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.

Radical Ducati Matador

12/02/2013 @ 3:13 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

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We haven’t seen something from the boys at Radical Ducati in a while, so their timing with Radical Ducati Matador and the holidays seems like an early moto-related present.

For the un-initiated, Radical Ducati is a small shop in Madrid, Spain that specializes in Frankensteining together custom motorcycles from the Ducati parts bin.

Based around the Ducati 1198 Superbike lump, and featuring all the usual Radical Ducati parts, the Radical Ducati Matador is not only typical of the Spanish firm’s gritty design practice, but also makes us nostalgic for the now deceased Ducati Streetfighter 1098 platform, which hit upon the same raw vein during its brief time in Ducati’s lineup.

The signature minimalist carbon fiber RAD solo tail section and RAD fuel tank are included in the Matador’s design, and we especially like that Pepo and Reyes have massaged some love into the 1198 engine, with a lightened flywheel and ported heads being part of the build — though no word is given on available power.

Still at 304 lbs, this machine should positively kill it at your local track day. We like that. Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes, an EVR slipper clutch, and a RAD designed exhaust pipe complete the go-fast parts. You’ll have to remove your own chicken strips though.

Build Specifications of the Radical Ducati Matador:

  • RAD 02 Aluminum frame
  • RAD 02 Aluminum subframe
  • RAD 02 Aluminum swingarm
  • RAD 02 ergal triple clamps yokes
  • Öhlins front fork
  • Brembo calipers
  • Discacciati Brake and Clutch radial pump
  • Discacciati rotors
  • Domino quick open gas throttle
  • RAD 02 ergal clip ons
  • RAD carbon fiber front mudguard
  • RAD carbon fiber rear mudguard
  • Discacciati rear brake kit with support, 200mm rear rotor and four piston caliper
  • Öhlins rear shock
  • RAD 02 Ergal regulable rear height rod
  • Rizoma footrest
  • Ducati 1198 SP engine: ported heads, lightened flywheel, EVR slipper clutch
  • Febur race water radiator
  • RAD 02 carbon fiber airbox with Jet Prime special air intakes with holders for injectors.
  • Super Mario 2 in1 exhaust system
  • RAD “tail fish” megaphone
  • RAD carbon fiber bellypan
  • NGK race spark cables.
  • RAD 02 electrical wiring
  • Aviacompositi race dashboard
  • Baylistic LIPO battery
  • ITX Aluminum forged wheels
  • RAD 02 Aluminum fuel tank
  • RAD 02 carbon fiber Corsa Evo solo seat
  • RAD front plate number
  • Weight: 138 kg

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Source: Radical Ducati


  1. Mitch says:

    Beautiful, but unless you think you can out-engineer Ducati, there’s probably a reason why their trellis frames were steel, and not aluminum. Plus, swingarm design is very complex and dialing in flex is an art; something tells me this bike has made some performance sacrifices in the name of design.

  2. Crom says:

    all that money. all that effort and “design”…

    and they can’t out-hooligan a stock/production KTM 1290 Super Duke R

  3. j.davis says:

    I almost puked when I saw this mess.

  4. froryde says:

    Wow, tough crowd.

    Granted, I don’t this is Radical’s best work to date but there were plenty of other awesome builds – retro endurance Monster M900, “Pantahstic” endurance, carbie 900TT, Dirt Rad, 9 1/2… And I feel the choice of colours isn’t doing the bike any favours either.

    And I can think of many reasons why Ducati stuck with steel instead of aluminium – cost, legacy (as we all know motorcyclists are actually quite a conservative bunch), marketing, supply availability, technical know-haow…etc. Not saying that aluminium in this case is superior, but perhaps the answer with steel is not purely one of performance.

  5. Richard Gozinya says:

    Yeah, Aluminum is more expensive, largely because in cases like this, where lots of welding is involved, it’s a much more tricky process than steel. An easier, and nearly as light, way to go would be chromoly, which Ducati never bothered with, because it, like aluminum, is more expensive than steel. What I’m getting at is Ducati opted for the cheap route, not the best route. Look at how long it took them to deal with their cheap as hell to make plastic fuel tank issues. Sure, a company like Ducati can do some impressive work, when they want to, but they’re more about profit than product, like most legacy companies.

    Compare a stock Ducati with what RAD, NCR or Walt Siegl does sometime. When cost to mass produce isn’t an issue, some amazing stuff can get made.

  6. Andrey says:

    The “engine bay” (for want of a better phrase) on this bike is a total mess. They would have been better putting a two valve motor in there. There are plenty of other bikes that provide performance; why ride something that looks this bad?
    Looks like a poorly put together parts bin special.
    It’s a shame because most of their work is really cool

  7. Kenny says:

    I disagree, I think the engine looks fantastic! No pretence or faffing about. It’s a big hairy brute of an engine thats here to chew bubblegum and kick ass….and it’s all out of bubblegum.
    Besides the air-cooled custom duke has been done almost to death by everyone including ducati themselves, these LC dukes make a welcome change. Especially when function appears to supersede form.

  8. smiler says:

    Seeing as it does not have a 300 rear tire then I guess the crowd just don’t get it.

    They always produce something interesting and even if the entirity is not always beautiful, elements are always worth a look. They have their own tank now and that looks great.

    Well done to them again.

    Would like to see an OCC Ducati, that would be funny.

  9. Johnny Crash says:

    From an engineering point of view an aluminum frame has sense only with large section frames (deltabox type, or monocoque).
    With small section structures, it is not adequate to use aluminum because you can not improve the structural efficiency of a steel frame, and however, using aluminum in this kind of structures has several disadvantages, for example with steel you can achieve infinite life and with aluminum not.
    That’s why Ducati, and other brands, build their trellis using steel. The same applies for trellis car frames, or light airplane trellis frames… all are built using steel.
    This issue is not related with cost or problems in the fabrication. Even the MotoGP Ducatis had steel trellis, and the reason is because with this kind of structure you can achieve a better efficiency with steel than with aluminum.

  10. chris says:

    a friend of mine bought that aluminum frame. he paid a lot of money and had to wait a long while. he needed a 5′ pry bar to get it to fit on the motor. everything i’ve ever seen from them doesn’t fit or is terrible quality. they are masters of color, but not craftsmen. the 1/8″ seat foam is only draped on the bike. looks good in pictures, but i wouldn’t ride it.

  11. The Architect says:

    @MiTch … are dumb as rocks!! Ever heard of Pierobon???? They have made race frames for Ducati WSBK since 1998 and they are made of 100% ALUMINUM!

  12. Richard Gozinya says:

    @chris, So, better off going with NCR, or a custom from Walt Siegl then? The former seems to mostly use titanium, the latter chromoly.

  13. Jw says:

    Nice name heist from Bultaco

  14. chris says:

    @richard i don’t know if you can title seigel’s or ncr’s for the street… best to stick with an oem ducati frame as a starting place… unless you don’t care about titling. i’m building four ducatis right now. kaemna, a german shop, sells modification kits for 999/749 frames to drop some weight.

    @The Architect you are wrong. all trellis wsbk frames are steel. period. the other frames they make are for track day toys, and not homologated for racing.

  15. Norm G. says:

    re: “Would like to see an OCC Ducati, that would be funny.”

    you do realize they did one don’t you…? they filmed a show on the bike and actually had a franchise and everything. it lasted for all of 5 mins.

  16. Norm G. says:

    re: “Ever heard of Pierobon???? They have made race frames for Ducati”

    you’re prolly thinking of Verlicci. they subcontract manufacture for a lot of brands. Aprilia, BMW, even Buell iirc.

  17. Norm G. says:

    re: “but i wouldn’t ride it.”

    me neither, not unless you had a death wish.

    I actually had to do a double take. looking at just the pictures, I just naturally assumed this was a stock steel frame. then i’m reading all the comments discussing aluminum…? and i’m like, what the f#ck is everybody on about…?

    ok, lemme go back up and see. OMG, items 1 and 3 in the build spec say aluminum…!!! I thought it was friggin’ typo till I zoomed in. the welds give it away.

    FAIL can’t sub 6000 series (or any grade of aluminum for that matter) for steel 1 for 1 like this. this is a disaster waiting to happen. I know. I’ve got personal experience with this approach and i’m lucky things didn’t end in tears. I should’ve known better. my only saving grace was that my design (only semi-related) started life from solid billet with no welding so no HAZ. I experienced a progressive failure (bending) rather than catastrophic failure (crack propagation followed by rapid disassembly). i/we were afforded the luxury of time to react.

    while I knew the item would probably fail, I thought would last weeks and months before failure…? instead it didn’t last but a few hours (mind blown). I redesigned it (still 6061-T6) and now it works great. stress reversal is aluminum’s Achilles heel, so it’s not a question of if this frame will fail…? but when. should it happen at speed, you don’t wanna be the guy on it when it does.

  18. Clayman says:

    Still using that tail piece with waves in the surface similar to an ocean,
    RAD needs to get a good modeler onboard, give me a shout.