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.

MotoGP: Inspiring Moments Give Way to Uninspiring Racing at the Indianapolis GP

08/19/2012 @ 12:34 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Inspiring Moments Give Way to Uninspiring Racing at the Indianapolis GP Indianapolis GP Friday Jules Cisek 231 635x423

One of the first race weekends of the season to have consistent weather, race fans seemed all set for some fine MotoGP racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday. The positive vibe would be stricken though, as three riders hit the tarmac hard during Saturday’s qualifying. Out for his home Grand Prix, Nicky Hayden would have to watch the race from the Ducati garage, while Ben Spies and Casey Stoner overcame injuries to brave the breach once more.

With Rossi continuing to struggle on the Ducati, Dovizioso (the man tipped to replace Rossi at Ducati Corse) sitting on the front row with a satellite bike, and Dani Pedrosa topping the time sheets at the pole-position, eager to claw some points back in the Championship from Jorge Lorenzo, the Indianapolis GP at least sounded interesting on paper, though was quite the opposite once it came to actuality.

Despite the absence of local-boy Nicky Hayden on the grid, American fans were treated to a rocket start from Ben Spies, who lead for the first three laps of the race. Looking to have a comfortable pace for at least a podium finish, the motor on Spies’s Yamaha YZR-M1 gave up the ghost on the front straight, as it chased down Pedrosa’s Honda.

Dashing the hopes of the strong fan base that the Texan has here in Indianapolis, the motor failure also dashed the hopes of any real close-racing at the Grand Prix. With Lorenzo too far out of touch with Pedrosa to catch-up to him, the two riders raced to easy podium positions, while the battle for third took a bit more time to sort out amongst its five contenders.

Lead by Andrea Dovizioso, the group had to contend with a charging Casey Stoner, who eventually would find his way to the front – just a checkered flag away from a remarkable podium finish. Dovi would have something to say about it though, as he re-caught Stoner with seven laps to go. Riding to a comfortable margin, Dovi finished third, while Stoner settled for fourth, despite his herculean effort on the race course.

With the rest of the race mostly a procession, the highlights included Cal Crutchlow crashing on Lap 9, Randy de Puniet retiring with a broken clutch four laps later, and Steve Rapp on the Attack Performance CRT getting some airtime as he added two seconds to Lorenzo’s gap to Pedrosa via rolling chicane efforts. With the Moto3 and Moto2 races providing exciting racing here at Indianapolis, one has to wonder about the formula for success in the premier class.

Race Results from the Indianapolis GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, USA:

1Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda46’39.631
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+10.823
3Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+17.310
4Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda+19.803
5Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+22.556
6Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda+30.072
7Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+57.614
8Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+1’08.442
9Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR+1’11.106
10Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART+1’14.079
11Toni ELIASSPAPramac Racing TeamDucati+1’26.305
12Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR+1’40.274
13Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter1 Lap
14James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART1 Lap
15Steve RAPPUSAAttack PerformanceAPR1 Lap
Not Classified
Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha19 Laps
Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART20 Laps
Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha22 Laps
Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR27 Laps
Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART0 Lap
Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda0 Lap

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved


  1. BenFaster says:

    Okay, I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories but damn ; at some point you gotta wonder about Ben and the Factory Yamaha team – I’m thinking there is a hater somewhere on his team that has access to that bike!. How Spies has 4 mechanical DNF’s – Lorenzo has how many? oh yea NONE!

  2. @TylerMrK says:

    Something is seriously wrong in the Yamaha garage, and it needs to be sorted out. Bad luck doesn’t happen this often. Either someone in the garage wants to make Ben’s season terrible given his announced departure, or they want to clear the way for Lorenzo to win. Regardless, they’re not winning any sales with this tactic.

  3. Choco says:

    Revenge is best served cold, or how about one year later. I would love to see Ben Spies pick up Alvaro Bautista’s satellite Honda ride and chase down and beat Lorenzo and Rossi next year and see what Yamaha thinks about that. C’mon Ben, Suzuki AMA Championship, Yamaha WSB Championship, now move to Honda to get that elusive MotoGP championship.

    Amazing courage by Stoner. Near perfect ride by swift Pedrosa, flawless with bad tire choice by Jorge, great job again Dovi, Bradle, definitely a spectacular rookie season.

  4. Xlomotion says:

    I don’t follow the sabotage theory. How many races have Ben made a mistake this season, yeah many. It seems like he just can’t get a break.
    I agree that it was a boring race without any challenge to Dani in the front. And while everyone keeps their eyes on Lorenzo and Stoner, Dani has snuck up on Lorenzo and has a good chance to win his first championship

  5. ass hat says:

    +1 on the conspiracy thread. with all the electrics and turn by turn/lap by lap/on the fly map changing… its got to be easy for a boffin with factory orders to nuke the thing where and when he wants to.

    yes, Spies has thrown his share down the road… but WHEN i ask, is the last time you ever saw a top level factory gp machine lunch itself like a harley sportster at a track day?

    all the bikes on the grid, all the laps of practice, qualify, racing… all the years…

    none of them have let go like that thing did.

    that is NOT coincidence.

  6. ass hat says:

    and i appreciate Scott Russell in the on-air coverage bringing up the elephant in the room… traction control. almost all mention of it was hushed after Super Sic’s death, but watch the video- that bike should’ve lowsided long before and left everyone alive.

    here at indy- with the two different surfaces- some programmer gets a few parameters wrong, and with everyone trusting the systems so completely- when it lets go, it lets go big time.

    BSB has already outlawed it and others are looking very closely at following suite. throttle control is supposed to be
    PART of riding a bike.

  7. Slangbuster says:

    Some good points (ass hat). Some of the crash’s reminded me of the old days on a 5oo two stroke with Doohan, Schwantz, Mamolm, Rainey, and the rest.

  8. PD says:

    People conspire ALL THE TIME. Take away the nefarious connotation, and all “conspiring” is, is really just “planning.” When you are but a microscopic fraction of the population but own the majority of its wealth, and your ancestors upon their ancestors have had these profusely disparit-ous privileges for generations, you do what you have to do to keep the masses blinded and subservient. You necessarily must conspire, without question, perfectly sensibly, to maintain the inequitable advantages. Any one of us, under the same circumstances, would do the same. It’s human nature. Humans are pretty fucked-up creatures.

    But to lavish Ben Spies’ current circumstances with a “conspiratorial” situation deserving anything close to the “justifications” for real conspiracies to exist, is laughable. He’s had it fucked all season, no doubt. Bike’s fucked up way more than reasonably explicably. Had Jorge’s bikes had problems similar to those of Ben’s bikes’ this year, no doubt Dani and Casey would be in a two-way fight at the moment, no Jorge. That said, Ben’s also had plenty to do with his fucked “luck.” He’s made mistakes that the other contenders haven’t. He’s also perhaps not as “devoted” as he needs to be at this level to be at the top. He’s on numerous occasions acknowledged that motorcycle racing is not his priority in life, which, while healthy in a holistic sense, is not the singularly-focused, “blinders-on,” “nothing else is of consequence” mentality that one (a necessarily less “balanced” one) typically must have to be the “best in the world,” in any field. He’s stated numerous times that he does not do any moto riding/training at all during the off-season, something that essentially all other competitive, certainly “top,” riders do. You can’t really replace practice. No matter how “talented” you may be. Practice allows things to become more “natural.” It just does.

    Ben’s having a fucked season not unlike what Rossi had in 2006. Fuck-ups with bikes, tires, other riders’ fuck-ups, crashes. Nicky was super, super consistent in ’06, but Rossi was really on the top of his game. He just had fuck-ups after fuck-ups that were out of his control. Like Ben, a lot of the time, this year. (Go back and watch the whole season, sequentially. You’ll see that Rossi himself had nothing close to an “off-year” [may be with the exception of his mistake at Assen, breaking his hand, and then of course his fuck-up at Valencia]. In fact, he had, personally, an very strong year. But too many things out of his control just got in his way. Ben is seeing something similar this year.

    There’s nothing wrong or “crazy” about reasonable “conspiracy” theories. But, to apply such notions to Ben’s season this year, is an insult to the notion of conspiracy theories.

  9. MikeD says:

    4th place in PAIN ? A winner in my book. Haters gonna hate…(^_^)

  10. anti says:

    Dovi better ask himself the question, do I prefer the podium or Ducati Motorcycle Co?

  11. David says:

    Conspiracy theories my ASS!

    So this year Yamaha is only putting money in Lorenzo’s bike and giving Ben the junk parts so Lorenzo can win the championship.

    But next year…..

    Yamaha brings Rossi on board so they can spend double the money and win the Riders Championship and the Constructors Championship and WTH is the other one?…I remember reading here about Yamaha wanting the triple crown.

    Teams in motorsport that have 2 or more riders/drivers want both of them 1 and 2 in the championship at all cost. It’s the best exposure for the teams or else why even have more than one rider/driver?

    Ben is one of those guys who can break a solid steel ball with a rubber hammer. He is in over his head unfortunately.

    And what’s up with the spectator turnout?

    Was there like 2 or 3 thousand spectators at most. The stands looked empty on TV. That really sucks.

  12. Mitch says:

    Roommate came up with a plausible idea; Yamaha uses their experimental stuff on Spies bike, leading to a higher failure rate, while keeping the normal stuff for Lorenzo’s bike as he has a shot at the championship. Makes sense from a development perspective.

  13. CB says:

    Spies better be careful or Yamaha is going to send him to BMW in a body bag. Broken swing arm, blown engine, bad tires, really? Oliver Stone anyone?

    Just a lame race. Awesome watching all those fancy bikes do laps around Indianapolis. There must have been at least six GP bikes and all those CRT Moto 2 bikes mixed in were super neat.

    Only three riders get top gear?

  14. Greg says:

    The only thing more depressing than all of the crashes and mechanical failures was the abysmal coverage on Speed TV. Why the hell are they showing Ralph Sheheen sitting behind a desk doing commentary IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE? I can’t wait until the series goes back abroad so that we can have the international feed rather than the Speed TV clowns.

  15. @TylerMrK says:

    @ Greg: I have just purchased the video pass from the motogp website. It has been great quality so far. It wasn’t super cheap, but I don’t buy cable/satellite, so I’m still coming out on top.

    @anti: Yeah, I’m really hoping Ducati can get it together for next year. If Dovi goes there and the bike doesn’t improve, then that was a poor choice for him. So far it seems like Crutchlow will continue on the Tech3 bike?

    @David: There were over 65000 people there. The grandstands can hold 250000, so that’s why they would look empty. The stands don’t all overlook the track though, so not all 250k are usable.

    I don’t believe that Spies’ “poor choices/mistakes” have been the reason he has been doing so poorly. Rarely do riders ride perfect races, they all make little mistakes here and there. Sometimes they get lucky and it doesn’t hurt them too much, but sometimes it does. What Spies’ has suffered from has been multiple mechanical failures, which are out of his control.

    Pedrosa ran a great race, and probably deserves the title this year. You can tell he is hungry for the title.

  16. Singletrack says:

    The headline hits the nail on the head.

    Indianapolis always seems to produce uninspiring racing. Dull track and empty (looking) stands produces a snorefest. The leadup to the racing is more interesting than the on track action. Stoners comments on the track early on were accurate too… the history of the venue is lost, running backwards, and the infield is horrible. It would be special to see at least two banked turns linked.

    There were only 12 riders on the lead lap, and no two riders closer than 2.5 seconds at the finish. Boring.

    It’s hard to believe that all that fantastic technology and intrigue gets so watered down on raceday.

  17. Adam says:

    Greg, my thoughts exactly! I was screaming at the screen and wondering where the bikes were? hey good interviews but for gods sake show them before or after the race… it’s not NASCAR the race is some 20 odd laps why can’t any other channel pick this sport up here in north america and at lease do a 2 hour spot…