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.

Photo of the Week: Brush Your Shoulders Off

08/15/2011 @ 2:06 pm, by Scott Jones7 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: Brush Your Shoulders Off Photo of the week Marco Simoncelli Scott Jones

On the grid at Mugello I watched as seven or eight visiting Japanese gentlemen in matching white Honda shirts smiled, bowed, and shook hands with Simoncelli, and I couldn’t help wondering if they were congratulating him in advance for having knocked out his latest fellow Honda rider. Rumors had been flying around the paddock about the discussions HRC had held with Sic concerning his inability to tame his raw speed, and add the crucial element of sound judgment while in the heat of battle.

While his pace this season was plain to see, the question continued to fascinate us: would Marco ever find a way to be fast and smart? He came in sixth that day, and looked nothing like the Super Sic we’d come to know and fear, in spite of having qualified third. In Germany he was sixth again, and at Laguna Seca he crashed out for the fifth time this season.

At Brno he seemed to have completed a metamorphosis from wild and dangerous to calm and calculating (possible spoiler alert ahead). After a poor start he worked his way through the field until finding himself behind two riders with whom he has a complex past: Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Watching the laps tick off with Sic in fourth place, hungry for that first podium but dangerously close to Lorenzo, one couldn’t help but have the feeling of watching a train wreck about to happen. Given all that has occurred with Lorenzo, the sparring in press conferences, the latest rider elimination of JL at Assen, would Sic rush in again and further complicate his history with the reigning world champ?

When Sic got safely by Lorenzo, there he was behind his long time rival Dovi, yet another opportunity for post race fireworks should Sic be involved yet again in an on-track incident that knocked out a fellow Honda rider. Would Simoncelli finally, finally tame his inner demons’ lust for a podium in the top class and stay on two wheels until the end? The suspense was much more exciting than the way Casey Stoner dismissed the rest of the field and rode to his latest victory.

Clowning around post race with his Bridgestone cap on backwards, jumping in glee when presented with his 3rd place trophy, and dislodging the unfortunate head wear, Simoncelli looked very pleased finally to have knocked this particular monkey off his back. Sic may have turned a corner at Brno, but he still has his first top class victory to achieve. The suspense about what Sic will do on track next is not yet over.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer known for his great action shots and poignant candids when covering MotoGP and WSBK racing events. You may have already seen his work on MotoMatters (they still have more calendars available that feature Scott’s work by the way). Not only do we like Scott’s shots, but he fits right in with our all Nikon-totting office.

You can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook. Scott is such a nice guy, he’ll even let you stay in his Lake Tahoe cabin. All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. SBPilot says:

    Great write up. So happy for Super Sic and hope he goes two better this year. I also had a race this past weekend and also got the podium monkey off my back, also claiming third in my first podium.

    Now I yearn for the top step as I’m sure Super Sic also does now too.

  2. keet says:

    wow, one podium, BFD?! when he has MORE podiums than off’s then maybe give him some praise. dovi deserves far more attention than sic. maybe you should write an article on how great elias is for not coming in last while you’re at it.

  3. Thanks, SBPilot, and congratulations on your own first podium!

    keet, sorry but I must disagree. Dovi has had three and a half years, two and a half on a factory Honda, to show that he is capable of consistently challenging for race wins. He has not done so, which is why rumors in the paddock have him headed to a satellite team in 2012. Simoncelli has shown more potential, especially this season, to join the fight at the front, which is why some of us find his story more interesting. Dovi does seem to be making a surge recently, but I fear it’s too little too late for him, whereas many are hoping Sic can realize his potential by tempering raw pace with good judgement and joining the elite riders.

    As for Elias, beating the Pramac Ducatis is not that impressive imo, although the fact that Toni was able to go a second faster than he best race lap during the following test is a sign that he might last the season at LCR. Good news for him, and I hope he can stick around. He sure brought us some exciting racing before he went to Moto2.

  4. I was the only one in the room rooting for Dovi in Brno this weekend, probably because I think he’s an underrated rider who is always in the alien’s shadows (where did he finish in the points last year? where is he this year?).

    That being said, Super Sic has all the right makings to be a champion, sans some riding maturity. Let’s not forget how many times Lorenzo was in the gravel during the 2009 season, and where did he end up in 2010?

    If Marco can make the same growth in his racing as Lorenzo did several years ago, he’ll be a contender for sure, and that’s why HRC is giving him the nod over Dovi.

  5. 76 says:

    Its always incredible how quickly the weather changes,
    2008 4 dnf’s, (Factory)
    2009, 4 dnf’s. (Factory)

    Was anybody kicking and screaming how reckless, and immature he was, questioning how smart his riding was? Even better Stoner and his first year at Honda 2006, what 6 DNF’s?

    This is Simoncelli’s 2nd year in GP,
    2010 2 dnf’s
    2011 4 dnf’s (Factory)

    Simoncelli has what it takes, with some health and a good 1000cc bike under him next year he is going to be fighting for more than just the box. BTW if Simo is so reckless why didnt anyone call out bloody murder for the Moto2 race? Oh thats right because thats exciting, what motoGP can only hope for now a days.

  6. Beary says:

    Moto2 at Brno was superb. If the 800 race had been similar, there would have been more moaning and whining from lorenzo.stoner.pedrosa about unsafe passing, too much aggression. I wish jlo would stfu, he is losing bucketloads of fans this year from his whiney, petulant mouth.

    I would love to see Marco become regularly in the top 4, I like spies too but gosh he is no personality and he has been dissapointing on factory machinery. Marco could be great and I think he is on the way there but I feel sad for dovi’s rejection. But Repsol only want top shelf for 2012 and they can see where Marco is heding.

  7. SBPilot says:

    Thanks Scott!

    I also agree with the Dovi statement. As much as I like the guy in his cool, calm demeaner, he’s had a lot of time on the factory machine to show what he can do. He’s certainly fast, and if anything this year he’s super consistent. But he just aint winning races and you can tell he’s frustrated by that, as is the team.

    I don’t think Pedrosa is in much better position. He’s unbelievably quick, maybe the quickest outright rider right now, but if he keeps breaking bones and falling, he will never win a title. The biggest problem for him isn’t himself anymore either, its Mr. amazing, Marc Marquez. From the beginning of the season when he said he wasnt’ concerned of the title, I already knew he just needed time to adapt to the Moto2, and now he’s adapted, and he’s right up there for the title fight. Super fast, super aggressive, but also a very sensible mature rider. He’s also got a bit more personality than DP.

    If Marc beats Bradl to the title, in his first year in Moto2, that will be amazing. But regardless he’s already shown he can adapt new machinnry and master it within half a season. Repsol will want him on a factory Honda in MotoGP ASAP and will pay the money to put him there. Dani’s time on factory machinery wont’ last much longer.