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.

Thursday Summary at Assen: One Crash Can Change a Lot

06/27/2013 @ 7:36 pm, by David Emmett6 COMMENTS

Thursday Summary at Assen: One Crash Can Change a Lot jorge lorenzo assen motogp yamaha racing 635x423

Winning a MotoGP championship – in fact, winning any motorcycle racing championship – is very hard indeed. It takes years of training, and a full season of utmost concentration, and hours, days, weeks, and months of hard work to get everything as perfect as possible. Losing a championship is done in seconds, maybe milliseconds. A single, small mistake, and you can throw away everything you have devoted your life to achieving.

Jorge Lorenzo came into Assen on a roll, off two victories in a row, at Mugello and Barcelona. Assen is a track which suits the Yamaha, and at which Lorenzo is outstanding. He was comfortably fastest in the morning session, ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the other Yamaha, and was just starting to get into the swing of things on a soaking track when he hit a patch of water deeper than he was expecting.

In the blink of an eye, he was tossed from his bike and onto his shoulder, suffering a displaced fracture of his left collarbone which will ensure that he will miss the race on Saturday at Assen. The momentum Lorenzo had been amassing in the previous races just hit a brick wall.

Lorenzo crashed at the worst part of the circuit conceivable. He entered the Hoge Heide corner – a fast right-left flick, with a little bit of camber – at 238 km/h, according to a Yamaha spokesperson, hitting the same section of track he had been riding over for the past seven laps in a row.

But the rain which had been falling heavily and steadily had caused water to gradually start pooling in ever greater quantities on the track. The eighth time Lorenzo hit that corner, the situation had changed, just enough for him to be catapulted off his bike and break his collarbone. It was an uncharacteristic mistake from an otherwise flawless rider.

So what caused Jorge Lorenzo’s crash? In a press release issued by Yamaha – reporters did not get to speak to the Spaniard, as he went from trackside to the medical center, and from the medical center to hospital in Assen – Lorenzo was quoted as saying it was simply a result of overconfidence. “I think I was too confident, at the moment of the crash I was very fast and felt very strong, but maybe the conditions weren’t the perfect ones to have this high confidence,” he said in the press release.

Directly after the crash, reporters went looking for the cause. All of the riders were asked what the conditions were like, whether that corner was particularly bad, and whether the paint used for the white lines was more slippery than at other circuits. The paint used in Holland is the same special paint used everywhere, Marc Marquez asserted. There shouldn’t be any difference. And yet everyone complained the while lines were very slippery here.

“I touched one on my first exit, and I knew that was something I didn’t want to be doing,” Nicky Hayden quipped. The curbs and white were more slippery than at other tracks, Andrea Dovizioso said, adding that he would be bringing up the issue in the Safety Commission.

Cal Crutchlow had his own theory of what happened: as the while lines are sprayed, something seems somehow to leech out of the paint itself, rendering not just the while line slippery, but also reducing grip along a narrow band of track just a few centimeters each side. Perhaps Lorenzo had hit a patch of that asphalt, and in combination with the rain, that had been enough to send him off the bike.

In the press release from Yamaha, Lorenzo was quoted as putting it down to aquaplaning. Hitting water at high speed had pushed his rear wheel towards the white line, and once that touched, the bike just flicked him off. It was a simple mistake, but one which could prove very costly.

Lorenzo now flies back to Barcelona, where he will be operated on either Friday or Saturday, by a team of surgeons at the Dexeus Institut led by Dr Mir. A plate will probably be inserted to pin the collarbone together, and Lorenzo will almost certainly race at the Sachsenring. Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi was optimistic. For sure, it will be difficult, Rossi told reporters, but a plated collarbone heals remarkably quickly. In ten days’ time, he could be strong enough to be back on podium pace.

It will be tough, certainly, especially as both the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, which takes place just 7 days after the Sachsenring, are predominantely left handers. Laguna is the easier of the two, though, with Sachsenring’s downhill Turn 13 a particularly hard corner, with a lot of braking followed by a turn which requires quite a lot of strength.

On the other hand, Lorenzo was actually fairly lucky. Originally, the Sachsenring round was scheduled for next week, but got moved late in the planning because of a clash with Formula 1. And crashing at Assen on the first day of practice is better than crashing elsewhere, as the first day of practice is actually a day earlier than any other track.

And this crash does not necessarily mean the end of Lorenzo’s title hopes. There are still twelve races left this season, and at the moment, Lorenzo is just 7 points behind Dani Pedrosa.

A mistake by Pedrosa, a mechanical issue, or just a repeat of the chaos at Misano, which saw Pedrosa relegated to the back of the grid, where he was duly taken out by another rider; all of these things could seen Pedrosa end with a DNF, and then today’s crash by Lorenzo is canceled out.

Pedrosa may decide to play it safe in the race, and give away points he may regret at the end of the season. It ain’t over till it’s over, and we are still 5 months away from the end of the season.

The one question which fans immediately raised after Lorenzo’s crash was whether Yamaha could supply Lorenzo’s chassis to Cal Crutchlow, to make him more competitive against the Hondas. Yamaha could, but if they did, then Crutchlow would have two sessions of free practice – at least one of which will be wet – plus a 15 minute qualifying session to try to explore the limits of the bike.

Even though the two bikes are very close, they will just a little different, and that difference in feel will require a little bit of adaptation. That is the last thing you want to be dealing with halfway though a race weekend, and so Crutchlow is better off racing with what he has. Giving him Lorenzo’s bike would not necessarily immediately cure the few problems Crutchlow has been having.

But it is clear that Yamaha want to see better results from both Crutchlow and Rossi. The Italian said on Thursday afternoon that the crash put more pressure on him, to finish ahead of the Hondas, and try to take some points off them. That will be a tall order, but he will surely try.

With the front-end remedy found at Aragon still working, there is every chance he will do better here than he has done for the past five races. To do that, he will first have to qualify better. With the weather set to clear up for tomorrow afternoon, he is at least in with a shot. As Nicky Hayden always says, “that’s why we line up on Sunday. Because you never know what’s gonna happen.”

Photo: Yamaha Racing

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

Comment:

  1. L2C says:

    “A mistake by Pedrosa, a mechanical issue, or just a repeat of the chaos at Misano, which saw Pedrosa relegated to the back of the grid, where he was duly taken out by another rider; all of these things could seen Pedrosa end with a DNF, and then today’s crash by Lorenzo is canceled out.

    Pedrosa may decide to play it safe in the race, and give away points he may regret at the end of the season. It ain’t over till it’s over, and we are still 5 months away from the end of the season.”

    What is this? Some heartfelt encouragement for Lorenzo fans? A coded hex to get inside of Pedrosa’s head? Your Lorenzo bias bleeding through, yet again?

    I don’t believe for a second that if the roles were reversed, you would speculate (with commentary fit for Crash.net’s comment section, no less) on how Lorenzo could DNF to even it out with Pedrosa. More than likely, you would instead pontificate on how hard it would be for Pedrosa to recover any lost ground, in the process of pumping up even more your already overblown characterizations of Lorenzo.

    There is no mention of Pedrosa retaining his early-season advantage in this piece. No, there is no mention of him even having an advantage. It’s mostly about how Lorenzo is still a threat even with a broken collarbone, and how he can regain ground if bad luck should befall Pedrosa.

    It’s also funny how you mention Lorenzo’s gathering momentum. Failing at the same time to mention the tremendous momentum that Pedrosa has gathered toward the championship, this early in the season. It’s as if Pedrosa is the one who has to come from behind instead of Lorenzo, when in fact Pedrosa’s momentum would be utterly devastating to Lorenzo’s hopes should it continue to increase through the latter half of this season.

    Lorenzo played it safe for the vast majority of last season, yet he was still the invincible, consistent, anointed chosen one of the Greek gods, according to you. You saw Lorenzo’s playing it safe as a strength, whereas with Pedrosa you would characterize it as a possible weakness – as *giving* away points.

    Gross.

  2. L2C…. i couldn’t agree more.

    Last year, Lorenzo get that title after Stoner injury. And played safe the rest of season.

    Greek gods kkkkkkk

  3. Calisdad says:

    There’s no debating that Lorenzo has made his share of mistakes. He is however attempting to get medical clearance to race this weekend. If Crutchlow was cleared to race with a broken ankle recently I don’t see how he can be denied. There will be no denying his grit if he is, and does. I can see Pedrosa denied a seat next year if he doesn’t bring Honda a title this year. He’s been there long enough and has had his opportunities. Oddly enough his teammate could be the one who keeps it from him.

  4. Ax1464 says:

    Most of the “white lines” in the article read “while lines”.

  5. Zaiken says:

    Well, inst not an surprise, every comment or opinion from the expert from motorcycle world have one favorite or another in case of the author from motomatters website it’s clear who is the favorite from that site and its lorenzo.

    Everyones must choose a rider and theres no exceptions about it.

  6. FafPak says:

    @L2C

    Well, David E. called it, and it came to pass. Pedrosa gave away points. Sorry but he seems not to deliver when it really matters/when the advantage should be his. I just dont know why…