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.

A&R Broventure 2013: The Moab Expedition

08/29/2013 @ 11:39 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

A&R Broventure 2013: The Moab Expedition broventure map 635x423

Moab, even the name sounds as foreign as its landscapes are to a city slicker like me. You see, there comes a point where you can only pound so much payment on your daily two-wheeled commute before you have to get away from it all…and with San Francisco currently undergoing its Bridgepocalypse, the timing seems right for Asphalt & Rubber to get a little dirt on its riding boots.

The truth is that I have wanted to go the parks that flank the Moab, Utah region since my early Boy Scout days. Once I got a car, it went on the short-list for road trip destinations; when I got a 4×4 it became the target for a four-wheeling adventure; and of course when I got a motorcycle…well, you get the idea. I have never made the trip happen though, but all that is going to change next week.

Just as Scott and David get back from Silverstone, covering what should be a very entertaining British GP, I will be embarking on a eight-day, 2,000+ mile, Santa Barbara to Moab and back, motorcycle trip. Like most of my foolish travel adventures, my college roommate Tim, a long-time riding buddy and occasional A&R helper, will make the adventure with me on two trusty steeds: a BMW R1200GS and Yamaha Super Ténéré.

Tim and I have traveled by box truck across the country when I moved to Pennsylvania for grad school (the truck leaked during an epic rainstorm in Arizona), and while I was working for the United Nations, Tim flew out to Europe so we could hike along Italy’s Mediterranean coast (among other adventures in Tuscany that involved a broken bus and Canadians).

Planning to camp at least five of the eight days on the road (no, sleeping in jail in Las Vegas is not considered camping), and tip our toes in the ADV waters, next week’s undertaking has officially reached Broventure status. What does this mean for you though, loyal Asphalt & Rubber reader?

Well, for starters Tim and I will be posting as much as we can from the road to Facebook and Twitter, with hopefully nightly updates on A&R about our trip’s travels. I say hopefully, because you know…motorcycles…camping…electricity…bobcats…Utah. What could go wrong, right?

The content should be a little different from our usual fare, and the daily news grind might not comes as lightning quick as you’re used to on A&R…but we should be able to keep up with the important stories during our roadside pit stops. Motorcycles are supposed to be toys for fun, so hopefully you will enjoy our tales from the road as much as we will enjoy having them.

Our rough route is in the image above, so if you know of some good roads along the way (or some good trails in the Bryce Canyon, Arches, or Canyonalands National Parks), drop us a line in the comments — we’re always open to suggestions.

We leave Wednesday 4th and return on Wednesday 11th, and will takes us through the following landmarks: Mojave, Zion, Dixie, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree — among others. Call our mothers if we’re not back by Thursday the 12th.


  1. paulus says:

    Great! Hopefully the start of more off-road related content :)
    Have a great time…. enjoy the adventure that is off-road riding.

  2. Richie Rich says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip, sure you’ll have a great time. If you haven’t packed it already, may I suggest taking Edward Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’? An excellent read about Arches and other (disappearing) natural wonders in that part of Utah.

  3. Starmag says:

    Jensen, sounds awesome. Thanks for including us. Can’t wait for the updates.

  4. Steve NJ says:

    I was out in Zion & Bryce in mid May… wonderful weather, beautiful trip!

    The town of Springfield right before the entrance to Zion is a fantastic little town… great restaurants & nice hotels …. but since you are camping, there are campgrounds in Springfield & of course, in Zion.

    Once we left Zion for Bryce, we experienced a drastic change in weather… we left Zion in the 90′s & got to RT 12 heading for Bryce & it was 56 degrees…. but the real issue for us lowlanders was altitude sickness & then dehydration (we were hiking @ 9000ft)….. I noticed the altitude sickness in my girlfriend pretty quickly but it took 1 day to realize that I was being affected too. So just beware… symptoms include headache & acting crazy… (not kidding)…

    We loved Utah & would go back to Springdale & Zion in a minute. I am assuming you will go through Monument Valley Arizona on the way home…. how about the North Rim of the GC?? that road dead-end’s at the canyon….I always wanted to ride there on a bike!

    Good luck & I look forward to reading your trip notes!

  5. Kevin says:


    Like life, the map is just a reference starting point and the best roads are the one’s that call your name when you pass them. Have fun.


  6. Reed Parker says:

    This is a great route!! I have driven it with a friend, from Vegas in 1 day (rental car of course). We toured the Grand Canyon and then decided to go the “Long Way ‘Round” it was a great decision.

    The sweeping curves in Arizona are amazing and Hurricane Utah at night, the sky filled with bats. I only wish I can one day ride these roads on my bike.

  7. Nick Napoda says:

    The route there is absolutely incredible. From Hurricane, UT to Hanksville, UT is the most beautiful stretch of roads I’ve ever seen, especially the Grand Staircase Escalante. Huge alpine mountains dropping down into endless canyonlands. Awesome!

  8. L2C says:

    Have a great trip! And don’t worry, I’m used to getting the news here a couple of days late. ;-)

  9. Doctor Jelly says:

    Hey, you’ll be passing right by me on the 40. I’ll give you an air five as you you go by!

    There’s a short but sweet twisty south of Flagstaff a little out of your way. If I remember right you did a bike review out there some time back on highway 89A passing through Jerome, AZ. Other than that the only good place I know about is Joshua Tree Park, and you’ve already scheduled that. It’s a blast highballing it out there with no cops around!

  10. Krust says:

    If you are interested in some nice scenic dirt roads on your way through Flagstaff you can cut across the North side of the San Francisco peaks.

    From Highway 89 turn right onto FR522 follow that to a right turn on FR418 (or continue on FR522 to an do out and back to Lockett Meadow, beautiful place) FR418 travels along the North side of the Peaks and will end on FR151 (also called Hart Prarie Rd.) If you are done with the dirt take the right fork and it will dump you out on Highway 180 which you can ride into town, or if you want some more take the left fork onto FR151 and it will take you along the west side of the Peaks and end at Highway 180 much closer to town.

    Map Link:

    These are all well maintained Forest Service roads. Should be no trouble on a GS and Tenere. I would guess this would add about 1 hr (without the Lockett Meadow side trip) to your ride time as opposed to just riding Highway 89 into town.

  11. Gabe says:

    You live in SB? I am surprised you’re not doing more of the scenic/canyon roads nearby (the 150 to santa paula, or the 150 to 33 to N2 to the 58….. I suppose you’ll be short on time

  12. Paul McM says:

    I did a similar loop on a GTS1000 back in ’93. It’s spectacular — one of the most stunningly scenic rides on the planet. Truly. Our itinerary started and ended in Las Vegas. From Sin City we went to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Moki Dugway, Monument Valley, Page (Marble Canyon), Vermillion Cliffs and back to Vegas in 5 days. If you’re contemplating such a trip don’t miss Monument Valley! It’s not a National Park so some people forget about it — but it is truly one of the highlights! The road going into page is also insanely Good on a streetbike.

    Jensen — enjoy the ride and take a pick from the Moki Dugway!

  13. Jimboecv says:

    Flagstaff – Eat at Black Bart’s. Great food, fun, no dress code ;-)

  14. Gabe says:

    Something like this for the SB > Barstow stretch. The 150-33-Lockwood valley is a good ride, the 138-14-58 are two lanes with minimal enforcement.

  15. Thanks for all the tips folks!

    Gabe, I used to live in Santa Barbara (Tim still does), and Hwy 33 was pretty much a regular Sunday morning thing.

  16. Dave says:

    Try Miguel’s Baja Grill in Moab. you won’t regret it.