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: New Rules for 2013 & 2014 – Penalty Points, Quickshifters, Cost Caps for Parts, Flags on Dashes & More

12/20/2012 @ 3:45 am, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

MotoGP: New Rules for 2013 & 2014   Penalty Points, Quickshifters, Cost Caps for Parts, Flags on Dashes & More Marc Marquez Valencia Moto2 Scott Jones

Following its meeting last week, today the GP Commission has released a bevy of rules for the 2013 & 2014 MotoGP Championship. An interesting mix of rules that stem from issues had this past season, the GP Commission has also drafted some regulations that aim at further reducing the cost of the sport.

For starters, Race Direction now has a penalty point system at its disposal, which can be used to address riders who are continually being warned of unsafe behavior. The points accumulate over the course of the season, and have thresholds with escalating consequences. If that doesn’t make your eyes roll and your mouth mutter “Marc Marquez” then Moto2′s new quickshifter approval rule probably will.

While all three classes will see a number of provisions to help control costs, the most interesting is the capping of brake and suspension prices, which will see the cost of service contracts also limited. The latter point is especially important, as parts suppliers have gotten around previous caps by merely rolling the lost costs into extremely expensive servicing fees and agreements.

On a more geeky and technical note, an optional in 2013, mandatory in 2014, in-dash flagging system will be put in place. Presumably useful for all situations, the system sounds like a direct response to Jorge Lorenzo’s complaints after crashing in Valenica while going through lapped traffic. The full list of new rules is after the jump.

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix - Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), Paul Duparc (FIM) and Mike Webb (Race Director), in a meeting held on 13 December 2012 in Madrid, made the following decisions. (Note: Some decisions were made at the previous meeting on 10 November at Valencia but not announced at that time).

Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations

Effective immediately:

It has been recognised that there is the need to address the problem of riders who are constantly being warned or penalised for endangering other riders or committing other serious offences like assaulting marshals or other officials. To address this issue a new system of Penalty Points was approved. Race Direction can sanction a rider with a number of Penalty Points between one and ten. This can be instead of or in addition to any other sanction. Points will “tot up” during the season and when certain thresholds are reached the following sanctions will be applied automatically:

  • Four Points – Starts next race from rear of grid.
  • Seven Points – Starts next race from pit lane.
  • Ten Points -  Disqualification from the next event.

Once the ten point sanction has been imposed then points reset to Zero. Points are not carried forward to the following season.

Several changes to the start procedure were approved:

  • Pit lane opening will be accompanied by a green flag at the pit exit in addition to the existing green light.
  • No red flag will be displayed in front of the grid at the conclusion of the sighting lap.
  • Tyre warmers must be removed immediately on display of the one minute board.

Following approval of the new qualifying procedure for the MotoGP class it is also necessary to determine the criteria for actual qualification to take part in the race – the 107% rule. To be allowed to take part in the actual qualifying sessions a rider must achieve a time better than 107% of the fastest rider in any of the four free practice sessions. It is no longer possible to qualify for the race based on a time set in the warm up. Riders who are appointed as substitutes for an injured rider after some free practice sessions have taken place and have not achieved the 107% cut off  will still be allowed to participate in Qualifying Practice 1 where they must achieve a qualifying time.

Failure of riders participating in their first event of the season to attend the FIM briefing may attract a penalty but will no longer result in automatic disqualification.

The responsibility for switching on red rear lights in rain conditions now rests with the teams. No boards will be displayed.

It is no longer a requirement for the team to be notified and acknowledge the imposition of a ride through penalty due to a jump start. The requirement will be displayed at the start line to the rider and included on the information page of the timekeeping monitors.

There is no longer a minimum fine that can be imposed by Race Direction. The maximum fine is now fixed at €50,000.00

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class

Effective Immediately:

Carbon Composite wheels are not permitted. (As is already the case for Moto3 and Moto2).

The exception granted to CRT entries in 2012 to permit use of brake disks of a different diameter than the 320mm specified in the regulations will not be extended to 2013.

A revised allocation of tyres will be introduced. In principle, riders will receive an additional rear tyre and the “soft” front tyre offered as an option in 2012, but not used, will no longer be available. In that case, the exception concerning allocations of different grades of front tyres at certain specified circuits will be cancelled. The decision on the precise make up of the allocation will be taken following the official test at Sepang on 5-7 February.

In this context, the official supplier will be making available a “softer” rear tyre for use by CRT entries.

Effective 2014:

A procedure for homologation of the “frozen” engine specifications was approved. It was confirmed that this regulation does not apply to CRT entries and that different teams using the same brand of MSMA machine could have engines homologated with different specifications.

Effective 2015:

Maximum prices permitted to be charged for the supply of brakes and suspension will be imposed. Investigations are also being carried out with a view to capping charges for “service contracts” for the same products.

Moto3 and Moto2 Classes

Effective Immediately:

Moto2 class quick-shifter systems must be approved by the Technical Director.

The allocation of tyres for the Moto2 class is changed. In future riders will have the following maximum numbers available:

8 front tyres of the two standard specifications.

9 rear tyres of the two standard specifications

The actual specifications will be determined by the official supplier and all riders will receive equal allocations.

Front race numbers on Moto3 and Moto2 machines must have a separation of minimum 10mm between double digit numbers. Reflective backgrounds are not permitted.

Effective 2014:

To ensure that teams in the Moto3 are supplied with engines of the same specification at a reasonable price it has been agreed that engines will be supplied via the series organisers and distributed randomly. Engines will not be returned for maintenance but having completed normal mileage will be retained by teams for other purposes or sale on.

Discussions are continuing about the maximum number of engines allowed and the routine, minor engine maintenance to be permitted and a final regulation will be announced during the 2013 Qatar GP.

Maximum prices will be imposed for complete Moto3 class machines and maximum prices will be specified for chassis and major components for Moto3 and Moto2 class machines. Again, final regulations will be announced during the 2013 Qatar GP.

All Classes

Effective 2014:

In 2013 Dorna will introduce a new timekeeping transponder that will have the ability to display on the dashboard additional information for the rider. Most importantly, this will include  the ability to duplicate flag signals. Use of a compatible dashboard is mandatory from 2014 and optional in 2013.

In the Moto2 class the use of an updated Lambda sensor will be compulsory

Effective 2015:

FIM homologation standards for all racing wheels were approved in principle. Final standards will be announced at the Qatar GP

Other Matters

The Commission confirmed acceptance of all MotoGP class CRT entries on the provisional 2013 entry list.

The Commission approved various MotoGP wild card entries:

Michel Pirro – Ducati – Jerez, Mugello and Misano

Martin Bauer – Schwarz & Bronnen – Brno

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

Comment:

  1. Con says:

    I wish I understood Spanish so I could make sense their version of English.

  2. smiler says:

    “Maximum prices permitted to be charged for the supply of brakes and suspension will be imposed. ”
    Ohlins and Brembo shareholders will be pleased. I wonder about this. Cost cutting for the suppliers first.

    There has got to be a comedy sketch somewhere with the flags on the riders dash. CRT teams employing smurfs instead.

  3. Ed Gray says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Why don’t they just make a regulation against having any mechanics or programmers in the garage. If you can’t find your motorcycle you can’t race.

  4. Matt says:

    Can somebody tell me what ‘CRT Entry’ is?

  5. ngads says:

    Matt…

    if you don’t know by now then you missed all of last season

  6. Damo says:

    “Tyre warmers must be removed immediately on display of the one minute board.”

    aka: The Pedrosa Rule

  7. David says:

    CRT= Colorful Racing Turtles

  8. Peter G says:

    Scott………… nice photo…did he get you ?

  9. BBQdog says:

    crt = claiming rule team

  10. BBQdog says:

    I like the Moto3 engine distribution rule. Much more equal equipment.

  11. Guy says:

    Matt,
    As BBQ said, CRT is claiming rules team, and it is basically a non-factory team. These teams typically don’t have the same resources a factory team does and so they have to use lesser hardware and are thus given some extra benefits in the rules to compensate. This article does some good explaining it:
    http://motomatters.com/analysis/2011/10/15/the_coming_revolution_8_crt_entries_in_m.html

    Sorry on behalf of the assholes that responded sooner (ngads in particular), not sure why they can’t be decent enough to either answer you or keep their mouths shut. Gotta love the anonymity of the interwebs.

    There are some hopes that the factory teams will sell or lease their engines in future seasons, allowing for more equal competition.

  12. Gritboy says:

    All that matters to me is they ride balls-to-the-wall and put on a good show. All the technicalities of the new rules I’ll leave for the rulemongers. ;)

  13. jake318 says:

    The CEO of Dorna MR Espenosa sp? has been preaching he is making changes in an attemp to ensure closer racing in MotoGP when his real objective is to get political power by pushing manufacturers out of MotoGP.
    Honda in particular has bent over backwards to bolter grids , lower cost for the private teams ect ect . The Spec ECU isnt going to lower cost , it will increase cost with engineers spending countless hours trying to get around the effect of lower horsepower caused by the spec ECU (wasnt the increase to 1000cc enacted for CHEAP horsepower?) bit by bit the MotoGP machine is getting watered down so the Stock based CRT bikes can be competitive . Why Would Honda , YamaHa , SuZuki,Ducati want to spend money in motoGP for development when disallow any advancement ? Honda had promised to make 23 satilite MotoGP machines and sell them a cost . Espenosa shot it down stating it gave honda too much power in the sport . Does esenosa want full grids and close racing or does he want a to be big shot ?

    ps can someone explain to me what was wrong with carbon fiber wheels ? there hasnt been any failers in MotoGP and I doubt the 6000$ cost is breaking the bank of MotoGP teams . In fact Good metal rims cost roughly the same.
    Metal wheels are actually more dangerous by makng it harder to turn at 200 mph.

    BTW I love World Superbike Racing but MotoGP and WSB should be different machines .
    And if Espenosa truly wants the CRT machines to be competitive at a low cost why not let the CRT displacement rise to 1200cc . Displacement actually is a cheap way to produce horsepower .
    Leave MotoGP factory machines at 1000cc and develope new technology . 1200cc CRT bikes would have the Horsepower to at least be competitive and with Honda selling 23 satilite factory MotoGP bikes at cost you have filled grids . This isnt rocket science , but with Espenosa as CEO of Dorna its now Political Science .

  14. 76 says:

    “The lower Horsepower caused by the spec ECU”
    Really please let us all know?….. Spec ECU will limit the more complex electronics in traction control programing and where exactly that is happening on the track, ie corner to corner as well as race distance (with concern for fuel). GPS is banned but the TC programs some are running are based on every meter traveled on a track in conjunction with lean angle/throttle/braking/ and fuel to be consumed. The machines know where they are on the track and are adjusted corner by corner.

    The reason factories dont want a spec ecu is they have more people & time to crunch it, and better software to run it, period. Any other reason is utter bullshit. Software and the people that can manage it have become the top priority on factory teams. How else do you think they are cracking open the throttle at apex and even before with a 270hp machine?

    Yes it is cheaper to make tweeks to software than it is to a frame, thats why the factories love it.

  15. Tyler says:

    What I thnk quite funny, should it happen, Is the instance where the Rider sees a flag in the dash…. Or rather … DOESN’T.

    You don’t look at your dash in tight moments on the track.. And things will be missed.. Especially on the last few laps of a race.

    This gives yet another reason to blame a rider for something that they did not or could not do.. Therefore penalizing them..

    How its regulated is key to this policy… Could get interesting.

  16. cb150r says:

    the final prediction riders position in motogp 2013 : dani,lorenzo,vale and marc.