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.

Saturday Summary at Misano: Marquez’s Half a Second and the Giant Battle for Fifth

09/15/2013 @ 11:33 am, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

Saturday Summary at Misano: Marquezs Half a Second and the Giant Battle for Fifth marc marquez hrc misano motog qualifying

Half a second at Misano is a very, very long time. At a short track like this, gaps are measured in tenths, not seconds. The gap from 5th to 12th, for example, is 0.505. Yet the gap from Marc Marquez on pole to Jorge Lorenzo, the rider with the second fastest time, was 0.513 seconds. A huge difference.

Despite another one of his fast crashes in free practice, from which he keeps walking away almost unhurt, Marquez stayed calm, posted an impressive fast lap in his first run of Q2, and then followed it up by obliterating Casey Stoner’s 2011 Misano pole lap record by over two tenths of a second.

The lap was stunning – another trademark of Marquez since his switch to MotoGP – and beyond the capability of anyone to follow. The Repsol Honda man looked unstoppable during qualifying.

Not just during qualifying. There has only been one session of practice in which Marc Marquez was not fastest at Misano, and that was Q1, a session he did not participate in.

Marquez has now scored six poles in his first year, joining Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi as the only riders to have started from pole so many times in a season. He is, in case you haven’t noticed, downright impressive.

But his advantage in qualifying will not translate directly into the race. Marquez told the press conference that doing a single fast lap was not the same as running 28 laps, and looking at the riders’ projected race pace, you’d have to agree.

While Marquez was half a second faster during qualifying, his advantage in free practice was much smaller. Where Marquez was running 1’33.9s and 1’34.0s, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, and Valentino Rossi were posting laps of 1’34.1, 1’34.2 and 1’34.3.

That is still a gap of one or two tenths though. The three veterans will have their work cut out to try to stop Marquez, but there is reason to believe they may be able to do it. Jorge Lorenzo has good race pace, but his set up is still not perfect, the factory Yamaha rider still missing rear grip, according to his team manager Wilco Zeelenberg.

Valentino Rossi is looking dangerously confident, and is angling for a result in front of his home crowd. And while Dani Pedrosa had a miserable qualifying session – he used three soft rear tires in both FP4 and Q2, before finally finding one which would provide some grip – his pace early in the day was good, not far from Marquez.

The race could be intriguing, with Valentino Rossi in the role of joker. Marquez is the man to beat, and Lorenzo will need to find a small gain to be able to challenge, but he will have to watch out for his teammate.

Valentino Rossi has made clear that in front of his home crowd, he is chasing the best result possible, and will not be taking Lorenzo’s championship hopes into account. Another racetrack, and Rossi may turn helpful again, but not just a stone’s throw from his home.

Behind the top four, there is a large group all on the same pace. Alvaro Bautista once again appears to have the upper hand, and in front of his team’s sponsors and at his team’s home race, he will surely find something extra. The rest of that group should consist of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, the factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, and just maybe, Cal Crutchlow.

Dovizioso was pleased with his race pace, saying that he was hoping to fight for sixth position, and sounding quietly confident. Crutchlow, on the other hand, was much more pessimistic, his first response to reporters being “what did you come to see me for? I’m running around at the back!”

He is a little bit further forward than that, and there are signs his confidence slump could be coming to an end. Crutchlow had been flat and dispassionate during his team debriefs so far, but after qualifying at Misano, there was something of his old animated self back. It is a long way to go, but the signs there that a revival of the Englishman’s fortunes are at least on the cards.

And so Sunday at Misano looks to have plenty to offer. A battle between the top four is on the cards, with an equally intense battle behind, for the honor of 5th. In Moto2, Pol Espargaro took pole, and was clearly faster than Redding, it being the Spaniard’s turn to start ratcheting up the pressure on his teammate.

And in Moto3, Jonas Folger has pole, only his second this year, and there are a host of unfamiliar faces in the top 10. There is a lot to play for, and plenty of players with chips on the table. It could be an excellent day’s racing on Sunday.

Photo: HRC

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. smiler says:

    I really want to get excited but when you look a the race, it again was three different races. Factory bikes in tier one with another Spanish podium, Rossi hanging on gaining 4th. Satelite teams in the second tier and third tier made up of CRT’s. Some occasions surprises move a CRT or 2 into tier 2 etc. But 7 of the 19 bikes were over a minute behind the top man.

    Marquez will win this title and the next. Rossi will not win another title. The series will remain as three different races. With a dominent racer for the next few years like Rossi, Doohan, Rainey, Roberts & Ago. With a couple of years gap to find the next one.

    The Factories will not let their satelite bikes be slower than the factories. Whatever the rules, the non MSRA bikes will never be as quick as the satelite teams.

    In WSBK today,three manufacturers in the top five. Five different nations riders in the top 5. 13 bikes within 50 seconds of the top bike. lap times similar to the top end of CRT bikes.

  2. Shawn says:

    The thing that struck me about this race was Rossi. I’ve been watching him languish away around 4th place all season, and even though he keeps making refinements to his setup, he never really seems to break out of his 4th place rut. Personally, I don’t think he’s ever going to be a championship contender again. I think it’s reached a point where he’s still a GOOD racer, but he doesn’t have that *thing* that makes him the Top Dog again.

    Look at how Marquez dispatched him mid-race. Valentino was riding well, but when the time came for Marquez to get around him it was simply a matter of *bam*, he’s around and gone. Rossi simply had nothing left to show him. There was no “there” there, as they say.

    I don’t know how in the world Lorenzo manages to get these absolutely blistering starts that he does, but that seems to be the only way he can win a race – be in front by Turn 1 and stay there. That said, it seems easy enough to plot a strategy to beat him – use the superior horsepower of the Honda to beat him to Turn 1, and force Lorenzo to race a “Honda race”. Lorenzo’s approach of high cornering speeds and heavy lean angles only works in clear traffic. If you put a Honda in front of him that always keeps dropping anchor in mid-turn, the corner speed advantage of the M1 isn’t as effective. So far this season, it seems to be true every time it’s applied.

    So if I were Marquez, I’d be practicing starts until I’m ready to puke. He always sets these amazing qualifying sessions, but when the race starts he’s way back in 3rd or 4th by the time they get to the first turn..

  3. damn says:

    Very very good race lorenzo!!!! Nobuddy had the speed you had. Marq said: to dangerous to catch jorge. Realy good yamaha brought the seamless gearbox. Normaly jorge’s tyres would fade on the end and honda’s tyres last longer. Last time jorge won due to hard battle with marq on his (as shawn said) superieur power honda. So shawn dont give us your crap!!!!! So shawn whats more important? A superieur powered honda all race long or the 1 time start from jorge.?