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: Fresh Tires Aid Checa to Superpole at Assen

04/16/2011 @ 10:26 am, by Victoria Reid4 COMMENTS

WSBK: Fresh Tires Aid Checa to Superpole at Assen Jonathan Rea Assen WSBK Superpole 2011 635x742

Having dominated the final qualifying session under a cloudy sky and in cool temperatures, Carlos Checa won pole (1:35.292) for the World Superbike round at Assen. The Spaniard won pole for the third race weekend in a row, added by the fact that he was the only rider to have a fresh qualifying tire for the third Superpole session. He will be joined on the front row for Sunday’s races by Jakub Smrz, Eugene Laverty, and Noriyuki Haga. Though none could touch Checa at the end, the Superpole sessions were marked by very close lap times, with the twelve riders in Superpole 2 covered by a half second. Only Marco Melandri crashed during the Superpole sessions, on his last lap while attempting to fight for pole. He was unhurt and qualified eighth.

Though only second quickest in qualifying, Smrz was quickest in both the Friday free practice and the qualifying practice later that afternoon, with eight other men completing the fastest five between both sessions. Though the Czech rider came out on top, the final ten minutes in the first qualifying session seemed to say that the pole position was any rider’s to win. Vermeulen, still recovering and continuously testing Kawasakis, suffered a blown engine in each Friday session that kept him well down the order and off the bike.

Meanwhile, an also injured James Toseland had been replaced by Dutch rider Barry Veneman, who posted times respectably close to those of teammate Badovini. Saturday morning, Rea was quickest in the final qualifying practice, taking the top spot from Smrz by two tenths. He was followed by Biaggi, Corser, and Haga as the fastest five. Corser took over the top spot for the final free practice, with the fastest time of the weekend (1:35.818). Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Maxime Berger, 18. Chris Vermeulen, 19. Barry Veneman, 20. Roberto Rolfo, 21. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 1:
Superpole 1 began under an overcast sky, with the cooler temperatures that had marked much of the weekend, and a breeze. Most of the riders were straight onto the track for this first, fourteen minute session. Haga (1:35.667) led with ten minutes remaining, followed by Haslam, Biaggi, Fabrizio, and Corser. At that point, Laverty, Badovini, Xaus, and Camier were in the knockout zone. Most riders were back in the garage at the halfway point, and back out with around five minutes remaining.

With the point simply to move onward to Superpole 2, Laverty, Guintoli, Badovini, and Xaus were in danger of staying behind with four minutes to go. Rea was twelfth fastest and in danger while Haga remained on top. With just a minute left, Laverty took the provisional pole from Haga, closely followed by teammate Melandri. After the flag, the Irish rider would remain fastest (1:35.623), with Melandri, Haga, Corser, and Biaggi the fastest five. Weekend leader Smrz barely made the cut, and ended S1 twelfth fastest. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Michel Fabrizio, 14. Ruben Xaus, 15. Sylvain Guintoli, 16. Ayrton Badovini.

Superpole 2:
Haslam and Lascorz were the first out for the twelve minutes of Superpole 2. Lascorz was the early leader, followed by Camier, Haga, Haslam, and Biaggi in the first wave of lap times. Quickly, Melandri was fastest (1:35.552) while Rea, Smrz, Checa, and Sykes were in the drop zone without times, four minutes into the session. On their first laps, Rea and Checa slotted into provisional pole and second fastest, respectively, though Rea had already used both of his qualifying tires. Checa soon took the lead (1:35.536), while Smrz had yet to set a time and less than five minutes to do so.

A minute later, Haga, Corser, Biaggi, and Smrz were in in the relegation zone, only to have Smrz take the lead with three minutes to go, and dropped Camier into the knockout zone. At that point, all twelve were separated by less than a second. Corser improved his time, but only to ninth. The times tightened as the seconds ticked away, ending the session with Smrz (1:35.523) on top, followed by Checa, Rea, Melandri, and Biaggi.  Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Leon Camier, 10. Troy Corser, 11. Joan Lascorz, 12. Leon Haslam.

Superpole 3:
Laverty was the last to leave the pit lane in the final qualifying session. Most of the eight riders were on similar footing and forced to lap with used qualifying tires. Checa, though, had fresh qualifying rubber. The Spaniard was fastest (1:35.594) early, followed by Haga, Rea, Biaggi, Sykes, and Melandri with five minutes left. At that point, neither Smrz nor Laverty had set a time. Checa soon bettered his own time by three tenths, though the order of the top five remained the same. Smrz started his first fast lap with about three minutes left while Laverty continued to wait in the garage.

However, Laverty went straight to second fastest with his first proper lap, leaving Checa on top, and an improved Smrz third fastest. Smrz improved again on his next lap to take second from Laverty. His teammate Melandri did not fare so well, crashing on his last lap. Though he was unhurt, he was also unable to post a time quicker than eighth fastest. No one could catch Checa as he took his third pole in as many race weekends.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Assen, Netherlands:

1.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:35.292-
2.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:35. 5600.268
3.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:35.5800.288
4.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:35.9200.628
5.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:36.1380.846
6.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:36.3021.010
7.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:36.3511.059
8.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:37.0361.744
Out After Superpole 2
9.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:35.9030.380
10.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:35.9540.431
11.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:35.9830.460
12.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:36.0890.566
Out After Superpole 1
13.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:36.1480.525
14.111Ruben XausCastrol Honda1:36.2600.637
15.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:36.3610.738
16.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:36.9201.297
Not qualified for Superpole
17.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:37.2721.237
18.77Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:37.5011.466
19.37Barry VenemanBMW Motorrad Italia1:37.5691.534
20.44Roberto RolofoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki1:37.6761.641
21.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki1:37.7941.759

Source: WSBK


  1. BBQdog says:

    Lorenzo had pole on Assen last year with a QP time of 1:35.515

  2. BBQdog says:

    Sorry, should have been 1:34.515 for Lorenzo, so not that much difference
    between MotoGP and WSB.

  3. Philip says:

    Shouldn’t the pic match the title?

  4. Chris says:

    It is ashame that the rules are so unfair for Ducati this year. What with just three out of three poles and three out of four wins(which could have been four if Checa wouldn’t have made a bad tire choice)