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.

Norton V4 Gets Shakedown Test Ahead of Isle of Man TT

05/10/2012 @ 8:47 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Norton V4 Gets Shakedown Test Ahead of Isle of Man TT Norton V4 Isle of Man TT test 01

More news from Norton, as the British firm has begun track-testing its V4 road race bike, in preparation of the 2012 Isle of Man TT. Focusing on the bike’s handling, Norton has been working hand-in-hand with Öhlins and Dunlop developing the bike’s chassis. The trio has devised the highly sophisticated “165 mph no hands” test, which supposedly checks the stability of the bike, though we imagine Health & Safety would frown upon it.

With the bike’s Aprilia RSV4 motor putting out 195hp at the crank, and with the total race package weighing 419 lbs (195 kg) when it is sopping wet, the Spondon-framed Norton may not be exactly what fans of the famous marques were hoping for after seeing the very appealing Norton NRV 588, though it does seem to be a potent package.

“We’ve gone for a bike we hope will be rock solid…The biggest stuff in terms of the design and engineering are all now done and the list of things to do is much smaller, but no less important,” said Norton Head of Design, Simon Skinner. “Some of these are going to take a lot of work to get right but we have a good team and determination.”

“Being there for the first high-speed test was interesting and we were all a bit nervous because we needed to know the bike was stable,” explained CEO Stuart Gardner. “Our rider Ian Mackman did some high-speed runs, hard braking and lots of track laps – he was really happy.”

Norton fans can follow the team’s Isle of Man TT prepartations via Twitter at @norton_ceo.

Norton V4 Gets Shakedown Test Ahead of Isle of Man TT Norton V4 Isle of Man TT test 02

Norton V4 Gets Shakedown Test Ahead of Isle of Man TT Norton V4 Isle of Man TT test 03

Source: Norton


  1. Turf says:

    ‘Norton to race Aprilia CRT at IOMTT for baffling reasons’ is what the title should read. I don’t get it the 588 was quite cool even if it was a little hydrophobic, everyone was pulling for them again. Few things in biking news have made me say, ‘FUCK YES!” but the heading ‘Michael Dunlop to ride clearly ridiculous rotary powered Norton’ was one of them, Who cares if it came in last or blew up or came in last and blew up. It would have been a Norton and journo’s would have muttered something about plucky spirit and they’d have tried again next year.

  2. Love the “165 mph no hands” test!

  3. John says:

    Perhaps Norton should be concentrating on actually delivering Commandos that have been promised and paid in full for rather than wasting time racing an Aprilia with Norton badging. The real story that needs to be told is what is going on with the funds that numerous potential buyers have deposited with Norton, are bikes being delivered, are there quality control issues, are deposits being returned when requested? Norton seems to be getting a “pass” in the American motorcycle press, the British press is not so kind.

  4. Bill says:

    Utter rubbish. On an off thought wish EBR would field a bike.

  5. MikeD says:

    I think these “Norton” people are trying to pull an H-D, Ducati or Ferrari here.

    Make a name for yourself AGAIN, SOMEHOW( Alien bike, alien frame and alien engine not related in any way possible to the brand name), polish such name, tack it and sticker it on anything they can (coffe mugs, dishwashers, dildos), get into SILLY alliances with other “FAT FISH” out there and make a quick buck any possible way they can,AGAIN….SPLATTERING your silly name on any motorcycle unrelated products.

    Is ok, bussiness are created to make revenue.

    Hating ? Most probably….. all this daily raining on my neck of the woods is giving Male P.M.S.
    but most of it is fueled by all the P.R fanfarre and B.S words all these “icons” spew out during the ground breaking ceremony to later just turn into and DO NOTHING…yes, ur name stood for greatnes……..ONE TIME………..NOT ANYMORE SINCE your DEATH…u should now rest in peace (MotoMorini comes to mind quick after watching their latest LAME effort).

  6. Dan says:

    The comments above sum it up. Norton is not bringing their A game. Disappointment.

  7. Richard Gozinya says:

    Just save yourself the annoyance, and get a real Norton, the early to mid 70′s Commandos are fun bikes, and they have the added benefit of being actual Nortons. The new Commandos, while pretty, have little in common with the old ones. New ones don’t even have a pillion, and I don’t think Norton ever sold a single seat Commando. There was the Interstate, the Fastback, and the Roadster, but they all had pillions.

  8. Richard Gozinya says:

    Oh, and as for this Norton RSV4, it’s not as good as the real one, and nowhere near as cool as the NRV588.

  9. paulus says:

    Aprilia/Spondon/Ohlins/Brembo……. tank stickers by Norton
    Norton is a sponsor… not the manufacturer.

    Still they are getting press…. now get back in the factory and assemble those late delivery commtiments.

    This is to sell T-shirt, caps and anything else they can cheaply screen a logo onto.

  10. turtle says:

    Why are people getting bent out of shape over Norton using the Aprilia engine to develop thier chassis ? Maybe because they didn’t know that triumph used the r6 to develop the 675 or is that not the sam_e? And nearly every norton evet built used parts from other machines . the rotary commander was practicly an xj900 . i am a norton fan and have been since a child so if it means the name makes a comes back like triumph i wish them all the best .