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 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: The Championship Gets Framed at the Spanish GP

04/29/2012 @ 12:50 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

MotoGP: The Championship Gets Framed at the Spanish GP 2012 Spanish GP Jerez Saturday Scott Jones 101

With a damp but drying track, MotoGP got underway at Jerez, Spain this weekend with Jorge Lorenzo sitting once again at the pole position. A favorite to win at the Spanish track, Lorenzo’s bid for his second race win of the season would surely be challenged by fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa. Always unable to count out Casey Stoner, and with Nicky Hayden and Cal Crutchlow mixing things up at the front, the Spanish GP promised to have some good close racing, and its results will surely frame the discussion about who the contenders are the 2012 MotoGP Championship.

Getting a patent-pending rocket start when the lights went out, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa lead the charge through the first turns, followed by Lorenzo, Crutchlow, Hayden, and Ben Spies. As the pace set in, that front group pulled away, leaving Spies to deal with his “bad day at the office,” which saw the American struggling for feel with his Yamaha YZR-M1.

Finding his way through the traffic, Stoner took over at the front group, with Lorenzo stalking close behind him. As that pair would breakaway, the battle became heated with Hayden leading Dovizioso, Pedrosa, and Crutchlow. Hayden would unfortunately not have the pace though, and slowly dropped all the way down the field to eighth — a result that does not reflect the race he ran, and is surely a disappointment to the the Ducati Corse team.

Eventually closing the gap to the front, Pedrosa & Crutchlow were not able to reconnect with Lorenzo and Stoner, but made for another good Honda vs. Yamaha battle at the front of the race track. While surely looking for a better result, Crutchlow finished a strong race, decimating his teammate, and adding further credence to his claim for Ben Spies’s seat in the factory team.

With Spies finishing 11th in the group battling for 9th, the result is another disappointment for the American, who took full-blame for the day’s results. Battling with Valentino Rossi, Hector Barbera, and Randy de Puniet, The Doctor would be the victor in that four-way battle, though by only a small margin.

Contending with the ailing Spies, and satellite Ducati of Barbera, Rossi even had to worry about the CRT of de Puniet’s being in the battle. Beating Barbera at the line, Rossi’s ninth-place finish puts him in contact with his teammate on the score sheet, though both the six-second gap and racing perspective tell a much different story.

Unfortunately for Randy de Puniet, the Power Electronics Aspar Aprilia ART died on the final lap, leaving the Frenchman on the side of the track in what could have been a very strong finish for the claiming-rule team. MotoGP racing returns next weekend, as the paddock heads to Estoril for the Portuguese GP.

Race Results from the Spanish GP at Jerez, Spain:

1Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda-
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+0.947
3Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda+2.063
4Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+2.465
5Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+18.100
6Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+21.395
7Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda+28.637
8Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+28.869
9Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+34.852
10Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati+35.103
11Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+38.041
12Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART+1’12.728
13Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda+1’18.669
14Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART+1’29.142
15Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR+1’32.478
16Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter+1’40.577
17Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati1 Lap
Not Classified
Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART2 Laps
James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART3 Laps
Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR9 Laps
Not Starting
Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR0 Lap

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


  1. PD says:

    Nobody seems to be saying it, but Spies simply is concentrating too much on bike (bicycle) racing (at which, he is doing great). This would be fine if that is what he wants to do, primarily, with his life, but, if he wants to excel at the top of motorcycle racing, his current priorities seem to be misdirected. To put if bluntly, he simply isn’t giving enough shit to be competitive at the top of motorcycle racing.

    The RC213V and the M1 seem to be great bikes (that enable optimum performance from all riders of said bikes), and Stoner, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa are simply doing what they are capable of doing. The GP12 (Duc) seems decidedly to be at the very least a step behind, and one that requires far more compromises and significant adjustments from its riders to make it perform anywhere near its potential or certainly anywhere even remotely near its top rivals. Hayden seems to have accepted this notion far better than Rossi, who is still waiting it for it to adjust to him rather than for himself to adjust to it.

    Crutchlow is obviously doing great, and, if he ever gets to the point where his level of confidence reaches a point of “unquestioning,” where he is no longer constantly wondering if he has what it takes to compete for titles at the highest levels, but rather simply accepts that he does (as do Lorenzo, Stoner, Pedrosa, at the moment), he could be realistically consistently challenging for wins, even with a “satellite” M1 (which, at this early stage in the season, is pretty much a “factory” M1).

    The Bulls, without Rose, will not be champions this season, which, with Rose, they had every realistic chance of being. The Knicks, without Shumpert now, and without Lin, and with a Stoudemire who has no defense and whose offense has never gelled with Carmelo Anthony’s, have zero chance of going very far in the playoffs now. The Heat, with Rose out, with Dwight Howard out, with Ray Allen ailing, seem to have been given a “red carpet” toward the playoffs, as long as Lebron doesn’t revert to playing like a mere mortal (as he did in last year’s Finals), and Chris Bosh reverts to playing like “Christine” Bosh, as he so often has done. The Spurs, as long as they don’t psych themselves out by the notion of their being “too old,” may actually take the whole thing again. The Thunder, as long as the big three of Durant, Westbrook, and really their “rock” of Harden, perform up to their potential, have every reason to take it all. As well, the Grizzlies and the Lakers have the tools to do the job if they perform optimally.

  2. Tyler says:

    @PD – Basketball?…

  3. TB1098S says:

    @PD – Thanks for the NBA playoff update. As a Ducati fan, I’m thrilled to see Hayden putting in work and doing what is necessary to make the GP12 competitive. Wish Bologna had been willing to change, develop and spend while Stoner was there. Great to see Crutchlow coming up the field as well…can’t wait to see him on the top step. No idea what is happening with Spies, his situation is bizarre, but as you said, a few more runs like this and we’ll see Crutchlow in that saddle next season.

  4. PD says:

    @Tyler, it was just a jab at myself for running off at the mouth about all the bike shit, by continuing to jibber on , in this case about bb for no particular reason.

  5. PD says:

    @TB1098S, yes, Hayden is widely regarded, whether true or not in the whole, as “the hardest working rider in MotoGP,” and is certainly faring far better than his more illustrious teammate, while Rossi is making up for lost time whining and belittling others (Barbera, Hayden, et al.), rather than just getting on with riding a bike that most of us would be creaming our shorts to be riding for $14 mil per year to the best of whatever he can muster. However, the GP12 is far from “competitive,” coming in 28 seconds from the lead rider in each of the first two races. Stoner will always have his own interpretations of events while at Ducati, while Preziosi, et al. may have entirely different ones. While it’s likely that considerably more Euros are being spent on development at Ducati Corsa currently than were being spent during Stoner’s employment, it’s not as if they were sourcing parts from junkyards during that span either.

    Preziosi has stated that Stoner chose the carbon fiber sub-framed GP09 over a trellis-framed version. It isn’t the case, as Stoner has portrayed, that he simply was forced to use bikes and parts without any input on his part. And of course there was continuing development; it would be absurd to think otherwise. But there was also much less impetus for Ducati to overhaul a bike that was still winning races, and, if not, nevertheless competitive at the front. Ducati simply didn’t know, as neither did anyone else at the time, that Stoner was a one-off. They simply assumed that if you couldn’t ride the bike, you just weren’t very good or that something was wrong with you in the head (Melandri). Although no one besides Stoner could ride the bike, because Stoner was so successful with it, they assumed that the bike was a stud, and that the others simply weren’t good enough to ride it. (Particularly given that in ’06, pre-Stoner at Duc, Capirossi had a legitimate – and arguably probable – shot at winning the championship had his run not been scuppered by Gibernau.)

    Now, with benefit of hindsight, we know that the bike has some significant shortcomings. If arguably the greatest champion in MotoGP (and GP) history can’t ride the thing, you can’t really simply write him off as a headcase while continuing to assert that there is nothing wrong with your bike, can you? But none of Ducati’s riders who couldn’t ride their bikes had anything remotely resembling Rossi’s pedigree.

    Stoner, for whatever reason, seems to, more than any others, be able to ride a bike, any bike, to as close to its limits as currently possible. He just seems to have an innate, as well as learned, ability to work it out. But it’s also possible that he may not be the best development rider. It’s possible that his input led Ducati down the wrong path. However, being a one-off, while he, like anyone else, was never completely satisfied with what he was riding, could nevertheless still be competitive and winning races on it.

    Anyhow, I’ve long since become bored pursuing this subject, so I’ll just stop here. Chao.