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 Surprising Early Leader Gets Hunted Down in Dicey Race 1 at Portimao

10/16/2011 @ 4:57 am, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

WSBK: A Surprising Early Leader Gets Hunted Down in Dicey Race 1 at Portimao checa portimao pirelli 635x420

Jonathan Rea (1:41.712) won pole during Saturday’s Superpole sessions at Portimao with a new lap record time. He held off second place starter Carlos Checa with that fast lap set early in the final S3 session. The two riders had dominated the times on Friday, with Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri completing the front row of Starters for Sunday’s races. Though Rea’s fast lap came early in S3, there was plenty of nail biting for riders further back the pack. Multiple riders hauled themselves out of the knockout zone on final flying laps after the flag. Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Joan Lascorz, and Noriyuki Haga complete the second row.

Max Biaggi returned for this final round of the 2011 World Superbike season after injury kept him from contesting the championship. Fellow Italian Roberto Rolfo did not compete, having broken his left kneecap in a bicycle accident near his home earlier in the week. Santiago Barragan replaced him at Pedericini Kawasaki. Fellow Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen ended this season as he began it, attempting to recover fully from a knee injury sustained in 2010. He did not participate in the weekend. However, Portimao saw Josh Waters and Yoshimura Suzuki again at a WSBK round, though the Australian was knocked out in the final qualifying practice and started only 21st. Finally, word came from Troy Corser that he would not be returning to WSBK racing after this final weekend of the season.

Race 1 began under bright and sunny skies, with Rea leading into the first turn, as Melandri slid in behind him. Biaggi moved up to eighth after a terrible qualiyfying session. Guintoli threw himself into second in from of Laverty, then took his teammate’s second place position as well. By the end of L1, Rea led Guintoli, Melandri, Laverty, Checa, Sykes, Lascorz, Biaggi, Haslam, and Camier as the top ten. Laverty and Melandri looked to take second form Guintoli, but he went well wide across the start/finish straight to get good position to keep second into the first turn. Guintoli got a great run across the line as the second lap ended, pushing Rea wide into the first turn and taking the lead. Camier, meanwhile, ran straight on at Turn 1. Laverty also ran off a few turns later, getting a huge wiggle on heavy breaking and being forced to take to the runoff area. He then pulled into the garage for a check of the bike, after coming together with Camier.

Fighting continued five laps into the twenty-two lap race, as Guintoli pulled a half second gap on Rea. Melandri and Checa completed a four rider breakaway at the front, a second and a half ahead of Lascorz, Haslam, Sykes, Biaggi, Badovini, and Berger completed the top ten, though Biaggi was on the move. In last place, Laverty returned to the track with seventeen laps remaining, two laps down. Over the next couple of laps, Guintoli could not escape Rea. Both had gained a bit of time over Melandri and Checa, though the latter were soon matching the former’s lap times. A bit further back. Biaggi and Sykes went around Haslam, one on either side.

Soon, Rea had lost time to Guintoli, as Melandri and Checa caught him. Checa looked to be pushing Melandri hard, pushing so hard that the had a massive rear slide in the middle of the final turn. A bit later, Checa nearly had a go at Melandri, but did not go for the position. He lost a bit of time on the straight, but closed right back up into the first turn. By the halfway point, Guintoli’s lead was 1.3s on a slightly slower lap, with Rea, Melandri, Checa, Lascorz, Biaggi, Sykes, Haslam, Haga, and Badovini the top ten. Checa took third from Melandri from decently back into Turn 5. The champion next went for Rea, keeping third from Melandri in Rea’s slipstream. Checa moved into second as Rea took a wide line out of a corner. Further back, Haga was pressing Haslam for seventh, with Badovini and Berger also part of the fight. Berger soon took both Haslam and Haga to go seventh. Haga then took advantage and gained eighth from Haslam.

At the front, Guintoli continued to maintain a second and a half to two second gap with seven laps remaining. Checa, though, was consistently posting some quicker laps, dropping the gap to just over a second. Rea had dropped off the back of the two of them, with Melandri coming under fire from Lascorz. When five laps remained, the gap between leader Guintoli and Checa had dropped to a second. Checa continued to dog the Frenchman, dropping the gap to a very manageable seven tenth on the next lap. Further back, Melandri ran very wide as Lascorz  looked for a way under the Italian. Lascorz gained fourth, leaving Melandri well within Biaggi’s clutches. The older Italian caught up with him and got beside him on the front straight and braked later into the first turn.

Checa made his way around Guintoli for the lead with two laps to go, diving underneath in a bold move. Soon, he had more than three tenths than the former leader. He led Guintoli, Rea, Lascorz, Biaggi, Melandri, Berger, Sykes, Haslam, and Smrz as the top ten as the final lap began. Further back, Biaggi had moved forward, catching Lascorz and taking him just beyond the start/finish line to start the final lap. In the end, there was no stopping Checa from the win, despite dropping to fifth on the first lap.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Portimao:

17Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati-
250Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 2.860
34Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda 8.481
41Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team 11.963
517Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki 13.333
633Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team18.960
7121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati20.489
866Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki25.320
991Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad26.695
1096Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati26.801
1184Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare27.115
122Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team28.563
1386Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia31.765
1411Troy CorserBMW Motorrad31.822
1541Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia31.866
1634Davide GiuglianoAlthea Racing Ducati47.694
178Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawaski47.737
1831Karl MuggeridgeCastrol Honda1:06.213
1958Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team2 Laps
2051Santiago BarraganTeam Pedericini Kawaski3 Laps
2112Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki4 Laps
Not Classified
112Javier ForesBMW Motorrad Italia7 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)


  1. Westward says:

    And there is still a question if Checa will be with Ducati, why ?

    Checa and Guintoli seem like a formidable pair…