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.

Race Results from the 24 Hours of Le Mans

09/23/2013 @ 3:21 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Race Results from the 24 Hours of Le Mans 24 hours le mans start kevin warren 2013 635x398

After 24 hours of racing around a tiny historic track in France, the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle endurance race, and final round of the 2013 FIM Endurance World Championship has finally come to an end. A race of attrition, SRC Kawasaki claimed the top podium step, followed by Suzuki France’s Team R2CL (which was blessed with the addition of Guy Martin for the event), with Yamaha France – GMT 94 – Michelin Yamalube rounding out the final position.

The conclusion of the 24 Hours of Le Mans also means that the 2013 FIM Endurance World Championship rankings have been settled, with the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) clinching the Championship, yet again, despite the team’s disappointing 26th place finish overall in Le Mans. Second in the Championship is the Yamaha France – GMT 94 – Michelin Yamalube squad, with SRC Kawasaki closing out the top three spot, for the four-round championship.

With anything possible in the 24-hour event, Le Mans saw many fan-favorites fall by the wayside as the hours ticked by on the countdown clock. Most prominently was the Honda TT Legends squad, which saw Simon Andrews get into a massive four-bike crash while racing in third position.

Scuttling the team’s chances for a positive result in Le Mans, Andrews is currently recovering from surgery for his two broken legs, a broken forearm, broken shoulder, broken ribs, which caused a punctured lung, and three broken vertebrae in his lower back. Latest news from the team is that Simon is doing well post-op.

However noticeably absent from the Honda TT Legends squad, John McGuinness was unable to qualify for the race team, and  did not race with the Honda TT Legends team, which was comprised of Andrews, Michael Rutter, and Michael Dunlop. The famous TT racer took to twitter to say he was “gutted” by not making the team.

Josh Hayes’ EWC bid with the Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) was cut-short, as the Austrian team had to retire mid-race, which also scuttled the team’s hopes for winning the 2013 Endurance World Championship. YART is unlikely to race the full 2014 championship, and is only confirmed for the Suzuka 8-Hour for next year’s season.

Other disappointments included the retirement of two very strong BMW squads: BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent and Penz13.com BMW squad (for which American Jason Pridmore was racing for).

Team Thevent retired 14hrs into the race, with a terminal gearbox problem on their BMW S1000RR race bike, while Penz13.com BMW suffered a mechanical retirement as well, bowing out of the Superstock class after completing 192 laps on the course.

While the BMW boys languished at Le Mans, the Suzuki contingents thrived. Guy Martin’s endurance racing debut ended well, with the team’s podium finish in the race and fourth in the championship.

Meanwhile, SERT salvaged a minor crash and that damaged the team’s coolant system, which lead to a complete rebuild of the engine to the team’s Suzuki GSX-R1000 race bike (as well as a drop to 54th in the standings), to finish in the points and clinch the World Championship.

The unsung heroes were again the SRC Kawasaki team, which raced a very strong race at Le Mans, and have been a formidable opponent all season in the EWC series. The team’s result in France clinched SRC Kawasaki third in the Championship, narrowly beating out the Suzuki R2CL team.

Pos.TeamRidersBikeClass
1SRC KawasakiLEBLANC G. / FORET F. / SALCHAUD N.KawasakiEWC
2TEAM R2CLGIABBANI G. / MARTIN G. / BUISSON D.SuzukiEWC
3YAMAHA France GMT 94CHECA D. / FORAY K. / LAGRIVE M.YamahaEWC
4TEAM 18 SAPEURS-POMPIERSMOLINIER S. / BRIERE D. / TANGRE C.KawasakiEWC
5TEAM MOTORS EVENTSFASTRE G. / LUCAS C. / SAVARY M.SuzukiSSTK
6JUNOR TEAM LMS SuzukiGUITTET B. / MASSON E. / DIETRICH G.SuzukiSSTK
7MACO RACING TEAMBALDONI A. / LUIS RITA J. / ROCCOLI M.YamahaEWC
8NATIONAL-MOTOSFOUR O. / JUNOD G. / TIZON IBANEZ A.Honda¨EWC
9SYNERGIE FORCE TRICKSTARDEGUCHI O. / IZUTSU H. / SERIZAWA T.KawasakiEWC
10TEAM LOUIT MOTO 33MARINO F. / SAVADORI L. / JONCHIERE E.KawasakiSSTK
11ATOMIC MOTOSPORTYANNICK P. / CHOLVIN N. / JOND F.SuzukiSSTK
12NO LIMITS MOTOR TEAMBUSSEI G. / BOSCOSCURO A. / CASAS V.SuzukiSSTK
13YAMAHA VILTAIS EXPERIENCESBARDET L. / CARILLO C. / BERTHOME D.YamahaSSTK
14BOLLIGER TEAM SWITZERLANDSAIGER H. / MORILLON D. / ENJOLRAS J.KawasakiEWC
15RESEAUHondaBERCOT P. / DUPOND S. / GERARD S.HondaSSTK
16VOLPKER SCHUBERT-MOTORSGANTNER H. / HAYATO T. / STUPPI B.BMWSSTK
17TEAM DUNLOP MOTORS EVENTSPUTIN J. / PEPIN E. / DEHAYE G.SuzukiEWC
18RS SPEEDBIKESRACINGALBRECHT L. / ALTENDORFER F. / LOWE R.BMWOPEN
19PROBIKE TEAM GP MOTOBOIZART S. / LANZIANI F. / LE ROYER A.KawasakiSSTK
20DGSPORT HEROCKVAN KEYMEULEN D. / McFADDEN D. / MAHIAS L.YamahaSSTK
21TEAM SPACE MOTO 37GALLERAND J. / NOUVELLON Y. / ROCHE C.SuzukiEWC
22EQUIPMOTO50 TRT27CHEVRIER C. / CICQUEL / A. CICQUEL A.KawasakiSSTK
23MOTOBOX KREMER RACINGGAZIELLO F. / PAAVILAINEN T. / SCHERRER M.SuzukiSSTK
24TEAM RACING 85GAUFRETEAU S. / LANDREAU R. / PERRIN F.KawasakiSSTK
25AZ MOTOSMEZARD S. / DUMAIN D. / LAVILLENIE R.SuzukiSSTK
26SERTPHILIPPE V. / DA COSTA / J. CUDLIN A.SuzukiEWC
27MOTOS ACTIVES SPORT 14PIGEON F. / PIGEON F. / ROSA P.KawasakiSSTK
28ZX MOTO LE MANSBOUE M. / DELEGUE B. / MACCIO J.KawasakiSSTK
29RACING TEAM 87HAMARD G. / GUYOT T. / VIAUD N.YamahaSSTK
30RAFAEL RACINGBONNET A. / COVENA T. / SINKE R.KawasakiEWC
31TMC 35AYNIE A. / BELLIGA J. / DIARD M.KawasakiSSTK
32TEAM RACING+ _ OUI FMBRILLANTE J. / DEBROISE K. / VIGNEAU R.KawasakiSSTK
33TEAM SCUDERIA DEUX ROUESTEISSIER P. / ANCELIN L. / ROYER H.DucatiOPEN
34TEAM ESPERANZAPASCAL V. / SERRAFIN J. / TORCHAUSS V.BMWSSTK

Source: FIM; Photos: © 2013 Kevin Warren / Digital Press Images — All Rights Reserved

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