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.

Trackside Tuesday: Patience is a Virtue

06/27/2012 @ 10:44 am, by Scott Jones6 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: Patience is a Virtue 2012 Silverstone Alvaro Bautista

One of the great things about the support classes in Grand Prix motorbike racing is the depth of the competition. While there are a handful of favorites in each class, we generally don’t have the Three Alien situation of MotoGP. Once a rider leaves that broader talent and equipment pool for the premier class however, his potential results are limited by the bike he lands on.

Alvaro Bautista paid his dues for two years on an 800cc Suzuki, finishing in lucky thirteenth spot for both the 2010 and 2011 championships. If Suzuki hadn’t folded up and gone home for 2012, Bautista might still have been on an uncompetitive bike with a crowd of fans who could only think fondly back to what an exciting 125cc and 250cc rider he had been.

But 2012 has Bautista on a Honda, and while the former 125cc World Champion is not yet fighting for wins as he did in the smaller classes, at Silverstone he provided us with the feel good moment of the weekend by claiming his first MotoGP Pole Position. There may have been a few hard souls who begrudged this result but the rest of us were elated for one of the nicest riders in the paddock.

Bautista couldn’t hold on to a podium spot and finished fourth in the race, in itself a fine result after two years in Rizla Blue. I’d love to see him join the Tech 3 battle for Best of the Rest on a regular basis, and perhaps his near-podium at the British GP will be the confidence builder he needs to do so. As the saying goes, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. @DaveMinella says:

    I always love to read news about my heterosexual man-crush, Alvaro Bautista. I couldn’t be happier that he finally has a competitive machine and is dicing it up towards the front where he belongs.
    Rock on, Bati!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Being a Brit I shouldn’t want Alvaro to be stealin’ points from Cal, but it was great to see him bring home a bit of bacon at Silverstone. He’s had a couple of lacklustre seasons on an uncompetitive bike prior to this one, but ironically he was just starting to look good when Suzuki pulled the plug (and it’s hard to look good in turquoise!) The tragic manner in which the Gresini seat became available must bring pressures of it’s own too, as do the dominance of Tech 3 so far in the “best of the rest” table.

    It just goes to show that nice guys don’t finish last! And how does he keep is hair looking so good?

  3. Glad to see you noticed this one, Dave–I’d have emailed you otherwise as I know Alvaro is your guy.

    @Jonathan–The strength of the Suzuki at the end of last season certainly thickens the irony of Bautista’s situation. Leave it to Suzuki to make a brilliant road bike and finally come back to form with their MotoGP machine just as the formula ends. Still, I’m glad that Bautista’s fate is no longer tied to Suzuki and their uncertain future in the premiere class. He now has a solid bike and an opportunity to show what he can do. Cal can take the competition from below, as he has his sights set firmly at the top.

  4. Westward says:

    He is on factory metal, I expected more. Hopefully he will be a regular at the front. Bautista, Dovizioso, and Crutchlow have only themselves to blame this season. Add to that list Spies as well…

  5. Frenchie says:

    @Westward: of your 4 riders list, there’s only one on factory equipment.

    Dovi and Crutchlow will never get factory-spec at Tech3, they’re always 1 or 2 steps down in engine and chassis.
    Bautista is on the first chassis HRC developed for 2012 (and it’s not going to be updated) and also the only bike equipped with Showa suspensions and Nissin brakes.

    These guys are no aliens but (except for Spies) they are doing a really respectable job on the slighlty less competitive equipment made available to them.

    Dovi scoring a podium after barely 6 weekends on a (satellite) Yamaha exceeds expectations (how often do we see satellite bikes on the podium?) and Bautista was merely one second and a half from his first podium (again, new bike it’s his 6th race on a Honda).
    No need to mention Cal or Spies, it’s been debated all over the web.

    Of these 4, Spies is the only one that disappointed, he’s on the same bike as Lorenzo, and can do much better than he’s been doing this season so far.
    The other guys can only regularly battle for 4th place (which means finishing in front of at least one official Honda or Yamaha rider) and the odd podium on satellite bike requires some serious skills!

  6. @Frenchie: You absolutely nailed it. Nicely stated!