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.

First Shots: 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199

07/02/2011 @ 2:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler26 COMMENTS

First Shots: 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 Motociclismo photo leak 2

In this new age of motorcycle marketing, it’s clear that Italian magazine Motociclismo has been given Bologna’s blessing as its favored child of motorcycle media. Accordingly, the publication has been at the forefront of information and photos of the new 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199, and just recently teased this photo of the Ducati Superbike 1199′s headlight, which we know to be the first LED headlight to come on a production motorcycle.

Obviously having some time with the new Superbike 1199 (or at least having one very gracious friend in the Ducati factory), Motociclismo has a bevy of detail shots of the 1199 (we refuse to buy into the Xtreme naming rumors and hype). In the photos, we not only get a better glimpse at the LED headlights, but also the enlarged gilled air intake that surrounds the headlight unit. Also readily seen is the horizontally mounted rear shock, and near it is what Motociclismo is saying is the plastic-guarded collector pipe for the underslung exhaust, however our sources tell us it connects to a second exhaust which exits out the rear of the tail section, as seen on the Ducati Desmosedici GP12.

Surprisingly the photos give away very little technically about the new Ducati Superbike 1199, which perhaps lends to even more credence that this is a controlled leak by Ducati (more on this in future article). Noticeably absent from the photos is a view of the tail section, stressed-airbox frame structure, and the swingarm and wheels. It’s expected that the 1199 will come with Ducati’s traction control (DTC), data acquisition (DDA), and anti-lock brakes (ABS). We wouldn’t be surprised if the electronics package was also a more advanced version of what’s currently on the 1198, and rivaled what we’ve seen on other superbikes like the Aprilia RSV4 and Kawasaki ZX-10R.

With this “leak” now sprung, it’ll be interesting to see how Ducati continues its hype of the 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199, though the company did a pretty good job of keeping the buzz going on the Multistrada 1200 and Diavel, though multiple photos gave away those bikes’ forms well ahead of their EICMA leak. If you see something we’ve missed, shout it out in the comments section.

First Shots: 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 Motociclismo photo leak 1

First Shots: 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 Motociclismo photo leak 3

First Shots: 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 Motociclismo photo leak 4



  1. RSVDan says:

    Oh. My.

  2. 9fingers says:

    The (red) Mantis

  3. Rob says:

    I have a feeling Im about to be missing 20k +/- from my savings account here shortly.

  4. Rob says:

    Aside from the obvious horizontally mounted shock, I can see in the photos the 1199 has a wet clutch like the Diavel/Multi. Also noted is the size of the steering stock. It appears to have more space at the rear than the front, suggesting an adjustable offset steering stem a’la 999. The bike’s camshafts are obviously chain driven versus belt as in every previous ducati superbike.

  5. Rob says:

    I also found it really odd that the keychain containing two keys has one in the ignition and one more that seems to be ‘inserted’ into steering stem. It may very well just be sitting/resting in there, but it sure seems to be sitting completely vertical. Hmmm…perhaps an electrical override type of setup where the key is needed? Complete speculation at this point of course. Can’t wait to see this bike….it’s going to be a game changer.

  6. What’s the tip-off on the wet clutch? I don’t think the key resting in the steering stem is anything to make a fuss about. If they’re messing with the ECU a bit, they might need the spare key handy, as you would do if you brought your Duc into the shop for a scheduled maintenance.

  7. Mormont says:

    Jensen, the oil fill cap is right above the clutch.

  8. Matt A. says:

    @Jensen – the clutch is fully enclosed and has a filler to the rear – pretty good indication. I see what you’re talking about with the key in the steering stem but I’m reasonably sure someone stuck it there just for convenience during picture taking.

  9. Ducati dry clutches come fully-enclosed as well (Mg cases even), but I’ve never noticed the oil fill cap difference — good eye. As for the key, that’s what I meant. It’s a good spot to leave it so a tech kind find it easily (speaking as a Ducati owner whose spent half a day looking for the damn second key while working on the bike).

  10. Sean in Oz says:

    Whats the purpose of the two different air intakes?

  11. Jc. says:

    this is so real. they are dumping these pretend leaks on us but they are real. leaks. what are leaks…?

    ultimately they are the product of sources that are unknown but that have the ultimate information. leaks! get used to it!

  12. Gavin says:

    So hard to tell, looks like it could go either way. First reaction was good so I hope the rest of the bike has stuck to the old heritage with a futuristic twist. One that only DUCATI can pull off. Cnt wait to see more in high res. The pipes out the rear seat sounds awesome.

  13. BurnOut says:

    That thing has been ran over by the ugly truck several times. UGLY!!!!!

  14. MikeD says:

    HURRAY FOR A&R and FOR COMING THRU ! I saw a couple yesterday on some of the Duc Forums but i see i was missing a couple u got here. Thanks!

    Oh…Motociclismo, if u happen to see this…LMAO, so much for “we have this and that xclusive”…all u got was some studio shots of an UNFINISHED Moto showing parts not a WHOLE One.

    Thanks anyways…lol.

  15. Loki says:

    @BurnOut – if everybody would’ve liked it, it would’ve lost its exclusivity. Thus, *almost* everybody likes it.

    Anyways, why dump the dry clutch? Just.. why?!? In MotoGP they all have the dry clutch so, performance-wise it’s obvious that’s he way to go… I understand the “user-friendliness” sh*t, but come on: when you buy a Ducati SBK, you expect a full race-spec rocket monster, not a soft-core sport tourer… A shame!

  16. Shereef says:

    @loki – In MotoGP they also all have conventional (double-sided) swingarms. I thought the 999 was a step in the right direction with this; however, for some reason ducati owners are madly in-love with the sssa.

  17. Duckblind says:

    Ha I knew those were LEds, also I’m optimistic about the styling, it looks purposeful Italian and very modern.

  18. MikeD says:


    Yeah, i can see how the SSSA “may” be Prettier on the eyes of the Ducatistas and easier to replace wheels, chain adjustment…but….I would rather have the regular item (999) too.
    That SSSA can’t be lighter, stiffer, stronger than a regular SA…can it ? I’m biased it ain’t.
    Anyone on the know that can share some light in the matter ?

    I too think they were going on the right direction with the 749/999 but i guess tradition is more important that try to break new grounds and try new ideas…(-_- ).

    W/e…im sure this will be a great piece of machine, SSSA or NOT. I can’t wait for EICMA to get here.

  19. Shereef says:

    @Mike – There are only two advantages for the sssa setup. The first is a quick tire change in endurance (Suzuka 8hr for example) races where time saved in a pit stop can make or break your push for a win. The second advantage is the little effort required to balance a tire-wheel assembly. A sssa will allow a mechanic to assemble a wheel to a dead stop and not worry about centering it.

    The dssa will typically be lighter because it can achieve equal or better rigidity with less material (or cross-section). Assuming both types of swingarms are made for the same raw material stock.

    As far as the aesthetics, this is very subjective. Personally, I think the conventional dssa looks better because my eye finds near symmetry more attractive than asymmetry. That’s why I feel the BMW S1000RR looks like an ugly child that has been beat up one too many times, therefore its face is now deformed.

  20. loki says:

    @Shereef – good one with the S1000RR. It made me laugh, though I don’t find it *that* ugly…

    I think for many people the SSSA looks better. At least for me it does, and Ducati hopes it’s the same for everybody. More or less, it’s clear that it’s a style item rather than a practical one. It’s born from the desire Ducati has to be “different”.

    But yeah, clearly, it can’t be as stable, stiff or strong as the DSSA. Then again, until road bikes reach some MotoGP-esques power figures (220-230 hp), the single-sided swing arm should do the job.

  21. Other Sean says:

    The rearsets and the way the tank screws down in the front look very japanese. I’m curious as to why it’s “obvious’ that the cams are chain driven, although I wouldn’t be opposed to that.
    And yes, that’s a wet clutch.

  22. Sid says:

    The top photo (with the lights on) has too much of a bird look going on.

    Primus’ costumes comes to mind when seeing that photo.

    Chain driven cam vs. belt-driven? the only pic that I see that would point one way or the other is the one with the lack of the ugly belt cover on the right side of all modern Ducati engines.

  23. MikeD says:

    I have my doubts that they went full gear on the timing(HOPE THEY DID), i would say more like one chain, one intermediate idler gear and “smaller than usual” cam gears like the SV1000S and S1000RR.

    Also, after watching for some time the exhaust routing on the bigger pics i now believe that the Routing and Plotting will be “very similar” to what Honda uses on the VFR1200.

    I would like that it be given the option of the rear cylinder exhaust be re-routed to under-tail like their GP11 Racer. SCREW MASS CENTRALIZATION and HURRAY for rear cylinder scavenging, less mass (albeit a bit off of the ideal location), less cumbersome plumbing and better looks (i know, Subjective)…

    Just kidding…but it would be the cat’s meow….in both looks and functionality.

    I already see someone on the aftermarket coming up with such Kit…and reeling in those $$$.

    They could always make the shorter rear exhaust path flow the same as the front by using smaller diameter tubing or giving it a smaller outlet at the muffler….Oh well, after all, they passed at the perfect opportunity of a using a central ram air intake like the GP11 for the sake of “style” as is usually the norm nowadays , it wouldn’t surprise me them NOT doing something similar to what i mentioned….i mean, WTH ! if the they went so far as to relocate the shock COMPLETELY out of the way why not go the WHOLE way ?!

    Im sure everyone have noted how the rear sub-frame anchors itself just above what looks like the TCC of the rear cylinder and right above the valve cover on the intake side.

    Ok, im done bitching here…(^_^ ), somebody pass me my bag of tampons, please…lol.

  24. 4Cammer says:

    Pretty and Ducati are no longer words spoken in the same sentence.

  25. buellracerx says:

    might be missing something here, but if the headlight is completely LED-based, why are there conventional headlight reflectors just below the LED strips? I would venture a guess that their purpose is, at the least, accentual, and, at the most, low-beam operation.

    @Jensen, any thoughts?

  26. DucWrench says:

    Just wanted to add about something about the clutch. That is a dry clutch in those pics. If you look at d16 motor, the mag cases are the exact same way. You can clearly see the seam to remove the clutch cover, and the oil fill plug is directly over the clutch in the D16 as well as in the those pics. Dry Clutch 100%, If it were a wet clutch, why is there a clutch cover? And just like the desmo, it will be gear driven cams.

    Just in case you need a visual, here is an excellent pic of the desmo motor… See the similarities?