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.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

WSBK: Final Superpole of the Season Posts Fast Qualifying Sessions at Portimao

10/15/2011 @ 8:08 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Final Superpole of the Season Posts Fast Qualifying Sessions at Portimao rea portimao honda 635x476

Jonathan Rea (1:41.712) took the final pole of the 2011 World Superbike season at Portimao, beating off championship winner Carlos Checa with a lap set early in the final Superpole session. Rea and Checa had traded session fast times on Friday, with the younger rider coming out on top and leading a starting front row also including current Yamaha teammates Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri. Superpole was relatively uneventful, with leading fast laps coming early in the three sessions and only riders pulling themselves out of the knockout zone in the final seconds after the flag. Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Joan Lascorz, and Noriyuki Haga complete the second row for tomorrow’s two races.

There was plenty of news before the racing began on Friday, with word that Biaggi would return for the season finale, as would Josh Waters and Yoshimura Suzuki. Meanwhile, Roberto Rolfo had to be replaced at Pedercini Kawasaki by Santiago Barragan, as the Italian rider had broken his left kneecap earlier in the week in a bicycle accident near his home. Chris Vermeulen was again out, missing the final race weekend of a season that saw him compete in only seven races. On Friday morning, recent pole winner and recipient of bad luck, Rea (1:43.945) led the timesheets over Checa, Badovini, Sykes, and Guintoli as the fastest five. Meanwhile, Leon Camier tweeted, “just had front row seat to max an Marco having another punch up but on the slow down lap after first sess! Shoving each other all sorts.”Checa (1:43.579) was not one to relinquish control after winning the championship, taking provisional pole in the afternoon qualifying session under sunny Portuguese skies. Laverty, Guintoli, and Rea were also on the provisional front starting row.

Rea again led in the final qualifying practice, going a tenth faster than Checa. Both were in something of a league of their own, a half second faster than Melandri and Haslam, who completed the provisional front row. Also very quick was fifth fastest Giugliano, taking a positions as Checa’s teammate at Althea Ducati for the second weekend this season after winning the Superstock 1000 championship. Despite multiple race weekends off and promising times on Friday, Biaggi was not healed enough to qualifying out of the final practice. In the final practice, Melandri posted the fastest lap, leading Laverty, Rea, Checa, and Camier as the fastest five. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Max Biaggi, 18. Troy Corser, 19. Karl Muggerridge, 20. Javier Fores, 21. Josh Waters, 22. Santiago Barragan.

Superpole 1:
The first, fourteen minute, session of Superpole got underway with a stiff breeze and sunny skies at the Portimao circuit. Soon, all but Camier had made their way out to begin setting times. Rea was the firs to set a time, with Lascroz, Berger, and Haga following. With ten minutes remaining and the first fast laps complete, Rea (1:42.708) led Lascorz, Haslam, Badovini, Berger, Haga, and Aitchison. No one else had yet set a time. Quickly, Melandri, Checa, and Laverty outpaced Rea, with the Italian leading a minute later. At that point, Fabrizio, Smrz, Aitchison, and Haga were in the knockout zone with eight minutes to go. The top and bottom order remained the same two minutes later, though Guintoli continued to post quick first sectors.

Most of the riders were back in their garages for final changes when five minutes remained. Melandri still led Checa, Laverty, and Rea as the provisional front row, while Fabrizio, Smrz, Aitchison, and Haga were in the drop zone. The top five remained safely in the garage as the middle group of Sykes, Badovini, Camier, and Berger looked to move up to safer positions. Smrz moved up to fifth with three to go, dropping Berger. Haga was the next to leap up, going eighth fastest and pushing Camier out with two to go. Aitchison, however, looked to be stuck in the knockout zone as he crashed in the final minutes of the session. As the final seconds ticked away, Melandri (1:42.583) remained the fastest, with Checa, Laverty, and Rea the provisional front row. Camier barely hauled himself on to S2, moving up to eighth with a final fast lap, joining fifth fastest Smrz, Haslam, Lascorz, ninth fastest Guintoli, Haga, Sykes, and Badovini as those moving forward. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Maxime Berger, 14. Michel Fabrizio, 15. Davide Giugliano, 16. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 2:
Haslam was the first out for the twelve minutes of S2, leading Guintoli, Smrz, Lascorz, Badovini, and Haga before the rest of the field followed. Camier, again, was the last to join. Smrz took the early lead with just under eight minutes remaining, only to lose his fast lap to Rea. Haga followed the Czech rider, with Melandri, and Badovini the early front row. It would not last, as Laverty and Checa both posted faster times, with the former leading and seven minutes remaining. Haga, Melandri, and Badovini were quick enough to move forward, at that point.

With five to go, Laverty still led Checa, and Rea, but Smrz had moved up to fourth fastest. Sykes, Lascorz, Haslam, and the slow Camier were in the knockout zone as most of the top seven pitted. A minute later, all riders but Sykes and Camier were into their garages for new tires and final adjustments. Guintoli, Lascorz, and Haslam (on the bubble and in the danger zone) headed back out when two minutes remained, but the top seven stayed steadfastly in their garages. They were on quick laps as the flag ended the session, with Lascroz moving up to sixth and Guintoli third. Laverty remained quickest (1:42.097), leading Checa, Guintoli, Rea, Smrz, Haga, Lascorz, and Melandri  into S3. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Ayrton Badovini, 10. Tom Sykes, 11. Leon Haslam, 12. Leon Camier.

Superpole 3:
Checa was the last to go out for the final Superpole session of the 2011 season, though all the riders were circulating just under two minutes into S3. Rea had led them out, and set the first time (1:41.712) with six minutes remaining. Checa was two tenths slower on his own fast lap, with Laverty, Melandri, Guintoli, Lascorz, Haga, and Smrz following, halfway through the ten minute session. Rea then returned to the garage. Checa was unable to better his own time on his next lap, remaining out with just under three minutes left. Meanwhile, Smrz had moved up to sixth from eighth. Rea returned to the track, as did Checa, for the final minute of the session. Laverty, Melandri, and the rest of the group, barring Haga, stayed in the garages. Neither Rea nor Checa improved on their laps, both going rather slowly, and Rea took the final pole of the 2011 season from newly-minted championship winner Checa.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Portimao, Portugal:

Pos.No.RiderTeamTimeDiff.
1.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:41.712-
2.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:41.9510.239
3.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:42.1730.461
4.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:42.2590.547
5.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:42.6270.915
6.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:42.7100.998
7.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:43.2821.570
8.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:43.3071.595
Out After Superpole 2
9.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:42.6450.548
10.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:42.7400.643
11.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad1:42.8790.782
12.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:43.0120.915
Out After Superpole 1
13.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:43.3060.723
14.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:43.6611.078
15.34Davide GiuglianoAlthea Racing Ducati1:43.6831.100
16.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:44.0781.495
Not qualified for Superpole
17.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:43.9071.338
18.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad1:44.1311.562
19.31Karl MuggerridgeCastrol Honda1:45.2682.699
20.112Javier ForesBMW Motorrad Italia1:45.2742.705
21.12Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki1:45.3112.742
22.51Santiago BarraganTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:45.4952.926

Source: WSBK; Photo: Castrol Honda

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