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: Event-Filled Qualifying at Mugello

07/14/2012 @ 2:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Event Filled Qualifying at Mugello mugello italian gp motogp jules cisek 15 635x423

It is a tall-order to beat the rapid-succession qualifying we had at the German GP, which saw a stream of riders dropping pole-position laps one-after-another for nearly 5 minutes straight – but this is Mugello, and the MotoGP riders hate to disappoint when they are in Italy. With perfect racing conditions, the qualifying session had its fair share of crashes, fast laps, and surprise moments. Featuring three manufacturers on the front row, and three manufacturers on the second row, the Italian GP is also shaping up to be a good race, for all the parties involved.

It was Jorge Lorenzo who set the early pace, as the Spaniard dropped a record-setting lap time in the opening minutes of qualifying. The Yamaha Racing rider would be unable to defend his position though, as in the closing minutes Lorenzo’s bike cutout with an electrical issue, robbing the Spanish rider of an opportunity to answer one storming Dani Pedrosa and his Repsol Honda RC213V.

The only man able to match Lorenzo’s “butter” pace, Pedrosa will start on pole and is a heavy favorite for Sunday’s race. Absent from the front though was Casey Stoner, who complained of not having the setup this weekend. Stoner will start from the second row, and hopes to mitigate any damages Mugello might have on his Championship defense.

Rounding out the front row is Hector Barbara, who made his first front row qualifying appearance in his MotoGP career. Usually one to follow the faster riders, the satellite Ducati rider to his credit not only embarrassed the Ducati Corse factory team, but did it on his own and without a draft. Barbara’s quick lap bumped Nicky Hayden down to the fourth position, while Valentino Rossi languished in 10th, as the Italian experienced chatter on the softer tire compound.

Crashing mid-session, Cal Crutchlow will round out the second row. Pipping his teammate in the closing lap, Crutchlow is showed good speed for spending time in the kitty litter. He clearly has a point to make to the Yamaha factory team, as well as Ducati Corse, which is setting on a contract for the young Brit.

Ben Spies also had a tumble, which cost him his only soft front tire. The fastest CRT of the day was Aleix Espargaro, who has taken over as being the resident fast-man on the Aspar team, as teammate Randy de Puniet trails him by just 0.06 seconds.

Qualifying Results from the Italian GP at Mugello, Italy:

Pos.RiderNationTeamBikeKM/HTimeDiff.
1Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda342.51’47.284-
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha342.71’47.4230.139
3Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati342.11’47.5450.261
4Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati343.41’47.6710.387
5Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda338.61’47.6890.405
6Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha340.21’47.7490.465
7Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha339.11’47.7510.467
8Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda339.21’47.8570.573
9Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha340.41’48.1490.865
10Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati341.81’48.5021.218
11Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda338.61’48.8941.610
12Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART327.71’49.3872.103
13Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART326.71’49.4502.166
14Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR321.51’50.2632.979
15Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR318.71’50.6103.326
16James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART320.21’50.8123.528
17Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART318.71’50.9533.669
18Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR319.21’51.2423.958
19Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter325.91’51.3484.064
20Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda303.31’51.4734.189

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

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