneville.

    To quote from “Aerodynamic Analysis of a Motorcycle and Rider on a high speed corner”
    Giorgio Pagliara and Giuseppe Ganio © CD-adapco 2009

    “The results of the simulation predicted that at a straight line speed of 120 Km/h, the motorcycle is well balanced with neither excessive lift or down force experienced. During a turn, however, the rider and bike are at an angle to the ground, generating large amounts of lift and a rolling moment that acts to straighten the bike.

    Plots of pressure coefficient show that, during cornering, the rider produces aerodynamic downforce while the bike produces lift. The L/D ratio (lift over drag) ratio of the bike and rider is around 0.4 which may be compared to a typical value of between -3.5 to -2.5 of an F1 car, a difference which is largely accounted for by the lack of any lifting surfaces (front and rear wings) and the effect of rider on the overall aerodynamic performance.”

  6. Czysz: Just Say No to Dustbin Fairings – #motorcycle

  7. Jim Race says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber Czysz: Just Say No to Dustbin Fairings – #motorcycle == I agree with him. FF ain't the way fwd..

  8. angel says:

    [moto] Interesting… RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Czysz: Just Say No to Dustbin Fairings – #motorcycle

  9. Ian says:

    Didn’t the Red Bull Yamaha team try something along the lines of streamlining a few years ago when John Hopkins was racing for them? If I recall correctly it made very little difference to the lap times (hence it never being raced).

    I wondered about aerodynamics last year after talking to a few of the teams at the TTXGP launch. A few were talking about using Hayabusas as a base ‘because it’s the most aerodynamic bike’ but these things were barely reaching 80mph. Surely working on reducing weight would reap more benefits than a dustbin fairing at these speeds. Ok things hav emoved on in a year and the bikes will be faster, but theres a world of difference between 200mph+ at Bonneville and a lap of the island.

  10. Tael says:

    Its not so much an increase in speed that the streamliner’s are proposing, although there may be a minor benefit here, but a reduction in the energy/force required to attain it.
    In electric racing circles, where the available power reserve is limited (and was the main factor in the final positions of the race last year) any reduction in used energy reserve is greatly appreciated.

  11. Scatterbrained says:

    I distinctly remember reading about how “dustbin” fairings were banned from prototype (now motoGp) motorcycle racing due to the dangerous handling characteristics that they brought with them. I think the people who are advocating the return of dustbins are ignorant of racing history.

  12. Brammofan says:

    @Scatterbrained – Some students of (and participants in) racing history might tell you that the “dangerous handling characteristics” was the reason given for the banning, but that you should consider all possibilities. Could it have been that the streamlined cycles handled just fine and raced faster, but that the manufacturers behind the racing organizations did not like their use because they looked nothing like what they were selling in the motorcycle shops? An inquiring mind won’t venture calling other people “ignorant” based merely on something he or she “distinctly remember[s]” reading. This is a complex issue and there are strong viewpoints on each side. Frankly, I hope someone (oh… Agni?!) brings an odd-looking bird or two to the races and puts the others to shame. That’s the kind of drama this sport needs.

  13. Scientific advancement requires just that – the application of the scientific method – rather than using 50+ year old rumors – why don’t we open up the rules so that the technology can advance. As to those who say there is very little speed or efficiency advantage to the ‘dustbin’ design – those people are woefully ignorant of the tremendous influence of aerodynamic drag as THE principal power requirement in the motive force of a motorcycle, rolling resistance and vehicle weight are essentially only an afterthought. As to turning ability, I invented something better as a solution, which can be viewed at ,
    With respect, Someone who has ACTUALLY RIDDEN A DUSTBIN.

  14. I vote for the dustbin too–they handle well if the bike has enough weight forward, and there is no question they work aerodynamically, In 1982 I built a motorcycle that got about 192 mpg in naked form…when we put a dustbin fairing on it mileage leaped to 300+