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.

Carlos Checa Dominates at Phillip Island Test

02/21/2011 @ 10:17 pm, by Victoria ReidComments Off

Carlos Checa Dominates at Phillip Island Test Carlos Checa Althea Racing WSBK Phillip Island test 635x391

Carlos Checa was fastest overall, with a lap time of 1:30.578, as the final World Superbike winter test ended Tuesday at Phillip Island. That time was also nearly a half second faster than the existing lap record set by Regis Laconi in 2009, and almost 1.3 sec faster than Troy Corser’s race lap record from 2007. In addition to Checa, Sylvain Guintoli, Jonathan Rea, Jakub Smrz, and Joan Lascorz completed the fastest five. Rea’s time from Tuesday morning kept him third fastest despite a crash at Turn 3 in the afternoon that resulted in an injured hand. No word is available yet on the specifics of his injury.

Checa was fastest overall on Monday followed by multiple Ducatis, all lacking factory support after Ducati’s withdrawal from WSBK last season. Leon Camier only rode Monday afternoon after taking ill, sitting out the other sessions. Also absent was Australian Chris Vermeulen who will not ride until Donington Park, and has been replaced by Akira Yanagawa at the factory Kawasaki team.

Overall Times for 2011 World Superbike Phillip Island Test:

Pos.No.RiderTeamBest Time
1.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing1:30.578
2.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Racing1:31.196
3.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:31.206
4.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Racing1:31.654
5.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:31.866
6.3Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:31.870
7.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:32.113
8.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:32.122
9.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:32.137
10.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:32.272
11.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Aprilia1:32.299
12.12Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki1:32.394
13.111Ruben XausCastrol Honda1:32.405
14.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:32.413
15.52James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia SBK1:32.880
16.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:32.994
17.86Aryton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia SBK1:33.233
18.67Bryan StaringTeam Pedercini1:33.398
19.6Arika YanagawaPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:33.432
20.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing1:33.485
21.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini1:33.514
22.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini1:33.721

However, simple fastest lap times do not always give the full story of a test session. One way to see how a rider might do over the entire season is to see how consistent he is through a test. As first introduced after the Infront Motor Sports test at Portimao, here at A&R we use the overall rankings over the course of the sessions to show which riders were most consistently quicker than their competitors.

Session Rankings for February 21-22 Test at Phillip Island:

RiderMon #1Mon #2Tues #1Tues #2
Tier 1
Carlos Checa6th1st1st1st
Sylvain Guintoli1st2nd2nd2nd
Jakub Smrz3rd3rd4th4th
Jonathan Rea2nd8th3rd3rd
Tier 2
Michel Fabrizio4th5th6th7th
Joan Lascorz5th11th5th5th
Marco Melandri7th7th7th8th
Max Biaggino time4th11th6th
Tier 3
Tom Sykes9th6th9th10th
Eugene Laverty12th10th8th9th
Leon Haslam8th9th14th14th
Noriyuki Haga15th16th10th11th
Josh Waters11th12th12th12th
Ruben Xaus13th13th13th13th
Tier 4
Troy Corser10th14th15th16th
James Toseland14th17th16th15th
Maxime Berger17th18th18th20th
Ayrton Badovini18th20th17th17th
Tier 5
Roberto Rolfo16th21st19th21st
Bryan Staring19th19th20th18th
Mark Aitchison21st22nd21st22nd
Akira Yanagawa20th23rd22nd19th
Leon Camierno time15thno timeno time

Despite the different angle of rankings, it is still difficult to tell just how the season will shake out. With just days before the first round, again at Phillip Island, one thing is abundantly clear: even without factory support the Ducatis are quick and Checa is ready to lead the way. Racing begins in earnest this weekend.

Source: WorldSBK & SPEED TV Australia; Photo: Althea Racing

Comments are closed.