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: Exciting Duels Under the Sunshine at Imola in Race 1

09/25/2011 @ 3:51 am, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

WSBK: Exciting Duels Under the Sunshine at Imola in Race 1 rea pirelli imola 635x488

Carlos Checa started Race 1 of the 2011 World Superbike round at Imola on pole. He beat out fellow front row starters Jonathan Rea, Noriyuki Haga, and Tom Sykes with a new track record lap (1:47.196) during the three Superpole qualifying sessions Saturday. Though Checa looked unbeatable early in the weekend, Rea and his newly implemented ride-by-wire throttle control took provisional pole in the first qualifying session on Saturday. Sykes was the next rider looking to keep Checa from winning the championship, as he took provisional pole during Saturday’s qualifying practice, but Checa was again on top of the timesheets during the final free practice minutes before Superpole began.

Checa did not dominate the Superpole sessions, but his lap time early in S3 was enough to hold the others at bay and maintain his qualifying domination of the season. Though Ruben Xaus has returned to his Castrol Honda for the weekend, Max Biaggi was forced to sit out this round, his second in a row, after his Nurburgring injury. Also missing from the field is Chris Vermeulen and the newly-retired James Toseland, who has been replaced by Javier Fores at BMW Motorrad Italia. In the final session Sunday morning, Haga led Sykes, Rea, Haslam, and Checa as the fastest five in the warm-up.The lights went out under brightly sunny skies, though the day was not impossibly hot. Checa got a good start, but it was Rea who took the lead, with Checa following into the first turn. Laverty looked to take second from Checa, but Rea ran a bit wide and allowed Sykes to take over the lead. At the end of L1, Sykes had control of the lead, with Checa, Rea, Laverty, Haga, Haslam, Fabrizio, Melandri, Badovini, and Guintoli the top ten. Camier out-braked himself and was forced to dive into the pitlane and take the long way around.

Moments later, Fabrizio crashed out of seventh while Berger pitted. Rea pushed hard to take second from Checa, with Laverty following him through soon thereafter, dropping the championship leader to fourth, four laps into the race. Quickly, Rea dropped Sykes’ half second lead down to two tenths. With seventeen laps remaining, Rea slid through on the inside to take the lead from Sykes as Checa continued to slide backward. Haga had moved up to fourth while Rea was ahead at the front. Just seven laps into the race, Rea had more than a second on Sykes, who had more than a second of cushion on Haga in third.

Haga, though, was not allowing Sykes to get away, soon clawing back a half second with a new race fast lap. The Japanese rider was soon right on Sykes’ rear wheel, though further back Haslam had crashed, rejoining the race down in fourteenth, only to later head for the garage and end his day. However, the more important drama came from Haga, who made his way through on Sykes to take second position.

At the end of L10, Rea had a second and a half on Haga, with Sykes another second back. Checa was in fourth, comfortably two and a half seconds ahead of Laverty, while Guintoli, Melandri, Badovini, Smrz, and Sandi completed the top ten. Haga was closing on Rea for the lead, though, with plenty of time to make up the gap. Just one lap later, he was only eight tenths back. He was another half second closer two laps later, with seven laps remaining.

The two riders continued to duel over the lead as the laps ticked down, with Haga very close and pushing Rea hard but unable to make the move. A bit further back, Checa looked to take third from Sykes, but ran wide and was unable to maintain the position. With four laps remaining, Rea still led Haga, with Sykes, Checa, Laverty, Guintoli, Smrz, Badovini, Melandri, and Aitchison the top ten. Rea continued to hold off Haga, pulling a two tenth gap back over the Japanese rider with two laps to go.

The top four positions held two battles in the final lap, with Haga looking for any way around Rea, and Checa passing Sykes only to lose the position again. In the end, Haga just couldin’t find a way around Rea and the Castol Honda rider took the win, However, Checa did make a pass stick at the end and took the final podium spot from the early race leader.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Imola:

Pos.No.RiderTeamDiff.
14Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda-
241Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia0.111
37Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati9.449
466Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki9.792
558Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team14.699
650Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati16.820
796Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati24.227
833Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team24.935
986Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia25.224
1017Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki25.487
118Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawaski26.148
1211Troy CorserBMW Motorrad26.444
1323Federico SandiAlthea Racing Ducati29.761
1453Alex PolitaBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.30.083
152Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team34.862
1615Matteo BaioccoBarni Racing Ducati40.331
17111Ruben XausCastrol Honda44.547
1844Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawaski50.241
Not Classified
91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad13 Laps
112Javier ForesBMW Motorrad Italia15 Laps
84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare20 Laps
121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati20 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)

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