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: A First-Time Pole Sitter from Superpole at Aragon

06/18/2011 @ 7:04 am, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

WSBK: A First Time Pole Sitter from Superpole at Aragon Marco Melandri 635x4751

Marco Melandri (1:57.634) took his first World Superbike pole at Motorland Aragon, holding off Max Biaggi, Leon Camier, and Carlos Checa in the Spanish heat. Though the Saturday Superpole sessions were moderately uneventful, they were not without drama as riders jostled to move forward and fight over pole. Melandri’s Yamaha teammate, Eugene Laverty, will start sixth as Kawasaki undergoes something of a resurgence. Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz will join him on the second row in fifth and seventh, respectively.

Somewhat shockingly, both factory BMWs were knocked out in Superpole 1, leaving Leon Haslam and Troy Corser to start from fourteenth and sixteenth. However, satelitte rider Ayrton Badovini qualified on the second row in eighth. Jonathan Rea did not compete, having had surgery Monday for the injuries he sustained during a warm-up crash last weekend at Misano.

Melandri took an early lead at Aragon, leading both the first free practice and the first qualifying practice. Though the Italian has a small advantage in having raced at the circuit last year in MotoGP, WSBK uses a slightly longer circuit that includes a hairpin at the end of the back straight. Melandri led Checa, Badovini, Camier, and Sykes in the morning practice and Checa, Haga, Camier, and Sykes as the top five in the first qualifying session in the heat Friday afternoon.

In the final qualifying practice, Checa was back on top. He led a very close QP, one in which the top sixteen who moved on to Superpole were covered by just one second. Smrz, Biaggi, and Sykes completed the provisional front row, with Melandri having dropped down to seventh fastest. Meanwhile, Badovini continued to outpace his factory BMW colleagues on his satellite bike, finishing the session eighth fastest. Just before Superpole, Biaggi led the final free practice by a half second, with Checa, Melandri, Sykes, and Haga the top five. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Ruben Xaus, 18. Chris Vermeulen, 19. Roberto Rolfo, 20. Lorenzo Lanzi.

Superpole 1:
Sykes was the last rider out onto the track for the fourteen minutes of Superpole 1. Checa (1:58.714) took the unsurprising early lead, posting the fastest time with ten minutes remaining. He was followed by Camier, Haslam, Corser, and Laverty while Fabrizio, Guintoli, Biaggi, and Sykes were in the knockout zone. Melandri soon moved up through the order, going third fastest behind Checa and Camier with eight minutes remaining. Haslam, Corser, Laverty, Sykes, Berger, Lascorz, and Aitchison were the top ten. Quickly, Biaggi was third fastest, with Haga slotting into fourth.

With just over five mintues remaining, Lascorz, Guintoli, Badovini, and Smrz were in the relegation zone, and most riders were back in their garages for final adjustments. The top eight remained in their garages as the bottom half of the timesheets went back out to improve their times and continue on to Superpole 2. Badovini secured his position, moving up to fourth from the knockout zone, while Laverty and Sykes also returned to the track. With moments left, Corser, Berger, Lascorz, and Smrz were about to be dropped, only for Lascorz to go seventh fastest. Smrz improved, but not enough, and the factory Yamaha riders were a surprising eleventh and twelfth fastest. However, Laverty (1:58.621) put in a quick lap to go fastest at the very end, leading Checa, Camier, and Guintoli as the provisional front row. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Jakub Smrz, 14. Leon Haslam, 15. Maxime Berger, 16. Troy Corser.

Superpole 2:
Next, the riders were out for the twelve minutes of Superpole 2, with Biaggi (1:57.841) the early leader and the only man to post a 1:57s lap so far for the weekend. Checa, Badovini, Lascorz, and Guintoli completed the top five, only to have Laverty slide into third fastest halfway through the session. At that point, Melandri, Fabrizio, Sykes, and Aitchison were in the drop zone. Melandri’s next lap put him fifth fastest, putting Haga in danger.

In the final minutes, only those in seventh through twelfth were on track. Haga, Fabrizio, Sykes, and Aitchison were attempting to move forward to fight for the first two starting rows in Superpole 3. Biaggi still led by two tenths with a minute remaining, as Haga put Camier in the drop zone by going seventh fastest, only to be dropped to eighth as Camier jumped to fifth. That left Guintoli in the knockout zone. However, Sykes put Haga back down to ninth on his final lap, having gone fifth fastest. Biaggi (1:57.841) retained his lead, with Checa, Laverty, and Badovini the provisional front row. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Noriyuki Haga, 10. Sylvain Guintoli, 11. Michel Fabrizio, 12. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 3:
Sykes, Camier, Melandri, and Lascorz joined Biaggi, Checa, Laverty, and Badovini in the fight for pole during the ten minutes of Superpole 3. Melandri (1:57.634) led Biaggi by over three tenths at the halfway point, with Camier, Checa, Laverty, Sykes, Badovini, and Lascorz the eight riders. Soon, Lascorz and Badovini were faster than Sykes, but Melandri remained fastest. However, Biaggi was closing in lap times, cutting Melandri’s lead in half with two minutes to go. Apparently confident, or perhaps out of tires, Melandri remained in the garage as the minutes ticked away. In the end, he had enough and won his first WSBK pole, with Biaggi, Camier, and Checa completing the front row for Sunday’s two races.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Motorland Aragon, Spain:

1.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:57.634-
2.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:57.7900.156
3.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:58.2790.645
4.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:58.4720.838
5.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:58.6411.007
6.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:58.7561.122
7.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:59.1941.560
8.86Ayrton BadoviniBMR Motorrad Italia1:59.5911.957
Out After Superpole 2
9.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:58.5660.725
10.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:58.6400.799
11.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:58.9501.109
12.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki1:59.6801.839
Out After Superpole 1
13.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:59.3550.734
14.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad1:59.3670.746
15.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:59.5070.886
16.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad1:59.5650.944
Not qualified for Superpole
17.111Ruben XausCastrol Honda2:00.4321.249
18.77Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing2:00.5071.324
19.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki2:00.6781.495
20.57Lorenzo LanziBMW Motorrad Italia2:00.7761.593

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


  1. results are not too bad i could say..