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.

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: Battle Between Teammates Livens Up Race 2 at Portimao Season Finale

10/16/2011 @ 8:25 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Battle Between Teammates Livens Up Race 2 at Portimao Season Finale melandri portimao pirelli 635x421

Jonathan Rea (1:41.712) won his second pole of the 2011 World Superbike season to start the season finale at Portimao on pole. He beat newly minted champion Carlos Checa to pole by more than two tenths in Saturday’s Superpole session, despite the riders having traded fast laps in Friday’s sessions. Joining them on the front row are soon-to-be-former Yamaha teammates Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri. Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Joan Lascorz, and Noriyuki Haga complete the second row. 2010 champion Max Biaggi returned for the final race weekend after missing three race meetings due to a foot injury sustained at Nurburgring. Though he was quick on Friday and in the practice session, Biaggi managed only to qualify seventeenth.

Chris Vermeulen and Roberto Rolfo, along with Ruben Xaus did not participate on the weekend, all suffering from injuries that kept them home. Vermeulen was not replaced, though Rolfo was by his satellite Kawasaki team. The Italian had broken his left kneecap in a bicycle accident near his home earlier in the week, leaving room for Santiago Barragan to fill in for him. Karl Muggerridge again filled in for Xaus, as the Spainiard’s earlier neck and back injuries also kept him from racing. Though Rea and Checa each held a fat lap on Friday, it was Rea who held provisional pole going into the Superpole sessions. He would not relinquish pole, winning his second of the season. Race 1 was a sunny and bright affair, with a surprising early leader, decisive battles, and a a bit of icing on the cake of the 2011 season.

Race 2 began on a hot afternoon and a nearly shaded front straight. Rea got another great start, leading into the first turn, with Melandri taking second. Haslam went well wide, as the pack swept through the first few turns. Laverty slid into second around Melandri, then then came alongside Rea on the straight. He crossed the line barely behind him but took the lead into the first turn. Behind them at the end of L1, Melandri, Checa, Guintoli, Haga, Camier, Sykes, Badovini, and Smrz completed the top ten.

Melandri was not too happy to stay third, diving under Rea for second in a close maneuver on the second lap. By that point, the top five had separated themselves from Haga and the rest of the field. Guintoli was drifting back, but still a half second ahead of Haga. The battle waged heavily amongst the mid-field, with Camier taking seventh from Haga and multiple riders fanning out across the straight. A bit further back, Biaggi was up to tenth around Sykes, hoping to regain third in the championship. At the front, Laverty had six tenths on Rea, five laps into the race. Melandri, Checa, Guintoli, Badovini, Camier, Lascorz, Biaggi, and Haga completed the top ten on that lap.

Into Turn 1, Melandri tried again on Rea, pushing the pole sitter wide and out of second position. Rea had run wide again, barely holding on to third from Checa, who seemed quietly unassuming in fourth. Both Yamahas had gained time and space on Rea, with Laverty four tenths ahead of Melandri. Meanwhile, Guintoli had dropped back from the lead pack by a second. Otherwise, the riders seemed to have settled in for the mid-section of the race.

The front pack of Laverty, Melandri, Rea, and Checa looked to have closed up a bit, with all the riders equidistant apart. Guintoli still hung on near the back, four seconds ahead of the rest of the field. At halfway, Camier, Biaggi, Badovini, Lascorz, Sykes, Haga, Smrz, Corser, Berger, Haslam, Guigliano, Fabrizio, Aitchison, Muggeridge, Waters, and Fores were the riders still running after the top five, as Barragan had pulled into the garage. Rea began to look a bit more racing, settling in more tightly behind Melandri, as Checa dropped back just slightly. Still, the order of the top five remained unchanged. Rea looked to be pushing, regularly going a bit wide and reminding the Italin that he was close behind.

When five laps remained, Laverty still led his teammate, by just two tenths. Rea was another two tenths back, as the podium remained unchanged. Melandri, though, had a serious look but did not attempt to take the lead. It was on the next lap that Melandro took advantage of his teammate and the lead. Laverty continued to remain behind, as his teammate quickly pulled out a six tenths gap with two laps to go. Rea looked to take second from Laverty, and did, only for the latter to regain the position as Rea ran wide. Melandri’s lead was nearly a second over the dueling Laverty and Rea as the final lap began. Rea again took second, but Laverty was back in front across the line on that last lap. In the end, Melandri won with his teammate standing next to him on the podium, and Rea the third place finisher.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Portimao:

133Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team-
258Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1.075
34Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1.363
47Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati2.648
550Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati3.355
62Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team4.709
71Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team6.514
817Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki14.441
986Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia19.128
10121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati25.527
1141Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia26.400
1234Davide GiuglianoAlthea Racing Ducati26.646
1396Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati26.963
1484Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare30.209
1591Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad30.951
1611Troy CorserBMW Motorrad31.057
1731Karl MuggeridgeCastrol Honda57.941
1812Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki58.577
19112Javier ForesBMW Motorrad1:04.011
208Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:04.397
Not Classified
66Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki5 Laps
51Santiago BarraganTeam Pedericini Kawaski13 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)

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