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.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photo of the Week: Déjà Vu All Over Again

04/10/2012 @ 5:46 pm, by Scott Jones24 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: Déjà Vu All Over Again photo of the week casey stoner chatter qatar

There’s a lot to talk about after the 2012 MotoGP season opener, but one thing that struck me in particular was the situation Casey Stoner found himself in for Qualifying Practice. Given the combination of a new 1000cc-based formula and a new tire from Bridgestone, several riders complained of the old nemesis: chatter, which we heard quite a lot about when the 800s arrived, and was for the most part ironed out as development progressed on the former MotoGP spec.

A sudden appearance of chatter ruined Ben Spies’ race, Dani Pedrosa qualified poorly because of it, and after QP (where he was bettered by rival Jorge Lorenzo) Casey Stoner had this to say to the BBC: “I’m more than upset about it to be honest. Not about pole position but for race pace tomorrow. It’s difficult because the huge issues we had on Thursday have just gone full circle and come back to them now. I don’t think my team are really taking enough importance on how big the situation is. They’re just kinda like, oh well, you’re fast, you can do it anyway. But I can’t. It’s not feeling nice when there’s that much chatter. And if we don’t fix it before tomorrow it’s going to make things very very tough. So we’ve got some work to do, and to try and get rid of it before the race is going to be a lot of hard work.”

Since he has come to Honda from Ducati, where his comments on needed improvement were largely ignored, Casey has been a smiling guy for the most part. But at Losail he seemed suddenly to be having deja vu: he was telling his team about problems with the bike and the team were dismissing his concerns, and were content to ask him to ride around whatever problems he was finding with the machine.

After finishing third in the race he said that the chatter wasn’t great and wouldn’t have been an issue, since he was by far the fastest before severe arm pump set in and prevented him from keep that pace until the end. But as I went through the weekend’s images, I was struck by this one, which shows Casey giving a glare reminiscent of his Ducati days to one of his now-Honda team members upon arriving back at the box, unhappy with the bike’s performance.

If Honda’s 2011 800cc machine was nearly perfect when he climbed aboard, and 2012′s 1000cc machine is chattering away at the beginning of its development, is Honda going to treat Casey’s concerns better than Ducati did? Or will Honda show the same arrogance about their machine that drove Valentino Rossi to Yamaha? Time will tell, but the past has shown that they would be well advised to listen when Casey speaks about problems that need attention.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

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

Comment:

  1. JW says:

    Or is his ambition outweighing his talent..

  2. Larry says:

    He’s not called “Stoner the moaner” without reason.

  3. Bryan says:

    From all his seasons, he has been a pretty bloody good judge of how things are going. If things are not great, he rides around them (known as 5 years with Ducati). But it’s his attribute to go out for a lap, come in, get a change, go out and set a blinding lap, come in, adjust a bit, go out, set a blinding lap. Time and time again he’ll do a sighting lap, do half a flying lap and then back off and come in ‘cos he knows its not spot on. He has instinctual feel for what is there, and what is needed, no mucking around. I would be trusting him.
    Those who ride know what it’s like to have a fricken annoying ‘rattle’ that just won’t go away, and you can’t get it out of your head, bike works great but just can’t ignore it. Try this at ridiculous speeds, at ridiculous lean angles, massive chatter, and with a perfectionist like Stoner, bike works great but real unpleasant. I’d want it sorted.

  4. Shawn says:

    Don’t forget the cultural divide between Japan (Honda) and everyone else. Honda is particularly notorious about wanting to save face, so it is very unusual to get the Honda brass to even acknowledge that a problem exists, especially is the rider is acceptably fast in spite of the problem.

    Stoner is in a very precarious spot. If he continues to be a front-runner, then Honda executives – keen to never be “disonored” by bad reports – will ignore the problem because the ego cost is too high. If he sandbags on purpose to illustrate a point, then he will face the wrath of those same execs for “making them (Honda) look bad”.

    “Team” means different things in Japan than it does in other countries. In European and American teams, it means that everyone has valuable input to offer, and the riders’ opinions are taken very seriously because they’re the ones actually riding the bike. In Japanese culture, “team” means something more analogous to “following the script”, where everyone has a role to play in something like a Broadway production, and is expected to not deviate from the script.

    I suspect that Stoner will end up leaving in another season or two. Honda (as a corporate culture) is supremely arrogant in their beliefs of superiority, and the only riders who can do well at Honda in the long-term are ones who change their style to the bike and keep their mouth shut.

  5. Marc F says:

    “Stoner the Moaner?” Nah, more like a racer who can’t be bothered to play politics and constantly talk about how awesome his team is when he’s frustrated as hell with them. He’s not a back marker claiming he’d podium if it weren’t for the problems with the bike. He’s leading the qualifiers. He’s well within his rights to be upset that his team is telling him he’s fine when he knows he’s putting himself in danger. Sure, it doesn’t give the public a warm hug from a pile of kittens, but he’s a racer not a PR rep. I think it’s time Stoner started getting some credit from the public for not just his skill, but what is becoming more and more apparent as his honesty throughout his career.

  6. john says:

    “I think it’s time Stoner started getting some credit from the public for not just his skill, but what is becoming more and more apparent as his honesty throughout his career.”

    and honestly… i believe that lorenzo is going to be ahead of casey in points at the end of the season. chatter or no chatter.

  7. Dr. Gellar says:

    I’d rather have Stoner on my team any day over the egotistical clown that is Valentino Rossi.

    JW…Stoner’s line you’re so cutely referencing regarding Rossi’s desperation that fateful day was not only appropriate, but is probably the best quote in recent MotoGP history. Right there with Stoner isn’t riding the bike hard enough and ooooooh, we’ll fix the Ducati in 80 seconds….

  8. Bryan says:

    The Rossi fans STILL bringing that comment up? Failing to recognise just how astronomically right it turned out to be. Rossi’s talent failed his ambition, and now his ambition seems to be bad mouthing a great motorcycling factory. Shame his tact has failed him as well.
    Stoner on my team any day. Rossi is the only modern day champion (Rainey, Schwantz, Doohan, Criville, Roberts, Stoner, Lorenzo) who gives a ‘real’ hoot about fame and popularity. All of which are quickly fleeting. He lifted Motorcycle racing in his day, now he is weighing it down.

  9. MikeD says:

    OK, WTF is this CHATTER thing people keep just babbling about EVERYWHERE ? Anyone ?
    Sorry, im no racer…don’t have a friggin clue the hell everyone is talking about.

    And FWIW, i would take Stoner any day over any of the other racers.
    I have loads of respect for anyone who can ride an “illed” bike when none of the other could or can…and win on it from time to time to add insult to injury. LOL.

  10. Bryan says:

    By the way…Brilliant Photo Scott.

  11. 76 says:

    “In Japanese culture, “team” means something more analogous to “following the script”, where everyone has a role to play in something like a Broadway production, and is expected to not deviate from the script.”

    Sounds like Shawn has worked for Honda maybe, not following the script internally, a big no no, in public, unforgivable

  12. jamesy says:

    Not to disparage his incredible talent “at all” but much of Rossi’s success can be traced to the pragmatic engineering genius of one Mr. J. Burgess. Yamaha sucked up his advice like a hot gravy sandwich, Ducati maybe not so much???

  13. jamesy says:

    @ Mike D
    I’d describe chatter as the mechanical oscillation in a lateral plane (across the wheels rollin axis). Everything bends, even rock. The rate at which it bends determines the frequency of the oscillation when acted upon by the various forces affecting a racing machine. These are much more noticeable and pronounced on a moto due to only having 2 tires to contact the pavement.
    Imagine the frame as being in effect a big spring. It must allow for flex because when the bike is layed over at acute angles to the pavement the up and down movements of the suspension components arent in line with the forces acting on the bike; ergo a bit of twist becomes your new suspension. With the incredible amount of grip given by today’s tires and the huge speeds and forces generated by 250hp engines, something has to give and it takes the form of chassis lateral oscillation… or chatter.
    I’m sure someone might give a better explanation but it’ll be around those mechanical factors

  14. jamesy says:

    Oh, and if anyone would like to see a very graphic depiction of chatter and frame oscillation, get ahold of some Kevin Schwantz footage riding that old “Gamma” framed Zook RG. Now THOSE were some oscillations. That thing waved like a flag coming off the corners and ole Kev just hung on and kept it pinned…. no traction control whatsoever.
    And now we add traction control which also has ITS OWN set of frequencies that are also pushing/ pulling at the frame and you can see what a bitches brew they have to deal with trying to plan for all of those various and variable forces at once.
    It might be what has Nicky ahead of Vale right now.\; he goes home and rides dirt tracks, he grew up with the rear wheel trying to pass him in the corners… just sayin, could be a factor

  15. Dawg says:

    I always thought chatter was a problem with the front brakes and vibration through the bars. I know stoner was also complaining of arm pump after the race.

    A good way to get something fixed… complain your bike has a problem on worldwide TV!

  16. Pooch says:

    So many people so quick to jump to so many conclusions, we’ve had one race at one track. Perhaps some of you should let a few races come and go before casting your ‘expert’ opinions.

  17. Ax1464 says:

    “Chatter” is when the front and/or rear suspension vibrates/oscillates and prevents it from moving smoothly, basically “locking up” the suspension and causing the wheel(s) to skip or “chatter” across the pavement under braking.

  18. Adam says:

    @ Mike D.

    Check out the movie:

    The doctor, the tornado and the Kentucky kid.

    there is a segment in there where Nickey hayden talks about chatter and they show a slow motion shot of a bike experiencing it, I think Colin Edwards also talks about it. they also go on to say that it is a mysterious thing…

    but like others have said it is a vibration felt by the rider during periods of excessive force on the bike.

  19. Westward says:

    I would favour Rossi over any other racer today and twice on Sunday, as long as he was not on top of a Ducati… Fast as Stoner may be, and as smooth as Lorenzo seems, Rossi on either of their bikes would humble them down, like kids in the back seat under threat of no ice cream…

  20. jamesy says:

    AX14 etc has just described what chatter looks/acts like. Its a lot like fingernails on a blackboard or tires squealing. traction is perfect until it isnt then something bends and scoots a bit, (the tire, your nail) producing stick/slip/stick/slip at a frequency determined by its mech properties which you then hear as squealing. The ‘chatter’ is hard to pinpoint because every part of the machine in motion is connected to each other and then the pavement and it all has some mechanical frequency excited by bending forces.

    What is known for sure is that where the traction is far less, so is the chatter. Nobody talks about chatter after the tires have gone off because they are no longer capable of generating enough grip to create the same bending forces to the frame and suspension bits. Hence the factories and tire guys working together to solve it. Go back to crappy old tires and it’ll likely disappear- along with modern lap times.
    And i agree with Westward. Even if Rossi has lost a fraction he’s still the best there ever was- but the young lions are on the prowl, they’ve seen the master hunt and they are emulating!

  21. SBPilot says:

    Chatter is VERY well displayed here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cVfHqIo8TU @ 22 seconds.
    That’s rear end chatter and almost shook Spies off his bike. Which also is why he did so poorly in the race.

  22. MikeD says:

    Thanks SBPilot, a video(HD non the less) is WORTH A GAZILLION WORDS.
    So… this Shatter, is it only felt under power or does hard braking has similar effects on the front wheels ?
    I more less had an idea with all the verbal descriptions i got on the other replies but that video sure drove a point, LOL.

  23. Under power on the rear, on the brakes for the front.

  24. As Jensen says, but can also be seen in the front or rear whenever the suspension binds up instead of traveling smoothly throughout its range. As such, you can experience chatter on older bikes, for example, when fork flex binds the forks up and leaves the tire carcass flexing and skittering over surface irregularities. This was most commonly experienced under braking, but high lateral loads could also bring this into play. And for the guys who don’t service their old steeds at appropriate intervals, worn swingarm bushings can cause enough slop to bind the rear suspension in similar fashion.

    Yes, I know we’re discussing racing, but it never hurts to offer a street-oriented analogue.