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.

TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors

05/16/2010 @ 1:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors Shawn Higbee Zero TTXGP Infineon 635x411

TTXGP’s inaugural North American race is in the bag at Infineon, as race fans got to see two close battles for first and third place this weekend. Blasting off the line was the yellow Lightning Motors bike, or the “Flying Banana” as it’s become known here in the paddock. Lightning’s rider, Michael Barnes, made quick work of Shawn Higbee and his Zero/Agni race bike off the line and on the straights, showing a very strong power package.

With all the power on-board though, Barney was limited  by his heavy and bulky bike, and wasn’t able to carry that speed into the corners as well as Higbee and his more slight Agni bike. Higbee, known for carrying a lot of corner speed, made up a lot of ground on Lightning, making it a close battle between the two riders.

Unfortunately for Barnes, the Lightning Motors bike tripped its power sensors, causing Barney to have to reset 10 different circuits, before “control-alt-deleting” the bike back to life. This put the Flying Banana a lap down from Zero/Agni, who went on to take a comfortable victory.

Taking third for the day, Mike Hannas and the Electric Race Bike entry also looked very strong during the race, with their Yamaha TZ 250 based entry. Again the lightweight formula proved to be a winner at Infineon, which is a very technical course that has large changes in elevation. Hannas was able to fend off Jennifer Bromme from Werkstatt Racing and her Mavizen TTX02, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Werkstatt.

The big disappointment for the day was the DNF by Thad Wolff, which was only able to complete three laps of the race. We also did not get to see Chip Yates and the SWIGZ bike take to the track, although the bike was in the paddock. Both bikes had a lot of power on board, and were favored to do well this weekend. Wolff qualified third on the grid, and turned more than a few heads with his Norton chassis bike.

While the level of competitiveness varied amongst the contenders, Higbee’s and Barnes’ laps proved to many that electric bikes can run quickly on a road course. Higbee’s top time was 18 seconds off the AMA Daytona Superbike top time, and the Zero/Agni bike averaged just under 60 mph at Infineon (AMA riders average over 85 mph at Infineon). Still there are plenty of doubts about electrics, as the majority of the TTXGP field lapped Infineon at a far less impressive paces than the front-runners.

Given the amount of time, energy, and money that went into all these race bikes, it’s a high-hurdle that teams have to go through in order to begin to match ICE performance characteristics, which really is the high-water threshold that this sport needs to reach in order to be taken seriously by mainstream racing fans.

Is electric motorcycle racing a fad or the future? It depends on who you ask. The local gentry at Infineon would seem unaffected by today’s race, but there were more than just the 10 people on the starting grid today that thought otherwise. Only time will tell.

Pos.No.RiderTeamTimeDiff.
122Shawn HigbeeZerp/Agni25.33.626-
280Michael BarnesLightning25:51.81 Lap
315Mike HannasElectric Race Bike26:44.21 Lap
423Jennifer BrommeWerkstatt26:57.71 Lap
514Kenyon KlugeK Squared29:54.61 Lap
618Zoe RemPril Motors-2 Laps
716John WildSquare Wave-3 Laps
820Jason LauritzenElectric Motor Sports-3 Laps
Not Classified
DNF19Spencer SmithVolt Motors--
DNF37Thad WolffTeam Electra--

Photos: © 2010 Dustin Gibbs & Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons 3.0

Comment:

  1. Congratulations to Jennifer Bromme & the Werkstatt team who finished 4th in North America's inaugural electric moto GP! http://bit.ly/ttxgp1

  2. RT @skadamo: RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors – http://aspha.lt/10o #motorcycle

  3. Doctor Jelly says:

    Absolutely it’s the future, just give it some more time. Internal combustion engines have had over a century of development and have pretty much topped out in terms of any real improvements that can be made today. Electric rigs have barely begun! What is available right now technology wise for electric development is the equivalent to H-D’s infamous ‘tomato can’ carburetor. In less than 50 years electrics will displace fossil fueled rigs, just like horses were displaced by the ICE.

    Beyond that, I still have my hopes up for MotoCzysz becoming the standard for electric race bikes. I guess we’ll see what they can do later this year…

  4. skadamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP: Zero/Agni Takes Victory at Infineon After An Early Battle with Lightning Motors – http://aspha.lt/10o #motorcycle

  5. Mark B says:

    I love A&R, a top site…… so why does 75% of it’s recent content seem to be electric?
    Battery power is not the future. some other non fossil fuel will be, whether it’s fuel cell or whichever, but why the huge coverage from A&R? Is there no other news in motorcycling currently (did you see what I did there, with that electrifying pun? Oh no, I did it again……)

  6. It’s difficult to keep things in perspective. This is a sport that did not exist a year ago. A little better than a century ago, “high tech” was manually advancing your ignition and squirting oil on moving parts in your total loss engine lubricating system. This sport is already evolving 100 times faster than in the days of your great grandfather’s board tracker. Glitches will happen, bikes will die on the track, and riders will be resetting breakers. But within months, or maybe even weeks, performance and reliability will continue to improve another order of magnitude. Next year this will be a completely different race. Congratulations to all the pioneers who participated in the TTXGP this weekend.

  7. Deez Toolz says:

    Jenny, I think you should hire Gibbs. He’s clearly an impressive photographer. And props on the first-hand coverage!

  8. @Mark B: It’s two things really. First, I really do think electrics are the future (this industry still has A LOT of growth growing up to do though), so we as a site want to follow that progression to some degree, hence why we have an “Electric” tab in the post sorter.

    Also, the recent plethora of posts is due to the fact that the first US race just concluded, and it was held practically in A&R’s backyard. We’re seeing a lot of entries for the first time, so there’s news around teams that are coming out of stealth-mode and the woodwork, which we want to cover as well.

    With the race at Infineon done, and most of the surprises of the year out of the way, you’ll probably see more familiar news topics this week and on.

  9. Sam says:

    For those of us not entirely familar with Infineon raceway, what sort of time would a standard production supersport bike (ZX6 or R6 etc) lap the track in?

  10. Out of the AMA Supersport riders, the lap times were 1:40.3 (1st Place: Beaubier) to 1:49.9 (16th Place: Fabregas) if that provides some perspective. I couldn’t comment on what a mortal man does for a lap time, I’ve never ridden the course.

  11. Doctor Jelly says:

    Electric lap times for comparison:

    Fastest lap: Shawn Higbee 1:56.948
    Slowest fast lap: John Wild 2:44.726

  12. skadamo says:

    Great TTXGP Infineon pics on @Asphalt_Rubber http://bit.ly/9kKO3C

  13. deejay51 says:

    Congrats to the Organisers, TTXGP, and all teams, I wish I could have been there to witness all this. I so wish people would realise this is the NOW and FUTURE of motorsport.