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.

Ducati 798 Desmosport R Concept by Oberdan Bezzi

03/22/2012 @ 5:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Ducati 798 Desmosport R Concept by Oberdan Bezzi Ducati 798 Desmosport R Concept Oberdan Bezzi 01 635x364

Much has been speculated about the alleged Ducati 799 Superbike that surely is being planned in Borgo Panigale this very minute. Connecting the dots with the Italian company’s product roadmap, Ducati surely has a smaller-displacement version of its 1199 Panigale in the works, though what it will be called and what displacement it will use is still the subject of much conjecture. Today Oberdan Bezzi takes us back down that thought process with his Ducati 798 Desmosport R concept.

A supersport-market model, Bezzi’s focus is not with the water-cooled 1,200cc Superquadro motor, but the tried and true DesmoDue air-cooled lump currently found in the Hypermotard and Monster lines. Looking for a €9,000 price point, 100hp power figure, and 365 lbs dry weight, Oberdan Bezzi is striking the same vein that Radical Ducati and NCR have been touching on for the past few years, albeit at different ends of the price spectrum.

Clearly taking some design and technical cues from the Panigale, the Ducati 798 Desmosport R concept still features a traditional Ducati trellis-style frame (sorry frameless chassis lovers). It seems unreasonable at the price and performance spec mentioned that the Desmosport R concept actually be a 800cc-ish machine, given that the 1,100cc version of the air-cooled twin puts out a paltry 100hp in its EVO form. Still, a lightweight air-cooled Italian sport bike? That is something Ducatisti have been clamoring about for ages — thankfully Pierobon built one.

Ducati 798 Desmosport R Concept by Oberdan Bezzi Ducati 798 Desmosport R Concept Oberdan Bezzi 02 635x453

Source: Oberdan Bezzi


  1. Halfie 30 says:

    Tell you what. I’ve always been a full fairing sport bike guy, but Dropped all the fairings off my ’05 SS and the difference is night a day. Some where between a Monster and SS now she is much light and more agile. This concept is genius. I thought they should take the Testtastrada engine and dub it the new “Supersport” though. More performance with modern liquid cooling at a more adored able price would rip! I lovey air cooled, but for a “Supersport” bike it just out dated.

  2. loki says:

    Precisely my thoughts: very nice, but you can’t put an air-cooled in a supersport anymore. It was awesome in the 70′s, great in the 80′s and cool in the 90′s, but come on, it’s 40 years old now.

    It’s still great in a city Monster and for short rides outside, but take it for a longer ride that implies stretches of highway and it’ll struggle.

  3. sailwa66 says:

    Very well done, and should make for a very entertaining, and long-overdue, sportbike. The family ties to the flagship are not overdone (like the Porsche 911/Boxster) and it clearly has its own style. As far as the ‘outdated’ motor is concerned, go test ride a Hyper Evo, or even better, beg/borrow/steal some laps on a Millona… either one is max grinnage; nothing beats simple and light with midrange stomp. And for the record, I’ve put over 60k on a 2004 Multistrada, and it’s never ‘struggled’ on the highway… or anywhere else for that matter.

  4. Willie says:

    A better handling Monster with fairings? I dont see the market?
    Just put the Superquadro Engine in a new Streetfighter so I can upgrade/trade in my 2011 796 Monster.

  5. JJ says:

    Oberdan Bezzi is a demi god!

    How many times does Bezzi need to pen killer designs before a person reaches climax?

  6. CJ says:

    I agree, nix that air cooled and go for liquid. Bump the hp to around 120 so it at least feels like it would give any 4 cyclinder 600 race bike a run and I would be in.

  7. I’ve owned Monster and now ride a 1999 900 SSie and to have the upgrade in forks, wheel’s,Brakes and on and on but still have the Air cooled Motor I’ll take mine in Red Please! This is long over due riders have talk about this for years ,it just makes sense to go at that market!! duh

    And next InternatiolBike Show Novi Michigan I hope to see Ducati show up at this Show!!!

  8. Kevin Gettmann says:

    One small problem….take a close look at the shock next to the head. In real life that would never work. There is no room for it there. The frame would stick out and would be in the way of your leg.
    So much for that CAD desgin.
    Also, even though I own a two-valve Monster, that motor is not the right one for this bike. To hit a price point at 9000 Euro’s, ok, but it would sit on Dealers floors like a fresh turd. Sorry…..

  9. Westward says:

    Well I hope Ducati comes out with something, because the F3 from MVAugusta is currently the bike of choice in the lower CC class in my opinion….

  10. Westward says:

    BTW, they can also do better than the current mirrors on the 1199

  11. MikeD says:

    Too much fairing around an AIR cooled engine, that thing on the first stop light will turn itself into a puddle of aluminium underneath the bike.
    Going for a TL-S half fairing would make more sense here…just this guy’s opinion.

    Kevin saw a very obvious problem with the shock’s placement…first thing i saw too but said f*%$ it, this thing will never see daylight anyways.

    For those of u thinking W/Cooling…forget about it being affordable anymore, IF there’s still something like that in Bike World.

  12. finance says:

    I will show this to my cousin we were just talking about this last month!

  13. Hodgmo says:

    I, like a lot of other guys, are laying awake at night thinking about a super sport class vision of the Panigale -seems like sport bike nirvana.
    My design two cents worth:
    1 ) I agree with the other comments that an air cooled engine would not make sense here.
    2) Trellis frame: it’s such a Ducati signature feature and looks so right. That’s a hard one to give up but if the new design actually works better, I’ll concede to progress.
    3) Panigale style shock mount /swingarm: looking good.
    4) Exhaust: I believe the Panigale should do it similar to what’s shown here. A belly-pan enclosed design -ala KTM- is super clean but the Panigale’s looks weird- like they were trying too hard.