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: An Unfitting Goodbye to the Portuguese GP

05/06/2012 @ 4:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

MotoGP: An Unfitting Goodbye to the Portuguese GP MotoGP Portuguese GP Scott Jones

With fair weather conditions over Estoril, MotoGP dodged the rain bullet and had a dry race for Sunday’s Portuguese GP. Noting that the Ducati rain dance had failed, our attention shifted to the inter-Yamaha rivalry that is brewing between Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow, and Andrea Dovizioso. With the American ailing in the factory Yamaha Racing team, both Crutchlow and Dovi are keen to take his spot for next season, as virtually all of the rider contracts are up this season. Cal has so far shined brighter than the Italian, starting today again on the front row.

With that battle set to go throughout the 2012 MotoGP Championship, more pressing issues included the absence of Colin Edwards, who broke his collarbone after getting struck by Randy de Puniet’s crashing Aprilia ART. Having won at every track except Estoril, the last bit of business for the Portuguese had to do with Casey Stoner, who was looking to complete his mantle of circuit wins with Estoril.

With MotoGP reducing its races on the Iberian Peninsula for the foreseeable future, this weekend marked the last time the premier class would race in Portugal. Click past the jump for race spoilers and results.

Heading into the first turn, it was Dani Pedrosa who lead teammate Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow, and Andrea Dovizioso. Having a bobble a few turns later, the Spaniard lost his position, watching both Stoner and Lorenzo get by him. Despite a mid-race push, Stoner maintained a comfortable lead over the two other riders, with there being no adjustment to the order from that point further.

Several cat naps later, the only real battle on the track was between the two Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders, though Crutchlow’s mistake in the endgame of the race saw the Brit run wide, and kiss goodbye to any chance of him putting pressure on Dovi to the line. Other points of interest included the embarrassment that rookie Stefan Bradl handed Ben Spies, as the rookie lead the factory Yamaha rider for the majority of the race. Meanwhile Valentino Rossi seemed satisfied with what would normally be a disappointing seventh place finish.

Perhaps the biggest parade-lap race we have seen this season, it is perhaps best that Estoril does not remain on the calendar. MotoGP action comes next from Le Mans, in two weeks’ time.

Race Results from the Portuguese GP at Estoril, Portugal:

1Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda-
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+1.421
3Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda+3.621
4Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+13.846
5Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+16.690
6Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+21.884
7Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+26.797
8Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+33.262
9Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda+35.867
10Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati+53.363
11Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+1’02.630
12Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART+1’20.736
13Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART+1’23.483
14Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR+1’37.905
15Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda1 Lap
Not Classified
Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati5 Laps
James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART10 Laps
Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR12 Laps
Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART17 Laps
Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR17 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. Tim says:

    why is, MotoGP reducing its races on the Iberian Peninsula for the foreseeable future

  2. Jake says:

    Meanwhile, Moto2 and 3 races continue to provide the only real spectacle in MotoGP. Did you see that last lap in Moto2 between Marquez and Espargaro?

  3. Tony says:

    If you were not interested in that race you should pick another sport. I have been watching GP’s for 25 years and it was a very interesting race.

    Watch NASCAR if you want contrived close racing. I’m fascinated by the best riders in the world on the best machinery going as fast as they can. If they don’t pass it can be still be tense and exciting!

    If the best rider isn’t your cup of tea and you wish he didn’t win and you might stop watching because you don’t like it, then again, pick another sport !!! I would watch the racing regardless of the personality of the winner.

    Is it motorcycle racing or The Bachelor?

  4. Nick says:

    @ Tim…..

    They want to make way for more races in other parts of the world. There have been a lot of talks with south america and east asia for more races there. I personally would love if they just kept everything and added more races…but maybe im just being greedy….

  5. Agreed about the quality of the Moto2 and Moto3 races this past weekend. Compared to the nail-biter finish of Moto2, the following MotoGP race was downright pedestrian. Marquez/Espargaro and Cortese/Viñalez were brilliant. Fenati in Jerez, too, just brought the house down with his 30+-second lead over anybody else on the track. Wow.

    I wouldn’t say that the MotoGP race was boring, though. I’m enjoying watching the CRT bikes. Also, Bradl is proving to be far better able to transition from Moto2 to the premier class than Elias did last season. Moreover, the struggle at Ducati to make their bike work is fascinating and sometimes frustrating to watch.

    I wouldn’t say that Estoril was to blame for any “parade lap” aspects to the premier-class race. With Moto2 and Moto3 offering such huge fireworks, the obvious problem is the disparity in hardware evidenced in MotoGP. That’s nothing really new to the class, mind you, and has a lot to do with how particular riders, e.g., Doohan and Vale, were able to dominate the class for years at a time.