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.

WSBK: Landslide Win in Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park

05/30/2011 @ 4:38 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Landslide Win in Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park World Superbike Race 2 Miller Scott Jones

The weather gods were appeased this Memorial Day weekend, as not a single drop of water rained down from the heavens on the World Superbike Race 1 and Race 2 that were being held at Miller Motorsports Park. This statement is of course only true if you’re not watching WSBK according to Oregon Trail rules, as riders still had to ford the river at the “Black Rock Hairpin” in Turn 5 of the Outer Course. While no oxen were lost in the attempt to cross the water feature, a bull was on the loose in the form of Carlos Checa. Would 2011 be redemption or disappointment for the Spaniard? Find out after the jump.

Not one to bother waiting, Carlos Checa took the holeshot down the front straightaway of Miller Motorsports Park, taking the lead into Turn 1, and never looked back. Busting a commanding lead over the World Superbike field, the Althea Ducati racer won Race 2 in Utah with a comfortable 7+ second margin. Though a poignant moment for Checa, it was joined by fairly dull racing, as the grid spread fairly evenly over the pace of the race.

Trailing Checa was Leon Camier, Eugene Laverty, Marco Melandri, and Noriyuki Haga. Both Camier and Laverty pulled large gaps over their nearest competitors, and only Max Biaggi in the second lap would get past either rider. The battle for fourth though was quite close in the early laps, and in Lap 2 Biaggi would find his way around Haga and Melandri, later passing Laverty in Lap 3, though unable to touch his teammate who rode to a comfortable second place podium step.

Lap 3 woke up the paddock, as both Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser went down in the same turn at the same time. Corser would retire for the day, while Xaus remounted his Castrol Honda and finished the day 18th. Noriyuki Haga also hit the tarmac in Lap 3, as the Japanese rider seemingly decided to get an early jump on packing his bags for his trip out of Utah. Chalk that one up to an unforced error, as PATA will race for better results next race weekend.

The next several laps saw little action in position, though Melandri, Guintoli, and Fabrizio battled for ownership rights to the fifth place position. By Lap 10 the battle was in full-swing, and by Lap 11 Michel Fabrizio was through on both Guintoli and Melandri. Fabrizio would continue to be the one of the fastest riders on the track up until the race’s conclusion, often swapping that title with race leader Carlos Checa.

The next big melee was between Jonathan Rea, Ayrton Badovini, and Tom Sykes, as the trio mixed it up over several turns in their battle for 9th position. Badovini would be the victor in that battle, finishing ninth for the day, followed by Sykes and Rea, respectively.

Cruising to a seven second victory, Carlos Checa is now 61 Championship points ahead of Marco Melandri, who now holds only a solitary point over current World Champion Max Biaggi. World Superbike goes back to Europe on June 12th, where the series will be racing at Misano.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park, USA:

17Carlos ChecaAlthea Ducati-
22Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing7.194
31Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing8.734
458Eugene LavertyYamaha World Superbike Team14.214
584Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare14.750
633Marco MelandriYamaha World Superbike Team21.634
750Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati24.079
896Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati25.688
986Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia29.621
1066Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing30.681
114Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda31.033
1217Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing37.063
1391Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad37.455
14121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati40.509
1512Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki40.894
1644Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki48.989
178Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki52.388
18111Ruben XausCastrol Honda1’18.485
Not Classified
RET41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia19 Laps
RET11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad19 Laps

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

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