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: Last-Lap Thriller at San Marino GP Underscores Pivotal Moment in Championship

09/05/2011 @ 8:44 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Last Lap Thriller at San Marino GP Underscores Pivotal Moment in Championship Jorge Lorenzo MotoGP San Marino GP 635x423

Despite its venue title, MotoGP returned to Italy this race weekend, as Misano played host to the San Marino GP. With the Championship standings vetting themselves out, Casey Stoner seems to be all but assured of his second premier class title. Trailing Stoner by 44 points, Jorge Lorenzo’s bid for keeping his #1 plate for next season is in serious jeopardy, though not mathematically impossible. If the Spaniard can mount a slew of top finishes, starting at San Marino, he might have a chance at the Championship if Stoner or the Repsol Honda team drops the ball at one the six remaining races (including this weekend’s).

That task won’t be easy for Lorenzo though, as Stoner has been strong all season, and once again sat at the pole position for today’s race. The x-factor however is one Dani Pedrosa, as the Catalan has been a Top 3 contender for every race he’s been healthy at this season. Likely to be in every fight, Pedrosa could easily take points from both Stoner and Lorenzo, aiding either his teammate or his countryman in their bid for 2011 supremacy.

Also looking for some magic in Misano are Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli. With both Italians vying for a factory seat in 2012, Honda made its position clear that it will only have two riders in the factory-backed team, with a factory bike a possibility for SuperSic, though his support levels could change. For Dovi, Honda has made it clear there is no room in the team for the Italian. Wanting a factory ride for 2012 though, Dovi’s best choice might be a Rizla Suzuki, though he has been linked to LCR Honda, Tech 3 Yamaha, and Pramac Ducati as well.

Speaking of Ducati, not all is well with the home town brand, which yet again at another race weekend has shown itself to be decidedly out of the 2011 MotoGP Championship contention. With the back half of the starting grid at Misano having an almost exclusive showing of the Bologna brand’s bikes, even local hero Valentino Rossi admitted a strong showing at Misano would be impossible without some help from global warming. With the coastal weather threatening to put moisture on the track, or even rain, Rossi’s wishes looked like they could be coming true as MotoGP riders took to the grid. You’ll have to follow after the jump though to see if flag-to-flag racing reared its head at the San Marino GP, and how that may have affected the day’s racing results.

With a spattering of rain, riders started the San Marino GP under dry, but changing conditions. Though the flags would come out, allowing riders to pit and take a bike with rain tires on, after a few laps the sun proved that it was here to stay, leaving the field on slicks, and an otherwise dry track. Getting the jump at the start, Jorge Lorenzo showed he meant business, taking the lead into the first turn, and never looking back.

Though Stoner would have several looks on his Championship rival, the Australian could never get a wheel past the reigning World Champion. Trailing Lorenzo and Stoner throughout the race, Dani Pedrosa made his presence felt as the laps counted-down. Catching back his time from the Australian, the super-lightweight Pedrosa clearly had a fuel and power-to-weight advantage that shined at the fuel-hungry Misano. Passing Stoner with six laps to go, Pedrosa handed his teammate a nine point deficit on Lorenzo for the day, which leaves Stoner  with”only” 35 points in front of the factory Yamaha rider. A sign of what could become in the MotoGP Championship, Pedrosa could easily cost Stoner the Championship in the remaining five races should he continued to get between Casey and Jorge.

With no team orders expected from Honda, and Pedrosa keen on grabbing back points for third in the Championship, the plucky little Spaniard clearly has his eyes set on another teammate: Andrea Dovizioso. Trailing Dovi by a similar number of points as Lorenzo is to Stoner, Pedrosa has made it clear he will do what is in his best interest (a third in the Championship), before helping Stoner secure a World Title. As we doubt the Australian would have it any other way, that attitude has also given vigor to Dovi, who is looking to prove a point in the MotoGP paddock. Though the prodigal son at Repsol Honda, Dovi currently sits third in the MotoGP Championship, and consistently finishes faster than the man allegedly taking his factory Honda: Marco Simoncelli. With a healthy battle for fourth though, we saw that distinction fail for the first time this season.

In perhpas some of the best racing we’ve seen all season, SuperSic passed Dovi with 21 laps remaining, to take fourth place from his Italian rival. Though Simoncelli would make a bid to battle with the “aliens”, he would be reeled back by the very hungry duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies. Setting the tone with four laps to go, Dovi finally got around SuperSic on the next lap, though the San Carlos Gresini Honda rider would answer back on the last lap of the race.

A brutal melee strung over a series of corners, Simoncelli got past Dovizioso, only for the Repsol Honda rider to answer back at the next turn. Tired of finishing behind his racing rival, Sic pushed the argument further, and went around Dovi at the next apex, and was joined by Ben Spies. With Spies running the exit wide, Sic answered back in magnificent form, retaining his fourth place position, and riding it all the way to the finish line. With the battle underlining the potential of Simoncelli, the fans at Misano were treated to a proper battle between national heroes.

The same could not be said of the home town favorite Valentino Rossi, who had a better day than usual, lapping his first few laps in fifth, and finished seventh. Ducati continues to make progress on the GP11/1, though the team has made it clear that they are building for next year at this point in time. Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden continued his back luck at Misano, as the American crashed out the fourth lap, making yet another race at Misano where the Kentucky Kid failed to finish.

Also sadly DNF’ing for the day was Loris Capirossi, who had chain problems on his Pramac Ducati. Not able to give his last race in Italy his best showing, Capirex will surely leave Misano disappointed. MotoGP racing continues next at Aragaon on September 18th.

Race Results from the San Marino GP at Misano:

Pos.No.RiderNationTeamDiff.
11Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory Racing44’11.877
226Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda Team+7.299
327Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda Team+11.967
458Marco SIMONCELLIITASan Carlo Honda Gresini+17.353
54Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda Team+17.390
611Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory Racing+18.092
746Valentino ROSSIITADucati Team+23.703
819Alvaro BAUTISTASPARizla Suzuki MotoGP+30.678
98Hector BARBERASPAMapfre Aspar Team MotoGP+37.502
1035Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3+37.720
117Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNSan Carlo Honda Gresini+39.548
1217Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB Motoracing+40.506
135Colin EDWARDSUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3+53.349
1414Randy DE PUNIETFRAPramac Racing Team+1’02.366
1524Toni ELIASSPALCR Honda MotoGP+1’20.156
Not Classified
65Loris CAPIROSSIITAPramac Racing Team20 Laps
69Nicky HAYDENUSADucati Team26 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Yamaha Racing

Comment:

  1. mxs says:

    Lorenzo he might have a chance? Sure he does, as everyone else who is not mathematically eliminated. Reading your view on it makes me think that Stoner’s chances are not very good. You are making an assumption that Honda will somehow drop the ball and will not come up with a win or two in the remaining 6 races, that includes Phillip Island where Stoner has not lost in last 4 years I believe. That’s a big hill to climb, for Lorenzo, not Stoner …

  2. musashiwasajedi says:

    @mxs The article seems clear enough: At this stage of the game Stoner as a healthy lead and he has been very strong as of late. Lorenzo has a small chance of retaining the 2011 motogp crown. But for Lorenzo to win the title this year some extraordinary (but not impossible) combination of events would need to occur.

    Assuming the same level of consistency on Casey’s part and a superhuman effort on Jorge’s part:

    If they happen to finish 1. Lorenzo 2. Stoner for the next five races, Stoner would win the title by 10 points.

    Now adding Pedrosa in to the mix:

    If they happen to finish 1. Lorenzo 2.Pedrosa 3. Stoner for the next five races, Lorenzo could win the title by 10 points. But if Motegi is cancelled and Stoner happened to win Phillip Island with Lorenzo coming in second, they will be tied after wrapping up in Valencia.

    A crash or mechanical failure for Stoner could likely seal the deal for Jorge. But realistically Stoner has missed the podium only once in 13 races this year and has 7 wins. Lorenzo has been nearly as consistent. With the way things are going this year I think the number of superior factory Hondas on the grid will prevent Lorenzo even coming close to winning 4 or 5 in a row.

    Now let us see what happens…