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: Duel Ends in Decisive Victory for Monza Race 1

05/08/2011 @ 10:33 am, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

WSBK: Duel Ends in Decisive Victory for Monza Race 1 Eugene Laverty Yamaha Racing WSBK Race 1 Monza 635x660

Max Biaggi proved a point to start the first 2011 World Superbike race at home at Monza by being on the pole, breaking speed records and blowing away his own times along the way. The reigning Champion dominated Saturday’s Superpole sessions, going so far as to flog his Aprilia around the circuit whilst the rest of the riders sat in the garages, comfortable with Biaggi’s position. Eugene Laverty, Jonathan Rea, and Troy Corser joined him in starting on the front row, with Laverty’s lap time more than six tenths slower than Biaggi’s.

Even after dominating qualifying through the first three rounds, Carlos Checa had to settle for an eleventh starting position. Meanwhile, those who have not had such good fortune through the early season continued with their bad luck. James Toseland, set to make his return after a testing injury kept him from Donington Park and Assen, participated in Friday’s sessions, but not the final qualifying practice. Nor did he race, though he was busy signing autographs with that injured wrist through the weekend.

The also injured Chris Vermeulen sat out Saturday after a crash in practice opened a hole in the skin of his elbow. He was unable to race as well, since the injury could only be partially stitched up in an effort to allow it to drain properly. Sunday morning, Haslam led Biaggi by just four hundredths in the warmup session, with Laverty, Corser, and Camier the fastest five.

Race 1 got underway under a sunny Italian sky, with a brilliant start from Corser to take the lead into and through the first turn. Melandri slotted into third, with Laverty close behind. Within a few turns, Laverty took third from his teammate. At the end of the first lap, Corser led Biaggi, Laverty, Melandri, and Haslam as the top five. The order would not remain, as Biaggi took the lead onto the straight, only to lose it to Laverty into the first turn. The duel continued, as Biaggi took his incredibly fast Aprilia back into the lead along the straight. Quickly, Biaggi, Laverty, and Melandri had a small gap over Haslam and Corser.

Laverty went around the outside of Biaggi to take the lead again, beginning a long series of back-and-forths between the two. It was three, actually, as Melandri also stuck his nose in. Soon, they began to spread out a bit, with Laverty pulling just enough of a gap to keep Biaggi behind him on the straight. Though Laverty led at the end of L5, Biaggi took the lead into the first turn, only to lose it again. Behind them, Haslam, Corser, Fabrizio, Rea, Haga, Checa, and Camier completed the top ten.

The leaders would continue to trade positions along the straight and through many of the corners on the circuit. Laverty continued to lead across the line at the halfway point of the eighteen lap race, taking lines just wide enough to force Biaggi behind. Haslam, despite making use of an escape road, was still third, with Melandri, Fabrizio, Corser, Rea, Checa, Haga, and Camier the top ten. Haga would not remain in ninth, with a ride-through penalty.

Soon thereafter, Biaggi made a mistake, running wide and allowing both Haslam and Melandri through. Biaggi immediately attacked to regain third and was back around Haslam on the straight. Those positions would not remain, with both Haslam and Melandri attacking Biaggi en masse. However, neither were able to keep Biaggi behind on the straight. Ahead, Laverty had more than a second on the battle over second. Melandri shut Haslam out of third, forcing Haslam down another escape road, though the Briton fought back and retook the position with five laps to go.

At that point, Laverty had nearly two seconds on the field, with Biaggi second, Haslam, Melandri, Fabrizio, Corser, Rea, Checa, Camier, and Smrz the top ten. Further back, Rea and Corser were having a fair tussle over sixth, with Rea usually taking the position through the lap, but Corser in front on the straight. In the end, Laverty led Biaggi, Haslam, Melandri, and Fabrizio as the top five with one lap remaining. They would remain in those positions for Laverty, who nearly won the World Supersport championship last season, to take his first WSBK win in his rookie season.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Monza, Italy:

158Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team-
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1.575
391Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad3.078
433Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team3.255
584Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare11.812
64Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda12.371
711Troy CorserBMW Motorrad13.280
82Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team17.419
97Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati17.569
1096Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati18.420
1186Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia20.031
1250Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati20.405
1366Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing26.693
14121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati38.429
15111Ruben XausCastrol Honda40.164
1641Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia49.081
178Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki57.930
1832Fabrizio LaiEcho Sport Racing Co. Honda1:03.039
Not Classified
17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing9 Laps
44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki12 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Yamaha Racing


  1. keet says:

    anybody else notice that the air intakes on Eugene Laverty’s R1 in the above photo are NOT the stock shape?