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.

WSBK: A Charge to the Lead in Superpole at Nurburgring

09/03/2011 @ 7:05 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: A Charge to the Lead in Superpole at Nurburgring checa nurburgring pirelli 635x357

Carlos Checa (1:54.144) again stormed to pole, commanding each Superpole qualifying session for the 2011 World Superbike round at the Nurburgring and setting a new track fast lap. He will be joined on the front row by Eugene Laverty, the injured Max Biaggi, and Marco Melandri. Though the day was occasionally overcast, the track conditions were hot, as Checa refused to reliquish control of the weekend, having led every session but one. There were no major incidents in Superpole, though Michel Fabrizio did crash on his first lap in S1. He was uninjured and qualified twelfth.

Action was hot as the summer break wrapped up at the German circuit, with championship leader Checa (1:57.296) taking command in the first, wet, practice session. Lascorz, Smrz, Fabrizio, and Camier completed the fastest five, all within a second of Checa’s time. In the completely dry afternoon, though, Biaggi (1:55.524) led Checa, with the top thirteen covered by just a second. Melandri, Fabrizio, and Laverty completed the top five, despite Laverty’s brush with the wall during the session. Rea was back in at Castrol Honda, managing seventh fastest in the afternoon qualifying practice. Teammate Ruben Xaus has not yet returned to fitness and was replaced at Nurburgring by Makoto Tamada. Chris Vermeulen did not participate and was not replaced at Paul Bird Kawasaki.

Biaggi injured his foot in Friday afternoon’s first qualifying session, leaving him with nerve and tendon damage, a possible broken bone, and a foot swollen too much to fit in his normal boots. In pain, he did not improve his time in Saturday’s qualifying practice and dropped to fourth fastest in the combined times and thirteenth fastest in the session. Checa (1:55.030) was again on the provisional pole, leading Laverty, Haga, and Biaggi as the provisional front row. In the final free practice before Superpole, Checa (1:54.652) continued to be fastest, leading Laverty, Biaggi, Haslam, and Fabrizio as the fastest five. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Troy Corser, 18. James Toseland, 19. Roberto Rolfo, 20. Makoto Tamada.

Superpole 1:
The top sixteen from the combined qualifying sessions were out quickly, though Fabrizio did not complete his first lap. Checa took an early lead over the times of Laverty, Biaggi, and Melandri with eight minutes remaining. Without improving his time, Checa returned to the garage with much of the rest of the field for settings changes and another set of laps in the first Superpole session. Fabrizio made his way back out, along with Smrz and Badovini.

Rea, down in eleventh, continued to use race tires in qualifying with four minutes remaining. At that point, Lascorz, Smrz, Berger, and Fabrizio were in the knockout zone, though only Fabrizio had yet to set a time. Checa still led with just under three minutes remaining, as the relegation zone remained the same. As the final seconds ticked down, Guintoli, Badovini Lascorz, and Berger were about to be dropped in S1, as Fabrizio had moved up to tenth fastest. As the flag flew, Checa still led with his early fast time, joined by Guintoli, Laverty, and Biaggi as the provisional front row. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Leon Camier, 14. Maxime Berger, 15. Ayrton Badovini, 16. Joan Lascorz.

Superpole 2:
The twelve riders got straight to business for the second Superpole session, though “Biaggi slowed on his first flying lap,” according to Castrol Honda on Twitter, though he soon picked up pace with his second fast lap. Melandri (1:54.936) was the early leader, over Haslam, Rea, and Guintoli with seven minutes remaining. Checa, Laverty, and Sykes had yet to set a time at that point. Checa (1:54.709) went straight to the top, leaving Aitchison, Guintoli, Smrz, and Fabrizio in the knockout zone and five minutes on the clock.

Hoever, Laverty’s lap was just a hundredth slower than the Spaniard as many riders headed back to the garage for final adjustments. Checa still led from the garage with a minute remaining, as Smrz, Aitchison, Guintoli, and Fabrizio looked for a way to move forward and fight for the first two starting rows in S3. Rea, out again on a race tire, was dropped to ninth fastest as Guintoli improved to sixth. On a final lap, Rea was unable to improve. Checa again finished the session fastest with his early time, leading a provisional front row of Laverty, Melandri, and Haga. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Jonathan Rea, 10. Jakub Smrz, 11. Mark Aitchison, 12. Michel Fabrizio.

Superpole 3:
Yet again Checa (1:54.144) took an early lead in the session, with the Yamaha duo of Laverty and Melandri behind. Haga completed the provisional front row with four minutes remaining in the chase for pole. Soon Biaggi bettered his time and slide into third fastest, six tenths off Checa’s time. Haga was on his way out of the garages while Checa and Laverty ducked back in with two minutes left. Still, Checa’s fast lap was a new best lap at the circuit. As the seconds ticked down, there seemed nothing any of the other riders could do to catch Checa, who will start both races on Sunday on pole.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Nurburgring, Germany:

Pos.No.RiderTeamTimeDiff.
1.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:54.144-
2.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:54.5120.368
3.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:54.7430.599
4.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:54.8180.674
5.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:55.1130.969
6.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:55.2231.079
7.91Leon HaslamAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:55.2371.093
8.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:55.2491.105
Out After Superpole 2
9.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:55.3210.612
10.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:55.5980.889
11.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki1:55.6250.916
12.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:56.1771.468
Out After Superpole 1
13.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:55.6330.992
14.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:55.8111.170
15.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:56.1011.460
16.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:56.1621.521
Not qualified for Superpole
17.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad1:56.4011.371
18.52James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia1:56.6371.607
19.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:56.9661.966
20.100Makoto TamadaCastrol Honda1:57.9502.920

Source: WSBK; Photo:

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