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 Test – Day 3: Enter the Factory Prototypes

02/05/2013 @ 12:48 pm, by David Emmett8 COMMENTS

MotoGP Sepang Test – Day 3: Enter the Factory Prototypes dani pedrosa repsol honda sepang motogp test

Dani Pedrosa has ended the first full-day of MotoGP factory prototype testing at Sepang at the top of the timesheets. The Repsol Honda man was fast throughout the day, finally setting a time that would not be beaten with an hour left of the test.

Though Pedrosa’s best time could not be bested, it was challenged, Jorge Lorenzo using the final minutes of the session to post his fastest lap of the day, falling just eight thousandths short of Pedrosa, but still right on the pace.

The most impressive performance of the day goes to Marc Marquez though, who was fast out of the box, led the session at one point and finished the day less than five hundredths of a second behind his teammate. Marquez had been expected to make a strong start, and be within a few tenths of Pedrosa and Lorenzo, but getting within a few hundredths can be classed as exceptional.

Valentino Rossi’s return to Yamaha was a happy one: the Italian was fast and smooth, leading the session at one stage and ending the day in touch with the leaders, four tenths behind Pedrosa, just under four tenths slower than Jorge Lorenzo.

Stefan Bradl also impressed on the LCR Honda, now in factory-spec, taking 5th spot behind Rossi, and just under a tenth ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man Cal Crutchlow, who ended the day in 6th. Alvaro Bautista was the last man within a second of Pedrosa, the Gresini Honda man eight tenths off the pace of the Repsol rider.

It was a tough day for Ducati. Nicky Hayden was the fastest Ducati man, as was to be expected, but the American was over two seconds behind Pedrosa, and over a third of a second slower than the Yamaha and Honda test riders, Hayden ended the day in 10th.

Andrea Dovizioso was 13th, just behind MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith on the second Tech 3 Yamaha, while the satellite Pramac Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies ended the session behind the Aspar Aprilia CRT machines of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet.

The weather, which had looked like disrupting the test, held off all day, leaving the MotoGP field to get in a full day of testing, with all of the riders getting plenty of laps under their belt.

The hope is that the weather will continue to smile on MotoGP for the next two days, allowing the riders a chance to get a full and useful first test in at Sepang. Testing continues on Wednesday.

Results from Day 3 of MotoGP’s Test at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos.Num.RiderTeamTimeDiff.Prev.
126Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda Team2:01.157 - -
299Jorge LorenzoYamaha Factory Racing2:01.1650.0080.008
393Marc MarquezRepsol Honda Team2:01.2010.0440.036
446Valentino RossiYamaha Factory Racing2:01.5840.4270.383
56Stefan BradlLCR Honda MotoGP2:01.7890.6320.205
635Cal CrutchlowMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.8810.7240.092
719Alvaro BautistaGo & Fun Honda Gresini2:01.9810.8240.100
8T2Katsayuki NakasugaYamaha Factory2:02.9681.8110.987
972Kosuke AkiyoshiHRC Test Team2:02.9721.8150.004
1069Nicky HaydenDucati Team2:03.3362.1790.364
11T1Wataru YoshikawaYamaha Factory2:03.4562.2990.120
1238Bradley SmithMonster Yamaha Tech 32:03.4602.3030.004
134Andrea DoviziosoDucati Team2:03.5352.3780.075
1441Aleix EspargaroPower Electronics Aspar2:03.7822.6250.247
1514Randy de PunietPower Electronics Aspar2:04.2833.1260.501
1629Andrea IannoneEnergy T.I. Pramac Racing Team2:04.5003.3430.217
1711Ben SpiesIgnite Pramac Racing Team2:05.0863.9290.586
1837Takumi TakahashiHRC Test Team2:05.1543.9970.068
198Hector BarberaAvintia Blusens2:05.4694.3120.315
2068Yonny HernandezPaul Bird Motorsport2:05.6564.4990.187
2117Karel AbrahamCardion AB Motoracing2:05.6944.5370.038
229Danilo PetrucciCame IodaRacing Project2:05.7534.5960.059
237Hiroshi AoyamaAvintia Blusens2:05.9194.7620.166
2471Claudio CortiNGM Mobile Forward Racing2:06.4265.2690.507
2533Michael LavertyPaul Bird Motorsport2:06.5075.3500.081
2652Lukas PesekCame IodaRacing Project2:07.0155.8580.508
2767Bryan StaringGo & Fun Honda Gresini2:07.0445.8870.029
285Colin EdwardsNGM Mobile Forward Racing Team2:08.2067.0491.162

Lap records and 2012 Sepang 1 times:

Pole Record2012Jorge Lorenzo2:00.334
Lap Record2007Casey Stoner2:02.108
2012 Sepang 1Day 1 fastestJorge Lorenzo2:01.657
2012 Sepang 1Overall fastestCasey Stoner1:59.607

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. David says:

    Finally…..some lap times!!!!! WooHoo!

  2. Ken C. says:

    It’s pretty sad when the Honda and Yamaha test riders put up better times than the Ducati Factory riders.

  3. mutanic says:

    I bet SIC will be on top of sheet if he still around…nice to see Vale back to his ‘track’, going to Ducati is a biggest downfall for him…Dani will be the man to fight this year for sure, wish he didn’t crash & injured this time…Marquez, long way to go man so keep it up…Lorenzo, I’m not really fan of this guy but he is pain in the @ss for Vale…hahaha…

  4. Odie says:

    I am so glad to Vale back to his old self. Though, it is a pity that Stoner isn’t here. That would make for an epic season. More over, it’s really sad that SIC won’t be duking it out with the aliens. I think he might have had the chops to enter the League of Aliens. That would have just been the cherry.

  5. budi says:

    Marques FTW

  6. L2C says:

    Honda sammiches.

  7. L2C says:

    And I know I don’t need to say it — but poor Colin Edwards! Damn.

  8. “And I know I don’t need to say it — but poor Colin Edwards! Damn.”

    No kidding. He’d put in better lap times on a Moto2 bike.