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.

Rossi Gets Deliciously Cryptic after GP12 Test at Mugello

09/08/2011 @ 8:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Rossi Gets Deliciously Cryptic after GP12 Test at Mugello Valentino Rossi Misano Helmet 635x422

After the secrecy concerning Ducati Corse’s test of the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Mugello this week, we were surprised to see that the Italian racing team even bothered to submit a press release for the event, which saw both Franco Battaini and Valentino Rossi take laps on a new version of the GP12. Speculated to have an aluminum twin-spar chassis (courtesy of FTR), the photos from the event do suggest a change in the chassis design, though what is actually under the fairings will be debated heavily over the rest of the week.

Making no mention of an aluminum chassis, improved front-end feel, or improved lap times, the statements (press release after the jump) from Ducati Corse and Valentino Rossi are incredibly vague, though perhaps they leave some interesting things to be read between the lines.

The fact that Rossi tersely described the test results without mentioning any improvements to the Desmosedici’s front-end is an interesting point to consider, especially after the nine-time World Champion had a crash on his third lap, binning the GP12 in the exit of the Scarperia-Palagio section of the Mugello track.

Considering that the feel from the GP11/11.1 has been the center-point throughout the 2011 season, we would have expected some indication on how the “good fight” was been waged in the Corse camp. Though spartan in  his words, one can discern some meaty notions from what Rossi didn’t say in his statement after riding 82 laps on the new GP12. Check the press release out after the jump, and leave your conclusions in the comments.


For the final day of a three-day test at Mugello, Valentino Rossi joined the Ducati Test Team to work on developing the 2012 race bike. In doing so, he utilized the sixth of eight days during which factory riders may participate in such outings. The Italian turned a total of 82 laps in conditions that were sunny but not overly hot.

Rossi had a fall on the exit of the Scarperia-Palagio section during the third lap of his first outing in the morning, but it didn’t affect the team’s work, which continued until 6:30 p.m.

Filippo Preziosi and Vittoriano Guareschi were in the garage to follow the test, and official test rider Franco Battaini, who had ridden the two previous days, was with Rossi on the track.

“It was an interesting day, although it was also quite long, because we rode until 6:30,” Rossi said after the test. “Developing a bike requires a lot of focus and effort, but it’s also very exciting and fulfilling to be part of a group of people pushing as hard as it can in the same direction. Today we confirmed various aspects of the GP12’s electronics and chassis, collecting a lot of useful information for Filippo and the guys in the factory. I think that the work is well underway as we prepare for our next steps.”

Source: Ducati Corse


  1. Andrew says:

    The helmet says it all, he must be pissed seeing the bikes he walked away from walking away from him.

  2. loki says:

    Rossi is an “all image” guy. I really don’t think he’s that pissed off. The Ducati challenge is captivating for him. At least for now. He isn’t really shining on the track, but he has sponsors and fans – and so does Ducati. He only tries to make the best of the situation.

    He walked away from the japanese bikes because he had nothing else to prove there. He won both on a japanese V and on a japanese inline. He helped develop those bikes, he (and his teams) made them winners. What he is doing now, beyond the “national call of duty”, is more of a show of his, a display of his capabilities both as a rider and bike developer.

    I’m not one of his fans, though I admit the sheer talent of the guy. He’s the most gifted rider of the last decades. But to really be “The GOAT” he has to win the Ducati bet and be world champion at least once on the shiny red bike – a bike that has generally been seen as a carrer wrecker lately.

  3. idrive23 says:

    loki = measured words – v good. Agreed, that he probably needs to confirm he can win on a Ducati before the quantum of children, fanboys and flamers will understand his talent is worthy of genuine recognition and acceptance whether you like him or follow others. It will indeed be a mammoth task with improbable success to win another crown – Herculean even, however if he can win a few races next year that will be enough for me and too much for his rivals I suspect.
    He does not need the money and this is probably for fun, glory and the challenge for that is what these people are about. As with Stoner, Lorenzo and anyone racing in the elite class, as genuine fans of motor racing, we should wish them well for the future, including Rossi , Ducati and even the big mouthed Burgess.

  4. Ricardo says:

    Rossi did not walk away from yamaha, he got caught in his own hook. He gave yamaha an ultimatum about him or Lorenzo for 2012 which he thought they’d cave in to . They stayed put and offer him less money and kept Lorenzo on board. Given that as a man he had to walk the walk after talking the talk he left to the only option available after Stoner left an open seat at ducati.

  5. Ricardo says:

    He gave yamaha an ultimatum about him or Lorenzo for 2011.


  6. Rexr says:

    It must be a pisser for him at the first test (at the end of the last race in Valencia) Stoner jumped off the duke (having won 3 of the last couple gp’s) and #46 was so far off the pace it was laughable #46 doesn’t take long to develop a bike but he must be thinking (WTF) I think they have gone the wrong way with the bike (up unit the new frame as we don’t know the outcome) JB didn’t want to go to Ducati u could tell that from the last minute press release.
    When he was at honda and they released the v5 he was on the pace straight away and when he went to yamaha he won the first race in south africa so my point is this bike (the ducati) is already a winner in Stoners hands but I don’t think it will be in #46′s hands….

  7. Frenchie says:

    I don’t know how long it would take for Rossi to become competitive with Ducati (or for Ducati to become competitive with Rossi) but let’s be honest, he has to be pissed with the situation, what do you think the helmet is about???
    He is a huge talent and he is doing incredibly well adjusting his public communication and not seeming angry at all. But can you believe for one second that Rossi is not pissed when he states week in and week out that top6 is the aim and that finishing 6th or 7th in front of Bautista he is satisfied with his results?
    It is probably gonna be the very first season of his career (16 seasons!) that he will not win a Grand Prix.
    He never ever had less than 2 podiums in a season…never less than 8 podiums in MotoGP!
    No qualification on 1st row, never ever happened before, and this year he qualified only once on the second row.
    It’s an absolute bottom low for him, no question about it, and a competitor like him, I can’t believe for one second that he “is looking forward to the challenge ahead”, he hasn’t won for 16 races he has to be pissed.
    6th in the standings only 28 points clear of Hayden, I don’t think he is having fun and I don’t think he is patting everybody on the back when the cameras are away.
    But I agree he is truly an “all image guy”, and every week he displays an amazing talent by putting his good face on, smiles, jokes and everything even when “commercial bright smile” Nicky is struggling to put a good spin on it…
    For sure he will get out of it and has not lost an ounce of his talent, but I can’t think for one second that he is not boiling inside.

  8. Whatever the case now may be, he sure the wont resign a Ducati contract when the current one expires…

  9. Andrew Gray says:

    I think his struggles are tied to his personal grooming.

    Mohawk: goes out and breaks his leg.

    Dodgy moustache: bins it in testing 3rd lap.

    Just saying………

  10. Rubberman says:

    Go Vale!

  11. joe says:

    I’d be willing to put money on him resigning a duc contract

  12. ZachB says:

    I agree with Frenchie. He is very competitive and always has been. He’s not just trying to sit back and make the best of it. I’m sure this is tearing him up inside. Especially after his comment that Stoner wasn’t pushing the Duc hard enough.

    Think the helmet is stating his frustration and maybe personal failure in his mind not being able to do better or make the bike better. I’m a fan and can’t say I’m not a little disappointed. But at that level of competition with great riders you have to also have a competitive machine. Though Stoner did learned to tame it after quite a few falls on the Duc.