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: Seeing is Believing at the Valencian GP

11/11/2012 @ 4:25 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Seeing is Believing at the Valencian GP Valencian GP MotoGP Sunday Scott Jones 11

Another GP race weekend, and another weekend where the weather looms over the MotoGP paddock. Wasting Friday, and getting a reprieve on Saturday, the rain of Valencia was back for Sunday’s race, leaving a drying, but wet, course for the MotoGP riders to contend with on 200+ hp machines.

Casey Stoner’s last race, Dani Pedrosa’s last chance to have the most race wins, and Jorge Lorenzo’s final chapter to a flawless season, the script for the front-row starters was intriguing to say the least.

It all went out the window though, as we can confidently say that the following information contains no spoilers for those who have yet to see the race, since no human could possibly guess the outcome of the Valencian GP: a CRT bike lead the race for multiple laps, a Yamaha is on the podium, a world champion was lapped, and a satellite team finished both its bikes in the Top 5. Words can barely describe the race, but we will try after the jump.

Even before the pre-race grid up, things got interesting, as Jorge Lorenzo dismounted his rain-shod Yamaha YZR-M1 and finished his sighting lap on racing slicks. By the end of the warm-up lap, Pedrosa, Hayden, Bautista, and Crutchlow had entered pit lane, also looking for bikes with racing slicks — they would have to start the race from pit lane because of this choice.

This left a very sparse grid for the start of the Valencian GP, though the extra slots certainly helped the field, which was divided by tires. With the bikes on slicks having remarkably less traction as the lights went out and the Valencian GP started, the extra space ensured no entanglements as everyone fishtailed from the starting line.

An absolute melee, it would be worth buying a subscription just to see this race, as words fail to asses the full-scope of the action on the track. The highlights included a flurry of riders swapping bikes in pit lane, and crashing them in the gravel traps. One of the latter, Lorenzo lost out on the lead as Pedrosa pressed him with what might be the Repsol Honda rider’s best race to-date.

Leading the first few laps of the race, Aleix Espargaro shocked the field with hits rain-shod Aprilia ART machine. Putting on a good initial battle with Andrea Dovizioso, Espargaro’s tire choice ultimately caught up to him on the drying Spanish track, and the Spaniard finished 11th, just ahead of teammate Randy de Puniet. For his efforts though, Espargaro clinched the CRT Championship.

Crashing out of second, Cal Crutchlow handed the podium position to Yamaha Racing’s wild card rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Alvaro Bautista looked to continue the bizzaro, but was passed in the closing laps by Casey Stoner, leaving the satellite Honda rider to finish fourth, one spot ahead of his teammate Michele Pirro, whose fifth place finish is the top CRT result for the 2012 season.

Despite starting from pit lane, Pedrosa passed every rider on the track, and lapped a number of riders, even ones on prototype machines. In that vein, Pedrosa’s best scalp has to be the one that belonged to Valentino Rossi on the factory Ducati Desmosedici GP12. With 14 laps still remaining in the race, Pedrosa lapped Rossi who was circulating in the 10th place position, making Valencia a forgettable experience for Rossi, who will surely be looking forward to Tuesday when he sits atop the Yamaha YZR-M1 once again.

For Dani Pedrosa, the race-win at Valencia marks the Spanish rider securing the most win, the most podium, all in front of a home crowd. He finished the Championship just 18 points behind rival Jorge Lorenzo. Now begins the long countdown to the 2013 MotoGP Championship season.

Race Results from the Valencian GP at Valencia, Spain:

1Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda48’23.819
2Katsuyuki NAKASUGAJPNYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+37.661
3Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda+1’00.633
4Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+1’02.811
5Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR+1’26.608
6Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+1’30.423
7Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+1’31.789
8Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter1 Lap
9James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART1 Lap
10Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati1 Lap
11Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART1 Lap
12Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART2 Laps
13Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensBQR2 Laps
14Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter3 Laps
Not Classified
Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha8 Laps
Claudio CORTIITAAvintia BlusensInmotec13 Laps
Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati14 Laps
Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha17 Laps
Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda21 Laps
Roberto ROLFOITASpeed MasterART24 Laps
Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR28 Laps
Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati28 Laps

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


  1. Joey Wilson says:

    I’ll say it was confusing for Yamaha as well as those of us watching: Obviously, Nakasuga actually was given Lorenzo’s bike, and made it to the podium, rare for a ‘stand-in’ development rider. Meanwhile, Jorge OBVIOUSLY got the bike they’d set up for Ben . . . . .

  2. meh says:

    the word is “assess.”

    you just said the plural of ass.

    he he he