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 Concludes Three Days of Testing in Portimao

01/28/2011 @ 9:13 pm, by Victoria Reid2 COMMENTS

WSBK Concludes Three Days of Testing in Portimao Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda WSBK test Portimao 635x599

Posting the fastest time of the official World Superbike test in Portugal, Jakub Smrz was the fastest man at Portimao. A feat in its own right, Smrz’s accomplishment is compounded by the fact that the Portuguese track saw three days of continuously changing weather. In a climate that kept the bikes off the track, and the riders bored in the garages, Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty rounded out the fastest three riders at Portimao, with times set also on Wednesday afternoon. The first day was fair, though conditions worsened greatly overnight, making Thursday morning entirely unappealing for test laps. Luckily, Friday dried out through the afternoon, but no one was able to best Smrz’s early mark of 1:43.503 during the testing sessions.

All too often winter testing provides plenty of data for the teams and riders, but not nearly enough for journalists and fans who wish to prognosticate. While teams might focus on a certain sector during one lap and another the next, they hide their own flaws and keep their best performances to themselves. Combined with poor weather conditions, a rider sitting out to recover from surgery (Chris Vermeulen), and an entire team testing at another location, the WSBK winter test leaves very little actual story to tell before the start of the racing season.

An alternate way to see how the riders and teams are performing at this stage is to compare not their quickest times, but their overall rankings over the course of the sessions. With the Portuguese weather remaining uncooperative, times varied between and within the sessions, and though not every rider posted times for each session, how he did in comparison to his fellow lap-setters within that session and overall can make it easier to guess which teams and riders are doing better than others.

Session Rankings for January 26th-28th Test at Portimao:

RiderWed #1
(16 riders)
Wed #2
(16 riders)
Thur #1
(8 riders)
Thur #2
(12 riders)
Fri #1
(14 riders)
Fri #2
(15 riders)
Tier 1
Rea1st2ndNo time1st8th11th
Xaus6th13thNo timeNo time1st1st
Smrz2nd1stNo time5th11th12th
Checa15th5th1st3th5th8th
Tier 2
Fabrizio4th7th6th10th2nd2nd
Laverty14th3th2nd7thNo time4th
Melandri16th15th7th2th3th5th
Tier 3
Biaggi3rd6thNo timeNo timeNo timeNo time
Haga7th12th3rd8th9th3rd
Tier 4
Badovini13th16th4th9th10th13th
Berger10th14th8th12th13th7th
Camier8th9thNo timeNo time14th5th
Guintoli11th8thNo time4th4th6th
Lascorz9th10thNo timeNo time7th10th
Sykes5th4thNo time6th6th9th
Toseland12th11th5th11th12th14th

At the end of this first official WSBK test, we only know who posted the fastest time and who was most often within the three fastest riders in a session, however it is unlikely that any of this will have much affect on racing and who wins the 2011 World Superbike Championship. The point of testing is just that: to see how things are working, to know what needs to be changed, and what should not be changed. In the end, who does what now makes little difference to what will happen. But it does make for a break in winter.

Final Combined Times for January 26-28 Test at Portimao:

Pos.No.RiderTimeTeam
1.96Jakub Smrz1:43.503Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)
24Jonathan Rea1:43.676Castrol Honda
3.58Eugene Laverty1:43.707Yamaha WSBK Team
4.66Tom Sykes1:43.770Kawasaki Racing Team SBK
5.7Carlos Checa1:43.789Althea Racing (Ducati)
6.3Max Biaggi1:43.840Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
7.84Michel Fabrizio1:43.879Team Suzuki Alstare
8.50Sylvain Guintoli1:44.369Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)
9.2Leon Camier1:44.446Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
10.17Joan Lascorz1:44.752Kawasaki Racing Team
11.52James Toseland1:44.764BMW Motorrad SBK Team
12.41Noriyuki Haga1:44.857PATA Racing Team Aprilia
13.111Ruben Xaus1:44.885Castrol Honda
14.121Maxime Berger1:44.886Supersonic Racing Team (Ducati)
15.33Marco Melandri1:45.461Yamaha WSBK Team
16.86Ayrton Badovini1:45.678BMW Motorrad SBK Team

Source: WSBK; Photo: Castrol Honda

Comment:

  1. irksome says:

    In other words, “Nothing to report here except the weather kinda sucked, but at least I didn’t have to shell out for the airfare or a room.”

    You could at least have gotten a better photo.

  2. jamesy says:

    In my op, the fact that the top seven times were all covered by 1/2 second AND contained SIX different bike brands is news. Huge, wonderful news indeed.
    This may portend to the best season since Ben bitchslapped Biaggi! Cannot wait for the racing.