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.

Sticker Shock: Brammo Empulse R Priced at $20,000?

05/03/2012 @ 5:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Sticker Shock: Brammo Empulse R Priced at $20,000? Brammo Empulse RR 635x425

A Bothan spy just dropped off a note in the A&R inbox saying that the soon-to-be-released and recently-spotted Brammo Empulse R is to come with quite the price tag. Said to be priced just shy of $20,000, the R-spec Empulse would be commanding a $6,000 premium over the $14,000 MSRP that was quoted when the Brammo Empulse first hit the newswires 22 months ago. Considering the $13,995 price tag offered by the Zero S ZF9, the $20,000 figure being bantered about sounds very high to our ears, at least initially.

However, with roughly 10 kWh of battery pack on-board, along with some nice parts like Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes, Marzocchi forks, a sachs rear shock, and of course the IET six-speed gearbox, the $20,000 price begins to sound a bit more reasonable (note: not actually reasonable), at least when one is comparison shopping between the two brands. With Brammo having to-date the better build quality out of the two electric motorcycle manufacturers, one can imagine the brand commanding a higher price, especially with some more premium components on its bike.

Another factor at play could be the general need of the company to start hitting financial profitability. Rumored to have been selling bikes at a loss in order to gain market share, the folks up at Ashland may be reassessing the shape of the demand curve for electric motorcycles, having only sold several hundred units in the past 3+ years. Whether or not that rumor has anything to do with the $28 million investment round that was lead by Polaris Industries we will leave up for you to ascertain.

Stay tuned for Tuesday, when official pricing and photos of the Brammo Empulse and Brammo Empulse R will be unveiled.

Source: Bothan Spies

Comment:

  1. paulus says:

    increasing the price…. that’s a sure fire way to sell more units and get economies of scale :(

  2. Not so much as a rumor about the regular Empulse. We get specs for the Empulse R, spy shots of the Empulse R, not a peep about the Empulse… very odd. Guess we will have to wait until Tuesday…

  3. Westward says:

    So let me get this straight, they are pricing it to compete with a Ducati 1199 Panigale…

    Tuesday can’t come soon enough, I for one hope it’s a rumour.

    Otherwise, good luck with that…

  4. Peter Ha says:

    Wrong! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Sticker Shock: Brammo Empulse R Coming with a $20,000 Price Tag? – http://t.co/WemY2hi6

  5. Casey Palmer says:

    Why would they ever ask that much?? One, the bike doesnt look very good; two, it probably doesnt perform as well as you would think considering the stats they put up in the Electric GP. MotoCzysz is the bike to look at. It’s ten times the bike any other electric company can come up with. And with the right rider on it….. It’s unbeatable. Sorry Brammo….. You’re not quite up to par.

  6. Damo says:

    If this is true, the Brammo will be relegated to novelty status.

  7. Westward says:

    @ Casey Palmer

    Electric GP aside, Brammo does have a little something more going for it that can make them the consumer choice to beat. The Difference between them and Motoczysz, is that a MotoCzysz bike would cost you $40k – 100k, and the Empulse doesn’t have to be. MotoCzysz is almost totally original in it’s design and nearly borrows nothing from any other manufacturer. However, Brammo does, and should only cost a tiny fraction of a MotoCzysz.

    Brammo’s only downfall, is that they think of themselves as the Ducati of electric motorcycles, when they have not earned it. What they really are, are the Fischer Motor Company of the motorcycle industry, only the electric edition…

    We await to see what the future holds…

  8. mxs says:

    Wow … more power to them (no pun intended). Charge what the market can bear. If they intended production is 50 bikes a year, I think they will succeed … Leno will buy 3, Pitt might take few as well …. they will always find people with enough money to buy them. Short term win which will not last long enough.

    I think it might be an April 1 joke running a bit late?

  9. zinc says:

    Did Motoczysz go into production w/o telling anyone? Why are you even comparing them?
    Might as well throw in a couple of demo bikes from Mission…

    The Zero isn’t even in the same league…sorry…but belt drives are for Harleys…

  10. GhostErider says:

    @ Casey Palmer

    “..It’s ten times the bike any other electric company can come up with…”

    Really?

    http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/racing/e-power-ttxgp-laguna-seca-qualifying-2011/#more-23716

    If I remember correctly 2nd place was 38 seconds behind at the end of the race.

  11. Turing says:

    Don’t forget about about the tax credits you get. In CO, I’d get $11k in tax credits for buying that thing, which makes the price drop to $8k.