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: Early Battles Make a Masterful Race 1 Win at Misano

06/12/2011 @ 3:53 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Early Battles Make a Masterful Race 1 Win at Misano AltheaRacingTeam Photo309217403448 635x566

Tom Sykes (1:55.197) was the surprising pole sitter for the 2011 World Superbike round at Misano, with Carlos Checa, Jakub Smrz, and Marco Melandri also on the front row. Saturday’s damp Superpole session made for a crash-fest, with Checa, Smrz, Eugene Laverty, Ruben Xaus, and Leon Camier, among others, all crashing. Neither Xaus nor Camier managed a time in S1 and qualified fifteenth and sixteenth, respectively. Sykes’ time was inspired, with the next-fastest Kawasaki of Joan Lascorz qualifying twelfth.

Third factory Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen was knocked out after the final qualifying practice, which is surprisingly good news for a rider that has yet to complete race distance in the 2011 season. Also recovering James Toseland was replaced for this weekend and next by Italian rider Lorenzo Lanzi, as his testing injury re-flared after the previous round in the United States. On Sunday morning, Checa was back into his top spot on the timesheets, leading Badovini, Fabrizio, Haga, and Smrz as the fastest five for the warm-up. Rea was taken to a local hospital after a heavy crash at Turn 11 in the warm-up, after being quite uncooperative in the medical center.

On the start, Sykes got a good start, leading into the first turn. Haslam, though, was into second from fifth around the oustide of Checa, with Biaggi fourth. Haslam went up the inside of Sykes for the lead, as Checa attempted to take second from the Brit a turn later. Instead, it was Biaggi who went second. At just the end of the first lap, Haslam led Biaggi, Sykes, Checa, Melandri, Smrz, Guintoli, Corser, Laverty, and Lascorz as the top ten.

Biaggi did not remain second for long, taking the lead from Haslam as Checa also moved around Sykes. Soon thereafter, Melandri took fourth from Sykes, with the Kawasaki rider seemingly going backwards. Soon, Biaggi had more than six tenths on Checa, with Haslam, Melandri, and Sykes the top five. Just before crossing the line, Smrz spun and fell down in front of much of the field on the straight to end his race.

Biaggi still led the same top five at the end of the fifth lap, with Checa slowing closing on the Italian. Melandri slid through on Haslam for third, and a lap or so later teammate Laverty took fifth from Sykes, only to lose it, then make the pass stick. Checa had closed right up on Biaggi eight laps into the race while Melandri was four seconds behind the pair in third. Laverty was all over the rear of Haslam, looking for a way past for fourth, only for  Haslam to crash.

Back at the front, Checa aggressively went under Biaggi when the Italian went a bit wide at about the halfway point of the race. Biaggi kept close to the Spaniard while Melandri was nearly five and a half seconds behind them. The two leaders settled in for a bit, staying close together but without any dicing over the lead. Soon, Biaggi began to make a few small mistakes and allowed Checa to gain a second on him.

The field was well spread out when five laps remained, Checa leading Biaggi by two seconds, Melandri well adrift in third, Laverty three seconds behind his teammate, and Sykes holding station in fifth. Checa remained consistently quick and smooth through the final laps, though the real drama came from pole-sitter Sykes. He caught up Laverty in fourth with two laps to go and was just a tenth behind him as they crossed the line to start the final lap. In the end, Checa won the first race at Misano, with Biaggi second, Melandri third, and Sykes pushing through on Laverty nearly at the line. Camier completed the top five. Despite his masterful race form, Checa stalled his bike just before starting his celebrations and was forced to get a lift with Xaus (who finished eleventh) to the podium.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Misano:

17Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati-
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team0.984
333Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team17.124
466Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki18.652
558Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team18.929
62Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team21.003
750Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati22.942
886Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia23.117
917Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki31.729
10121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati31.729
11111Ruben XausCastrol Honda34.466
1215Matteo BaioccoBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.36.683
1353Alessandro PolitaBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.37.984
1477Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki41.016
1557Lorenzo LanziBMW Motorrad Italia43.514
Not Classified
8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki4 Laps
44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawasaki10 Laps
91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad15 Laps
11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad19 Laps
41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia20 Laps
84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare21 Laps
96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati23 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Althea Ducati

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