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 Makes Forbes Top 100 Highest-Paid Athletes List

06/21/2012 @ 4:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Rossi Makes Forbes Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes List Valentino Rossi Ducati Corse Oakley MotoGP

Every year, a list of the highest-paid athletes worldwide is released, and every year we get to bask in the star power that is the nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi. This year, we have Forbes to thank for our list, and while Rossi’s ranking is down in 20th position (he’s usually a Top 10 sort of guy), the value amount has remained steady…which is really saying something considering the slogging the motorcycle industry has taken the past few years.

Coming down to an almost 50/50 split between raw salary and endorsements, Rossi is estimated to make a tidy $30 million per year, tying him for the 20th spot with Formula 1′s Michael Schumacher. The only MotoGP star to top the Top 100 on Forbes’ list, it just goes to show that MotoGP salaries and endorsement contracts aren’t always about results. The Top 20, and other notable entries from the Forbes’ research are listed after the jump.

#1 Floyd Mayweather -Total earnings: $85 million – Salary/winnings: $85 million – Endorsements: $0

#2 Manny Pacquiao: $62 million - Salary/winnings: $56 million - Endorsements: $6 million

#3 Tiger Woods: $59.4 million - Salary/winnings: $4.4 million - Endorsements: $55 million

#4 LeBron James: $53 million - Salary/winnings: $13 million - Endorsements: $40 million

#5 Roger Federer: $52.7 million - Salary/winnings: $7.7 million - Endorsements: $45 million

#6 Kobe Bryant: $52.3 million - Salary/winnings: $20.3 million - Endorsements: $32 million

#7 Phil Mickelson: $47.8 million - Salary/winnings: $4.8 million - Endorsements: $43 million

#8 David Beckham: $46 million - Salary/winnings: $9 million - Endorsements: $37 million

#9 Cristiano Ronaldo: $42.5 million - Salary/winnings: $20.5 million - Endorsements: $22 million

#10 Peyton Manning: $42.4 million - Salary/winnings: $32.4 million - Endorsements: $10 million

#11 Lionel Messi: $39 million - Salary/winnings: $20 million - Endorsements: $19 million

#12 Haloti Ngata: $37.3 million - Salary/winnings: $37.1 million - Endorsements: $200,000

#13 Larry Fitzgerald: $36.8 million - Salary/winnings: $35.3 million - Endorsements: $1.5 million

#14 Ndamukong Suh: $36 million - Salary/winnings: $35.5 million - Endorsements: $500,000

#15 Charles Johnson: $34.4 million - Salary/winnings: $34.3 million - Endorsements: $100,000

#16 Rafael Nadal: $33.2 million - Salary/winnings: $8.2 million - Endorsements: $25 million

#16 Mario Williams: $33.2 million - Salary/winnings: $32.9 million - Endorsements: $250,000

#18 Alex Rodriguez: $33 million - Salary/winnings: $31 million - Endorsements: $2 million

#19 Fernando Alonso: $32 million - Salary/winnings: $29 million - Endorsements: $3 million

#20 Valentino Rossi: $30 million - Salary/winnings: $17 million - Endorsements: $13 million

#20 Michael Schumacher: $30 million - Salary/winnings: $20 million - Endorsements: $10 million

—————————————————————– Other Notable Athletes —————————————————————–

#23 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: $28.2 million - Salary/winnings: $13.2 million - Endorsements: $15 million

#24 Lewis Hamilton: $28 million - Salary/winnings: $25 million - Endorsements: $3 million

#42 Jeff Gordon: $23.6 million - Salary/winnings: $13.6 million - Endorsements: $10 million

#50 Michael Vick: $22 million - Salary/winnings: $20 million - Endorsements: $2 million

#63 Usain Bolt: $20.3 million - Salary/winnings: $300,000 - Endorsements: $20 million

#76 Barry Zito: $18.9 million - Salary/winnings: $18.8 million - Endorsements: $150,000

Source: Forbes; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. Westward says:

    “The only MotoGP star to top the Top 100 on Forbes’ list, it just goes to show that MotoGP salaries and endorsement contracts aren’t always about results.” — JB

    His position on the list is based on past achievement, normally, Rossi would have been in the top 10 if he were making the amount he was just a couple of years ago. ($40-45 million)

    Maybe it shows that Fiat, Fastweb, Packard Bell, and Petronas meant more in sponsorship than Marlboro, Tim, Diesel. and Enel…

    What I do find interesting, is that F1 salaries are nearly twice that of Rossi’s. I will bet that Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati Motorcycles sells more than Renault, Lotus, and McLaren does cars…

  2. Gutterslob says:

    If the world were mine, the top10 would be populated by a combination of TT winners and wingsuit basejumpers. Risk = reward!!

  3. dc4go says:

    Rossi makes alot of $$ but he’s also incredibly popular in the motorcycle community… Helps to have nine world titles in GP racing too….

  4. Smiler says:

    It is entirely about results. Which is what people forget when they start concluding that Stoner, for example is better than Rossi for example. is that, like him or not
    Rossi has 9 premium class championship titles. In 125, 250 and 500, took 2 years to win the titles with 3 different manufacturers (Aprilia, Honda, Yamahaha) and now Ducati in three classes (125, 250 MotoGP) with 5 different engine configurations (125, 250, 500, 990, 800).
    Added to that he is not a robot (Federer, Nadal, Woods, Stoner, Schumaker), has charisma and is able to play the media to create interest and support the industry he is a part of.
    Unfortunately risk though does not always equal reward. Otherwise as the other contributor said TT and road racers, freedivers and base jumpers would top the list.

  5. he’s rich çause the freakin crazy fans, who still fighting for Rossi even in the motorcycle forums. Buy his 46 shirts, leathers, gloves, panties, his sweat, saliva, blood etc.

  6. Frenchie says:

    “I will bet that Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati Motorcycles sells more than Renault, Lotus, and McLaren does cars…”

    Just because there are no Renault available in your country does not mean they’re luxury cars lol.

    I won’t disagree about Lotus and McLaren but Renault is a very different case, they sell about 2,5 million cars annually, not that much compared to Honda and Yam but definitely out of reach for Ducati.

  7. joe says:

    David Beckham is proof its not all about results, and Micheal Vick being there is a sad commentary all its own. Neuter Vick!

  8. Westward says:

    @ Fred Santos

    Rossi’s blood, which website..?

    I have a gift card…

    @ Frenchie

    I have a stone and can hit a Renault from here… Like I said, add up totals from all the companies mentioned, I will bet the Motorcycles are more, i.e. I would think Rossi’s salary should be on par, yet it is not…

    @ joe

    I don’t know much about this Vick character, but I have looked him up. I noticed one thing about him that I think is unique in sports. Accountability.

    I have read his crime, punishment, sentence, release, and redemption. What is absent, are articles with statements of denial, and attempts to avoid responsibility. In short, it seems to me that he took it like a man…

    No army of lawyers, nor did he play the media.

    If I know nothing else about him, he did wrong, he served his punishment, and it would seem that on merit, he is being redeemed.

    That seems particularly christian to me…

  9. Frenchie says:


    I get your point but I think it’s not about the wealth of these companies, it’s about return on investment, how many viewers for F1, how many for MotoGP?

  10. David says:

    Cool. You guys must have read my comment a few days ago, in one of your articles, about Rossi making the Forbes top 20.

    If y’all need to keep up with industry news, feel free to drop me a line….lol

  11. Shawn says:


    The only F1 driver on that list that makes “nearly twice” the salary is Alonso, who’s ultimately paid by Fiat which has a Net Income forty times higher than Ducati. The next one is Hamiltion, who’s salary is 47% higher than Rossi’s, so nowhere near twice as much, and his salary is paid for by the sponsors on the McLaren car, not car sales. The Lotus in F1 is an endorsement, no Lotus car sales go into Grosjean’s or Raikonnen’s salaries, even if they were on the list, which they’re not. And Renault SELLS engines to F1 teams. They make money off the sport, they don’t pay for any driver’s salary. Clearly you have no idea what you’re typing.

  12. JoeKing says:

    I think a more interesting comparison would be their hourly pay. If Rossi rides 4hrs/18 races compared to tennis/baseball/golf/basketball players’s seasons, his ranking would go up.

    Of course, he gets paid chump change compared to Mayweather’s 2 fights for $85m & Mariano Reviera (Yankess’ closer) getting $14,591 PER PITCH!

    When you consider that Rossi makes $2million a race to languish mid-pack & most people don’t make that in their livetime….its not surprising some wonder if he’s a bit overcompensated.

  13. Ben says:

    The whole sport industry is full of overcompensation. To me it’s amazing that a lot more sportsmen don’t share their riches with those less fortunate and make the world a better place. But you wont find any of these guys making a massive contribution, they may setup some charities, which also helps their rep by good PR, but will anyone makle such a massive difference, in the same vein as people like Bill Gates and what he has done in recent years ? (no I’m not a Microsoft Fanboy btw)

    Nope, these overpaid and overpampered Princes are addicted to fame and fortune, and pretty much all are willing to turn a blind eye to poverty, homelessness, etc in their home countries.

    How about a Forbes list for people who make the most *difference* and not just the most cash. That would be a far more interesting list to read.

  14. Westward says:

    @ Shawn

    All of these companies do business, whether they sell cars, engine, or widgets. If they don’t make the necessary revenue selling whatever it is they sell, they don’t have enough to afford their name on anything that runs around a circuit. Otherwise, my local bike shop wants their business logo on the side of a Yamaha M1 in MotoGP (I hear the space is available)

    Semantics aside, whether they make 29 million(Alonso), 25 million(Hamilton), or 20 million (Schumacher) the point is, the revenue that the companies who participate in F1 generate, is no more, if not less than what the Motorcycle companies generate, yet the salaries are higher on average by a lot. Rossi is an exception in MotoGP. Stoner and Lorenzo make nothing even close…

    17 million regardless of who actually pays it, be it Marlboro or Ducati, pales in comparison to 25-29 million. Stoner has two championship just like Fernando Alonso, yet doesn’t make a salary even in the vicinity to him. Not to mention Honda probably sells more in scooters alone, than Farreri does in cars and you could add the apparel as well…

  15. Shawn says:

    @ Westward

    You don’t seem to understand how F1 salaries are paid. It has very little to do with sales of vehicles. F1 salaries are mostly paid by advertising on the car. So its based on the sale of the products and services of F1 sponsors. F1 has viewerships of over half a billion per season. The companies that advertise in F1 are willing to pay much more money than advertisers in MotoGP because of the huge sales potential of the audience. The Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren teams have yearly budgets of $250 million because the companies that advertise on the cars are willing to support those numbers. Stoner and Lorenzo would be able to get the same salaries as F1 if Dorna could find the same audience numbers as the FOM and Ecclestone can. It’s a complete free market system mostly based on advertising potential, not on car sales. Stoner and Lorenzo simply aren’t worth as much as Alonso or Hamilton cause no one is willing to pay for it. No one dictates that MotoGP riders must earn less than F1 drivers, the don’t earn more cause they don’t have the same advertising power.

  16. Jesze says:

    No wonder he refuses to move aside.