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 Sepang 2 Test Day 1: Pedrosa is Fastest, While Bradl Impresses

02/26/2013 @ 1:29 pm, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS

MotoGP Sepang 2 Test Day 1: Pedrosa is Fastest, While Bradl Impresses Dani Pedrosa Sepang MotoGP test

Dani Pedrosa has taken up at the second Sepang MotoGP test where he left off after the first. The Repsol Honda man led for most of the day, having set a fast time fairly early in the morning. His rival at the Factory Yamaha squad did much the same, Jorge Lorenzo taking 2nd a couple of tenths behind Pedrosa.

Marc Marquez continues to impress, the Spanish prodigy ending the day with the 3rd fastest time, just over a third of a second off his Repsol Honda teammate, and a little over a tenth behind reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Also impressive was Stefan Bradl, the LCR Honda man achieving his stated aim for the test of matching the pace of Valentino Rossi. The strong times by Marquez and Bradl demoted the Factory Yamaha returnee to 5th, though the difference was minimal, just a few hundredths separating the threesome.

Cal Crutchlow led another close duo, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man some seven tenths off the pace of Pedrosa and a quarter of a second behind Rossi. He just kept ahead of Alvaro Bautista, the Gresini Honda rider taking 7th less than a tenth behind Crutchlow.

Better news for Ducati, with Andrea Dovizioso cutting the gap to the leaders to 1.2 seconds, still a sizable distance, but a lot more respectable than the 2 seconds at the first test at Sepang. Nicky Hayden was also closer, three tenths behind his new teammate and a second and a half off the time of Pedrosa. The two factory Ducatis put themselves ahead of Bradley Smith on the second Tech 3 Yamaha, the young Englishman taking tenth place, two seconds off the pace of Pedrosa.

Aleix Espargaro once again reigned in the CRT category, closing the gap on the Tech 3 Yamaha of Smith and demoting the Pramac Ducatis of Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone to 13th and 14th respectively. Hiroshi Aoyama is the next best CRT rider, grabbing the 17th time on the FTR Kawasaki, three seconds behind Pedrosa and eight tenths slower than the pace of Espargaro.

Aoyama put his bike well ahead of the second Aspar Aprilia ART ridden by Randy de Puniet, while Colin Edwards closed on De Puniet’s tail on the Forward FTR Kawasaki. Michael Laverty, who had shown so strongly on the PBM Aprilia at the first test at Sepang, was forced to spend the whole day in the garage, as the PBM team worked to get his PBM-built chassis ready for the track, the team taking some time to get the electronics ready.

The test was cut short by heavy rain which came around 3pm, while the riders were all still in the garages for lunch, sheltering from the tropical heat. Only Pedrosa and Bradl put in any real time in the wet, though Claudio Corti ventured out for a couple of exploratory wet laps before returning to the pits.

The rain will have done nothing to help conditions at the circuit. The track was already dirty from the rains of the previous few days, and a heavy downpour in the afternoon will have done little to improve it.

More rain is forecast for Wednesday, though the final day of the test on Thursday looks like being much better, perhaps allowing the riders to get in a full day. Being the tropics, however, those forecasts can change quickly.

Results from Day 1 of MotoGP’s Second Test at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos.Num.RiderTeamTimeDiff.Prev.
126Dani PedrosaHonda2:01.580 - -
299Jorge LorenzoYamaha2:01.8150.2350.235
393Marc MarquezHonda2:01.9420.3620.127
46Stefan BradlHonda2:01.9590.3790.017
546Valentino RossiYamaha2:02.0280.4480.069
635Cal CrutchlowYamaha2:02.2720.6920.244
719Alvaro BautistaHonda2:02.3620.7820.090
84Andrea DoviziosoDucati2:02.8011.2210.439
969Nicky HaydenDucati2:03.1431.5630.342
1038Bradley SmithYamaha2:03.6322.0520.489
11T2Katsayuki NakasugaYamaha Test2:03.7342.1540.102
1241Aleix EspargaroAprilia ART2:03.9412.3610.207
1311Ben SpiesDucati2:04.0472.4670.106
1429Andrea IannoneDucati2:04.0502.4700.003
15T1Wataru YoshikawaYamaha Test2:04.5903.0100.540
1651Michele PirroDucati Test2:04.6263.0460.036
177Hiroshi AoyamaFTR Kawasaki2:04.7433.1630.117
1814Randy de PunietAprilia ART2:05.2883.7080.545
1937Takumi TakahashiHonda Test2:05.5103.9300.222
205Colin EdwardsFTR Kawasaki2:05.5183.9380.008
219Danilo PetrucciSuter BMW2:05.8274.2470.309
2217Karel AbrahamAprilia ART2:05.8384.2580.011
2368Yonny HernandezAprilia ART2:05.9084.3280.070
248Hector BarberaFTR Kawasaki2:06.0624.4820.154
2571Claudio CortiFTR Kawasaki2:06.3064.7260.244
2667Bryan StaringFTR Honda2:06.7305.1500.424
2752Lukas PesekSuter BMW2:07.9916.4111.261

Records and Times from Previous Tests at Sepang:

2013Sepang 1 testDani PedrosaHonda2:00.100
2007Race recordCasey StonerDucati2:02.108
2012Pole recordJorge LorenzoYamaha2:00.334
2012Sepang 2 testCasey StonerHonda2:00.473

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Mr.X says:

    I’m trying to list the riders in the history of US Superbike or MotoGP whose careers weren’t ended by signing with Ducati.
    Mladin.
    Rossi.
    That’s all.

  2. David says:

    Do you mean AMA Superbike when you say US Superbike?

    Troy Corser won AMA Superbike with Ducati in 1994 and went on to a pretty good racing career.

    Top 5 bikes in MotoGp within half a second a lap so far.

    Looking good!

  3. L2C says:

    Very impressed with Stefan Bradl’s performance. He’s right there with his old rival Marquez. And Rossi’s so-so performance was due to electrical problems on his new bike, so he was out and about on the 2012 M1. He’ll probably show much improvement over the next couple of days. This is going to be a great season!

    Go Pedrosa!!!

  4. “Checa?”

    That Stoner guy didn’t do all that badly, either, as I recall. :)

  5. TexusTim says:

    I wonder were Cal would be on a full factory ride ? most impressive to me is espargaro on a crt

  6. L2C says:

    Yes, I’m a big fan of both Aleix and Pol Espargaro. I hope both get GP factory rides sometime in the near future. Most excellent riders.

    On a factory ride, Cal would be competing at the pointy end just like Lorenzo. It’s an observable fact that Cal is being held back by the lack of factory support for his machine. Fast riders on fast bikes is the name of the game these days. Go fast, pull a gap. Period. Cal is not stupid, he’s knows the deal. None of that sissified shake and bake is allowed anymore, only blunt instruments stand a chance at winning and podiums.

    Rossi is clearly the last of the old school who knows how to finesse an opponent for the win. Pedrosa may have a bit of it in his bones, Marquez may also possess some of that increasingly rare talent, but today the field is too fast to play around with those old psychological strategies. If you don’t bury your rivals in an ever-widening gap, you’re the one getting buried. It’s also some boring shit to watch, which is unfortunate.

  7. Jimmy Midnight says:

    You forgot Ben Spies.

  8. Mindful says:

    I like seeing other manufactures in there, BWW, APRILIA, KAWI, while it is still possible for them to compete.
    The day it’s just a 2 manufacture gig, that’s when I call it quits as a fan.

  9. Isn’t it already a two-manufacturer gig?

  10. Mr. X says:

    Stoner! I forgot him? who is the stoner?