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 To Test in Argentina after Assen

04/10/2013 @ 2:26 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

MotoGP To Test in Argentina after Assen go and fun gresini honda motogp qatar scott jones 635x422

With MotoGP scheduled to race in Argentina in 2014, the MotoGP teams will be heading down to the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit between the Assen and Sachsenring races in July to conduct a two-day test at the track, as well as take part in a number of promotional activities.

The test, to be organized by Dorna, will see a number of teams participate, with Dorna announcing that teams representing the three factories racing in MotoGP will at least be present at the circuit. Exactly which teams will attend is not entirely clear. The press release is worded vaguely, saying only that Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati teams will be present.

Given that the factory Ducati team was absent at the private test organized at Austin – and given that Ducati hopes to be a lot more competitive in 2014 than they were in 2013 – it seems obvious that Ducati will attend the test. According to GPOne, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Pramac Ducati teams are also likely to attend, as will the Gresini Honda squad.

It appears that Repsol Honda, Factory Yamaha and LCR Hondas will not take part in the Argentina test. The idea, we have learned, is to compensate the teams who did not make it to Austin for the private test held there, and give them some experience at the track before the race next year. Those riders will then be at an advantage at Argentina, to make up for being at a disadvantage at Austin.

The Argentinian circuit was originally placed on the 2013 calendar, but the lingering dispute between Argentina and the Spanish government over the nationalization of the Argentine branch of Repsol, Repsol YPF, was cause for it to be postponed. That dispute simmers on, and it is unclear whether Repsol Honda would consider it safe to travel to Argentina at the moment.

Having the Repsol Honda team skip the test also means that there will be more time for the political problems which exist between Argentina and Repsol to be resolved. Whether that happens is open to question: the conflict has already been dragging on for over a year, and the Argentinian government has shown little inclination to budge from its current position, and even less inclination to compensate Repsol, given the severe economic problems it faces, largely, it must be said, of its own making.

The test in Argentina also makes a mockery of the cost-cutting agenda in recent years. By having the test between two European rounds – Assen and Sachsenring – the bikes and teams will be shipped across the Atlantic three times during July.

From Assen to Termas de Rio Hondo, from Termas de Rio Hondo to the Sachsenring, and from the Sachsenring to Laguna Seca. Unless Dorna is covering the costs for the test, this could turn into a very expensive trip. Below is the press release from Dorna:

Argentina to welcome MotoGP™ this year for test

With the 2013 MotoGP™ World Championship having been launched last weekend, it has been confirmed that some teams will head to Argentina later this year for a test session to be staged at the Circuito Internacional Termas de Río Hondo in the first week of July, just after the IVECO TT Assen.

Between 1st and 5th July, MotoGP riders and teams will move swiftly from The Netherlands to Argentina and the province of Santiago del Estero. They will also visit capital city Buenos Aires for a selection of media commitments.

Several representatives of the World Championship – including those of marques such as Honda, Ducati and Yamaha – will take part in official trials in Argentina.

The program will include two days of intensive work on the track, where each team will focus on their competitiveness, while being able to extract data for the circuit for when the Grand Prix of Argentina is added to the calendar in 2014.

MotoGP is the premier motorcycling competition in the world and, for this reason, official tests are key to ensuring the development of reliability and competitiveness at the highest levels. Making best use of the official timing system, teams and riders will be looking to configure their motorcycles to perfection across each and every lap.

Details of the testing schedule for the Official Test in Argentina, as well as full lists of media activities and information on those taking part, will be available in due course.

Source: Dorna; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. Andres C says:

    Who is the logistic Genius , who thinks this shit up , have the test monday after laguna race , Hello

  2. Gutterslob says:

    @Andres C

    That’s what I don’t get either. Recently we had some nutty Dorna honcho complaining about WSBK having unnecessary testing at Phillip Island, even though the race was a week later and most of he bikes just remained in Australia, and here we have them moving an entire battalion of GP bikes and staff to another friggin continent to test.

    Even if they use safety as an argument, since it’s a new track and all, why not have the Argentinian test a week before the GP instead? That way, the only ones that might have to do additional logistic work would be Bridgestone, in case they need to ship newer, safer tyres.

  3. L2C says:

    All the reason’s why this is a dumb and inefficient move are in the article. Dorna clearly doesn’t give a shit about who would be able to afford to attend the test or not. And Repsol’s political situation and the potential affects to the HRC also means diddly to Dorna.

    The test absolutely should be postponed to just before the GP itself, but this makes too much sense, and is why it wasn’t done.

  4. smiler says:

    In the interests of saving costs. Dorna have changed the engine capacity three times since 500′s are milking Honda to provide moto2 engines in a change in engine type. They have just fazed out 125′s. Additionally introduced the hopeless CRT’s which will be fazed out next year by kidnapping Yamaha to provide engines. Now they make up a schedule requiring, as stated the bikes to be shipped backwards and forwards from EU to America. There were 8,000 people at Qatar and now Argentina a monumentally large market for motorcycles and motor racing? Yet no round in India, China, Russia, Brazil or any other up and coming economy.
    WHat will they think of next. Honda powered Suzuki’s, a capacity change to 750 or a round in FInland.