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: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang

02/02/2012 @ 5:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang Yamaha Racing Sepang Day 3 Ben Spies 3 635x423

Day Three of testing at Sepang has concluded, leaving many on the factory prototype-side of the garage pleased with their week’s work. Once again, Honda is setting the pace, as Casey Stoner sent a message to the rest of the paddock as he smashed the lap record at Sepang aboard his Honda RC213V. A full half-second faster than his nearest competitor, Stoner is an Aussie on a mission already in the season.

“I’m still not feeling great with my back, but the bike is ok, so we’ve made progress in reducing the chatter a little more and trying a few different things, some small settings on the shock that we haven’t tried before amongst other points,” said Stoner. “So far it’s been pretty positive, we’ll just have to wait and see what we have for the next test and hopefully improve a little more. Now I’m looking forward to getting home to Switzerland to see Adriana and await the arrival of our baby!”

While Casey was busy with his usual tricks, the Ducati Corse camp seemed to be making progress with the team’s factory Ducati Desmosedici GP12. With Thursday cut short by a rain storm, Valentino Rossi and his crew were happy with where the GP12 is headed in its development. However for teammate Nicky Hayden, the week has been frustrating. Because of his still broken shoulder, the American has only been able to complete a handful of laps at Sepang, leaving the rest of the testing duty to Ducati test rider Franco Battaini.

“The two Hondas and the two Yamahas are still ahead of us, but we consider this test to be a starting point,” explained Rossi. “The most positive things we’ve achieved are that the front now lets me ride a little more as I’m able, that the bike reacts well to changes and that we have very clear ideas on what’s still missing….We have to keep improving, so we’re not getting too excited, but I’m pleased with how things have gone so far.”

With Jorge Lorenzo splitting the two Honda riders today, Yamaha Racing is still very much in the hunt for a good start to the 2012 MotoGP Championship. Both Lorenzo and teammate Ben Spies have looked strong at Sepang, though both agreed throughout the week that the electronics on the Yamaha YZR-M1 need further development. With almost a month before MotoGP returns again to Sepang to test again, the tuning fork squad has plenty of time to work on their 0′s and 1′s.

“I’m really, really satisfied, I have improved on my best record here in Sepang,” said Lorenzo. “We tried a lot of things; some have been a lot better, especially one major improvement. We also know where we have to improve in the future. The electronics are not perfect yet, we still need to make it smoother but the bike has so much potential we are very optimistic. The Yamaha engineers have worked really hard so they have done a good job. I made my best time today at midday which is the hardest time with the conditions so it was pretty good. Let’s see what we can do when we come back.”

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang Yamaha Racing Sepang Day 3 Jorge Lorenzo 3 635x423

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang HRC Sepang Day 3 Casey Stoner 2 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang HRC Sepang Day 3 Dani Pedrosa 3 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang HRC Sepang Day 3 Stefan Bradl 1 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang HRC Sepang Day 3 Alvaro Bautista 1 635x421

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang Ducati Corse Sepang Day 2 Nicky Hayden 1 635x423

MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 3 at Sepang Ducati Corse Sepang Day 2 Valentino Rossi 011 635x422

Test Results from Day 3 at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos.RiderTeamTimeDiff.Diff. to LeaderLaps
1Casey StonerRepsol Honda Team1:59.607--21
2Jorge LorenzoYamaha Factory Racing2:00.198+0.591+0.59135
3Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda Team2:00.256+0.058+0.64926
4Ben SpiesYamaha Factory Racing2:00.495+0.239+0.88816
5Valentino RossiDucati Team2:00.824+0.329+1.21742
6Hector BarberaPramac Racing Team2:00.929+0.105+1.32240
7Cal CrutchlowMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.108+0.179+1.50126
8Andrea DoviziosoMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.257+0.149+1.65040
9Alvaro BautistaSan Carlo Honda Gresini2:01.384+0.127+1.77734
10Nicky HaydenDucati Team2:01.729+0.345+2.12219
11Stefan BradlLCR Honda2:01.894+0.165+2.28738
12Karel AbrahamCardion AB Motoracing2:02.218+0.324+2.61138
13Katsuyuki NakasugaYamaha Factory2:02.334+0.116+2.72727
14Franco BattainiDucati Team2:03.033+0.699+3.42635
15Colin EdwardsNGM Mobile Forward Racing2:04.722+1.689+5.11536
16Ivan SilvaAvintia Racing2:08.225+3.503+8.61841
17Robertino PietriAvintia Racing2:09.640+1.415+10.03316
18Jordi TorresAvintia Racing2:10.184+0.544+10.57729

Ducati Corse Testing at Sepang – Day 3

Yamaha Racing Testing at Sepang – Day 3

HRC Testing at Sepang – Day 3

Source: MotoGP; Photos: Ducati, HRC, & Yamaha

Comment:

  1. Halfie 30 says:

    If these CRT times are any indication of what the season is going to look like….

  2. Scruby says:

    I like Nicky’s front brake guard.Wesby could have used one at Daytona last year.

  3. Westward says:

    Speaking of CRT’s, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have moving obstacles for the real machines and pilots to have to avoid. It would be a bit like the asteroid scene in The Empire Strikes Back…

  4. Bryan says:

    Nicky’s brake guard is a camera I think. CRT’s are going to improve for sure. Won’t be any worse than Elias last season being between 2.5 and 4 secs off the pace depending on the track. Dorna will for sure restrict the top factories some how?

  5. MikeD says:

    Bryan says:
    CRT’s are going to improve for sure.Dorna will for sure restrict the top factories some how?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If u(teams) can’t take the HEAT stay OUT of the kitchen.
    And i meant that BOTH WAYS.

    CRT’s too slow ? Take it like a man, improve the breed or die trying…or GTFO and cry like a biotch on the shower.

    Factory Bikes too fast ? Speleta coming down with SOME BULL MANURE ON THEM to try and level the playing field…GET THE HELL OUT AND LET’S SEE HOW THAT GOES FOR HIS BALD ASS…I bet he wasn’t a happy camper when Kawi and Susook walked away from his “preciou$$$$$” event.

    There’s already an event called SuperBike…it would be like having a SECOND version of the same…sponsors walking out, MONEY WALKING OUT…etc, etc, etc….(^_^)

    This is MOTO GP, where everyone brings their A1 Game and must have the will to “kill”(win one way or another by all means necesary)…not some “let’s all get along and play nice and help those in need and with less” kiddy shit.

    Don’t try to choke those with the means and the brains to keep it frisky. Bald MOFO.

  6. RGR says:

    Nicky’s brake guard is not a camera, it’s a brake lever guard. Pretty sure it’s something like this… http://www.rizoma.com/en/products-bikes-lines/l:105/proguard-system.html

  7. dc4go says:

    Those are brake guards mandatory in GP racing for 2012… remember the incident between Simoncelli and Barbera on the final lap of the Muggelo GP?? Anyways hopefully the CRT’s improve quickly cause the factory teams are quick!! Nice to some rear wheel slides again!!!

  8. Bryan says:

    Are the brake guards to prevent damage in a crash or to stop locking with another rider ala gibernau/capirossi 2006?

  9. Does anyone know the name of the photographer and or photographers? These shots are awesome i want to know what equipment they’re using.

  10. Bryan, they’re to prevent the brake levers accidentally being hit if two riders are banging bars.

    CrankyHippo, which photos? It’s a different photography company for each of the OEMs.

  11. John says:

    Its easy to talk about what MotoGP ought to be when you are not the one writing the checks. As much as I love the full out prototypes, for now, they are too expensive to develop and field given current economic conditions. If the costs are not reduced, there just won’t be any bikes on the grid. I hate it, but it is reality…

  12. Westward says:

    Geez MikeD,

    I think you have a little more going on than MotoGP…

    Maybe you are right, and they should scrap the series and just run WSBK since they own both. Leverage all the assets out of MotoGP then bankrupt them. Zero prototype racing, production only…

    Or why bother bringing more manufacturers into the fold, just run the Honda vs Yamaha MotoGP series since no other manufacturer seems to be on the verge of competing financially with those two, though it seems Honda might be the only one standing. Why not just make it a Honda cup like Moto2. Everyone on the same bike, no excuses, Skill vs Talent vs Ambition… Moto2 is more fun to watch anyways…

    Sorry man, don’t to share your world view, I’d rather they try to make this one work…

  13. zepper252 says:

    I FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know how DORNA can even up the CRT bikes and the GP bikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Different race lengths!!!!! Prototypes 30 laps, CRT bikes 20 laps…………..ready GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Not sure if it's as you were in #MotoGP or an interesting season – http://t.co/5mlR8gig – well done, #Ducati though

  15. MikeD says:

    @Westward:

    No no, is quite alright… i tend to come across as black or white…no grey for me…wich what i usually strive for…I do understand that sometimes i go OFF ON A ROLL , LMAO…but is alright…that’s why i always come around here, cause i know someone eventually will come up with a “grey answer” and then we can take it from there…case in point…your reply.

    Is C00L man…we cool. (^_^)

    Better any bikes than NO BIKES…slow or fast…they are needed. I just hope “the others” don’t get their chops busted because the “Special Ed Bikes” can’t keep up the pace…YET.

  16. MikeD says:

    @John:
    U bring good points to the table…let’s see where it all goes.

    Personally, im more for SuperBike…just cause it’s more related to the hardware u can walk out the dealership door with. Just a preference…nothing else. (^_^)

  17. SBPilot says:

    MotoGP is a huge dilemma right now, 3 factories compared to 6 in WSBK plus KTM most likely to join next year and possibly someone may take up Yamaha’s slack, potential 8 manufactures. MotoGP just drains money. And CRT does nothing to help motorcycle sales either, there’s no connection to public. It is in fact a problem Dorna will need to figure out. It’s evident that money is a huge problem in GP racing with many riders already losing rides for not bringing in money. If WSBK was marketed and the online interface was like MotoGP, it’d be the No.1 series (as in more viewers).

    The protoype thing works in F1 with chassis designers and engines mixing it up. But these teams have all had major sponsorship. No CRT team has a massive world known sponsor. Fact of the matter is, the car market is much more mundane to people than bikes.

    Motorcycle prototype racing is cool but it doesn’t make sense anymore. Remember back in the day GP racing was not really prototypes. You could buy the bikes at the dealer. It evolved into prototype racing which I’m afraid does not work. Unless Suter, Kalex et al begin making bikes for the public…

    WSBK is just as prototype as MotoGP, with BMW and Aprilia both racing before selling to public to develop their bike. Which essentially is racing a prototype and then selling it on the showroom floor and hey guess what, it worked. Even in this dismal economy people bought S1K all over the world and it progressed and set a new bar in the 1000cc class. That is what it should be about.

    People can argue MotoGP developed new electronics that has trickled down to street bikes etc. Truth is the WSBK bikes electronics are just as advanced as MotoGPs. Interviews with ex-GP riders in WSBK all say the same thing. It was probably more WSBK doing than MotoGP doing getting it down to public.

    I personally think Ducati/Honda/Yamaha shouldn’t spend so much effort in GP if the series doesn’t improve and just focus on the developing the 1199/CBR/R1 and making those a winner. If Honda actually ran a factory team in WSBK it’d be up there as well. And we already seen how Yamaha’s R1 can win.

    The sound of GP bikes and how exotic and loud they are I think is a big draw. I think they should have no noise and exhaust restrictions in WSBK and those bikes will sound just as good as the GP bikes. Another thing, hold WSBK races in more parts of the world and I bet it’d be No.1

  18. MikeD says:

    @SBPilot:

    +1 IN ALL of the above.

    MotoGP machinery is AWESOME…no two ways about that…but just as awesome as it is is just as distant and dislocated from the general buying public…I too think SuperBike makes for a better event, after all…u could always buy one “1000″ pretty close to the “real deal” where on MotoGP…KEEP ON dreaming.JMHO.

  19. @Jensen Beeler Any of the photos really, maybe the honda ones more then the others cause i’m a honda guy, but they’re all stunning. They remind me of Darren Heaths photos from F1, he was on TWiT Photo and it was awesome to hear his story about F1.