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.

What Does a Record TTXGP Lap at Infineon Look Like?

05/23/2011 @ 6:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

What Does a Record TTXGP Lap at Infineon Look Like? Brammo Empulse RR Infineon lap record 635x464

The 2011 TTXGP season-opener at Infineon Raceway got off to a less than enthralling start, with only four bikes showing up for racing on Saturday, and three bikes remaining for Sunday’s race. Nevertheless, the event was the first time we’ve gotten to see the Brammo Empulse RR in its race livery, and taking some laps in public. Though the racing wasn’t close, the shining star during the weekend was Steve Atlas taking the Brammo Empulse RR on an outright lap record for electrics at the Sonoma, California based track.

With a time of 1:55.15, Brammo is the team to beat currently, and there’s hope that Lightning, Mission Motors, and MotoCzysz will give the Oregonian company a run for its money later on in the season. Until those teams unveil their bikes in a race, Brammo retains the bragging rights to being the fastest on the track. Check out Brammo’s record run after the jump.

Source: Brammo; Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. AlexOnTwoWheels says:

    Pretty good stuff! I’m excited for the day when we look back and say, “haha, a 1:55 was quick for an ebike back then!!!”. These electric bikes look fun to ride and I’m looking forward to the day quick ones are available for trackday riders like me. Very curious to know what Mission would have brought to the table if they’d had the balls to run a damp track.

  2. Iaasic says:

    Good video! Love the HD.

    Anybody know the fastest lap time for the winner last year (Agni bike?) last year?

    Yup, Alex, I was there and was disappointed not to see the Mission bike on the track. The bike looks great, but until it throws down some lap times, it’s still vapor ware. Let’s hope we see Mission/Motocysz/Brammo at Laguna Seca in late July.

  3. It’s looking like most of the TTX teams are getting ready for the TT. Hopefully there’ll be more teams on the grid once they’ve been to the Island.

  4. Cord says:

    How does that lap time compare to petrol bikes? Anyone got laptimes for anything else?

  5. matt says:

    Are there any vids of the race, these on board vids are nice, but it really does not show the bike.

  6. Finally… the sweet taste of bragging rights! ;)

    We’ve still got a ways to go to close the gap to the gassers, but the gap is closing and the consistency of the speeds and lap times is definitely improving. We ran 6 of the 8 laps in Race 2 under the previous lap record and could have maintained this pace for several more laps if it was required. Currently about 5 seconds off a top XR1200 lap, 10 seconds off a good AMA Supersport lap, and just under 20 seconds off a good AMA Superbike lap. Sounds way off, but I think you’ll see this gap close down rapidly if we can get some solid competition out there race after race pushing the riders and bikes to go faster…

  7. Frenchie says:

    For the sake of comparison, best laptime at Infineon from the HD XR1200 race: 1:47.061 (Chris Fillmore).
    Pole position: 1:47.775.
    Best laptimes ranged from 1.47 to 1.55 in this category.

    So over one lap, the Brammo Empulse RR is almost as competitive as the HD. Hardly a superbike but still pretty good after only a couple years racing electrics.

    Thinking about the TT, I compared the length of a race and average speed of WSBK and MotoGP with TTZero:

    TTZero:
    race distance 60.7 km (37 3/4 miles)
    av. speed slightly below 160 km/h (100 mph)…at least as of 2010 (155.8 km/h, 96.82 mph Motoczysz)

    MotoGP:
    race distance 100 (125) – 120 km (MotoGP)
    av. speed 155 km/h (125) – 170 km/h (MotoGP)

    WSBK:
    race distance 45 (STK600) – 60 (STK1000) – 90 (SSP) – 100 km (SBK)
    av. speed 160 km/h (STK600, 1000, SSP) – 170 km/h (SBK)

    In terms of race distance and average speed, TTZero is comparable to FIM Superstock1000 races.

    Now I have a simple question: for electrics the TT is pretty much full “gas” most of the time, on a short track where you typically spend less time full gas and more time accelerating out of a corner, would the electric bikes need much more power?

    i.e. say you need 1 battery to go round the mountain course (60 km, 160 km/h), what do you need to race 60 km with 160 km/h average speed (maybe a bit less) around Assen? 1 battery, 1.5 battery, 0.8 battery?

  8. Mike J says:

    Sorry Frenchie but I’ve just got to take issue with your comparisons. 1.55.15 is nowhere near competitive with 1.47.775 around a 2.52 mile track; its’ not even in the same ball park. And as for comparing TTzero average race speeds to MotoGP and WSBK WSS average race speeds, that’s like saying the average speed of a Suzuki Bergman ridden flat out on the Interstate is comparable to the average speed of a BMW S1000RR being ridden round a go-cart track: the comparison is spurious.

    In terms of race distance and average speed, TTZero is NOT comparable to FIM Superstock1000 in any way because the races take place on vastly different tracks. If you want to compare TTZero to Superstock then compare it to the TT Superstock races held over the same course (like for like).

    As you point out Motoczysz holds the current TTZero race and lap record at 96.82 mph (TTZero being a one lap race). However the current TT Superstock one lap record is a whopping 129.746mph, held by Ian Hutchinson, and the Superstock race record is 127.612 mph (4 laps including a pitstop) also recorded by Ian Hutchinson in 2009.

    In fact there are no current TT ICE classes that have records below the 100mph mark. Even the 125s (at 110.52) have lapped the IOM considerably faster than the current TTZero lap record. The closest current IOM lap record is the Junior Classic Manx GP at 101.933 mph, set by Roy Richardson on a 1960s 350 Aermacchi!

    Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of electric bike racing and hope its here to stay. I just don’t think that spurious performance comparisons that fudge the massive current performance difference between ICE and Electric do electric any favours in the long run.

    Cheers!

  9. Ken C. says:

    Wow. I love that the bike is so quiet that you can actually hear Steve Atlas scraping his knee pucks.

  10. Frenchie says:

    Obviously comparing TTZero with WSBK and MotoGP was just a way to point out that TTzero race distance is respectable and indeed comparable to some short-track races.

    The obvious difference between road racing and track racing leads to my last question, how would the power consumption be influenced by racing on a short track instead of a road track?

    For an apple to apple comparison at Infineon, the XR1200 race lasted 11 laps, compared to 8 laps for TTXGP category.
    Pole position in XR1200 was 1.47.8, out of 15 riders, the 12th qualified in 1.55.0, the 13th in 1.56.1 so my point is that electric bikes could qualify at the back of the pack of a XR1200 race, and still be in front of a couple riders on fuel bikes.
    The electric bikes are competitive in the way of “yes, they could qualify with those bikes on a XR1200 race”, not in a way of “they could smoke them all and get the pole easy peasy”.
    In my opinion it’s already impressive in itself.

    Going back to the TT, the 125cc lap record is 110.52 mph, set in 2004 on a Honda by Chris Palmer, give it a couple of years and the electric bikes will be much closer from that.
    In Supersport, the last 10 guys to finish the race do between 105 and 112 mph.
    110 mph is a reasonable goal for the forthcoming years, this is just the very begining of racing electric bikes and the progress can be quick because there are still so many things to understand and then optimize.
    Considering most (all?) of the riders in 2010 were amateurs (just like the slower guys in supersport), significant progress can also be expected when professional riders will give it a try.
    It seems to be happening for 2011 so we’ll see about that very soon!

  11. seth says:

    Im loving this new site electricandrubber.com haha

  12. Frenchie says:

    Just to understand the kind of progress we’ve witnessed in 2 years of TTZero:

    2009

    1 12 Robert Barber AGNI X01 0:25:53.5 87.434
    2 18 Thomas Schoenfelder XXL Racing Team 0:29:4.93 77.841
    3 26 Mark Buckley Brammo 0:30:2.64 75.35
    4 1 Thomas Montano Mission Motors 0:30:33.26 74.091
    5 14 Paul Dobbs Htblauva 0:36:10.63 62.575
    6 24 Stephen Harper Brunel X-team 0:56:27.89 40.092

    2010

    1 3 Mark Miller MotoCzysz EIPC 0:23:22.89 96.82
    2 1 Robert Barber Agni 0:25:21.19 89.653
    3 4 James Mcbride Man TTX 0:25:32.13 88.653
    4 2 Jenny Tinmouth Agni 0:25:39.50 88.228
    5 9 George Spence Peter Williams 0:34:59.19 64.705

    The winner from 2009 only gained 32s in 2010…BUT the race was 2min31s shorter!
    This is massive, the average speed of the winner was 9 mph higher than the year before.
    Also the entire competition significantly improved because out of 5 finishers, 4 were faster than the race time of the year before.
    Plus the top4 was much closer, separated by less than 2min20 instead of 4min40.

    I’m not trying to do statistics with only 2 years of racing, but we can reasonably expect steady improvement of the performances in the very beginning of electric motorcycle racing.

  13. Gabe says:

    Seriously….I’m with Seth.

  14. Stepon says:

    Aw, can’t hear to motor whine. I’m coming around to that sound…though, maybe like Ducati and Ferrari, when power gets to a respectable level, they can start designing the motor housing to have acoustically appealing resonation? I mean the basic principal from a trash truck and M3 in terms of power-train is not that different yet one is like music, the other…is not so great. So, differentiating the acoustic signature of a premium electric vehicle from public transit might be a good idea.

    Yeah, not a high priority, but would be nice.

  15. Damo says:

    I will get killed for this, but I can;t wait for the day I can go to the dealer and buy a fast and silent eBike. My neighbors hate me when I fire up the RSV Mille to go to work at 6am :)

  16. DAVID says:

    I’D MISS THE SHIFTING AND THE MELODY.

  17. Kyle G says:

    @DAVID
    Dont be so sure until you try life without :) it’s a completely different experience all together
    What I mean is try it out, see, hear, and feel for yourself then make the decision, i hope you’re surprised

  18. Dan says:

    Many of us former racers have suffered hearing loss and for that reason alone I say, “Bring on the Electrics!”

  19. Rolf says:

    Impressive lap. I’d love to try the brammo sometime, rolling on the power coming out of the corners should be super smooth.

    Most people still seem to think electric racing is about tree hugging hippies taping car batteries to a rickety wooden frame and taking 3 days and 5 charges and some pushing to do 1 lap around a gokart track. When I show them these videos they are impressed at the professional level and the proper high-speed motogp-like racing. Keep ‘em coming!

    What we need now is closer racing. That would make it a lot more interesting for the media.