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.

WSBK: Rule Changes See the End of Superpole Qualifying

11/15/2013 @ 1:00 pm, by David Emmett8 COMMENTS

WSBK: Rule Changes See the End of Superpole Qualifying tom sykes mr superpole 635x421

The World Superbike championship remains in a state of flux, despite the good news emerging today about the 2014 grid (Feelracing taking on the Ducati factory team, MV Agusta expanding into World Superbikes, and Michel Fabrizio joining Grillini).

The Superbike Commission met at Valencia to agree further rule changes to the series for 2014, as part of the push to revitalize the series. Some of the rules are cost-cutting measures, others are aimed at making the series a more attractive TV package, while some are aimed at providing a more homogenous set of basic rules between the World Superbike and MotoGP series.

The biggest change – and the change that will be mourned the most – is the loss of the current three-stage Superpole qualifying format. Instead of having three Superpole sessions, with the slowest riders being dropped after each session, World Superbikes is to adopt a system similar to MotoGP, where the fastest riders in free practice go straight through to the second and decisive qualifying session, the rest having a second chance in a first qualifying session.

The aim of adopting the MotoGP system is the same reason it was adopted in MotoGP: it gives much better TV exposure to the teams lower down the qualifying order, while still providing an exciting qualifying session. It also has the benefit of ensuring that the qualifying system in both WSBK and MotoGP is the same, making it easier for casual viewers to watch either series and understand what is going on.

The loss of the current Superpole system will be widely mourned. The three-tier system provided a superb mix of strategy and excitement, especially as the riders only had two sets of qualifying tires to use in three session.

Faster riders had to gamble on getting through to Superpole 2 using race tires, while slower riders could use qualifiers to pick up the pace and qualify further up the grid. The loss of Superpole opens the door for further cost cuts, as it removes the need for soft qualifying tires.

The other measure aimed at unifying the two series is the introduction of penalty points in WSBK. The system has been a success in Grand Prix racing, and extending it to World Superbikes and World Supersport is a logical step aimed at policing riding better in both series.

The announcement that points are to be introduced in WSBK was accompanied by news that the points system is also to change in MotoGP, with each penalty point being awarded having a validity of 12 months. This addresses the problem raised by incidents in the final race of the year, and discussed in our recent interview with MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb.

The schedule for race day is also to change, with the timing of the races to change. This is to fit in an earlier TV window, so that WSBK races do not clash with Formula One, MotoGP, major soccer games, or other big events. By changing the event schedule, Dorna are hoping they can make the series a more attractive package for TV, and generate more income for the cash-strapped series.

The full details of all the changes, as well as more details on the technical regulations, are due to be discussed in the next meeting of the Superbike Commission, due to be held in Madrid on the 10th December. Below is the press release with the changes thus far.

FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup

Changes to Regulations for 2014

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Executive Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on 08 November 2013 in the presence of MM Daniel Carrera, Gregorio Lavilla (WSBK-Dorna) and Paul Duparc (FIM).

A draft of the Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations taking into account the conclusions of the SBK Working Group composed of MM. Lavilla, Carrera and Duparc was submitted to the Commission. The goal was to harmonise the regulations of the FIM Grand Prix and Superbike World Championships and to have a set of regulations as similar as possible for both FIM series.

These SBK Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations were basically approved. However, some items remain pending and the SBK Commission will meet on 10 December, in Madrid, to finalise the FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship and Superstock 1000cc Cup Regulations for 2014.

The main changes will concern the following items:

  • Practice restrictions will be applied for contracted riders and teams. (However it will be taken into account that the Superbike and Endurance Championships will provide teams and riders in each series thanks to the similarity of the EWC and EVO class technical regulations);
  • Time and practice Schedules will be reviewed: the SBK format of the free and qualifying practices will be inspired by the MotoGP ones (with a number of participants directly qualified in Q2);
  • Revision of the Start Procedure with a scenario for a quick restart (in case of a red flag caused by reasons other than weather conditions) with a very short time for opening the pit lane;
  • Superbike and Supersport Race distances will be reduced by the equivalent of two laps in case of wet conditions.
  • Sunday race timing schedule for Superbike, Supersport, and Superstock 1000cc Cup will be shortened from 10.30 am to 14.30.
  • Introduction of licence penalty points that will last for a period of one year (this system be applied in all FIM Road Racing World Championships).

For the Superbike Technical Regulations, a clarification of the rules will be made in view of the next SBK Commission to be held in Madrid in December, taking into consideration that the 2015 SBK Rules should last for a long period of time in order to give stability to the series. The MSMA is also expected to put forward joint proposals for ensuring a low-cost championship with fair and close competition between the different manufacturers on the track.

OTHER SPORTING, TECHNICAL AND DISCIPLINARY MODIFICATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER THE LAST SBK COMMISSION MEETING ON THE FIM WEBSITE.

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. TexusTim says:

    … “dont mess with it if its not broke”… or..”mess with it till it brakes” too many changes all the time and its not getting promoted due to all the tv bs…they have to stop worring about tv revenu and be more concerned about reaching the masses…all the other stuff is meaningless if you cant watch it or have to pay extra just to tune it in.

  2. Gutterslob says:

    That photo is spot-on.

  3. smiler says:

    So to make WSBK more popular they have got rid of superpole and added penalty points in order to ensure the racing is more bland. The kinetic energy a WSBK bike has is significantly less, as are corner speeds so if a rider does come off then the chances of serious injury are much less.

    How exactly is this going to make it better?

    Moving the timings is a good idea, as long as it is not 6am and 10am.

    In 2015 there will be a move to fill WSBK with ex motogp spanish riders in order to give them an extended career and pension.

  4. Dave P says:

    Did not know that Macklemore was a part of team green!

  5. Anvil says:

    @smiler

    So, let me get this straight. A bike that weighs more than a MotoGP bike and is only marginally slower in real terms has significantly less kinetic energy–and when I say signfincantly, I mean enough less that they’re somehow much safer?

    The corner speeds are lower, but lap times aren’t that much different, maybe two or three seconds and we know they’re a bit slower on the straights, so it doesn’t seem like a collosal difference in the corners. I don’t see a huge disparity in crashes, either, but I can’t say I’ve studied it very closely.

    Please explain this. I’m serious. Am I missing something?

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: ” The kinetic energy a WSBK bike has is significantly less, as are corner speeds so if a rider does come off then the chances of serious injury are much less.”

    F = m X a

    breaking news…!!!

  7. Norm G. says:

    more breaking news…

    welcome baby grinner…!

  8. FafPak says:

    @smiler
    | chances of serious injury are much less.

    Ah so! There is still a chance of serious injury then? lolol…
    1. You dont have all the parameters required for your “physics” analysis
    2. WSBK bikes lap closer to MotoGP bikes than you think: http://goo.gl/1jYAvN (“…The fastest production-based Superbikes are, at most tracks, faster than the CRT machines and at some tracks they’re faster than the slowest of the pure prototypes…”)