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.

World Superbike Going to Single-Bike per Rider Format?

07/15/2011 @ 2:44 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

World Superbike Going to Single Bike per Rider Format? Max Biaggi World Superbike Aprilia MMP 635x443

Reliable sources are perpetuating the rumor that World Superbike is considering moving to a single-bike rule for its riders, presumably meaning that a WSBK rider would only have a single racing motorcycle at each race and session at a World Superbike round. The rule would be an extension of the already existing provision in World Supersport racing, which has seen a surge of participants this past year, compared to World Superbike’s shrinking numbers (though WSBK still has more riders competing than MotoGP at this point).

The idea is that the new provision, presumably to come out for the 2012 season, would allow teams to cut costs by up to €300,000, or run the option of having larger or multiple teams, which in-turn would increase grid sizes and jobs for ride-less racers.

The devil is in the details of course, as reducing the number of bikes a team can have teched at a race does not necessarily mean that costs will be lowered. Teams with larger budgets will surely still bring several bikes to a race weekend, leaving the spare motorcycle(s) in-waiting should a crash or mechanical issue occur, and then tech in the new bike once the original has been deemed out for the weekend. Also, the rule at this stage makes no provision for spare parts, so teams may still spend the same amount of money on an adequate supply of parts as they would on a complete backup race motorcycle.

The Superbike Commission will be meeting again after the upcoming Silverstone round on July 31st, and many are expecting an announcement to follow at that round of the WSBK Championship regarding this alleged provision for the 2012 season. Whether the rule will reduce costs as hoped, well…time will tell on that one.

Source: MotoMatters & GPone; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. SBPilot says:

    I think this is good. And even with unlimited spare parts, to get a bike completely assembled and set up with the right geometry and settings within a practice session or even two would be a great challenge. Wealthy teams know spending that much may not help as rebuilding/setting up and then teching the bike in a short time can be costly without results.

    The goal is mindset change, to ride one bike. And that should cause new teams can enter as they will all have the same mindset. Riding one bike fast and cautiously. The consequence can any team out of the weekend. This is similar to Rallying..it’s just one car, and if you break it, well…if it’s bad enough you sit out of the round, if it’s somewhat repairable, you repair it but lose valuable time.

    Rider’s need to know they can’t just push to the limit all the time and have a huge cushion if they do crash, that cushion being bike B. It will be more exciting in how riders ride and how teams strategy if it was a well thought out one bike rule, and hopefully more bikes on the grid.

  2. Minibull says:

    Nope, the big super sponsored teams will find a way around it. What state of build does a bike have to be in order for it to be called a “motorbike”. Frame + swingarm + suspension and engine? What about the whole bike but without fairings, engine and wheels? They will simply find a loophole om some sort that will let them have almost fully built bikes waiting in the parts truck. Chuck the remaining bits on, get the setting dialed in and keep lapping.

    I’m sick of all these cost cutting measures being put in place too. Like in MotoGP, only 6 engines. All that means is the big teams put even more money into R&D in regards to reliability testing. Do stack loads more prototyping and stress testing, who knows. They want to win and be the best. I mean look at Suzuki, even with the supposed cost cutting from the rule, they are now only fielding one bike. Doesn’t seemed to have helped them much, still running roundabout the same placings as the last few years. Alvaro Bowel-Tester is slowly getting some semi respectable results now though, but hey, back to 1000cc next year so scrap all that work, they are back to square one. Blah

  3. SBPilot says:

    Formula One’s cost cutting measures and rule changes have helped greatly in the action of the racing as well as putting more cars on the grid. Something needs to be done in Motorbikes that will work. I agree that going back up to 1000cc in MotoGP causes more costs for everyone but hopefully they stay there for a solid amount of time so no one needs to re-develop everything again.

    Loopholes for a complete bike will be hard to find, it’s when the rules about specific part restrictions can be ambiguous and smart engineers can design around. If the rule states that you can only have one motorbike allowed, where as motorbike means anything that is more than a frame is put together, then your “spare bike” that maybe a loop hole will have to be completely in bits. Not a single bolt can be on the frame/fork/swing arm etc. Also they can limit only having one frame in the pit garage at any time, and if the team wants to use their spare frame they need to go to the truck to get it, and render the old one useless, thereby creating a full rebuild. Simple rules. In the end the rule will be lengthy but what motorsports rules aren’t? It’d be hard to hide a whole frame away from Race Direction, those pit garages aren’t that big, not to mention TV cameras etc. are almost always there, any “super quick” bike building would be obvious.

    As long as the rules deter the entire grid from having a second bike and encourage bike preparation it’s good enough. Even a simple electronic malfunction (ala Rossi and his Duc) wastes enough time to do any good testing in a practice session. So basically ANY time lost building a bike will render sessions pretty useless and this is already enough. At the moment, a rider can simply get picked up by the team and hop on the B bike right away and go out. If the “loop hole B bike” needs to be assembled in any shape way or form you will lose most if not all the practice session. These bikes require precise assembly remember.

    If private teams can do well by being consistent in races, gather good data in practice, not crash and having their one bike meticulously prepared (better than say factory teams) then it gives them a chance to do well in points. Even if a big bucks factory team has money, money can’t necessarily buy good preparations, again, Rossi’s Ducati has so many electrical faults (over heating of wires) most likely due to poor bike prep, and is costing him dearly.

    Single ECU make is also interesting though BMW would be peeved since they dumping so much money into developing their own. Perhaps it should be single or develop your own, which everyone would choose the former, except BMW. Sooner or later they should change though…it aint working for them.

  4. Alexontwowheels says:

    Ummmmm, why does it say “fag” on the swingarm? Oh yeah, it’s Biaggi’s bike….

  5. joe says:

    Good eye

  6. SBPilot says:

    FAG is a major wheel bearing manufacture just in case you guys didn’t know.

  7. Alexontwowheels says:

    They’ve got balls!